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2018

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