Top Things to Do This Weekend: June 20–23

Cute cats! Classical culture! Fears and phobias! The Builders and the Butchers! It's going to be a busy weekend.

By John Chandler June 19, 2013

Merow! I'm ready for my close-up!

Image: Moldovia


Cat Video Festival
Fri–Sat at 7:30 & 9:30; Hollywood Theatre
Oh! Look at teh kitteh! He's stuck in a shopping bag! Now he's cuddling with a German Shepherd! It's too cute! Look, we admit it: there has been many a-night spent cooing and giggling over Youtube cat antics while unwinding after work. There's nothing to be ashamed of. We'll see you there. 


Ellen Fullman
Thu at 7:30; Yale Union
While composer/performer Fullman's earliest brush with music was a kiss on the hand from Elvis Presley when she was but a year old, her most lasting contribution has come courtesy of the Long String Instrument, a massive sound-making device she invented while attending the Kansas City Art Institute in the early 80s. With one hundred long wires strung over approximately ninety feet, the instrument is played by walking the length of the wires and gently touching them with resin-covered hands, producing an astonishing variety of sounds.

Image: Big Hassle

Patty Griffin
Thu at 8; Crystal Ballroom
There're few better songwriters working today than Ms. Griffin, as testified by the fact that everyone from Emmylou Harris to the Dixie Chicks to Kelly Clarkson (is that how you know you've made it?) want to cover her songs. Whether spinning a tale of nostalgic old lovers looking back on their youth, a tribute to Mary, or a heartbreaking ode to a young gay teen who took his own life, her spare folk songs tell stories coursing with emotion, both joy and loss. And then, of course, there's her 2011 gospel album, Downtown Church, that won a Grammy.

Camera Obscura
Fri at 8; Crystal Ballroom
These Scottish romantics recorded their new album right here in Portland under the direction of producer Tucker Martine, so it only makes sense that they'd be keen to spread some love to the locals. If you're unfamiliar with CO, just imagine the sweetest, catchiest songs about broken hearts and bum relationships this side of Belle & Sebastian.

The Builders and the Butchers
Sat at 9; Mississippi Theater
Is it just our imagination, or is TBatB singer Ryan Sollee a wee bit obsessed with the apocalypse? Ryan, do you know something we don't? In any case, tonight is a festive occasion marking the release of Western Medicine, the fourth record from this local quintet who just can't get enough impending doom. Let the end times roll!

Classical Revolution PDX
Sat at 9; Star Theater
Continuing its mission of winning over the club crowd with chamber music, Classical Revolution PDX presents its Summer Showcase, hosted by high-brow talk-show host Leo Daedalus. The loveliest band in town, Bergerette, with Viva Las Vegas, will perform lusty rustic French songs from the 16th century, while the Classical Revolution String Quartet will tackle a tune by atmospheric Icelanders Sigur Ros.


A Bright New Boise
Thu–Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2; Winningstad Theatre
"A Bright New Boise, now entering its final week, is a marvelous and precariously balanced sculpture of working-class humor, deep thought, and spiritually tragic events that makes a number of incisive observations, applied with subtlety, and sans half-baked conclusions." Read our review of A Bright New Boise.

Risk/Reward Festival
Fri–Sat at 7:30, Sun at 5; Artists Repertory Theatre
The name says it all for this festival of cutting-edge theater, dance, and performance up-and-comers. “Some of the artists will come up with something out of the blue that’s totally amazing, and some will fall flat on their face," says fest director Jerry Tischleder. And there's certainly joy in watching both (who can deny schadenfreude?), particularly with some strong candidates for the reward side, including hotshot B.C. dancer Joshua Martin, who mixes hip-hop with highly athletic contemporary movement.

Evil Dead: The Musical
Fri–Sat at 7 & 10:30; Wonder Ballroom
The story ought to be familiar enough since it's served as the basis for three different movies. Campers in a cursed cabin unwittingly summon demons that need to be put back in the ground. The doomed cast members periodically break into songs like "It Won't Let Us Leave" and "Do the Necronomicon," while a handy chainsaw carves up a substantial body count.

J.A.W.Z.: The Musical
Thu–Sat at 9:30; Clinton St Theater
The story ought to be familiar enough since it's served as the basis for at least a half-dozen movies. A big ol' shark terrorizes swimmers, sea captains, and a smalltown sherrif in a sleepy beach community. The doomed cast members periodically break into songs like "Bigger Boat" and "West Shark Story," while the vicious marine predator chews up a substantial body count.


Back Fence PDX
Fri at 7; Mission Theatre
In an effort to share the terror, tonight's batch of storytellers, including Curt Hopkins, Mary Purdy, Dani Turner, Justin Hocking, and David Alexander, will recount instances when their deepest fears got the better of them—and vice versa.

Henry Phillips
Fri at 7 & 10; Hawthorne Theater
Singing comedian Phillips, who starred in the 2010 film Punching the Clown, is a proficient guitarist and has a very nice voice, but he wields lyrics like a scimitar in songs such as "What Do You Want Me to Do About It?" and "Roommate From Hell." Whether he's berating the mailman or wallowing in his latest romantic failure, Phillips's surly set list will contain complicated comical phrasing and NSFW wordplay.

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