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Fanfare: Spring 2014
Author: Sara Hottman and Kathryn Kirkland
Posted: April 21, 2014

Remembering Freedom Summer

FIFTY YEARS after activists claimed the seats of the MIssissippi delegation at the 1964 Democratic National Convention to demand equal voting rights for African Americans in that state, PBS will debut the documentary Freedom Summer about that turbulant time in Mississippi. Cyndee Readdean '95 produced the film for Firelight Media, a nonprofit that tells the stories that mainstream media often neglect. She tracked down people who were there, interviewing and filming their recollections. Readdean has produced or directed nearly 30 educational films, including another Firelight Media documentary for PBS about the Black Panthers. Freedom Summer appears on PBS's American Experience June 24.

A wow for the jazz world

NEW YORK TIMES critic Nate Chinen called it one of the finer piano trio albums of 2013.  The "it" was The Endless Mysteries by George Colligan, jazz area coordinator in PSU's School of Music. Colligan, 44, is a jazz pianist, drummer and trumpeter who has performed on more than 100 CDs as a sideman backing up some of the greats of contemporary jazz. He's also an award-winning composer and a former faculty member at Julliard. The Endless Mysteries, released at the end of last year, is a collection of original Colligan pieces recorded in a few hours with no rehearsal. Chen refers to it as "the product of rough-and-ready post-bop expertise." We call it cool virtuosity and a rich listening experience.


Rockin' on Broadway

ROSS SELIGMAN spent 17 weeks on Broadway in the musical A Night with Janis Joplin—a fact he finds ironic since he got there from Portland rather than his New Jersey hometown just an hour away.

The PSU alumnus was the show's musical director and was on stage most nights playing electric guitar with Joplin soundalike Mary Bridget Davies. On February 9, he turned in his hippy threads and longhair wig when the show closed after its successful run at the Lyceum Theatre.

"Considering the hundreds of people who performed on that stage—it was an honor to work where they worked," says Seligman '07, who first started playing with the show when it was at Portland Center Stage. Written and directed by Randy Johnson, One Night with Janis Joplin premiered in Portland in 2011 and then traveled for the next two years before hitting Broadway.

Seligman and his actress wife, Leah Yorkston, who graduated from PSU in 2006, are still in New York. She is taking classes from seasoned professionals and auditioning for musical theater and commercial roles. He hopes to bring his behind-the-scenes expertise to another musical. They plan to return to Portland later this year unless one of them scores a musical role that just rocks.

New Works

MY BEST TEACHERS: FATHER TIME AND MOTHER NATURE
By Robert Bresky, Outskirts Press, 2014

MOTOWN SUITE
Music CD by Nichole Cooper '10, Violet Fire Records, 2013

FINAL ROUND AT THE FEEDING GROUND
By R. Alex Emter '89, Amazon Digital Services, 2013

THE DUST PAN GIRL
By James Fox '89, Amazon Digital Services, 2013

ROLLER DERBY FOR BEGINNERS
By Frisky Sour (Kelley Gardiner '02), CreateSpace, 2013

ASK THE ANCIENTS: ASTONISHING ADVICE FOR DAILY DILEMMAS
By Sylvia Gray '88, MA '91, Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, 2014

BECAUSEI AM
By Gloria Ngezaho '08, MA '12, Wasteland Press, 2014

WE BELONG IN HISTORY: WRITING WITH WILLIAM STAFFORD
By PSU Ooligan Press, 2013

CONVERSATIONS WITH KEN KESEY
Edited by Scott F. Parker MS '09, University Press of Mississippi, 2014

UTTERLY HEARTLESS
By Jan Underwood MA '98, CreateSpace, 2013

THE UNEXPECTED
Music CD by Liv Warfield (attended in 2000), Kobalt, 2014

WE WANT TO HEAR about your books and recordings and your future exhibits, performances, and directing ventures. Contact the magazine by emailing psumag@pdx.edu, or mailing Portland State Magazine, Office of University Communications, PO Box 751, Portland OR 97207-0751.