Top Things To Do This Weekend: Feb 20-23

The PDX Jazz Festival lures local and national talent, PIFF extends its run, and two local theater companies tackle heavy subject matter.

By Portland Monthly Staff and Nathan Tucker February 20, 2014

Image: Owen Carey


Gideon's Knot
Feb 21–Mar 16, CoHo Theatre
Following the success of A Noble Failure—last year’s schoolhouse drama—Third Rail returns to the classroom for a showdown between a mother and the teacher who suspended her child that tumbles through issues of freedom of expression, the failure of the school system, and the complexities of love and loyalty, as it builds toward its shivering conclusion.

A Small Fire
Feb 22–Mar 23, Gerding Theatre at the Armory
Chris Coleman, PCS artistic director, says he wept the first time he read Adam Bock’s 2011 tale about an unconventionally married couple. The wife’s inability to smell the smoke of a smoldering dish towel is the first sign of a mysterious disease that robs her of her senses one by one. PCS associate artistic director Rose Riordan directs.

National Theater Live: Coriolanus
Feb 22–Mar 4, World Trade Center Theatre
The popular NT Live series switches up its venues with a screening of a production at London’s 251-seat Donmar Warehouse. Tom Hiddleston—Loki from the Thor movies—plays the title Roman military and political leader in this lesser-known Shakespearean tragedy.

New Review  Bo-Nita
Thru Mar 15, Portland Center Stage
That may be for Gerard and the other adults in the state, but there’s nothing remotely tepid about Bo-Nita and the tale she tells. Instead, our precocious 13-year-old protagonist gets herself into scalding milk that she then whips, in a mere 85 minutes, into a Dairy Queen Blizzard of black comic delight, coated in a sweet chocolate shell of, if not redemption, at least hope..." Read the full review.


Elizabeth Talyor Birthday Celebration
Feb 23, Hollywood Theatre
Hosted by Elizabeth Taylor's now-Portland-based granddaughter, Laela Wilding, the Hollywood Theatre features a special screening of Taylor's award-winning film A Place in the Sun, in honor of the actress's birthday and her contributions to he fight against HIV and AIDS. With the late Ms. Taylor's favorite treats provided by Cupcake Jones, all proceeds of this event will support Cascade AIDS Project and Our House of Portland.

Saleh Bakri in "Salvo."

Extended: Portland International Film Festival
Thru Feb 26, various venues
The 37th run of PIFF has been extended three days. They'll still be holding a free closing night party on the 23rd at the Portland Art Museum. The added showings include buzz-worthy films like Salvo, a slow-burning Italian feature about a hitman tasked with killing a blind girl. You can find the full schedule for the extended run here.


Portland Jazz Festival
Feb 20–Mar 2, various venues
This year’s edition of the Portland Jazz Festival brings to town such luminaries as guitarist Pat Metheny and pianist Ahmad Jamal, showcases up-and-coming local players, and celebrates the 75th anniversary of seminal jazz label Blue Note with performances from some of the imprint’s past recording artists. Check out our picks for the festival, including a few local and under-the radar acts you won't want to miss.

Sun Kil Moon
Feb 20, Aladdin Theater
Formed out of the dissolution of celebrated ’90s alternative rock band Red House Painters, Sun Kil Moon has seen the evolution of singer-songwriter Mark Kozelek’s work over the last decade, from the full-band sound of 2003’s well-received Ghosts of the Great Highway into the mostly solo work on recent recordings. His latest, Benji, comes out this month.


Late Night Action with Alex Falcone
Feb 22, Secret Society
Hosted by comedic powerhouse Alex Falcone and sidekick Bri Pruett, Late Night Action delivers all the things you love in a talk show but with a decidedly Portland twist including interviews with local celebrity guests, contests, musical guests, stand up and sketch comedy. February's show features an all-star lineup, including City Commissioner Steve Novick, Grimm star Silas Weir Mitchell, comedian Amy Miller, and musical guest LoveBomb Gogo


Fireworks Ensemble
Feb 21, Kaul Auditorium at Reed College
This amplified chamber ensemble, self-described as “indie classical,” has tackled everything from cartoon music to the compositions of Frank Zappa since it first emerged in 2000 with a rock-inspired version of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. In American Tapestry, the group explores America’s musical heritage from jazz and blues to Copland and Ives.
Cohen Plays Rachmaninoff
Feb 22–24, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
Brazilian-born Portland Piano International artistic director Arnaldo Cohen is renowned internationally for the virtuosic intensity of his performances. Debussy’s Nocturnes and Haydn’s Symphony no. 53 will complement Cohen’s performance of Rachmaninoff’s abidingly popular Piano Concerto no. 2.
Books and Talks
Feb 20, Powell's
In The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, this environmental journalist and two-time winner of the National Magazine Award draws from a wealth of scientific research in a startling examination of earth’s next extinction—one of our own devising.
The Switch: David Buuck and Juliana Spahr
Feb 20, Independent Publishing Resource Center
Listen to California poets David Buuck and Juliana Spahr read from their new collaborative novel,
Army of Lovers, an experimental book that delves into the power of poetry to enact social change in this monthly reading series.

Heather Watkins
Feb 24–Apr 2, Art Gym
This exhibition features the multidiscipline artist's experimentation with ink, paper, and cord—the glistening ink warping black paper and running like a web of tributaries on a black world, and the cord absorbing the ink and transferring it to white paper in dancing tangles—from 2008 to the present. There will be a special preview reception on Saturday, February 23 from 3–5 PM.
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