Culture

Authors, films and Día de Muertos: Oregon arts and culture events in November

By Donald Orr (OPB) and Crystal Ligori (OPB)
Oct. 29, 2022 1 p.m.

November is just around the corner, and with the new month come new cultural opportunities in the Northwest. OPB announcer and producer Donald Orr sat down with OPB “All Things Considered” host Crystal Ligori to discuss upcoming events for people looking to fill their arts and culture cups to the brim in the weeks ahead. Listen in, or read a lightly edited transcript of their conversation, below.

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Crytal Ligori: So what do you have for us?

Orr: First up, we have the Literary Arts annual Portland Book Festival is back this year, and there are a slew of writing classes, seminars and author conversations the first week of November. They all lead up to the festival on Saturday, Nov. 5, at the Portland Art Museum and neighboring venues. They feature authors of fiction, nonfiction, graphic novels, children’s books and more.

Ligori: Anyone specific we should be looking out for?

Orr: Yeah, one event I wanna highlight is a conversation with poet and author Kwame Alexander. He’s a New York Times bestselling author and is Morning Edition’s poet-in-residence.

He’ll be talking with OPB “Think Out Loud” host Dave Miller about his newest book, “The Door of No Return.” It’s a young adult novel set in 1860 that deals with the history of slavery through the eyes of a young boy growing up in Ghana. Here’s Alexander, reading a passage from the novel:

Kwame Alexander: [from the poetically crafted chapter titled “Terror”]:

On the other side
of the door

is the edge
of the mighty blue

that Nana Mosi
has talked about

that I have dreamed of
a body of water

so awesome
and large

it could breathe
a million clouds

drag the moon
across its gigantic waves

but this is not a dream
I am trying to climb out of

this roaring blue
is an angry nightmare

is a monstrous mouth
and it is wide enough

to swallow us
whole.

Orr: You’ll be able to hear Alexander talk about his latest book, “The Door of No Return,” with OPB’s “Think Out Loud” host Dave Miller, Saturday, Nov. 5 at the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Portland. In addition, lots of other OPB hosts will be interviewing authors at the festival. You can find a full list of conversations and programming at literary-arts.org.

Ligori: I love a good book festival, can’t wait! What about later in the month?

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Orr: Coming up in mid-November we’ve got two back-to-back queer film festivals coming to Portland. QDoc is the only festival of its kind in the country that focuses on queer documentaries — and our friends at Oregon Art Beat are screening a short documentary about mixed media artist, Allison Wonder. He works with intricate miniatures and dolls, creating custom costumes and props for on-location photo shoots.

Here’s Allison Wonder, talking about the process:

I think the biggest gift I gave myself with being creative was to make mistakes. It’s like, you know, we’re just gonna try it. If it’s a mistake we can start over. And sometimes they work, and it’s great.

Allison Wonder

Orr: You can join Allison and “Oregon Art Beat” producer Eric Slade for a screening of “Allison Wonder: Master of Dolls,” and see much more at the QDoc Film Festival. It kicks off at the Hollywood Theater, the weekend of Friday, Nov. 11.

And the Portland Queer Film Festival takes place right after, Nov. 15-Nov. 20 at Cinema 21. You can find festival passes online at Qdocfilmfest.org and PDXqueerfilm.com


Ligori: OK, I’m marking my calendar. Anything else for us?

Orr: One last thing to plug: Día de Muertos is coming up, and it’s an opportunity to remember loved ones who’ve died and honor their memory. The Oregon Community Foundation Latino Partnership Program and CAPACES Leadership Institute are having a Día de Muertos event at Chemeketa Community College in Salem. They’ll have live performances and a traditional Día de Muertos altar. That’s on Wednesday, Nov. 2.

Ligori: Donald, thanks so much for joining me and filling us in on what we can expect in the arts & culture realm.

Orr: Thanks Crystal

Ligori: That was OPB’s Donald Orr. You can find all of our arts programming and coverage online at OPB.org/culture.

Sara Padilla of West Linn’s Day of the Dead altar, shown in this 2021 file photo, includes figurines, and memorials for family members and a cherished pet. Chemeketa Community College in Salem will be host to live performances and a traditional Día de Muertos altar on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022.

Sara Padilla of West Linn’s Day of the Dead altar, shown in this 2021 file photo, includes figurines, and memorials for family members and a cherished pet. Chemeketa Community College in Salem will be host to live performances and a traditional Día de Muertos altar on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022.

Courtesy of Sara Padilla

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How Oregon Dungeness crab make the journey from sea to table.
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