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David Byrne + Portland’s Kelly Pratt | Typhoon’s Kyle Morton | Pander Brothers | Dance Across Cultures & Ages

“State of Wonder” will melt your winter blahs down to marshmallowy molten goodness with provocative dance projects, hot new fiction, and music for transformative times — with twirling rifles!

Six dancers, age 15 to 57, explore power and fatigue, weight and weightlessness, sensuality and aggression in Tahni Holt's performance "Sensation/Disorientation," Jan. 18–22.

Six dancers, age 15 to 57, explore power and fatigue, weight and weightlessness, sensuality and aggression in Tahni Holt’s performance “Sensation/Disorientation,” Jan. 18–22.

Kamala Kingsley

Tahni Holt’s Sensational Disorientation - 1:21

When it comes to women, there are two things American culture doesn’t look so kindly on: age and weight. Portland choreographer Tahni Holt’s newest performance revels in both. We sit in on rehearsal, talking with Holt and some of her collaborators for a new work commissioned by White Bird Dance. “Sensation/Disorientation” runs at Reed College’s Diver Studio Theatre Jan. 18–22.

Kyle Morton of Portland band Typhoon

Kyle Morton of Portland band Typhoon

Nate Sjol/opbmusic

Studio Session with Typhoon’s Kyle Morton - 7:19

Kyle Morton is known for the soaring, lyrical songs he writes for his band, Typhoon. Now Morton has put out a solo record called “What Will Destroy You” that gives breath to his somber and contemplative style (not to mention incredible wit). Morton stopped by OPB to play a few songs and talk with opbmusic’s Dave Christensen. Watch videos of the studio session over at opbmusic.

David Byrne Taps Portlander Kelly Pratt For Star-Studded Color Guard Collaboration- 14:56

Kelly Pratt, who has worked with everyone from Beirut to Cold Play, first collaborated with David Byrne when Byrne asked him to arrange horns and lead the band for Byrne’s “Love This Giant” album and tour with St. Vincent. Then came an even more unusual request. Byrne had become fascinated with the distinctly American phenomenon of color guard (and its winter equivalent, winter guard), which involves dances using flags, sabers and wooden rifles generally set to marching band music (and is best known to most as accompanying high school football games). 

Byrne invited an incredible roster of musicians, including Nelly Furtado, former Beastie Boy Ad-Rock, How to Dress Well, tUnE-yArDs and Nico Muhly with Ira Glass, to compose new songs and play them live at Brooklyn’s Barclay Center, soundtracking the nation’s best winter guard teams. Pratt did all the horn and string arrangements. They filmed it all for a documentary-concert film hybrid called “Contemporary Color” that is playing during the Northwest Film Center’s Reel Music Film Fest on Jan. 21 and will open nationally in March.

New Novel from Jon Raymond: Freebird - 21:21

The erudite warmth of writer Jon Raymond’s work has spanned screenplays, arts criticism and fiction. His new novel, “Freebird,” focuses on three generations of a family struggling with the horrors of war, teenage angst and living with the legacy of a father who survived the Holocaust. Raymond is a longtime Portland writer, who’s also penned scripts for movies including “Meek’s Crossing” and “Wendy and Lucy,” and he co-wrote the HBO series “Mildred Pierce.”

You can hear their full conversation on Think Out Loud. Raymond will read from “Freebird” at Powell’s City of Books on Jan. 20 at 7:30 p.m.

Desert Rain, the first house in the world certified for the Living Building Challenge.

Desert Rain, the first house in the world certified for the Living Building Challenge.

Courtesy of Tom Elliott and Barbara Cook

Desert Rain: Meeting the Living Building Challenge - 28:51

Can a house be more than a place to live? Can it be a demonstration of our highest aspirations? Our columnist-in-residence, Randy Gragg, introduces us to Tom Elliott and Barbara Scott of Bend. Their house, Desert Rain, was made to meet certification of the Living Building Challenge using the highest standards for energy efficiency, power generation, water systems management and more. We’ll hear about their journey to the limits of green building technology. Check out a slide show of Desert Rain.

Pander Brothers Re-Imagine “XXX” as “The Dissident” - 36:44

Jacob and Arnold Pander’s kinetic comic books panels are full of exciting contrasts, with doses of film noir and pop art sensibility. While comics put them on the map, they’ve also worked extensively in commercial art, film and video. Last year they Kickstarted a project to revive one of their most famous comics titles: a tech thriller about an American journalist on the lam in a futuristic version of Amsterdam, after civil society in the U.S. goes into free fall. The story was published by Dark Horse Comics as “XXX,” and the Pander Brothers are rereleasing it online as “The Dissident” — with an extended prequel — posted a-page-a-day at their website.

Subashini Ganesan performing at PICA's 2015 TBA Festival.

Subashini Ganesan performing at PICA’s 2015 TBA Festival.

Chelsea Petraki/Courtesy of Subashini Ganesan

Two Choreographers Make Traditional Dance Contemporary - 43:05

Two remarkable choreographers come together next weekend to show new contemporary dance works. They’re from radically different traditions, but each embraces a marriage of traditional and modern forms. Subashini Ganesan’s “Bliss And Other Easy Things” and Oluyinka Akinjiola’s “IBUKUN: The Celebration,” running together as “Ignite” Jan. 20–22, were developed through Ganesan’s New Expressive Works Residency, housed in the space she runs at Studio2. As Ganesan and Oluyinka explain, this is no easy time for immigrant-American artists trying to figure out how to stand straight, but their performance, coincidentally the same weekend as the inauguration, presented a chance to rethink identity and community.

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