A birthday wish from little old (literally, ha!) me.

Dear Friends,

A week ago I celebrated a significant milestone – my 40th birthday. So far, it’s been looking like an exciting year. As one of my wishes, I’d like enlist your help.

I am on the board of directors for a truly unique and inspiring theatre program for young actors in our region. Portland Theatre Brigade provides professional theatre training for young people ages 7-14. Theatre Brigade not only teaches amazing acting skills (using improvisation through Spolin work – most of you know how important improv is to me!) – but it also empowers these young people to know their own voice and to be leaders and team players no matter their age and talent. I’ve seen first hand how transformational this program can be to these kids!

One of the most unique offerings in the program is the Portland Theatre Brigade School Tour. Our young actors tour to schools throughout the Portland metro area providing FREE theatre performances for 3,000 students each year. Not only is this an invaluable experience for the young members of Theatre Brigade, it also serves as an inspiring and lively experience for the student audiences they reach. And with the dwindling arts education resources in our schools, Theatre Brigade performances may be one of the few live theatre performances these students get all year.

As Portland Theatre Brigade gets their spring School Tour underway, I humbly ask

PLEASE HELP US RAISE $10,000 BY APRIL 23!

Through a grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council, as well as pledges from other donors, we’re already nearly halfway there.

Visit our website to donate online or send a check to Portland Theatre Brigade, PO Box 5823, Portland, OR 97228. Watch our thermometer fill up as donations come in!

As a special 40th birthday gift to me, I’m hoping that you’ll consider a gift of $40 or more towards this campaign. If 100 of you wonderful people pitched in $40 we’d be so close to our goal!! (Of course, we’ll be happy to accept donations of any size smaller or larger than $40.)

Anyone who donates to Theatre Brigade during this campaign will receive a link to a wonderful video about Portland Theatre Brigade created by one of the student alums.

Thanks for reading and thanks for all your support!!

Toni

PS – If you haven’t liked our Facebook page, do it now! Click here.

Stuff to see around PDX in the next few weeks

I thought I’d better start this list of things I want to see over the next couple of weeks. Of course, it includes some shameless (yet, deserved) plugs.

My hubby’s improv group Super Project Lab has a new show for just two weeks more (Saturdays at 8pm) at the Winningstad. It’s called “Dear ___” and in this format the players incorporate the audience’s letters, email, postcards and correspondence into the show. Plus if you bring a letter in, you can get 2 for one tickets. Another bonus – a portion of this run’s proceeds benefit the awesome program Write Around Portland.

This month’s Hip Hop Cabaret at the IFCC celebrates women’s contributions to hip hop. Seems like a great way to honor Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day. Sunday March 8 at 7pm.

The annual Clowns Without Borders benefit show is coming up Friday, March 20th at 7:30pm at the Da Vinci Middle School Theater, 2508 NE Everett, Portland. “The best of new vaudeville and modern circus to fund two Portland-led Clowns Without Borders projects in Haiti.” CWB is just amazing and this annual showcase is always a lot of fun. Bring the whole fam!


Da Vinci: The Genius
is a much-lauded traveling exhibit currently on display at OMSI. The exhibit explores everything you ever wanted to know about Leonardo. An intriguing display is the “Secrets of Mona Lisa Gallery” in which French engineer/photographer invented a 240 million pixel camera to photograph the Mona Lisa Gallery. I don’t really get it, but it’s peaked my interest. No if I could only track down some comp tix…

Give what you can

We all know that the global economy is in dire straits. I, for one, know that I’m counting my pennies and I certainly feel worried about what’s to come. When you’re thinking of cutting back, please consider maintaining or even increasing your giving to good non-profits. Supporting the work of non-profits is essential and you can consider it a worthy investment into your community. I always advocate supporting arts nonprofits because they tend to get left out of support despite the fact that the arts are proven to enhance learning in ALL areas. (Check out the awesome Right Brain Initiative.) Whatever you choose, just go and give what you can (say, $50 or $100) to an organization of your choosing.

If you need some ideas on who to give to this year, I’ve got some ideas.

Shameless solicitation of support for the organizations that pay my bills and orgs who I’ve committed myself to:

B-Word Worldwide/Bitch Magazine
– B-Word is the incredibly important and vital voice that brings you the most cutting and insightful feminist analysis of pop culture. I’m on the board and we’re currently looking at how to evolve as an organization and stay relevant in light of the changing media landscape. Join the Beehive!

Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center
– Wonderful, beautiful interdisciplinary arts center in North Portland that includes a gallery, theater, dance studio. The mission is to foster diversity in the arts and they support both emerging and established artists and serve the community at large with a range of education programs. I’ve admired IFCC since I arrived in Portland and am happy to report that I’m currently doing some contract work for them.

KBOO Community Radio – At 40, KBOO is one of the oldest community radio stations in the country. Portland is lucky to have such an amazing resource! KBOO has an eclectic, diverse programming lineup of news, public affairs, music and spoken word. Nearly all the programs are run by a dynamic group of volunteers. KBOO is powered by over 500 on-air and off-air volunteers, a member-elected board of directors and a small staff of 12 (full- and part-time). I work there part time and I’m also a volunteer with the radio collective APA Compass. (9am the first Friday each month!) Right now you can donate to KBOO through the Willamette Week’s Give! Guide and get lots of cool goodies!

Portland Theater Brigade – I grew up a drama geek and it certainly changed my life. PTB is an amazing young people’s theater program that not only teaches youth professional theater skills (using improvisation!! based on the work of the inimitable Viola Spolin), but empowers the students with opportunities for collaboration and leadership. I came on as Managing Director this year and it’s like I’ve come full circle.

Other cool orgs to consider supporting:

Beehive Collective – Another Beehive. The swarm’s mission: “To cross-pollinate the grassroots, by creating collaborative, anti-copyright images that can be used as educational and organizing tools.” Amazing mission, beautiful work.

Center for Asian American Media – My former stomping grounds. CAAM continues to do incredible work supporting Asian American media through funding, production, distribution and a dynamic festival.

In Other Words – A vibrant Portland feminist resource – bookstore, resource center and community space – is in trouble. They need to raise $11,000 by the end of the month to keep their doors open! Please support them if you can!

Oregon Cultural Trust – Did you know that you can match gifts to eligible cultural non-profits to the Trust and receive a 100% tax credit? That’s a tax CREDIT (way better than a tax deduction) and a great incentive to support Portland area nonprofit arts orgs. More info on the program here.