News & Notes: Fiesta Bowl edition

The Ghost Building, Eve Beglarian, Portland Cello Project, Photo Happenings, more!

Rendering of Lead Pencil Studio's "Inversion: Plus Minus

Rendering of Lead Pencil Studio’s “Inversion: Plus Minus

Word has drifted up to the shiny towers of ArtsWatch Central that the American football athletes from the University of Oregon are having a fiesta with the athletes from Kansas State University today. We’d probably prefer a one-act play contest between the two schools, but that’s just us. Or maybe it’s you, too, since you’re here at ArtsWatch!

When Gov. Sam Brownback tried to kill arts funding in Kansas, we developed a severe anti-Kansas bias. But then somehow the legislature mustered enough support for the arts to un-kill the funding, so we’re back to cautiously neutral on Kansas. Maybe. But unless Oregon passes emergency legislation that bans artmaking of all sorts in the state today, I suppose we’ll be rooting for the athletes from Eugene. We hope they change uniforms at halftime so we can see two different nifty Nike designs. Or laughable. (Depending.)

I’d talk a little more about this, but I don’t want to bore myself into a stupor. Instead, let’s move on to a bit of art news and few art links. Because they are the opposite of boring.


The construction of the East Side streetcar line comes under the city’s 2 percent for art guidelines, and we’re going to be seeing a new generation of public art sprouting up along the line. We know this because we follow all the news from the Regional Arts & Culture Council. But the duration of the construction and the rather large dimensions of one of those projects, the one at the east end of the on-ramp to the Hawthorne Bridge, caught the eye of the news hounds at KATU, and they filed a report on… The Ghost Building.  It’s actually  called “Inversion: Plus Minus,” and it’s the invention of Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo of Lead Pencil Studio in Seattle, but it’s the Ghost Building to us from now on.

Lead Pencil Studio, "Maryhill Double," 2006

Lead Pencil Studio, “Maryhill Double,” 2006

The same studio created “Maryhill Double” (above) in 2006, which replicates the Maryhill Museum across the Columbia River.


At ArtsWatch we are avid readers of Guy Swanson’s Photo Happenings eNewsletter, and we also follow him on Twitter (@PhotoHappenings). How do you subscribe? It’s very easy. Swanson ran the Photographic Image Gallery for many years, and since closing it in 2006, he’s become a one-man photography advocate. The Newsletter is a good indication of the depth of his attention, with previews of upcoming photography shows (Chris Rauchenberg and Susan Seubert this month!), photography news, workshop listings, notices of new photography books and close attention to what the Portland Art Museum is doing to track the world of photography. It’s simply a great resource.


As we reported before, Linda Magee has left her position as executive director of  Chamber Music Northwest after 33 years, and yesterday the press release arrived announcing, unsurprisingly, that Elizabeth Harcombe, who is the festival’s program and  operations director, will serve as Interim Executive Director while a search for a permanent replacement is conducted. Magee has promised to spend some quality time with us soon to talk about her 33 years at the helm of one of the most successful arts organizations in the city.


Instead of a new album, Beck released a book of sheet music, “Song Reader,” and the Portland Cello Project and Lizzy Ellison immediately understood the possibilities.

Although Beck’s project has been controversial, something about it makes me want to stand up and cheer. You can stream the entire album, for awhile at least,  here.


I did“>a little podcast on KZME’s Artclectic with Dennise Kowalczyk, who mostly wanted to know about ArtsWatch and what the heck we are doing here. I attempted to answer, though at one point she prompted me to confine my discourse to 30 seconds, which of course prompted just about my longest answer of all! Of course, that was just about longest about various arts topics.


ArtsWatch recommends this Dave Allen essay on the economic future of music-making, which is both historical and future-gazing. We also like his injunction—”Do less, better”—in his year-end blog post.


New York composer Eve Beglarian, who appeared in Portland with Third Angle New Music Ensemble at one of last year’s best Oregon concerts, has released “Songs from the River Project II,” featuring studio recordings of songs inspired by her recent journey down the Mississippi River. It includes two guests from Portland’s Third Angle: violinist Ron Blessinger and cellist Hamilton Cheifetz. The latter appears on a free download, “Testy Pony,” and the new EP is available through Beglarian’s website.

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