OPB State of Wonder

OPB State of Wonder OPB's new radio show that brings you the latest on arts and culture in the Northwest.
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The show State of Wonder features a bubbling mix of interviews and reporting on the latest in theater, music, design, literature, visual arts, architecture, culture and more. It will consist of original stories and will also largely draw from content within OPB’s robust arts and culture portfolio including Oregon Art Beat, OPB News, Oregon Experience, KMHD jazz radio and opbmusic. Serving as the “hub” of OPB arts and culture content, State of Wonder will take the best stories from these OPB properties to shed light on what is happening within the local arts community and how it connects to the greater region, nation and world.

Every year, Northwest Film Center puts on one of the best film festivals in the NW. And PIFF (Portland International Fil...
03/06/2020
Beyond Cancel Culture — Piff 43

Every year, Northwest Film Center puts on one of the best film festivals in the NW. And PIFF (Portland International Film Festival) starts today! This Sunday, SoW producer Claudia Meza will be moderating a panel talk on problematic narratives with Raj Roy, the chief curator of film from the Museum of Modern Art and Micah Vanderhoof, programmer at the NW Film Center. It should be a lively discussion!

Full fest schedule here: https://cinemaunbound.org/

Sunday, March 8

Motorcycles as art? Why, yes! If you want to brush up on what a "hooligan race" is and see all the factions of misconcei...
02/18/2020
For The Love Of Motorcycles: Renowned Portland Show Grows From The Ground Up

Motorcycles as art? Why, yes! If you want to brush up on what a "hooligan race" is and see all the factions of misconceived biker culture check out this digital piece. And of course, there's a playlist 🏍🎸

The One Motorcycle Show in Portland started as an outsider's motorcycle show designed by people who appreciated bikes as art. It's grown into a world-class motorcycle celebration.

Christopher Marley creates visually arresting designs out of bugs, snakes, birds, pretty much any critter that catches h...
01/31/2020
Oregon's Christopher Marley Turns 'Exquisite Creatures' Into Art

Christopher Marley creates visually arresting designs out of bugs, snakes, birds, pretty much any critter that catches his eye. But it's not what you think, Marley doesn't hunt or kill for his art. He reclaims and preserves. And his elaborate finished pieces become more than their taxidermied parts. Steven Tonthat (State of Wonder alumni) has produced a wonderful video about Marley's process from freezer to gallery for Oregon Art Beat. And if you want to check it out for yourself, Marley's latest exhibition at OMSI is still up for view: https://omsi.edu/exquisite-creatures

Designs from the natural world in the form of colorful, sculptural insects and more are the building blocks for the unique work of Oregon-based artist Christopher Marley.

01/18/2020

"I'm not afraid of dissonance. And I wanted that song to have drone because grief is a low hum." We made a video of guitarist and composer Marisa Anderson with the good people at opbmusic.org. Watch it in full here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgwEcrwCkeQ

Tattoo artist, Bob Jones (@badcaseofpurpose) is not the kind of person one would imagine participating in a high-stakes,...
01/07/2020
Portland Tattoo Artist Competing In Reality Show 'Ink Master'

Tattoo artist, Bob Jones (@badcaseofpurpose) is not the kind of person one would imagine participating in a high-stakes, drama-filled, reality TV show. He’s low-key and reserved. He’s thoughtful and the proud father of a corgi named Maverick. He grew up in Beaverton. It seems unfathomable he could look dead-eyed into a camera with a straight face and utter, “I didn’t come here to make friends.” But tonight, Jones will be representing Oregon in the Season 13 premiere of “Ink Master: Turf War.” Wish him luck!

You can hear our audio story and check out the art that got him in the competition using the link below ⬇️⬇️⬇️

But on Tuesday, Jan. 7, Bob Jones will be one in a team of five, representing the West Side in the world premiere of Paramount Networks, “Ink Master: Turf War.

The last State of Wonder of the year (and the foreseeable future). April was really proud of this one. She and then prod...
12/28/2019
Elliott Smith's Either/Or At 20 | Slim Moon | Larry Crane | Sean Croghan | Luz Elena Mendoza | Matt Drenik | The Secret Sea | Catherine Feeny

The last State of Wonder of the year (and the foreseeable future). April was really proud of this one. She and then producer Aaron Scott teamed up with opbmusic and put out an excellent live radio broadcast. Listen to some great stories about Elliott Smith from those who knew him best. There are also sweet covers by some of this town's best musicians. Either/Or is a great Portland winter record, and if you need a reminder: https://open.spotify.com/album/1Od4S26RB37khls09dsUxL

Friends and colleagues of Elliott Smith look back at seminal songs that continue to inspire fans around the world.

This week we're re-airing a confession, some stories we worked on needed more than a week to find their footing. If we'r...
12/22/2019
Photographer Celeste Noche In Scotland | Tales From Astoria's Fisher Poets | East Portland’s Arte Soleil

This week we're re-airing a confession, some stories we worked on needed more than a week to find their footing. If we're being honest, maybe even more than a couple months. So we decided to share our two hardest to produce stories, which in our opinion, made them some of the most rewarding pieces. And we also brought in photographer, Celeste Noche, to tell us about the time she went out in the middle of nowhere Scotland to pass out books from a mobile library. As always, our show airs Sat at noon, Sun at 10am, anytime on the podcast, and you can always find a link to the audio in the show page ↓↓↓

Sometimes good stories take a while. This week, long-awaited gems from Astoria’s Fisher Poets and an arts outpost in East Portland. Also, a photographer goes the extra 4,000 miles for the literary story she believes in.

Cancel your plan this evening (or tomorrow evening) and please go to this. An Austin production lovingly made by its wei...
12/19/2019
Batman Returns Returns: Now with Christmas

Cancel your plan this evening (or tomorrow evening) and please go to this. An Austin production lovingly made by its weirdo art scene is getting its Portland premiere this week and it stars OUR weirdo art scene. Don't miss out!!

Austin, Portland and Gotham, three weird sister cities that are all connected by the surprising amount of people who like to wear costumes in public. And now we also share a musical.

12/19/2019
Caitlin Weierhauser: I Feel Like A First Draft

We almost missed this one! Oregon's own, comedian Caitlin Weierhauser made their late-night debut last week!!! We're so proud of them!!!

If you want to hear them talk about being raised by wolves, like literally, in rural Oregon, and how they got to the place where they chose comedy over despair, check out the first segment in the episode linked below. ↓↓↓↓

https://www.opb.org/radio/programs/stateofwonder/segment/caitlin-weierhauser-oregon-college-art-craft-portland-creative-space/

Comedian Caitlin Weierhauser is the first girl born to their family in five generations. Watch Stephen Colbert's audience roll with laughter during Caitlin's...

This one is for the punks. And for all the haters of the enduring grip of colonialism. A real crowd-pleaser. Honestly, t...
12/14/2019
John Doe On LA’s Punk Scene | Team Dresch | Chachalu’s Loan From The British Museum

This one is for the punks. And for all the haters of the enduring grip of colonialism. A real crowd-pleaser. Honestly, these were some of the most entertaining conversations we've had the pleasure of recording. We spoke with punk icon John Doe of the band X and local queercore, rock legends Team Dresch, about the various fertile music scenes that made them.

And we get to hear how a tribe here in Oregon took max advantage of a loan (of their own artifacts!!!) from a British museum. This episode made the "you must listen to this one again" list because it reminds us that knowing your history and the knowledge it holds can be way more valuable than all the things we made or collected along the way.

Know your history: Stories from the L.A. punk scene, queer punk in the ‘90s Portland music scene, and a Native museum gets quality time with tribal artifacts.

If you miss April Baer  as much as we do, you're in luck because this week is an all Baer rebroadcast where she is doing...
12/07/2019
Kiese Laymon | Ted Chiang | Rosanne Parry

If you miss April Baer as much as we do, you're in luck because this week is an all Baer rebroadcast where she is doing what she does best - nerding out on books. Hear her unpack food and body issues (not to mention complicated family relationships) with Kiese Laymon. Listen to stories about a famous wandering Oregon wolf (that's totally a thing check it out @OR7 (Journey) Lone Wolf ) via Rosanne Parry. And lastly, you can experience April trying her best to keep her cool around master science-fiction writer, Ted Chiang (that movie "Arrival" was based on one of his short stories!). A fabulous show by a fabulous woman. Thank you, Baer!

Bump up your holiday reads with three spectacular writers, each grappling with human connection.

12/06/2019
A Star Wars experience for all

Ok, grab your tissues first, then check out this ad made in the Philippines. The payoff is worth it, promise. And its message of inclusivity is something a lot of art and music venues still need to think about. If you want to hear more about how some local music lovers are trying to make it so EVERYONE can take part of the scene, check out this segment around the 35:06 mark from a SOW show we aired back in September!
https://www.opb.org/radio/programs/stateofwonder/segment/ruth-e-carter-thing-music-festival-american-sign-language/

Watch these kids join forces to work on a wonderful surprise. Star Wars: #TheRiseOfSkywalker in cinemas December 20. The galaxy is yours when you visit https...

If you missed it yesterday, I was able to go on All Things Considered and speak with the always lovely John Notarianni t...
12/06/2019
The Life and Music of Portland Musician Lauren K. Newman

If you missed it yesterday, I was able to go on All Things Considered and speak with the always lovely John Notarianni to play some of Lauren K. Newman's music on air. Some was unreleased material, thanks to her very generous bandmates (Thanks again, Conan Neutron!!). We also compiled some stories and memories by her community that have been pouring in online through all the socials. Thanks again to everyone who helped put this article and audio story together. If you have any stories about LKN you'd like to share, let us know, I'll add it to the page.

Portland musician and recording engineer Lauren K. Newman passed away this week at the age of 41 after many years of health struggles.

12/05/2019
Lauren K Newman band (LKN) performing in Olympia, WA 2005

Portland musician and recording engineer, Lauren K Newman passed away yesterday at the age of 41 after many years of battling with worsening health.

The saying is you can't catch lightning in a bottle, but Newman was just that, pure energy incarnate. A remarkable multi-instrumentalist, she played everything she touched with a jaw-dropping level of mastery. And she made it look easy, thrashing behind a veil of long, black hair made airborne by head-bangs and spontaneous flying kicks.

Newman's bands were many, but she was most well known for her solo project LKN and her psychedelic improv group, Palo Verde. Younger generations learned how to properly shred on the drums and guitar through her classes at Rock'n'Roll Camp for Girls. All this to say that her loss is significant, and will be much felt in the Portland art and music community.

If you google Lauren K Newman, you'll find a great deal of footage of her playing around the country, and maybe even a short documentary or two. But my favorite footage will always be this blown-out clip someone took of her playing guitar from possibly the first phone that could record video up in Olympia, WA at the notorious bar and music venue, Le Voyeur. An aside, Le Voyeur is where many touring NW musicians happily misspent their youth in a haze of french fry grease, seemingly lacquered to the walls. Her spirit shines through the grainy pixels and blown out audio, and I'm pretty sure that's Donna Dresch of Team Dresch on bass, which makes this performance even more legendary.

The lightning has been released, RIP Lauren K Newman.

This is "Lauren K Newman band (LKN) performing in Olympia, WA 2005" by Post-Consumer on Vimeo, the home for high quality videos and the people who love them.

We hope you had a great time with friends and family eating yourselves silly! Just in case things got a little awkward, ...
11/30/2019
Satirist Andy Borowitz | 'Teenage Dick' At Artists Rep | keyon gaskin And Nadia Buyse

We hope you had a great time with friends and family eating yourselves silly! Just in case things got a little awkward, please enjoy a few stories that might make you feel a whole lot better about your situation. The very first one, about a college production of Beowulf that loses its star mid-show, should help bring any of last night’s cringe-worthy moments into perspective. Here’s to the next gathering and surviving the holidays!

Don’t turn away. Even the most awkward situation can be spun into something wonderful. This week: cringe-worthy national events make for brilliant satire, a new play mines liberal guilt surrounding disability, and the story of the most bizarre art festival ever.

This weekend as we get closer to the holiday shopping season, we're re-airing one of our most favorite artist conversati...
11/23/2019
The Native Perspective Missing from Design | Design Week Portland | Caroline Blechert | Louie Gong | Whitney Minthorne | Neebin Southall

This weekend as we get closer to the holiday shopping season, we're re-airing one of our most favorite artist conversations from earlier this year. If you haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about how Native style gets used — and often misused in graphic design, fashion, and other disciplines — I guarantee you won’t be able to unsee it after today’s conversation.

So much Native imagery. Where are all the Native designers?

If you missed out on our interview with graphic novelist Nicole J. Georges a couple of weeks ago, the full audio piece i...
11/20/2019
Nicole Georges' Rumspringa: How A Portland Artist Is Finding Opportunity In LA

If you missed out on our interview with graphic novelist Nicole J. Georges a couple of weeks ago, the full audio piece is now up on the site. It's a highly recommended listen.

Writer, illustrator, podcaster and storyteller Nicole Georges relocated to Los Angeles from Portland to upscale her prolific career. She shows us around in her new city.

American fantasies: This subject has only picked up more resonance since we first brought you these interviews in fall 2...
11/17/2019
American Fantasies: Abigail DeVille | Leni Zumas | Typhoon | Omar El Akkad

American fantasies: This subject has only picked up more resonance since we first brought you these interviews in fall 2018. What we want to be and who we really are as a nation tend to be two very different stories. Revisit these interviews with us at 10am this morning or whenever on our podcast feed.

If you’ve been feeling like the lines are blurring between the America you imagined and the America we all live with, take a listen. We found some incredible artists and writer addressing the magical thinking, fantasies, and illusions that shaped our world.

This week, three stories from the orchestra pit, the rehearsal hall and the studio. We continue to take another listen t...
11/09/2019
Aja Gabel + Oregon Symphony | Classical’s #MeToo Reckoning | The Met Opera Aria Code

This week, three stories from the orchestra pit, the rehearsal hall and the studio. We continue to take another listen to some of our favorite episodes, and we chose this one because, frankly, it’s still such an important and timely subject. And it illustrates how deep-rooted the problems of #MeToo incidents are in arts institutions. But this show also some stuff that’s straight-up musical fun. Podcast up now, listen on the radio Saturday at noon or Sunday at 10am on OPB

A soap opera in the string quartet. The #MeToo moment at the conservatory. And opera appreciation for the rest of us. This week, three tales both classical and modern.

Nicole J. Georges' Los Angeles - this week the long-time Portlander talks to us about moving south to pursue her work.Sh...
10/31/2019

Nicole J. Georges' Los Angeles - this week the long-time Portlander talks to us about moving south to pursue her work.She talks to us about turning her award-winning graphic novel, Fetch: How A Bad Dog Brought Me Home, into a TV series. http://bit.ly/2JD2FNS

Author Tommy Orange's toughest room? Teenagers. “I’ve maybe never been more scared to read in front of anybody. They wer...
10/27/2019

Author Tommy Orange's toughest room? Teenagers.

“I’ve maybe never been more scared to read in front of anybody. They were very hard to impress."

But as he tells us in this week's episode, reading excerpts from what became his best-selling novel There, There, to a group of Native youth was essential.

"They had questions. So that was a big moment for me to know I should keep going." Hear more on our podcast. http://bit.ly/2BKuP58

New York Times best-selling author Tommy Orange talks to us about the power of fiction, and his breakthrough novel, Ther...
10/26/2019

New York Times best-selling author Tommy Orange talks to us about the power of fiction, and his breakthrough novel, There, There. Appointment listening - download it now, or catch us at noon Pacific.

Six years of Wonder can give you a serious case of whiplash. Over the next few weeks, we're bringing essential stories, ...
10/20/2019

Six years of Wonder can give you a serious case of whiplash. Over the next few weeks, we're bringing essential stories, some old, some new, including the Win, Lose, or Draw treatment for Portland's creative space preservation plan. Check us out this morning at 10.

"Every time we lose one of these pillars, we lose a cultural landmark  that we can ground ourselves around." On today's ...
10/19/2019

"Every time we lose one of these pillars, we lose a cultural landmark that we can ground ourselves around." On today's show we revisit the closure of OCAC - Oregon College of Art and Craft last May, and the generations of artists and makers influenced by it, like Fernanda D'Agostino, Horatio Law, Roberta Lavadour, and more.

Roberto Carlos Lange’s imagination is a renewable resource of musical ideas. Since the early 2000’s, he’s been releasing...
10/05/2019

Roberto Carlos Lange’s imagination is a renewable resource of musical ideas. Since the early 2000’s, he’s been releasing #music under various names, including Helado Negro. As curious as he is prolific, he’s put out everything between #noise collages to beautiful atmospheric instrumentals. He visited opbmusic.org at Type Foundry Recording Studio to play acoustic treatments of three songs from #ThisIsHowYouSmile. Pure magic.

The OK Theatre in Enterprise, Oregon is unlike any other music venue in Eastern Oregon. On any given show night a tthis ...
09/21/2019

The OK Theatre in Enterprise, Oregon is unlike any other music venue in Eastern Oregon. On any given show night a tthis 100-year-old hall, you might see bluegrass legends The Del McCoury Band there, soul singer Ural Thomas & the Pain, songster Dom Flemons, or the Joseph. It's truly a treasure. This week, we tell the story of how the OK became a home for live music and regional bands longing to record their own work. Listen today at noon!

It's exciting when a major brand like Nike puts out its first all-female skateboarding film. But the skatepark is still ...
09/15/2019

It's exciting when a major brand like Nike puts out its first all-female skateboarding film. But the skatepark is still a widely male-dominated place. @Jordan Hernandez and Amelia Bjesse-Puffin set out to meet women redefining skate culture in #Oregon. Meet them at 10 today. (photo creds Amelia Bjesse-Puffin and Sheareen Redlener)

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