The annual arts bash is barreling towards its climax this weekend with shows about sex, love, and the beginning of the world. Don't miss out on the best of the fest with our field guide of regularly updated reviews. This weekend's picks:
Halory Goerger and Antoine Defoort: Germinal
Thursday-Friday, PSU Lincoln Hall
Four performers build a civilization from scratch on stage, reinventing language, culture, and the wheel in an absurdly hilarious show that literally deconstructs the theater—and has consequently become one of the most talked about works internationally. “This is a big deal: they’re leading contemporary theater,” says PICA artistic director Angela Mattox. “All my colleagues are jealous that we have the US premiere.”
Mammalian Diving Reflex: All the Sex I’ve Ever Had
Thursday-Saturday, PSU Shattuck Hall
This Toronto-based company makes artfrom its audiences, engaging members of the community that rarely make it onto the stage. At TBA seven years ago, it tested trust and vanity by putting folks in the barber’s chair with the rambunctious and dangerous Haircuts by Children. This time, it stages All the Sex I’ve Ever Had, a piece made and performed by a group of elderly Portlanders looking back at their sex live. Not your grandmother’s…oh, nevermind. Our critic called it "very, very funny." A definite festival must-see.
Thursday-Sunday, Artist Repertory Theatre
In Pulitzer-winner Lynn Nottage's most celebrated play, a young African American woman in 1905 New York works as a seamstress, sewing lingerie for both midtown shops and downtown brothels. She hopes to make enough money to open a beauty shop, but her search for love threatens to derail her dream. "Artists Repertory Theatre opens their season with a quiet triumph...The cast is without a weak link..." Read our full review.
Friday-Saturday, Milagro Theatre
A 19-year-old from Southern California, Tyisha Miller, was shot multiple times by police in her car in 1998. Much like the community of Ferguson's reaction to the recent shooting of Michael Brown, Riverside County in California responded with outrage and protests in the aftermath of Miller's death. Playright Rickerby Hinds set out to tell Miller's story using elements of hip hop—beat boxing, spoken word poetry, and dance. The result: Dreamscape, which plays as a part of Milagro's annual Latino Arts and Culture Festival, La Luna Nuevo. Read our interview with Hinds.
Satuday-Sunday, Portland Center Stage
This Tony-winning Broadway musical is (unofficially) based on the story of Diana Ross, the Supremes, and their manager Berry Gordy's quest to bring Motown to the mainstream. You might also know it as a little movie starring Beyonce Knowles and Jennifer Hudson.
A Streetcar Named Desire
Saturday-Sunday, World Trade Center Theatre
Directed by Benedict Andrews and starring Gillian Anderson (The X-Files, The Fall), Tennessee Williams' widely celebrated work A Streetcar Named Desire received rave reviews at London's Young Vic theatre from critics across the world. No longer do you have to travel across the pond to see Andrews' performance because National Theatre Live is bringing the Young Vic stage to Portland, streaming performances of A Streetcar Named Desire at the World Trade Center Theatre.
Friday, Crystal Ballroom
The refreshing mix of soul, neo-electronica, and pop gems on her deceptively lighthearted 2007 debut Youth Novel brought this Swedish singer-songwriter to notoriety. Her music has grown unapologetically darker since, and this year's ambitious I Never Learn sees her penning emotionally bare power ballads.
Classical and jazz
Oregon Symphony with Ben Folds
Satuday, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
The piano-rock impresario and college-radio favorite will complement an orchestrated performance of his hits with a new piano concerto.
Sunday, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
This legendary jazz pianist's achievements range from a stunning 14 Grammy wins to, equally stunningly, just barely legitimizing the keytar. He plays the Schnitz with his quartet.
Portland Piano International: Igor Kamenz
Sunday, Lincoln Performance Center
Born in the far eastern stretches of Russia, Kamenz conducted his first concert at the Kremlin as a 9-year-old. A veteran of the European circuit in the years since, he comes to Portland with a program including words by Schumann, Stravinsky, and Ravel.
Thursday-Friday, Helium Comedy Club
Lauded as one of Rolling Stone's "50 Funniest People," Minnesota native Maria Bamford has developed a cult following for her candid and bizarre comedic exploration of depression, anxiety, OCD, and family life. With three successful albums, two half-hour Comedy Central Presents specials (a first for a female comic), and a role as a recovering meth addict in the Netflix resurrection of "Arrested Development," Bamford's one-of-a-kind brand of impressions, dark confessions, and introspections place her solidly in a league of her own.
Slingshot: The Liberators
Saturday, Portland Center Stage
Slingshot is an ongoing comedy showcase put on by Bad Reputation Productions and Portland Center Stage, featuring comedy in installments. Every couple of months comes a showcase of every type of comedy—plays, films, improv, sketch, and more. For this fall show, we have Portland improv troupe the Liberators. Described as "witty," "sexy," and "ridiculously good looking," this group has been busting audience's guts with witty improv and quick gestures for seven years strong.
Live Wire With Peter Sagal and Chelsea Cain
Saturday, Alberta Rose Theater
Now bigger and badder than ever (earlier this year, Public Radio International started distributing the beloved local variety show across the country—probably because they read our feature about how it's set to be a national star), Live Wire Radio returns for its eleventh season. The opening show features Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me host Peter Sagal, thriller writer Chelsea Cain, Beth Federici and Kathleen Squires (documentary filmmakers known for America's First Foodie: The Incredible Life of James Beard), and Ben Jacobson, a nationally renowned sea salt miner. Musical guests are American Delta blues guitarist Little Freddie King and alternative country band Clem Snide's lead singer Eef Barzelay.
Noir City Portland
Satuday-Sunday, Hollywood Theatre
The Film Noir Foundation takes over the Hollywood Theater September 20-22 for the first ever Portland edition of their popular Noir City festival, begun in San Francisco in 2003. This is a unique opportunity for film buffs and casual Noir fans alike, as none of these films are available on DVD and all are being shown on beautiful 35mm prints. The expertly curated lineup includes some of the Foundations most recent restorations.
Books & Talks
Thursday, Powell's City of Books
Former Portlander and Moroccan native Lalami brings to life the imagined memoirs of an African slave who escaped to explore the New World in her new novel, The Moor's Account.
Blue Skirt Presents Jim Ruland
Saturday, Glyph Cafe & Arts Space
Local arts production company Blue Skirt Productions is teaming up with the Glyph Cafe to bring author Jim Ruland to Portland for "a night of words and music." He will be speaking about his latest work of fiction, Forest of Fortune, which chronicles three down-on-their-luck degenerates who find a glimmer of hope at a wretched Indian casino. There will also be readings and performances by local authors, poets, and musicians.