Top Things to Do This Weekend: Mar 6–9

The Blue Man Group, the Portland2014 Biennial, POW Fest, Legos for adults, First Thursday, Sallie Ford's new band...It's simply too much.

By Aaron Scott March 6, 2014

Merideth Kaye Clark and Michael Hammack have chemistry in Portland Playhouse's "Light in the Piazza."


Review The Motherf**ker with the Small Fire in the Piazza
Artists Rep, Portland Center Stage, Portland Playhouse
You’d think Valentine’s was in March, given the three stories about love that opened last weekend. On the surface, Artists Rep’s The Motherf**ker with the Hat, Portland Playhouse’s The Light in the Piazza, and Portland Center Stage’s A Small Fire—a New York tale of infidelity and addiction, a musical about love across distances (cultural and emotional), and a story of love’s perseverance through the loss of sensation, respectively—couldn’t be more different. But they all stray from straight-as-Cupid’s-arrow love stories in that they revel more in the complications and vagaries of chunky, messy love than in the unblemished sweetness of Hallmark roses and chocolates, to mixed results. Read the reviews.

Loss Machine
Fri–Sun, Artists Rep
Puppeteer Kyle Loven is a Seattle star, having earned accolades and awards, not to mention the attention and a grant from the puppet master himself (or at least his corporation), Jim Henson. Loven performed at the 2010 Risk/Reward new works festival, and now the organization is bringing him back to perform his newest work, Loss Machine—a show involving a fantastical contraption full of characters, magic, and emotion. Watch a video preview.

A Lear Double-Header

King Lear
Thru Mar 30, Shoebox Theatre
Director JoAnn Johnson returns to the Northwest Classical Theatre Company (fans will remember her 2009 all-female production of  Richard II) to tackle another of Shakespeare's royal tragedies—this one a tale of a monarch confronting the relentless march of aging—once again drawing from the companies pool of talented actresses.

Thru Mar 23, Venetian Theatre
Once you've seen the traditional version, head out to Bag&Baggage for artistic director Scott Palmer adaptation. It combines inspiration from the Bard's source material, the anonymous play The True Chronicle History of King Leir and His Three Daughters, with text from a number of other sources, both ancient and more modern, "to create a story that focuses on the small, intimate family drama at the heart of Shakespeare’s great tragedy," says Palmer. The play was originally performed when Palmer was artistic director of Glasgow Repertory Company and was hailed by the Scotsman Newspaper as "a 21st century Lear to cherish."


Review Stephen Petronio Company
Thurs–Sat, Newmark Theatre
Limbs spin like swords on a roulette wheel in the dark, sexy, and beautiful Like Lazarus Did, the latest work by veteran dance maker Stephen Petronio (this is his sixth White Bird performance). The original score by NPR-darling Son Lux alternates between electronic interpretations of lost slave songs, given soaring life by the Pacific Youth Choir, to trance-inducing, pulsing rhythms that left the audience as breathless as the dancers (one particularly gripping segment, literally, involved three male dancers hoisting and tossing one of the women through the air to a score with clanging pipes). Meanwhile, Petronio himself lays corpse-like on stage, a static compliment to the themes of mourning and loss in the music.


Sallie Ford with Luz Elena Mendoza, Rebecca Gaits, and Swansea
Fri, Mississippi Studios
While Ford’s band the Sound Outside is sadly no more, Ford is back with a new all-female band and those same retro vibes and high-energy vocals (but a little more rock 'n' roll, so we hear). She's joined tonight by other local lady luminaries Luz Elena Mendoza (her own Y la Bamba recently disbanded), Rebecca Gaits, and Swansea in a benefit for the Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls.

Ticket Sale Alert
Two shows go on sale tomorrow at 10 am that are more than likely to sell out out out.

  • The Decemberists' "V is for Victory" show at the Crystal Ballroom on May with Sallie Ford (there she is again). The band will they play 2002's Castaway and Cutouts in its entirety plus other favorites to benefit the Victory Academy, a school dedicated to kids on the autism spectrum. Tickets here.
  • Tori Amos at the Oregon Zoo on July 18. Tickets here.


Portland2014 Biennial Opening Party
Sat, Disjecta Center for Contemporary Art
The third iteration of Disjecta’s Portland Biennial features works by 15 artists and collaboratives, from emerging names like La Londe to Whitney Biennial veteran Jessica Jackson Hutchins to groups like Publication Studios. With its first out-of-town curator, LA's Amanda Hunt, the Biennial is making a national play. Read more in our Spring Arts Preview.

Buckman Art Show and Sell
Sat–Sun, Buckman Elementary
Score local art pieces while supporting Buckman Elementary, Southeast Portland's arts-focused public elementary school, at their 24th annual Art Show and Sell, featuring the work of more than 140 artists and craftpersons.

Special Events

Blue Man Group
Thurs–Sun, Keller Auditorium
You’re probably already familiar with this blue-headed, googly-eyed performance troupe from their Megastar arena rock show, or the relentless ribbing they got from David Cross on cult sitcom Arrested Development. Nevertheless, these azure innovators promise to trot out new tricks in their North American tour. Expect a proscenium-spanning hi-res LED screen, as well as all the usual percussion-and-paint shenanigans.

Bricks Cascades
Sat–Sun, Oregon Convention Center
An unhealthy chunk of my childhood was spent making up stories about the pirates aboard my LEGO ship. Turns out the plastic vessels for imagination aren’t just for kids anymore. The Portland Lego Users Group and Bricklandia come together to show off hundreds of builds created by AFOLs (Adult Fans of LEGO), ranging from castles to modern cities to intergalactic voyagers.


Joanna Priestly's "Rumpy Pumpy," "a ballet of private parts, in all their glorious combinations"

POW Fest
Weds–Sun, Hollywood Theatre
The Portland Women’s Film Festival celebrates its 7th year of screening works by leading lady filmmakers, both local and international. Highlights:

  • Thursday: Local producer Lisa Naito and cinematographer Bradley Sellers, along with director Britta Sjogren and cast members, will be in attendance for opening night's Redemption Trail, a contemporary Western set in California wine country about two deeply troubled women who form an unlikely alliance. The opening night party will follow at Velo Cult.
  • Sunday: A retrospective of the fest's guest of honor, Joanna Priestly. The celebrated Portland animator has produced over 27 films, honored with retrospectives from MoMA in New York to the Center for Contemporary Art in Warsaw.
  • Sunday: Sundance Film Festival Selection Gideon’s Army follows the lives of three public defenders in the Deep South as they slug through staggering cases—three of 15,000 public defendants nationwide living paycheck to paycheckfor the sake of justice for all.


March Music Moderne IV
Various venues, Mar 6–16
This year’s festival features 34 events spanning 73 composers, including music performed by oddly tuned, toy, and prepared pianos and . Highlights this weekend include:

  • Friday: A screening of Stanley Kubrick's 1971 distopian masterpiece A Clockwork Orange. The film's score, by composer and electronic music pioneer Wendy Carlos, features fantastic reinterpretations of Beethoven's 9th Symphony.
  • Saturday: Then catch Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony stretched to 24 hours by Norweigan sound artist Leif Inge. Bring your own sleeping bag.

Gongs + Songs: Music for Gamelan and Chorus
Sat at Lewis and Clark & Sun at the Armory
The dynamic local vocal group Resonance Ensemble partners with Venerable Showers of Beauty Gamelan Ensemble for a program combining the sublime sound of the Indonesian percussion ensemble with the soaring chorus. A traditional gamelan performance will set the stage for pieces written specifically for chorus and gamelan by Neil Sorrell and Lou Harrison, among others.

Hillary Hahn with the Oregon Symphony
Sat–Mon, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
The two-time Grammy-winning violinist returns to put her chops to work in service of Danish great Carl Nielsen’s Concerto for Violin.


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