Artist Christopher Marley unloads dead birds for processing and arrangement.

Artist Christopher Marley unloads dead birds for processing and arrangement.

a href=”” target=”_blank”>Life Is Beautiful
The model-turned-Salem artist Christopher Marley transforms dead things into art. We’re not talking butterfly boxes or taxidermy here. Marley preserves exotic birds, insects, snakes, and even octopi using state-of-the-art techniques and then composes them in frames. They’re so exquisite, they’ve ended up on the walls of museums, high-end galleries, fancy furniture stores. And Beyonce herself has one! Marley’s new book, “Biophilia,” is available in stores. Check out an exclusive OPB video and slide show of his work.

A rejected Santa photo from the 1950s-1960s Oregon coast, curated by the Oregon Historical Society from a donated box labeled "Santa photos not picked up."

A rejected Santa photo from the 1950s-1960s Oregon coast, curated by the Oregon Historical Society from a donated box labeled “Santa photos not picked up.”

Oregon Historical Society, Earnest W. Rollins Collection, Acc. #24549; and Newspace Center for Photography

The Santa Photos Nobody Wanted
Every year this time, families bundle up their children and take them to meet Santa and have a picture taken. The shoots are always memorable, for better or worse — either they’re adorable, or the child is crying, or the person sitting in poor Santa’s lap is no child. Now, a batch of vintage Santa photos too awkward to be taken home is the focus of installation at Newspace Center for Photography. Don’t miss the slideshow of the photos.




Getting a photo taken while sitting on Santa’s lap can be awkward in the best of circumstances, but these misfit shots are another level of Christmas weird. They were taken in the 1950s and 1960s in small towns on the Oregon coast, but never claimed. A photographer donated the negatives to the Oregon Historical Society.

Outgoing PNCA President Reflects on His Legacy
Pacific Northwest College of Art’s longtime president, Tom Manley, has taken a job leading Ohio’s Antioch College. In his 12 years at Oregon’s top school for fine arts, Manley oversaw tremendous growth, including six new MFA programs and the expansion of PNCA’s footprint. Manley opens up about what drove his decision-making. You can hear the extended interview here.

Portlanders Go Grammying
Portland rocked the 2016 Grammy nominations. Hometown heroes include the Oregon Symphony, Chris Thile and the Punch Brothers, The Decemberists, and remix artist R.A.C. (more info, including the full list, is here). And the toast of the kindie set, Lori Henriques, is nominated for Best Children’s Album for her snappy, Frischberg-esque release, “How Great Can This Day Be.” We invited her into the studio as soon as we heard.  

Family, Unexpectedly Dissected 
Three women, three new novels: Kathleen Alcott’s “Infinite Home” concerns the tenants of a Brooklyn brownstone, Mary Gaitskill’s “The Mare” is about a Dominican girl who learns to ride, Claire Vaye Watkins’ “Gold Fame Citrus” is set in a drought-scarred California of the near future. OPB’s Think Out Loud senior producer Allison Frost brought the authors together at Wordstock for a panel called “Unexpected Family,” and the result was unexpectedly intense.  

Heartless, But Soulful
While the Austin band Heartless Bastards was in town for a sold-out show at Wonder Ballroom recently, they stopped by opbmusic to play acoustic versions of songs from their newest release, “Restless Ones.” Two of the Bastards — lead vocalist and guitarist Erika Wennerstrom and bassist Jesse Ebaugh — took a trip down memory lane with opbmusic’s Matt Drenik. You can see videos of their performance here.

Royal Nebeker, "St. Ophelia's Dream," oil on canvas

Royal Nebeker, “St. Ophelia’s Dream,” oil on canvas

A Tribute to the Godfather of Astoria Art
Royal Nebeker spent 40 years living and teaching on the Oregon Coast, and he left an indelible imprint on the Northwest art world. In his honor, Clatsop Community College faculty have mounted a tribute art show at the newly renamed Royal Nebeker Art Gallery. Hear Nebeker’s family and colleagues talk about why he was so important to the region’s creative scene.