Shows, records, openings, performances, books, festivals — we’ve enjoyed an unusual amount of beauty in 2015. So we thought we’d take a look back at some of our favorite moments.
The Hollywood Theatre Redefines the Modern Movie Palace
You haven’t seen “2001: A Space Odyssey” unless you’ve seen it the way it was supposed to be seen: on ultrawide, deliciously detailed 70-millimeter celluloid. Local Kubrick buffs were lucky enough to enjoy that experience in March thanks to the Hollywood Theatre, which revived the storied 70 mm format after a cinematic treasure hunt.
Now, the theater is one of only 100 on the continent to screen the 70mm extended edition of Quentin Tarantino’s newest, “The Hateful Eight.” The Hollywood is on its way to becoming one of the most dynamic movie houses in the country, and the guys who run the venue gave us a sneak preview of what’s planned for 2016, including its unlikely expansion to the C Concourse at the Portland Airport. (Movies while we wait for our flights? Count us in!)
The Ethereal Harmonies of Joseph - 10:09
We’ve had the pleasure of having many amazing musicians into the OPB studio this year. It’s nearly impossible to pick favorites, but we just can’t get the sound of the band Joseph out of our head. The band is three sisters — Allison, Meegan and Natalie Closner — who grew up on a small farm in Estacada. Unlike many musical siblings, they didn’t grow up harmonizing, but they’ve made up for lost time. Watch their performance in the OPB studio, and then catch them live in February in Bend, Eugene and Portland.
A Debut Novel From a Former Portland Poster Girl - 17:35
Renaissance woman Miranda July has won filmmaking awards at Cannes and Sundance, captured a prestigious Frank O’Connor award for her short stories, been included in Whitney Biennials for her multimedia and performance art, and even designed an app. But she had never published a novel until this year, when she released “The First Bad Man.” Turns out, the book’s awkward protagonist fit in quite nicely with July’s other creations.
“Shy” R&B Crooner Flirts with the Big Time - 23:12
So here’s the confusing state of music monikers in Oregon: Joseph is three women, and the R&B outfit Shy Girls is one guy, Dan Vidmar. But like the sisters, he’s doing it for himself. Early this year, Vidmar dropped his much-anticipated first full-length release, a mixtape dubbed “4WZ.” And he’s splitting his days between Portland and the big-time scene in Los Angeles, which is where we found him. You can here the full interview here, and find “4WZ” and many of his other tracks on his Soundcloud page.
Shakespeare Gets the Beat with The Go-Go’s - 31:15
Playwright Jeff Whitty is best known for writing the book for “Avenue Q,” the Tony-winning adult puppet musical that featured songs like “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” and “The Internet is for Porn.” Whitty grew up in Coos Bay, and he returned to the state this year to premiere a new musical at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival called “Head Over Heels.” It mashes up an Elizabethan epic, “The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia,” with, of all things, the music of the ‘80s all-girl rock band The Go-Go’s. And, spoiler alert: The Go-Go’s loved it.
Remembering Allen Touissant - 40:53
On Nov. 10, we lost one of the architects of the Crescent City sound. Allen Toussaint produced hundreds of records — including Dr. John’s “Right Place Wrong Time,” Patti LaBelle’s “Lady Marmalade,” and many influential records with his studio’s house band, The Meters — and he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. Allen Toussaint spoke to us in June from his home studio in New Orleans, leading us through a life of legendary music, before appearing at the Waterfront Blues Festival for what would be his final performance in Portland.
“State of Wonder” Expands to Second Sunday Show
We’re readying ourselves for a bright, bold 2016 — and an exciting change. We’re going to be rerun on Sundays! Starting Sunday, Jan. 10, your favorite statewide arts and culture radio show (granted, there’s not much competition…) will be broadcast at its current time (Saturday at noon) and at a second time (Sunday at 10 a.m.) Thank you so much for making us what we are, and keeping our state wonderful. See you in 2016.