A taste of Japanese vaudeville

PSU graduate teaches first English-language rakugo course

A small crowd gathers in the South Park Blocks as Matt Shores unpacks his suitcase and assembles a tiny table. Kneeling on the sidewalk in front of the table, Shores demonstrates how a fan can perform double duty as a sake bottle and a tobacco pipe.

Don’t be a philistine

Monet on display at the Portland Art Museum

A few weeks ago, my editor told me to write about the five Monet paintings on display at the Portland Art Museum through Aug. 5. More specifically, he tasked me with “getting all the uncultured cretins off their lazy asses and into that museum before it’s too late.”

Alien: The Phantom Menace

Ridley Scott’s Prometheus is an insult to science, religion and the viewer’s intelligence

You’ve probably heard Patton Oswalt’s joke about time machines. Faced with the choice to alter human history, Oswalt confesses that he’d instead “go back to the summer of 1993 and kill George Lucas with a shovel” to prevent the Star Wars prequels from happening.

Pretentious Art Films 101

Jim Jarmusch tests the limits of my bullshit detector in The Limits of Control

Last year, The New York Times published an essay titled “Eating Your Cultural Vegetables.” The article, by film critic Dan Kois, is a sort of confessional. Kois admits that he seeks out films beloved by the intellectuals he most admires, even though he does not particularly enjoy them—a phenomenon he calls “aspirational viewing.”

Dada revisited

Bruce Nauman installation creates a vivid portrait of the sculptor

The Portland Art Museum is currently showcasing three large-scale sculptures by Bruce Nauman, on view through Sept. 16. This exhibition of Nauman’s work is the third in an ongoing series showcasing contemporary sculptors.

Performing for social justice

Freshman inquiry students to host ‘Talent for Change’ art showcase

Students in freshman inquiry courses at Portland State have the opportunity to design a variety of service-learning projects.

This week, students in professor Alma Trinidad’s Race and Social Justice Freshman Inquiry course host “Talent for Change,” a performance art event that provides a space for students to continue exploring how to respond to the social issues they’ve studied.

Riding in cars with Iranian women

Iranian film Ten makes one squirm with voyeuristic intimacy

Abbas Kiarostami’s Ten (2002) opens with a confrontation between mother and son. Amin is furious with his mother, a beautiful, animated taxi driver who struggles to find happiness in a society that she believes denies women the right to live.

Women of the written word

Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies annual colloquium to feature authors Vanessa Veselka, Lidia Yukanizitch

For several years, Portland State’s Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies program has hosted a spring colloquium to showcase student work and provide an opportunity for WGSS students to build community.

Leave it to Don Draper

Award-winning author Stephanie Coontz shows PSU the real world of desperate housewives

In 2007, Mad Men made the ’60s cool again. The show’s influence can be found everywhere from Banana Republic—which enlisted the show’s costume designer to create a special collection—to dive bars (Adrian Grenier from HBO’s Entourage recently partnered with a Nike designer to release beers in flattop cans).

Fright night from left: Siumara Samayoa, Gabriela Dipascuale, Rosa Cristobal and Juan Antonio Martínez enact a dream sequence.

Alicia in Portlandia

PSU graduate brings the Mexican-American dream of college to life in play Jardin de Sueños

The curtain opens on a frustrated father, exhausted mother, prima-donna daughter and gangster son. Their faces obscured by classical masks, the ensemble looks, at first glance, like a caricature of a Mexican-American family.