TBA Festival Calendar

TBA 2019: With The Want Adam Linder Seems to Want to Prevent Us from Understanding

TJ Acena

In college, I took a course on literary and cultural theory. I spent hours, face buried in my textbook, reading and rereading chapters on Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, and Jacques Derrida. Thankfully my professor was skilled at explaining the ideas of these philosophers. If not for her, it would have been a completely frustrating quarter. Adam Linder’s The Want constantly reminded me of the arduous experience of reading that textbook, always on the cusp of understanding, but unable to cross that threshold.

The Want is loosely based on French Playwright Bernard-Marie Koltès’ 1985 play In the Solitude of Cotton Fields. In the original play, two people—identified only as the ‘dealer’ and the ‘client’—have a long exchange about a possible transaction. Linder strips Koltes’ work down to its essence and then rebuilds it, using text from French philosophers and American hip-hop artists. Also, it’s an opera.

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Atlas Marshall, a Trans Woman Who Performs Drag as Nae Nae Dominatrix, Was Assaulted in Downtown Portland

Atlas Marshall, who goes by the drag name Nae Nae Dominatrix.
Atlas Marshall, who goes by the drag name Nae Nae Dominatrix. COURTESY OF ATLAS MARSHALL

Atlas Marshall, a transgender woman who is also a well-known member of Portland’s drag community, was assaulted by a group of men in downtown Portland early Thursday morning. Marshall is using the attention her attack has drawn to increase awareness about violence against trans women.

Marshall, who goes by the stage name Nae Nae Dominatrix when she performs at drag shows, was at some food carts on SW Ankeny around 2 am Thursday with her partner, Seth Johnstone, and several of their friends. Marshall and one of those friends approached a group of people who were also near the food carts, and asked if the friend could have a cigarette.

One man in the group, whom Marshall said “seemed very intoxicated,” insulted the appearance of Marshall’s friend. Marshall, sensing they should leave, said “Let’s just go,” to her friend. That was when the man noticed Marshall and started verbally harassing her.

“He called me a faggot in a wig,” Marshall said. “He turned all his aggression and anger towards me, and continued to call me a faggot and this and that. And I was just like, ‘Dude, fuck off.’ And he continued to get closer to me, and came up at me with his fists up, telling me to shut up.”

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Pop-Punk Hero Avril Lavigne Makes Her Rightful Return to the Spotlight with Head Above Water

If you asked Avril Lavigne in 2014 if she believed she would ever go back onstage after being diagnosed with Lyme disease, she might have hesitated to give you an honest answer. “I thought that music would be taken away from me,” she says during our phone interview. The Canadian pop-punk artist goes on to say she feels “so blessed to be on that stage, celebrating music and life. I’m ready to connect with the audience once again.”

To say that Lavigne’s audience is ready to connect with her again is an understatement. (The day before our interview, I casually tweeted that I had the opportunity to chat with Lavigne ahead of her Portland show—and multiple fan pages replied, asking me to tell Lavigne that they loved her and missed her.) Following its release on February 15, Lavigne’s new album, Head Above Water, debuted in the Top 10.

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Undone's Rotoscoped Animation Is in Service of a Sneakily Emotional Story

Amazon Prime Video
Two BoJack Horseman alum—Kate Purdy and Raphael Bob-Waksberg—are behind the stunning new show, Undone, and all eight short episodes are now streaming on Amazon Prime Video. (Don't mix it up with the similarly titled and similarly well reviewed Unbelievable, which went up on Netflix today—entirely different show.) Beyond their pedigrees, there’s almost nothing Undone and BoJack have in common, other than they’re animated entertainment for grownups and they contain sneakily fierce emotional undertows. Undone is both more self-contained and a lot harder to describe than BoJack: It’s a sort of psychological comedy/drama/sci-fi/mystery, but rather than being the genre smorgasbord that description implies, it mostly exists in its own world, playing by its own rules.

Undone’s animation is rotoscoped, and it that gives you pause, it shouldn’t. The technique—drawing on top of live action, sort of like tracing, but with color and motion—really works beautifully, rendering a world that’s both photorealistic and surreal, often at the same time. It’s easy to get fully absorbed in the uncluttered precision of the show, so when the story eventually requires the breaking of logical, physical, and temporal rules, you go right along with it.

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Portland Folk-Pop Trio Joseph Discuss Their Journey, Evolution, and New Record

Joseph Louis Brown
The sibling trio known as Joseph didn’t become one of Portland’s biggest bands by writing songs that were dull and unambitious.

Indeed, when the Closner sisters were starting out—playing house shows and small clubs around the region in the mid-2010s—they were cognizant of the transformative role that dynamics can play in a simple song.

“Even when it’s just the three of us and a guitar,” says Natalie Closner, who has married and now goes by Natalie Schepman, “we rely on the soft moments and the loud moments to create the tension and the thrill of it.”

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The Undisputable Geniuses of Comedy: Coming at You Next Week!

Meet the 2019 Undisputable Geniuses of Comedy!
Meet the 2019 Undisputable Geniuses of Comedy!

It’s back! The biggest night of Portland comedy is returning to Revolution Hall on Saturday, September 21!

You like laughing your guts out, right? Then you won't want to miss the Portland Mercury’s Undisputable Geniuses of Comedy 2019, featuring Portland’s funniest people (and hilarious up-and-comers) all on one stage.

Stand-up comedians, sketch comedy, and crazy stuff that defies explanation... all provided by Portland’s local undisputable geniuses!

Featuring stand-up from: Portland’s Funniest Person top finalists Corina Lucas and Shain Brenden, along with the amazingly funny Dylan Carlino, Shrista Tyree, Lance Edward, sketch comedy from D&D, Dianna Potter, Eddie Su, Wendy Weiss, Ben Harkins, Tory Ward, and more surprises!

Hosted by the consistently hilarious NARIKO OTT!

Revolution Hall
(1300 SE Stark)
$17 advance, $25 door, 21+
Last year’s show was a sell-out, so don’t delay!


Trust us—you won’t want to miss the undisputable fun of the Portland Mercury’s...UNDISPUTABLE GENIUSES OF COMEDY 2019!

Hustlers Is Funny, Fleshy, and Surprisingly Poignant

Hustlers Stx Financing LLC
Written and directed by Lorene Scafaria, Hustlers is based on the true story documented in “Hustlers in Scores,” a 2015 New York magazine article by Jessica Pressler. The movie kicks off in 2007, before the effects of the recession were fully felt, and when things were still fun and business was still good. Wall street guys were making bank, and a considerable amount of that dough made it into the hands of strip club workers.

But in 2008, the financial crisis started to affect the club’s clientele, which also meant a decline in the dancers’ pay. Hustlers shows how an all-out class war ensued, with a group of four stripper friends (played by Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Keke Palmer, and Lili Reinhart) targeting their rolodex of wealthy clients, drugging them with a cocktail of liquor, ketamine, and MDMA, and guiding them to a club where the women had negotiated a percentage of their spending. Once there, the women would easily persuade their drunken victims to hand over their credit cards, racking up thousands of dollars in expenses.

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Documents Suggest Portland Police Chief Outlaw Texted with Patriot Prayer’s Joey Gibson

PPB Chief Danielle Outlaw speaks at Thursdays press conference.
PPB Chief Danielle Outlaw speaks at Thursday's press conference. BLAIR STENVICK

A newly released city interview with a Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officer raises the question of whether PPB Chief Danielle Outlaw has ever communicated with Joey Gibson, leader of the far-right Vancouver, Washington based group Patriot Prayer. Though PPB denies any exchanges between Gibson and Outlaw, the interview transcript suggests otherwise.

On Thursday, Outlaw and Mayor Ted Wheeler announced that an investigation led by the Independent Police Review, a branch of the city auditor’s office, had cleared Lieutenant Jeff Niiya of any wrongdoing. Niiya was under investigation after text messages between him and Gibson—which were obtained by the Mercury and Willamette Week through public records requests and published in February—raised the question of if Niiya had been overly friendly with or protective toward Gibson and his fellow Patriot Prayer members.

After announcing IPR’s findings, the city released a trove of documents used in the investigation, including a transcript of an interview between Niiya and IPR investigator Andrea Damewood. (Full disclosure: Damewood writes food and drink reviews for the Mercury, but does not have any involvement with our news reporting.)

Their conversation is wide-ranging, and at one point they discuss the nature of police liaison work. Niiya makes the point that it’s common for police liaisons to communicate with people who could potentially pose a danger to officer or public safety, and also asks that IPR look “for improvements in the process” of both how PPB’s liaisons are trained and how they do their jobs. Niiya then says this:

“What has happened with me and how can we do better because when the chief of police knows—our current chief of police is someone else that knew about my text messages. There's text messages that you have between me and the chief and Joey, so when the highest level of people in this organization are aware of things, they need—they need to understand that there is a chain that everyone's held accountable and that we need to do better around this.”

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The Portland Mercury's Nacho Week! All the Places You Can Get $5 Nachos, Oct 14-19


Nacho lovers, rejoice! The Portland Mercury's Nacho Week is serving up specially crafted, full-sized plates of inventive, delicious nachos at over 40 locations. And best of all, THEY'RE ONLY $5 EACH! Make you and your stomach happy October 14 - 19 with the Portland Mercury's Nacho Week (brought to you by Corona USA and Hornitos Tequila)!

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Timbers v. DC United Match Preview

Craig Mitchelldyer/Portland Timbers
After a heart-stopping comeback win over Sporting Kansas City in the rain at Providence Park last weekend, the Portland Timbers will look to win their third game in a row when they face DC United on Sunday afternoon (12:30 p.m., TV on Fox Sports 1).

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Good Morning, News: The Dem Debate (ft. Biden's Record Player), City Exonerates Patriot Prayer-Protecting Cop, and RIP Eddie Money

Stay up to date on Portland news and politics. Looking for fun? Here are the best Things to Do in Portland today.

Raise your hand if you think Elizabeth Warren should be our next president.
"Raise your hand if you think Elizabeth Warren should be our next president." Win McNamee/Getty Images

GOOD MORNING, PORTLAND! Now you wanna be free, so I'm letting you fly. 'Cause I know in my heart babe, our love will never die. LET'S GO TO PRESS.

Did you catch last night's Democratic debate? The TL;DR version: The candidates parried on topics such as health care, immigration, and foreign policy, Warren emerged unscathed (and by most scorecards came out on top), Sanders went after Biden (as did Castro), Harris stuck to her script (and zingers), and Biden clung to the coattails of Barack Obama and went on a weird, rambling monologue about record players.

Also during the debate, after candidate Beto O'Rourke said “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” a Texas Republican tweeted/threatened, "My AR is ready for you" and now may get a visit from the FBI for his trouble.

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The 21 Best Concerts to See in Portland: September 12-25

Ronald Dick

If you’re new to Sunn O))) (just say “Sun”), have no new-fan insecurities. The long-worshipped ambient drone group from Seattle is still putting out great work, guaranteed to vibrate your whole body down to a cellular level. Seeing Sunn O))) live also remains a wholly rewarding experience—if being Maxell’s Blown Away Guy is your thing, and it is my thing—because unless you have a very finicky sound system friend there’s just no way you’re getting the full Sunn O))) experience from their albums. It’s also interesting to see Sunn O))) touring with Papa M, a folksy multi-instrumentalist who carries a similar ambient-bliss vibe, but will do nothing to prepare you for the heavier aspects of the headliner. Well played. (Thurs Sept 12, 9 pm, Revolution Hall, 1300 SE Stark, All ages, $25-28) SUZETTE SMITH

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Police Officer Who Sent Protective Texts to Joey Gibson Cleared of Wrongdoing in City Review


A city review released Thursday has found that the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officer who sent protective text messages to Joey Gibson, the leader of far-right Vancouver, Washington group Patriot Prayer, did not violate any bureau policies.

In February of this year, both the Mercury and Willamette Week reported on the text messages, sent by Lieutenant Jeff Niiya and obtained through a public records request. After the texts were made public, many community members and leaders questioned whether they revealed a too-close relationship between Niiya and Gibson—and whether Niiya had violated PPB policy in the messages. Niiya sent the messages over the last two years, while acting in his capacity as a police liaison to different protest groups.

From the Mercury’s original reporting:

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Can Portland Deliver on the Promise of Publicly Funded Elections?


Carmen Rubio never imagined running for public office.

“I wasn’t sure I would have access in the same way that traditional candidates have access,” says Rubio, the executive director of the Portland nonprofit Latino Network. She says she was deterred by Portland voters’ history of electing well-financed candidates—mostly white men—as city commissioners.

But then Portland approved a new public campaign financing program: Open and Accountable Elections (OAE), a system built to give all politically minded Portlanders a fair shot at winning a local election.

To qualify for OAE, candidates for city council must first collect contributions from 250 Portlanders, each of whom has donated less than $250 to the candidate’s campaign. (The number of contributions doubles to 500 if the candidate is running for mayor.) At that point, the city will match all previous and future campaign donations up to $50 at a six-to-one rate, using money from the city’s general fund. That means if a candidate collects 500 contributions of $25, the city will turn their $12,500 total into $75,000. (The city will only match the first donation an individual makes to a candidate.) Candidates participating in the May 2020 primary election will be the first to be allowed to use OAE.

The potential financing boost provided by OAE was enough to change Rubio’s mind about running: In early July, she became the first candidate to announce her run for city council, crediting OAE as a motivating factor. She’s one of several candidates hoping to replace outgoing Commissioner Amanda Fritz, who brought the idea of OAE to City Council in 2016.

“Open and Accountable Elections allows me to be competitive,” says Rubio. “And it puts voters—not donors—squarely in the center of my campaign.”

Rubio is one of five candidates who have already registered to participate in OAE—and more have signaled their intent. Registering isn’t a guarantee that an individual will actually raise enough money to qualify for OAE, but it’s given the city an idea of what kind of participation to expect.

For OAE staff, candidates’ early engagement with the program is a positive sign, indicating that Portlanders want a more equitable way to run for office. But with eight months until Election Day, they also worry the program may be a victim of its own success. If more than two or three candidates participate, OAE’s small budget might bottom out—forcing the city to renege on its financial promises to candidates. While City Council has an opportunity to bulk up the OAE budget this fall, it’s still not clear if enough commissioners believe the program is worth investing in.

For people who support local campaign finance reform, the stakes are high.

“I don’t want to see this fail,” says Commissioner Nick Fish. “It could be the last chance we have to have publicly financed elections.”

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Fin de Cinema Is a Late Night TBA Classic and Their Approach to Black Orpheus Was Perfect

Simone Fischer

An ongoing concert series at Holocene for ten (10!) years, Fin de Cinema pairs snooty film nerd deep cuts (and I say that with affection) with live scores from local musicians. The end result is part silent film / part concert / part feature-length video installation. Suffice to say, it's awesome and the ongoing collaboration between Fin de Cinema and the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA)'s Time Based Arts Festival (TBA) continues to represent a good fit for all involved.

This year's choice of film was a potentially fraught piece of '50s French cinema, Marcel Camus' Black Orpheus. The three musicals acts—Amenta Abioto, Kalimah Abioto, Mike Gamble and Caton Lyles, Akila Fields with Noah Bernstein, and POPgoji—took three wildly different approaches to accompanying the vibrant and energetic film. In the end, they complemented each other magnificently.

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