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November 2018

‘Miss Julie’ still challenges the chains of convention

The Verona Studio in Salem will do some heavy lifting in the Willamette Valley’s theater scene this month. The company, based in the Reed Opera House Mall, is mounting a production of August Strindberg’s Miss Julie, where the Darwinian theory of “survival

Resonance Ensemble: amplifying ‘Hidden Voices’

It’s a testimony to Portland choral group Resonance Ensemble’s sense of community that they collaborate with and share their concerts with other artists—sometimes several. At Resonance’s October 21 Hidden Voices concert, the choir shared the spotlight with journalist-turned-poet S. Renee Mitchell, BRAVO

DramaWatch: Students fall for Shakespeare

“It’s an English teacher’s remit to analyse language, but pick apart every word of Shakespeare and you’ve dissected the butterfly – pretty in parts but a nonsensical whole and certainly unable to fly.” — Mark Powell, associate director of Salisbury Playhouse, in

Black Violin: busting musical stereotypes

“We’ve been stereotyped from the moment we picked up the instruments,”Black Violin violist Wil Baptiste Jr. told me in 2016. “Every time we step on stage, we shatter every stereotype, every perception — violin, classical music, black man, whatever.” Baptiste and his high school

DanceWatch Weekly: Pre-Holiday Dance Treats

Good news: the Oregon dance scene is thriving, as evidenced by the 12 performances you’ll find in this week’s column. And here’s another positive development: after an exhaustive national search, Portland’s Regional Arts & Culture Council has appointed a new executive director:

Resilience and Strength in Glass

by STEPHANIE LITTLEBIRD The history and human heritage associated with glass working is a lengthy one. Boasting over 3,600 years of documented evolution as an art form, glass is something we rarely think about due to its ubiquitous nature. However, it is

Palmer’s got a brand new bag

Some years ago, Bag & Baggage Productions founding artistic director Scott Palmer was registering at a national theater conference and a staffer asked for his name. Palmer told him. “Palmer, Palmer,” the man said, trying to place him. “Oh yeah, you’re that

Coos Bay’s Everybody Biennial

COOS BAY – What if they gave a Biennial and invited everyone to join in? That’s not, of course, the way biennial art shows ordinarily work. From Venice to São Paulo to Shanghai to Sydney to Istanbul to Havana to Berlin to

MusicWatch Weekly: odd ensembles

The weather’s changing, the climate’s changing, the Congress is changing, our linens are changing (flannel sheet season FTW!) and ensembles coming through Oregon this week are changing the formula for chamber music. • Take the combo of violin, viola, drum, and DJ.

The ultimate gift for your family

Aging and dying may not usually be considered art, but you could argue that aging well – and perhaps dying, too — calls for a creative touch. And there’s no doubt that writing an obituary — at least an engaging, memorable obituary

Jennifer Higdon: updating classical music

In 2011, National Public Radio asked Pulitzer Prize winning American composer Jennifer Higdon where classical music was headed in the 21st century. In distinct contrast to her generally open-hearted music, Higdon’s answer seemed pessimistic: it almost implied that classical music might be

Short takes: Broadway to Reed

Here, there, and everywhere: * BROOKS ASHMANSKAS, the busy Broadway actor who grew up in Beaverton, has a new show in previews, and the New York Times has taken note. The four-hander musical comedy The Prom, which opens Thursday in the Longacre

Devilish Doings

by GARY FERRINGTON A young enlistee trades his fiddle to the devil in return for unlimited riches, a princess — and ultimately loss and grief. The Russian folk tale The Runaway Soldier and the Devil, which Igor Stravinsky and Swiss writer C.F

Choral Arts Ensemble & Cappella Romana: many ways of being many 

Portland’s choral scene is so abundant it has its own calendar. With such an bounty of choirs, it’s no surprise that they represent many different ways of singing together. Two concerts in October—Choral Arts Ensemble’s season opener on October 13 at Rose

Visions of art and science

By MALLORY PRATT How do we understand what we see? Inquiring minds have been considering this question for millennia, ever since early Homo lineages started making marks on cave walls. With the rise of empirical science in the past two hundred years,

‘La Traviata’: fallen woman rises again

by BRUCE BROWNE It is 1840s Paris and the population is booming. Just outside the gaslight’s glow, the new urban lady of the evening offers her talents. She is a courtesan and her life will become a fascination in the literary, visual

DramaWatch: Let the big dog play

“People like they historical shit in a certain way. They like it to unfold they way they folded it up. Neatly like a book. Not raggedy and bloody and screaming.” Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks isn’t big on folding things up neatly. And despite

MusicWatch Weekly: generation next

It’s probably too late for the next generations to save our planet from the greed and selfishness of their elders, but at least they’ll have music to console them. Young musicians, like young Americans in general, do give me what little hope

Nye Beach banners mark 10 years of flying their freak flag

Organizers can smile about it now, but 10 years ago, few involved in the fledgling Nye Beach Banner Project saw the humor. It all came down to one banner, the work of Rowan Lehrman. The front featured a topless woman painted in