Latest News about OPB
New Oregon Experience Documentary “Portland Noir” Reveals True Story of City’s Early Illicit History
Airs October 21 at 9:00 p.m. on OPB TV; Advance Public Screening in Portland on October 11
This month, OPB will premiere an all-new Oregon Experience special “Portland Noir” which examines the city’s early illicit past and underworld activities in the mid-to-late 1800s. Tales of shanghaied sailors, opium dens, and open vice are legendary, but are they real? “Portland Noir” unveils the true story of the city’s sordid history.
The half-hour special premieres Monday, October 21 at 9:00 p.m. on OPB TV.
In the late 1800s, Portland was a bustling port town, and the second largest American harbor on the West Coast. Populated by mostly young male migratory workers, it gained an international reputation for violence and lawlessness.
Corruption was rampant. Money could buy city politicians, votes and police. Prostitutes plied their trade openly and vagrancy was illegal, forcing many men on the lowest rungs of society into a life of indentured servitude as sailors.
When the city was incorporated in 1851 there were 800 residents, more than 600 of them men. That year the city constructed its first municipal building—a jail.
By 1870, the population had jumped to 8,000. Families were settling in the area, but more than sixty percent of the population was male. Most of those were transient laborers working on ships, mines and nearby forests. For many, their main source of entertainment was cheap alcohol, gambling and prostitution. While in Chinatown, crime syndicates ran opium dens and other underworld activities.
Vice was so rampant throughout the waterfront district that the area earned the names “Court of Death” and “White Chapel,” after the infamous area in London stalked by Jack the Ripper.
Over the years stories about the era have become legendary and treated as historical fact, even with little documentation. “Portland Noir” unveils the true story of the city’s illicit history through expert interviews with Author Barney Blalock, Criminal Historian JD Chandler, Portland Police Museum Director Jim Huff and many more. The program features firsthand personal accounts and hundreds of rarely seen images of the city.
Oregon Experience’s “Portland Noir” will air on Monday, October 21 at 9 p.m. on OPB TV. For more information, please visit http://www.opb.org/programs/oregonexperience.
OPB is hosting a special screening event for “Portland Noir” on Friday, October 11 at McMenamins Mission Theater. The event is free and open to the public. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and the screening will begin at 7 p.m. There will also be a Q&A with the program’s producer, Kami Horton, immediately following.
Press Note: Photos related to the “Portland Noir” special are available for download at the OPB Pressroom (user name: opbpressroom; password: photoop)
OPB’s New Arts & Culture Radio Program “State of Wonder” to Debut November 2
OPB today announced that its new arts and culture radio program, State of Wonder, will make its debut on OPB Radio November 2 at noon. The weekly program can be heard every Saturday at noon and can be streamed online from opb.org or on mobile devices with the OPB News app.
A magazine-style show, State of Wonder will feature interviews and reporting on the latest in visual arts, theater, music, literature, culture and more. It will consist of original stories and will also largely draw from content within OPB’s robust arts and culture portfolio including Oregon Art Beat, OPB News,Oregon Experience, KMHD jazz radio and opbmusic. Serving as the hub of OPB arts and culture content, State of Wonder will take the best stories from these OPB properties to shed light on what is happening within the local arts community and how it connects to the greater region, nation and world.
State of Wonder is produced and hosted by April Baer, a seasoned reporter and producer who has been with OPB since 2004. Joining her will be contributing producer Ifanyi Bell, who has worked on a variety of arts and culture stories for OPB as a digital producer for nearly three years.
“We interpret ‘State of Wonder’ as the moment when you can't tear yourself away. Maybe it's the book that kept you up late, the exhibition that left you speechless, the record that wormed its way into your head or the game you couldn't put down, said April Baer, OPB. “There are plenty of algorithms out there that can steer you toward something new. But we wanted to make room for stories that also tell you how artists and creatives are getting their work in front of you.”
Baer and Bell, along with other OPB arts and culture reporters, will serve as curators of premium arts and culture stories each week for State of Wonder. Moving beyond traditional arts event calendar listings, they will bring to life the week's show-stopping stories, ideas, and must-see happenings. They will have frank conversations about the economic, social and political currents shaping the creative economy. Equally important, they will showcase what is being created in local communities and how individuals are digesting these creations.
While the show itself will have a playful, lighthearted and sometimes irreverent feel, State of Wonder will be extremely pointed, curious and informative.
In advance of its debut, State of Wonder has launched both a new Facebook fan page and Twitter page where listeners and followers can check in on what will be discussed on upcoming shows, learn about local artists and creators, see upcoming events and find out more about what’s happening in the arts community.
Beginning in October, State of Wonder will be posting on its Facebook page audio segments from a variety of pilot shows previously recorded. Guests from these pilot episodes represent diverse segments from the arts and culture world—music, theater, dance, literary arts, gaming, performing arts and more.
State of Wonder debuts November 2 at noon on OPB Radio. Like all OPB broadcasts, the program can be streamed anytime on opb.org and mobile users can download the latest episodes on demand using the OPB News app.
State of Wonder is made possible by a grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, which was awarded earlier this year, along with support from the Spirit Mountain Community Fund and the Jackson Foundation. Other supporters of arts and culture programming at OPB include the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, the Robert D. and Marcia H. Randall Charitable Trust, and the Oregon Arts Commission.
Oregon Art Beat Kicks Off 15th Season with Michael Curry, Storm Large and More
New Season Premieres October 10 at 8:00 p.m. on OPB TV
New episodes of Oregon Art Beat return this fall, as the program kicks off its 15th season on October 10 on OPB TV. Since 1998, award-winning Oregon Art Beat has served as a powerhouse of arts reporting, profiling artists, musicians, and artisans from around the state and beyond. Show producers and crew have traveled extensively to capture the eclectic mix of creative talent in the Northwest.
In its 15-year history, Oregon Art Beat has profiled more than 900 artists and has offered the region an accessible window into the artistic community. The program also strives to inspire viewers to get involved in the arts within local communities.
“We have worked hard to tell the story of the creative depth of the arts in Oregon over the years,” said Jessica Martin, executive producer, Oregon Art Beat. “We look forward to continuing the exploration of the evolving arts scene in our region. We also continue to refresh the show to reveal new creativity, new ideas and new themes.”
For the 15th season, audiences can expect to see a series of new, stunning show opening sequences, increased “on location” reporting, and more thematic episodes. Art Beat will also feature music videos from popular local artists. Additionally, Art Beat will continue to offer arts content across multiple platforms—including TV, radio, web and mobile—as part of OPB’s robust arts portfolio providing deeper coverage of arts and culture in the region.
The season premiere episode on October 10 will feature kinetic sculpture designer Michael Curry, who was previously profiled on Art Beat in 2001 when he created a performance called “Spirits.” Since then, he's worked for Cirque de Soleil, Disney and many others. In the segment, Art Beat catches up him at his studio in Scappoose to see how his company has grown and his work has evolved.
In addition to Curry, the premiere also features a familiar face to Art Beat: Singer, Actress and Playwright Storm Large. Art Beat first profiled her when she was singing in clubs with her band The Balls. Now, after numerous stage and TV appearances—including playing at Carnegie Hall—Art Beat reconnects with her as she sings with Pink Martini and captures the band’s recent performance at Pioneer Courthouse Square.
The October 10 episode also visits the School of Piano Technology for the Blind located in Vancouver, Washington. There, visually impaired students learn the work of piano tuning and restoration. Art Beat follows one student as he learns the skills and prepares a piano for Vancouver’s “Keys to the City” event, a program that makes pianos accessible to the public.
Other new Oregon Art Beat episodes in October include:
October 17, 2013
- Washed Ashore – In Bandon, tons of plastic is pulled out of the Pacific Ocean and turned into large-scale sculptures that speak to the issues our oceans face.
- Ka Lei Hali'a O Ka Lokelani Hula School – A look into Portland’s Hawaiian community with this hula school that is keeping the Hawaiian tradition alive.
- “That’s My Art” – Jewelry maker Ashley Mersereau in Manzanita finds a way to create and sell her work in her own small hometown.
October 24, 2013
- Damaso Rodriguez – Art Beat profiles the new artistic director of Artist Repertory Theater as he prepares his company to perform a new award-winning play Foxfinder.
- Sara Swink – This ceramic artist blends psychology and art, creating human and animal figures with a psychological stance.
- Alicia J. Rose/The Gift of Gravity Part 1- Filmmaker Alicia J. Rose and her producing partner Katie O’Grady rehearse the teenage stars of their short film “The Gift of Gravity.” Art Beat follows the team through production and editing.
The Oregon Art Beat season premiere episode airs Thursday, October 10 at 8:00 p.m. on OPB TV.
For more information, please visit www.opb.org/artbeat. Videos of the stories featured on Oregon Art Beat are available at http://watch.opb.org/program/oregon-art-beat/ and http://www.opb.org/programs/artbeat/
September 24, 2013 — Oregon Field Guide Celebrates 25 Years of Exploring the Northwest
August 21, 2013 — New OPB Documentary Explores History of the Hanford Nuclear Site
June 20, 2013 — OPB Makes Changes to Radio Programming Schedule
June 17, 2013 — OPB Staff Win Two Northwest Regional Emmy Awards