Top Things to Do This Weekend: May 17–19

Surf music from outer space, the Grateful Dead at PAM, and the son of Stephen King reads a scary story at Powell's.

By John Chandler May 16, 2013

Man or Astroman? prepare for lift-off.


Man or Astroman?
Fri at 9; Doug Fir Lounge
Really, all you need to know about this well-traveled outfit from Alabama (though they claim extra-terrestrial origins) is that its live show consists of full-throttle surf and hot-rod instrumental rock with outer-space panache. Welcome space brothers!

classical music

Oregon Symphony: Brahms' First Symphony
Sat–Sun at 7:30, Mon at 8; Schnitzer Concert Hall
Romantic composer Johannes Brahms' first symphony is generally regarded as his best, beginning with a grand, majestic first movement, battling through rapid shifts of tone and mood, and ending with a triumphant flourish—despite the presence of tumult and despair. 


Gathering Blue
Fri–Sat at 8, Sun at 2; Newmark Theatre!
For the third time, Oregon Children's Theatre tackles the weighty fiction of famed YA author Lois Lowry (The Giver, the Anastasia books) in an adaptation by writer Eric Coble and directed by Stan Foote. Here, a disabled girl with a gift for weaving must create a garment for a member of the mysterious ruling class in a dystopian future.

Fri–Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2; CoHo Theatre
CoHo Productions brings the story of a pair of misfit teen girls, one an imaginative writer, the other an idealistic Christian, thrown together in rural Mississippi. The New York Times says, "Catherine Trieschmann’s Crooked may be a small-scale play … but it is the work of a big, accomplished writer’s voice."

Rough Crossing
Fri–Sat at 8, Sun at 2; Venetian Theatre
For daring Hillsboro theater comany Bag&Baggage's final show of the season, director Scott Palmer turns to Tom Stoppard, the English playwright responsible for wordy and witty works like Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. In Rough Crossing, a cadre of writers and actors vainly try to mount a play during an ocean crossing with hilarious results. The familiar plot serves as a showcase for Stoppard's trademark verbal acrobatics combined with a bit of slapstick. 


QDoc: Queer Documentary Festival
Thu–Sun; McMenamin's Kennedy School Theater
The seventh year of Portland’s queer documentary festival kicks off with I Am Divine, a portrait of the legendary drag queen Divine, the star of John Waters’s early movies—Pink Flamingos, Female Troubles, etc.—and one of the most fabulously transgressive performers to ever almost achieve mainstream acclaim. Director Jeffrey Schwarz will attend along with another cult star and Divine’s onstage nemesis, Mink Stole (read our Q&A with Stole). Other highlights include the James Franco–codirected InteriorLeather Bar (Friday at 9:15 p.m.), which split critics with its oh-so-postmodern narrative claiming to re-create the 40 minutes cut to please censors from 1980’s controversial Cruising, which starred Al Pacino; Big Joy: The Adventure of James Broughton (Sat at 7 p.m.), about the Washington filmmaker, poet, and mischief-maker, co-directed by Portland filmmaker Eric Slade; and Mr. Angel, about the transgender porn star Buck Angel, who will be in attendance.

Return of the rats!

NW Animation Festival
Fri at 7; Sat–Sun at 1 & 7; Hollywood Theatre
From austere and meditative to chaotic explosions of light and color, it's three days of cartoon creativity submitted by independent animators from all over the world. Included among the entrants is a new "Rat Gang" segment (as featured on Portlandia) from locals Bent Image Lab.


The How and the Why Of It
Fri–Sat at 8; Zoomtopia
With her challenging solo performances, Katherine Longstreth, a dance transplant from New York, has definitely earned the right to be called an artist to keep an eye on. In The How and the Why Of It she teams up with City College dance teacher Christy Funsch for a series of new abstract works. Filmmaker and dancer Kelly Bartnik's screening of the dance film Reins is also part of the program. 

BodyVox: Fifteen
Thu–Sat at 7:30, Sat at 2; BodyVox Dance Center
If you're looking to dip an exploratory toe into the waters of local dance, this retrospective of 15 years worth of works from the acclaimed troupe led by Ashley Roland and Jamey Hampton is the perfect primer. In addition to repertoire highlights "Smoke Soup" and "Cutting Room," Roland and Hampton will stage new dances set to the music of gypsy-jazz guitarist Gonzalo Bergara.


Shine A Light
Fri at 6; Portland Art Museum
Once a year, in collaboration with The MFA in Art and Social Practice progam at PSU, Shine A Light challenges guests to rethink and reimagine what a trip to the museum is all about, with several provocative installations and performances. This year, visitors may encounter a handful of dogs in the galleries, a simulation of a Grateful Dead show from 46 years in the past, and even a trip to the dentist. You may feel a little pressure.


Joe Hill
Fri at 7:30; Powell's City of Books
The son of the most successful horror writer in history (that would be Stephen King) follows in his pappy's creepy footsteps in NOS4A2, a chiller about a killer obsessed with Christmas who battles a determined woman on a magic bicycle. You may want to ask Hill to keep the light on while he reads.

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