Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Arts Watch

Swashing buckles, and other theatrical hijinks

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Dear ArtsWatch friends,

We have a lot of enthusiasms among us here at ArtsWatch, and this particular corner of the sprawling journalistic enterprise has been pretty keen on the weekly swashbuckling of BBC America's The Musketeers.

From left: Damon Kupper, Andrew McGinn and Chris Harder unbuckle their swash in Cyrano at Portland Center Stage. Photo: Patrick Weishampel/
 Unfortunately, the Musketeers season has just ended, leaving us hanging over several cliffs. Fortunately, Portland Center Stage is swinging into the fray with a fresh version of Edmond Rostand's sword-and-poetry epic Cyrano de Bergerac(it's called just Cyrano here), and it's opening Friday night. Yes, we'll be there, ready to report. It's pretty much an all-Portland/Seattle production, with a lot of familiar faces, and, yes, we're hoping for the best. Will it stand out from the pack? Will it stack up against Steve Martin's fast-talking fireman Cyrano in the 1987 flick Roxanne? We're hoping. Then again, who nose?


Or maybe you prefer your nostalgia more specifically local, with a nod to the halcyon and sometimes renegade days of the Portland stage. If so, you're in luck. The stories should be pouring out Sunday afternoon at the Oregon Historical Society, when this month's "Second Sunday" series of panel discussions features "Glimpses on Portland Theater History." (You might hear, for instance, about the sweltering summer night when actor Peter Fornara stuck his head in a tub of cold water and almost didn't pull it back out.)

It's linked to Triangle Production's upcoming Storefront Revue: The Babes Are Back!, a look at the splendid anarchy of the old Storefront Theatre, but the panelists will be talking about the city's theater scene in general in the 1970s and '80s and wherever their memories take them. It's a top-notch group: actor/singer Julianne Johnson-Weiss, Milagro Theatre co-founder Jos√© Gonzales, Triangle's Don Horn. ArtsWatch's Bob Hicks (that's me) will be moderator, and attempt to herd the cats. It starts at 2 p.m. at the downtown history center, and we'll give plenty of time for you to ask questions and maybe roll out some stories of your own.


Urban Bush Women, coming to the Newmark.
Urban Bush Women, 30 and counting. The White Bird dance series brings back this terrific troupe of dancers that's been an American landmark and a Portland favorite almost from the time it was founded in 1984. The Bush Women will perform Thursday through Saturday nights at the Newmark Theatre, and the program contains two recent pieces – 2014's Hep Hep Sweet Sweet and Walking with 'Trane, Chapter 2 – along with the older favorite Give Your Hands to the Struggle, a solo from 1998's Hands Singing Song. This promises to be dance worth your time.

Hard to believe it's been 16 years since the mass shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado: enough time for a whole new generation to grow to high school age, and for more school shootings since then than we care to count. They happen, and we shudder, and they happen again. It's like some disastrous, bloodcurdling new normal. This weekendOregon Children's Theatre's Young Professionals Company opens a new play,Columbinus, that it calls "a meeting of fact and fiction that explores the events surrounding the shootings and brings to light the dark recesses of American adolescence. … (the play) draws from interviews, police evidence, and the private diaries of the shooters." Tough stuff, and meant for audiences ages 15 and up (13- and 14-year-olds will be admitted with a parent). It opens Fridayand plays weekends through April 19ticket information is here.



ArtsWatch links

Antonio Anacan as Tommy the pinball wizard in Eugene. Photo: Jan Christopher Meyers Photography

Turning rock opera into dance. As Eugene Ballet's Toni Pimble prepared for the opening of Tommy: The Ballet, her new adaptation of The Who's 1969 rock opera, Gary Ferrington interviewed her and other members of her creative team about the how, what, why, and, well, the Who of the thing.

Capturing the conscience of Tennessee Williams. Shaking the Tree has opened an impressive new production of Williams' starkly dreamlike 1958 drama Suddenly, Last Summer, and Christa McIntyre delves into its implications for ArtsWatch.

'The Price' is right. Artists Rep's rich and rhythmic new revival of Arthur Miller's 1968 drama The Price recalls the glories of mid-20th century American theatrical realism. It's a time trip well worth taking, we write.

April Music Watch. ArtsWatch's Brett Campbell has combed the monthly music calendar, bringing you a big list of the month's best bets on the music scene. Brett's monthly guide is the best thing we know of for keeping abs of what sounds good.

Cellist Ashia and her ensemble, Bison Rouge, play Slavic folk/pop in a pizzeria and chamber music with the Salem Chamber Orchestra in two shows this weekend. 


And finally...

We end with a couple of requests. First, if you have friends or family members who you think would enjoy our newsletter and our cultural writing online, could you please forward this letter to them? The bigger our circle of friends, the more we can accomplish. Second, if you're not already a member of ArtsWatch, may we ask you to please take a moment and sign on? What you give (and your donation is tax-deductible) makes it possible for us to continue and expand our reporting and commenting on our shared culture in Oregon. Thanks, and welcome! Becoming a member is SO easy:

Become a member now!

Thank you!

Bob Hicks
Writer and editor,
Oregon ArtsWatch

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 ArtsWatch Needs You!

ArtsWatch is your eyes and ears on the cultural scene in Portland and beyond. To keep our arts reporters, reviewers and essayists on the street and in the galleries, theaters and concert halls -- and to bring you even more of the good things we do  -- we need your help. It's easy to join online. The link will take you to our latest membership post. (Pictured: The Bitter Tonic, Adriaen Brouwer, ca. 1630-1640, oil on panel, Stadelsches Kunstinstut ind St√§dtische Galerie, Frankfurt am Main. He needs another shot of ArtsWatch, not another shot of bitter tonic.) 
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Monday, March 30, 2015

Hidden Meaning

Hear I am painting with my new found friend from Core Kitchen.

This new series is based on layers of meaning, of the earth, and our souls. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Secret Writting in Portland


My newest body of work is call "Secret Writing" and these six paintings showing at O'Donnell Group Realty in Portland, are some of the stronger works.
The office is at 1221 Everett in Portland.


Secret Writing and Cum Flavis Intermissis

Incipiens Album

Friday, January 9, 2015


New Work

"As Above So Below" 36x60 oil and wax on canvas framed in steel. $5000

Sunday, December 7, 2014

New Paintings

"Aitutaki" Oil and wax on prepared canvas.

"Morocco" 36x48 oil and wax on prepared canvas

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Art at the Eugene Hilton Hotel

 Having recently closed a show at the Coos Art Museum and at Oregon Wine LAB, I had many large works that needed a home. Jody Hall, manager of the Eugene Hilton, ask if I could supply some work. I walked around the hotel and ended up put in 10 pieces. They are on display now.
At the downstairs entrance
On the west wall of the conference area
Come down and take a look.