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Wayne Coyne | Samiya Bashir | Taneka Stotts | An LA Riff On Medea


Crawl inside this week and prepare to be dazzled: We visited an installation made by the team behind some of rock’s most amazing live shows, science powers up spellbinding poems by Samiya Bashir and why comic book publishers are retooling their business model to fit the book-format market.


The Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne assembled "King's Mouth" at Pacific Northwest College of Art. It's on view through the end of 2017.

The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne assembled “King’s Mouth” at Pacific Northwest College of Art. It’s on view through the end of 2017.

Nick Hennessy/OPB

Inside the King’s Mouth with Wayne Coyne - 1:30

The Flaming Lips are known for their spectacularly creative stage shows. Frontman Wayne Coyne loves elaborately crafted props, abundant color and mind-blowing lighting schemes — to say nothing of his Pied Piper sense of fun. Now Coyne has brought a work to Portland that was first seen at Baltimore’s American Visionary Art Museum: the surreal installation “King’s Mouth” invites viewers inside for a sound and visual experience that’s the closest thing to a Flaming Lips show outside the arena. We crawl inside the creative maw with Coyne and the Lips’ long-time, Portland-based tour manager.


The cast of "Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles," co-produced by Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Portland Center Stage.

The cast of “Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles,” co-produced by Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Portland Center Stage.

Jenny Graham/Courtesy of Oregon Shakespeare Festival

“Mojada” Re-Interprets Euripides’ “Medea” as Modern Parable of Immigrant Experience - 10:34

Portland Center Stage is bringing one of the most affecting shows onstage at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s season earlier this year to Portland: Luis Alfaro’s adaptation of Euripides’s tragedy “Medea.” Reborn and reset in Los Angeles, “Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles” finds Medea adapting to life as a Oaxacan immigrant seamstress, trying to hold her family together in the face of the trauma of their crossing. We spoke with the playwright, and with Sabina Zuniga Varela, the extraordinary actress who interprets Medea’s journey, with astonishing warmth and compassion, while leaving audiences gasping at the heroine’s fate. “Mojada” runs through Nov. 26.


Doug Chase says book-format comics are on the rise in retailers like Powell's City of Books in downtown Portland.

Doug Chase says book-format comics are on the rise in retailers like Powell’s City of Books in downtown Portland.

Nick Hennessy/OPB

Book Publishing Reshapes The Comics Industry -18:53

Comic books are one of the last mass-produced forms of serialized fiction on the page. You can go to a comic book shop and pick up monthly editions of Batman, Star Wars, and hundreds of other titles. Increasingly, readers are also finding them on the shelves of local bookstores. It turns out, where you buy your comics can have an effect on what stories get published.


Myisha Haynes is among the creators featured in "Elements: Fire" by Beyond Press.

Myisha Haynes is among the creators featured in “Elements: Fire” by Beyond Press.

Courtesy of Beyond Press

Taneka Stotts of Beyond Press on Normalizing Comics and More - 23:43

An eye-catching anthology debuted this year, garnering awards nominations for its presentation of works by creators of color. Portlander Taneka Stotts edited and published “Elements: Fire” with her start-up Beyond Press. It’s a feast of different art styles, rendered in black and white with bright red spot color punctuating every page. Stotts sat down with us to tell the story of teaming up with Canadian artist and writer Sfé Monster to start Beyond, and what she learned about investing in herself.


"When I saw this image, it was as if it was a fully articulated blues statement in a way that felt so exactly like what I was making that it blew me away," says Samiya Bashir of the image "Lonely Chamber" by Toyin Ojih Odutola that's now the cover of "Field Theories." "The flesh is lit by these blues and greens and yellows that are bursting like light, almost as if through a fractured black body. The fracture is not a furthering of oppression, but more like a cracking through or a release, sending back all that light that’s contained inside."

“When I saw this image, it was as if it was a fully articulated blues statement in a way that felt so exactly like what I was making that it blew me away,” says Samiya Bashir of the image “Lonely Chamber” by Toyin Ojih Odutola that’s now the cover of “Field Theories.” “The flesh is lit by these blues and greens and yellows that are bursting like light, almost as if through a fractured black body. The fracture is not a furthering of oppression, but more like a cracking through or a release, sending back all that light that’s contained inside.”

Courtesy of Nightboat Books

Testing Field Theories With Poet Samiya Bashir - 33:15

It’s easy to find poetry in science; it’s rarer to find science in poetry. But that is the genesis of Portland poet Samiya Bashir’s book “Field Theories,” where poems titled after scientific principles like “Planck’s Constant” and “Synchronous Rotation” plumb the space where theory collides with real life: from the back seat of a taxi to jazz clubs, early morning cigarettes, human fables, gun violence and Groucho Marx. The Portland poet and Reed College creative writing professor was recently awarded a fellowship from the Regional Arts and Culture Council, in support of her ravishing poetry and multi-disciplinary performance collaborations. She sat down with us to talk dark matter, quantum theory and black body radiation. Listen to the extended conversation.

Basher will read from her latest poetry collection, “Field Theories,” this Sunday at Powell’s Books on Hawthorne at 4 p.m., and don’t miss her at Wordstock — Portland’s Book Festival — next weekend (she’s on the 1:45 p.m. panel at the Brunish).


Restoration Celebration - 45:10

Portland State University chemistry professor Tami Lasseter Clare has received a $1 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to continue her work preserving and repairing artwork in Northwest museums. Clare has spent the last decade helping institutions like Portland Art Museum take care of antiquities, modern sculptures, and more. Clare spoke with “Think Out Loud” host Dave Miller about what the grant will make possible.

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