February 2019

Merrill's work We Gather was performed at the citywide Portland arts festival Artquake in 1994. Photographer unknown.

‘She never wanted to leave anyone out’: Bonnie Merrill, 1935-2019

Generations of Portland dancers—with one conspicuous exception—turned out to see Minh Tran’s concert Anicca (Impermance) last weekend at Reed College. Tran’s work, inspired by the recent deaths of his parents, premiered just a week after one of his teachers, Bonnie Merrill, succumbed

DanceWatch: A rich cultural stew

Welcome to DanceWatch for March, the month that enters like a lion and retreats like a lamb, or so they say. While it’s still cold and dark outside, you can think of this month’s dance offerings like a warm winter stew: hearty,

MusicWatch Weekly: global musical tour

If America, or at least its government, seems a little crazy these days, and you can’t afford to skip the country, the week offers several opportunities for virtual world travel through music. • PDX Jazz Festival’s irresistible double feature The Soul of

‘From Maxville to Vanport’: redressing erasure through music

The story of African Americans in Oregon has too often been a tale of erasure. From the frequently unacknowledged racist origins of the state’s long legal exclusion of black immigration, to obliteration of neighborhoods and displacement of communities of color, to stifling

Come from Away: the true tale

[Editors’ note: On the morning of September 11, 2001, Kevin Tuerff, founder/CEO of Austin’s EnviroMedia marketing company, was returning from a vacation in France with his boyfriend. As their transatlantic flight approached New York City, the plane suddenly turned north. Half an

Darrell Grant: jazz master and more

It’s a little ironic that composer and pianist Darrell Grant is receiving the 2019 Portland Jazz Master at this year’s PDX Jazz Festival. For while the jazz he’s played since arriving in 1996 certainly merits the city’s highest jazz honor, Grant has devoted

Minh Tran’s journey to rebirth

When does the personal become the universal? That is one of several questions raised by Minh Tran’s Anicca (Impermanence), the Vietnamese-born choreographer’s first new piece in eight years, which premiered on Thursday night in Reed College’s Massee Performance Lab. Two years in

Commentary: How dead is OCAC?

What happens when you try to close the debate before the debate ever gets started? At this point the Oregon College of Art and Craft board is starting to find that out. During the week since my last commentary on the OCAC

Sver: epic Nordic folk music

In the front row of Corvallis’s Majestic Theater a flock of fidgety youths — a posse of sjörå on shore leave — hoot and whistle as the string-driven, Swedish rhythm machine Sver cranks out a rousing set of relentless syncopated hooks, exhilarating

MusicWatch Weekly: jazz tributes

Today’s jazz is often about tributes to yesterday’s jazz, especially the post-bop through fusion music of the late 1950s through the ‘70s. It’s easy to understand why — that music is a pinnacle of human artistic achievement that still delights millions of

Recital runs from Copland to ‘Monet paintings in sonic form’

Abigail Sperling is everywhere. That’s the impression one gets from her official biography. At Linfield College in McMinnville, she’s a flute professor. She is also coordinator for winds and percussion and flute instructor at Chemeketa Community College in Salem. In Corvallis, she’s

Audrey Luna: on a high note

by BRUCE and DARYL BROWNE A shock –a frisson of emotion, of sheer joy amidst a fountain of favorite songs –was the prevailing feeling among audience members Sunday afternoon at the vocal recital of Audrey Luna at Portland State University Recital Hall.

Racism through the eyes of the oppressors

When Portland artist Anne Mavor attended a meeting a few years ago to learn about Native Liberation, the movement to free native peoples from capitalism and colonialism, she was already thinking about collaborating with a Native American on a project. But after

Catching up with art critic Chris Kraus in Portland

By SHAWNA LIPTON Chris Kraus is a prolific Los Angeles-based writer, art critic, and editor, but her latest collection of writing published by Semiotext(e) in 2018, Social Practices, has an origin story linking it to Portland, Oregon. The seed of the book

Beijing Dance Theater thinks big

On February 20, the globally recognized Beijing Dance Theater will make its Portland debut at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall with a hefty program of contemporary work. Choreographer Wang Yuanyuan directs the 13-member company and creates big, bold pieces that design director

Commentary: Democracy and the arts

Let’s say someone said, “Tell me, Mr Bones, what should happen next, now that Oregon College of Art and Craft has decided to close the college and sell the campus?” I’d probably sputter, make a few false starts, and then I’d say

MusicWatch Weekly: American originals

When Chamber Music Northwest favorites the Dover Quartet, one of America’s hottest youngish string quartets scheduled a 2004 piece from one of America’s hottest young (then 27 year old) composers on their CMNW program, they might have known that San Francisco-based composer

‘Sons of the Soil’ preview: setting a new standard

by DAMIEN GETER Joseph Bologne (Chevalier de Saint Georges), Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Florence Price, and Daniel Bernard Roumain. None of these composers are household names but all are finally starting to get the attention they deserve. On Friday, in celebration of Black History

Watching (and talking) movies in McMinnville

The 8th Annual McMinnville Short Film Festival was too big a meal to consume entirely last weekend, but I did get to a screening in the largest auditorium at Coming Attractions’ multiplex, which was pretty full Sunday afternoon. Between that and watching

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