John Malkovich makes a record, a Southern rocker relocates to Portland, kids confront gentrification and sneakers become high fashion. Change is afoot in this week’s State of Wonder. Plus: we uncover the priciest book at Powell’s, with a whopping $350,000 price tag.
Malkovich On Vinyl
Actor and director John Malkovich has powerhouse interpretive skills and a knack for transformation that has carried iconic performances in films such as “Dangerous Liaisons,” “Of Mice and Men,” “In the Line of Fire” and, of course, as a fictional actor-turned-puppeteer in “Being John Malkovich.” His greatest asset, though, might be his voice, which is front and center in a new avant-garde record, “Like a Puppet Show.” We talked with him during the album’s national release at Music Millennium.
Portland Filmmaker Todd Haynes’ “Carol”
One of Portland’s most famous directors, Todd Haynes, captured our attention with experimental classics “Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story” and “Poison” and held it with “Far From Heaven” and the HBO miniseries “Mildred Pierce.”
His latest film, “Carol,” about the love that dare not speak its name, stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. It’s racking up raves, including a Best Actress award for Mara at Cannes, and one of the most insightful reviews comes from critic David Edelstein for Fresh Air. It opens in Portland on Dec. 25.
Dreamscapes in Astoria
Darren Orange of Astoria paints large, bold, moody, abstract landscapes. He tells us about his latest exhibition, “Cascadian Slipstream,” which opens in downtown Astoria at 1198 Commercial St. on Dec. 12 during the Second Saturday Art Walk (reception from 5–9pm), and runs through Jan. 3. Want to learn more? Listen to Orange talk about the changing arts landscape in Astoria as a guest on our live show and watch an Oregon Art Beat profile of him.
Drive-By Trucker Rolls Into Portland
Over the past couple of decades, Patterson Hood and his band, the Drive-By Truckers, have become standard-bearers for a unique strain of Southern rock – scorching and also super-thoughtful. Now, as the band releases a sprawling live album, Hood is spreading his wings. He turned heads with a recent essay in The New York Times Magazine about the Confederate flag and he recently relocated to Portland. Jerad Walker of opbmusic caught up with Patterson at Wordstock. Hood plays solo shows at the Doug Fir Lounge Dec. 9 and 16.
A YA Sensation About Portland Gentrification
As a teenager in the 1990s, Renee Watson watched her friends and neighbors get priced out of Northeast Portland. Although she has since moved to New York, Watson’s new young adult novel, “This Side of Home,” is set in Portland and explores gentrification through the eyes of teenaged twins who come down on different sides of the issue. Watson spoke at Wordstock with OPB’s John Sepulvado. You can find the full conversation here.
What’s The Most Expensive Book At Powell’s?
Thousands wander through Powell’s City of Books in downtown Portland everyday, browsing through more than one million titles. As OPB’s John Rosman learned, there is one book that almost no one — including staff — is able to see. It’s locked away in a secret location, it’s only taken out for serious buyers, and it’s price tag is $350,000.
Portland: The Center Of The Sneaker Universe?
Portland has been called the “Paris or Milan of sneakers,” and that’s a big deal. “Sneakerheads,” who collect the shoes, have helped U.S. sales for Nike, Adidas and Under Armour sneakers soar 47 percent since 2009, and all three companies have major presences in Portland. OPB’s John Sepulvado hit the pavement to find out more about how sneaker fashion transforms Portland’s streets.
Party Like The Pope
This week, Pope Francis set the Twitterverse on fire with a photo taken during his historic tour of Africa that looks like his Holiness is … well, rapping. Wags have been posting papal rhymes to Twitter with the hashtag #popebars. We asked Portland’s own Elton Cray, of Elton Cray and the Pariahs, to read some of the best ones for us. For example:
“I murder these bars like Cain did to Abel /
Better call me Charlie cause I’m surrounded by angels”