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Oregon ArtsWatch
Oregon ArtsWatch
Oregon ArtsWatch

‘Rituals’ review: ambient tension

by TRISTAN BLISS “Listen closely to the cycles of your breath as you sink deeper into a universe of sound.” As that promotional quote for its May 19 show Rituals at Portland’s N.E.W Expressive Works indicates, Sound of Late invited us to

‘Outset’ and ‘Confluence’ series: improvisation institutions

Story and photos by PATRICK McCULLEY Coffee shop/vintage clothing/used record store by day, and bar and music venue by night, Northeast Portland’s Turn Turn Turn has become a host, laboratory, and hub for the city’s small but thriving improvised and non-traditional music

‘Rigoletto’ review: toxic masculinity in high office

By BRUCE BROWNE Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto may be a popular classic today. But a beleaguered, thin-skinned political leader tried to strangle it at birth for daring to depict a ruler who would abuse the women around him. And who would do that

Portland Wind Symphony review: free is a very good price

by MARIA CHOBAN Musician: Oh my gosh, it’s been too long since we last saw each other! I’m retired!! Me: That’s fantastic! You must be filling up all your time with playing. Musician: (Sheepishly) Yeah, but it’s all free stuff now. Me:

Mr. Shaw’s Profession

by MARIA CHOBAN I must honestly warn the reader that what he is about to study is not a series of judgements aimed at impartiality, but a siege laid to the theatre of the XIXth Century by an author who had to

Cappella Romana review: drones, overtones and unknowns

by BRUCE BROWNE Choral music is as much poetry and word recognition as it is melody, harmony and the sonic elements of the human voice. We listeners engage in both spheres, sometimes aware of the relationship, sometimes just focusing on one aspect,

Race and reading: The white echo chamber

By JENNY M. CHU I want to write about a dead elephant. Late last year, my tuition was comped for the sold-out Delve Readers Seminar, “One Nation Still on Fire,” in return for a written reflection—the only way I could have afforded

Urban Tellers’ immigrant tales

By ALIA STEARNS The power of stories is undeniable. Every time period has had a popular form of storytelling at least from the time of Cro-Magnon man, his hands filthy with iron oxide and black manganese after smearing mineral pigments along cave

‘Israel in Egypt’ review: full-blooded Handel

by BRUCE BROWNE It’s a plague, it’s a pestilence, it’s a flood, a conflagration. Is it a Camus play, a new video game or first run science fiction flick? No, it’s the dramatic unfolding of the Old Testament of the Bible and

Friday Night Flute Fight

By MARIA CHOBAN I went to the Friday night fights and a flute recital broke out. Julien Beaudiment, on the left, wielding tone and dynamics with roundhouse and rabbit punches. As light on his feet as Muhammad Ali, the renowned French flutist

Grownup stories; Mercury rising

By ANGELA ALLEN Something poignant resonated from the one-woman musicals Don’t Stop Me Now and Drama of the Gifted Grownup that appeared recently in Portland. The shows’ stars—Courtney Freed in Don’t Stop Me Now and Rosalinde Block of Drama of the Gifted

New World to Real World

By ANGELA ALLEN In February, I joined several other members of the Music Critics Association of North America at the New World Symphony in South Miami Beach, Fla. For three days we heard concerts and rehearsals, wandered around the building designed by

Rogue Valley Symphony preview: season of renewal

by GARY FERRINGTON Oregon arts outside Portland “don’t get,” as the late comedian Rodney Dangerfield might say, “no respect.” Or, at least the press coverage they should. Having grown up in Portland, it took me some time, actually until I moved to Eugene,

Dance review: The gender dynamics in OBT’s Man/Woman

By HEATHER WISNER Questioning gender politics in the tradition-minded and competitive world of ballet “can feel particularly risky—both emotionally and career wise,” former New York City Ballet principal dancer Wendy Whelan told The New York Times in January. She was speaking after

Delgani String Quartet preview: crimes of passion

by GARY FERRINGTON “True! — nervous — very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? Those words from Edgar Allan Poe’s famous short story, The Tell-Tale Heart, grabbed Paul Safar when the

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

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

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

Oregon Symphony review: engaging the elements of drama

by BRUCE BROWNE An academic analysis of the Verdi Requiem reveals the brilliance with which one of the great romantic musical dramatists set text and music for the ultimate dramatic impact. It’s all there. No brainer…let it ride…can’t improve on perfection. Right.

Brief affair, puzzling twist

By ALIA STEARNS Children view their parents as sexless creatures, even though a child’s entire existence is the product of raw parental sexuality. And, it is mothers more often than fathers who are placed on a rigid, unearned pedestal of purity and

Austin Granger’s commonplace miracles

STORY by ANGELA ALLEN PHOTOGRAPHS by AUSTIN GRANGER Portland photographer Austin Granger, who grew up in northern California and studied philosophy at the University of California, Santa Cruz, prefers to load film into his Fuji GF670 or Deardorff 5 by 7 instead

Love, loss and lying in NW Dance Project premieres

By HEATHER WISNER Adapting Ibsen’s dark drama Hedda Gabler for dance is an ambitious undertaking: that much is clear when you’re greeted by two pages of program notes explaining the plot as you settle in for the world premiere of NW Dance

Dance review: Jesús Carmona’s reinvention of flamenco

By HEATHER WISNER Pure happiness doesn’t seem to exist in flamenco; a hint of melancholy, a sense of world weariness, suffuses the music and the dance. But there is pure happiness to be found in watching flamenco, especially when it’s done very

Tudor Choir review: wall of sound

by BRUCE BROWNE and DARYL BROWNE The Tudor Choir re-opened for business this month. On hiatus since 2015, the ensemble presented one concert in their hometown of Seattle and two more in the Portland Metro area, at St. Mary’s Cathedral and in

Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Changing the social order

By DANIEL POLLACK-PELZNER “We’re here to change the social order. So deal with it.” That’s the cheery, cheeky ensemble announcement that begins Karen Zacarías’s wildly entertaining Destiny of Desire—a deliciously theatrical homage to the mistaken identities, thwarted romances, and swooning pageantry that

‘The Holler Sessions’ preview: jazz rant

Podcast interview by DOUGLAS DETRICK Editor’s note: Staged as a live jazz radio broadcast, Seattle-based actor/writer Frank Boyd’s one-maniac show The Holler Sessions is a portrait of a jazz-head(case) / radio DJ who evangelizes for the music in uproarious, often profane riffs. The show originated at Seattle’s

Death and the Maiden: still true

By MICHAEL SPROLES It’s been nearly 30 years since the Argentinian-Chilean playwright Ariel Dorfman wrote his groundbreaking political masterpiece, Death and the Maiden. But there are always lessons to be learned from history, and many of the themes and warnings in the

Spontaneous Combustion reviews 2: sublime solos, dynamic duo

Editor’s note: ArtsWatch deployed a small squadron of reviewers to most of the Spontaneous Combustion Festival’s seven programs of new music spread over 17 concerts in three cities. Here are some of the highlights of the first edition of this valuable new

Spontaneous Combustion reviews 1: from hub to sandbox

Editor’s note: ArtsWatch deployed a small squadron of reviewers to most of the Spontaneous Combustion Festival’s seven programs spread over 17 concerts in three cities. Here are some of the highlights of the first edition of this valuable new addition to Oregon’s

Letter from Seattle: Miranda’s rights

By MISHA BERSON SEATTLE — An assortment of plays and musicals is on the boards in Seattle at the moment. But the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning Broadway juggernaut Hamilton is upstaging them all. Hamilton-mania ignited here a year before the national

PDX Jazz Festival reviews: music and more

by ANGELA ALLEN From elite jazzers to startling up-and-comers, the 2018 Biamp PDX Jazz Festival spread the music around Portland Feb.15-25 with a 100-plus gigs, twice as many musicians, and a wide spread of venues and event prices, many free. Following are

Oregon Ballet Theatre locates the wonder in ‘Wonderland’

By HEATHER WISNER Tiny girls in poofy party dresses spun circles around steam punks sipping coffee in the Keller Auditorium lobby this Sunday, in a scene to rival the afternoon’s main event: Alice (in wonderland), which Oregon Ballet Theatre has mounted for

Setting Brecht: Daniel Daly’s new ‘Mother Courage’ music

by GARY FERRINGTON “Mother Courage and Her Children without music is like Shakespeare without poetry,” says University of Oregon theater professor Michael Malek Najjar. Though Bertolt Brecht’s 1939 anti-war play is not a musical, music is key to telling the “cautionary tale

‘Revelations’ review: waiting for the end of the world

By MARIA CHOBAN  Waiting for the End of the World, Dear Lord! I sincerely hope you’re coming ‘Cause you really started something! — Elvis Costello In grade school, a passel of us would walk to Mrs. Fey’s house every Tuesday after school

Dance review: It was 51 years ago today

By HEATHER WISNER I was working at SF Weekly in the mid-’90s when the Mark Morris Dance Group brought The Hard Nut, its take on The Nutcracker, to UC Berkeley. When the review came in from a freelance writer, the copy editor

With Amorphous, DownRight Productions asks, ‘What If?’

By HEATHER WISNER The new performance-presenting venture DownRight Productions—co-directed by dancers Anna Marra and Emily Schultz—debuted at Headwaters Theatre February 15-18 with Amorphous, a program designed to showcase local talent working at the intersections of dance, art, music, and film. It felt

Elizabeth Malaska: The ancient within the modern

By PAUL MAZIAR When I got the chance to sit down with painter Elizabeth Malaska to discuss some of what I see in her new exhibition, Heavenly Bodies, at Russo Lee Gallery, I was moved by her intensity and congeniality. It’s an

Pride and the need to connect

By ALIA STEARNS The small black box theater that houses defunkt theatre welcomes audiences to its production of The Pride by Alexi Kaye Campbell without fanfare. The simple staging points accurately to a sitting room that does double duty in both 1958

PDX Jazz Festival preview: tributes

by ANGELA ALLEN The past year saw a number of members of jazz royalty ascend to jazz Valhalla: Jon Hendricks, Al Jarreau, Geri Allen, Thara Memory and Hugh Masekela, among others. But jazz lives on. This year’s  Portland Jazz Festival provides an

Building a better ‘Mousetrap’

By MICHAEL SPROLES Born in the English seaside town of Torquay in 1890, Agatha Christie became one of the best-selling novelists of all time, known and beloved for her 66 detective novels, 14 short story collections, and creation of the immensely popular

Skinner/Kirk Dance Company hits rewind and fast-forward

By HEATHER WISNER The big questions we begin asking ourselves in middle age—about identity, achievement, love, loss, and how to reconcile the passage of time—color an upcoming concert by dance company Skinner/Kirk. Founded in 1998 by Eric Skinner and Daniel Kirk, the

Sunwook Kim review: subtle touch, dynamic range

By ANGELA ALLEN Sunwook Kim opened his January 14 Portland Piano International recital with J.S. Bach’s Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C Major, BWV 564, written for organ (think majestic, reverential, full-voiced) and ran furiously through the opening toccata. The word, toccata,

Dance review: ‘Two Love Stories’ tracks our heartbreak

By ELIZABETH WHELAN Two Love Stories, presented by Linda Austin’s Performance Works Northwest Sunday night, was far from the romantic walk in the park you’d expect from its title. Marissa Rae Niederhauser, Berlin-based dancer and choreographer, cuts down the back alleys and

“Cosi fan Tutte” review: identity crisis

by ANGELA ALLEN In Seattle Opera’s production of Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte, the stage’s main prop, aside from an inviting pile of mattresses, is a tall mirror. Each character pauses in front of it at some time, checking out his or her current reflection,

Rennie Harris, moving pure

By RACHAEL CARNES According to Lorenzo “Rennie” Harris, the three laws of hip-hop culture are “innovation, individuality and creativity.” “Hip hop comes from the word ‘hippie,’ which means to either open your eyes or re-open your eyes — to be aware,” Harris

Kellen Chasuk: Inventiveness triumphs over gloom

By PAUL MAZIAR One of my favorite things about art-making, in any medium, is that the initial subject matter can be totally incidental—without prescribed meaning whatsoever—and yet deeper implications are invariably discovered, by both the artist and whomever is there to experience

Portland Chamber Orchestra Young Artist Competition University of Portland Free Event Portland Oregon
Portland Area Theatre Alliance Fertile Ground Portland Oregon
Portland Art Museum Virtual Sneakers to Cutting Edge Kicks Portland Oregon
Tilikum Chamber Orchestra Lake Oswego High School Fairy Tales and Folk Songs Lake Oswego Oregon
Portland Center Stage at the Armory Quixote Nuevo Portland Oregon
Portland Columbia Symphony Realm of Nature Beaverton and Gresham Oregon
Portland Opera The Snowy Day Newmark Theatre Portland Oregon
White Bird Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Keller Auditorium Portland Oregon
Northwest Dance Project Sarah Slipper Newmark Theatre Portland Oregon
City of Hillsboro Parks and Recreation Performance Series Hillsboro OregonWalters Cultural Arts Center
Corrib Theatre Contemporary Irish Theatre Portland Oregon
Seattle Opera The Life and Times of MalcolmX McCaw Hall Seattle Washington
Metropolitan Youth Symphony Music Concert Rooted Newmark Theatre Portland Oregon
White Bird Dance Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall Newmark Theater Portland Oregon
Newport Visual and Performing Arts Newport Oregon Coast
High Desert Museum Sensing Sasquatch Indigenous Art & Knowledge Bend Oregon
Profile Theatre Lauren Yee Festival at Imago Theatre Portland Oregon
Portland State University College of the Arts
Oregon Cultural Trust donate
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