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January 21st, 2009 AARON MESH | Headout
 

It’s A Bird...It’s A Plane...It’s A Chamber Orchestra!

By day, Galen Huckins is a mild-mannered piano teacher. By night, he writes music for the Man of Steel.

     
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ILLUSTRATION BY LUKAS KETNER

Galen Huckins needed a musical instrument to symbolize the destructive rampage of an unfrozen dinosaur. He made an unusual choice. “I got razzed at rehearsals for scoring my Tyrannosaurus rex with a violin,” he admits.

But then Huckins has made a number of unorthodox creative decisions in the past year. It’s not every 22-year-old jazz piano teacher who recruits six composers from across the country to write musical scores for 1940s Superman cartoons, then organizes an 11-piece chamber orchestra to play the arrangements live, in a pit below cinema screenings of the animation. That’s what Huckins has pulled off with Filmusik: The Superman Orchestra, which plays its second run of shows this weekend at the NW Film Center’s Reel Music festival.

For his eight-minute cartoon, Huckins wrote a jazz-noir soundtrack to Fleischer Studios’ Arctic Giant. That film concerns a group of scientists who find a frozen dinosaur in Siberia, and haul it back to Metropolis—“and wouldn’t you know it,” Huckins says, “there’s a problem with their refrigeration units, and the ice melts.” Cue Clark Kent. And the violins.

Headout Picks

FRIDAY JAN. 23


[CLASSICAL] MUSIC FOR 18 MUSICIANS
Steve Reich’s 1976 epic has ascended to the status of one of the 20th century’s essential compositions. The composer coached and praised Third Angle’s previous take on 18 in 2000. Kaul Auditorium at Reed College, 3203 SE Woodstock Blvd., 331-0301. 7:30 pm. $25-$30.

[MUSIC] THE WALKMEN, BEACH HOUSE
New York’s finest moody, brooding, late-night rockers share the stage with the relaxed, hushed sounds of Beach House. Might be the best lineup of the year, and it’s still only January. Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell St., 284-8686. 9 pm. $15. All ages.

SATURDAY JAN. 24


[CONFESSIONS] MORTIFIED PORTLAND
People get up and read embarrassing teenage journal entries, poems, etc. in front of a crowd. Genius. Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th Ave., 248-1030. 8 pm Friday-Saturday Jan. 23-24. $10 advance, $12 at the door. Get tickets at getmortified.com/live.

[SPORT] ROSE CITY ROLLERS
Portland’s roller derby queens kick off a fourth season of bone-crushing mayhem. Portland Expo Center, 2060 N Marine Drive. Doors open at 5 pm. $14 general, $20 guaranteed seating. Get tickets at rosecityrollers.com or ticketswest.com.

SUNDAY JAN. 25


[WORDS] 100 POEMS BY 100 POETS FROM THE PAST 100 YEARSExperimental writing series Spare Room celebrates its 100th reading with a mondo poetry blowout that careens through a century of spoken history and subject matter. Gallery Homeland, 2505 SE 11th Ave., 819-9656. 2 pm to whenever. Free.

[MANBAND] FOURSCORE
The city’s inventive new classical manband is joined by the Ahs, the distaff singers of Roxy Consort and members of the Portland Cello Project. Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside St., 231-9663. 8 pm. $10.

TUESDAY JAN. 27


[MUSIC] ETHAN ROSE
Local sound architect Ethan Rose debuts his new material live from the Oaks Park roller rink. Did we mention the $10 entry fee also includes a free skate rental? Oaks Park, 7805 SE Oaks Park Way, 233-5777. 8 pm. $10. All ages.

[MUSIC] DEPARTMENT OF EAGLES
Grizzly Bear brethren Eagles play some of the most beautiful folk pop we’ve ever heard. Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside St., 231-9663. 9 pm. $12.50 advance, $14 day of show. 21+.


SEE IT: Filmusik: The Superman Orchestra performs at the Portland Art Museum’s Whitsell Auditorium, 1219 SW Park Ave., 221-1156. 7 pm Friday, 2 pm Saturday, Jan. 23-24. $10 students, $14 general. More info at thesupermanorchestra.com.
 
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