12-01-2022  10:16 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Tough Oregon Gun Law Faces Legal Challenge, Could Be Delayed

Midterm voters narrowly passed one of the toughest gun control laws in the nation, but the new permit-to-purchase mandate and ban on high-capacity magazines faces a lawsuit that could put it on ice just days before it's set to take effect.

Portland Approves $27M for New Homeless Camps

Public opposition to the measure and the money that will fund it has been heated, with critics saying it will criminalize homelessness and fail to address its root causes.

Portland Settles Lawsuit Over Police Use of Tear Gas

The lawsuit was originally filed by Don't Shoot Portland in June 2020. “Our freedom of expression is the foundation of how we make social change possible,” Teressa Raiford said in a news release. “Black Lives Still Matter.”

Oregon Lawmakers Lift Security Measure Imposed on Senator

Since July 2019, Sen. Brian Boquist had been required to give 12 hours notice before coming to the Oregon State Capitol, to give the state police time to bolster their security and to ensure the safety of people in the Capitol.

NEWS BRIEFS

The James Museum Opens Black Pioneers: Legacy In The American West

This first-of-its-kind-exhibition explores Black history in the West with a timeline of pictorial quilts. ...

Use of Deadly Force Investigation Involving Clackamas County Sheriff and Oregon State Police Concludes

The grand jury’s role was solely to determine whether the involved officers’ conduct warranted criminal charges; questions...

Oregon Faces Snow-Plow Driver Shortage Heading Into Winter

New federal licensing rules for drivers resulted in longer wait times to obtain a commercial driver's license, which contributed to...

7 die from flu in Washington state, activity 'very high'

SEATTLE (AP) — Flu activity in the state is now considered very high, according to the Washington State Department of Health. State health officials on Thursday reported over 1,200 new flu cases from Nov. 13-19, which was more than double the case count of previous weeks, KING 5...

Illinois lawmakers OK crime bill cleanup, plan ends bail

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Democrats who control the Illinois General Assembly approved followup clarifications of their watershed criminal justice overhaul Thursday, appeasing critics by adding numerous offenses to a list of crimes that qualify a defendant to remain jailed while awaiting trial. ...

Missouri holds off Arkansas 29-27 to reach bowl eligibility

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri and Arkansas will be headed to similar bowl games after the Tigers held off the Razorbacks 29-27 on Saturday night, leaving each of the bitter border rivals 6-6 on the season. Only one walked out of Faurot Field with victory cigars. Brady...

Rivalry week should bring SEC bowl forecast into clear focus

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — It’s rivalry week for most of the Southeastern Conference. The Egg Bowl. The Iron Bowl. The Palmetto Bowl. The Sunshine Showdown. Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate. The Battle Line Rivalry. It’s a chance for everyone to either avoid or add to the powerhouse...

OPINION

‘I Unreservedly Apologize’

The Oregonian commissioned a study of its history of racism, and published the report on Oct. 24, 2022. The Skanner is pleased to republish the apology written by the editor, Therese Bottomly. We hope other institutions will follow this example of looking...

City Officials Should Take Listening Lessons

Sisters of the Road share personal reflections of their staff after a town hall meeting at which people with lived experience of homelessness spoke ...

When Student Loan Repayments Resume, Will Problems Return Too?

HBCU borrowers question little loan forgiveness, delays to financial security ...

Tell the Supreme Court: We Still Need Affirmative Action

Opponents of affirmative action have been trying to destroy it for years. And now it looks like they just might get their chance. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Report: Wide racial disparity in New York prison discipline

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Black and Hispanic people incarcerated in New York state prisons are more likely than white people to face further punishment once they wind up behind bars, according to a state inspector general report released Thursday. A Black person behind bars in New York...

Amazon CEO says company won't take down antisemitic film

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said Wednesday the company does not have plans to stop selling the antisemitic film that gained notoriety recently after Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving tweeted out an Amazon link to it. Pressure has been mounting on Amazon to discontinue sale...

Feds announce settlement over Iowa disability center abuse

The U.S. Justice Department has announced a settlement with the state of Iowa to resolve allegations of abuse and inadequate care at the state-run Glenwood Resource Center, a center for people with intellectual disabilities. A proposed consent decree announced Thursday by the DOJ...

ENTERTAINMENT

Mistrial after jury deadlock in Danny Masterson rape case

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A judge declared a mistrial Wednesday at the rape trial of “That ’70s Show” actor Danny Masterson after jurors, who were leaning strongly toward acquitting him, deadlocked following the monthlong trial in which the Church of Scientology played a supporting role. ...

Prosecutor: Weinstein a 'degenerate rapist' and 'predator'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Harvey Weinstein was a “predator” with unmistakable patterns who used his Hollywood power to lure women into meetings, sexually assault them and escape the consequences, a prosecutor said in closing arguments Wednesday at the former movie mogul's Los Angeles trial. ...

New version of 'The Wiz' to tour and end up on Broadway

NEW YORK (AP) — A new production of “The Wiz” is heading out on a national tour next year before following the yellow brick road to Broadway, with its director hoping the show becomes a “touchstone for a new generation.” Director Schele Williams tells The Associated Press...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Chinese users play cat-and-mouse with censors amid protests

HONG KONG (AP) — Videos of hundreds protesting in Shanghai started to appear on WeChat on Saturday night....

Biden, Macron vow unity against Russia, discuss trade row

WASHINGTON (AP) — Presidents Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron vowed to maintain a united front against Russia on...

Germany out of World Cup despite 4-2 win over Costa Rica

AL KHOR, Qatar (AP) — Back-to-back early exits at the World Cup have Germany coach Hansi Flick wanting to go...

Chinese users play cat-and-mouse with censors amid protests

HONG KONG (AP) — Videos of hundreds protesting in Shanghai started to appear on WeChat on Saturday night....

EU edges closer to -per-barrel Russian oil price cap

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union was edging closer to setting a -per-barrel price cap on Russian oil — a...

In new role as G-20 chair, India set to focus on climate

BENGALURU, India (AP) — India officially takes up its role as chair of the Group of 20 leading economies for the...

Actors on stage in "Black Nativity"
By The Skanner News | The Skanner News

It isn’t often when actors for a Christmas-themed play describe a rehearsal as “having church.” But there’s not much that is typical about the limited run of Black Nativity, a soul-stirring, foot-tapping, Gospel-singing good time, based on a musical written by Harlem Renaissance poet and playwright Langston Hughes.

“This is a piece of heaven right here,” said Richard Greer, 59, who said he has been singing since he was a teenager. “It’s the actual grassroots part of where the black spiritual music really comes from. The actual essence of what it is.”

During its two-weekend run, which opened Dec. 11, the play uses a cultural lens to retell the Biblical story of the birth of Jesus Christ, using scripture, interpretive dance, and lots of singing. Unlike most theatrical productions, the musical:

  • Will be performed in a small church on Mallory Avenue.
  • Features a cast of 10 singers, only three of whom are experienced actors.
  • Highlights choir members from predominantly black churches in Portland.

“When it comes to gospel and spirituals, that’s something inherited from our ancestors,” said Jerry Foster, who directs the play. “It’s a cultural thing.”

Black Nativity is produced by PassinArt: A Theatre Company, the longest-running black theater company in Portland. When Foster was trying to cast the play, he reached out to musicians he knew at three churches: Highland Christian Center, Emmanuel Temple Full Gospel Pentecostal Church and St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church.

“You can teach someone who can sing to act, but you can’t teach an actor to sing,” Foster explained. “That’s a big difference.”

Tanetta Martin, 46, said she was asked to participate in Black Nativity by her church’s musical director, who also brought along a few additional members of the church’s praise team.

“I’ve been singing all my life,” said Martin, whose only previous theatrical experience was a small part in a church play. “I don’t consider myself a professional. I’m a worshipper.”

At a recent rehearsal, performers straggled in from other church-based rehearsals and singing commitments. Greer warmed up by singing as he paced the sidewalk outside the church. Inside, Foster was anxious to begin. He had emailed each of the singers the words to a new song and it was time to see how they sounded.

“Do you know the rhythm,” Foster asked. “Let’s get up and let’s work.”

He was promptly corrected by Martin, who advised: “Let’s pray.”

The cast of the holiday musical stood among the pews and held hands as Greer offered a stirring prayer that acknowledged those who were there and asked for safe travel for those who were still on their way to rehearsal.

“I started to pass the collection plate,” Foster joked, afterward.

A vocal teacher from Emmanuel Temple, CJ Wells, then promptly led the group in the new song. “Right there,” he demanded, demonstrating the right chord. “Rise up, shepherd and follow. It’s high, not low.”

Soloist Tracey Jenkins, 40, says the songs in the play remind her of “old time religion. These are the songs that really touched people’s souls and they gave God praise and they trusted him, no matter what they were going through.”

This year’s production is the fourth time in 20 years that PassinArt has offered Black Nativity as part of its season. From now on, the company would like to mount it as an annual holiday tradition, as it is done in other cities, such as Boston, Atlanta and Seattle.  Foster noted that audience members of all walks of life, whether of faith or not will, enjoy this performance. “It’s a play for everybody because the basic foundation is the music.”

This is the final weekend of the play’s run. On Dec. 18 and 19 the play runs at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday it starts at 3 p.m. All performances are at the Greater St. Stephens Missionary Baptist Church, 3605 NE Mallory Ave.

Admission is $20 in advance; $25 at the door. The group rate ticket is $15 per ticket for purchases of 10 or more tickets. There is no charge charge for children 5 and under, and the charge for children up to age 12 is $5 at the door.

Tickets are available online at www.passinart.net or through JP’s Custom Picture Framing & Gallery, 418 NE Killingsworth, (503) 288-2118, or Elevated Coffee, 5261 NE Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., (971) 255-1296.

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