This week on “State of Wonder,” exclusive sessions with singer-songwriter Josh Ritter and the epic band Typhoon, new ideas to preserve Portland’s arts spaces, musician Laura Veirs branches into podcasting and children’s books, and more.
City Council Seeks to Preserve Arts Spaces with New Proposals
So many Oregon cities are going through catalytic change because of rising real estate costs and the front-line casualties include galleries, stages, clubs and artist studios. Most recently, Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland proposed selling half its building. At a work session this week, Portland City Council showed signs it may be ready to take action with a list of about two dozen recommendations for preserving arts and creative space, ranging from creating a new zoning category for creative spaces to an arts concierge in City Hall and giving arts groups priority pick of surplus city real estate.
Former RACC Director Eloise Damrosch on the Future of Portland Arts - 4:19
In the 17 years that Eloise Damrosch was at the helm of the Regional Arts and Culture Council, she had a 10,000-foot view of the seismic changes in the city’s arts scene. She retired in 2017, paving the way for an executive search, now in its eighth month. It’s clear that the task ahead for the next generation of arts leaders is a heavy lift. Damrosch joined us this week to talk about her time at RACC and about this list of ideas on preserving creative space from commissioners Nick Fish and Chloe Eudaly.
Live opbmusic Session with Typhoon - 11:49
The band Typhoon is back this week with “Offerings,” another record of songs made with finesse and ferocity. But this new release finds frontman and songwriter Kyle Morton going to strange and dark places, as it imagines one man’s descent into memory loss and madness. With as many as 11 musicians, this band has never lacked for ambition, but the high-concept music in “Offerings” raises the bar.
Watch videos of Typhoon’s exclusive opbmusic performance in front of a live audience, and catch them live firsthand at the Crystal Ballroom Feb. 23.
The Silent Film Classic “The Passion of Joan of Arc” Gets a Soaring Live Soundtrack - 25:10
For years, one of the worlds greatest films was thought lost, only to be discovered in a custodial closet in Norway. Carl Dreyer’s 1928 silent film, “The Passion of Joan of Arc,” will be screened at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall on Jan. 26 in a most unique way: Portland Youth Philharmonic’s chamber orchestra will perform Richard Einhorn’s oratorio “Voices of Light” live to accompany the film, along with a slew of soloists and vocal ensembles including the female vocal ensemble In Mulieribus and three Portland State University choirs. We spoke with the composer Richard Einhorn and PYP’s musical director David Hattner, who conducted a similar production in New York City in 2006 to glowing reviews. The New York Times asked whether it was Einhorn’s “Voices of Light” that accompanied the film, or the film that accompanied the music?
Musician Laura Veirs on Her Children’s Book and New Podcast - 35:08
In 2018, Portland singer-songwriter Laura Veirs puts down her guitar and picks up the interview mike for a new podcast, “Midnight Lightning,” where she talks to musician moms, charting all the insane things they do to keep their careers and families on track. From rootsy pickers to funk rockers, there’s one thing they all have in common, she says: “Guilt. That was the main thing everyone said. They feel guilty. Especially the touring moms. And then gratitude. ‘I’m grateful I get to do this.’” Veirs also tells us about the children’s book she just published about an early folk singer, “Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten.”
Josh Ritter Plays Sisters - 44:46
Singer-songwriter Josh Ritter is coming to Central Oregon for a concert at the Sisters Folk Festival Winter Concert Series on Jan. 23. The Idaho native’s a big get for them. In addition to his accomplishments as a musician, Ritter also wrote a New York Times best-selling novel in 2011, “Bright’s Passage,” about a farm boy caught up in World War I. We listen back to a conversation and performance on OPB’s “Think Out Loud” the year the book came out. You can hear the full interview here.