Oregon Children's Theatre Dragons Love Tacos Newmark Theatre Portland Oregon
January 2018

Skinner/Kirk Dance Company hits rewind and fast-forward

By HEATHER WISNER The big questions we begin asking ourselves in middle age—about identity, achievement, love, loss, and how to reconcile the passage of time—color an upcoming concert by dance company Skinner/Kirk. Founded in 1998 by Eric Skinner and Daniel Kirk, the

MusicWatch Weekly: choral confluence

Vibrant voices lead this week’s Oregon music calendar, beginning with one of America’s oldest and most revered choral ensembles, St. Olaf Choir’s performance Thursday at Portland’s Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Friday at Eugene’s First United Methodist Church and Saturday afternoon at North Medford

Astor’s great and messy quest

In the early years of the 19th century, John Jacob Astor, a German immigrant who’d already become wealthy through the fur trade and Manhattan real estate, gambled big on a grand vision. His plan was to establish an “emporium” near the mouth

Solofest preview: e pluribus unum

It’s easier than ever for us to hear people who have long been marginalized. From vlogs to podcasts to YouTube and the rest, the proliferation of expressive avenues has revealed a tremendous demand to hear personal stories from once-stifled voices. “The rise

Long, cold, and worth it

Oregon playwright E.M. Lewis’s new show Magellanica opens with a scientist holding a parka and some luggage. “No one ends up in Antarctica by accident,” she says matter-of-factly. It’s true. Those who head deep into the frozen continent do must have strong

Crazy fun with Pete the Cat

“That was kind of crazy. Also kind of funny, right?” – Pete the Cat (Dave Cole), Pete the Cat: The Musical Pete himself might as well have been reviewing this lively, fun, infectious musical, the latest from the ambitious Oregon Children’s Theatre,

Boom! Arts from the edge

Essay and photos by FRIDERIKE HEUER In times of political change and upheaval the arts often undergo a paradigm shift. New ways of representing the world or challenging the status quo rise out of despair or are driven by hope. This is

Sunwook Kim review: subtle touch, dynamic range

By ANGELA ALLEN Sunwook Kim opened his January 14 Portland Piano International recital with J.S. Bach’s Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C Major, BWV 564, written for organ (think majestic, reverential, full-voiced) and ran furiously through the opening toccata. The word, toccata,

DanceWatch Weekly: In the neighborhood

Welcome to the “meet your neighbor” edition of DanceWatch. Yup, that’s right, you are surrounded by a sea of amazing, talented artists, and they all seem to be popping up THIS weekend. And, the “neighborhood” may be much bigger than you think—at

A lioness of the mind

I have been reading the many tributes to Ursula K. Le Guin, my friend of 52 years, who died on Monday at age 88, and they are, mostly, wonderful. They make me remember my own reactions to her work, as novelist, poet,

‘Voices of Light’ preview: trial by fire

Even the flames couldn’t destroy Joan of Arc. The 15th-century teenage revolutionary was infamously burned at the stake for leading a revolution, but her memory survived. Ultimately, she achieved sainthood and became a symbol of France itself. Centuries after her immolation, Danish

Dance review: ‘Two Love Stories’ tracks our heartbreak

By ELIZABETH WHELAN Two Love Stories, presented by Linda Austin’s Performance Works Northwest Sunday night, was far from the romantic walk in the park you’d expect from its title. Marissa Rae Niederhauser, Berlin-based dancer and choreographer, cuts down the back alleys and

Watching Readings

Fertile Ground is springing up about us again, and Portland’s theatrical venues are filled with performances—dance, original drama, comedy, even a couple of premiere musicals, all there to delight audiences. And then there are the playreadings. The festival is heavy with new

MusicWatch Weekly: still burning

The Oregon portion of the valuable new Spontaneous Combustion New Music Festival isn’t even half over and already it’s produced a pair of the finest contemporary classical concerts in recent memory: a spectacular performance of music by Gyorgy Ligeti and one-time Oregonians

“Cosi fan Tutte” review: identity crisis

by ANGELA ALLEN In Seattle Opera’s production of Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte, the stage’s main prop, aside from an inviting pile of mattresses, is a tall mirror. Each character pauses in front of it at some time, checking out his or her current reflection,

Rennie Harris, moving pure

By RACHAEL CARNES According to Lorenzo “Rennie” Harris, the three laws of hip-hop culture are “innovation, individuality and creativity.” “Hip hop comes from the word ‘hippie,’ which means to either open your eyes or re-open your eyes — to be aware,” Harris

Art among the plants: a lament

By FRIDERIKE HEUER What’s wrong with this picture? “Nothing?” the astute observer might reply. “I see some pretty glass in beautiful surroundings. Say, don’t you like Chihuly?” Let’s try again: What’s wrong with this picture? “A version of ‘Is that art, or

Kellen Chasuk: Inventiveness triumphs over gloom

By PAUL MAZIAR One of my favorite things about art-making, in any medium, is that the initial subject matter can be totally incidental—without prescribed meaning whatsoever—and yet deeper implications are invariably discovered, by both the artist and whomever is there to experience

Spotlight on: E.M. Lewis and ‘Magellanica’

“Ferdinand Magellan, the first to circumnavigate the globe, one of those early sea-farers, named everything after either his queen or himself. In very, very old maps, the kind with sea monsters at the bottom, of the period immediately following his circumnavigation of

‘The Last Hot Lick’: American quirk

Award-winning director Mahalia Cohen developed The Last Hot Lick while trying to fund another film she had written. “In 2015, for awhile I’d been trying to get a movie made, get funding,” the Portland-born, New York-based filmmaker said about Thinner Than Water. (You can

MusicWatch Weekly: sizzlers and swashbucklers

A hot new source of contemporary music has ignited in Oregon. Although, given the incendiary events of the summer and fall, its name might be a tad, er, heated for a West Coast music fest, Spontaneous Combustion New Music Festival, which runs

DanceWatch Weekly: Time for that coffee break

I LOVE coffee, and I equally love coffee descriptions. They are full of wonderfully descriptive adjectives like dark, rich, smooth, and robust (to name a few), and describe hints of additional/other flavors that you might taste or smell in the coffee like

On the run from dystopia

The year is 2089. The people of Tierra Plana live orderly lives along strict lines, both figuratively and literally. Walled off from the rest of the world, the xenophobic nation-state has descended into a totalitarian dystopia. The leaders demand order and cultural

DramaWatch Weekly: Fertile Ground, Playing Favorites

For YEARS, at multiple publications, I used to compile an overview of Fertile Ground titled “Fertile Ground Speaks for Itself,” wherein quips from the scripts submitted by their authors comprised the entire story, and I just formatted it. It is, after all,

Fertile Ground: get set, go

It was 5:30 on a blustery Thursday evening – still rush hour in The City That Sometimes Works – and Nicole Lane was busy herding cats. Some of the media people were stuck in traffic and still on their way but they’d

A lifeline in troubled times

It’s a clumsy thing, this Three Sisters, chafing and halting and bumping into itself, tripping over its own feet, taking pratfalls, landing on all the discordant notes. And that’s a good thing. Anton Chekhov’s great play, as it’s being performed in the

Lil Buck and Jon Boogz: ‘Love Heals All Wounds’

By ELIZABETH WHELAN I remember scrolling mindlessly through Facebook about a year ago when I first came across Lil Buck. Flying past a fair share of one-minute recipe videos, the latest pictures of those people I used to know, and my daily

Angelo Xiang Yu & Andrew Hsu review: Brahms’s indiscretions

Johannes Brahms and his music both have forbidding reputations. Yet on his rambles around 19th century Vienna, the great Romantic composer would give away candy to children – who would keep on the lookout for “Papa Brahms.” And he wrote two of

DanceWatch Weekly: A new year in dance

Welcome back dance lovers, and welcome to a brand new year of dance in Oregon. Let’s begin the new year with exciting dance news. Dance Wire, Portland’s dance service organization, founded and directed by Emily Running, has just received a Miller Foundation

Audio drama PDX: Curated nostalgia

For most of my life I’ve been chronologically out of step. I was born in 1965, and my favorite clothes were out of fashion by 1930, my favorite authors were all dead by 1945, and one of my favorite artistic mediums, audio

Those were the good old days

Imago Theatre is reviving its production of Carol Triffle’s The Reunion, which premiered in June 2017. It reopens Friday, Jan. 12, 2018, and continues for a short run through Jan. 20: ticket and schedule information here. ArtsWatch’s review of the original production,

The Original Tesla

Clean energy. Wireless charging. A world connected by invisible communication technology. For many, they’re today’s reality, tomorrow’s hope — but they were first realistically envisioned more than a century ago by a a Serbian-American immigrant whose name most of us only know

Theater review: Uncle Vanya lets his hair down

Before Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble’s smashing version of Anton Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya” takes center stage in this particular review—and it will, I promise, it will—allow me a little digression? We all come to the theater in various states: physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual.

MusicWatch Weekly: revolutionaries

Oregon music this week features the work of a couple of revolutionaries from a century or so ago whose imagination has left its mark on the present and maybe even the future, enhanced by today’s technology. Tesla: Light, Sound, Color (Thursday-Friday Hult

DramaWatch Weekly: Double Chekhov, Ghost Hunters

Hello. The holidays are over and now plays can be about anything again. Next week brings Fertile Ground, brimming with homegrown theater offerings of every conceivable topic and timbre. There’ll be almost too much to mention then, so this week by comparison

Books on the hoof, love on the run

C.S. Whitcomb’s Parnassus on Wheels, which is getting its world premiere production at Lakewood Theatre Company and is an early entry in the Fertile Ground Festival of New Work, is an adaptation of Christopher Morley’s 1917 novel of the same name, a

Oregon Symphony reviews: immigrant songs

An orchestra handles like a steamship, where a jazz band (even a big one) handles like a motorboat, and genre-crossing tends to breed monsters as much as angels. What kind of hybrid might the Oregon Symphony Orchestra produce in performing George Gershwin’s

Peril on ice: an Antarctic tragedy

As the pre-show jazz band finished up a generous hour-long set at The Old Church on Saturday night and began packing up, Lawrence Howard sidled downstage, took a look at the big prop perched on a stand behind him, and turned to

Music Notes

As a new year begins, here’s one of our periodic roundups of recent news in Oregon music. This is only a smattering, of course. Got more news about Oregon music? Let us know, or leave it in the comments section below. High Notes

VizArts Monthly: Revolving by degree

The Earth inches around the sun a fraction less than one degree between December 31 and January 1, and yet somehow I still believe that something momentous has occurred. “Thank the far-flung heavens that 2017 is over,” I exclaim aloud to myself

‘Brahms vs. Radiohead’: classical mashup

Many American orchestras, desperate to attract younger and more diverse audiences, now have special programs aimed at pre-retirement age music lovers. Several — in Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Colorado — have hired young conductor Steve Hackman to run them. Hackman noticed that when highly

MusicWatch Weekly: classics meet currents

Oregon music gradually awakens from its holiday hangover, er, hibernation this week, serving up a few appetizers to whet your appetite for the ample main courses to follow in coming weeks. Feel free to recommend other music performances in the comments section

Q and A: A conversation with Michael Brophy

Overlooking the Council Chamber in Portland City Hall is an eight-foot tall, semi-circular painting by Michael Brophy. Brophy’s description of the painting is quoted on the Regional Arts and Culture Council public art web page: “Portland is a city founded on a

‘Dracula’ and Third Angle reviews: two faces of Philip Glass

My first encounter with the music of Philip Glass was, appropriately, in the theater. The community college I attended after high school put on a selection of one-act plays from David Ives’ recently published All In The Timing. Between acts there would

In the Frame: Eleven Men

Essay and photographs by K.B. DIXON A good picture tells a story, and nothing tells a story better—more eloquently, more efficiently—than the human face. The story these eleven faces tell, in part, is Portland’s. These are talented and dedicated people who have

Portland Chamber Orchestra Valentines Day The Reser Beaverton Oregon
Portland Playhouse What I Learned In Paris Portland Oregon
Portland Center Stage Young Americans Portland Oregon
Boom Arts Okinum Hampton Opera Center Portland Oregon
Tualatin Valley Symphony Family Concert Featuring Star Wars NW Christian Church Tigard Oregon
White Bird Dance Trinity Irish The Reser Beaverton Oregon
Portland Piano International Solo Piano Series Portland Oregon
White Bird Dance Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall Portland Oregon
Profile Theatre Welcome to Arroyo's at Imago Theatre Portland Oregon
High Desert Museum Creations of Spirit Bend Oregon
push/FOLD at the Reser Beaverton Oregon
Triangle Productions Me & Tammy Portland Oregon
Eugene Ballet Petrushka with Orchestra Next Hult Center Eugene Oregon
Oregon Children's Theatre Dragons Love Tacos Newmark Theatre Portland Oregon
Northwest Dance Project Portland Oregon
Portland State University College of the Arts
Future Prairie Artist Collective Portland Oregon