Small Space, Big Stories tonight

I’ve been directing three improvisors for a show we’re calling Small Space, Big Stories. Our venue is a very small, intimate space (hence the title), Nisus Gallery. Tonight we’ll explore themes of place, relationship and constraints, in the first of what we hope will be regular improvised theater performances at Nisus. There is just the tiniest amount of seating so get there early (doors open at 7:30) to ensure you’ve got a spot.

More details about Small Space, Big Stories here.

You’ll also get to see the visual art exhibit up at Nisus, “Barbie” by Claudia Porter.

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A2Z September 2009 Edition

a) My ankle is bunk. I had a Spice Girls incident years ago (tripped over my own platform shoes)(OK I know, why the hell was I wearing platform shoes? What can I say, it was the 90s.) and ever since my right ankle has been sensitive on an on and off basis. This week, on. 😦
b) Fall means Back to Blog! I shall blog regularly again after my unexpected summer hiatus.
c) Our poor Corolla has a whole slew of problems right now. Nothing serious, but annoying enough. On the list: driver side seat belt is failing; dome light doesn’t work; window rattles; some weird noise when we turn (okay that might be more serious). If anyone has a good mechanic in Portland let me know.
d) Dog or no dog? That is the question.
e) Egg Salad. I want to make egg salad today.
f) Excited to dabble in the film world again. I recently joined a small collective (if you’re knowledgeable about the local film scene and interested in getting involved let me know!) producing a new program at KBOO called Behind the Screen. Listen in the last Thursday of the month.
g) I’m gazing out my window and the skies are gray. Or is it grey? Actually grey is the British spelling. So, now you know. Madonna would definitely use “grey.”
h) House! Enough said.
i) Now that it’s fall, I’m committed to doing more improv! A group of us gals just started meeting to play together. Hopefully that will get going on a regular basis. I founded a rad all-woman improv troupe in Chicago years ago called RED. One of the other members of this group was in Southern Oregon’s Hamazons: Warrior Princesses of Comedy. Other improv opps I plan to partake in: Jumping Off Place and Curious Comedy‘s Open Court.
j) Didn’t get to finish Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake before I had to return it to the library. I’m putting it on hold again.
k) Just watched Project Runway Allstars on DVR. Korto Momolu was robbed! Just goes to show that white man making an “edgy” collection that can be worn by twig-sized teens gets more respect than a woman of color making bold, well-crafted beautiful designs for women of all sizes.
l) I’m into my Burt’s Bees’ Lip Shimmer. Shade: Peony.
m) I’m excited to dive into the slo-cooker pork mole that Matt made. Yummy!
n) Check out the newly designed Bitch Magazine. The stalwart feminist pop culture rag took a break to regroup and are looking better than ever in “The Consumed Issue.” They’ve also got a new Executive Director Julie Falk who we hope will continue to help steer the Bitch boat in the right direction. Call them Bitch Media now and enjoy not only the magazine, but their offerings of audio, blog and more. Support Bitch by joining their B-Hive!
o) Open auditions for Portland Theatre Brigade are happening starting next week! All young actors ages 7-15 invited to audition for this fabulous, empowering, young people’s theatre company.
p) Pens I’m into right now: Uni-Ball Gel Grip Pens, 0.7 mm, Medium Point; Uni-Ball Vision Elite Liquid Rollerball Pens, 0.5 mm, Micro Point; and always the magical, wonderful standard Fine Point Sharpie.
q) Quip: 1. A clever, witty remark often prompted by the occasion.2. A clever, often sarcastic remark; a gibe. Courtesy of Free Dictionary.
r) RIP Richard Francis, host of KBOO’s A Different Nature. I didn’t know him well, but I know he was a sweet soul and well-loved at KBOO. Here are nice articles about Richard on the Kill Ugly Radio and Baron Landscape’s Broken Hour blogs.
s) Super Project Lab, my hubby’s improv troupe, has a whole bunch of shows coming up. This weekend they’re doing “Old Flames” at Curious Comedy and they are sharing the bill with Canoofle. And Matt (my sweetie) directed the show!
t) TBA! TBA! TBA! Here’s an interview I did with curator Kristan Kennedy for Behind the Screen.
u) Okay, nearing the end of the alphabet and feeling a bit stuck… I always wanted Wonder Woman Underoos. It seems they still make them.
v) The Verdana font was designed by Matthew Carter specifically to be read on a computer screen. Here’s more from fonts.com.
w) Speaking of Wonder Woman, did you know that Joss Whedon started writing a live action film adaptation of Wonder Woman? Too bad it never came to fruition.
x) Xi is the 14th letter of the Greek alphabet. It is preceded by Nu and followed by Omicron
y) I’m a full-time working stiff now. Luckily it’s at this marvelous place, Young Audiences.
z) Zee End.

the boneyard

When Matt and I went to Las Vegas back in March, the one thing I wanted to be sure and see was the Boneyard. It’s part of the collection of the Neon Museum, an organization preserving, salvaging and restoring old signs so they just don’t end up in the dump. They are also all about celebrating the “neon sign” as a uniquely Las Vegas artform. For now, the Boneyard is a big lot (actually two lots) where they store all the signs that they’ve salvaged. In addition to neon signs (many of which also also use incandescent bulbs) the museum ends up salvaging all kinds of other large signs. I thought it was pretty dang groovy, and a great Vegas activity if you’re not much of a gambler or need time away from the regular action. You can only visit by appointment only, so don’t forget to call at least a week before you want to go.

Here’s a few of my favorite photos from the Boneyard. My whole set is up at flickr.


Next time, I’ll be hitting the Liberace Museum.

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…

when in doubt, make a list

oy, i’ve been so busy that i’ve had little energy for blogging. so, what to do? time to make a list. here’s a list of places i’d like to see, based on recommendations or inspiration from trusted friends. domestic sites for today; i’ll go international another…

the boneyard: a part of the neon museum in las vegas, the boneyard is a a lot filled with non-restored signs of all kinds. seems pretty surreal, industrial, nostalgic.
(photo by angie1611 on flickr, creative commons license)

Neon Boneyard Vegas

grand canyon: what can i say, i’ve never been.

high desert test sites
: from their website – “The High Desert Test Sites are a series of experimental art sites located along a stretch of desert communities including Pioneer town, Yucca Valley, Joshua tree, 29 Palms and Wonder Valley. These sites provide alternative space for experimental works by both emerging and established artists.” andrea zittel is one of the artists who founded it. rad stuff.

sequoia national park: hamblog recently made the trip, and it inspires. big, old gorgeous trees in the amazing sierra nevadas.

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.

my weekend…


as i sit here waiting for audio to be extracted off the cd from our great apa compass show (we talked about ethnic media and also had a piece about the agent orange justice speaking tour) this morning, i thought i’d share some of the cultural outings i’m planning (or recommending) for the weekend.

hubster matt and his improv troupe, super project lab, are at it again with their first run at the lovely, brand new curious theater. they’re trying a different format for this run (instead of their mainstay, “meet your ___” in which local celebs become monologuists who inspire the groups improv scenes). it’s called “3some” and each show will feature just 3 players performing a long-form improvised show. should be interesting! the shows are 9:30pm dec 5/6 and dec 12/13 at curious theater 5225 ne mlk, portland.

on saturday, we’re headed to see our talented friend lisa degrace in her one-woman piece “flying iron” using music, movement, text, costume, clown and more. check out this description: “The audience sees someone “trapped by choice” in a very small world, an iron hoop skirt contained within a 30-foot diameter dress.” sounds intriguing, no? shows are at performance works northwest, 4625 se 67th, portland on saturday and sunday dec 6/7 and dec 13/14.

also on saturday, artist shu-ju wang is doing an artist talk at the central library in downtown portland. she has a very sweet exhibit showing in this cool room of the library called the john wilson special collections (it holds rare materials). feels kinda like you’re walking onto the set of buffy the vampire slayer. the show is called “relay/replay” and it includes 4 artist books that she created in collaboration with elders from rose schnitzer manor. really beautiful pieces.

on the other end of the spectrum, my friend john breen is starring in a movie called the auteur playing at cinema 21 this week. it’s a comedy, it involves the porn industry. not my usual topic of interest, but hey i’m up for a good laugh, if it’s a good laugh.

off to finish uploading this dang audio. it’s taking forever!

So many things to do and see

Here’s a list of interesting things to check out in Portland over the coming weeks:

Too hot to hibernate

Yes I’ve been hibernating. Haven’t posted in ages. Way overcommitted this summer. Looking forward to fall when I can reprioritize my life. The truth is I don’t have too much to report. Too tired, too hot, whatever. Thought I’d point to two of my current favorite blogs:

– Bitch Magazine recently launched their new website which looks amazing. Full disclosure, I am on the board so this is surely a biased review. But they’ve been doing such a great job with their blogs! They’re keeping it real: interesting, thought-provoking, diverse. Stay tuned for more info on our 2nd annual [sm]art benefit featuring the legendary Judy Chicago and loads of other local and national art people.
Angry Asian Man is always at the top of my list for excellent blogs. He’s a voracious, cutting surveyor/analyzer of all things Asian.

On a slightly different, but still opinionated note – I recently started contributing to the My Turn column at The Asian Reporter. Check me out if you interested in seeing other stuff I’ve been up to…

Something so RIGHT, and one RWONG


This week I’m writing to recommend two FABULOUS shows. The first is a wonderful, imaginative, hilarious, poignant clown show featuring my good friend Sarah in her company Nomadic Theatre Co. The show is called Running Into Walls. If you’ve never seen a clown show (and I’m NOT talking Ringling Brothers) this is a great introduction into that delightful world. The story follows two very close clown friends as they take a strange journey to confront mortality. Wonderful physical comedy, engaging performances, touching story. Plus, you’ll find out the origins of the word “muffin” and what the word “Himalaya” means. The show runs through April 27 at Theater! Theatre!, 3430 SE Belmont, Portland.

Next is Roberta Wong’s art exhibit at IFCC gallery in North Portland. If you’ve never been there it’s a pretty darn cool space. She’s showing some of her installation work from the past 2 decades and it’s all still extremely relevant stuff exploring race, gender, history and identity. I wrote about Roberta’s show in The Asian Reporter so check out my story. The exhibit runs through April 26.