Promising Young Woman

Rebuilding a State of the Arts

ArtsWatch Weekly: All around Oregon, the cultural Covid freeze of 2020 begins to thaw. Will it continue?

WE’RE LIVING IN CURIOUS TIMES. Things thaw, things freeze up again. Things close, things open. Vaccines are available, but good luck getting a shot (let alone two). One day it’s snow, the next day it’s spring. People stay home, people flock to reopened restaurants. Schools start up, state Senate Republicans walk out. The national death count soars above half a million as rates of infection taper off. And, as I type this late Wednesday morning, here comes the sun. (Update Thursday morning: There it goes again.)

Here, too, comes a gradual revival of Oregon’s cultural life, in greater Portland and, hearteningly, around the state. Sometimes things look almost the way they used to look. Sometimes everything’s virtual: art exhibitions viewed online; concerts streamed from musicians’ living rooms to listeners’ living rooms; dance and theater via Vimeo or Zoom. Sometimes it’s a hybrid of virtual and carefully spaced live action. And more and more, things are beginning to happen in real space and real time, although with heightened restrictions on distancing, audience size (think small), and safety precautions (think masks and more).

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Virginia Darcé (born Portland, Oregon, 1910; died Los Angeles, California, 1985), “The
Market,” 1938, tempera on board, 22 ½ x 30 ½ inches, Portland Art Museum, Portland,
Oregon, Courtesy of the Fine Arts Collection, US General Services Administration, New
Deal Art Project, L45.3.2
Marwin Begaye (Diné, born 1970), “Columbia River Custodian,” 2018, ed. 18, eight-color lithograph, 28.25 x 22.25 inches, collection of the Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts, CSP18-101.

In Salem, the big news of the week is that the Hallie Ford Museum of Art reopens for visitors today – Thursday, Feb. 25 – with a particularly attractive lineup of exhibits (and virtual online tours on its web site if you can’t or won’t visit in person). It’s not entirely like the old days: You can’t just walk up and buy a ticket. The number of people inside the museum at any one time will be limited, and you’ll have to make a reservation from the museum web site (link above) for timed entry. But the museum will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays, giving you plenty of options.

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Streamers: ‘Nomadland’ and ‘Promising Young Woman’

In a strange Oscar season, virtuoso work by Frances McDormand and Carey Mulligan stands out.

In an Oscar season like no other, checking out the likely contenders on the big screen simply isn’t an option. In previous years, some of the nominees would have been available for home viewing by the time of the award ceremony, but this year pretty much all of them should be, especially with the pushed-back calendar the Academy has instituted. (Any film released, including on a streaming platform, by February 28 is eligible; nominations are due on March 15, and statuettes will be doled out on April 25.)

Even if it’s possible to watch all these films at home, though, it’s anything but equally easy to do so. As an example, I caught up this week with two films widely expected to contend for, at the very least, the Best Actress prize. One was Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland, which was released onto Hulu last Friday, February 19. For anyone with a $12 monthly Hulu subscription, Nomadland was free. The other was Emerald Fennell’s Promising Young Woman, which has been available on demand for several weeks, but for a rental price of $19.99.

Frances McDormand and David Strathairn in “Nomadland”

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