January 11th, 2024

McMinnville ramps up for a busy winter season

A couple sits on a couch, looking bewildered, as another couple smiles and talks to each other in the foreground.
Catherine & Michael, starring Molly Ringwald and Peter Grosz, is an official selection of the McMinnville Short Film Festival. Catch it in one of the Drama/Comedy blocks.

McMinnville’s cultural calendar over the next six weeks looks more like a fall arts lineup or summer festival season than it does the dead of winter. Now is the time to make plans, reserve seats, and arrange date nights!

The big one to get on your calendar now: The McMinnville Short Film Festival is set for Feb. 23-25 and features 100+ films packed into more than a dozen roughly 2-hour blocks that conclude with a filmmaker Q&A. And then there are panels, workshops, and the Sunday night awards dinner. 

Regardless of what type of film you like, there really is something for everyone, and the quality is sufficiently high that you’re likely to see several movies you’ll be raving about for months afterward. One of Oregon’s best film festivals is here, so check the schedule and get those tickets.

But there’s plenty more before that — music, theater, visual art. Let’s take ‘em in order:

CURRENTS GALLERY: The artist-owned gallery in our historic downtown district kicks off the year year with a New Work Show, which opened this week and runs through Feb. 4. An artists’ reception will be held Saturday, Jan. 13 1-4 p.m. Also, check out their winter art classes in the Back Door Studio!

Peter Eldridge is March’s performer for the Keynote Concert Series.

KEYNOTE CONCERT SERIES: This series that launched last fall has been so popular, they’re booking musicians from around Oregon and elsewhere well into 2024. Standing ovations are known to occur. Next up is Bart & Clark of Hit Machine Jan 17, and Anton Belov will dish up some opera Feb. 21. All concerts are at McMinnville First Baptist Church, check it out here

GALLERY THEATER: Our local non-profit theater opens the 2024 season with three “Kaleidoscope” (reader’s theater) performances only of Madeleine George’s acclaimed one-act, The Most Massive Woman Wins, which has four women of various shapes and sizes talking about perceptions of body image while sitting in the waiting room of a liposuction clinic. Evening shows Jan. 26-27 and a matinee Jan. 28. 

Then, the classic 1944 British farce See How They Run will have characters running (sometimes in their underwear), doors slamming and the audience laughing for twelve performances, Feb. 9-March 3, with 7:30 p.m. shows Friday-Saturday, and 2 p.m. matinees Sunday. 

LINFIELD UNIVERSITY: The local, private university regularly rolls out the welcome mat for the entire community to enjoy plays, readings, concerts and art exhibits. Next up: Mezzo soprano Jennifer Johnson will give an open-to-the-public performance Wednesday, Feb. 7, 7-8 p.m. at the Vivian A. Bull Music Center. Tickets $10.

Members, volunteers of the Asian Heritage Association of Yamhill County pose with the performers during last years’s celebration. Photo by Miriam Vargas Corona.

LUNAR NEW YEAR: For the second year in a row, the Asian Heritage Association, a local non-profit group, will host a Lunar New Year celebration, this time at the McMinnville Community Center, Sunday, Feb. 18, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Last year’s event was a huge success, so expect even more of the same fun: Asian cuisines, a Dragon & Lion Dance performance, music, crafts and home goods, and more. For more information, visit the AHA website or find them on Facebook

A cartoon of David Bates

David Bates (he/him) is a McMinnville
writer whose work can also be found online at Artlandia.