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The Decemberists As Offa Rex | Tracy K. Smith | DaVinci Days | Bend Arts Center

Offa Rex

Offa Rex

courtesy of Offa Rex

A New Collaboration for The Decemberists: Offa Rex

The Decemberists may have finally met their match. The band has been collaborating with British singer Olivia Chaney to reinterpret tradition Scottish, Irish and English songs under the name Offa Rex — a reference to an Anglo-Saxon king. The resulting album, “The Queen of Hearts,” comes out July 14 and is produced by local whiz Tucker Martine. You can see Off Rex perform live July 23 at the Aladdin Theater.

We sat down to talk with Colin and Olivia about working together.

Reed Lacy and Emily Lacy-Nichols pedal their kinetic sculpture.

Reed Lacy and Emily Lacy-Nichols pedal their kinetic sculpture.

Courtesy of Sally Shumaker

Kinetic Sculpture Racers Pedal On at Revamped DaVinci Days in Corvallis - 11:37

This weekend, Corvallis celebrates the return Da Vinci Days: the festival where art and science mix. It started 29 years ago in the spirit of Leonardo DaVinci — a man as much about math as Mona Lisa. Da Vinci Days includes a full-three day schedule this year filled with live music, lectures, poetry readings and a competition that may best embody the ingenuity and play at the festival’s heart — the Grand Kinetic Challenge, a race over land and water in handmade vehicles.  

We set out to answer the question: Who is a kinetic sculpture racer? Plus, an interview with Steve Clark, longtime DaVinci Days board member, about the festival’s comeback after a several-year hiatus.  

Gallery 114’s Exhibition, “Human Being,” Centers Work by Incarcerated Artists - 22:04

“Human Being,” the art show on view at Gallery 114 in NW Portland, features paintings and drawings and mixed media works by men who are serving life sentences in prison. David Slader, a former attorney who has devoted his retirement years to painting, invited three guest artists — Jerome Sloan, David Drenth and B. Pat — to show artwork created in their Oregon prison cells alongside his own work.

Slader spoke with OPB’s Dave Miller about the show and its theme: demanding basic dignity for all human beings. Listen to more of their conversation here.


Boone Howard, PNW Rocker and Sound Engineer, Releases Solo Debut - 27:44

An accomplished musician and former front man of Portland rock band The We Shared Milk, Boone Howard is also a sought-after live sound engineer. Now’s your chance to check out both his music and sound engineering chops on his solo debut record, “The Other Side of Town.” Find videos of Howard’s opbmusic performance here.

Bend Arts Center Opens in a Changing Central Oregon Arts Landscape - 33:20

Atelier 6000, a studio dedicated to printmaking and book arts, re-opened this month with a new name signifying a much broader mission: the Bend Art Center. The center will offer expanded class offerings and a broader range of art exhibitions, but the name change is also a signpost for the restless conversation in Central Oregon art circles about who speaks for art and what needs to be said. We check in with the folks at the new Bend Arts Center, plus local artists and art advocacy leaders, about possibilities and limitations for art in the region. 

Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith

Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith

U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith - 40:01

In June, Tracy K. Smith was named 22nd Poet Laureate of the United States. This is just the latest add to an impressive string of titles: in 2012, Smith won a Pulitzer for her poetry collection “Life on Mars,” she runs the creative writing program at Princeton University, and, this year, published a new memoir.  

OPB’s Dave Miller spoke with Smith live in front of an audience at Portland’s Literary Arts space in February about what feels generative about writing and reading poems. Listen to the full conversation here.

Arts Funding at the Capitol - 45:23 

The legislative session just wrapped up, and we kept up on bills and funding packages so you don’t have to.  

One success for arts advocates: six million dollars in lottery bond money for Main Street Preservation grants. We check in with folks at the Liberty Theater in LaGrande, which will benefit from the bill. Plus, more on legislation that mandates a consideration of regional differences when state arts grants are awarded, and a look at the Oregon Arts Commission, which is facing a 16 percent budget cut.    

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