Anthony Hudson

Beach Boys bingo: We get around

ArtsWatch Weekly: As both vaccination rates and Covid concerns grow again, the arts world moves half-speed ahead. But it IS moving.

“GET AROUND GET AROUND I GET AROUND,” the Beach Boys warbled in 1964, and it’s been something of a theme song for ArtsWatch writers in the past week. Not that we’ve been booking international flights or jamming into the sardine can with the Lollapalooza crowd. But there’s been a definite sense of flexing our muscles and taking the world out for a spin, checking out places from New Zealand to the Pacific Islands to Holmes & Watson’s London to an arts hideaway amid the antique shops of Aurora, Oregon. Have we really been napping in place for the past sixteen months? Can’t we just hit the road again?

It’s a strange time following strange times. People are moving around, restless, doing things, going places. The world seems to be opening up – and also shutting down again, as if our left and right hands are in sharp disagreement about where we are and what comes next and what we should or shouldn’t do. More and more people are vaccinated – and yet, ant-vax heels are digging in deeper, and the Delta variant is shooting Covid cases higher than they’ve been in months. The governors of heavily hit states such as Texas and Florida are actively impeding efforts to contain the spread of disease. In Oregon, the state government is largely leaving public-safety decisions up to the counties as the variant spreads, and the counties are largely keeping their hands off the wheel.

Back to showbiz or bust: “The Hip Hop Nutcracker,” shown in a 2019 performance, returns to Portland and Eugene in November.

Meanwhile, the arts and cultural worlds are stirring. Plan are being made. Seasons are being announced. Touring acts are on the road again. Places that have been shut down for more than a year, among them the five theaters of Portland’5 Centers for the Arts, are announcing acts and dates: Jesus Christ Superstar, on yet another tour, at the Keller Aug. 28-Oct. 3. Singing satirist Randy Rainbow popping into the Schnitzer on Sept. 24, trying to discover if there’s musical-parody life after Donald Trump. Portland’s own Stumptown Stages performing Bojangles of Harlem, a musical about the great tap dancer and actor Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, in the Winningstad Oct. 8-30. Comedian Louis C.K. at the Newmark, Nov. 21-22. The Hip Hop Nutcracker, straddling traditions at Eugene’s Hult Center Nov. 12 and Portland’s Keller Auditorium Nov. 16. A touring bluegrass show featuring the likes of Béla Fleck and Edgar Meyer at the Schnitzer on Dec. 7.

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Reconnection and resilience: an interview with Anthony Hudson

Anthony Hudson, also known as Carla Rossi, talks with Steph Littlebird about representation, performance, and challenging misconceptions about Indigenous identity

This series focuses on different aspects of Oregon’s contemporary Tribal culture and explores how traditional ways of life have continued forward throughout colonization and settlement of Oregon. This collection of writings and interviews showcases the history and resiliency of Oregon’s First Peoples. In this piece Steph Littlebird, an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, focuses on Portland artist Anthony Hudson.

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As an Indigenous artist, I think a lot about representation. Growing up, I didn’t see many Natives portrayed in the media or movies  who weren’t portrayed as stereotypes or as being “in the past.” John Wayne movies with ”drunk Indians” were on the television a lot when I was a kid, and Disney’s hypersexualized portrayal of Pocahontas just didn’t align with the Native women I knew personally. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized mainstream media rarely portrays contemporary Native American culture. This lack of representation impacts all Natives in real, tangible ways.

Positive representation is so important, particularly to underrepresented communities who don’t necessarily see themselves or their culture reflected in the broader world. Representation is the driving force behind all of my creative work, whether it’s writing, painting, or curating. Community is such an integral component of Indigenous culture, and finding ways to lift ourselves up through art helps heal Intergenerational trauma and encourage our young people to dream bigger. 

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The arts: After the deluge, what?

ArtsWatch Weekly: Planning for a post-Covid Oregon cultural scene; pancakes and the art of dissent; good things come in multiples

AS OREGON HESITANTLY REEMERGES FROM ITS LONG COCOONING – baby steps, everyone: take it cautiously, and wear your masks – it’s not too early to think about what the “new normal” might look like for the state’s arts and cultural organizations. A couple of highly respected onlookers have been considering the changed landscape long and deep, and while they disagree on some fundamental issues, on one thing they’re in accord: It’s highly unlikely that enough money will be available to support everyone in the manner to which they’d like to be accustomed.

What to do, then, when financial push comes to shove?

Fear No Music playing music by Middle Eastern and emigrant-diaspora composers at The Old Church Concert Hall: Will the future of arts in Oregon by small and adaptable? Photo © John Rudoff/2017

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Under ‘Suspiria’s’ spell

A new online course from Movie Madness University, led by Anthony Hudson, probes a horror remake.

A new online course from Movie Madness University probes a horror remake.

In a sickening scene from director Luca Guadagnino’s 2018 remake of the Dario Argento horror classic Suspiria, a dancer is literally torn apart. Her gruesome final moments—punctuated by contorted flesh and cracking bones—were notorious even before the film was released.

Yet after seeing Suspiria with friends on Halloween in 2018, film programmer Anthony Hudson was both shocked and entranced. “Honestly, we were all silent and in a state of rapture,” says Hudson, also known as the drag clown Carla Rossi. “I think the first thing I said after seeing it was, ‘I can’t believe that was a great horror movie and it summed up all of my politics.’”

Hudson will share the rapture this Thursday in an online Suspiria course (offered by Movie Madness University, the Hollywood Theatre’s film education program) that spotlights the movie’s progressive politics, queer love stories and moral ambiguities. “It’s not easily read as black and white,” Hudson says of Suspiria. “Even the protagonist, this goddess, is still a primordial witch deity who has to sacrifice people for her magic, and I think that just speaks to the complications of the world we live in.”

Anthony Hudson will teach an online course on the remake of Suspiria through Movie Madness University and the Hollywood Theatre

Set in 1977 (the year that the original film was released), Suspiria stars Dakota Johnson as Susie Bannion, the American star of a West Berlin dance company that is also a coven of witches. The film is filled with supernatural shenanigans, which are juxtaposed with the German Autumn, when the Red Army Faction was involved in a series of kidnappings and other violent incidents. 

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Drammys: Where’s the party?

DramaWatch: Attendance dropped and the drama crept behind the scenes at this year's Portland theater awards. What comes next?

Once upon a time I had a dream about the Drammys.

I don’t mean dream as in a sleepytime movie, but rather a hope, a wish, an ideal of a future. When I first began to care about the Drammy Awards, the annual celebration of Portland-area theater was held at the Crystal Ballroom. At one end of the oblong room, outstanding theater work was honored onstage. At the other end, the combination of the entrance and the bar catalyzed a sometimes raucous social scene as friendly acquaintances convened. There was tension between the two elements, with the loud, lubricated chatter from the back sometimes drowning out the official proceedings, but it had the feel of a fabulous party. That feeling continued once the event was done, as the crowd spilled outside into a stream of sidewalk clusters stretching around the block and into Cassidy’s, which suddenly boasted more actors than you could shake a script at. 

Drag clown Carla Rossi was emcee at this year’s Drammy Award ceremony, where attendance was down. Photo: Scotty Fisher/Sleeper Studios

I was writing about theater for The Oregonian, and was thrilled about all the interesting and talented local artists I was encountering. Seeing so many of them all together, as one big, convivial community, celebrating one another and the fine work they’d done over the past season, was exhilarating. 

I figured that excitement should be shared.

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