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Here are some notes on this and that and the other thing - including USS Portland, 'January Series' and 'ForeverScape'

COURTESY: INGALLS SHIPBUILDING - The crew of the USS Portland has completed training and put the ship through its sea paces, and now it's heading through the Panama Canal on its way to San Diego. It'll arrive there in early January, and then travel to Portland in April for commissioning.High seas

The USS Portland is one step closer to being in town for its commissioning.

The U.S. Navy ship, a San Antonio-class amphibious landing dock also known as LPD-27, left its home port of Pascagoula, Mississippi, on Dec. 13, bound for San Diego. It'll pass through the Panama Canal and arrive in San Diego in early January.

Then, it'll make its way to the commissioning in Portland on April 21. It'll arrive a week earlier, April 14. There will be a week of ceremonies and events.

"This is exciting!" says Gary Piercy, chair for the Portland-based USS Portland commissioning committee. "Exciting for the crew and for the city."

The crew had completed training and sea trials, but the current trip will help the crew familiarize itself with the ship and systems. The ship has been seen moored at Key West, Florida.

The first U.S. Navy ship named exclusively after our city, the USS Portland is 684 feet long and 105 feet wide, displaces 25,000 tons and can carry 500 to 800 Marines. It was built in Pascagoula and launched on Feb. 13, 2016.

Interested members of the public have opportunities to sponsor, donate, volunteer and request tickets to the ceremony. For more: www.ussportlandlpg27.org.

'January Series'

It's that time again: The award-winning lecture and cultural arts lineup of Calvin College, "January Series," is coming to Portland, Jan. 3-23, with livestream viewing at Oak Hills Christian Reformed Church, 2800 N.W. 153rd Ave., in Beaverton.

The livestreaming takes place from 9:30-10:30 a.m. Mondays through Fridays. The lectures are free and open to the public.

Among the speakers: Katherine Boo, a staff writer for The New Yorker whose work has been honored by a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant and Pulitzer Prize; Jeremy McCarter, co-author of "Hamilton: The Revolution," who witnessed the ultrapopular Broadway show's journey from concept to cultural phenomenon; and Kevin Olusola, who's best known as the beatboxing member of Grammy Award-winning vocal quintet Pentatonix.

Speakers will offer perspectives on current topics, including race in America, technology, national security, biowaste, global poverty and more.

For full info: www.calvin.edu/january-series/speakers

COURTESY: BLACKFISH GALLERY - Vance Feldman's 'ForeverScape,' which includes various drawings, imaginative narrative and sly social commentary, will be on display at Blackfish Gallery, Jan. 2-27. It measures three football fields in length and will be displayed and rolled out on a 'paper winding machine.' The piece took eight years to make.Huge display

This should be something to behold: Opening Jan. 2, Blackfish Gallery will show "ForeverScape," a mixed media drawing under construction since 2009 and measuring more than three football fields long.

It'll be shown in Portland for the first time, Jan. 2-27.

Creator Vance Feldman, who earned a bachelor's degree in studio art from Reed College, began the immense work eight years ago on a single sheet of 8x11-inch card stock. The work has grown at a rate of a page every three days to more than 1,000 pages with imagery that connects seamlessly in a riot of imaginative narrative and sly social commentary.

The drawing is played in grid form, hugging the length of the gallery ceiling and curving down to extend an equal distance on the floor. On view alongside the drawing is a "paper winding machine" that Feldman invented to scroll through a facsimile of "ForeverScape" printed on a 20-pound drum of paper. Several other multipanel puzzle pieces will be exhibited.

It's inspired by Chinese hand scroll paintings, especially the masterpiece "1000 Li of Rivers and Mountains" by Wang Ximen (from 1113 A.D.). Feldman uses changing vantage points to depict an alien landscape, inhabitated for men and women in space suits, a variety of animals and more.

Feldman will be auctioning a series of outtakes from "ForeverScape" via eBay.

Feldman works as a software engineer, but he has designed animation for the Beastie Boys, and created an interactive media wall for the Library of Congress and installations for the Grammy Museum and Disney Family Museum.

There'll be a First Thursday opening, 6 p.m. Jan. 4, and an artist talk at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 20, at Blackfish, 420 N.W. Ninth Ave.

For more: www.blackfish.com.

Penny Arcade

Fifty years into her performance career, the American feminist Penny Arcade will perform "Longing Lasts Longer," her critique of the post-gentrification landscape, for the first time in Portland. It's a topical show here.

Boom Arts and the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art will present the show at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, Feb. 1-2 and Feb. 8-9 at PICA, 15 N.E. Hancock St. Tickets are $12 for students and $20 for general admission, available at boomarts.org.

A writer, poet, actress and theater maker, Penny Arcade, aka Susana Ventura, has been tabbed New York's undisputed "Queen of the Underground." She's performed the show in 28 cities and counting.

Arcade debuted with John Vaccaro's "Playhouse of the Ridiculous" at age 17, and was a "Warhol Factory Superstar" at 19, featured in the Andy Warhol film "Women in Revolt."

For more: www.boomarts.org.

Dragoon saber training

The National Park Service, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, and Academia Duellatoria offer 19th-century dragoon saber training, Jan. 21-March 4, courses that focus on saber techniques used by the soldiers of the U.S. Army Dragoons who arrived at the Vancouver barracks in 1855.

Two courses will be offered at the Pearson Air Museum Historic Hangar, 1115 E. Fifth St., Vancouver, Wash.: Basic 1, designed for a newcomer to saber fighting; Basic 2, a continuation of skills from Basic 1. Cost is $100

Participants who complete the program will have the opportunity to volunteer at living history events and programs at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.

To sign up, contact Jeff Richardson of Academia Duellatoria at 503-888-9310 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Good bar

A website, HopCulture.com, has named Bar Botellon, 606 N.E. Davis St., as one of the top 10 new bars in the country. The review: "Every pour of draft wine, beer or cider at Bar Botellon is paired with a complimentary tapa. The space is warm with North African-inspired accents and reclaimed wood furnishings. Fill up a growler to go or stay to sample some of the tasty Andalusian plates."

For more: www.hopculture.com/10-best-new-bars-in-2017.

HopCulture.com also named Wayfinder Beer, 304 S.E. Second Ave., as one of its top 10 brewpubs, writing that the space "electrifies," and beers are influenced by European heavies thanks to a trip by co-owner Charlie Devereux's trip to Bavaria and Bohemia.

For more: www.hopculture.com/best-american-brewpubs-of-2017.

Jesuit milestone

The acclaimed drama department at Jesuit High School will mark the 20th anniversary of its Alex L. Parks Performing Arts Center with a gathering 7:30 p.m. Jan. 6. It'll be attended by more than 50 notable alumni.

"We're celebrating a place that our alums found while they were students at Jesuit High School," says Jeff Hall, drama co-director. "It's so gratifying to see them so enthusiastic about returning to that place."

The night will be part "where are they now" and part "dance down memory lane," with performances.

"We will have alums on hand from the very first production in the Performing Arts Center ('Once On This Island') and will feature performances by the current cast of our upcoming production of 'Newsies,'" Hall says.

For more: www.jesuitportland.org/drama.

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