The Latest in Portland Arts News—Something Wicked This Way Comes

Plus Anthony Doerr, Jane Smiley, Tender Loving Empire, and not that feminist bookstore

By Fiona McCann April 30, 2015

Carrie St. Louis and Alyssa Fox in Wicked

Follow the yellow-brick road, Portland: The big, box-office-busting musical about the witches of Oz is coming back to the Keller and tickets go on sale tomorrow, May 1. Based on a novel by Gregory Maguire, the musical has raked in awards since it premiered on Broadway in 2003 with a cast that back then included Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth. This year’s production features a different cast with the same premise: bad witch, good witch, dodgy wizard, major musical numbers. Tickets on sale here

Pulitzer winners Anthony Doerr and Jane Smiley are both coming to Portland as part of the Portland Arts & Lectures series, Literary Arts announced this week. Smiley, whose best known novel A Thousand Acres is a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s King Lear and won the Pulitzer in 1992, will kick off the season in October, while Doerr, author of this year’s winner All the Light We Cannot See, is slated to read in November. New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik, Jamaican-born poet Claudia Rankine and Man Booker shortlisted novelist Mohsin Hamid will also be appearing in Portland as part of the organization’s 31st season. More information at Literary Arts.

Image courtesy Reading Frenzy

Not a Portlandia sketch but a new exhibit, Feminist Bookstore is a group show opening in Reading Frenzy tomorrow, Fridaay, May 1. Curated by Jennifer Armbrust and Michelle Blade, it features one-of-a-kind custom dust jackets of classic feminist works by nine different artists, among them Lisa Anne Auerbach, Michelle Blade, Edie Fake, and Megan Whitmarsh. The jackets are to be displayed on the books themselves —chosen by the artists for their influence on their lives or work. 

If that sounds like something you wouldn't mind giving a whirl yourself, on Saturday you’re welcome to bring whatever feminist tome floats your boat to the store on North Mississippi Street and make your own custom dust jacket with the art supplies on hand. You then have the opportunity to donate your book and cover to the Feminist Library, which travels with the Feminist Bookstore exhibition.

Fred and Carrie would be proud.


Beloved record label and artsy goods store Tender Loving Empire has been doing its thing in various locations for some eight years now. But this week they announced they will no longer be doing it alone: they’ve joined forces with Bug Hunt, a group of designers, musicians and writers that release records, pupblish books and build websites. And the new joint venture already has a record release in the pipeline. 

The Six Wives EP by Oregon-to-Brooklyn transplants My Body will be the first from this newfound collaboration. And speaking of the match, Tender Loving Empire says “from this day forward we will operate as sister labels – sharing ideas, reosources and talent.”

culture for kids

Artslandia publishers announced this week they're bringing out a new arts publication for knee-high cultural consumers. Artslandia Kids will be rolling off the presses in July, promising information about arts organizations in Portland geared towards parents, families and kids. There’ll be feature stories and event previews, with a view toward giving readers a guide to a whole season of kid-centric performing arts offerings. Watch this space

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