The Latest in Portland Arts News—Mythbusters, Mothers, and Marty McFly

Plus Uhh Yeah Dude, Jason Isbell, Ry Cooder, the Vanport Multimedia Project, and Yo-Yo Ma

By Fiona McCann May 7, 2015

Jason Isbell. Photo by Matthew Williams

Step right up folks, credit card at the ready, for a slew of shows slated for the coming months which have tickets on sale this week. First up on your cultural calendar is comedy podcasters and cult favorites Uhh Yeah Dude, with a July appearance at the Aladdin Theater. The show promises "America through the eyes of two American-Americans"—that's Seth Romatelli and Jonathan Larroquette—and leaves its Hollywood homebase for a Portland pitstop just in time for the sizzling summmer heat.

Later this summer, rock-meets-country crooner Jason Isbell will be bringing his carefully crafted songs to the Schnitz, with the ever-listenable indie musician Damien Jurado joining him on the bill. Tickets on sale tomorrow (Friday, May 8).

Tomorrow's also the day to nab tickets to TV's princes of pop-science Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, aka Mythbusters. It's being billed as Hyneman's farewell tour, so plan ahead (it's a December show) as tickets to their Schnitzer appearance, dubbed 'Jamie & Adam Unleashed!' will be gone quicker than you can say "Busted!" Also on sale this week are tickets for guitarist and one-time Portlander Ry Cooder, who'll be joined at his Aladdin Theater show by country singer Sharon White and bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs.

Scene from Back to the Future

What do Yo-Yo Ma, Johnny Mathis, Pokémon and Pink Floyd have in common? Musically, not a whole lot, it's true, but they all have a part to play in the Oregon Symphony's line-up for their 2015/16 season, announced this week. Its 'Oregon Symphony Presents' series promises the renowned cellist Ma, as well as fifties crooner Mathis and comedian Lily Tomlin among others, while the Symphony will also be offering a "popcorn package" of four movies, with the orchestra playing the soundtrack at the screenings of the likes of Star Trek: Into Darkness and Back to the Future. Other highlights include Spanish guitarist Pablo Villegas, acclaimed pianist Lang Lang and new musical arrangements with visuals from Pokémon video games. Tickets for subscribers are on sale already, and will be available to the general public from May 18. More information on the line-up can be found on the Oregon Symphony website.

Coming to a small screen near you, a new half-hour comedy show set in Portland, about a restauranteur (Desperate Housewives's Josh Zuckerman) whose best friend is dating his mother (Krista Allen), as could happen to anyone, really. The show—called Significant Mother—for the CW TV network will be filmed around town this spring, and is due to air later this summer. Also involved are The Social Network's Emma Fitzpatrick and Jonathan Silverman, whose credits include Weekend at Bernie's

Photo from Vanport Multimedia Project

Sixty-seven years ago this month, what was once Oregon's second largest city was washed away in a flood that displaced close to 20,000 people and left a legacy that is still felt in Portland today. Originally intended as a temporary housing project, Vanport became an eyesore and slum, shunned by Portland's more well-heeled residents. Roughly one third of those who lost their homes that day were black. Last year, Vanport Multimedia Project began collecting and preserving stories of some of the flood survivors. On Sunday (May 10), the result of those audio and visual recordings, The Wake of Vanport, will be screened at the North Portland Library, a multimedia testament to a vital part of the history of this state. Discussion with survivors and The Wake of Vanport producers will follow the screening. 

An arts organization that works with underserved youth, a radio program for Native Americans, a ballet company and a craft museum were among the big Oregon winners of National Endowment for the Arts Awards this year, the Oregon Arts Commission announced this week. Caldera, described as a "year-round transmedia arts project for underserved Oregon youth" which includes a summer camp, came away with the biggest haul of $60,000, while the Museum of Contemporary Crafts netted $40,000 for its upcoming exhibition "The Design and Craft of Prosthetics", slated to coincide with the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The group Wisdom of the Elders received $30,000 for their multimedia series featuring Native American elders, artists, scientists and storytellers from Oregon tribal communities. Other winners of the $1,059,700 that went to Oregon arts projects include Eugene Ballet, the Lane Arts Council, Oregon Folklife Network, Literary Arts, Portland State University, the Regional Arts and Culture Council and the Western Arts Alliance.  

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