Our valentine to you, dear members, this week includes musical inversions with The Shins’ James Mercer, breaking news about a game-changing gift at Artists Rep, the company’s mammoth new show, fun fiction with illustrator-turned-author Keith Rosson and much more.

James Mercer at OPB

James Mercer at OPB

David Christensen/OPB

The Shins Flipped Their Recent Record On Its Head – 1:22

Last year, the Portland band The Shins released their fifth studio album. “Heartworms” is a mix of highly orchestrated songs that sound effortless. But bandleader James Mercer spent five years in the studio, painstakingly producing most the songs himself. After taking “Heartworms” on the road for a world tour, Mercer recently released a radical new version of the album, titled “The Worm’s Heart,” flipping the song styles. He came in to OPB to talk about the new album with Aaron Scott.


Photographer and Portland Darkroom member Leslie Peltz takes a photo above the Burnside Skatepark

Photographer and Portland Darkroom member Leslie Peltz takes a photo above the Burnside Skatepark

Nick Hennessy/OPB

Portland Darkroom Provides a Necessary Space for Portland Photographers – 11:04

Last year, Portland’s Newspace Center for Photography closed its doors. The closure left a hole in the local photography community — there was no other publicly accessible darkroom in Portland. That is, until a volunteer group of photographers took matters into their own hands. Nick Hennessy reports.


Actor Joe Morton plays Rowan Pope in the ABC drama Scandal.

Actor Joe Morton plays Rowan Pope in the ABC drama Scandal.

Bob D’Amico/ABC

‘Scandal’ Actor Joe Morton Headlines at the Portland Black Film Festival – 15:30

Every February, the Portland Black Film Festival touches down at the Hollywood Theatre with a slew of classic and contemporary films. This year’s lineup includes “The Spook Who Sat By The Door,” the classic musical “Stormy Weather,” a documentary about the late, great soul singer Charles Bradley, and a showcase of short films directed by local filmmakers. But the festival headliner is Joe Morton, best-known for his Emmy-winning role as Rowan Pope, the dynamic father of main character Olivia Pope, on the ABC series “Scandal.” He’s coming to town for a Q&A after a screening of one of his best-known movies, John Sayles’ 1984 sci-fi classic, “Brother From Another Planet.” We’re listening this week to Morton’s recent conversation with Michel Martin. The Portland Black Film Festival runs all month, but you can see Joe Morton on Feb. 24 at the Hollywood Theatre. 


Actors performing "Magellanica," Artists Repertory Theatre

Actors performing “Magellanica,” Artists Repertory Theatre

Courtesy of Russell J Young

‘Magellanica’ Tackles Tensions and Scientific Discovery in Antartica – 20:38

If you’ve been listening to our show, you know that Artists Repertory Theatre has been going through major fiscal issues. We got some late breaking news this week that Christmas came a bit late at the Arts Hub. Artists Rep has received a $7 million gift from an anonymous donor. The company says it is still proceeding with a plan to sell half its building to developers. But a letter to donors and subscribers says Artists Rep now has a stronger grip on its financial future, even if the sale does not work out. We’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile, Artists Rep is in the midst of a leviathan show. “Magellanica” is the five-and-a-half-hour story of eight scientists, engineers, and soldiers spending a cold polar winter in Antarctica. Set in the 1980s, it reimagines a moment of world-changing discovery. The play unfolds in five parts, over five and a half hours — with three intermissions and a dinner break. The show runs through Feb. 18. “Magellanica” was written by E.M. Lewis, an Oregon playwright who lives on family farmland in Marion County. Lewis talked to April on “Think Out Loud” last week.


Keith Rosson on His Newest Novel, “Smoke City” – 29:26

Keith Rosson is a longtime Portland illustrator and graphic designer. He mostly works in the music world. Then last year, he released his first novel — a supernatural thriller titled “The Mercy of the Tide.” NPR gave it a glowing review and the book was optioned by one of the producers of “Game of Thrones.” Rosson joined Aaron Scott in the studio to talk about his new book, “Smoke City.” Rosson will read from “Smoke City” at Broadway Books on Feb. 6 and talk with the president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Cat Rambo, at Powell’s City of Books on Feb. 21.