Assistance

Doing anything Friday night? How about hanging out on 82nd Avenue?

The East Side strip, which runs north-south for many miles, was once considered a barrier of sorts between the city and the sprawl, and also an economic barrier, with a richer urban population to the west and a poorer, semi-rural population to the east. East County didn’t get in the game very much, and when it did, it was often as a political football. 82nd became neon central, home to everything from used car lots to Southeast Asian restaurants to massage parlors – and, increasingly, a rich stew of ethnic and immigrant cultures.

Signs of the times: Sabina Haque's 82nd Avenue.

Signs of the times: Sabina Haque’s 82nd Avenue.

That’s what makes it interesting to Portland artist Sabina Haque, a very good painter and collagist whose work in recent years has moved also toward installation, film, and cultural and cross-cultural projects, including her provocative series on drone warfare in Pakistan, where she grew up.

Haque, as artist in residence for the Portland Archives & Records Center, has been digging deeply into the area’s long and complicated history, finding a cultural through-line to match the strip of concrete that divides culture from culture and east from west. From 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday she’ll unveil what she’s created in Annexation & Assimilation: East 82nd Ave, a giant exhibition/event in the 8,000-square-foot APANO/JADE multicultural center at 82nd and Southeast Division Street. The free event will include video projections on 20-foot screens, oral histories, shadow theater, poster installations and more – for some, a rousing introduction to a part of Portland they hardly know; to others, a simple statement of the place they live.

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‘Assistance’: How to succeed in business with really trying

The high-class gofers in Theatre Vertigo's newest show play with fire, and hope against hope they won't get burned

On the surface, Leslye Headland’s play Assistance at Theatre Vertigo is about playing with fire, trying to get close to the flame of celebrity and not get burned.

I knew a personal assistant once. He drove a Land Rover, a recent import, and it made him feel like a modern-day colonialist conquering the long stretches of Midwestern highway. Americans, for him, were still wayward children who could never rise to the level of European culture. Yet where we lacked sophistication, we made up for it with power and money. That’s what he wanted, and after the bigger paychecks started rolling in,he bought the most American of features, a new set of teeth. He worked 24/7 for this multi-millionaire CEO: picking up dry-cleaning at 11 p.m., waxing his car on Sunday afternoons, finding and scheduling the company of women. When the company’s accountant had cooked the books one too many a time for the IRS, the pyramid fell, and personal assistants were the first to go.

Jenn Hunter (Heather) and Kaia Maarija Hillier (Nora). Photo: Gary Norman

Jenn Hunter (Heather) and Kaia Maarija Hillier (Nora). Photo: Gary Norman

Somewhere between a factory and a conga line, assistants file in and out of Daniel Weisinger’s New York office in Assistance. He’s a composite off-stage character based on Anna Wintour, the chic Vogue editor-in-chief,  and Harvey Weinstein, the movie producer. If reading TMZ or People isn’t your thing, these two high-powered people are know as genius enfants terribles. They can make and break celebrity and political careers. They can dish out great work and insults with an equal mastery.

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