Portland Playhouse The sounds of Afrolitical Movement Portland Oregon

Coast calendar: a little dancing, a little strumming

A festival of environmental art, dancing in the woods, and lots of music light up the Coast.


Dance, music, art – there’s a bit of everything happening on the North Coast in coming weeks. 

In Astoria, Portland’s BodyVox will combine dance and theater on Saturday, Sept. 14, in a typically Oregon setting: the forest.  With the roaring Columbia River providing the backdrop, BodyVox@Big Creek performers will share their awarding-winning dance under the open skies. 

poster for BodyVox at Big Creek

In its 22nd season, the company founded by Emmy Award-winning choreographers Jamey Hampton and Ashley Roland is known, according to its website, for its “visual virtuosity, distinctive wit and unique ability to combine dance, theater and film into breathtaking productions rich in imagery, athleticism and humor. … The company has a tradition of excellence with a unique voice that is equally influenced by its Northwest roots and world view.”

Bear in mind that the unique working-forest setting comes with conditions. Private vehicles are not permitted on the property, so shuttle buses will pick up ticket holders at the Knappa High School parking lot and deliver them to Hampton Lumber’s Big Creek Forest property about 13 miles east of Astoria. Best to arrive early for the 15-20 minute ride over logging roads. Shuttles will run about every 20 minutes from 4 to 5:30 p.m. You’ll be dropped off less than 100 feet from the performance area so “walking will be minimal, however, be advised that gravel roads and the natural characteristics of the landscape might present challenges for those with mobility issues,” organizers warn. 

Tickets are $20. You’ll find more details on tickets and what to and not to bring here.

ALSO IN ASTORIA, the 45th Parallel Universe chamber music collective joins with the historic Liberty Theatre in presenting a series of five musical performances, beginning Oct. 11 with Primordial Swamp. The performance features flutist Martha Conwell Long and cellist Marilyn de Oliveira performing Reza Vali’s vivid Folk Songs. 45th Parallel players complete the program with Dohnanyi’s Sextet and Martinu’s brilliant Nonet. For more on the 2019-20 lineup, and prices for individual or season tickets, go here.

CANNON BEACH DEBUTS its newest festival, the Earth & Ocean Arts Festival, Sept. 20-22. It takes the best of the former Plein Air & More Arts Festival, which ended a 10-year run in 2018, and adds a few environmentally themed twists.  Leading up to it, landscape oil painters Michael Orwick and Anton Pavlenko offer a five-day plein air workshop, beginning Sept. 16.

Michael Orwick will be one of the teachers of a five-day plein air workshop in Cannon Beach leading up to the Earth & Ocean Arts Festival.
Michael Orwick will be one of the teachers of a five-day plein air workshop in Cannon Beach leading up to the Earth & Ocean Arts Festival.

Orwick’s website describes the workshop: “We will focus on the fundamentals of landscape painting while exploring the beauty and atmosphere of the area. Each day will include a demo and a group discussion about painting techniques, materials and philosophy, with individual easel time and helpful critiques. Beginners welcome! You will learn the importance of observation, rather than using formulas and recipes, to paint what you actually see and feel. This workshop explores composition and design, value and color harmony, along with brushwork and edges. Demonstrations will be directed at oil painters, but concepts and principles will apply to all painting media. We will be painting in and around the beautiful Cannon Beach area.”

Stay tuned for more next week on the festival and a look at the funky performance dubbed Dualing Easels.

AT MANZANITA’S HOFFMAN CENTER FOR THE ARTS, Tim Connell and Eric Skye, “masters of the mandolin and guitar,” will share the stage at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, to play selections from their album of Appalachian fiddle tunes, June Apple. They will also perform blues and jazz. Connell and Skye have previously played Hoffman Center, though this will be their first time together in a duo format. Tickets are $20.

Connell has been described as developing “a unique, modern and global voice for his mandolin.” In a cover story, Mandolin Magazine called him “fiery and energetic, soulful and evocative.” He is regarded as one of the top North American interpreters of Brazilian choro on the mandolin. He leads Portland acoustic bands Rio Con Brio and Stumptown Swing.

Acoustic guitarist Skye performs jazz, Americana, and blues. His most recent solo release, A Different Kind Of Blue, re-imagines Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue.  

IRISH COMPOSER AND PIANIST Philip Hammond takes the stage at the Nehalem Bay United Methodist Church at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15, for a fundraiser for the North County Recreation District’s campaign to build a new pool. Hammond is former director of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, retiring in 2009 after 20 years at the post which included designing, programming, and managing an international arts festival in Washington, D.C., complementing Northern Ireland’s presence at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in 2007.

Since retiring, he has been a presenter and correspondent with the BBC and RTÉ (Ireland’s leading broadcasting company). He also writes for the Belfast Telegraph, and is well known in Ireland as a composer and arts journalist. His compositions include the choral work Requiem for the Lost Souls of the Titanic, which was performed and broadcast worldwide in April 2012.

Portland Playhouse The sounds of Afrolitical Movement Portland Oregon

Tickets are $18 and available online or at the door.

Lori Tobias is a journalist of many years, and was a staff writer for The Oregonian for more than a decade, and a columnist and features writer for the Rocky Mountain News. Her memoir “Storm Beat – A Journalist Reports from the Oregon Coast” was published in 2020 by Oregon State University press. She is also the author of the novel Wander, winner of the 2017 Nancy Pearl Book Award for literary fiction and a finalist for the 2017 International Book Awards for new fiction. She lives on the Oregon Coast with her husband Chan and rescue pups Luna and Monkey.

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