If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that art can be a powerful, trailblazing force. Art is so much more than an oil painting hung on a gallery wall. We use art as a tool for imagining new possibilities, forging better lives. This week, we’re talking with folks who are expanding the boundaries of their field, from comics to radio to civic works.

State of Wonder Feb 9 2019 - ful transcript

Click here to find a full transcript from this week’s program.

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“That’s the thing about her. Her reach always exceeds her grasp. She makes mistakes. And she never lets that destroy her.”
Writer Kelly Sue DeConnick on Captain Marvel, whose Marvel Comics series was transformed by DeConnick's work during a celebrated three year run. A film adaptation informed by DeConnick's work opens this weekend.

“That’s the thing about her. Her reach always exceeds her grasp. She makes mistakes. And she never lets that destroy her.” Writer Kelly Sue DeConnick on Captain Marvel, whose Marvel Comics series was transformed by DeConnick’s work during a celebrated three year run. A film adaptation informed by DeConnick’s work opens this weekend.

April Baer/OPB

Higher, Further, Faster: Kelly Sue DeConnick on Women in Comics - 2:20

If you’re planning on seeing the new “Captain Marvel” movie this weekend, you’ve got Portland-based comics writer Kelly Sue DeConnick to thank. She spent three years writing Captain Marvel comics, adding new depth and dimension to the protagonist, Carol Danvers. The film, based on DeConnick’s re-imaginings, is the first in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to feature a female lead. We spoke with DeConnick about creating space for women in the comics industry — as both characters and creators. These days, she’s writing Aquaman for DC Comics, as well as her own projects, “Pretty Deadly” and “Bitch Planet.”


DJ Ambush is a radio personality on The Numberz — a Portland station featuring an all-Black, non-commercial format. The Numberz airs on 96.7 fm. 

DJ Ambush is a radio personality on The Numberz — a Portland station featuring an all-Black, non-commercial format. The Numberz airs on 96.7 fm. 

Jimmy Giambrone/Courtesy DJ Ambush

Carving Out Space on the Airwaves - 12:00

If you’re ever driving around on Portland’s east side, tune your radio to 96.7 FM, and you’ll find something special. The Numberz is the city’s only station committed to airing “Black music by Black people from Black Portland.” We spoke with a few of The Numberz’ key players, including co-founder Anthony Deloney, DJ Ambush, and station manager Kayela J. This Saturday, March 9, The Numberz will be at Polaris Hall, celebrating XRAY.FM’s 5th anniversary. Tickets are available here. To listen to The Numberz live, tune in to 96.7 FM, or stream online.


Ecuadorian-American artist Helado Negro's new album, "This Is How You Smile," is out March 8 on RVNG Intl. 

Ecuadorian-American artist Helado Negro’s new album, “This Is How You Smile,” is out March 8 on RVNG Intl. 

Courtesy of the artist

Helado Negro is Young, Latin, and Proud - 1:30

On this week’s show, we’re featuring the music of Helado Negro. Roberto Carlos Lange is the Ecuadorian-American musician behind the project, which melds dreamy ambience, electronic rhythms, and  subtle but confident arrangements. Lange’s newest album, “This Is How You Smile” was just released last week — and it’s exquisite. Keep checking back for our forthcoming coverage of Lange’s session with opbmusic, as well as an interview with State of Wonder. In the meantime, “This Is How You Smile” is available to stream here.


For many of Portland's artists, affordable workspaces are harder and harder to come by. Suba Ganesan, the city's creative laureate, surveyed over 200 artists in an effort to understand and address the problem. 

For many of Portland’s artists, affordable workspaces are harder and harder to come by. Suba Ganesan, the city’s creative laureate, surveyed over 200 artists in an effort to understand and address the problem. 

April Baer/OPB

Suba Ganesan Shares Survey Findings - 26:30 

Most artists in Portland can agree that the city is becoming far too expensive, far too quickly. But on a more specific level, different artists face different problems — and different solutions may be in order. Suba Ganesan is a dance-based artist and the founder of New Expressive Works. In 2018, after being appointed the city’s creative laureate, Ganesan set out to determine the most pressing needs of Portland’s artists. She interviewed 229 individuals and collectives, asking what kinds of spaces they need most. This week, we take a look at what she found.


In January of 2018, several city Commissioners drafted a list of 24 action-items for preserving and improving Portland's creative spaces. A year later, the results are mixed. 

In January of 2018, several city Commissioners drafted a list of 24 action-items for preserving and improving Portland’s creative spaces. A year later, the results are mixed. 

April Baer/OPB

What’s Happening to Portland’s Creative Spaces? - 35:15

In January of 2018, the Portland City Council adopted a 24-part plan of action to improve and preserve the city’s creative spaces. For some time, local artists have been calling for a comprehensive plan like this, citing rising rents and the unceasing tide of gentrification. A year later, we’re running an informal accountability check on the program — what have we accomplished so far, and what areas still need attention? We break down the checklist point-by-point, from zoning laws to what could be the futuristic frontier of public art: the “art-pod.”


Commissioner Chloe Eudaly shares her priorities on affordable arts spaces in Portland.

Commissioner Chloe Eudaly shares her priorities on affordable arts spaces in Portland.

April Baer/OPB

Chloe Eudaly on Portland’s Changing Landscape - 44:00

Chloe Eudaly is no stranger to the precarious nature of Portland’s arts community. In 2016, she closed the doors of her independent bookstore, Reading Frenzy. Now, however, Eudaly is the commissioner in charge of Portland’s arts portfolio. We spoke with her about the city’s progress on the creative space plan, and the vulnerability of the arts in these times of transition. She also shed light on some of the more macro-sized components of the problem, like real estate, homelessness and gentrification. 


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.