Newsies

Dance Weekly: Linda Austin for the win

"Beautiful Decay," DIVA Practice, "Pearl Dive Project" and so much more this week in Portland dance

This morning my husband posted a photo on my Facebook page of a person dressed in a suit holding a poster in front of her face that read “I am an artists, this does not mean that I will work for free, I have bills just like you. Thank you for understanding.”

Linda Austin, the co-director of Performance Works NorthWest understands that paying dancers is the right thing to do, which is why on Friday night she will be performing a solo adaptation of A head of time, to raise funds to pay the nine dancers in her new work, (Un)Made You, which will be performed in November at Shaking the Tree Theatre, part of a longer work called (Un)Made Solo Relay that unfolded over the past several years.

Austin also received a Challenge Grant from the James & Marion L. Miller Foundation. Miller will match new and increased donations up to $5000.

A head of time was an ensemble work that she made in 2012 that touched on (and was dedicated to) family members who had passed away ahead of their time. ArtsWatcher Bob Hicks saw the performance in 2012 and wrote about it affectionately for ArtsWatch. Martha Ullman West also weighed in on the performance in the comments section below the article. Both are very good reads and do a good job maybe helping a not-so-adept dance watcher understand how to look at abstract dance.

According to Austin, the solo will include a hammer, a balloon, video images, a ladder, extension cords and blankets. Weaving in the soundscape of Seth Nehil, Austin says she will form, re-form, dissolve and fragment our timescapes.

Austin and Jeff Forbes (Austin’s husband and a well-known lighting designer) recently celebrated the 15th anniversary of their space, Performance Works NorthWest, a community rehearsal and performance hall at Southeast 67th and Holgate. I interviewed Austin at the time of the anniversary celebration about her past, present and future.

I hope among the many entertainment possibilities available this weekend that you choose to fit in A head of time, one, because you are curious about Linda Austin the performer, and two, you think paying dancers for their hard work is a good thing too.

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Onstage: Joe Pulitzer, Snow White, and other kids’ stuff

From 'Newsies' to 'Snow White' to 'Chrysalis,' children's theater takes on a dizzying variety in Portland

Children’s theater, like children’s lit (and, come to think of it, like kids themselves), comes in a dizzying variety. Musicals, for instance: the old razzle-dazzle, which can sweep kids up in a spectacle of neverland. The Broadway in Portland series opens the stage version of Disney’s Newsies Tuesday night for a six-day run at Keller Auditorium, and although it’s not specifically a children’s show, it’s here because kids have made it a hit.

Original company, North American Tour of Disney’s "Newsies." ©Disney. Photo by Deen van Meer

Original company, North American Tour of Disney’s “Newsies.” ©Disney. Photo by Deen van Meer

The timing for Newsies could scarcely be better. Today this year’s Pulitzer prizes were announced (the hip-hop historical musical Hamilton won for theater), and Newsies is about an 1899 newsboys’ strike for better pay against the penny-pinching press titans Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst. Those were the days! Thanks for the prize, Joe. Now, about that paycheck.

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