High Desert Museum Creations of Spirit Bend Oregon
December 2018

Oregon Music 2018: looking outward

Last year’s music roundup first looked homeward. ArtsWatch’s 2017 music coverage focused, as we have from the outset, on our state’s creative culture: music conceived and composed in Oregon. We touched a lot of other bases, too of course, and homegrown music

ArtsWatch Good Reads 2018

Marc Mohan wonders if it matters that the Oscars are a flop. Martha Ullman West revisits the Big Apple of her youth. John Foyston considers sleek cars and fast motorcycles at the art museum. John Longenbaugh starts a podcast “for some very

Getting a drop on the New Year

Photographs by JOE CANTRELL First came the audience, filling downtown Portland’s Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. Then the musicians, and the tuning, and the program, which was fitting for a celebration: some selections from Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s sprightly and creative Nutcracker Suite;

Ill wind blows good wood for Newport museum

The Lincoln County Historical Society scored big time in 2004 when it bought a historic, French chateau overlooking the Newport bayfront. The 30,000-square-foot building with gabled roof needed work — one of the reasons the Newport nonprofit was able to buy it

Stage sense: the year in theater

“The Universe is under no obligation to make sense to you,” the astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson tells us. But you — by which I mean we humans — are under an obligation, or at least a compulsion, to make sense of the

The Art Gym moves to PAM

THE ART GYM HAS LANDED. The crucial center for Northwest contemporary art has been hunting for a new home since its host, Marylhurst University, decided to shut down. Marylhurst and the Portland Art Museum announced on Friday that the museum and its

Oregon Cultural Trust: Giving once is giving twice

When I visited the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in July this year, the temperatures were on the hot side, but unlike a few previous years, the air was clean and at night, quite pleasant and fresh. Given the vast conflagrations in California earlier

In the Frame 3: Lens on artists

Text and Photographs by K.B. Dixon Photography essentially began as the art of portraiture. With the daguerreotype the portrait—previously painted and available only to an aristocratic few—became relatively inexpensive and available to everyone. John Szarkowski, the legendary director, curator, and poohbah-emeritus at New

Oregon Symphony Orchestra: Nightmares before Christmas

By MATTHEW ANDREWS In my comfy balcony seat in Portland’s Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, I realized with a start that I was about to hear, for the first time ever, a real live orchestra performing the music of my favorite composer. It

Visual Arts 2018: The big picture

The visual arts stories at ArtsWatch this year ranged far and wide and – as usual – didn’t even come close to covering all that went on in the world of Oregon art. While some may see that as a failure, we

MusicWatch Weekly: ringing out, ringing in

Celebrating a new year’s arrival is a perpetual affirmation of hope over experience. So it’s appropriate that some of Oregon’s end of year events represent elements we need more of in classical music: youthful vitality, widespread participation, inclusive American programming, laughter. •

Seeing with fresh eyes

An editor once told me the best way to learn anything is to write about it. That lesson was driven home this year as I took on the beat covering arts on the Oregon Coast. Prior to that, I would have told

Cappella Romana: Straddling Worlds

Story and photographs by FRIDERIKE HEUER Cappella Romana opened its 2018/19 season announcement with the words, “Prepare to be engaged, moved, and inspired.” Consider it done. You could add “an occasional “made breathless” by the sheer beauty of the singing. One of the main

Oregon & Vancouver Symphony Orchestras: reanimating the exquisite corpse

By MATTHEW ANDREWS Two Northwest orchestras—one in Portland, one in Vancouver—recently put on a couple of concerts epitomizing the Perfectly Ordinary Symphonic Concert. In November, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra performed music by Hector Berlioz, Aram Khachaturian, and Felix Mendelssohn; in December, Oregon Symphony

Now see this: a year in pictures

By SARAH KREMEN-HICKS Writers do tend to go on a bit, don’t we? Maybe we ought to step back now and then, put the pens down, and let the pictures tell the story. In the following photo essays from 2018, ArtsWatch’s photographers

Montavilla Jazz Festival:  Journeys in space and time

By DAVID MACLAINE In 1959 a student at the University of Oregon started singing jazz gigs with other music students, including future master Ralph Towner and Glenn Moore. A year later she moved to San Francisco, married a bandleader named Sonny King

MusicWatch Weekly: holiday highlights

The winter holiday: a time for rest, reflection, restoration, reconnection. But they too often mean stress: travel, house guests, obligatory cards and gifts. Sometimes by early January, I feel like I need a vacation from my supposed vacation. Which is why it’s

Hobbs Waters dances with destiny

Hobbs Waters hasn’t conquered the world yet, but give him a minute. The 12-year-old Portland-based quadruple threat—he dances, plays trumpet and cello, creates fine art pieces, and runs his own arts business, called City Troll—took a breather just before the holidays at

End of the trail

It’s sure to be a bittersweet night at the Coaster Theatre Playhouse in Cannon Beach when The Trail Band takes the stage Dec. 26. It’s the last performance of the eight-piece ensemble, which has been together since 1991, when it formed at

What a kick! Dance that moved us

Sure, we love big jumps and fast turns, but that’s not what makes the best dancing. The best dancing is the kind that takes us places we’ve never been before, or turns our thinking inside out. Some of Oregon ArtsWatch’s best dance

Social engagement: politics, resistance, and art

The world is indisputably in a precarious position — not just politically and socially, but economically and even ecologically. It is a moment of crisis. Artists play a crucial role in moments like these, helping the rest of us arrive at a

Bach for Christmas: Jubilant

Story and photographs by Friderike Heuer There are limits, but also advantages, to being a moderately educated music lover – like yours truly – rather than a professionally trained music critic. Good music critics bring an ear, lots of analytic skill, attention

People & Conversations 2018

By Sarah Kremen-Hicks Theaters have their curtains. Paintings have their frames. Books have their covers. The act of presentation, of framing, of giving things edges, shifts the subject to the work itself and hides the artist away, if only a little bit.

The existential frivolity of Imago’s “ZooZoo”

There was one penguin in particular that I really wanted to win the game of musical chairs. This particular penguin was an aggressive tactician, and with belly-bumping brute force, it won the final round. But winning wasn’t enough. This penguin wanted another,

Choral Arts Ensemble: celebrating past, present, and future

By BRUCE BROWNE and DARYL BROWNE Portland’s Choral Arts Ensemble is celebrating its 50th season. Congratulations to the organization. It’s a milestone that prompts reflection and appreciation. This past weekend’s concert, the second of CAE’s four-concert season, wound a long garland around songs

Portland embraces Odissi Indian dance at first festival

This fall, Portland, Oregon, saw its first-ever Odissi dance festival, and it was extraordinary. The 8th Kelucharan Guna Keertanam (it has been offered previously in major Indian and U.S. cities), was produced as a fundraiser for, and in partnership with, the Pratham

State of the art, art of the state

In 2018 ArtsWatch writers spent a lot of time out and about the state, putting the “Oregon” into “Oregon ArtsWatch.” Theater in Ashland and Salem. Green spaces and Maori clay artists in Astoria. A carousel in Albany. Aztec dancing in Newberg. Music

“Bell, Book, & Candle”: bewitched, bothered, bewildered

When I was a kid watching sitcom reruns, I had a major crush on Samantha Stevens, the good witch played by Elizabeth Montgomery in the long running ‘60s TV series Bewitched. I was even more, er, enchanted by her crazy supernatural family,

Fresh, vibrant, still the ‘Nutcracker’

Oregon Ballet Theatre has opened its current run of George Balanchine’s ®The Nutcracker at the Keller Auditorium with a meticulously detailed, swiftly paced, high-energy performance of a ballet that can be a chore for people like me to watch. And I say

MusicWatch Weekly: American holidays

Millions of Americans celebrate Christmas, but let’s face it, the Yuletide is hardly an American original. Sometimes it seems that about all we’ve contributed to a story that began in the Middle East and was St. Nicked by Europeans, is our characteristic

Processing Loss at Lewis & Clark

Mark R. Smith and Maria T.D. Inocencio’s exhibition, Loss of Material Evidence, closed on Sunday, December 9th. The works in the show successfully take on one of art’s highest callings: to make visible the unspeakable, here an exploration of grief. The irony

Imagining a different world with Ursula K. Le Guin

As Oregon authors go, few are better known or beloved than the late Ursula K. Le Guin. A list of her awards alone would probably fill the space of this column. Most famous for her fantasy and science fiction works, including A Wizard

ArtsWatch’s hit parade 2018

When we say “hit parade,” that’s what we mean. In the first of a series of stories looking back on the highlights of 2018, these 25 tales were ArtsWatch’s most popular of the year, by the numbers: the most read, or the

Fear No Music: music of migration and more

by MATTHEW ANDREWS Portland contemporary classical music organization Fear No Music is a civic treasure. It cultivates audiences, artists, and composers through outreach and education programs. It keeps the classical tradition alive, performing select works from the contemporary classical canon while spending

Wolf Tales: Howl about it?

Hey, there, Little Red Riding Hood. What’s goin’ down in the neighborhood? Wolf Tales, the droll and sweetly macabre new program from NW Dance Project that ends its brief run at Lincoln Performance Hall on Saturday night, is something of a case

Collaboration and creativity under a looming sky

By LUSI LUKOVA “The Big Dark is a cloud … you appreciate it for reminding you that there is an above and a below. You could think of it like you think of a condition — something ominous or something pestering but

DramaWatch: the magic (cloth) of the season

Imago Theatre has built much of its reputation on an evolving series of family-friendly mask-theater shows such as the ever-popular ZooZoo, which it brings back for another holiday run through Jan. 6. But after decades presenting that show, its much-lauded predecessor Frogz,

David Mamet, plowing through

David Mamet. The name evokes images of hard-swearing, fast-talking, testosterone-dripping, cigarette-smoking, poker-playing, scam-running, angry white men spiritually crippled by existential angst and taking it out on everybody they come into contact with, even – or especially – each other. There was an

Ballet dreams: stage for students

This is the season of visions and dreams and hope, whether symbolized by Hanukkah candles, Kwanzaa feasts, Christmas trees, fairies in snowy or summery forests, or budding dancers who stand at the barre in their various schools, doing their pliés and tendus

Talking a blue streak

“Ain’t no reason to lie, just me and you right now,” says a 22-year-old black man, standing center stage in only underwear. His near-naked body slowly disappears as he pulls on black clothing and snaps in and buckles up layers of heavy

Still from "Dislocation Blues"

VizArts Monthly: December rules

The year may be winding down, but the art scene sure isn’t. This month, you can visit the Japanese Garden to catch the only US stop of an international exhibition of Hokusai’s Manga, or see Japanese art from twelve centuries under one

Rick Bartow’s spirit inhabits play premiering in Newport

Fourteen years ago, I was reporting a news story when I encountered a man weed-whacking. His back was turned and he wore a headset meant to protect his hearing. Few things are more awkward — and possibly risky — than approaching a

DanceWatch Weekly: Dance Lights Up December’s Darkness

Happy holidays, happy solstice, happy Hanukkah, happy Kwanzaa, Merry Christmas, and happy New Year. I’m saying all that now because THIS DanceWatch Weekly will be the last one of 2018. I know, I’m sad too, but don’t worry: DanceWatch will return again

MusicWatch Weekly: for the children

The Christmas season celebrates a child’s birth and delights kids all over the world. But there’s little comfort and joy for many children today. Even before little Alan Kurdi’s body washed up on that Turkish beach three years ago, children were bearing

Black Nativity: The joy is now

Fifty-seven years ago, Langston Hughes, Alvin Ailey and Carmen de Lavallade decided the world needed a celebration of Christmas apart from re-runs of It’s A Wonderful Life and myriad adaptations of A Christmas Carol and The Nutcracker in various mediums. What was

Choral Arts Ensemble at 50: intimacy and approachability

Interview by AARON RICHARDSON David De Lyser is artistic director of Portland’s Choral Arts Ensemble, a chamber choir now celebrating its 50th anniversary season. This weekend, CAE teams up with Cascadia Composers in a concert that includes new seasonal works by local

American Realism in flux: workers, mallards, and handstands

Approaching Modern American Realism: Highlights from the Smithsonian’s Sara Roby Foundation Collection, one might expect to see a bunch of naturalistic renderings of real things in and of the world. Gustave Courbet’s take on the everyday may have been novel and shocking

Craft or art? Who cares? HEATWAVE fiber art is amazing

I have an embarrassing confession, but that’s actually a good thing, because it goes straight to the heart of an important artistic question that is raised — or perhaps I should say, is powerfully answered — by an exhibition at the Chehalem

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