The Essentials

From Beth Ditto to Wonder Woman, June's Pop Culture Hot List

The records, dance show, and books you can't miss this month

By Fiona McCann May 15, 2017 Published in the June 2017 issue of Portland Monthly

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Beth Ditto's new album, Fake Sugar, drops June 16.

The Records

Stop the presses! OG local rock star Beth Ditto, of Gossip fame, returns with new album Fake Sugar (June 16), in all her sweet, throaty glory, at once melodic and fierce and deeply personal. The 12 tracks stomp through pop, rock, and disco terrain, and include reflections on marriage—Ditto wed her longtime girlfriend on New Year’s Eve of 2014—a tribute to Suicide’s Alan Vega, and the driving album opener, “Fire.”    

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Dave Depper

On the subject of debut solo records, you may have heard of Dave Depper. He’s that Death Cab for Cutie guitarist who’s also played with Menomena, Fruit Bats, Laura Gibson—most every Portland band of the indie persuasion, in fact. Now he’s releasing a solo album, Emotional Freedom Technique (June 9), showcasing soft-voiced synth pop with sweet hooks and the occasional guest appearance from collaborators past.

The Books

Diana Prince (a.k.a. Wonder Woman) is having a moment, engineered in no small part by Portland’s Greg Rucka. The Eisner-winning graphic novelist first scripted Wonder Woman for DC Comics in the aughts; in his recent return to the character, soon to wrap up, he helped canonize her queer identity. Two newly published volumes collect his writing for this Amazonian warrior—Wonder Woman Vol. 1: The Lies (Rebirth) and Wonder Woman Vol. 2: Year One (Rebirth). Rucka discusses them at Powell’s City of Books on June 3.

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NW Dance Project

The Dances

NW Dance Project’s annual ode to the sunny season is always one of the arts scene’s sweet harbingers of summer. This year’s Summer Splendors (June 8–10) promises a world premiere from artistic director Sarah Slipper, as well as the return of the Chopin Project, where choreographers—Slipper, Lucas Crandall, Rachel Erdos, and Tracey Durbin—have interpreted Chopin’s 24 Preludes, with the dancers performing to the live accompaniment of local pianist Hunter Noack.

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