The historic Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center could be getting a makeover — as a proposed project to house representation of the Black community in North Portland.
It has political backing, as Portland Parks and Recreation and Commissioner Carmen Rubio, as well as a community advisory committee, back the move for IFCC to be redeveloped as a site where Portland's Black community and its rich arts and culture can be presented, displayed, discussed and honored.
"The community advisory committee's vision for IFCC reflects the vision of a more inclusive parks and recreation system," Rubio said. "We want our valued community partners to have a meaningful stake in Portland Parks and Recreation and to feel ownership of their important role in the bureau."
Of course, it needs more financial backing to redevelop IFCC, located at 5340 N. Interstate Ave., in the Overlook neighborhood, which has been a plan for about three years. It has a black box theater that seats about 100 people, a rehearsal studio and an art gallery. The city issued a request for proposals (RFP) for a feasibility study to determine a sustainable operating plan for IFCC. It's funded by the 2020 parks local option levy. The City Council also has received money from the American Rescue Plan Act for a grant/residency program to support Black artists at IFCC.
The IFCC building was originally constructed in 1910 and served as a fire station until 1959. It became a North Portland community space and a focal point for Black culture in 1982 under the late PP&R Director Charles Jordan.
Look for project updates at www.portland.gov/parks.
Oregon Historical Society, 1200 S.W. Park Ave., has reopened its research library following nearly two years of renovation. The campaign FORWARD!, funded by individuals and foundations, allows library staff to better serve researchers who visit OHS in person, as well as connect people who contact OHS each year to the collections in the library's care.
Improvements include: refreshed reading room, tech hub, collaborative learning lab, reconfigured reference desk, map and architecture viewing station, modern workspaces for staff and Pietro Belluschi Resource Center.
The state's largest archived collection, 50 years in the making, includes books, manuscripts, oral histories, sound recordings, films, moving images and photographs, available online through OHS Digital Collections and through the library's digital history projects.
"The research library is truly the heart of everything we do at Oregon Historical Society," said Kerry Tymchuk, OHS executive director.
Advance reservations are required to access (for free) the OHS research library. For more: www.ohs.org.
Portland Opera returns to the big stage after two years with "Tosca," Friday and Sunday, Oct. 29 and 31, and Thursday and Saturday, Nov. 4 and 6, at Keller Auditorium. Digital access via Portland Opera Onscreen starts Nov. 16.
"We're excited about a number of debuts," said Sue Dixon, Portland Opera general director. "And, it's one of Puccini's greatest works. We're excited to welcome back audiences with such a grand piece."
It tells the story of Tosca, a renowned diva, in Rome in 1800. An artist activist has won her heart, and his revolutionary sympathies provoke the wrath of Scarpia, the corrupt chief of police. Her devotion and moral resistance are challenged by abuses of power, attempted rape and tragedy, leading to a haunting finale.
Said new Artistic Director Priti Gandhi: "'Tosca' is full of passion, romance, tragedy and politics, and it is the perfect grand opera for a return to the theater."
Soprano Alexandra LoBianco makes her Portland Opera debut in the title role. Other debuts include Noah Stewart (Cavaradossi), baritone Gordon Hawkins (Scarpia) and tenor Katherine Goforth (as Spoletta). Tiffany Chang makes her Portland Opera debut and conducts Puccini's lush score. Stage director Linda Brovsky also makes her Portland Opera debut.
For more: www.portlandopera.org.
Corrib Theatre has a new artistic director. Justine Nakase succeeds founder Gemma Whelan in January.
"One reason I have chosen this moment to step down," Whelan said, "is meeting Justine Nakase and recognizing that she is a perfect fit to continue Corrib's legacy and to grow and expand the company in new directions."
Corrib's mission is to represent marginalized Irish voices, "especially emerging theater-makers of color," Nakase said.
Nakase lived in Ireland for 10 years, receiving a doctorate in race and Irish performance at the National University of Ireland, Galway, and currently teaches at Portland State University.
The late filmmaker Warren Miller thrilled ski and snowboard fans for years with movies, and the films have continued through Warren Miller Entertainment. The 72nd film will show in Oregon theaters this month.
"Winter Starts Now" serves as a "love letter" to the special place on the calendar — the winter season. It's a call to action for all viewers to get stoked and be prepared, because it's only weeks until the season arrives. The movie screens at Kiggins Theatre in Vancouver, Washington, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29, and Aladdin Theater, 4 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30.
Get tickets at www.warrenmiller.com.
Thrill the World
The annual Thrill the World Portland community dance returns, and it's outside — so, there'll be less stress about becoming infected with COVID-19. Masks are optional.
It's a group dance set to Michael Jackson's "Thriller," and takes place at 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, at Irving Park, 707 N.E. Fremont St. Preceding it, there'll be performances by PDX Witches and DJ Prashant's Bollywood Dancers.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.