It’s one of those weeks where there’s so much going on, we have just enough space to squeeze in enough about everything for you to click ahead and decide whether to investigate further. Let’s go.
THE CHEHALEM CULTURAL CENTER IN NEWBERG has rotated in a new exhibit worth checking out. Oregon City’s artistic duo Clairissa and Colby Stephens are Stratifying the Unknown with a collection of drawings, paintings and sculptures “that explore the ways horizon lines shape our understanding of place and space and one’s location in it.” According to the artists’ statement:
“We became captivated by horizon lines when we moved to Reno, NV, in 2011. Distinctly different from our Western Oregon stomping grounds, we were captivated by the desert and the 360-degree view of horizon lines that it offered. As avid backcountry explorers, we use a compass for navigation: a process that is heavily dependent on horizon lines. And so we began to consider the various ways that horizon lines impact our lives. But lines do not simply demarcate the boundaries of three dimensional space: They also trace the ways that humans, animals, plants, and water move through it.”
You’ll find it in the Parrish Gallery through June 28. And don’t miss the Art for All Youth project in the Community Gallery, the fruit of an artist-led partnership with Providence’s Outreach program to work with students on ceramics, paint-pouring and watercolor. Runs through June 1.
THE NEXT McMINNVILLE SHORT FILM Festival is nearly a year off, but there’s news to report. Portland filmmaker Justin Zimmerman, whose work has appeared in more than a hundred festivals around the world, has been named executive director of the event. Festival co-founders Nancy and Dan Morrow, who operate The Gallery at Ten Oaks in McMinnville, will remain involved in the expanding, filmmaker-friendly enterprise as board members, but this will mark the first time a professional filmmaker (and Portlander) has been in charge of steering the ship.
He’s no stranger to it, having competed with his own films for several years. “I’ve been a part of the McMinnville Short Film Festival as both a filmmaker and a judge for over half a decade,” he said in a statement released by the festival this spring. “And I’ve never seen a more welcoming and filmmaker-focused fest. When I was asked to come aboard as the E.D., I was honored and humbled. I can’t wait to help this extraordinary event grow.”
He noted it’s time for filmmakers to rev their engines. A soft opening for submissions launched May 1. The early-bird deadline is Oct. 1, and the regular deadline is Nov. 1. Go.
THREE DAYS ONLY! Here’s one you’ll have to move fast on. Nana Goto Bellerud will be at the Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg May 9-11 to demonstrate ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement. Goto Bellerud is originally from Japan and has studied ikebana for years. You may have seen her work in the Portland Japanese Garden or the Portland Art Museum. Now you can see it in Yamhill County. The show is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, for three days only.
IT’S OUTSIDE MY OFFICIAL territory, but theater buffs are known to travel for their fix, and The Verona Studio in Salem is wrapping up the season with a production of Aaron Posner’s Chekovian mashup Life Sucks, directed by Randall Tosh. Sort of a remix of Uncle Vanya. Get your tickets here. The show runs through May 18.
LOOKING AHEAD to next week: An extraordinary, one-night-only opportunity in Newberg next Friday, as Japanese guitarist and composer Hiroya Tsukamoto will perform at the Chehalem Cultural Center’s Grand Ballroom at 7 p.m. May 12. Tickets, available at the door, are $15, and youth under 18 will be admitted free. Arts for All tickets, for holders of Oregon Trail Cards, are available at the door. Tsukamoto has played throughout the United States and internationally, and is widely known for his fingerstyle playing. Not to be missed.
ARTS JOURNAL: I’ve read to our 10-year-old son since he was 3 or so (his first literary obsession was Green Eggs and Ham) and now we’re two-thirds of the way into Percy Jackson’s first (!) series. Thousands of pages beyond all seven Harry Potter books, I’ve come to realize something about children’s literature, particularly the imaginative/fantasy genre: The market is saturated with work by insanely successful authors who, despite occasional flashes of inspired storytelling, are not particularly good writers. Which is to say, they produce books by the truckload, but too many seem incapable of producing good prose — sentences that soothe and sing. Language with rhythm that carries one away and has the power to astonish. Le Guin could do it. Riordan can’t. It’s as if they’re writing descriptions of what they want the movie to look like. Surely I’m not the only parent to figure this out, and I’m wondering about exceptions to the rule. If you’ve found one, shoot me a note.
This story is supported in part by a grant from the Yamhill County Cultural Coalition, Oregon Cultural Trust, and Oregon Community Foundation.