Weekend Watching

Be-bop, ballet, and Blondie

February 18, 2009

Here’s a bit of sort-of-breaking news about the Portland Jazz Festival to kick off your weekend planner with…

If you were hoping to catch Grammy decorated singer Cassandra Wilson’s concert on Friday, you need a backup plan. Wilson has canceled her show at the Schnitz due to slow ticket sales. PDX Jazz artistic director Bill Royston is less than thrilled. "In my 31 years as a jazz presenter this is the first time I have been faced with such an arduous decision," he says. "The economic downturn has loomed large over this year’s event and Ms. Wilson’s show has continued to lag despite her recent Grammy win."

As of now, all other Jazz Fest events are happening as scheduled: Bobby Hutcherson, Lou Donaldson, Patricia Barber, Aaron Parks, Pat Martino, Jane Bunnett & the Spirits of Havana, and Kurt Elling Sings Coltrane/Hartman are confirmed.

Ticket holders for the Wilson show can receive a full refund at original point of purchase through Ticketmaster or the PDX Jazz office at 503-228-5299. Automatic refunds can take up to 10 business days to process.

And on that downer of a note, we move on to:

We appreciate ballet. But that doesn’t mean we are qualified to write about it. So in this case we’ll let our very own John Chandler don his tights to tell us about Oregon Ballet Theatre’s performance of Lambarena. According to the man himself, "The titular piece is a bold cultural cut-and-paste from Washington choreographer Val Caniparoli that sets recognizable airs from composer J.S. Bach to the rhythmic pageantry of traditional African dance. OBT artistic director Christopher Stowell’s interpretation of Stravinsky’s moody and dissonant ‘Rite of Spring’ should also keep us on our toes."
Well done, JC. Sold? I am. [Keller Auditorium/7:30 p.m./$15-$108]

As if we needed any help feeling old in this post-birthday work week, Blondie’s defining album, Parallel Lines, turns thirty this year. But as old we we may feel, we still aren’t as old as Blondie herself, Debbie Harry. But unlike other hyper-sexualized pop stars of our youth, Harry has managed to grow into her advancing years gracefully (we’re looking at YOU Madonna. Actually, no we’re not, because it hurts our eyes. Memaws are NOT hot. You are somebody’s mom and…ahem, sorry, where were we?). All these years later her danceable new wave sass hasn’t lost any of its fun and judging by the likes of Gwen Stefani and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs who have successfully bit her style, she lives on forever. Better though to catch the legend in the flesh. Songs like “Heart of Glass,” “One Way or Another,” and “The Tide Is High” sound so much better live.
[Roseland Theater/8 p.m./$38.50-$56]

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