This week on “State of Wonder,” we dream of the ‘90s in Boring, Oregon, with the creators of “Everything Sucks” and hear from Allison Janney about her role in “I, Tonya” — she’s up for an Oscar this weekend. We also bring you an update on Portland’s effort to save creative space and meet the city’s new creative laureate.
“Everything Sucks” in Boring, Oregon — 1:08
Oregon has been growing into a small powerhouse in the film and television industry, but nobody could’ve predicted the state’s newest star: Boring, Oregon. It’s the site of the new coming-of-age show from Netflix, “Everything Sucks.” Drawing inspiration from ‘90s hallmarks like “10 Things I Hate About You,” “My So Called Life” and “Freaks and Geeks,” the show is a celebrations of all things ‘90s. We speak with the creators, Ben Jones and Mike Mohan, about their unlikely lead characters, whether they wanted to appeal to folks who were too young to remember Zima, and how they feel about the inescapable comparisons to “Stranger Things.”
For more, check out our article “10 Things We Love About Everything Sucks.”
A Black Comic on Jokes About Race — 15:17
D. Martin Austin’s life has always felt like a cultural tug of war, but that hasn’t stopped them from getting up onstage most nights of the week to make people laugh. As most comics will tell you — and certainly this black queer comic — some of the best comedy comes from painful, awkward situations. OPB’s Anna Griffin shares Austin’s story as part of a series about how Pacific Northwesterns talk about race.
City Council Affirms Recommendations for Preserving Arts Space — 21:09
Two weeks ago we spent our show exploring a list of 24 things Portland leaders were thinking about doing to preserve art space. At the time, city commissioners were batting for adopting only a couple of the recommendations. Instead, this week they approved a whopping 22. Much of the implementation of these recommendations relies on the dedication of a staffer in Commissioner Nick Fish’s office, Jamie Dunphy, to spend the next two years working on implementation. However, to continue the work, Fish must defend his seat in this year’s election.
The Art of Assembly — 24:44
Arts groups face dozens of related issues that are not addressed in the recommendations for preserving creative space. This next story is about a vanguard group of people at the contemporary arts center S1 struggling to navigate all the rules and regulations that City Council is trying to alleviate — mainly, the requirement that any venue hosting more than 50 people for, say, an art event and dance party needs sprinklers.
Meet Portland’s New Creative Laureate, Subashini Ganesan— 29:58
Just as poets laureate are ambassadors for poetry and prose, Portland’s creative laureate is intended to champion the arts and broaden the city’s sense of its expressive self. The city’s newest laureate, Subashini Ganesan, is a performer, teacher and choreographer who runs the nonprofit arts space New Expressive Works in Southeast Portland.
Ganesan has already started off her tenure with a bang. She is preparing to launch a first-of-its kind South Asian Arts Festival March 8–11. Ganesan stopped by to talk about the festival and her new position.
Allison Janney Gives an Oscar-Nominated Performance in “I, Tonya” — 37:46
The 2017 release of “I, Tonya,” brought Oregon’s infamous figure skating legend Tonya Harding back into the spotlight. The movie explores Harding’s story with special emphasis on her ferocious mom, LaVona Golden, played by Allison Janney. Janney’s up for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress at this weekend’s Academy Awards. Janney and screenwriter Steven Rogers have been friends for years. They talked to Ari Shapiro about the role on “All Things Considered.”
Terese Marie Mailhot’s Raw Honesty is What Makes her Memoir a Success — 45:26
Terese Marie Mailhot’s memoir, “Heart Berries,” is breaking big, winning an endorsements from The New York Times, among others. Mailhot grew up on the Seabird Island Indian Reserve in British Columbia. “Heart Berries” addresses harrowing stories from her past, like the day Mailhot lost custody of her oldest child. But the story’s fulcrum is Mailhot’s will to reclaim her own narrative. For all the traumatic tales of abuse and privation, she is as ruthless with herself as with ex-lovers and family. April Baer caught up with Mailhot when she was in town in early February to talk about the book and returning to the Pacific Northwest.