This week, “State of Wonder” steps right up to awkward. Embarrassing situations don’t always result in great inspiration — but we wonder if some artists actually benefit from their fiascos. Doesn’t a debacle make us feel a kind of fearlessness for whatever may come next? This week, creative sparks fly from truly cringe-worthy inspiration.


Artist keyon gaskin, whose contemporary performance works have been staged at the Hammer Museum, MOMA PS1, and festivals all over the world.

Artist keyon gaskin, whose contemporary performance works have been staged at the Hammer Museum, MOMA PS1, and festivals all over the world.

Intisar Abioto/Courtesy of Intisar Abioto

Worst. Beowulf. Ever. — :04

We start out with a quick story from artist keyon gaskin. Choreographing a modern dance interpretation of “Beowulf” among college performers with no dance experience? What could possibly go wrong?


Christopher Imbrosciano (left) and Kailey Rhodes (right) in Artist Repertory Theatre's 2019 production of Mike Lew's play "Teenage Dick".

Christopher Imbrosciano (left) and Kailey Rhodes (right) in Artist Repertory Theatre’s 2019 production of Mike Lew’s play “Teenage Dick”.

David Kinder/Courtesy of Artists Repertory Theatre

Mike Lew’s Adaptation of “Teenage Dick” onstage at Artists Rep — 4:50

This weekend at Portland’s Artists Repertory Theatre, Mike Lew’s play “Teenage Dick” gets its West Coast premiere. A retelling of William Shakespeare’s “Richard III,” the play sets the classic 15th century story in a modern-day high school setting. It premiered off Broadway and won great reviews for its pointed critique of high school cruelties, and the experiences of people with disabilities. The role of Richard is played by Christopher Imbrosciano, an actor who, like the character, lives with cerebral palsy.


Satirust Andy Borowitz honed his chops at the Harvard Lampoon before diving into a career as a TV producer and writer. But most readers know him today as the pen behind the New Yorker's satirical news feed, "The Borowitz Report".

Satirust Andy Borowitz honed his chops at the Harvard Lampoon before diving into a career as a TV producer and writer. But most readers know him today as the pen behind the New Yorker’s satirical news feed, “The Borowitz Report”.

Courtesy of Mills Entertainment

Andy Borowitz on Surviving the End of Satire — 11:23

If you’ve read the New Yorker, or have friends that do, you might have seen his satire column, “The Borowitz Report,” posted and shared on your feed. Satire is so close to reality in our current political climate, that the New Yorker actually renamed his column on their site, “Satire From the Borowitz Report” and added as a subhead, “not the news.” But even then, it can feel much too real. Borowitz talks to us about his method for converting the cringe-worthy to hilarious. Andy Borowitz will be in Portland for an evening of storytelling and conversation Jan. 18.


Transmedia artist Nadia Buyse and artist keyon gaskin have seen things. Terrible things.

Transmedia artist Nadia Buyse and artist keyon gaskin have seen things. Terrible things.

Courtesy of Nadia Buyse

The Art They Survived Together — 39:20

keyon gaskin and Nadia Buyse are good friends whose paths sometimes intersect on the global art festival circuit. Their multimedia and performance works take them all over the globe. They’ve seen some crazy stuff. But one trip to a festival at Železný Brod in the Czech Republic might just take the title for most breathtakingly awkward performance art ever.