Just in time for the last excruciatingly gray days of March, we’ve found a slew of artists making wonderfully reflective work, directing our energy toward each other. Dive in for restorative thinking from Laura Veirs, a blast of curative chlorophyll in a pop-up installation and a long-awaited local staging of a transformative musical.


Joseph Morales as Alexander Hamilton and Marcus Choi as George Washington in the second national tour of "Hamilton".

Joseph Morales as Alexander Hamilton and Marcus Choi as George Washington in the second national tour of “Hamilton”.

Joan Marcus/Courtesy of Broadway in Portland

‘Hamilton’ In Portland — 1:38

This week, the hottest ticket on Broadway came to Oregon. The national tour of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Pulitzer-winning, record-shattering, earth-moving stage sensation “Hamilton” arrived at Portland’s Keller Auditorium. We attended the show with a senior from Reynolds High School, Sofia Suárez, who is a total Hamilfan. She’s a co-president of the Reynolds drama troupe. She has acted, directed or assistant-directed in 13 shows and was more than happy to come see the touring show and share some thoughts. So does “Hamilton” live up to the hype? Listen and see.


From left to right, Michael Bernard Stevenson Jr., Erika Dedini, Shawn Creeden and Ralph Pugay of the Portland Tropical Garden.

From left to right, Michael Bernard Stevenson Jr., Erika Dedini, Shawn Creeden and Ralph Pugay of the Portland Tropical Garden.

April Baer/OPB

Portland Tropical Garden — 11:27

At this point in March, you may find yourself gravitating toward something — anything, really — that can take the edge off the gray days. Look no further than the Portland Tropical Garden. Sited in the corner Portland’s urban plaza Director Park, it’s a small, glass-walled building that for the last few years housed a branch of Elephants Delicatessen. Now, It’s packed with plants, trees, lamps and steam plumes spouting out of humidifiers. Artist Ralph Pugay and four of his students from Portland State University’s Art and Social Practice MFA program hatched this idea. They’ve filled the building with plants, but also with activities designed to soothe depression, loneliness and other modern conditions.


Willy Vlautin's 10th novel, "Don't Skip Out On Me".

Willy Vlautin’s 10th novel, “Don’t Skip Out On Me”.

Courtesy of Harper Collins

Willy Vlautin — 15:25

Willy Vlautin’s down-and-out characters move seamlessly from the songs of his band Richmond Fontaine to the pages of his 10 novels. If there’s a unified theme in his work, it might be whether there’s some kind of salvation possible in a world that stacks the deck. This spring, Vlautin has both a new novel and a film coming out based on his book “Lean on Pete.” It stars Steve Buscemi, Chloë Sevigny and Charlie Plummer, and was filmed in Eastern Oregon and at the Portland Meadows racetrack. He’s also published a new novel, “Don’t Skip Out on Me.” Click here to find the complete “Think Out Loud” interview.


The Broadway Corridor is one of the last remaining parcels of its size available for development in downtown Portland.

The Broadway Corridor is one of the last remaining parcels of its size available for development in downtown Portland.

Bruce Forester/Courtesy of Prosper Portland

Broadway Corridor — 29:34

Portland is getting ready to choose a partner to help redevelop the city’s Broadway Corridor. The neighborhood between the Pearl District and Old Town Chinatown included the old federal post office, Portland Union Station and more. Redeveloping five big blocks in downtown would be a substantial project any circumstances. But this effort is also a possible test case for how the city can work some art space into commercial development and guide commercial development in a more equitable way. Wednesday night three developers made their pitches in a public forum. OPB reporter Amelia Templeton reports back.


Possessed of Hemingway-like discipline, singer-songwriter Laura Veirs will write as many as five full melodies for each set of lyrics she likes, then winnow down the best contenders in studio recording.

Possessed of Hemingway-like discipline, singer-songwriter Laura Veirs will write as many as five full melodies for each set of lyrics she likes, then winnow down the best contenders in studio recording.

Chloe Aftel/Courtesy of Laura Veirs

Laura Veirs — 36:53

Laura Veirs’ new record, “The Lookout,” is part introspection, part community rallying cry. A tightly crafted folk record, it calls on us to look out for one another and find our voices in difficult times. The album caps a busy year. As you heard on the show in January she also launched a podcast this winter called “Midnight Lightning,” interviewing musicians who are also mothers. And she published a children’s book about folk music heroine Elizabeth Cotten. She joined us in studio to talk about her work-life balance, songwriting and what this album means to her. opbmusic is about to launch videos from her latest studio session. Watch for those to publish next week.