Want to be transported to another place? A place where the sun hides behind the moon, where horror and history collide in a famous old hotel on top of a mountain, where the Underground Railroad is an actual steam engine on an actual underground track, and where the enslaved animals in the Flintstones finally get their due? Take a listen this week and be whisked away to another realm.

A solar eclipse in Hyogo, Japan, is pictured in this May 21, 2012, file photo.

A solar eclipse in Hyogo, Japan, is pictured in this May 21, 2012, file photo.

Takeshi Kuboki/Flickr

Oregon Towns Prepare For The Most Viewed Astronomical Event In Human History

The biggest show to ever hit Oregon is happening this August. It’s not a festival. It’s not Hamilton or some other hot musical. It’s an event of cosmic proportions, truly. It’s a total eclipse of the sun. On Aug. 21, the solar event is predicted to bring thousands (maybe millions) of people from around the world to Oregon for our pristine viewing conditions. How are Oregon cities preparing for the big day? Reporters Amanda Peacher and Aaron Scott take us to two: one who’s nailing it and one who’s just getting started.

The is the first in a series of stories we’ll be rolling out in advance of the eclipse. Let us know what sort of creative projects, events and adventures you have planned by emailing stateofwonder@opb.org.

Overlook Horror Festival - 12:00

Everyone knows that Timberline Lodge is the scariest place to take your typewriter, thanks to its presence in Stanley Kubrick’s horror classic, “The Shining.” But it’s the perfect place to hold a brand-new horror film festival. And someone’s finally done it. OPB digital producer John Rosman went and brings us back this report on the bloody screenings and creepy, immersive horror game that filled the ancient hotel halls with horror aficionados of all types.

Yaa Gyasi, Rukaiyan Adams, and Colson Whitehead shared the stage at Wordstock 2016.

Yaa Gyasi, Rukaiyan Adams, and Colson Whitehead shared the stage at Wordstock 2016.

Courtesy of Literary Arts

Extraordinary Authors Colson Whitehead And Yaa Gyasi At Wordstock - 17:37

Last month, the Pulitzer Prize for fiction was given to novelist Colson Whitehead for his deeply affecting story “The Underground Railroad.” It’s a re-imagining of the clandestine networks some escaped slaves used to leave the South during the early 19th century. What if, Whitehead posits, it really were an underground steam engine, chugging along beneath the states? And could it ever take people far enough away?

At Wordstock 2016, Portland’s Book Festival, presented by Literary Arts, Whitehead told the audience he modeled parts of the book on Oregon’s history, as a white-supremacist stronghold. Whitehead shared the stage with one of the year’s breakout talents, Yaa Gyasi, the author of “Homegoing,” an astonishing, eight-generation chronicle of two branches in one family — one Ghanaian, the other American. It brings vivid life the psychological wounds of slavery, afflicting entire generations.

Wordstock returns this year on Nov. 1.

Cara Robbins

The Introspective Pop Of Jay Som - 28:32

After the SXSW music festival, the opbmusic team came back raving about this band they’d seen named Jay Som. It’s the project of Melina Duterte, a 23-year-old who plays every instrument on the debut album, “Everybody Works.”

Well, chance would have it that she and her band were coming through town and stopped by OPB’s studio to play a few songs. You can see videos here. Or, if you want to see Duterte in all her glory live, Jay Som will take the stage at Pickathon in August.

DC's Flintstones comic books.

DC’s Flintstones comic books.

Sage Van Wing/OPB

The Flintstones Get A Darkly Funny Update For The Modern Age - 35:27

It’s the Flintstones! Your favorite Stone-Age family! Well, maybe not so much anymore. DC is giving the Flintstones a face-lift, transforming the famous ‘60s cartoon into a comic series. The new and improved Flintstones is funnily dark social satire, written by Portlander Mark Russell with art with Steve Pugh. In it, Fred is a war vet (“yabba-dabba-doo” is really a phrase from his therapist to help with PTSD) and the armadillo bowling ball can’t understand why Fred hates him enough to throw him down a lane at stone pins.

Listen to Russell’s full conversation with Dave Miller on “Think Out Loud.” They covered so much more in their interview, from the monotheistic church of Bedrock to Russell’s own rewriting of the Bible, “God is Disappointed In You.”

A tray of facial expressions for LAIKA character Kubo.

A tray of facial expressions for LAIKA character Kubo.

Courtesy of LAIKA

‘Oregon Art Beat’ Animation Special Highlights Oregon Talent - 43:05

The story of Oregon’s animation industry is so classic and so representative of how artists here can be successful. The state is home to extremely high-quality craftsmen and women, who made it by working outside the walls of the industry giants like Disney and Pixar.

“Oregon Art Beat” has just completed a documentary on the rich array of animation studios that have flourished here.

“Art Beat” will hold free screening the special at the NW Animation Festival in Portland on May 13 at noon and in Eugene on May 20 at noon.

Darrell Grant in Forest Park

Darrell Grant in Forest Park


Darrell Grant Turns Music Into Activism, Deep In The Woods - 47:20

When ordinary citizens hear a beloved park or forest will close to the public, they might write or call their representatives or even pick up protest signs and take to the streets. When the composer and Portland State University jazz professor Darrell Grant heard of the state of Oregon’s proposed sale of the Elliott State Forest, he loaded a 300-pound piano into a Uhaul, drove it into the woods, and musician friends and listeners to fill the forest with music, in an attempt to raise awareness about the possible sale. Grant spoke with Dave Miller on “Think Out Loud.” The Oregon State Land Board will decide the fate of the forest on May 9 at 10 a.m. at the Department of State Lands in Salem.