The Latest in Portland Arts News—TEDx, Poetry, and Pigs

Plus a new home for NW Dance project and a training program for wannabe theater folk

By Fiona McCann April 2, 2015

What do chef Gregory Gourdet, the singer Speech from 90s hip hop band Arrested Development, Robocopalypse author Daniel H. Wilson, and singing siblings The Von Trapps have in common?

They’re all in the line up for this year’s TEDx Portland—entitled TEDx 2015 Tomorrows—tickets for which went on sale this week. Politicians, philanthropist, scientists and artists–a plethora of Portlanders with things to say about a wide-range of subjects–are on the roster this year for the heavily-branded spin-off from the mind-bogglingly successful TED Talks. Tickets go faster than you can say kerching, so take a speedy perusal of the slated speakers here and get ready to lend them your ears on May 30.

Photo credit: Christopher Peddecord

This week saw the official opening of Northwest Dance Project’s new Creative Center at 10th and Davis. After a long run at their Shaver Street digs—where they’d been lodged just off Mississippi street since 2009—a two-year search and some major fundraising, the Portland dance company has settled in a neat coupé into their new home and opened its doors to classes at 211 NE 10th Avenue. Watch this space.

Once you’ve maxed out on art in your First Thursday meanderings tonight, set your compass to Literary Arts's SW Washington Street headquarters, where some of the poetry finalists for this year’s Oregon Book Awards will be gathered for a reading. Wendy Chin-Tanner, Endi Hartigan, and Dawn Diez Willis will be present to read from the works that landed them on the shortlist. A 2015 Oregon Literary Fellowship recipient Hajara Quinn will be reading form the work of the other two finalists, Emily Kendal Frey, and Zachary Schomburg.

Remember when architect Michael Graves made headlines last year when he slammed the lobby of the Portland Building—which he designed—as a “pig pen”? Well, local artists Lou Watson and Michele McCall-Wallace made hay with the insult, and the result—In Celebration of Pig Pens; The “Sties” the Limit?—opened this week in the same lobby. It’s an homage to all things pig pen themed, with nods to the scruffy Peanuts character of the same name, the Grateful Dead musician who went by that sobriquet and some other pig pen references culled from the Freemasons and a Los Santos strip club, among other places. Oh, and there’s a haystack smack bang in the middle of it all, for you to take the weight off and ponder on all things porcine and Portland.

Are you an up-and-coming theater artist looking to learn how to “communicate radical thought in space, time and body”? Then Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble, aka PETE, is looking for you. This week, PETE announced a year-long training program for contemporary theatre artists, kicking off this September. The Institute for Contemporary Performance—founded by members of PETE in partnership with CoHO productions and Philip Cuomo—sets out its stall as an interdisciplinary training program for contemporary theatre artists. They’re promising courses in viewpoints, the Alexander technique and psychophysical acting among other things, as a means to creating “artists to reinvent theatrical storytelling.” Ready to reinvent? Get to it, so: applications are already being accepted.

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