Tag Archives: Mead Hunter

What’s old is new: Wm Shkspr in PDX

  • Portland Shakespeare Project’s Michael Mendelson talks about big casts, big dreams, and the allure of the classics

"The Weird Sisters," Henry Fuseli, 1783. Wikimedia Commons.

By Bob Hicks

Michael Mendelson is sitting at his regular table at Kornblatt’s Delicatessen in Northwest Portland, where he is greeted warmly by name and the waitress checks back on him more often than the line cooks slap classic corned beef and pastrami sandwiches on the busy kitchen’s window. Your regular, Michael? He smiles and nods. Soon his crisp bagel and mound of lox are at hand.

Michael Mendelson, artistic director of the new Portland Shakespeare Project, as Gayev in "The Cherry Orchard" at Artists Repertory Theatre. Photo: OwenCarey/2011.After all these years in Portland as one of the city’s best and busiest actors, Mendelson is still an industrial Midwest big city boy in certain inalienable ways, including his appetite for honest-to-god deli food, which you can’t much get around here except at oases like Kornblatt’s and Kenny & Zuke’s. He also stands out in spite of himself for a certain reserved elegance that is common in the neighborhoods of older cities but almost an oddity in loosey goosey Portland. At times Mendelson carries the hint of an Old World gentleman, a man of quietly impeccable business affairs. Here he is, an actor, on his way to the rehearsal hall (he’s playing Gayev in Artists Rep’s current production of The Cherry Orchard), sitting in a deli wearing a tie and dress shirt, perfect-length cuffs buttoned and jacket slung carefully over the adjacent chair. Let other people keep Portland weird. Mendelson will keep it rooted, thank you very much.

Of late Mendelson has been devoting much of his time to a massive new project: the launching of the Portland Shakespeare Project, a summer company that will make its debut July 13-August 7 with the comedy As You Like It, featuring Darius Pierce as Touchstone, Cristi Miles as Rosalind, Melissa Whitney as Celia, and original music by the noted singer/songwriter Mary Kadderly. You might not have heard of PSP (Mendelson is founder and artistic director) but the city’s actors have. More than 175 sent head shots and resumes. Mendelson and staff saw more than 100 in initial audition, called back 42, and finally cast 16 for 21 roles.

Continue reading What’s old is new: Wm Shkspr in PDX

Links: weaving, ‘BoomCrackleFly,’ more

By Bob Hicks

A few Friday hot links to go with your early-weekend bagel and eggs:

Laurie Herrick, "Three Giraffes," 1970. Linen, cotton and wool, 72 x 32 inches. Collection of Museum of Contemporary Craft in partnership with Pacific Northwest College of Art, gift of Ken Shores; 2006.05.01. Photo: Dan Kvitka.

Leave ’em hanging: In this morning’s A&E section of The Oregonian I reviewed Laurie Herrick: Weaving Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, the new show at the Museum of Contemporary Craft. Herrick was a prominent loom weaver in Portland beginning in the late 1950s; she died in 1995. And she was well aware of art trends, as her ca. 1970 Op Art wall hanging Three Giraffes, shown here, attests. Teaser: “If Jackson Pollock created action painting, this is action weaving.” Read the review here.

Coolest-sounding show in town: Speaking trippingly on the tongue, that would be BoomCrackleFly, the brashly smooshed-together title of Charise Castro Smith‘s new play, which opens tonight at Miracle Theatre.

On Blogorrhea, Mr. Mead Hunter has a crackling-good interview of his own with Smith, in which he questions her, among other things, about how the theater is going to pull off the vision of “people bobbing in a world covered in water.” To which, in part, she replies: “I think one of the great things about theater is the fact that if an actor stands on stage and says something is true, then at that moment it’s true. It’s the huge imaginative possibility of theater to call all sorts of things into being with language.” Read the interview here.

Paper dance: What’s old is new. What’s outre is cool. We’re talking newspapers. The printed page. Good old-fashioned hold-it-in-your-hands-and-flip-the-page minimalism. Who’s reviving this retro craft? Why, Portland’s contemporary dance scene, that’s who (or what). We’ve been hearing rumors of the impending birth of a local dance newspaper, and now Marty Hughley has the inside scoop on Oregon Live (which is the not-printed version of the printed Oregonian). It’ll be called Front. Read the story here. And read Alison Hallett’s take on The Mercury’s Blogtown here.

Lanford Wilson, R.I.P.: The noted American playwright, whose many works were frequently staged in Portland, died on Thursday at age 73. Wilson‘s career spanned Off-Off, Off, and Broadway in addition to lots and lots of regional productions, and ranged from early hits such as The Hot l Baltimore to his Talley Trilogy (Talley & Son, Talley’s Folly, Fifth of July) and the high-octane Burn This. Several seasons ago he was the featured artist for Profile Theatre, the Portland company that spends each of its seasons exploring the works of a single playwright. At a time when household-name playwrights are pretty much a thing of the past (is Edward Albee the last of that breed?) Wilson was one of the noble practitioners who have kept the fabulous invalid alive and vigorously kicking. Read Margalit Fox’s obituary for the New York Times here.

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Laurie Herrick, “Three Giraffes,” 1970. Linen, cotton and wool, 72 x 32 inches. Collection of Museum of Contemporary Craft in partnership with Pacific Northwest College of Art, gift of Ken Shores; 2006.05.01. Photo: Dan Kvitka.

Art Scatter officially runs off at mouth

prolific-blogger-award

Here at Art Scatter World Headquarters we’re identifying proudly these days with the good townswomen of River City, Iowa, in The Music Man: “Pick a little, talk a little, pick a little, talk a little, cheep cheep cheep, talk a lot, pick a little more.”

With emphasis on the “talk a lot.”

Thanks to the silver-tongued Mead Hunter of Blogorrhea and The Editing Room, who generously passed this honor along to us, we are now recipients of the coveted Prolific Blogger Award, a sort of Oscar for best supporting prattler. In other words: You can’t shut us up. Mrs. Scatter made passing reference to this blogospheric milestone in this post, in which she got all sentimental and teary-eyed over Mr. Mead’s enshrining of her with the honorific “retinue.”

But we blather.

Here’s what it’s all about. Adhering to the biblical code of sevens (like Joseph and his dream-interpretations), the Prolific Blogger Award moves in waves. Each recipient must in turn pay it forward to seven other bloggers who feed the beast regularly. They must also link to the original PBA post (we did that above; it’s on the blog Advance Booking) and, most confoundingly, hook up with the mysteriously named Mister Linky.

Our friend and benefactor Mr. Mead has noted the dismaying phenomenon of once-prolific bloggers who have fallen by the wayside, some no doubt waylaid by the strumpet sirens of Twitter, Buzz and Facebook; others perhaps realizing that there is Life on the Other Side. Yet we found many good and noble blogs worthy of this award. Without further ado ….

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN


Noble Viola
. Charles Noble, assistant principal violist for the Oregon Symphony, subtitles his blog Life on the Working End of the Viola, and that’s the view he gives you: the world of art music from the inside. It’s smart, provocative, sometimes funny, and almost always illuminating. A good musician isn’t always a good writer. Noble is. Like Lenny Bernstein, he knows how to use words to get inside sounds.

Rose City Reader. You’d think RCR would already own the franchising rights to the Prolific Blogger Award. A busy lawyer by day, she’s a compulsive reader, list-maker and blogger by night (or maybe early morning). Her reading is catholic, roaming from classics to contemporary lit to arcane food-and-drink books to history, politics, and the occasional P.G. Wodehouse caper. And she writes about her literary adventures with wit and savvy independence.

Portland Through My Lens. Having completed (with occasional additions) the terrific Fifty Two Pieces, in which she and a friend spent a year writing about art and artists connected to the Portland Art Museum, LaValle Linn has picked up her camera and embarked on this visual adventure, recording life and images around and about Portland’s streetcar line. Following it is like taking your morning coffee in a different little hangout every day.

Portland Architecture. If you build it, they will argue. Brian Libby’s ambitious blog serves the dual purpose of keeping up with the city’s maze of architectural news and providing a platform for architects and planners and citizen-advocates to vent on issues as broad-ranging as neighborhood design and the fates of Memorial Coliseum and the Rose Quarter.

Powell’s Books Blog. We aren’t sure who actually puts this together, but Portland’s iconic bookstore runs an excellent blog. It’s wide-ranging, with lots of topics and lots of guest bloggers, often writers with fresh books on the market. Sure, it’s a commercial blog, but it pops with good writing and stimulating ideas. You can never keep up with what’s going on in the publishing biz, but this is a good start.

Splattworks. Playwright Steve Patterson’s blog begins with matters theatrical but often veers sharply into other obsessions, from photography to guitars to the inanities of the political world (on which he can be witheringly caustic). Smart, funny, passionate; a blog of admirable exasperations.

Eva Lake. A lively checking-point for gallery hoppers. The artist and journalist Eva Lake, whose Art Focus program on KBOO-FM features often fascinating interviews with Portland artists and curators, tracks what’s happening on the city’s art scene.

Link of the day: Whose art is it, anyway?

Bill Eppridge, "Barstow to Vegas Motorcycle Race," 1971

Regina Hackett poses some provocative questions on her blog Another Bouncing Ball at Arts Journal:

When is a quote a steal? When is it an homage? Are the rules different in writing and in visual art? Bill Eppridge, the photographer who caught this terrific aerial shot in 1971 (it’s called Barstow to Vegas Motorcycle Race) is steamed because Seattle artist Deborah Faye Lawrence appropriated it to use as the sky image in her 2008 collage The Mysterious Allure of Rural America. Click on Another Bouncing Ball to see Lawrence’s work and compare for yourself.

I won’t repeat Eppridge’s argument, or Hackett’s response to it. (Lawrence isn’t quoted). The post is short, and you can get it all there — plus an interesting string of comments. I’ll just say, this is tricky ground. Nothing’s original, but some things are more original than others.

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Also worth checking out: Theatrical luminaries Mr. Mead at Blogorrhea and Steve Patterson at Splattworks have hooked into the release of the new book Outrageous Fortune: The Life and Times of the New American Play, which gets down to some of the deep dark issues of how … well, plays fit into the contemporary American theater scene. Well worth reading, and also the followups at Parabasis. (And don’t miss Chicago Trib critic Chris Jones’s review of the book.)

The Beggar’s Opera: Satire for Stumptown

UPDATE: Also read David Stabler’s feature on Stephen Marc Beaudoin’s adaptation of “The Beggar’s Opera” in Tuesday’s Oregonian. David digs a little more deeply into the social politics of the adaptation. See his story here on Oregon Live, or with bigger versions of Brian Lee’s rehearsal photos in The O’s dead-tree edition.

William Hogarth, scene from The Beggar's Opera, 1728. Tate Gallery/Wikimedia Commons

ABOVE: William Hogarth, “The Beggar’s Opera,” 1728. Tate Gallery/Wikimedia Commons. INSET BELOW: Scot Crandal (Mack) and Emily Zahniser (Lucy) in Opera Theater Oregon’s “The Beggar’s Opera.” Photo: Katie Taylor, Opera Theater Oregon

“What think you, of a Newgate pastoral among the thieves and whores there?”

Jonathan Swift, casting about for a fresh entertainment for the London stage, made this modest proposal to his friend and fellow satirist Alexander Pope in 1716.

A dozen years later (people took their time in the 18th century) their friend John Gay picked up the idea, turning it from a pastoral into a satire on Italian opera and creating the succes de scandale of 1728, The Beggar’s Opera.

Thieves and whores there were aplenty, plus a clutch of unfortunate impregnations, a few double-crosses, a near-hanging, and a sardonically happy ending. The satire had targets a mile wide, perhaps the broadest being the notable Whig politician Robert Walpole, and the entertainment managed to stay just this side of the censors and the libel courts. It was witty enough in its savagery that many of its targets seemed to take it all as good sport, laughing with the rest of the audience as they were being lampooned.

Scot Crandal (Mack) and Emily Zahniser (Lucy). Opera Theater Oregon "The Beggar's Opera," coming in October 2009. Photo credit: Katie Taylor, Opera Theater OregonSwift and Pope seem good midwives, or perhaps godfathers, for The Beggar’s Opera, which echoes the incisive mockery and shocking entertainment value of Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels and Pope’s The Rape of the Lock. In addition, Gay’s opera had songs69 familiar tunes given new lyrics that sometimes, to the delight of London crowds, seemed scooped fresh from the gutter.

And it was topical. The allusions flew as fast and thick as anything on The Daily Show, and often with a lot more bite.

Which is where Stephen Marc Beaudoin comes in.

Beaudoin, a young singer and writer who hit town from Boston a few years ago with a degree from the New England Conservatory of Music and a ton of ambition, promptly stirred up a storm with a string of sometimes scathing performance reviews in Willamette Week, Just Out and The Mercury. To some he was the devil. To others he was the voice of truth.

Either way, he hasn’t played it safe. He also performs in Portland frequently, giving his critics plenty of chances to take their own shots. (He performs well enough that those shots generally misfire.) And starting Thursday, the audaciously hellzapoppin Opera Theater Oregon presents his new, freewheeling version of The Beggar’s Opera, which he has adapted and directed, and which has a new score by Michael Herrman of the band Buoy LaRue. It opens at the Someday Lounge in Old Town and later transfers to The Woods, an old funeral parlor turned music hall in Sellwood.

Continue reading The Beggar’s Opera: Satire for Stumptown

Not out of the woods yet: Arts groups in a fiscal thicket

Hansel and Gretel, illus. Arthur Rackham, 1909. Wikimedia CommonsThe smashing success of last Friday’s Dance United gala benefit notwithstanding, it’s a Grimm world out there right now for Portland’s arts organizations: There go Hansel and Gretel, trailing bread crumbs as they traipse into the thick of the woods, and here come the birds, pecking away at the crumbs so there’s no trail out again.

There must be some way out of here. What Hansel and Gretel and the Oregon Symphony and Oregon Ballet Theatre and all-classical radio and Portland Center Stage and the rest need is a financial GPS.

For arts groups here and elsewhere, the fissures of the global economic meltdown have become a chasm, a canyon carved by the raging River Deficit. Given the state of the financial union it’s astonishing that Oregon Ballet Theatre has managed to almost wipe out its $750,000 emergency shortfall in less than a month. Celebrate this as a victory, because a victory it surely is.

But the sobering truth is, it’s only the beginning. Now the hard, tough work begins. And it’s going to be extremely difficult keeping up the sort of adrenalin that has at least temporarily pulled OBT back from the brink.

This string of financial crises has predictably pulled out the trollers, the mocking wise guys who laugh and declare that if arts groups can’t survive in the marketplace, they deserve to die (presumably, like Bank of America and General Motors). These loudmouths understand nothing about the not-for-profit world, or if they do understand it, they despise it with every fiber in their rugged-individualist, social-Darwinist bodies. Ignore them. They are happiest when someone shouts back.

Even among arts people the current crisis has inspired a lot of hand-wringing about “dead art forms” and the possibility that in an age of radically new media and runaway-success popular art forms, ┬ápeople just don’t care any more about things like dance and serious music.

I don’t buy it. In a way, the “traditional” arts have never been more popular. The Oregon Symphony, which has piled up a $1.5 million deficit in the just-ending fiscal year, sold more tickets in the just-past season than ever before. OBT is playing to packed, enthusiastic houses. Portland Center Stage keeps extending its Storm Large musical hit, Crazy Enough. Radio market share at KQAC, Portland’s all-classical station, is booming. As I make the rounds I see good-sized crowds at fringe events, too, from puppet shows to new vaudeville to cold readings of new play scripts. Dance and classical music, for all their financial woes, are undergoing a renaissance sparked by rigorously trained and exquisitely talented young performers — the very people who are supposed to have defected to American Idol and Twitter and “reality” TV. What’s more, they’re extending the boundaries of their art forms, reinterpreting them for today’s world even as they keep their heritages alive.

And audiences have responded. If there’s a crisis — and there is — it isn’t a lack of enthusiastic audiences, who are finding ways to continue to participate even in the midst of their own financial travails. The thirst for art is real, and our greatest hope for long-term optimism.

So what’s the problem?

Continue reading Not out of the woods yet: Arts groups in a fiscal thicket

Rocco at the NEA: The new arts czar shakes things up

What happens when you invite a rough-and-tumble whiskey guy to the vicar’s garden tea party? We’re about to find out. Last week President Obama nominated Rocco Landesman to be the next chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, and suddenly crumpets beneath the arbor seem a little tame.

The NEA takes Shakespeare to AmericaLandesman, who owns and runs Jujamcyn Theaters on Broadway, is no not-for-profit guy. He takes chances and he makes money (and sometimes he loses it). He likes baseball, country music and horse racing, and he’s never been much for touchy-feely collaboration: He likes to run the show.

This is a guy, it seems, who’d as soon smash the not-for-profit cup as paint it with pretty posies.

So why are so many arts types beaming at the possibilities? “Rocco is no diplomat, but he’d blow the dust off a moribund organization that has contented itself in recent years with a policy equivalent of art appreciation,” Portland theater guy Mead Hunter writes approvingly on Bloghorrea. Christopher Knight at the L.A. Times’ Culture Monster says the whole thing startled him because he’d almost forgotten there was an NEA.

And a friend in New York arts circles is ecstatic, even if Landesman turns out to be a short-termer. “A lot of the time the guy who kicks a hole in the wall is not the same guy who goes through the wall,” she says. Of course, she adds, kicking a hole is no guarantee. The next person can either walk to the other side, or patch the wall and return to life as usual.

Certainly Landesman’s record as a theater leader — and increasingly, as an industry spokesman — is strong. Jujamcyn has five shows on Broadway right now, including “Hair,” “33 Variations” and “Desire Under the Elms,” and Landesman’s had a hand in shows as important as “Angels in America,” “Spring Awakening,” “The Producers,” “Grey Gardens,” the great August Wilson’s Broadway productions, the revivals of “Gypsy” and “Sweeney Todd,” “Big River” and “Doubt.”

He raised both hackles and hopes when he accused the not-for-profit theater world of acting too much like the commercial theater. It was an elephant-in-the-living-room comment, and not calculated to keep things warm and fuzzy. Is it true? In what ways? What’s the difference between for-profit and not-for-profit in the cultural world? I have my views. It’d be fascinating to hear yours. Hit that comment button and let’s start a conversation.

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The National Endowment for the Arts is a federal bureaucracy, and that makes its chairmanship an intensely political position. What began in a burst of optimism in 1965 as a part of the Great Society — Lyndon Johnson’s push to expand the economic and cultural advantages of the urban East to all corners of the country — devolved by the 1980s into an unwilling infantry skirmish in the nation’s cynical “culture wars.” The NEA, a truly democratic bureaucracy, was targeted by right-wing radical warriors as a breeding ground of unAmericanism, and its survival was thrown in doubt, although enemies such as Sen. Jesse Helms and polemicist Pat Buchanan needed it as a whipping boy.

Oregon lawyer John Frohnmayer, appointed NEA boss by the first President Bush, quickly learned it was all about politics. Pressured from the right and challenged from the left, he tried to parse the difference and ended up pleasing no one, especially after fumbling the divisive “NEA Four” case in 1990. The upshot: The NEA was weakened further, Frohnmayer lost his job, and he was born again as a First Amendment crusader. Free speech, he learned, doesn’t come free.

In the new storyline Dana Gioia, George W. Bush’s NEA chief, is the nice boring guy who threw the tea party that Landesman’s about to smash up. And there’s no doubt, the NEA has been far more timid than most people in the arts world would like it to be.

But different times call for different politics, and Gioia was stuck with the time he got. The man was no dummy. Yes, he was a soothe-the-ruffled-feathers guy. Yes, he emphasized things like folk arts and tended to bestow honors on the obvious sort of people who get hauled out to perform on public television pledge week. Yes, he oversold the tried-and-true and ducked the controversial.

But he also saved the endowment’s skin. After years of shrinking budgets and Congressional threats to kill the agency off, he steered the NEA away from the culture wars and succeeded in getting some modest boosts in its budget. He emphasized spreading the money around to small-population states and rural areas as well as the country’s cultural capitals, and he finally succeeded in persuading most of Congress that the arts are a good thing, even if he had to slap a smiley face on the product to push the sale through.

One thing sticks in my memory. Oregon was going through yet another of its periodic budget crises a few years ago and the state Legislature, looking for ways to cut costs, was floating the idea of killing the already slimly financed Oregon Arts Commission, which among other things funnels money from the NEA to recipients in the state.

I called Gioia and asked him what he thought of it. Well, gee, he replied, the problem is, we have this federal money to give out, and if there’s no state agency to give it to, we can’t legally give any of it to anyone in Oregon. Oregon’s share would have to go to other states. And that would be too bad. But of course, legally, our hands would be tied.

Nice, quick, apologetic, to the point — and very effective. That’s politics.

If Landesman shakes things up, it’ll be because the time has come to do some shaking. That’s politics, too.

Cut to the quick: PCS axes Mead Hunter, four others

Mead Hunter, portrait by Gwenn SeemelI come home from a few days in the rainylands to the north to discover that it’s been pouring in Portland — not just rain, but bad news.

Portland Center Stage, the city’s flagship theater company, has laid off five people, including literary manager Mead Hunter, one of the most popular and respected people in the city’s theater scene.

Mead’s assistant, Megan Ward, also got the pink slip, as did workers in the box office, information technology and facilities departments. At a company that has staked its identity largely on its commitment to developing new plays, Hunter and Ward were the entire literary department. It ain’t no more. I’m not sure this is what Samuel Beckett had in mind when he came up with Endgame, but the word does have its applications.

And the economic hurricane keeps howling on.
On his Web site Blogorrhea, one of our favorites, Mead gave the reason for the layoffs as “disastrous budgeting miscalculations paired with the moribund global economy.” Trouble is, the moribund (a kind word, given the circumstances) global economy has rendered budgeting calculations disastrous all over the place. This story is being repeated over and over, with adjustments in the details. To all of those people who think the arts are expendable frills that can be cut without harming anyone: a laid-off teacher or automotive worker or line cook or newspaper editor or mill worker or theater employee are the same. Not a one of them has a job any more, and unless they had the luck to nab a tinted parachute of some sort, not a one has an income.

Mead Hunter’s name doesn’t mean much to the theatergoing public. He’s not an actor. He’s not a director. He doesn’t run the company or give curtain speeches. But every business has its insiders, the people who know how things work, who get things done, who put things together, who teach and support and reach out and sometimes keep things loose by cracking exactly the right joke at exactly the right time. In Portland theater, Hunter was that guy. People in the business know him, and respect him, and like him very much, and a lot of them have him to thank for nudges he’s given their careers, in subtle and sometimes prominent ways.

Hunter’s role has been far bigger than his title. Portland Center Stage is the elephant in the living room of Portland theater, the great big company that gets all the attention, and almost inevitably that has bred resentment among others on the scene. Mead may have been the company’s finest ambassador. He paid attention to the rest of the city’s theaters and theater people, took them seriously, lent his services, nurtured them when he could, always with gentlemanly courtesy and competence. You can’t buy public relations like that. Sometimes you can’t pay for it, either.

This is a tough day for Hunter, and his four laid-off co-workers, and Portland Center Stage, and the city’s theater scene in general. In one sense the layoffs are a modest cut, especially compared to the huge slashes that have rocked some other industries: Center Stage had 105 names on its staff roster before the cuts, which makes the reduction less than 5 percent. But in every organization, a few people represent the soul of the place, and when you lose them you lose something indefinable but vital. Read the comments on Hunter’s Web site — well over 40 the last time I looked — and you’ll get a sense of what I mean.

For other good perspectives, see this post on Culture Shock by CS regular Cynthia Fuhrman, Center Stage’s marketing and communications chief, and these comments by fellow Scatterer Barry Johnson on his Oregonian blog, Portland Arts Watch.

Portland onstage: of ghosts and vampires

The Turn of the Screw/Portland Opera“This score is my bible,” David Schiff, the Portland composer of the chamber opera Gimpel the Fool and a lot of other good music, said with a big smile.

It was Friday night, and I’d run into Schiff as I was leaving the opening performance of Benjamin Britten‘s The Turn of the Screw at Portland Opera. Schiff loves Britten for several reasons, but in this case he was thinking of Britten as a shining example of how to orchestrate an opera for only a dozen instruments and have it sound full and brilliant and just right. He didn’t use the word “busy” about Britten’s score, but he talked about its muscularity, the way Britten used his limited number of instruments to maximum effect, stretching their sound and matching the dramatic texture of Myfanwy Piper‘s libretto, which is based on Henry James‘s mystifyingly open-ended ghost novella.

I’d been thinking about the opera’s orchestration because the topic came up in the pre-performance talk by Bob Kingston,
who also writes the interesting blog dramma per musica. That got me to listening particularly closely to the orchestra, which was conducted with admirable precision by Christopher Larkin, and to noticing how well Britten combined tautness and lushness to bring out the strange, screw-tightening tensions of James’s tale.

Continue reading Portland onstage: of ghosts and vampires

We’re No. 1 with a dart! (pass it along)

Actually, it’s a multiply shared No. 1, a sort of pay-it-forward No. 1, a chain-letter pat on the back that feels nice and warm and fuzzy.

From somewhere out of the blue (OK, it was from our cyberspace friend Rose City Reader, the literary omnivore who in the real world hangs out just a few blocks away) comes to Art Scatter the Premios Dardo Award.

It’s not the Nobel, it’s not an Oscar or even a Pulitzer. But neither is it a Bernie Madoff-style Ponzi scheme. No money changes hands (isn’t that just life in the blogosphere, though?). The Premios Dardo robs no one of their dignity or life savings. It’s simply a way of saying, we like what you do, and we’d like you to tell us whose work you admire on the Web. Fair enough. A lot of wheezing takes place on the Net, and one good way to get to the fresh air is to listen to recommendations from people you trust.

We haven’t been able to track down where the Premios Dardo Awards began or who’s behind them, but it really doesn’t matter. By this point it’s a crazy quilt stretched loosely across the globe, and we’re happy to add our few stitches to the pattern. (As near as our feeble translating abilities can figure out, by the way, “Premios Dardo” means roughly “Top Dart.”)

Here are the rules:

1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person that has granted the award and his or her blog link.

2) Pass the award to another 15 blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment.

3) Remember to contact each of them to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

So, here goes. Here’s our pick of 15, listed in that boring-but-still-useful old alphabetical order. If you haven’t already, give ’em a look. You might find some new friends:

Bunny With an Art Blog

Charles Noble’s Daily Observations

Culture Shock

Dave Allen’s Pampelmoose

Dramma per Musica

Little Red Bike Cafe

Mark Russell’s CulturePulp

Mead Hunter’s Blogorrhea

Port

Portland Architecture

Portland Spaces/Burnside Blog

Reading Copy Book Blog

Splattworks

Third Angle Music Blog

TJ Norris