Books & Talks
Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis: Wildwood
Feb 1, Powell's Cedar Hills Crossing
"When illustrator Carson Ellis and musician-writer Colin Meloy began work on their fantastical young-adult trilogy, Wildwood Chronicles, the husband-and-wife duo traced Forest Park’s boundaries onto a large piece of paper and began to transform its sites into their own magical world. The Pittock Mansion became the dysfunctional government seat of South Wood. The Audubon Society became the Avian Principality. The zoo became a prison. And when the third and final novel, Wildwood Imperium, comes out on February 1, the creepy stone skeleton of a building along the Lower Macleay Trail will become the site of a Bloody Mary–style preteen ritual…." Read our full story about Carson Ellis in preview of Wildwood Imperium.
BackfencePDX Presents "Ch Ch Changes"
Feb 1, Mission Theater
BackfencePDX's live, unscripted storytellers take on the pitfalls of Christian Clowning—humorous children's performers who promote biblical instruction and principles. Ch Ch Changes features author Mitchell S. Jackson, whose novel The Residue Years is about his upbringing in NE Portland (read our profile of Jackson), Jezebel.com staff writer Lindy West, This American Life contributor Gloria Harrison, and more.
Fertile Ground, Portland's city-wide festival of new works (see our Field Guide), culminates this weekend with these best-bet premieres:
Jan 28–Mar 2, Artists Repertory Theatre
About an egomaniacal “starchitect,” this comedy is written by Pulitzer finalist Amy Freed, directed by nationally acclaimed director Art Manke, and stars Oregon Shakespeare Festival actors Michael Elich and Robin Nordli. In other words, this is a power-packed production.
American King Umps
Jan 30–Feb 15, Ethos at IFCC
Named after New York–veteran playwright Don Wilson Glenn's great-great-grandfather, Umps is loosely based on Glenn’s personal family history of slavery in Texas. But it turns the narrative of a slave family wrestling with newfound freedom (we saw it last year in PCS’s The Whipping Man) on its head by twisting it into high comedy—a “parody of Gone With the Wind and Comedy of Errors meets Roots.”
New Review Hand2Mouth: Pep Talk
Thru Feb 16, Peninsula Park Community Center
"Like any good spirit squad, the Hand2Mouth team had me roped in from the get go for their joyous descent into that pillar of American culture: the motivational pep talk...The show teeters on a balance beam between gleeful parody—the coaches love to throw out motivational schlock like Wayne Gretsky’s motto: “You miss 100-percent of the shots you don’t take”—and homage of sorts. It lifts us up while simultaneously pillorying the absurdity of our competitively positive culture..." Read our full review.
Zappa Plays Zappa
Jan 31, Roseland Theater
Sons’ tributes to their fathers don’t come with much higher production value than Zappa Plays Zappa, the tribute band led by Frank’s son Dweezil. Formed for a 2006 world tour that included posthumous performances from Frank via synchronized audio/video technology (eat your heart out, Coachella’s hologram 2Pac), the band has gone on to win a Grammy and perform with guests like George Duke and Chick Corea. On this tour, Dweezil and the band will perform 1974’s Roxy & Elsewhere in its entirety in honor of the album’s 40th anniversary.
Aan Record Release
Feb 1, Mississippi Studios
These acclaimed local experimental rockers celebrate the release of the highly anticipated Amor Ad Nauseum, out on the excellent Party Damage Records, with a show at Mississippi Studios.
Feb 2, Doug Fir Lounge
Prolific Texas garage-jammers White Denim bring their genre-blending brand of indie rock, with nods to everything from Southern rock to prog and jazz, to town on the back of their most recent effort, 2013’s Corsicana Lemonade.
Lucia Di Lammermoor
Jan 31–Feb 8, Keller Auditorium
Portland Opera mounts Gaetano Donizetti’s 1835 tragedy, a Romeo-and-Juliet tale of a Scottish noblewoman who is forced to marry a wealthy lord instead of her forbidden lover from a rival clan—and is driven to madness as a result. Celebrated coloratura soprano Elizabeth Futral makes her Portland Opera debut in the virtuosic title role.
Gerald Finley with Julius Drake
Jan 31, Lincoln Auditorium
Finley, a world-class bass-baritone, and Drake, a pianist well known for his work as an accompanist, take on Franz Schubert’s Winterreise, a somber song cycle the composer wrote from his deathbed.
Jan 31–Feb 1, Rexel/Taylor Electric Supply Building
This new work from Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre/Northwest interprets the Norse legend through contemporary dance. Presumably appropriate to Nordic weather, the performance is set in the shell of an abandoned industrial building in SE portland. Bundle up!
This Is Not A Silent Movie
Jan 31–Apr 19, Museum of Contemporary Craft
It's opening weekend for this show, in which the Museum of Contemporary Craft teams up with the Anchorage Museum to offer four contemporary Alaska Native artists who are blending ancient traditions with new media. There's a curatorial walkthrough on Saturday at 11 am.