White Bird Dance Trinity Irish The Reser Beaverton Oregon
March 2018

DramaWatch: Two pair and a kicker

Sometimes as shows and curtains open and close, a writer flounders for a framing device. I know: Let’s play poker. “Two pair is a poker hand containing two cards of the same rank, two cards of another rank and one card of

MusicWatch Weekly: piano playground

Spring break may have broken Oregon’s music calendar this week, but there’s still something to celebrate. Portland is celebrating the international Piano Day again. Last year, Portland Piano International brought the worldwide event, which was started by German pianist Nils Frahm (who

The Mermaid Hour, approaching

A funny thing happened on the way toward intermission Sunday afternoon at The Mermaid Hour, David Valdes Greenwood’s new play at Milagro: I changed my mind. Radically. I’d been looking forward to Mermaid, part of the National New Play Network’s “rolling world

Oregon Symphony review: engaging the elements of drama

by BRUCE BROWNE An academic analysis of the Verdi Requiem reveals the brilliance with which one of the great romantic musical dramatists set text and music for the ultimate dramatic impact. It’s all there. No brainer…let it ride…can’t improve on perfection. Right.

Dance review: Katie Scherman at BodyVox

The title of Katie Scherman’s new dance, the last piece in her retrospective concert at BodyVox this weekend, is To Have It All, and reading through Scherman’s bio, your first thought might be, hey, she does have it all! Multiple degrees, an

‘Hamilton’ in Portland: Historic!

The audience erupted in cheers Wednesday evening as the lights went down in Keller Auditorium and we were instructed to turn off our cellphones. The anticipation was palpable in that moment. I realized, Oh my god. I’m about to see Hamilton. If

Surviving Richard? She is fierce

“A woman who speaks out survives.” So says Margaret of Anjou in She Is Fierce, a play not by Shakespeare. Margaret of Anjou is portrayed with ferocity by Sam Reiter in Enso Theatre Ensemble’s production at Shoebox Theatre. Bitter irony lies at

Ka-ching: Money for the NEA

FRIDAY, MARCH 23 UPDATE: It’s a done deal. President Trump signed the spending bill into law after first threatening to veto it on Friday morning in a move that “left both political parties in Washington reeling and his own aides bewildered about

MusicWatch Weekly: March modness & more

The big musical news this weekend is the return of March Music Moderne, and you can read all about it in our separate preview. But it’s hardly the only musical magic happening in Oregon this week. Still, compared to the abundant new

DanceWatch Weekly: Katie Scherman on having it all

Today is the first day of spring. It’s bright and sunny but cold, and I am meditating on the movement style and choreography of dance artist and BodyVox artist-in-residence Katie Scherman. Scherman’s company, Katie Scherman + Artists, an all female cast collected

DramaWatch Weekly: An Equinox Mid-Monther

The date: March 21. The weather: rain, thunder, and sun. The shows: small ones opening, biggies mid-run. We’re over the Ides. We’ve driven out the snakes. But we await the full flowering of the resurrection. Will you meet me halfway in an

Brief affair, puzzling twist

By ALIA STEARNS Children view their parents as sexless creatures, even though a child’s entire existence is the product of raw parental sexuality. And, it is mothers more often than fathers who are placed on a rigid, unearned pedestal of purity and

‘Death and the Maiden’ review: a history of violence

A man bound and gagged. A woman pointing a gun at him. Confess his crime against her, or else. You can’t ask for a much tenser set up than that. Death and the Maiden keeps the audience wondering throughout: did he do it,

March Music Moderne preview: celebrating Debussy

While everyone is checking their brackets for one kind of March Madness (go Ducks!), some of us are equally excited by the return of another crazy rite of spring. March Music Moderne has been on hiatus for while, so it’s even more

Austin Granger’s commonplace miracles

STORY by ANGELA ALLEN PHOTOGRAPHS by AUSTIN GRANGER Portland photographer Austin Granger, who grew up in northern California and studied philosophy at the University of California, Santa Cruz, prefers to load film into his Fuji GF670 or Deardorff 5 by 7 instead

Bill Bulick, arts agency architect, has died

Bill Bulick, the architect of the Regional Arts and Culture Council, the primary way government supports the art in the tri-county area, died yesterday in Portland. He had lived with Parkinson’s Disease for many years. He was 65. When I first met

Edna Vazquez with Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble review: homeward sound

by CHRISTINA RUSNAK In an interview with Edna Vazquez on Beyond Category – the PJCE Podcast a few days before her February concert with Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble (PJCE), executive director Douglas Detrick asked the Portland singer-songwriter about Portland as a home,

Love, loss and lying in NW Dance Project premieres

By HEATHER WISNER Adapting Ibsen’s dark drama Hedda Gabler for dance is an ambitious undertaking: that much is clear when you’re greeted by two pages of program notes explaining the plot as you settle in for the world premiere of NW Dance

Film picks: “Faces Places” and “The Death of Stalin”

Who doesn’t love Agnes Varda? Anybody who isn’t thoroughly charmed by the venerable, diminutive legend of French filmmaking probably isn’t worth knowing. If any 88-year-old can be said to be precocious, it’s her, and her latest (please, not her last!) effort, the

Dance review: Jesús Carmona’s reinvention of flamenco

By HEATHER WISNER Pure happiness doesn’t seem to exist in flamenco; a hint of melancholy, a sense of world weariness, suffuses the music and the dance. But there is pure happiness to be found in watching flamenco, especially when it’s done very

Tudor Choir review: wall of sound

by BRUCE BROWNE and DARYL BROWNE The Tudor Choir re-opened for business this month. On hiatus since 2015, the ensemble presented one concert in their hometown of Seattle and two more in the Portland Metro area, at St. Mary’s Cathedral and in

Crazy good on Riverside

An apartment on Riverside Drive in Manhattan is the setting and in some ways the crux of Stephen Adly Guirgis’ 2015 Pulitzer-winning play Between Riverside and Crazy, currently getting a crackling Adriana Baer-helmed production at Artists Rep. That geographical marker is important.

DramaWatch Weekly: Hamilton-plus

Don’t look now, but the two-ton elephant’s about to plop down in the living room. That’s right: Hamilton, the touring version of the Broadway mega-hit, opens on Tuesday, March 20, in Portland’s Keller Auditorium for 24 performances through April 8, and if

MusicWatch Weekly: Pacific voices

Portland Gay Men’s Chorus is hosting the Beijing Queer Chorus — China’s first LGBTQ choir — in a week-long community residency that culminates in a pair of public concerts. Friday and Saturday’s Pacific Voices shows at Reed College’s Kaul Auditorium feature both

DanceWatch Weekly: Sarah Slipper choreographs ‘Hedda’

It’s all about liars these days. Recognizing them, calling them out, keeping them in check. It’s the new reality. What truth is, has shifted for some, but truth is fact, it doesn’t shift. Only the shifty shift. And, this week’s two premieres

‘The Mermaid Hour’ rolls around

When David Valdes Greenwood was workshopping The Mermaid Hour back in 2014 one piece of feedback he got was that the play would be “impossible to cast” because it was “too diverse.” The show centers on a 12-year-old transgender girl and features

Portland Mini Musical Festival review: brief encounters

It’s hard enough to produce believable character relationships in a full length musical, what with the characters breaking into song and dance in the midst of their encounters. Yet even in under 15 minutes each, most of the six short works in

Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Changing the social order

By DANIEL POLLACK-PELZNER “We’re here to change the social order. So deal with it.” That’s the cheery, cheeky ensemble announcement that begins Karen Zacarías’s wildly entertaining Destiny of Desire—a deliciously theatrical homage to the mistaken identities, thwarted romances, and swooning pageantry that

Painting the town ‘Scarlet’

Portland Playhouse’s new musical, Scarlet, is no dry historical retelling of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1850 novel The Scarlet Letter. While that popular 19th-century novel was the source material for playwright Michelle Horgen’s retelling, and it is set in the same puritanical time, this

Jessica Lang Dance: Classically modern

This weekend, Jessica Lang Dance, which Lang founded in 2011, visited Portland for the first time. A Juilliard graduate, Lang is a former member of Twyla Tharp’s company, THARP!, and is widely recognized as one of the most talented choreographers of her

A kiss is still a kiss, a sigh is …

The drama at the heart of Stage Kiss, the Sarah Ruhl comedy at Twilight Theater Company, can be summed up with a simple question She asks He near the middle of the play: When we kissed, did it feel like “an actor

Tom Prochaska: Painting in the round

Tom Prochaska, who turns 73 this month, began his career with an intense involvement in printmaking, both as an artist and as a professional fine art printer. During the last two decades his main focus has become painting—paintings in which scenes and

The Oscars are dying: So what?

The Oscars are dying. So what?On March 4, the Motion Picture Association of America held the 90th Academy Awards ceremony. You may not have heard about it, since reportedly nobody really cares about the Oscars anymore. As someone who religiously watches, and

Zakir Hussain & Rakesh Chaurasia preview: a conversation in concert

In my thirty-odd years as a lover of all kinds of music, I have seen Zakir Hussain perform live four times: twice with Remember Shakti, and twice with Masters of Percussion. On every occasion, the California-based tabla titan has astounded me with

‘The Holler Sessions’ preview: jazz rant

Podcast interview by DOUGLAS DETRICK Editor’s note: Staged as a live jazz radio broadcast, Seattle-based actor/writer Frank Boyd’s one-maniac show The Holler Sessions is a portrait of a jazz-head(case) / radio DJ who evangelizes for the music in uproarious, often profane riffs. The show originated at Seattle’s

Death and the Maiden: still true

By MICHAEL SPROLES It’s been nearly 30 years since the Argentinian-Chilean playwright Ariel Dorfman wrote his groundbreaking political masterpiece, Death and the Maiden. But there are always lessons to be learned from history, and many of the themes and warnings in the

Two Trains, hambone not included

“I want my ham!” a fellow named Hambone shouts as he stands near the entrance of Memphis Lee’s diner in the Hill District of Pittsburgh. He pauses, gathers energy, then shouts again, louder and more intense this time, in a voice that

Stars rising: Clay and Ellis

It’s pretty incredible to witness a star in the making – and that’s exactly what you’ll see at Oregon Children’s Theatre’s latest, And in this Corner: Cassius Clay – The Making of Muhammad Ali. You wouldn’t be foolish to assume I am

MusicWatch Weekly: celebrations and appreciations

The adventurous Portland/Seattle ensemble Sound of Late premieres Book of the Dark by American composer Alan Shockley at their Saturday night informal, hour-long show at Portland’s New Expressive Works. The chamber music score incorporates references to James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake, moody English

DanceWatch Weekly: Jessica Lang and Jesús Carmona

Two White Bird shows—New York-based Jessica Lang Dance Company and Compañia Jesús Carmona from Barcelona—bookend this week’s performance schedule. Both choreographers defy categorization, and their hybrid choreographies draw heavily on lighting and visual elements to craft their story. Jessica Lang, artistic director

ArtsWatch: Covering more with less

On the last Saturday morning in January, as Portland was alight with the Fertile Ground Festival of New Plays and dozens of other significant cultural events, I gave a talk to a good-sized crowd at Terwilliger Plaza, titled “Portland Arts: Covering More

DramaWatch Weekly: Crikey!

Fun linguistic facts: Did you know “blimey” is short for “blind me,” and “crikey” for “croak me?” And just like that, an expression of simple surprise becomes a murmured self-annihilation. Thank James Joyce for putting it to paper, and thank the Irish

Spontaneous Combustion reviews 2: sublime solos, dynamic duo

Editor’s note: ArtsWatch deployed a small squadron of reviewers to most of the Spontaneous Combustion Festival’s seven programs of new music spread over 17 concerts in three cities. Here are some of the highlights of the first edition of this valuable new

Oregon Shakespeare Festival 2018: The first round

Your faithless correspondent has now spent a week dithering over all that this particular brainpan could usefully muster about opening weekend at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Hey, these observations and opinions don’t come ready-made! And maybe it’s harder when said correspondent finds

Spontaneous Combustion reviews 1: from hub to sandbox

Editor’s note: ArtsWatch deployed a small squadron of reviewers to most of the Spontaneous Combustion Festival’s seven programs spread over 17 concerts in three cities. Here are some of the highlights of the first edition of this valuable new addition to Oregon’s

A visit with: Phyllis Yes

How refreshing to be reminded that sometimes an artist is an artist is an artist, no matter her chosen medium and despite our own reductive need to “frame” her as just ONE thing. This is most definitely the case with the multi-faceted

Letter from Seattle: Miranda’s rights

By MISHA BERSON SEATTLE — An assortment of plays and musicals is on the boards in Seattle at the moment. But the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning Broadway juggernaut Hamilton is upstaging them all. Hamilton-mania ignited here a year before the national

Urban Bush Women: ‘We’re going on a journey’

Urban Bush Women returned to the White Bird Uncaged series with a new work this weekend, Hair and Other Stories. The company’s first work with stage director Raelle Myrick-Hodges, this ambitious, multidisciplinary performance is definitely about hair and definitely about those “other

Music Notes

• This Saturday, March 3, Portland musicians and fans of long time radio host Robert McBride will gather to celebrate the All Classical Portland announcer and composer’s retirement from the airwaves in a live concert that you can hear over the air

And In This Corner … La’Tevin Alexander Ellis

The day I met with La’Tevin Alexander Ellis, the star of Idris Goodwin’s And In This Corner: Cassius Clay — The Making of Muhammad Ali, opening Saturday at Oregon Children’s Theatre, he had just come from teaching middle schoolers about the eponymous character of

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
Portland Piano International Solo Piano Series Portland Oregon
White Bird Dance Trinity Irish The Reser Beaverton 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