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Siren Nation women’s music and art festival returns for a 4th year

Tara Jane O'Neil performs Friday at the Someday Lounge

Portland is no stranger to alternative and women-centric music. But for a while little sister Olympia seemed to have the best fests, Homo-a-gogo, Ladyfest, Yo-Yo. All of those have evolved beyond the PacNW but Portland has taken on its own women’s festival. Now in it’s 4th year Siren Nation, is no longer a fledgling fest but the real deal.

Music is a big part of Siren Nation, taking up Nov 5th and 6th Friday and Saturday nights at Someday Lounge (125 NW 5th) with folks like sultry folkstress Erin McKeown, experimental multi-instrumentalist Tara Jane O’Neil and bhangra bright spot DJ Angiali.

But it’s actually visual art that kicks off the festival, as well as representing a true northwest flavor, with Thursday Nov 4th’s “Sometimes a Great Notion” group art show.

Most of the artists, including fashion designer Emily Katz aren’t yet household names, but there are some gems. The calmly bright yet still creepy images of Anna Magruder should dovetail nicely with the encaustic collage of Jenny Siegel and the low key edginess of Beth Ann Short‘s mixed media, drawing and photography. But perhaps the most interesting and fun are the underwear sculptures of Joy Leising & Molly McDavitt. Encrusted with words, media and assorted junk it’s also a smart take on what news and pop culture alternately hide and expose.

The film portion of the fest features Who’s Afraid of Kathy Acker at 5th Ave Cinemas. In partnership with the Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival (POW Fest), this Barbara Caspar film follows the life of banned American author Kathy Acker, who wrote sexually graphic fiction rooted in the New York underground scene, which helped inspire the worldwide punk movement.

Lastly, Sunday the 7th moves to the comforting halls of the McMenamins Kennedy School (NE 33rd and Ainsworth) for a lady run craft fair in additional to several workshops and panels which cover the arts end of things discussing women in music and film, as well as women’s roles in the media with panels of women in print journalism and radio. We can be academic and still love (local, female made craft) shopping…

Lovely.

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