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OPB's State of Wonder

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OPB's weekly journal of arts and creative work.

OPB's weekly journal of arts and creative work.
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OPB's weekly journal of arts and creative work.




Helado Negro | Saloli | Malheur Refuge Symphony

This episode originally aired in April 2019. Who doesn’t love music? You’re not going to believe this, but we actually found someone. JoAnna Wendel experiences musical anhedonia, a condition in which songs read as an over-stimulating pile of melodies and beats — think of the feeling most of us experience when listening to noise. But Wendel notwithstanding, music remains — for most of us — one of the most intuitive tools to work out our feelings. This a music heavy ride but even if you do...


Indie Film Producer Christine Vachon_Karen Russell_Mitchell Jackson_Christopher Marley

The producer who brought so many classics of queer cinema to life is coming to BendFilm Festival this fall. We talk with Christine Vachon about working with Todd Haynes and other breakout '90s auteurs. Also, Christopher Marley talks about creating astonishing compositions using preserved insect specimens. And we get a PDX Book Fest preview: Mitchell Jackson and Karen Russell on their critically-acclaimed books.


Margaret Atwood & Ursula K. Le Guin | Nilufer Yanya | OK Theater’s 100th Anniversary

What gets us through those uncertain moments? The speculative story? The daring album concept? The strenuous film shoot? The risky venture? RESOLVE. This week: square-jawed stories from tenacious creators.


Ken Burns’ Country Music | Women Who Skate | Wellness Warrior Camp | Pass The Mic

This episode is as American as it gets. We got country music, women skateboarding, indigenous youth reconnecting with their land, immigrant and refugee children learning to play music. All we're missing is a recipe for apple pie.


Ruth E. Carter | THING Music Festival | ASL in the Arts

Innovators and icons tend to have something in common, they do things differently. This week we hear stories from a few people changing the game one costume, festival, or ASL gesture at a time.


From The Archives: Kelly Sue DeConnick & Matt Fraction

This week we're going back to a favorite guest curated episode from 2014. Husband and wife Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction have each racked up top awards for their comic books. DeConnick has written a run of Captain Marvel that was the basis for last year's big film adaptation that starred Brie Larson. And Fraction has worked on very popular storylines of X-Men, Thor, Iron Man, Fantastic Four… and, we’ll say it, the best dang Hawkeye ever. They walk us through their creative process...


Emilly Prado | Michelle Ruiz Keil | Tehlor Kay Mejia

As much as we may try, we can never leave our younger selves in the dust. This week, three writers mine from their own childhoods to create some powerful storytelling.


Molly Gloss | Holland Andrews | Behind The Bullet

Yearning for voices to steer you through the darkness this week? We’ve found stories from places of devastation and salvation: from an artist whose voice harnesses a wild range of human emotion, to a film project that suggests new perspective on gun violence, to an Oregon writer who brings deep understanding in writing about grief.


W.E.B. Du Bois’ Data Visualization | Maria Semple | Open Signal | Head Cleaner | The Nude Party

This week we lost two giants in the arts community, Pulitzer- and Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison and poet and musician David Berman. We remember their impact and explore other hard truths, but also look to other artists whose work has us excited for the future.


Dom Flemons | Bundyville | Roger Guenveur Smith | Low Bar Chorale | Las Chunta

This week we visit people doing difficult and dangerous work. We talk about threats to domestic security, people fighting for their voices and stories to be told, and an act some may find the most terrifying of all: singing in public.


Artist Garrick Imatani | Mdou Moctar | Hop Along | Lucy’s Punk Rock Show for Kids | Roll Hardy

Happy Moon Week! If you didn’t make it to OMSI or the High Desert Museum to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first crewed space mission to the moon, you can still celebrate our shared celestial history. We’re visiting an exhibition honoring Tomanowos, the Willamette meteorite, getting starry-eyed over Frances Quinlan’s music, and more...


Guest Curator Fabi Reyna of SHE SHREDS | Noche Libre | Amenta & Intisar Abioto | Osa Atoe | DJ Anjali | Esperanza Spalding | Ear Trumpet La

This week we’re handing over the keys for "State of Wonder" to musician and publisher, Fabi Reyna. She's the creator of the guitar magazine She Shreds.


Sun Ra Arkestra | Y La Bamba | Piano. Push. Play

We’re taking a look back at some of our favorite music stories and interviews. We blast out of this galaxy with Afrofuturistic music, come back down to earth to follow one musician’s odyssey, and explore those whimsically designed pianos that have been popping up around Portland.


Summer Reads: Kiese Laymon | Ted Chiang | Rosanne Parry

Bump up your beach reads with three spectacular writers, each grappling with human connection: Kiese Laymon's Southern coming-of-age, science-fiction spectacle from Ted Chiang, and New York Times best-selling author Rosanne Parry imagines life through the eyes of Oregon's most famous wolf.


KayelaJ | Summer Playlist 2019 | The Numberz

This week, we’re kicking off our summer playlists. We called in some experts: The people in town actually making the music, writing about it and putting on the shows. Artist and rapper, KayelaJ, is also about to drop a scorcher of a debut, “D.Y.K.E. (Don’t Yield, Keep Enduring)” and we get an exclusive listen to some of the tracks and her creative process.


REBROADCAST: The Panoramic Imagination Of Somaiya Daud | Susan Fletcher | Tin House REBROADCAST: The Panoramic Imagination Of Somaiya Daud

The continuing search for awesome summer reads led us back to one of our favorite interviews from Portland Book Fest 2018 — and quite possibly one of our favorite book interviews ever! Somaiya Daud’s debut novel lit up the YA world. She is a dazzling conversationalist on sci-fan world-building, the joys of the YA genre, Victorian vs. classical Arabic literary forms, and much more. Also in the show: We meet one of Daud’s early inspirations and we say goodbye to a truly great literary journal.


Scotland's Mobile Libraries | Tales from the Fisher Poets | East Portland’s Arte Soleil Scotland | Tales from the Fisher Poets | East Portl

Sometimes good stories take a while. This week, long-awaited gems from Astoria’s Fisher Poets and an arts outpost in East Portland. Also, a photographer goes the extra 4,000 miles for the literary story she believes in.


John Doe On LA’s Punk Scene | Team Dresch | Chachalu’s Loan From The British Museum

It’s a weird world that obliges you to negotiate for decades to borrow things your great-grandparents made. And where are we if we can’t recover and know our history? This week, classic stories from the L.A. punk scene in the '80s, and Portland queer punk from the ‘90s, and a Native museum’s deal to get some time with priceless tribal artifacts.\


Jesmyn Ward & Mitchell Jackson | Arts Hub On The Move | Portland Parks Art Budget Cuts

Home can be a place you love and a palace of mixed feelings. But at its best, home is the place where you can be seen and feel understood. As we kick back in the folding chair with a frosty glass and some porch music, we’re thinking about all the comforts of home. Writers Jesmyn Ward and Mitchell S. Jackson trade stories about recreating the places they grew up. A dozen nonprofits make a home away from home. And some beloved assets of Portland’s parks system — its arts resources — get ready...


Karen Russell | Angela Garbes | Bill Oakley | bed.

As a parent, you’ve buried your ambitions, your social life and your dignity. You’ve put your own health and well-being on the back burner. But hey, once a year you might get brunch. Parent-child relationships are a complicated matter for us all. This week, artists talk about the things parents do. It’s all worth it. (Isn’t it???)