Top Things to Do This Weekend: May 1–May 4

If you want to laugh, don't miss the Aces. If you want to dress up, shimmy out to Portland Prom. If you want to sing, don't miss the Cash/Carter doc. And if you want to geek out, well, May the Fourth be with you.

By Portland Monthly Staff and Danielle Klenak April 30, 2014

Ticket alert

Visual Arts 

First Thursday
Arctic Circle pin-ups, aura portraits, empty billboards, and sightings of the Virgin Mary. This month's First Thursday lineup has it all—plus sunshine! See our First Thursday guide.


Review The Aces
Friday and Saturday, Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center
If you want to laugh this weekend, there is one place to go: the Aces. This show is comedy gold. Every sketch is good. Every one! That's sketch impossibility! And so so smart, you continue to have laugh hiccups after each ends. You will never look at mythological animals or "Single Ladies" the same way again. We'd never miss an episode of Portlandia if it starred Aces masterminds Shelley McLendon and Michael Fetters. Read more about the duo in our April comedy story. —Aaron Scott


Closing  Cirque du Soleil: Totem
Thru Sunday, Portland Expo Center

Cirque's newest venture, Totemoffers many of the ingredients that make Cirque great—fabulous costumes, amazing performers—but is it lacking something? Have a look at our slide show and review—or see it on its final weekend—and decide for yourself.

After the Revolution
Thru June 1, Portland Playhouse
Portland Playhouse is staging the city’s first production of one of New York’s hottest young playwrights: Amy Herzog. Loosely based on her own family’s story of trying to defend a blacklisted grandfather only to learn he might be guilty of espionage, After the Revolution made Herzog’s name. Word is her family is coming for opening weekend.

Maple and Vine
Thru May 24, CoHo Theater
We see how far people will go in the pursuit of happiness when stressed-out urbanites Katha and Ryu abandon their cell phones, e-mail, and convenient contraception to live within an authentic 1950s community, complete with the gender roles and racism of the era. 


5th Annual Portland’s Prom
Saturday, Star Theater
The prom you wish you had! Complete with spiked punch, no curfew, photobooths, theatre-turned-ballroom and a musical lineup to quench every version of prom you’ve dreamt about. Just People headlines, along with AfroQBen, and Cellotronik in this fundraiser event for Planned Parenthood.

Star Wars Day: May the Fourth

Over the past few years, the fan-created holiday of May the Fourth (get it?) has grown to intergalactic renown. Celebrations, events, even a May 4th-themed sitcom—all in support of our love of Star Wars. And Oregon is at the center of “The Wars,” being the home base for Dark Horse Comics, which has published the Star Wars comic line for the past 24 years, and many authors of Star Wars–related books. We reached out to a few of the writers to get their take on Star Wars and the holiday surrounding it, rounded up a couple of May 4th events, and included a Wookie Cookies recipe to keep your sugar levels up! 


Black Prairie
Friday, Aladdin Theater
These erstwhile Decemberists have become Portland’s de facto house band. In their newest release, Fortune, they reel in the bluegrass, klezmer, and Italian film score influences to land more clearly on country, highlighting Annalisa Tornfelt’s sweetly crooning voice.

Saturday, Mississippi Studios
As part of the inaugural Portland City Fair and Exposition, this nationally touring band brings its highly praised, heartfelt 12-piece back home. Plus, there will be a petting zoo with the Belmont goats.


Two Films by Irene Taylor Brodsky
Thursday, Whitsell Auditorium

NWFC screens the newest film from Portland's Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Irene Taylor Brodsky, One Last Hug and a Few Smooches: Three Days at Grief Camp, about a children's summer camp where kids work through pain and grief under counselor guidance. The film is preceded by her 2008 Oscar-nominated short, The Final Inch, documenting the continued spread of polio in the world's impoverished communities without access to the vaccine. Brodsky will attend this event via Skype.

The Winding Stream
Saturday, Hollywood Theatre

The Winding Stream: The Carters, the Cashes, and the Course of Country Music
tells the epic story of the two families at the heart of American roots music, their interwoven lives, and their continued influence on musicians today. By Portland-filmmaker Beth Harrington, the documentary features interviews with family members, including one of Johnny Cash's last, and performances by Rosanne Cash, John Prine, Sheryl Crow, Carolina Chocolate Drops, and others. 

Classical Music

Robert Kyr: A Time for Life
Friday, St. Mary's Cathedral
Cappella Romana and Third Angle New Music Ensemble musicians reprise Northwest composer Robert Kyr's environmental oratorio, which Cappella commissioned in 2007. Inspired by the Greek Orthodox Service of the Environment and the Bible, Kyr tells an epic tale through text, song, prayer, and chanting, from Creation to destruction to a hopeful future where humanity becomes stewards for the earth.

Chris Botti
Saturday, Arlene Schnitzer
The Oregon-born, Grammy-winning “cool jazz” trumpeter is notorious for entertaining with gusto. The evening’s menu will include a medley of jazz, pop, and modern twists on classics.

Portland Piano International: Garrick Ohlsson
Sunday, Newmark Theatre

The first and only American pianist to have won the prestigious International Chopin Competition performs selected works from American impressionist Charles Griffes and the dissonant Russian composer Aleksandr Scriabin, as well as Chopin’s Sonata no. 3.


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