Top Things To Do This Weekend: Sept 26-29

A granny takes on death, a theater producer takes on Mid-East militants, Kahane takes on Beethoven, and you take on the weekend.

By Portland Monthly Staff Edited by Nathan Tucker September 25, 2013


Fiddler On The Roof
Thru Oct 27; Gerding Theatre at the Armory
"The minimalist set contrasts with the production's maximalist cast—PCS's largest ever. It's a strong ensemble that doesn't really have any weak singers and, as the play's numerous impressively choreographed scenes show (hats off to Kent Zimmerman, who reproduces Jerome Robbins's original choreography), boasts several fleet-footed dancers. Working in the shadow of Chaim Topol's definitive portrayal of Tevye in the 1971 film version of Fiddler, PCS Tevye David Studwell delivers a fine performance, drawing out, perhaps even better than Topol, the comedic aspects of the character..." Read our full review.

Grim and Fischer
Sept 26–Oct 5; Ethos at IFCC 
In this dark comedy from the wordless, masked, Portland-based theatre company Wonderheads, a stubborn old granny is pitted against the ultimate foe: death himself. Featuring just two silent actors wearing striking full-face masks designed by Kate Braidwood, Grim and Fischer has garnered rave reviews from runs throughout North America since its original development in 2009—but it's never been performed for its hometown. 

Sweet and Sad
Sept 27–Oct 20; Winningstad Theatre
Last season, Third Rail Rep’s 
That Hopey Changey Thing introduced us to the Apple family, the fictional clan at the center of a four-play series by Tony winner Richard Nelson. Sweet and Sad picks up with the family while they gather for a memorial service on the 10th anniversary of September 11.

Mistakes Were Made
Sept 28–Oct 27; Artists Repertory Theatre
This comedy presents us with a hot-head NYC theater producer as he unravels with the weight of negotiations with movie stars, playwrights, and agents, as well as some crisis in the Middle East involving sheep and militant rebels—all with no one but his overweight pet fish as a confidant. The original production starred Oscar nominee Michael Shannon; this Northwest premiere stars Artists Rep ensemble member Michael Mendelson as a replacement for Todd Van Voris, who was forced to leave the production after a family emergency. It’s also Mendelson’s directorial debut at the theater.

Books, Talks, and Comedy

Back Fence PDX
Sept 27–28 at 8; Mission Theater
Each month, Back Fence unites storytellers, writers, songwriters, and other crazy characters from Portland and out-of-town around some deliberately broad theme for the evening. This month, they’re celebrating their sixth year with back-to-back shows at the Mission Theater. The first of these shows, which has the theme of “Redux: After Hours,” draws together an all-star cast of fan favorite storytellers including thriller writer Chelsea Cain, singer/songwriter John Roderick, and Live Wire! head writer Courtenay HameisterThe second offers the theme "Loosing my Religion" and features live storytelling from an all new cadre of yarn-spinners with tales of everything from near-death experiences to growing up in a cult.

Bob Odenkirk, David Cross, and Brian Posehn
Sept 28; Powell's and the Newmark Theatre
Three extremely funny guys will turn pages from their collaborative book Hollywood Said No! Orphaned Film Scripts, Bastard Scenes, and Abandoned Darlings from the Creators of Mr. Show. Apparently there are some topics that are still not ready for prime time. They'll do a signing at Powell's at 2 and then a show at the Newmark at 7:30.


Rafal Blechacz
Sept 29–30; Lincoln Performance Hall
A young Polish virtuoso leads off the 2013–14 Portland Piano International solo recital series. Among his other accomplishments, Blechacz, at age 20, won the Frederic Chopin International Piano Competition as well as a 2012 Echo Award for best solo recording for his Deutsche Grammophone release, Debussy & Szymanowksi. Check out our profile of new PPI artistic director Arnaldo Cohen in our Fall Arts Preview.

Kahane Plays Beethoven
Sept 28–30; Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
Pianist and conductor Jeffrey Kahane will indeed play Beethoven, specifically one of his transitional compositions, the jaunty and heroic Piano Concerto no. 3. Works by Strauss, Haydn, and Bartók round out the evening. 


Sept 26; Hawthorne Theater
Matthew Houck's solo project has been quietly churning out meticulously recorded albums of expansive folk and alt-country with gorgeous production flourishes since 2003. He's also been touring those albums tirelessly, and his latest effort, Muchacho, sprung from what he’s characterized as a major collapse after coming off the road. It’s a stunning testament to the heights to which one can climb after hitting the bottom.

Billy Cobham
Sept 26; Aladdin Theater
Among drummers, Cobham is an undisputed percussion master. He’s celebrating the 40th anniversary of his seminal fusion album Spectrum, a highly influential instrumental record that built a funky bridge between rock and jazz.

A Tribute to Led Zeppelin with Special Guests Brothers of Baladi
Sept 27; Alberta Rose Theater
So you didn't get into Led Zeppelin till after John Bonham died, and lacked the cash to go see them at Live Aid. Well, we don't have Zep per se, but Portland's Ramble On! is a rocking facsimile. And proving that even cover bands can adapt, they're adding world music and Middle Eastern tinged opening act Brothers of the Baladi for epic finale renditions of songs like "Kashmir" in imitation of Robert Plant and Jimmy Page's excellent, Moroccan-tinged reunion, 
No Quarter. 


From Abbie Miller's “Zipped” series

2013 Contemporary Northwest Art Awards 
Sept 21–Jan 12; Portland Art Museum
Culled from 176 nominations, the six artists in the Portland Art Museum’s contemporary awards exhibition represent a wide range—in terms of cities (from Seattle to Jefferson City, Montana), profiles (emerging to MacArthur “Genius”), and styles (color panels of oil and wax to a tower of electric guitars). While it’s difficult not to be excited about the decorated Seattle artist Trimpin’s imaginative, musical installation sculptures, we’re also primed for Isaac Layman’s massive genre-pushing photographs and intrigued by Jackson Hole–wildcard, Abbie Miller, whose “Zipped” series—incorporating vinyl, steel, and hundreds of feet of zippers—are glossy, twisted things that look like a cross between a Lady Gaga outfit, salt water taffy, and some sort of alien intestinal tract. 

Incident Energy
Sept 20–Oct 13; Disjecta Contemporary Art Center
In a multichannel video installation filmed with heat-sensitive thermal-imaging systems, “eco-baroque” artist and photographer Marne Lucas and artist-filmmaker Jacob Pander—both with Portland roots—join forces to probe their mutual fascination with surveillance technology and the energy that radiates from people and things.


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