We’re digging deep this week into all of your burning questions.
What does it take to craft gigantic puppets for Broadway? Does art history as we know it need a drastic makeover? And how exactly did a small record label in Vancouver, Washington, come across new music from Prince that has them in a battle with the Purple One’s estate?
Local Puppet Legend Michael Curry Conjures The Myth Of Persephone With The Oregon Symphony – 1:24
This weekend, the Oregon Symphony will wade into the wonderful world of puppets with a production of “Persephone” (May 13–15). For the first time, it’s collaborating with Michael Curry, the puppet master behind the animals in the Broadway production of “The Lion King,” as well as Olympic opening ceremonies and other massive events. OPB’s Molly Solomon takes us to Curry’s massive warehouse in Scappoose, Oregon, to see his magical operations.
Shaking Up The Classics At Oregon Shakespeare Festival – 3:30
For our money, the hottest ticket at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival this spring is a show with an ancient story: “Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles,” which runs through July 6. It’s a retelling of Euripides’ classic tale of a princess witch who has followed her lover into exile in a foreign land. When he rejects her, she kills her own children in an act of vengeance. Adapted by the MacArthur-winning playwright Luis Alfaro, “Mojada” reforms the classic Greek tale into a story about Mexican immigrants trying to make it in Los Angeles.
World Premiered Play Asks: Is The American Dream All It’s Cracked Up To Be? – 10:21
Seattle-based playwright Yussef El Guindi scandalized Portland, in a good way, with the world premiere of his play “Threesome” at Portland Center Stage in 2015. It’s about a Muslim couple’s failed attempt to invite a non-Muslim into their bed, but there’s a lot more going on in the show than pillow talk. El Guindi returns to the dynamics of a troubled immigrant couple with his new play, “The Talented Ones,” which is getting its world premiere at Portland’s Artists Repertory Theater through May 21. You can find El Guindi’s full conversation on Think Out Loud here.
How Did Vancouver Become The Center Of A Fight Over Prince’s Music? – 17:42
Last month, when a Minnesota judge halted the release of an album featuring six previously unreleased songs from the late artist Prince, something caught our eye. The record label in the middle of the legal battle was a largely unknown company from Vancouver, Washington, called Rogue Music Alliance. Before a federal judge halted its release, the EP, “Deliverance,” was the top selling pre-order on iTunes, with the single “Deliverance” hitting the No. 1 rock single spot.
The Fallen Heroes Of Comic Book Writer Chris Sebela – 23:16
Chris Sebela’s comic “Heartthrob” is the furthest thing from a romance novel. With art by Robert Wilson, “Heartthrob” tells the story of a woman who gets a heart transplant that not only saves her life but also throws her into a chaotic affair with the man who originally housed the heart — or at least his specter. Turns out he was a criminal and wants her to carry on some unfinished heists. Turns out, Sebela has a thing for heroes with flaws, from the disgraced snowboard at the center of his hit graphic novel “High Crimes,” to the out-of-work movie monsters in “Screamland.”
opbmusic Session With Kelli Schaefer – 32:27
Portland songwriter Kelli Schaefer crafts ghostly rock songs that explore themes of capitalism and mortality — songs that are spurred by a big, dark voice that’s drawn comparisons to PJ Harvey. Her new album, “No Identity,” is a loosely-organized concept album following a family’s run-ins with tragedy and the mundane. Schaefer will perform at Mississippi Studios on May 16. Want a taste? Check out videos of her opbmusic session.
Why Everything You Need To Know You Did NOT Learn In Art History – 39:10
A little while ago, we had on the writer, artist and art activist Jennifer Rabin to talk about two projects she’s behind: Artists Resist and Art Passport PDX. (You can hear more about them here — and you still have several weeks to win $1,600 worth of artwork!) But the original reason we contacted her was to talk about an article she wrote for “Willamette Week” about the “Constructing Identities” exhibition at the Portland Art Museum. She wrote that her education in art history left her woefully unprepared to write about a show by African-American artists — or any underrepresented artist for that matter. So for our latest installment in our “What Are You Looking At?” series, we invited her to walk through the show with us.
“Constructing Identities” is up through June 18, and there’re so many opportunities to learn about the work in it, from a seminar about black womanhood on May 14 to a social justice festival on May 27 and a film series on Black Cinema at the NW Film Center until June 11.
Pendleton Center for the Arts Celebrates Local Work – 48:32
Often art is about seeing people and experiences not like your own. Then there’s the show that reads like a neighborhood block party, where everyone knows everyone. Pendleton Center for the Arts’ Open Regional show (up through June 23) is that kind of party. Every artist around Umatilla County is welcome to submit. We talk to a number of artists about their pieces, from an artist who painted a TV pink to a woman who painted a portrait of her daughter with her pet cat.
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