Bits & Pieces
From our Pamplin Media Group report:
The next time you step into Darcelle XV's nightclub, you'll be a part of history. The Old Town entertainment venue recently was named to the National Register of Historic Places.
The 53-year-old drag club was officially added to the national history list Monday, Nov. 30. It was the first Oregon site named to the national register solely for its connection to the Northwest's LGBTQ community. No other local site or building has been considered for nomination to the register based only on that connection.
Oregon's State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation nominated the drag club to the national register in mid-June. Walter Cole, the Portland female impersonator who has been Darcelle for 52 years, told the committee that the "world knows all about who Darcelle is. And thank goodness for that. For many years we were closeted in our own clubs. We didn't walk outside our front doors in our costumes. I'm very proud to be Darcelle."
Darcelle's Showplace is a key part of Old Town's 110-year-old Foster Hotel building on Northwest Third Avenue. Former architect and city planner Kristen Minor wrote the club's 64-page national register nomination report with Portland author and playwright Don Horn of Triangle Productions.
They focused on the nightclub's significant historic period from 1967, when Cole bought the building and established his nightclub drag queen showcase, to 1975, before major renovations altered parts of the structure. (A 2007 seismic retrofit rebuilt most of the ground floor commercial area.)
Minor and Horn wrote that Darcelle XV's club was important to the regional LGBTQ history because of "its open acknowledgment that drag was part of gay culture and that most of the female impersonators on stage were gay."
Horn, a good friend of Cole's who has written books and a musical about Darcelle, was ecstatic about the designation. He also spearheaded the nomination (and approval) for the Elmer and Linnie Miller House, in which Cole lives, to be put on the historic register.
"This is so surreal on so many levels," Horn wrote on the website of his theater company, Triangle Productions. "I am told one nomination to get approved in a year is outstanding — but two? I want to thank my dear friend Walter W. Cole for believing in this, for being a true friend to the community, and for being as one person said, 'A shining rhinestone that will dazzle us forever.'"
The new album by Portland musician M. Ward, "Think of Spring," a collection of Billie Holiday songs, comes out Friday, Dec. 11. It's his 11th studio album.
He recorded the album, like all his music, originally with his Tascam machine and four-track cassette and then enhanced the music in a studio.
"This record has more four-track than any other I've made," said Ward, whose real first name is Matthew.
"I did most of it at home in Portland."
He put out his previous album, "Migration Stories" in March, just as the country shut down over the COVID-19 pandemic. He hasn't been able to tour.
Doing Holiday's music was a real thrill for Ward.
"I discovered her music from the moment I discovered Louis Armstrong in high school — music that I stumbled on through the radio or records maybe parents had around house," Ward said. "Most of my friends were into heavy metal at the time; 'And Justice For All' had just been released by Metallica.
"It's a strange feeling when you discover something that feels eternal like Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong. I was excited about Metalicca, Anthrax and Megadeth for a few years, but something about (heavy metal) told me it was a dead-end road, would only take me so far. I discovered Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday, felt it was discovering something that is eternal and have no end to the depths of what's happening in the music."
He began covering Holiday's "I'm a Fool to Want You" as an instrumental in 2010. He went on to learn more Holiday songs, and eventually started recording some of the music (yep, on his four-track). So, now he's sharing the music with his "Think of Spring."
For more: http://www.mwardmusic.com.
'A Thousand Ways'
Boom Arts presents a live, interactive and experimental show about finding one through distance and negotiating shared space — fitting during these times of social distancing.
The first of three parts of the 600 Highwaymen's "A Thousand Ways," titled "A Phone Call," takes place Dec. 10-13 and Jan. 21-24, 2021. The theater makers 600 Highwaymen explore the line between strangeness and kinship, distance and proximity and how the most intimate assembly can become profoundly radical. "A Phone Call" takes place literally over the phone with audience members coming together via a crafted set of audio directives.
Part two is "An Encounter," taking place in an empty theater (when it's safe) with two people seated across from each other at a table; part three is "An Assembly," which recasts participating audience members in an ensemble to experience togetherness in shared space. They will take place in 2021.
For details and tickets: http://www.boomarts.org.
Finehouse, a Portland 10-piece tribute band, will present "Finehouse — A Tribute to Amy Winehouse," a concert to celebrate the late great singer, at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 10, via Alberta Rose Theatre's Portland Music Stream.
The band includes members from Chervona, Rachel Brashear Trio, Lola Buzzkill, Adebisi, Choking Kind, Human Ottoman, The Shrike and more. Tickets start at $10; see http://www.albertarosetheatre.com.
Bean at Apollo
Shoshana Bean, the Broadway actress originally from Beaverton, will put on a virtual holiday concert along with special guests, "Sing Your Hallelujah," live from the Apollo Theater in New York City. It's available to stream as of Saturday, Dec. 12. For tickets: http://www.stellartickets.com.
Oregon Public Broadcasting has produced a one-hour documentary, "In the Shadow of Fairview," about the troubled history of the Salem institution for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
The "Oregon Experience" film premieres 9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 14, on OPB-TV as well as at http://www.opb.org.
The Young Professionals Company at Oregon Children's Theatre presents "Breaking Character," a three-part, online series of performances, Dec. 15-22. It highlights teen voices and perspectives through original stories and songs.
The schedule: "Frame of Mind," monologues/stories, Tuesday, Dec. 15; "My Story in a Song," cabaret-style musical showcase, Dec. 17; "Below the Camera, Outside of the Box," discussion about artists' responsibility during a time of crisis, Dec. 22.
For more: http://www.octc.org.
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