Jonathan Franzen Book Club

Books Web editor Lizzy Acker does not hate Jonathan Franzen, but dislikes him. Arts and Culture editor Martin Cizmar does not love Jonathan Franzen, but likes him. Both read his new Big Important Book, Puri ... More

Sep 2, 2015 12:01 am by MARTIN CIZMAR, LIZZY ACKER

Book Review: Jorge Cervantes, The Cannabis Encyclopedia

Weed all about it.

Books Jorge Cervantes is old school. He smokes joints. He wrote a book that’s never going to make it onto Kindle. Cervantes—real name George Van Patten—is the author of The Cannabis ... More

Aug 26, 2015 12:01 am by TYLER HURST

Book Review: Parnaz Foroutan's The Girl From the Garden

“Paradise is a Farsi word.”

Books Eden is rife with thorns in Parnaz Foroutan’s The Girl From the Garden (Ecco, 271 pages, $26.99), a lush debut novel about the pangs and triumphs of an Iranian family. Foroutan is a modern-day Scheh ... More

Aug 19, 2015 12:01 am by ENID SPITZ

William T. Vollmann, The Dying Grass

The Oregon Dream.

Books William T. Vollmann is by far our most important chronicler of American darkness, and he is never far from his subject. To write a novel about transients, he lived homeless in Sacramento. He has hoppe ... More

Aug 12, 2015 12:01 am by MATTHEW KORFHAGE

Katy Simpson Smith, The Story of Land and Sea

Oh, the vapors!

Books Any novelist hailed as “an heir apparent to Michael Ondaatje” by author Paul Yoon and lauded as writing “a luminous debut” by Oprah’s magazine is probably doomed. Nothing can reach a ... More

Aug 5, 2015 12:01 am by ENID SPITZ

Rinker Buck, The Oregon Trail

Go west, old man...

Books Rinker Buck is no stranger to flying by the seat of his pants—literally. In the summer of 1966, at age 15, Buck and his older brother Kern, 17, flew their father’s restored Piper Cub from New Jers ... More

Jul 29, 2015 12:01 am by MATT BUCKINGHAM

Harper Lee's Racist New Book Shouldn't Destroy Your Love for Scout Finch

Books I first saw the movie To Kill a Mockingbird when I was 6 and have loved Scout Finch ever since. As a willful tomboy, she spoke to me like no other character ever had. When I was older and read Harper ... More

Jul 21, 2015 11:24 am by LIZZY ACKER

Ernest Cline, Armada

The Last Geekfighter.

Books Short of being abducted by a benevolent alien race to save the universe from imminent destruction, author Ernest Cline is living every geek’s ultimate fantasy. His best-selling debut novel, vi ... More

Jul 15, 2015 12:01 am by PENELOPE BASS

Lidia Yuknavitch, The Small Backs of Children: Book Review

L’art pour l’art.

Books The plot of The Small Backs of Children (Harper, 240 pages, $24.99), by Portland indie darling Lidia Yuknavitch, is almost irrelevant. But here it is anyway: A writer gives up on life because of grief ... More

Jul 8, 2015 12:01 am by LIZZY ACKER

Interview: Fred Pearce, The New Wild

An environmental journalist says we shouldn’t hate invasive species.

Books You might sit up late these hot summer nights, sweating over the influx of Californians on your block. But according to environmental journalist Fred Pearce’s latest book, The New Wild (Beacon Press ... More

Jun 24, 2015 12:01 am by ALLIE DONAHUE

Hotseat: Brooks Wheelan

One year on SNL is plenty.

Comedy and Variety Not very many people are both a biomedical engineer and a Saturday Night Live alum. In fact, Brooks Wheelan might be the only person on earth with both on his résumé.  Born and raised in Iowa ... More

Sep 2, 2015 12:01 am by MIKE ACKER

Coming Up Fast

First came Money, then came Love, next up for Whitney Cummings…a baby carriage?

Comedy and Variety 2 Broke Girls co-creator Whitney Cummings likes to plan far ahead. The Money Shot and I Love You celebricomic has a landslide of opportunity on her doorstep—simultaneous network and cable spots, end ... More

Aug 12, 2015 12:01 am by DAVE CANTOR

Portland Improv is Banging and Burning

The Stumptown Improv Festival is back, and bigger.

Comedy and Variety Even after a successful first year, the Stumptown Improv Festival is still working overtime to convince Portlanders what improv isn’t—a self-indulgent form of expression that solely occurs at spar ... More

Aug 12, 2015 12:01 am by PARKER HALL

United We Laugh

Hari Kondabolu doesn’t want you to come for dick jokes.

Comedy and Variety Appearing on Late Night With David Letterman, Conan, Jimmy Kimmel Live and NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, comedian Hari Kondabolu has parlayed a master’s degree in human rights into a successfu ... More

Jul 22, 2015 12:01 am by WILLIAM KENNEDY

Funny Knows Funny

We asked past Funniest 5 comics to pick what’s best at this year’s Bridgetown.

Comedy and Variety Nathan BrannonIMAGE: Inger Klekacz7 Minutes in Purgatory at Doug Fir Lounge, 7 pm Saturday. $20.  Ian Abramson created this show, where comedians do their standup set in a soundproof room to ... More

May 6, 2015 12:01 am by WW Culture Staff

Multnomah Falls (Funhouse Lounge)

The Falls falls, hard.

Comedy and Variety You’d think an improv-fueled, Portland-centric parody of glitzy Reagan-era melodramas was inspired by Portland’s original version—Pillars of Portland, the ’80s PDX soap by former WW colu ... More

Apr 22, 2015 12:01 am by JAY HORTON

Michael McDonald

Comedy and Variety The Michael McDonald headlining Helium Comedy Club is not a silver fox serenader from the Doobie Brothers. But he is silvering, and that’s rare in standup. While SNL retirees go silver on the ... More

Mar 18, 2015 12:01 am by ENID SPITZ

Karmel Kwiz

Comedy and Variety You know who Ian Karmel is. You know he’s one of the biggest standup comedians to come out of Portland, you know he’s written for Chelsea Handler, and you might even know he’s now writing ... More

Feb 4, 2015 12:01 am by JAMES HELMSWORTH

The Haha House

Standup comedy invades the living rooms and garages of Portland.

Comedy and Variety House shows have been a staple of the music scene forever. But there’s a different art form encroaching onto this turf: standup comedy. In a town with more comics than there are open slots ... More

Jan 14, 2015 12:01 am by WW Staff

Lickety Brit

English comic Matt Kirshen makes himself more than a novelty act.

Comedy and Variety As a Brit living in the U.S., comedian Matt Kirshen knows his accent can be a bit distracting. But sometimes, it slips his mind that he sounds different from everyone else. “It’s like th ... More

Nov 26, 2014 12:01 am by REBECCA JACOBSON

Galaxy Festival Aims High

Polaris tries to pack Portland’s dance world into Director Park.

Dance Robert Guitron is the first to admit that he started Galaxy Dance Festival for selfish reasons.  “I find myself so stuck in my own little fishbowl while working with my people,” says ... More

Aug 5, 2015 12:01 am by KAITIE TODD

À La Mode (Moxie Contemporary Ballet)

A ballet where weight doesn’t matter.

Dance At 5-foot-10, Briley Neugebauer was too tall. At 125 pounds, Amanda Coleman was too heavy. The strict physical requirements for female ballerinas are tighter than their pointe shoes. Which is ... More

Jun 3, 2015 12:01 am by ENID SPITZ

The Blues Project (Dorrance Dance)

New Yorkers swing into Portland’s untapped tap scene.

Dance This ain’t your mama’s tap dancing. There is a drummer on stage. She starts up “this slow and sticky 12-beat blues.” Then the violinist comes in, and the audience starts clapping early ... More

Apr 29, 2015 12:01 am by ENID SPITZ

Open Space

Portland’s dance companies fight breweries for urban real estate.

Dance First, they came for the bars. Now, Portland dance is getting pushed around. In the past seven months, at least four different Portland dance companies have been shunted to new spaces—only som ... More

Apr 1, 2015 12:01 am by KAITIE TODD

Ching Ching Wong (Northwest Dance Project)

For one dancer, NWDP is more than a company, it’s family.

Dance Ching Ching Wong, all 4 feet 11 inches of her, wriggles in her chair as she throws up jazz hands: “I want to dance forever. Like in retirement homes in my wheelchair, I’m going to be killi ... More

Mar 18, 2015 12:01 am by KAITIE TODD

The Box Marked Black

Checking in.

Dance In 2013, as an intern at WW, I wrote this about local actress, teacher and dancer Damaris Webb’s one-woman show The Box Marked Black: “In the absence of easy description, ‘delightful’ will ... More

Mar 4, 2015 12:01 am by ENID SPITZ

Hold Me Closer, Tango Dancer

Clay Nelson built the longest-running tango festival in North America—in Portland.

Dance Clay Nelson knows all about the Portland tango. After all, he’s the main reason it exists. Each year, dancers and instructors come from all over the world to the ValenTango festival he found ... More

Feb 18, 2015 12:01 am by KAITIE TODD

Firewall (BodyVox)

A dance company reveals the tricks behind the technology.

Dance If you saw Inception a few years back, chances are you marveled at the film’s spinning, zero-gravity hallway scene. BodyVox didn’t stop at admiration—the 17-year-old dance company decided ... More

Dec 3, 2014 12:01 am by KAITIE TODD

A-Bout (TopShakeDance)

Dancing themselves black and blue.

Dance TopShakeDance is about to hit the dance floor hard. Literally: To explore competition and groupthink, the company’s newest work, A-bout, employs wrestling mats, mixed martial arts-inspired choreog ... More

Nov 12, 2014 12:01 am by KAITIE TODD

Togetherness (Danielle Ross and Stacey Tran)

Uniting the melodramatic and the mundane.

Dance How would you move if you were a Greek god? That’s just one question posed during Togetherness, a new dance piece by choreographer Danielle Ross. In the piece, dancers strike iconic poses of ... More

Nov 5, 2014 12:01 am by KAITIE TODD

Spring Fresh

A few favorite pieces from Portland designers’ spring lines.

Fashion Portland’s fashion is uniquely utilitarian. It’s a lifestyle thing: When you’re riding a bike in the rain, you can’t wear the precious high-heel shoes or spiffy designer suit. We don�� ... More

Feb 18, 2015 12:01 am by LUCAS CHEMOTTI

DGAFuccboi

Are you wearing presentable streetwear?

Fashion From try-hard high-fashion haters to trust-fund hypebeast high-schoolers, the fuccbois are out there, and we’re gonna help you find them. A fuccboi (pronounced like and originating from the ... More

Feb 4, 2015 12:01 am by LUCAS CHEMOTTI

It’s All About... Are You Freakin’ Kidding Me?

Fashion We love a good practical joke, but our nation’s current situation is getting out of control. It’s like the country is collectively living that damn Groundhog Day movie, only instead of the ... More

Apr 1, 2009 12:00 am by Laura Shinn

It’s All About... Hey, lady! What’s in that big-ass bag

Fashion Purse, handbag, tote…whatever you call it these days, lugging around a bag o’ crap is part of a female’s DNA. Even though it’s a health hazard. You heard me: Big bags jam-pack ... More

Mar 18, 2009 12:00 am by Laura Shinn

It’s All About... A Person’s Place For Things

Fashion If you visit Noun (3300 SE Belmont St., 235-0078), the little quirky-chic design and decor shop in Southeast Portland, you’ll think three things: (1) DANG, this place is cute; (2) DANG, let&rsqu ... More

Mar 11, 2009 12:00 am by Laura Shinn

It’s All About... Drugstore Cowgirls

Fashion Ever heard of the diamond sparkle spa set from Body Systems? You know, the $78 lotion and body scrub that supposedly contains 13.25 carats of real ground diamonds? Probably not, because it’s fuc ... More

Feb 25, 2009 12:00 am by Laura Shinn

It’s All About... Sloppy, Happy, Totally Dork-Tacular Love

Fashion You thought we’d pooh-pooh the whole Valentine’s thing, didn’t you? Maybe do an entire “Love is for Losers” column just dedicated to Morrissey, black roses and explicit i ... More

Feb 11, 2009 12:00 am by Laura Shinn

It’s All About... Frank James Goes To The Bins

Fashion PHOTOS BY HEATHER ZINGERWe’d like to publicly thank Jebus for Frank James. No, not the less-famous outlaw and brother of Jesse, but Frank James the PDX store. Opened last fall, the boutique for ... More

Feb 4, 2009 12:00 am by Laura Shinn

It’s All About...Cold Comfort

Fashion Yeah, last week was sunny, but damn if the cold didn’t bite us right in the ass. Know what else bit us? A rhinovirus. That’s right: We have the nastiest lung-buttery malaise this side of t ... More

Jan 21, 2009 12:00 am by Laura Shinn

It’s All About...Inauguration Balls

Fashion Judging from the rabble-rousing and ballyhoo that went down on the streets of Portland on Nov. 4, we’re guessing Jan. 20 is going to be off the hook. After all, Messrs. Obama and Biden are publi ... More

Jan 14, 2009 12:00 am by WW Editorial Staff

America’s Top Aerialist

Anna Thomas-Henry started in Brooklyn’s underground circus.

Performance American circus arts are enjoying a second, or third, coming. While the circus continued to be seen as art in places like France and China, it largely went underground in the United States after the R ... More

Aug 26, 2015 12:01 am by ENID SPITZ

The Elixir of Love (Portland Opera)

Bel canto in the Wild West is a refreshing tonic.

Performance If you’re Portland Opera, how do you follow Igor Stravinsky’s prickly, unnerving morality tale, The Rake’s Progress? You veer to the other extreme and close the season with a beloved comedy, G ... More

Jul 15, 2015 12:01 am by RICHARD SPEER

The Rake’s Progress (Portland Opera)

Portland’s Progress is a pop-art take on Freud and Facebook.

Performance Give in to temptation at your own peril: That’s the moral of Igor Stravinsky’s spiky, sexy opera The Rake’s Progress. This archetypal morality play opens in an idyllic countryside, where a c ... More

Jun 10, 2015 12:01 am by RICHARD SPEER

The Phantom of the Opera (Portland Opera)

Lloyd Webber’s music of the night goes flat.

Performance The iconic white mask is still there. So, too, the crystal chandelier that famously crashes at the end of the first act. And those histrionic, undeniably memorable tunes are all intact. But vete ... More

May 20, 2015 12:01 am by RICHARD SPEER

Storefront Revue: The Babes Are Back (Triangle Productions)

Part scandalous musical, part historical biopic.

Performance Three songs after the Kent State shootings, a man unbuttons the front of his costume to expose a massive, star-spangled phallus. Like the legendary 1970s-’90s Portland theater that inspired ... More

May 13, 2015 12:01 am by ENID SPITZ

Carmen at Portland Opera: Review

Portland Opera puts on a cathartic, passionate, bravura production of Carmen.

Performance Portland Opera’s impassioned take on Georges Bizet’s Carmen is the most electrifying production the company has staged since 2010’s sad-clown-fest, Pagliacci. Like that opera, Carmen centers ... More

Feb 11, 2015 12:01 am by RICHARD SPEER

Spring Awakening

Performance picks for spring 2015.

Performance THEATER The Snowstorm As part of Fertile Ground—an 11-day spree of locally produced new works—pianist Eric Nordin and choreographer Jessica Wallenfels collaborate on an original piece of d ... More

Dec 31, 2014 12:01 am by REBECCA JACOBSON, KAITIE TODD

Best of the Stage

Performance Death, sex and money featured prominently on Portland stages in 2014. So did punk rock, kitty litter and confetti. The year’s top theater and dance shows embraced raw emotion—several gave ... More

Dec 24, 2014 12:01 am by WW Culture Staff

Die Fledermaus (Portland Opera)

Adultery, masked balls and arias soaked in Champagne.

Performance Viennese waltz maestro Johann Strauss II concocted a delightful trifle with Die Fledermaus, his 1874 operetta about a wayward husband and his comeuppance at the hand of a treacherous friend who ... More

Nov 12, 2014 12:01 am by JOHN BEER

Lulu Luscious

A drag queen with hustle, humility and a fierce hair game.

Performance The success of a drag performance set to Britney Spears’ “I’m a Slave 4 U” rests on a few factors. You need a jungle vixen ensemble, a killer lip-synch (just like Britney’s), sexy gyrati ... More

Sep 24, 2014 12:01 am by AARON SPENCER

Theater Review: Schizo (Katie Watkins)

Her brother’s diagnosis was a taboo topic. Now it’s center stage.

Theater On an otherwise sparse stage in a large, empty room, Katie Watkins sits on the ground, surrounded by a semicircle of more than two dozen lamps. The lights flicker on and off as the distant roar of a h ... More

Aug 19, 2015 12:01 am by PENELOPE BASS

Netflix, Live?

Third Rail Repertory Theatre is launching a new membership model.

Theater After nearly a decade spent hopping around Portland’s theaters to stage its famously varied programming, Third Rail Repertory Theatre has finally settled down. With a new, permanent residence at Ima ... More

Aug 19, 2015 12:01 am by JAY HORTON

Wicked (Broadway in Portland)

In a tired show, look to the front row.

Theater Arguably, the best thing that happened on opening night of the touring Broadway production of Wicked wasn’t onstage, but in front of the first row, stage right. That’s where two ... More

Aug 12, 2015 12:01 am by RICHARD SPEER

Time, A Fair Hustler

Hand2Mouth’s reimagining is a rare cine-stage wonder.

Theater You’d be forgiven for gagging at the mention of “Van Sant” given Portland’s recent binge on the director’s work. The Essential Gus Van Sant series ran at the Northwest Film Center from ... More

Aug 5, 2015 12:01 am by ENID SPITZ

Actors, Anonymous

Anonymous Theatre’s one-night mystery at PCS is under wraps.

Theater A black SUV pulls up to a tiny, beige house in far Southeast. A woman in dark clothing gets out and enters the house. I count to 10, then follow.  “This is my friend’s house,” she t ... More

Aug 5, 2015 12:01 am by ALLIE DONAHUE

Portland Used to Be Dirtier

Hand2mouth’s Time, A Fair Hustler imagines Mike and Scott’s lives after My Own Private Idaho.

Theater In Gus Van Sant’s iconic 1991 Portland film My Own Private Idaho, tribes of homeless kids camped out in boarded-up downtown buildings, and Chinatown’s sidewalks gleamed with broken glass. Now, 25 ... More

Jul 29, 2015 12:01 am by ALLIE DONAHUE

Much Ado About Nothing (Post5)

Tired Shakespeare, turned inside out.

Theater Love him or hate him, Shakespeare had one damn good formula for a hit.  The same premise and plot barrel through practically all his comedies: Factions clash, mistaken identiti ... More

Jul 22, 2015 12:01 am by ENID SPITZ

Twelfth Night (Portland Shakespeare Project)

Three hours of Shakespeare is no picnic, but Nause keeps it cool.

Theater So far this summer, Portland theater has given us Richard III in a park, The Merry Wives of Windsor in a park and Macbeth in a cemetery. Post5 Theatre mixed things up by staging Much Ado About Nothi ... More

Jul 15, 2015 12:01 am by ENID SPITZ

Thoroughly Modern Millie (Broadway Rose): Theater Review

Sexual slavery is something to sing about at Broadway Rose.

Theater As the title suggests, Millie Dillmount is a modern woman. She left her little hometown of Salina, Kan., for life in the big city, determined to find a job—as long as that job has a wealthy, single ... More

Jul 8, 2015 12:01 am by PENELOPE BASS

Summerfest (Coho Productions): Theater Review

Sweet relief from theater’s dog days of drought.

Theater Your lawn isn’t the only thing this heat wave is drying up. During the summer, theater across the nation slows to a meager drizzle, and the occasional Shakespeare galas in the parks ... More

Jul 8, 2015 12:01 am by ALLIE DONAHUE

Visual Arts: Larry Yes, Positive Words

PDX Window Project will showcase exhibit 24/7.

Visual Arts When an “epic windstorm” took down the fence at Larry Yes’ North Portland home in 2014, the local jack-of-all-trades decided not to rebuild. Instead, he painted the fence posts with bright color ... More

Aug 26, 2015 12:01 am by ENID SPITZ

BCC: Brownhall in Residence

A collective of artists shows that black art matters.

Visual Arts Black Creative Collective: Brownhall comprises black artists and creatives who produce interdisciplinary art programming to address the dearth of black art and creative spaces in Portland. The massive ... More

Aug 19, 2015 12:01 am by MEGAN HARNED

Art on a Protest: From N Edison, St. Johns

A plein-air perspective of the Greenpeace protest.

Visual Arts When Gabriel Liston painted the Greenpeace protesters dangling from the St. Johns Bridge on July 29, he made art history and outmatched all the photographs of the event. Painting en ... More

Aug 12, 2015 12:01 am by MEGAN HARNED

Visual Art: Isaac Tin Wei Lin, Chromatic Intercession

Graphic groupings are a bright idea.

Visual Arts Isaac Tin Wei Lin’s new work at Adams and Ollman might be too bright to handle on a sunny day. Chromatic Intercession juxtaposes vibrant acrylic paintings with pen-and-ink drawings on paper. The ten ... More

Jul 22, 2015 12:01 am by MEGAN HARNED

No Boundaries

Abstract Aboriginal art feels a world apart.

Visual Arts Despite the curator’s opening salvo that “these painters have gone far beyond the boundaries of their community, their ‘country,’ and the very idea of their work as merely ethno-graphic, ... More

Jul 15, 2015 12:01 am by MEGAN HARNED

Don Edler, Boredom Is The Ultimate Weapon: Visual Arts Review

Portland’s junk looks sexy when sculpted.

Visual Arts  In Joshua Tree National Park, with nothing to do and nothing to do it with, Don Edler began Boredom Is the Ultimate Weapon, his ongoing series about what we create when bereft of inspiration.  ... More

Jul 8, 2015 12:01 am by MEGAN HARNED

Ethan Rose, Entwined: A Sound Installation

Art all about that bass.

Visual Arts Ethan Rose’s sound installation at PDX Contemporary Art, Entwined, is about making the invisible visible. Speakers emit tones that oscillate across attached strings, allowing viewers to observ ... More

Jun 10, 2015 12:01 am by MEGAN HARNED

Off The Streets

Portland graffiti waxes genteel.

Visual Arts You will never see the full mural on the west wall of Southeast Stark Street’s Bonfire Lounge. The graffitied wall is a story-high epitaph to Michael Brown, painted by local muralist Ashley ... More

May 27, 2015 12:01 am by ENID SPITZ

Jeremy Okai Davis, Those Days Are Over

Painting a convincing memory lane.

Visual Arts Those Days Are Over began when local artist Jeremy Okai Davis’ landlord gave him an album of photographs left behind by a travel agency. The pictures of friends vacationing in the 1980s inspir ... More

May 13, 2015 12:01 am by MEGAN HARNED

Storefront Revisited

Storefront’s vintage costumes put sexuality front and center.

Visual Arts When a nearly naked black actor played Spartacus in American Theatre Company’s 1969 production of The Gladiator at Portland State University, it was the beginning of the end.Costumes from the co ... More

Apr 29, 2015 12:01 am by MEGAN HARNED
 

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