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April 2018

The other history, laughter included

Holidays, especially those steeped in notions of national identity, breed all manner of rituals. For instance, in The Thanksgiving Play by Larissa FastHorse, getting its world premiere at Artists Repertory Theatre, the character Alicia recalls the family tradition that “came from my

DramaWatch Weekly: Pop-up City

Pop-up restaurants. Pop-up bars. Pop-up nightclubs, galleries, boutiques, publishing houses, concerts. We’re living in a pop-up world, so why not pop-up theater? The traditional method of producing is to start a theater company, announce a season, and run a half-dozen shows for

About that turkey of a play …

Going into The Thanksgiving Play at Artists Rep I was prepared for a little laughing and a lot of uncomfortable cringing. I’ve come to expect this from modern satires touching on the traumatic legacies of racism in America. They often punch you in the

Flower(s) in Concrete at Fourteen30: Why we write about art

Recently, I’ve had conversations with writers of other disciplines who’ve questioned the point of writing about art. As an activity in an atmosphere of limited nerves and resources and an overabundance of literature, images, noise, and every reason to seek what’s “fact-based,”

Eugene Ballet preview: dance of the mountain king

By GARY FERRINGTON When Eugene Ballet  artistic director Toni Pimble decided to stage Peer Gynt, she faced a daunting challenge: transforming poetry into dance. The company had already proven it could dream big when it comes to creating major new works for the professional stage. Last

Stephen Petronio: Past and present

Stephen Petronio returned to Portland’s Newmark Theatre four years after his company danced the haunting, longform piece Like Lazarus Did. This time, his company performed a concert that included both a recent, original work and a set of iconic and influential pieces

‘Caterpillar’: No play, lots of play

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show at Oregon Children’s Theatre is tough for an adult to review fairly. It’s for the very youngest OCT audiences, after all, and it can be difficult for a lifelong theatergoer to look at a show through that

A visit with: Shalonda Menefee

Shalonda Menefee, creator and talent behind SISTAS Dolled Up, finds herself between events on a recent Saturday afternoon. She’s just come home from hosting a brunch for women in the community and has a couple of weeks (and a whole lot of

ACDA Conference: choral camaraderie

by BRUCE BROWNE Think of it as March Madness. No rankings, no betting on outcomes, but this (approximately) “Sweet 16” of choirs from all over the Northwest who converged in Portland last month for the Northwest Regional American Choral Directors conference was

Aaron Katz on his new thriller “Gemini” and popcorn problematics

“Gemini” is a sleek, entertaining new thriller set in the glamorous world of Hollywood and drenched in celebrity culture. It’s also directed by Portland-raised Aaron Katz, and for anyone familiar with Katz’s previous work, that synopsis might come as a shock. “Sleek,”

MusicWatch Weekly: black voices matter

One of the top tenors of his generation, Philadelphia’s Lawrence Brownlee has drawn rapturous acclaim for his performances at all the world’s great opera houses, from the Met and La Scala on down, especially in the agile roles of early 19th composers.

DanceWatch Weekly: My vacation to Japan

I have just returned from a week in Japan, and I am in an elated, exhausted, jet lagged, watery, impermanent state of being neither here nor there. My mind is still navigating Japan, but I am physically back in the beautiful, blossoming

DramaWatch: First Nations first

With a rising anti-immigration fever sweeping the United States and President Trump’s threat on Tuesday to deploy military guards along the Mexican border until his exclusionary wall can be built, it is well and truly time for this: A trifecta of plays

VizArts Monthly: April is about photography

While we have yet to escape the various micro-seasons of post-winter, pre-spring Portland (such as Fool’s Spring, Mud Season, and Third Winter), blossoms are indeed blooming and the list of events and openings is getting fuller and fuller. For example, we’ve got

Benvenue Trio preview: Viennese action

April marks the debut of the Portland Baroque Orchestra’s newest member: the Ruth Rolt fortepiano. Its player is Eric Zivian of the Benvenue Trio, whose other members are violinist Monica Huggett (also PBO’s artistic director) and PBO cellist Tanya Tomkins. The fortepiano

‘La Belle’ steams back

It’s a Monday afternoon in early spring, and the road warriors are back in town. “I don’t know,” Jerry Mouawad says, just a trifle wearily. “We’ve probably played a thousand venues across the country.” That covers a few decades and a few

Dispatches from the podcast revolution

People get into podcasting for some very stupid reasons. On reflection, mine might have been one of the stupidest. Four years ago I was meeting with my friend Ron, a co-producer on the film BRASS: Lair of the Red Widow that we were

Lawrence Brownlee preview: a journey

By DAMIEN GETER Despite being one of the world’s leading operatic tenors, as an African American man, Lawrence Brownlee is not immune to racism. “I feel it every day,” he told Oregon ArtsWatch. “I see signs all of the time.” Brownlee noted