We in no way wish to harsh your summer mellow. But it so happens this week we spent time with people doing difficult and dangerous work, and making music and films about these precarious situations. We talk about threats to domestic security, people fighting for their voices, and an act some may find the most terrifying of all: singing in public.
Las Chuntá: Annual Gender-Bending — 1:34
When filmmaker Genevieve Roudané moved to Chiapas, Mexico, in 2008, she wanted to learn about social movements and connect with the LGBTQ+ community. Those two things came together as Roudané attended the Fiesta Grande, where every January, men dress up as fabulous women to act out a precolonial ritual, representing Las Chuntá. Roudané’s documentary “Las Chuntá“ follows two groups preparing for this gender-bending tradition — and fight for its future. To watch “Las Chuntá,” it’s screening in Portland, Thursday, Aug. 15 at the Whitsell Auditorium as part of the Northwest Film Center’s summer series.
Drop-In Singalongs For All — 10:23
Think about the last time you sang with a group of people. We’re not talking about a karaoke duet at a dive bar, or a road trip singalong in the car, but organized melodies and harmonies with others. For most adults, that means time and commitments. But Portland’s Low Bar Chorale offers drop-in, large-group singalongs accompanied by an array of talented musicians. OPB’s Meerah Powell went to their event celebrating the 35th Anniversary of Prince’s “Purple Rain” and spoke with the founders of the Low Bar Chorale, Kate Sokoloff and Ben Landsverk.
Their next singalong is Tuesday, Aug. 6 at Revolution Hall’s Show Bar and they also have another coming up Aug. 15 at Kruger’s Farm on Sauvie Island.
Bundyville: The Remnant — 17:06
Last year, independent journalist Leah Sottile and OPB editor Ryan Haas teamed up with Longreads and OPB to make the hit podcast series “Bundyville.” It was all about the Bundy family and their standoffs at Bunkerville in Nevada and the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. This summer, Bundyville is back with a second season exploring anti-government extremism beyond the Bundy family. Sottile and Haas recently visited OPB’s “Think Out Loud” and spoke with host Dave Miller about the podcast. Listeners should be aware that this segment contains graphic depictions of violence.
Topping the Billboard charts this summer are hip-hop and country crossovers like Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” and Blanco Brown’s “The Git Up.” But we wanted to go back to some of the original voices and stories in cowboy music. Dom Flemons, the American Songster, scholar and former member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, explores the often overlooked black settlers of the West, with a collection of his own folk and country tunes. We spoke with Flemons at OK Theatre’s Centennial Celebration in Eastern Oregon about his latest album, “Black Cowboys,” and the expansive influence of cowboy music.
One-Man Shows Reimagining Historical Figures — 39:50
Every year, Portland Center Stage hosts a festival of new and evolving work. It’s a place where playwrights and theater people come to work through projects in development. It’s called JAW (which stands for Just Add Water): a Playwrights Festival. This year, the Portland audience got time with an acclaimed writer, actor and director who’s been on set with some of the greatest directors we know: Roger Guenveur Smith. The piece Smith is workshopping at JAW is about Otto Frank, Anne Frank’s father. OPB’s Erica Morrison spoke with Smith about his historically infused shows and how they reflect on the present. Catch the next performance of Smith’s “Otto Frank” Saturday Aug. 3 at the Willamette Writers Conference.