Risk/Reward

DramaWatch Weekly: Summerfest!

CoHo's short-run festival and the Risk/Reward fest put the movement into theater. Also: "Sense and Sensibility," last chance for "Fences."

A year ago, when Sayda Trujillo approached Jessica Wallenfels about directing a solo performance she was developing, she had a particular contribution in mind.

“She did come to me with a very specific ask: ‘I want this to be physically demanding and difficult, and I want your help with that,’” Wallenfels recalls.

Trujillo is hardly a stranger to physicality herself — she teaches voice and movement at the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre. Nor, for that matter, to solo shows — she’s created three previous ones that have been presented internationally, including at such prestigious theatrical incubators as REDCAT in Los Angeles. But she and Wallenfels have some familiarity with each other as well, having met as undergraduates at California Institute of the Arts and later taught together at California State Summer School of the Arts. Wallenfels, a multi-faceted Portland artist, brought expertise as one of the top theater choreographers in the Northwest.

Sayda Trujillo in her solo show “Right, Up, Left (Definitely Oops!.” She’ll perform “Win the War or Tell Me a Story” at CoHo Summerfest.

The resulting show, Win the War or Tell Me a Story, serves as the kick-off to CoHo Summerfest 2018, beginning Thursday, June 28. It should make a fine introduction, reflecting CoHo Theater’s longstanding interest in solo performance and personal storytelling, yet also hinting at the distinguishing characteristic of this year’s selections, which are more movement-oriented overall.

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Welcome to the “meet your neighbor” edition of DanceWatch. Yup, that’s right, you are surrounded by a sea of amazing, talented artists, and they all seem to be popping up THIS weekend. And, the “neighborhood” may be much bigger than you think—at least it was for me.

Opening Thursday, at Portland State Universities’ Lincoln Performance Hall, is LIFTED!, a new dance work by Philadelphia hip-hop legend Rennie Harris (Rennie Harris Puremovement), presented by White Bird, that addresses issues of morality, spirituality, and community, through the lens of house music and dance. The narrative follows a young man as he loses his parents, moves in with his aunt and uncle, rebels, finds the church, and ultimately finds his place in a new community. LIFTED! portrays universal themes of loss, abandonment, and redemption, and uses gospel music as a means of comfort and a way to connect to our spirituality.

LIFTED! by Rennie Harris Puremovement. Photo courtesy of White Bird.

LIFTED! will be performed by 15 dancers alongside Portland gospel singer Alonzo Chadwick and a choir of singers. The work also features two gifted Portland dancers: Donna Mation, the artistic director of Axé Didé and owner of Center Space Studio in Southeast Portland; and dance artist Rashad Pridgen, who presented his film Global Street Dance Masquerade #GSDMQ8, just last weekend at the Portland Art Museum.

Eugene dance writer Rachel Carnes who has a 20-year history with Rennie Harris, interviewed him back in September 2017 and shares his history, the history of the hip hop movement, and that conversation with you, in her story, Rennie Harris, moving pure for ArtsWatch.

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Risk/Reward Festival review: value proposition

Annual showcase takes audiences on the journey from artistic concept to realization

Here’s the deal with Portland’s annual Risk/Reward Festival. Artists take a risk by trying something new, often a segment of a work in progress, in a forum where audiences expect various levels of development. Audiences take a risk on new, unvetted work. The reward for the artists: audience feedback, a deadline to get work going, some ideas about how to proceed. For audiences: the thrill of seeing new, sometimes experimental work aborning — and this year, at whatever price they want to pay. More than ever, that deal is a real bargain.

Now in its 10th year, this year’s festival risked one filmed and five staged contributions, and produced as many different outcomes: a concept that seemed promising but the execution shaky, or simply incomplete; another that felt conceptually underdeveloped; another that seemed overextended — and one glorious creation that brought together a powerful concept with an exceptionally moving performance.

Linda Austin Dance’s ‘A world, a world.’ Photo: Chelsea Petrakis.

You could spot the driving concept for Linda Austin’s A world, a world on the floor, in the music, even on the dancers’ bodies: collage. Both costumes and floor design resembled a scattering of fragments, and the dancers “produce a constant low-level, barely or sporadically decipherable humming, mumbling, and singing of a textual collage from news headlines, songs & poetry, periodically going to headphones mounted on a movable step unit, to receive and channel sound bites referencing the worlds of politics, pop culture, ‘high’ culture, science and philosophy, riffing on these sound bites until they need another ‘hit.’” Austin’s program note explains. What showed up on stage was strolling dancers forming then abandoning various groupings and formations, gestures falling in and out of group coordination, while chanting random snippets of songs and other pop culture ephemera that elicited occasional chuckles of recognition.

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DanceWatch Weekly: The Risk/Reward bargain

Risk/Reward's 10th anniversary festival highlights the week in dance

Usually a curator knows what an artist’s work is going to look like before it hits the stage, but in the case of the Risk/Reward Festival of New Performance, those creations aren’t revealed until opening night.

The festival, which opens Friday night at Artist Repertory Theatre and is directed by Jerry Tischleder, is interested in supporting the creative process more than the finished product. The end result is a selection of 20-minute works that break boundaries and new artistic ground, by merging together multiple genres of dance, music, theatre, performance art, film and more.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this weekend, the festival will includes; a lobby film installation, karaoke, a post-show concert, and new performance works by well-known Portland choreographers Linda Austin and Pepper Pepper, alongside visiting artists Queen Shmooquan, Pam Tzeng, Kiana Harris, Shannon Stewart/Donal Mosher, and Coley Mixan.

What is the risk for the audience? There isn’t one. Especially not monetarily. Because this year, all tickets are pay-what-you-will, for the entire festival.

The reward, in my opinion, is that we (the audience) are not being “sold” on what to expect from the performances, because the presenter doesn’t know what the artists are presenting ahead of time. In today’s world where we are constantly being bombarded with marketing for things to buy, I find this approach to be a reprieve.

Also in Portland dance this week, visiting Pakistani Bharatanatyam dancer Amna Mawaz Khan will perform in Theatre Wallay at Artists Repertory Theater and give a performance and talk Tuesday night at New Expressive Works about living life “underground” as a Bharatanatyam dancer in Pakistan. For you musical theatre buffs, Roundabout Theatre Company’s Cabaret is here on tour from New York, and for ballet lovers, Sleeping Beauty is brought back to life by the students of June Taylor’s School of Dance.

Plus…lots of sun. Enjoy it all!

Performances this week

Risk/Reward Festival Of New Performance, June 23-24. Photo of Linda Austin Dance courtesy of Risk/Reward.

Risk/Reward Festival Of New Performance
Participating artists: Linda Austin Dance, Queen Shmooquan, Pam Tzeng, Pepper Pepper, Kiana Harris, Shannon Stewart/Donal Mosher, and Coley Mixan
Produced by Jerry Tischleder
June 23-24
Artist Repertory Theatre, Alder Stage, 1515 SW Alder St.
See above.

Bharatanatyam dancer Amna Mawaz Khan. Photo courtesy of New Expressive Works.

Amna Mawaz Khan-Lecture and Bharatnatyam dance performance
Presented by Subashini Ganesan/New Expressive Works in partnership with Linda Alper of Artist Repertory Theater
6:30 pm June 27th
New Expressive Works (In the WYSE Building), 810 SE Belmont St.
Use building doors located on the South side of the building.
Pakistani Bharatanatyam dancer Amna Mawaz Khan began her dance training at the age of eleven from one of Pakistan’s oldest living dance exponents of the form, Indu Mitha. She has performed worldwide, and has recently run for an elected office in Islamabad, connecting her practice of resistance politics to that of her dancing.

Khan will talk about her experience dancing Indian dances in Pakistan, along with how her dance teacher adjusted Bharatanatyam, which is a South Indian form of classical dance, to suit the Pakistani culture and languages.

Sleeping Beauty, June Taylor’s School of Dance, June 24th at 1:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Photo courtesy of June Taylor School of Dance.

Sleeping Beauty
June Taylor’s School of Dance
June 24th at 1:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Portland Community College Sylvania Performing Art Center, 12000 Southeast 49th Ave.
With music by Ilyich Tchaikovsky and steps by Marius Petipa, the students of June Taylor’s School of Dance from five to eighteen, will dance the story of Princess Aurora, cursed by the evil Carabosse to prick her finger on a spindle and die on her 16th birthday. Of course good triumphs over evil, and the powerful and righteous fairies intervene, rescuing Aurora from death, and uniting her with her prince.

JTSD students Helia Megowan will be dancing the leading role of Aurora, Sarah Valesano will perform the Lilac Fairy, Michelle Oakman will perform Carabosse, and Lauren Wattenburg will dance the role of the Bluebird. All original Petipa choreography is staged by June Taylor-Dixon, and additional choreography adapted for JTSD’s younger dancers is by June Taylor-Dixon, Rachel Fleming, and Rebecca Hasler.

Cabaret by Roundabout Theatre Company, presented by U.S. Bank Broadway in Portland. June 27-July 2, Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St. Photo courtesy of Roundabout Theatre Company.

Cabaret
Roundabout Theatre Company
Presented by U.S. Bank Broadway in Portland
June 27-July 2
Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St.
In pre-war Germany, as the Nazis gain power, drama unfold between a young writer and Sally Bowles, a singer at the seedy Berlin nightclub called the Kit Kat Club. Nightlife is alluring, but dangerous, and times are uncertain. The Emcee, a ghoulish persona, tantalizes the crowd with his raucous, debauched performers, helping them to forget. In the musical’s final scene, as the Emcee is giving his Auf Wiedersehens, Sally Bowles says, “It’ll all work out, it’s only politics, what’s it got to do with us?” A nod to the society’s blindness towards the Nazi regime, and a relevant critique today.

Upcoming Performances

June
June 29-30, Choreography XX, Oregon Ballet Theatre
June 30, Spectacle Garden 13: The End, Hosted by Ben Martens
June 30-July 1, Improvisation Summit of Portland 2017, Hosted by The Creative Music Guild and Disjecta
July
July 5, ARCOS studio showing, ARCOS Dance
July 6, Éowyn Emerald & Dancers
July 8, Ten Tiny Dances, Beaverton Farmers Market, Directed by Mike Barber
July 14-15, Rantum Skoot, Linda Austin, Gregg Bielemeier, Bob Eisen (NYC), and Sada Naegelin & Leah Wilmoth
July 14-16, Apparatus, by Danielle Ross
July 15, Rush Hour, Heidi Duckler Dance Theater Northwest
July 15, Pretty Creatives Showing, NW Dance Project
July 26, Movement and Flow: Portland Dance Films, Hosted by NW Film Center featuring films by Conrad Kazcor, Fuchsia Lin, Dylan Wilbur Media, Gabriel Shalom, Jackie Davis, and Amy Yang Chiao
July 29, Hafla, Portland Bellydance Guild
August
August 3-5, Galaxy Dance Festival, Hosted by Polaris Dance Theatre
August 11-13, JamBallah Northwest ’17, Hosted by JamBallah NW
August 24-September 6, Portland Dance Film Fest, Directed by Kailee McMurran, Tia Palomino, and Jess Evans
August 24-October 8, Kurios: Cabinet Of Curiosities, Cirque Du Soleil

ArtsWatch Weekly: a Tempest and an operatic pot shot

A look at the week that was in Oregon arts. A glimpse ahead at the week that's going to be.

WELL, SHOOT. The whole thing explodes into a duel, of course, but before that there’s a tangled romance, and a cad’s carelessness, and a whole lot of glorious singing, and, well, why not a wintry tale for a midsummer opera? Portland Opera moves into the cozier confines of the Newmark Theatre beginning Friday night for its new production of Eugene Onegin, Tchaikovsky’s lyric opera based on Pushkin’s verse novel, and things are looking promising – if not for Onegin himself, who lives to deeply regret shooting his best friend, Lensky, then for the audience. ArtsWatch’s Christa Morletti McIntyre interviewed stage director Kevin Newbury, fresh off his acclaimed world-premiere production of Fellow Travelers at Cincinnati Opera, and discovered his plan to create an Onegin that will resonate with his fellow Gen Xers. Newbury has reset the late 19th century tale in the 1980s, around the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union and crumbling of the Berlin Wall. The “political and nuclear-threatening war of grudges” between East and West, McIntyre writes, helped “to unpack the meanings and individual lives impacted by this new kind of war, which was as visually stunning as it was oppressive and terrorizing.” All that, of course, plus some gorgeous music.

Ilya Repin, "Eugene Onegin and Vladimir Lensky's Duel," 1899, watercolor, white lead and India ink on paper, Pushkin Museum, Moscow/Wikimedia Commons

Ilya Repin, “Eugene Onegin and Vladimir Lensky’s Duel,” 1899, watercolor, white lead and India ink on paper, Pushkin Museum, Moscow/Wikimedia Commons

 


 

JULY’S FIRST THURSDAY IS THIS WEEK, and there is considerable to look forward to the monthly gallery walk. (Some galleries open shows on Last Friday or First Friday or according to their own schedules). A few we have our eye on: J.D. Perkin’s Island, an exhibit of the Portland sculptor’s fascinating-looking contemporary busts, coupled with some selected works by the late, great Robert Colescott, at Laura Russo Gallery; Sarah Siestreem’s Winter Work paintings, with Cynthia Mosser’s Beach Body, at Augen; the all-star anniversary lineup at PDX Contemporary in A Stand of Pine in a Tilled Field: 21 Years at PDX; the stylized figures and settings of R. Keaney Rathbun’s Memory and Stone, at Waterstone; and Blackfish’s annual Recent Graduates Exhibition of work from Oregon’s college and university art departments. Also, the Portland Biennial, an ambitious overview of work by 34 contemporary artists, opens Saturday at Disjecta, and should be well worth a long look. And on the north coast in Astoria, K.B. Dixon’s 32 Faces, his black-and-white environmental portraits of well-known Oregon artists in their elements, opens Saturday. ArtsWatch wrote about the exhibit when it opened at Michael Parsons Fine Art in Portland in February.

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Dance Weekly: The drag stars have aligned

Pepper Pepper and Cherdonna Shinatra expand the limits of drag

You are in luck! This week the stars, drag stars that is, have aligned and will be performing right here in Portland. Those stars are Pepper Pepper, aka Kaj-anne Pepper, from Portland, who will be performing D.I.V.A Practice; and Cherdonna Shinatra, aka Jody Keuhner from Seattle, who will be performing Worth My Salt, presented by Risk/Reward.

Both artists are working at the intersection of dance and drag, but one is a man dressed as a drag queen and the other is a woman, dressed as a man, dressed as a drag queen. I won’t tell you who’s who. Shinatra is having an existential crisis while exploring femininity and gender inequality, while Pepper explores embodiment, identity and physicality.

Two weeks ago when D.I.V.A Practice first opened, I interviewed Pepper for ArtsWatch and asked him to talk about his piece: “An important element of D.I.V.A PRACTICE is the quest to know one’s worth, to dance between autonomy and a crippling co-dependency with the audience.”

This past week both Shinatra and Pepper were interviewed on OPB’s The State of Wonder by Producer Aaron Scott. They discussed drag clowning as a characteristic of the Northwest, the prevalence of misogyny in drag and many other pertinent things. The whole conversation is available for listening on OPB’s website.

Another great interview to learn more about Shinatra is A Fiendish Conversation with Jody Keuhner (Cherdonna Shinatra) by Seth Sommerfeld for the Seattle newspaper Seattle Met. Keuhner/Shinatra talks more about the modern dance side of her life and the creation of Shinatra as a character .

There is a lot of power in anonymity, like disappearing underneath elaborate costumes and makeup, it tends to make you feel braver than you normally would because no one can see YOU, enabling you to do and say things you normally wouldn’t. This weekends performances by Pepper and Shinatra will definitely frame conversations in new ways shedding light on difficult subjects in a funny, quirky way, with plenty of glitter, gigantic wigs and tons of eye makeup.

Performances this week

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The Jefferson Dancers. Photo by Jingzi Zhao.

Jefferson Dancers Spring Concert 2016 and 40th Anniversary
April 27-30
The Newmark Theatre, Antoinette Hatfield Hall, 1111 SW Broadway Ave
Celebrating their 40th anniversary, the Jefferson Dancers, a Portland Public Schools dance training program and company based at Jefferson High School in North Portland, will be performing choreography by the faculty as well as sharing the stage with former Jefferson dancers.

The program will include a duet by Director Steve Gonzales and French exchange student Charlotte Faillard from 2001-02 on Friday and Saturday night as well a piece for the whole company by alums T.J. Yale, Kasia Wihelmi and Gerran Reese.

The breakdown of alumni performers by night

Wednesday night:Graduates from the 1980’s
Choreographers:Heather Fralia Borgens / Sara Mishler Martins / Andrea Stofiel
Dancers-Jennifer Allen 1986-1988 / Donna Buckmeyer Grobey 1984-1986 / Randy Davis 1981-1984 / Ron Eckert 1988-1989 / Heather Fralia Borgens 1987-1988 / Wendy Graybill Rogers 1987-1989 / Stephanie Hale Pinto 1987-1988 / Claire Leedy 1986-1989 / Dina Mehlhaff Radzwillowicz 1986-1988 / Sara Mishler Martins 1987-1989 / Kristina Cernin Musgrove 1984-1987 / Kim Reis 1984-1988 / Addam Stell 1988-1989 / Andrea Stofiel Thompson 1988-1989 / Sonia Warfel 1988-1989

Thursday night:Graduates from the 1990’s
Choreographers-Amy Bonaduce / Damon Keller / Tony Loupe / Damien Rice / Ashley Marostica
Dancers-Nora Aron 1998 / Racheal Banks (Smith) 1995-1997 / Amy Bonaduce 1994 / Lisa Grant 1988-1992 / Demetria “Bunky” Holden-Williams 1993-1996 / Damon Keller 1995-1998 / Tony Loupe 1989-1993 / Ashley Marostica-Thompson 1998 / Damien Rice 1994-1998 / Eric C. Smith 1990-1992

Friday night and Saturday matinee: 2000’s
Choreographer – Rachel Slater and Mykey Lopez
Dancers-Corinne (Craig) Cooksey 2003-2005 / Maddi Evans 2005-2007 / Jessa Freeman 2000-2001 / Aubrey Grajales 2007-2010 / Mykey Lopez 2002-2003 / Anna Lescher Fife 1999-2004 / Rebecca Palmer 2002-2003 / Rachel Slater 2002-2003

Saturday night: 20TEENS
Choreographed and performed by-Bryn Hlava 2010-2012 / Kentrel Wesson 2010-2012 / Mia O’Connor 2008-2012 / Sarah Gomez 2009-2012 / Quinlan Neilson 2009-2014

Dance Wire Dance Passport participant. Click for details.

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Dance of the Dream Man: A Twin Peaks Story by TriptheDark. Photo courtesy of TriptheDark.

Dance of the Dream Man: A Twin Peaks Story
TriptheDark
April 28-April 30
The Headwaters Theatre, 55 NE Farragut Street
With a script written by local playwright Ellen Margolis, TriptheDark, an indie Portland dance company, will harken back to the early days of Twin Peaks, a creepy David Lynch TV series from the early 1990’s, to explore lines from the original series and dig deeper into the mystery of Laura Palmer’s death. If you are unfamiliar with the series you can catch up on Wikipedia or the Twin Peaks fan page and follow the filming of the revival of the series.

TriptheDark, directed by Corinne deWaard and Stephanie Seaman, likes to perform in unusual venues as a way to reach non-traditional dance audiences and grow the appreciation of the art form.

Dance Wire Dance Passport participant. Click for details.

In The Heights
Stumptown Stages
April 27-May 1
Brunish Theatre, Antoinette Hatfield Hall, 1111 SW Broadway Ave
Over the course of three days in a predominantly Dominican-American neighborhood in the Washington Heights section of New York City, a community rallies together in a neighborhood struggle. Infused with Latin rhythms, dance and hip-hop lyrics, this Tony Award-winning musical is about chasing your dreams while remembering where you came from.

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Pepper Pepper and Mr. E in D.I.V.A Practice. Photo courtesy of Pepper Pepper.

D.I.V.A Practice
A night of dance and contemporary drag by Pepper Pepper
April 29-May 1
N.E.W. Expressive Works/Studio 2-Zoomtopia, 810 SE Belmont St. #2
Choreographer and performance artist Kaj-anne Pepper, also known as Pepper Pepper, will perform alongside drag artist Mr. E to an original score by Cabiria Jones, exploring what it means to be fabulous in the face of uncertainty while questioning the significance of drag and gender in contemporary culture.

Dance Wire Dance Passport participant. Click for details.

Fuse—Portland Dance Portrait
The photography exhibit of Jingzi Zhao
April 1-May 1
Polaris Dance Theatre, 1826 NW 18th Ave.
For one month, Polaris will be hosting a sneak peek of “Fuse – Portland Dance Portrait,” a project by the photographer Jingzi Zhao. “Fuse” captures dancers on location, in historic landmarks, neighborhoods, and businesses around Portland, to showcase the beauty, culture and lifestyles of Portland.

Zhao’s larger body of work will be exhibited at the Multnomah Arts Center from October 7-25.

Jazz Through The Ages
Wild Rumpus Jazz Company
April 29-30
Performance Works NorthWest, 4625 SE 67th Ave
In the manner of it’s namesake Wild Rumpus Jazz Co., co-founded by Kelsey Adams and Lucy Brush, is here to get the party started and bring jazz dance back to Portland. Its inaugural performance, “Jazz Through The Ages,” celebrates the rich history of jazz dance while having fun.

The history of jazz dance is rooted in African American vernacular dance and over time branched out into many different styles including tap, Broadway, funk, hip-hop, Afro-Caribbean, Latin, Pop, club jazz, popping, B-boying, party dances and many more. A few notable jazz choreographers were Katherine Dunham, Jack Cole, Lester Horton and Bob Fosse. But there were many many more. Well known Portland jazz teachers and choreographers include Tracey Durbin and Mary Hunt.

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Cherdonna Shinatra in WORTH MY SALT. Photo courtesy of Cherdonna Shinatra.

WORTH MY SALT
by Cherdonna Shinatra/Jody Kuehner
Presented by Risk/Reward
Apr 29-May 1
12 pm April 30, Workshop with Jody Kuehner at Flock Dance Center
Portland Center Stage, 128 NW 11th Ave
See above.

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Vitality Dance in rehearsal. Photo courtesy of Vitality Dance.

(IN) significant-The Mundane and The Meaningful
Vitality Dance
4 pm April 30
New Expressive Works/Studio 2-Zoomtopia, 810 SE Belmont St. #2
Vitality Dance Collective, a vision of Kristina York, was created for adults dancers who dance, but don’t have the time to dedicate themselves full time to the art. The company acts as a collective, supporting the choreographic vision of all its members, and enjoys being not easily definable. They are about innovation, authenticity and fun.

Coming up next week and the week after

May 1-29, Chinese Dance for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Malik Pcr Delgado, Victoria Chen, and Jingzi Zhao
May 4, Malposa, White Bird Dance
May 5-7, Featuring works by Trey McIntyre, Gregg Bielemeier, Jason Davis, George Balanchine and Anne Mueller, The Portland Ballet’s Spring Concert
May 5-7, I Just Want One Tiny Thing, And I Talk Too Much, WolfBird Dance
May 6-8, From Within, PDX Contemporary Ballet
May 9, Noontime Showcase: OBT2, Advanced students of the School of Oregon Ballet Theatre
May 10, Formosa Circus Art, The The Taiwanese Association of Greater Portland
May 12, WE’RE FROM HERE: 3 PDX dancers/film and performance, presented by KBOO Community Radio
May 12-21, Exposed, Polaris Dance Theatre
May 14, Props to Bellydance!, Ruby Beh and Co.
May 20-21, TRACES, Sara Naegelin and Mark Koenigsberg
May 20-21, HAVA | חוה, The Holding Project
May 20-22, Now Then: A Prologue, Allie Hankins

ArtsWatch Weekly: popcorn time

A look at the week that was in Oregon arts. A glimpse ahead at the week that's going to be.

What does ArtsWatch watch? Pretty much, the culture in and around Portland: plays, dance, art, music, ideas that interest us and interest you. In other words, we’re local: What’s going on here and now that’s worth seeing and thinking about?

Still, local means a very different thing in 2016 than it did in 1816 or 1416, when travel was difficult and the idea of place was much more isolated. Today, ideas and influences arrive from everywhere. We’re hooked into a global culture whether we like it or not. Portland is an open city. It might have a bubble, but it doesn’t have a wall. Culturally, that means that much of what we think of as local – what we read and see and hear and even eat – is arriving from somewhere else, influencing the ways we live and think and sometimes, in turn, being influenced by what it encounters here. “Local” is an extremely fluid, and often arbitrary, concept.

A Japanese snow monkey in the widescreen visual poem "Baraka."

A Japanese snow monkey in the widescreen visual poem “Baraka.”

So this week, let’s go to the movies.

Actually, we go to quite a few of these vivid interlopers from the “outside” world, and we’ve been writing about them, insightfully and entertainingly, as a vital part of our local culture. Our expanded film coverage, under the expert eye of critic and editor Marc Mohan, includes reviews, interviews, and now, a weekly film newsletter, FilmWatch Weekly, in which Mohan spotlights a few fresh films (in his first letter, it was the made-in-Portland Green Room, starring the legendary Patrick Stewart) and keeps you up-to-date on all the movies we think you’ll find of interest: not the mainstream blockbusters, usually, but the genuinely interesting, challenging, and sometimes risky stuff.

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