A slice of the day’s arts news, pizza included

We joke that Portland has more artists per square inch than any other city, and we might be righter than we think. An NEA study has ranked states according to artists as a percentage of the workforce, and Oregon comes in third, tied with Vermont behind New York and California. Of the Beaver State work force, 1.7 percent are artists. You can go to the website to see how they define “artist” and for lots of other interesting information. We’ll be speculating about the importance of this bit of information in the future.

The link of the day: This interview with Troy Johnson, the owner/webmaster of the African American Literature Book Club, via The Skanner details Johnson’s interesting personal history as a businessman and his views on the direction of bookselling.

The official launch of a new book, “Transmission Arts: Artists and Airwaves” (PAJ Publications, 2011) by Galen Joseph-Hunter, Penny Duff & Maria Papadomanolaki, will take place at Monograph Bookwerks, 5005 Northeast 27th Avenue at Alberta, 7-9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17. The book is “an account of the ingenuity and creativity of artists who have made new discoveries in broadcast, public works, performance composition, sound, and text, stretching the boundaries of both transmitter and receiver.” The launch will include several Portland-based artist/transmitters, including The Video Gentlemen (Carl Diehl, Jesse England and Mack McFarland), Weird Fiction (who will present their latest “derelict theory object of unknown power and origin, emanating into as-of-yet unseen Hertzian climes, piping out of the piles of precarious and soon to be outmoded electronics a fearsome fable foams”), and Chloe Womack, whose medium is the HAM radio.

Art and pizza? Sounds perfect. And Lonesome Pizza manages to combine the two inside one box. When you order one up, you get a pie AND a photograph, article or CD by an artist the staff thinks is underappreciated. For the next few weeks, you might even find a DVD inside, featuring filmmakers from last year’s Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival, the 38th edition of which begins on Nov. 11. Such a deal! The film center has burned enough DVDs (work by Orland Nutt, Brian Libby and Michael Ward is featured) to last through the month and prime your pump for this year’s festival, though you might get another artist in your box when it comes. Which is OK, too.

Disjecta, the busy alternative art space in the Kenton neighborhood, holds one big fundraiser every year — an art auction, silent and otherwise — to support its extensive programming, and this year’s will be on Saturday, Nov. 12. The gallery has enlisted 54 artists to contribute work, too many to list here, though if you follow art in the city at all, you’ll undoubtedly recognize some of the names, though part of the fun is falling for an artist you’ve never seen before. The event includes libations and food donated by House Spirits, Deschutes Brewery, Pok Pok Som, Firehouse, Olympic Provisions and Vibrant Table, with additional donations  provided by Framing Resource, Interstate Special Events, Letterpress PDX, Plus Visuals, and Sign Wizards. The silent auction begins at 7 p.m., live auction at 8:30 p.m. Disjecta is at 8371 N Interstate Ave. Tickets are $20 in advance, $30 at the door. Select works are also available for pre-bidding online.

Poet/performer Leanne Grabel has worked with troubled young women in a locked-down treatment center for the past several years, teaching them language arts and poetry, among other things. She has created a show based on that experience call “badgirls,” based on what she’s seen, heard and learned. Given Grabel’s fearlessness as an artist, the intensity of her poetry and the lives she encountered in the center, I expect this to be a riveting performance. She’s enlisted her daughter to play one of the two composite “badgirls” in the show, along with Robin Delaire Rasmussen, and their words come straight from the women Grabel has served. Susan Banyas directs. 8 p.m. Nov. 5-6, 2 p.m. Nov. 7, Pacific Crest Community School, 116 NE 29th Ave. $10-$20 sliding scale (no one turned away), 503-231-8482.

Finally, I spent the weekend with Blue Cranes, the Jasper String Quartet and Johnny Depp, so you might want to see what I found out — at OPB’s Arts and Life page, where I post just about every Monday morning.

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