Hotseat: Julia Cooke, The Other Side of Paradise

Books Cuba is the great unknown in America’s backyard, embargoed from both trade and direct travel. But during visits between 2008 and 2013, Portland-raised writer Julia Cooke talked to Havana’s p ... More

Apr 9, 2014 12:01 am by MATTHEW KORFHAGE

Brian Doyle, The Plover

At sea.

Books Mink River, the 2010 novel by University of Portland professor Brian Doyle, ends with protagonist Declan O’Donnell sailing away into vast sea. Four years later, O’Donnell is back in Doyle’ ... More

Apr 2, 2014 12:01 am by KATHRYN PEIFER

Sharon Kay Penman, A King’s Ransom

The Lionheart in winter.

Books He spoke no English, sired no legitimate heir, and spent only six months of his 10-year reign on English soil, just long enough to levy taxes to pay for his military adventures in France and the ... More

Mar 5, 2014 12:01 am by MATT BUCKINGHAM

Elizabeth Kolbert, The Sixth Extinction

A hairy biped takes on survival of the fittest.

Books “One weedy species” will destroy earth as we know it, writes Elizabeth Kolbert in The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History (Henry Holt and Co., 336 pages, $28). As you might guess, we are that ... More

Feb 19, 2014 12:01 am by KATHRYN PEIFER

The Bison Went Unmilked

7 things you didn’t know about local cheese, courtesy of Tami Parr’s new book.

Books 1. Cheese as you know it literally couldn’t exist here before European settlement. Cows and goats are not native to North America, and were brought by Europeans. The Europeans also introduced o ... More

Feb 12, 2014 12:01 am by MATTHEW KORFHAGE

McKenzie Funk, Windfall

Dead polar bears, rich old white dudes.

Books Follow the money, Deep Throat said. McKenzie Funk has done just that in Windfall (Penguin Press, 310 pages, $27.95), which takes the author to two dozen countries to examine the economics of global wa ... More

Feb 5, 2014 12:01 am by LYLA ROWEN

Nick Turse, Kill Anything That Moves

It’s one, two, three, what are we fighting for...?

Books More than 10 years of research and 80 pages of references testify to the comprehensiveness of Nick Turse’s journalistic history of the Vietnam war, Kill Anything That Moves (Picador, 416 pages, ... More

Jan 29, 2014 12:01 am by LYLA ROWEN

Willy Vlautin, The Free

She healed my leg, and then my heart.

Books When WW asked author Willy Vlautin in 2010 what he was working on, he said he was writing a “nurse novel.” You know, kind of like Hemingway did with A Farewell to Arms. Alongside the penny W ... More

Jan 29, 2014 12:01 am by MATTHEW KORFHAGE

Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being

Time and a tapestry of narratives.

Books Time is a tricky thing. We are all subject to its effect, yet it remains smugly intangible. Writing a novel about the concept of time has the potential to be dangerously abstract or cliché. But R ... More

Jan 22, 2014 12:01 am by PENELOPE BASS

Langdon Cook, The Mushroom Hunters

You can’t spell fungus without fun.

Books There’s a bit of a vogue in mushroom pickers. From Burkhard Bilger’s picaresque 2007 piece in The New Yorker to a photo essay published this year on Slate.com that might as well have been fund ... More

Jan 8, 2014 12:01 am by MATTHEW KORFHAGE

You Too Are Made of Stars (Wobbly Dance)

Dancing by their own rules to rethink disability.

Dance Yulia Arakelyan remembers the first day of an improv dance class led by an experimental choreographer from San Francisco. “The elevator was broken that day,” she says. “I was carried up th ... More

Mar 26, 2014 12:01 am by AARON SPENCER

Metal Machine Music (Kogut Butoh)

Lou Reed, with white kimonos and candlelight.

Dance When Lou Reed’s album Metal Machine Music came out in 1975, critics assailed it as a contemptuous joke, a smack in their faces and an immature scrape with career suicide. Now, the album, a 64- ... More

Mar 5, 2014 12:01 am by AARON SPENCER

Luciana Proaño

From Peru to Portland, with poetry and hammocks.

Dance In 20 years of performing in Portland, Luciana Proaño has never gotten significant media attention. She acknowledges she could do more to promote herself, but by her nature—she improvises all ... More

Feb 12, 2014 12:01 am by AARON SPENCER

3x3 (POV Dance)

Climbing up walls and sliding down banisters.

Dance The last time POV Dance performed was in 2010, when the company balanced on windowsills and did handstands in the atrium of Southeast Portland’s Ford Building. The years since have been eventf ... More

Jan 8, 2014 12:01 am by AARON SPENCER

The Nutcracker

Busby goes big.

Dance The Nutcracker makes Busby Berkeley seem like an austere minimalist. Compared to that ballet’s sumptuous, self-satisfied bliss, synchronized swimming might as well be a hockey fight. Oregon Ba ... More

Dec 18, 2013 12:01 am by MATTHEW KORFHAGE

American Me (Mizu Desierto)

Stars and stripes and spoon-fed absurdity.

Dance When you think of butoh—if you think of anything at all—it’s probably bald guys in G-strings and white body paint staggering around like mimes on acid. That generalization bothers Mizu Des ... More

Dec 4, 2013 12:01 am by AARON SPENCER

Float (TopShakeDance)

Cuttin’ a rug here, under the sea.

Dance Swim instructors will tell you that floating on your back is a nifty trick for staying alive when stranded in a body of water. It’s an act that involves a sort of urgent calm: Either relax o ... More

Oct 30, 2013 12:01 am by AARON SPENCER

Punk de Bourrée

How ballet and punk rock keep a Wisconsin farm boy from flying off the rails.

Dance Growing up, Michael Linsmeier milked cows in rural Wisconsin. His family lived in a town of 1,600 people along the shores of Lake Michigan and grew half the food they ate. Linsmeier spent most o ... More

Oct 9, 2013 12:01 am by AARON SPENCER

Alchemy (Lindsey Matheis)

Dance dance revolution.

Dance Lindsey Matheis is trying to reinvent the way Portland does dance—at least this weekend. That she’s attempting it at all is surprising, considering her quiet, agreeable manner. “It’s not ... More

Sep 4, 2013 12:01 am by AARON SPENCER

Light Noise (Lucy Yim)

Contemporary dance strips down and flops around.

Dance On a Sunday afternoon, in a studio off Southeast Foster Road littered with old blankets, Lucy Yim turns from her dancers to me. “We’re actually going to do the run in costume,” she says. ... More

Aug 21, 2013 12:01 am by AARON SPENCER

The Bard of Lithia

A trip to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival revitalizes an exhausted theater critic.

Performance “Uh-oh! We have a critic!” It’s Friday afternoon at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and I have just been outed. Sitting in the sixth row of the Angus Bowmer Theatre, I feel 600 sets of ... More

Apr 9, 2014 12:01 am by REBECCA JACOBSON

Sidekicks

Holding out for a hero.

Performance Like the Justice League meets The Office, Sidekicks imagines the everyday drudgery of being a superhero—and the particular travails of playing second fiddle to the big shots. Set in a land calle ... More

Apr 9, 2014 12:01 am by REBECCA JACOBSON

Little Bit Helps

Kristine Levine serves budding comics with constructive criticism.

Performance The diplomatic version is that Kristine Levine is not a huge fan of comedy open-mic nights. But anyone who knows Levine, a blue-collar East Portland comedienne whose last appearance in these pag ... More

Apr 2, 2014 12:01 am by MARTIN CIZMAR

Midsummer (Third Rail Repertory)

Love, Elmo and Japanese rope bondage, set to song.

Performance Spring is often referred to as the season of love. But for Bob and Helena, two unlikely lovers on the streets of Edinburgh, the solstice is when the magic happens. Midsummer is modestly subtitle ... More

Apr 2, 2014 12:01 am by DEBORAH KENNEDY

Hotseat: Aziz Ansari

The whip-smart comedian talks romance in the digital age.

Performance Aziz Ansari has some of the sharpest standup out there right now. Unlike many other comics, the Parks and Recreation star doesn’t just stop at oddball observations, but puts in the necessary bra ... More

Mar 26, 2014 12:01 am by REBECCA JACOBSON, DEBORAH KENNEDY

Crash Corset

A burlesque skeptic spends 10 sequined weeks learning the art of the tease—and how to make tear-away pants.

Performance Headmistress Zora Phoenix wears 5-inch pumps and a black leotard. It’s a Saturday afternoon in January, and the drag queen is instructing us to walk to the mirror and “look sexy.” She demo ... More

Mar 19, 2014 12:01 am by AARON SPENCER

At Full Tilt

On-the-rise comic Beth Stelling talks fan mail, tilted uteruses and tankinis.

Performance When you Google “Beth Stelling,” the first link that comes up is for the comedian’s website: sweetbeth.com. But click on that site, and your browser will try to take you to an online pharm ... More

Mar 19, 2014 12:01 am by DEBORAH KENNEDY

Next Fall

Better believe it.

Performance As Next Fall begins, the cast stands on the edge of the dimly lit stage. Suddenly, the discordant sounds of a car crash ring out, and James Sharinghousen reels backward, arms flailing. We learn ... More

Mar 19, 2014 12:01 am by LAUREN TERRY

The Race Is On

W. Kamau Bell on racism and ninjas.

Performance W. Kamau Bell wants to make you uncomfortable. Bell, one of the sharpest voices on race and politics in today’s comedy scene, has no qualms about calling out people’s assumptions, hypocrisie ... More

Mar 12, 2014 12:01 am by REBECCA JACOBSON

Lear (Bag & Baggage)

Shakespeare goes steampunk.

Performance “We do things differently in the suburbs.” So said Scott Palmer, artistic director of Hillsboro’s Bag & Baggage Productions, in a pre-show introduction to Lear, a stripped-down, corseted ... More

Mar 12, 2014 12:01 am by DEBORAH KENNEDY

Eye River

Supersize versions of old logging tools.

Visual Arts If you’ve walked, biked or driven down Southeast Clay Street in recent weeks, you may have noticed Portland’s newest public art. They’re three sculptures by artist Linda Wysong, collective ... More

Mar 26, 2014 12:01 am by RICHARD SPEER

Portland2014

Oregon only, please.

Visual Arts Where do you find the pulse of Portland? If you ask artsy types, they’re apt to direct you to Disjecta’s ambitious biennial exhibition, Portland2014. The nonprofit began mounting biennials i ... More

Mar 5, 2014 12:01 am by RICHARD SPEER

Deville Cohen, ZERO

There are heroes and there are zeros.

Visual Arts When you enter Disjecta’s main exhibition space, you’re confronted with an 8-foot-high wall wrapping around something you can’t see. It’s dingy and cheap-looking, made out of white scree ... More

Feb 12, 2014 12:01 am by RICHARD SPEER

Your Steps Were Lost in the Landscape

A photojournalist makes art of death.

Visual Arts The sun is setting through a line of trees, casting a golden glow upon a man who lies sleeping alongside a dirt road. Except he’s not sleeping—he’s dead. That chilling revelation hits yo ... More

Jan 8, 2014 12:01 am by RICHARD SPEER

The Best Things I Saw

Richard Speer’s picks for the year’s best visual art.

Visual Arts When you look back over the year, it’s kind of like that segment on the Academy Awards where they flash pictures of all the movie people who died. That’s the way Portland gallerygoers feel ... More

Dec 24, 2013 12:01 am by RICHARD SPEER

Dispatch From Art Basel

Bienvenidos a Miami.

Visual Arts One could be forgiven, especially after a mojito or two, for mistaking Miami Beach’s Collins Drive for Portland’s Northwest Everett Street during the annual mega-art fair known as Art Basel ... More

Dec 11, 2013 12:01 am by RICHARD SPEER

Lucinda Parker, All Clouds Choose the Loftiest Peak...

The many moods of Mount Hood.

Visual Arts I never bought into the cult of Lucinda Parker. Sure, the veteran painter is respected, she’s been in a jillion biennials, and there are more paintings by her in West Hills mansions than there ... More

Nov 27, 2013 12:01 am by RICHARD SPEER

Joshua Lutz, Hesitating Beauty

Lend me your eyes...

Visual Arts Childhood memories often play through the 8 mm lens of The Wonder Years, set on a Slip ’N Slide behind a picket fence on a sunny day. Think harder, though, and you’ll remember more bogeyman-fi ... More

Nov 13, 2013 12:01 am by RICHARD SPEER

Tom Cramer and Sherrie Wolf

With art like this, who needs porn?

Visual Arts Rainy autumn skies have arrived in Portland, but inside the Laura Russo Gallery, spring is still in full bloom. In Tom Cramer’s Continuum and Sherrie Wolf’s Stills, flowers take center stage. ... More

Oct 16, 2013 12:01 am by RICHARD SPEER

Contemporary Northwest Art Awards

Four states, one giant room.

Visual Arts Over the spring and summer, I went on art-related trips to New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and in none of those cities did I encounter a museum show that breathed as expansively as the ... More

Oct 2, 2013 12:01 am by RICHARD SPEER
 

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