10-16-2021  10:32 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Oregon Set to Expand Hotline for Bias Crime Reporting

With a rise in hate crimes and bias incidents in Oregon and nationwide the two-person office just couldn’t handle the volume.

Portland Shootings Prompt DA to Spend $1M to Handle Cases

Multnomah County plans to hire four prosecutors and two investigators to help with an increasing caseload of homicide investigations

Cascadia Whole Health Honors Community Justice Leader, Fine Artist with Culture of Caring Awards

Erika Preuitt and Jeremy Okai Davis recognized for positive contributions to community.

Salem-Keizer School Boards Adopts Anti-Racism Resolution

The Salem-Keizer school board has voted to adopt a resolution outlining the board’s commitment to equity and anti-racism.

NEWS BRIEFS

Joint Center Commends Senator Whitehouse for Hiring Monalisa Dugué as Chief of Staff

Dugué is one of two Black Chiefs of Staff in the Senate ...

FBI Offers up to $25,000 for Information in Mass Shooting Event

18-year-old Makayla Maree Harris killed and six others injured in a Portland shooting on July 17, 2021 ...

Nearly 100 Animals Seized From Woofin Palooza Forfeited to MCAS

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City of Seattle Office and Sound Transit Finalize No-Cost Land Transfer for Affordable Housing Development

Rainier Valley Homeownership Initiative will create at least 100 for-sale homes, permanently affordable to low- and moderate-income...

Sierra Club Reacts to Rep. Schrader’s Comments on Climate Change

Schrader Calls Climate Change “biggest threat to Americans” after voting against key policy in committee ...

Physician assistant’s license suspended over COVID actions

WASHOUGAL, Wash. (AP) — The Washington Medical Commission has suspended the license of a pediatric health care provider in southwestern Washington. The suspension came this week after an investigation into more than a dozen complaints against physician assistant Scott C....

'Lawless city?' Worry after Portland police don't stop chaos

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A crowd of 100 people wreaked havoc in downtown Portland, Oregon, this week – smashing storefront windows, lighting dumpsters on fire and causing at least 0,000 in damage – but police officers didn't stop them. Portland Police Bureau officials say...

No. 21 Texas A&M heads to Mizzou after 'Bama upset win

No. 21 Texas A&M (4-2, 1-2 SEC) at Missouri (3-3, 0-2), Saturday at noon EDT (SEC Network). Line: Texas A&M by 9 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Series record: Texas A&M leads 8-7. WHAT’S AT STAKE? ...

No. 21 Texas A&M tries to avoid 'Bama hangover at Mizzou

Jimbo Fisher opened his weekly news conference going through everything that Texas A&M did well the previous week, when the Aggies stunned then-No. 1 Alabama before a raucous crowd at Kyle Field. It was a long list. So it wasn't surprising that by the end...

OPINION

How Food Became the Perfect Beachhead for Gentrification

What could be the downside of fresh veggies, homemade empanadas and a pop-up restaurant specializing in banh mis? ...

Homelessness, Houselessness in the Richest Country in the World: An Uncommon Logic

When and why did the United States of America chose the wealth of a few over the health, wealth, and well-being of so many ...

American Business Leaders Step Up to Fight Inequities in the South

With COVID-19 still an omnipresent concern and the country’s recovery still very much in jeopardy, individuals, families, and communities are struggling to deal with issues that have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. ...

Waters Statement on 20th Anniversary of September 11 Attacks

Twenty years ago today, our nation suffered devastating terrorist attacks on our soil and against our people that wholly and completely changed the world as we knew it. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Texas Republicans set to pass new congressional maps

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Republicans on Saturday were set to approve redrawn U.S. House maps that would shore up their eroding dominance as voters peel away from the GOP in the state's booming suburbs. After passage in the Texas House, the maps will go to Republican Gov....

South Carolina awards Staley 7-year, .4 million contract

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — It certainly was a big day for Dawn Staley. South Carolina's national championship coach thought it was just as important for women's basketball and gender equity. Staley and the school announced a new, seven-year contract that will pay her [scripts/homepage/home.php].9 million...

New Mexico judge denies lab workers' claim in vaccine fight

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico judge on Friday denied a request by dozens of scientists and others at Los Alamos National Laboratory to block a vaccine mandate, meaning workers risk being fired if they don't comply with the lab's afternoon deadline. The case comes as...

ENTERTAINMENT

Film TV workers union says strike to start next week

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The union representing film and television crews says its 60,000 members will begin a nationwide strike on Monday if it does not reach a deal that satisfies demands for fair and safe working conditions. A strike would bring a halt to...

Gary Paulsen, celebrated children's author, dies at 82

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Todd Haynes: Finding the frequency of the Velvet Underground

The most often-repeated thing said about the Velvet Underground is Brian Eno’s quip that the band didn’t sell many records, but everyone who bought one started a band. You won’t hear that line in Todd Haynes’ documentary “The Velvet Underground,” nor will you see a...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

New crew docks at China's first permanent space station

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After months in lockdown, a weary world is ready to dance

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Russia's daily COVID-19 deaths top 1,000 for first time

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Russia says it pushed US destroyer from area near its waters

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s Defense Ministry said a Russian warship on Friday prevented a U.S. Navy destroyer from...

Africa's largest film festival kicks off in Burkina Faso

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) — Africa's largest film festival kicks off Saturday in Burkina Faso amid both the...

The Latest: Russia's daily virus death toll passes 1,000

MOSCOW — Russia’s daily death toll from COVID-19 has exceeded 1,000 for the first time as the country faces a...

Lindsay Ohse, Hannah Penn and Angela Renée Simpson talk aboard the Cotton Blossom, a Mississippi River show boat in The Portland Opera production of "Show Boat"
Arashi Young of The Skanner News

As “Show Boat” steers its way into The Portland Opera Season, The Skanner News interviewed Angela Renée Simpson, who plays “Queenie” in the production.

It is Simpson’s first return to the Portland performing arts scene since she was in a 1995 production of “Porgy and Bess.” Simpson talked with us about how she got to the stage, what her character means to her and how The Portland Opera is taking on the racially charged “Show Boat.”

Here are excerpts of that interview, edited for space and clarity.

 

The Skanner News: How did you get into musical theater?

Angela Renée Simpson: Well, I've been an opera singer for over 27 years now. I did my first “Show Boat” in 2006 in London. It was the first time I've done a musical since high school. My biggest thing was movie musicals. I thought that singing and being in a movie were the two best things, ever, in the world. That's what I wanted to do, movie musicals, but as I was growing up they stopped making them.

I was content to sing musical theater when I first got out of college, but the program I was in, I had to avail myself of classes in classical music and opera. I told myself if I didn't like it after two years, I would leave. Well, I did like it and I took to it, my voice definitely took to it and that's what I've done since college.

I am getting kind of the best of both worlds now that the opera companies have decided to do these traditional musical theater pieces in their seasons. I am doing a musical theater piece in an opera house, so it kind of works out for me.

 

TSN: Tell me about your “Show Boat” character, Queenie.

ARS: She cooks the meals, she oversees the other people who are hired to clean the boat and to prepare the boat for shows. I want to say she's a jack of all trades. I like the fact that she doesn't take any guff from anybody, especially when she is called the n-word in the beginning of the show.

My back-story with her, my big question is, "was she a slave?" The time period is maybe only 12

years after the emancipation proclamation, so was she a slave? It’s something I haven't answered yet. She's very strong willed as you see with how she acts with her husband. I think she is respected, I think, to a point. She's treated like an equal, in some respects.

I like the role, I like the fact she's funny. I like the fact she speaks her mind. I like the fact she knows what's going on. She's one of the few eyes on the boat that sees everything that is going on, on the boat.

 

TSN: What is your favorite line?

ARS: My favorite line has something to do with flapjacks and popcorn, let's say that. Flapjacks and popcorn and my husband, Joe.

 

TSN: “Show Boat” tackles some controversial racial topics. Did the production do a good job of exploring these issues?

ARS: I think it is very brave of them to keep the words as far as dialogue is concerned. I think the people of Portland are very conscious about and sensitive about the n-word being used. I'm very glad they are using the word. I think if you whitewash history, then you tend to repeat it. If you don't remember what was done, somewhere down the line, it will repeat itself.

(The Director) Chris Mattaliano was very, very adamant about preparing the audience for what was about to be said. I myself am a person of shock value -- just don't tell them, just do it and see what the repercussions are afterwards.

Art is not supposed to be easy, it is not supposed to be nice and sweet all the time, it is supposed to make you think. I've done this role in different productions, at least about five of them, I am the first character that is called that word and to hear the gasps in that audience, I think it's great.

I don't have any problem with the word, it was during that period, that's what they were being called. As long as it stays on stage, it's perfect, but once we come out of that, then it’s a problem.

 

TSN: What will Portland audiences get out of seeing “Show Boat?”

ARS: Oh my gosh, they'll get a little smatter of everything; a little opera, a little vaudeville, a little musical theater, definitely a lot of comedy, a little bit of dancing. They'll get a little bit of everything for every audience member.

Bob Kingston, (the Portland Opera's resident historian) said, "Theater changed when it came to ‘Show Boat,’ it was never going to be the same after it."

It was the only piece that had incorporated music into the storyline of what was happening on stage, as opposed to just having comedy reviews and little skits and things like that, that were separate and had nothing to do with each other. “Show Boat” was the musical theater piece that put those things together and moved the music along with the story.

I think the audience is going to like it because of the spectacle of it. And the comedy, the dialogue is great, people are going to laugh a lot, which you normally don't get to do in an opera house. So I think the audience is really, really going to enjoy it.

 

Get ticket information at www.portlandopera.org.

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