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Lee Kelly | Thao And The Get Down Stay Down | Chicano Batman | NW Dance Project's 'Carmen' | Portland Arts Tax


This week, a transformational garden yields fine treasures, a dance company whips a classic into an ebullient, glamorous new form, and we sway with two bands that double-dog-dare you to peg their eclectic styles.


Sculptor Lee Kelly at his studio in Oregon City.

Sculptor Lee Kelly at his studio in Oregon City.

April Baer/OPB

1:26 - The World Of Sculptor Lee Kelly

The massive steel works of sculptor Lee Kelly are so much a part of the fabric of Oregon towns, from Oregon City to Eugene to Bend to Portland. At 84, Lee Kelly is still keeping up a remarkable pace. We talk to him about the foundations of his work, and tour the forested sculpture garden at his studio in Oregon City.


Dancers Andrea Parsons and Franco Nieto (and a menacing pair of shears) in Northwest Dance Project's first story ballet, a re-imagined "Carmen" set in '50s-era beauty salons and barber shops.

Dancers Andrea Parsons and Franco Nieto (and a menacing pair of shears) in Northwest Dance Project's first story ballet, a re-imagined "Carmen" set in '50s-era beauty salons and barber shops.

Blaine Truit Covertt

14:00 - Ihsan Rustem Lights Up The Stage At The Northwest Dance Project

Northwest Dance Project has built its identity around commissioning world premieres from budding international choreographers. In 2010, founding artistic director Sarah Slipper took a chance on a little known British-turned-Swiss dance maker named Ihsan Rustem. It was his first commission. What followed was a creative relationship that has knocked out audiences at home and abroad, winning international dance competitions. Rustem returned year after year and finally Northwest Dance Project brought him on as their first resident choreographer. Now he’s taking on his most ambitious work yet with a glamorous reimagining of “Carmen” that includes costumes by “Project Runway” winner Michelle Lezniak and runs March 16-18 at the Newmark Theatre.


opbmusic

25:00 - Chicano Batman Flies At An opbmusic Session

Heroes don’t always wear capes. Sometimes they wear ruffles and bow ties. Clad in matching vintage formalwear, the LA-based psychedelic soul quartet Chicano Batman makes music that both grooves and empowers. Their new album, “Freedom is Free,” rebels against the Iraq war and more with smooth tropical beats and fuzzy ‘60s guitars. opbmusic’s Juan Ramirez sat down with the band after a studio session.


A lawsuit over Portland's $35-per-person arts tax heads before the Oregon Supreme Court Monday, March 6, 2017. The lawsuit argues the tax is in violation of the state's constitution.

A lawsuit over Portland's $35-per-person arts tax heads before the Oregon Supreme Court Monday, March 6, 2017. The lawsuit argues the tax is in violation of the state's constitution.

Emily Poisel/Flickr

30:17 - Portland Art’s Tax Challenge At The Oregon Supreme Court

This week, attorneys for the city went head-to-head with a retired lawyer in oral arguments: Is  Portland’s $35-per-adult tax supporting arts and arts education in line with Oregon’s Constitution? We jump in the archives for a little context from OPB education reporter Rob Manning and others. We’ll also see how collections went in 2016 — the first year in which the city sent overdue accounts to collections agencies. Take note: Whatever the court decides, the Arts Tax for this year is due on April 18.


Braden Spotts/opbmusic

41:54 - Thao And The Get Down Stay Down

Thao Nguyen plays well with others. She’s collaborated with indie pop stalwart Mirah and Portland Cello Project. For the record she put out last year, she chose to work with Merrill Garbus — the brash musical mastermind whose band tUne-yArDs bubbles over with energetic rhythms. Nguyen’s coming back through town on a solo tour for a sold out show March 14 at Mississippi Studios. This week we’re listening to the opbmusic session from last year, when Thao and her band, The Get Down Stay Down, stopped by to play some tracks off the Garbus-produced album “Man Alive.”

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