News bits: Benefits, extensions, readings, lectures and awards

Portland Playhouse's "Gem of the Ocean" has been extended.

We were hoarding news bits of various sorts until we suddenly realized, “What’s the point of keeping them secret!”

CoHo Productions has assembled quite a roster of entertainments for its fundraiser on Monday. The company has enlisted eight directors (Chris Harder, Philip Cuomo, Eleanor O’Brien, Jessica Wallenfels, Sean McGrath, among them) “to cook up original theater pieces” for the event, and the list of performers is pretty amazing. The CoHo model — which involves co-producing plays with independent groups in the city — is inventive, and it’s produced some excellent theater over the years and especially recently. Things start at 6:30 (reception and silent auction); performances begin at 7:30. Ellyn Bye Studio, Portland Center Stage, 128 NW 11th Ave. Tickets are $50 and $75.

Some theater extensions! Portand Center Stage has extended its hit musical “Oklahoma” through Nov. 6, which means it will enter the company’s top three in attendance. Artists Repertory Theatre has extended “No Man’s Land” with William Hurt for additional five performances, through Nov. 12.  Portland Playhouse has extended August Wilson’s “Gem of the Ocean” through Nov. 6, when it must close. We’ve written about all of these shows, and their popularity comes as absolutely no surprise.

Portland Monthly has chosen the Northwest Film Center as the winner in the arts and culture category of its  annual Light a Fire awards, which recognize achievements among the city’s huge number of nonprofit organizations. The magazine cited the film centers exhibition program and international film festival and noted its commitment to film education: “With classes like sound recording and screenwriting at its School of Film, the center inspires people of all ages to express themselves with movies.”

On Monday night, Fuse Theatre Ensemble will join a nationwide play reading of Sinclair Lewis and John C. Moffitt’s chilling stage version of “It Can’t Happen Here,” 75 years after it was first performed in the middle of the Great Depression, when the American experiment with democracy seemed especially vulnerable. The play imagines an American president who becomes dictator and abolishes labor unions and freedom of speech and the press. It was originally performed in 18 cities across the country, and more than 300,000 people saw it. The Portland reading will be Monday, Oct. 24, 2011 at 7:30 pm on the Arena Stage of Theater! Theatre! 3430 SE Belmont St. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted to support Occupy Portland.

The national Dramatists Guild is holding a Town Hall meeting in Portland 1:30-5:30 p.m. Sataurday, Nov. 5, at Portland Center Stage’s Ellyn Bye Studio, 128 NW 11th Ave. The meeting is free and the public is invited to attend the discussions, which will address playwriting today, legal and contractual issues facing DG members and other playwrights, as well as a workshop designed for DG members. Oregon ArtsWatch has addressed the importance of productions of new, local plays, and the Town Hall, especially during its first hour, will deal with that issue. It’s free.

The PSU Art and Social Practice MFA lecture series is always provocative. This week’s guests are from the Center for Tactical Magic: “A fusion force summoned from the ways of the artist, the magician, the ninja, and the private investigator, Tactical Magic is an amalgam of disparate arts invoked for the purpose of actively addressing Power on individual, communal, and transnational fronts. At the CTM we are committed to achieving the Great Work of Tactical Magic through community-based projects, daily interdiction, and the activation of latent energies toward positive social transformation.” The talk starts at 7:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 24, in Shattuck Hall at PSU, on the corner of SW Broadway and Hall. Free.

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