China Forbes

MusicWatch Holidays: Auld lang syne

Wring the last drops of joy from 2019 with punky, funky, trippy New Year's Eve concerts

New Year’s Eve, like Death, is the great equalizer. We all celebrate the solstice-adjacent holidays differently–Christmas, Kwanzaa, Yule, Festivus, Hogswatch, and so on–but those of us who follow the Gregorian calendar all come to the end of 2019 at more or less the same time. As we look back on one crazy year and look forward to another that promises to be just as bonkers, we’re reminded that we’re all stuck in this Weirdest Possible Timeline together.

So now that the presents have all been opened and the grievances have all been aired, it’s time to kill the fading year’s unfulfilled hopes and dreams and plant them in the dark soil of the coming year, where they will either germinate and bloom or get eaten by squirrels.

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Double Divas

China Forbes & Storm Large make a dream team of co-lead singers for Pink Martini at Edgefield this weekend

Put two great male singers in a band–Lennon and McCartney, say, or Henley and Frey–and what do you call it? Supergroup! But try it with two females, and to some, it’s a catfight.

That’s what a few haters snarked when, in 2011, one of Portland’s best known vocal stars, Storm Large, joined one of its most beloved bands, Pink Martini–whose lead singer since its 1994 inception had been China Forbes. When she was sidelined by vocal cord surgery, Storm (better known at that point for hard rock swagger than PM’s retro global lounge sound) blew in, replacing her on a tour that summer and winning raves. 

“I always hoped we could find a way to collaborate,” he said when Large first joined. “She is a brilliant, beautiful, charismatic and seductive star who would give Jayne Mansfield a run for her money.”

While Forbes healed, comparisons and questions inevitably arose, and some wondered: did the band’s future lie in China, or with Storm?

The answer will be clear when the band performs Friday at Troutdale’s Edgefield Concerts on the Lawn.

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Dance/Undance: BodyVox’s risk

With eight new dances by non-choreographers, "Pearl Dive Project" takes a big chance and pries open the doors of creativity

Must be something in the water over on Northwest Northrup Street: BodyVox keeps drinking from the well of chance, and emerging spritzy and refreshed.

When last we checked in on the Portland contemporary dance company, back in December, it was doing a show called The Spin: spin a giant wheel, à la Wheel of Fortune, land on a pie-slice printed with the name of a piece from the company’s repertory, and the dancers would perform it. Each night’s show was different, depending on the luck of the spin, and that was part of the fun.

Brent Luebbert, Anna Marra, Katie Scherman, Scott Stampone in China Forbes's "Transformed." Photo: Blaine Truitee Covert

Brent Luebbert, Anna Marra, Katie Scherman, Scott Stampone in China Forbes’s “Transformed.” Photo: Blaine Truitee Covert

On Thursday night, with the opening of Pearl Dive Project, the risks got even riskier. The point of the show, which continues through April 23, is to see what emerges when creative nondancers try their hand at creating dance. This is choreography by people who don’t do choreography. With one exception, the featured dancemakers don’t even have backgrounds in dance, though several are fans who’ve seen a lot of it from the seats. The idea: what if you take a group of creative people in other fields and ask them to apply their skills and intuitions to the world of dance? Can they do it? What sorts of images and movements might they create?

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