News & Notes: A gusher of newslets!

ART and PIFF change plans, job openings galore, strange photos, new music, good chopping, Ada...

"Blancanieves" moves into PIFF's Opening Night slot.

“Blancanieves” moves into PIFF’s Opening Night slot.

Suddenly, the sleepy ArtsWatch news desk has awakened to a freshet of news of various sorts, which we will relate right about now…

We’ll start with the first of two scheduling changes.

The whole idea behind Artists Repertory Theatre’s production of “The Invisible Hand” was that it allowed director Allen Nause to work with the Pakistani acting community he met while doing a  production of “The Odd Couple” in Islamabad as a US Cultural Envoy (a title I wish I had myself!). Visa bureaucracies being visa bureaucracies, some problems have arisen, and rather than go down to the wire on the project Artists Rep has decided to push “The Invisible Hand” back to next season.

But what to replace it with? How about “The Gin Game” by D.L. Coburn, starring Nause and Vana O’Brien and directed by JoAnn Johnson. Heck, it won the Pulitzer back in 1978, and it is the very best play about how card-playing can get out of hand at a retirement home that I know of! Nause and O’Brien will deal the cards in the same seats the immortal Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn shuffled them in, which is a very great legacy indeed. Gin!

“The Gin Game” runs March 26-April 28. And according to our friends at Artists Rep, this will be the first time that Nause, the outgoing artistic director, and O’Brien, who helped found the company in 1981, have ever appeared on the stage together in an ART show. Amazing.


Scheduling problems also have forced a change in the prestigious Opening Night show at the Portland International Film Festival on Feb. 7. “The Sapphires” will move back a day, and in its place comes “Blancanieves,” director Pablo Berger’s homage to silent European films of the ’20s. It also happens to be Spain’s submission for the Best Foreign Film Oscar. Think “Snow White” set in Spain with a delicious Flamenco soundtrack.


How about a job in arts administration? The Regional Arts&Culture Council keeps a jobs board, and several new listing appeared today. You could be the GM at the Eugene Symphony, a photo archivist at the Oregon Historical Society, executive director of Portland Piano International, or the assistant director of the Oregon Arts Commission, not to mention a couple of management team jobs at Oregon Ballet Theatre. Sharpen up those resumes!


Photographer and collector Allan Chasanoff is fascinated by photographs that create at least momentary confusion in the mind of the viewer, and he recently donated his collection of more than 1,200 confusing images to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and Yale University, where a team of grad students is attempting to decipher them. OK. I made that last part up. Here’s how Chasanoff describes what he’s up to:

“To be hit by a dislocation transcends the visual alone, and there is a momentary visceral response. It stuns me. It interrupts the stare and startles me. Thus, a major part of my effort in collecting pictures was to find those that did that. The photograph, the genre, the history and the aura of the picture are secondary to this shock. That is why I collected so-called straight images, for a dislocation in the usual.”

That’s not the news, though. The news is that Blue Sky Gallery has issued a call for entries for a show, “The Optical,” that is similarly dislocating! And Chasanoff himself is going to jury the show of single-exposure, non-photoshop, “straight” photographs that resist immediate visual deciphering. If you have a hard-drive full of such images, this show’s for you.


Let’s see. What else?

Miracle Theatre has completely sold out all its performances of the entire run of “Frida, un Retablo,” a bi-lingual re-telling of the life of Frida Kahlo.

Brett Campbell will get to this later, undoubtedly, but tickets may go quickly to the back-to-back alt.classical concerts from 45th Parallel and fEARnoMUSIC at Alberta Rose on Super Bowl weekend, Feb. 2-3.

Speaking of jobs, Cara Unger is stepping down from her post as executive director of Oregon Humanities, and so Oregon Humanities has a job opening, too. I always appreciated the creative spirit that Unger brought to the job and Oregon Humanities. More of that, please!

Rob Nagle, who plays James Beard in “I Love to Eat” at Portland Center Stage exhibits some decent knife skills during the show. So how’d he pick those up? This video answers that question:

Watch Chef Higgins Trains Actor on PBS. See more from KOPB.

I loved Dan Haneckow’s post in Portland Architecture about Ada Louise Huxtable’s view of 1970 Portland. Huxtable completely nailed our problems back then, much to the aggravation of the local business community that had pretty much killed off the city through a series of planning, urban renewal, transportation and architecture mistakes in the ’50s and ’60s, when the car was EVERYTHING. Basically, Portland has spent the past 40 years trying to undo or mitigate those errors. Fortunately, we didn’t spend the ’70s compounding them, as a lot of American cities did.

Robert Ham is doing some great work at his experimental music blog, Experimental Portland. Of course, it’s difficult to define just what “experimental” music is, but we might know it when we hear it, and Ham’s blog is the basis of an intriguing new monthly concert series at Portland’s Mississippi Studios. A most excellent idea! The first show is Feb. 28.

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