Who says the best works are those that stick around the longest? On this week’s show, we revisit interviews with creators whose projects are tied to distinct moments in time. Their stories demonstrate the ways that impermanence can enhance what we make.


Demian DinéYazhi´ spent the summer of 2018 on a cross-country road trip, performing sections of their epic poem, "An Infected Sunset." 

Demian DinéYazhi´ spent the summer of 2018 on a cross-country road trip, performing sections of their epic poem, “An Infected Sunset.” 

Claudia Meza/OPB

An Epic Poem of Impermanence - 1:30

Demian DinéYazhi´spent last summer on a cross-country odyssey, performing their long prose poem, “An Infected Sunset.” Among other topics, the work explores queer sexuality, white supremacy and indigenous survival. Previously, DinéYazhi´has created visual art that you might expect to find in a gallery, but they’re also deeply interested in ephemeral art — works that speak to transition and resilience. In addition to major U.S. cities, DinéYazhi´read from “An Infected Sunset” on the Oglala Lakota Pine Ridge Reservation and at Standing Rock. We spoke with DinéYazhi´last summer, after they’d returned to Portland.


Tender Table founder Stacy Tran (center) with storytellers Mercedes Orozco (left) and Leslie Stevenson (right).

Tender Table founder Stacy Tran (center) with storytellers Mercedes Orozco (left) and Leslie Stevenson (right).

Carlye Meisburger/OPB

Food for Thought at Tender Table - 13:30

What we eat says a lot about who we are, where we’ve come from. When oppression is a part of that history, food can take on an even greater meaning. Poet Stacey Tran established the Tender Table series as a platform for women and nonbinary people of color to share their stories through shared meals. At each Tender Table event, participants prepare both a dish and a story to contribute to the gathering. From the herbs used to season the food to the methods employed in preparing it — every aspect conveys something about the storyteller’s family, background or heritage. The next Tender Table event will take place on Feb. 24 at the De-Canon Library.


Michelle Zauner, aka Japanese Breakfast, wrote an emotional essay in the New Yorker about how her mother was her access point to her Korean heritage.

Michelle Zauner, aka Japanese Breakfast, wrote an emotional essay in the New Yorker about how her mother was her access point to her Korean heritage.

Courtesy Joyce Jude

Michelle Zauner on Grief, Identity and Korean Food - 23:55

Michelle Zauner composes grungy indie pop under the moniker Japanese Breakfast. Raised in Eugene by a Caucasian father and a Korean mother, Zauner lost her mother to cancer several years ago. Since then, she’s grappled with how to continue connecting with her Korean heritage. She began to seek comfort in the colorful aisles of H Mart, an Asian superstore. In an emotionally powerful essay she penned for the New Yorker, Zauner explores how food has become the primary link to this aspect of her identity. Samantha Matsumoto of “Think Out Loud” spoke with Zauner in August of last year. 


Mikey Hortaleza (DJ Grim) on the hunt for Filipino records in Manila.

Mikey Hortaleza (DJ Grim) on the hunt for Filipino records in Manila.

Courtesy of Mikey Hortaleza

Disco in Dangerous Times - 51:00

The Marcos regime of the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s were some of the Philippines’ darkest days. After years of martial law, government-sponsored violence had become the norm. But on the radio and in local dance clubs, things couldn’t have sounded more different. The Manila Sound describes the popular music of the day; relentlessly upbeat, it drew on Latin rock, American disco and European pop. For many Filipino people, it was the light at the end of the tunnel. Today, the music serves as a snapshot of these extraordinary, unforgettable times. Last August, we spoke with some folks who remember this era of repression, and the healing power of the Manila Sound.


Music Heard On 'State Of Wonder'

A Spotify playlist to share all the music we feature on our show and anything else that inspires us while we’re making it.