Summer Cannibals to Phil Knight: May’s Pop Culture Hot List

The album, book, festival, and play you can’t miss this month

By Fiona McCann April 22, 2016 Published in the May 2016 issue of Portland Monthly

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The new Vanport Mosaic Festival aims to memorialize Oregon's scecond-largest city, which was destroyed in a 1948 flood.

The Book

Famous cipher Phil Knight, our richest inhabitant, follows his announcement that he plans to step down as Nike chairman with a “candid and riveting” memoir (says the publisher Simon & Schuster—the book was still “embargoed and confidential” at press time). Billed as dishing the inside story of the company’s evolution from a scrappy start-up to the international juggernaut that powers a good chunk of our region’s economy, Shoe Dog (April 26) will be followed by Literary Arts’ evening with the author, when Knight sits down with the New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik (May 2).

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The Album

Summer Cannibals, fierce heirs to the Portland punk rock mantle, were doing a fine job as it was, with two rocking albums released on their own New Moss Records. Then, less than 12 months after Show Us Your Mind turned up the volume on its predecessor, they signed to legendary label Kill Rock Stars. The result is Full of It (May 27), a harder record that ups the ante for Jessica Boudreaux and co., and then delivers with a masterfully polished rawness. “I’ll do anything that you want / to feel like you’re listening,” says Boudreaux on the album’s title track. We’re listening.

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The Festival

On May 30, 1948, Oregon’s second-largest city was destroyed by a flood that displaced more than 18,000 residents, one-third of them black. Sixty-eight years later, a new four-day event aims to memorialize Vanport, a place whose existence and destruction had a direct impact on our state’s racial history. Vanport Mosaic Festival brings together a production of Cottonwood in the Flood (a 2012 JAW finalist by Rich Rubin about the city’s rise and fall), screenings of short documentaries based on interviews with flood survivors, an exhibition of old photographs and artifacts, artist tributes, and a reunion of former residents (May 27–30).

The Play

Boom Arts teams up with c3:initiative to bring Argentine artist Matías Umpierrez’s site-specific theater to town with TeatroSOLO/LONETheater (thru May 15), in which five short plays are performed for one person at a time. (Show up at an appointed location with ticket and wait for the actor to find you.) The series has already played in cities as far apart as São Paulo and San Sebastián; now watch as it literally pops ups across Portland.

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