This week we lost two giants in the arts community, Pulitzer- and Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison and poet and musician David Berman. We remember their impact and explore other hard truths, but also look to other artists whose work has us excited for the future.


Dustin Krcatovich (left) designs the posters and Micah Vanderhoof (right) is the main programmer for the NW Film Center's series, Head Cleaner: Cult & Genre Oddities.

Dustin Krcatovich (left) designs the posters and Micah Vanderhoof (right) is the main programmer for the NW Film Center’s series, Head Cleaner: Cult & Genre Oddities.

Scott Braucht

Head Cleaner: Cult and Genre Oddities — 02:11

NW Film Center’s cult and genre film series “Head Cleaner” doesn’t have your typical cult offerings like John Waters titles or “Harold and Maude.” Instead, expect a new strain of cult classics, like “Super Mario Bros.” (1993), “Return to Oz” (1985), and films from Italian horror director Mario Bava. Dustin Krcatovich and Micah Vanderhoof, two of the programmers behind this series, shared with us their definitions of cult and genre films. Next up at Head Cleaner: Cult and Genre Oddities is “Showgirls” (1995) on Sunday, Aug. 11 at 7 p.m. It’s playing at the Portland Art Museum’s Whitsell Auditorium. Lulu Luscious, one of Portland’s amazing drag queens, will emcee.


Photographer and filmmaker Ifanyi Bell leads Open Signal Labs, a year-long fellowship providing Black filmmakers with professional training and mentorship.

Photographer and filmmaker Ifanyi Bell leads Open Signal Labs, a year-long fellowship providing Black filmmakers with professional training and mentorship.

April Baer/OPB

Amplifying the Visions of Black Filmmakers — 11:57

Open Signal, Portland’s community media center, started as your basic cable access channel, but it’s grown to be so much more. People now go there to learn cinematography, video editing, to work on YouTube channels, podcasts and independent films. Its latest community-centered project, Open Signal Labs, is geared toward helping black filmmakers get their projects off the ground and diversifying the film industry by providing yearlong fellowships to six black filmmakers. We spoke with the executive producer for Open Signal Labs, Ifanyi Bell, a few of this year’s fellows, and supporters who showed up to the final celebration of Open Signal Labs’ first year, about the importance of the project and the valuable opportunities it provides. Open Signal is having everyone over for a party this Saturday, Aug. 10, from noon to 8 p.m. They will have media workshops, live performances and more.


The Nude Party released their self-titled debut album in 2018.

The Nude Party released their self-titled debut album in 2018.

Sacha Lecca

The Nostalgic Sound of The Nude Party — 19:55

Bandmembers Patton Magee, Austin Brose, Connor Mikita, Alec Castillo, Shaun Couture and Don Merrill play 60’s infused rock that manages to still sound fresh. Consider this less of a revival and more a continuation of where all your favorite rock ‘n’ roll records left off. After playing together through college (sometimes playing as nature intended, clothing optional), the casual house band transformed into The Nude Party and tours nationally. They stopped by to talk with us about their self-titled debut album and nerd out about music. To see the band live and fully clothed, they are playing at Holocene in Portland, Aug. 14 at 8 p.m. 


A graph displayed at the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris.

A graph displayed at the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris.

Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division

W.E.B. Du Bois’ Depictions of Black Excellence on Display in Portland — 26:21

The “Exhibit of American Negroes” was created by an all-black team, led by scholar and activist W.E.B. Du Bois. It included hundreds of photographs, examples of black literature and dozens of early, hand-drawn infographics, giving visitors to the 1900 World’s Fair a look at the lives and achievements of African Americans at the turn of the 20th century. Today, selected reproductions of these works are on display at the Portland Art Museum. OPB’s Jenn Chavez spoke with Alex Haynes, one of the curators on the PAM exhibition. “Color Line: Black Excellence on the World Stage” is on display at the Portland Art Museum through February 2020.


"I moved to Seattle and was frankly shocked at the lack of a sense of humor I found in almost all the residents," Maria Semple told April Baer at Wordstock. Consider Semple's books, like "Where'd You Go, Bernadette?" a shot of humor in the city's collective arm, then.

“I moved to Seattle and was frankly shocked at the lack of a sense of humor I found in almost all the residents,” Maria Semple told April Baer at Wordstock. Consider Semple’s books, like “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” a shot of humor in the city’s collective arm, then.

Roxy De La Torre/OPB

The Comedic Poignancy of Maria Semple — 34:10

Author Maria Semple’s imagination is a glowing place. Her characters rocket off on madcap adventures, collide at high speed and teeter on the edge of emotional cliffhangers. Some passages crackle with the comedic snap she honed writing for TV shows such as “Arrested Development” and “Mad About You.” But at the center of her stories are quiet emotional truths. Semple’s latest novel, “Today Will Be Different,” follows a comedic single day in the life of illustrator and mom Eleanor Flood. It’s being made into an HBO limited series starring Julia Roberts and written by Semple. Her work is also joining the big screen Aug. 16 with a movie adaptation of her best-selling novel “Where’d You Go Bernadette?” starring Cate Blanchett. We had the opportunity to speak with Semple onstage at Wordstock, Portland’s Book Festival in November 2016.

Music Heard On 'State Of Wonder'

A Spotify playlist to share all the music we feature on our show and anything else that inspires us while we’re making it.