Top Things To Do This Weekend: May 15-18

A trio of great plays reviewed, a trio of great authors together (Ursula K. Le Guin, Cheryl Strayed, and Lidia Yuknavitch), and tickets go on sale to Lauryn Hill (sans Fugees trio).

Edited by Aaron Scott By Portland Monthly Staff and Danielle Klenak May 15, 2014


The Last Five Years
Thursday–Sunday, Portland Center Stage
"The heart of L5Y is its time-traveling twist on the standard boy-meets-girl trope. The two-person cast reconstructs the tale of their doomed mid-twenties love from opposing perspectives, with young Jewish novelist Jamie (Drew Harper) beginning at the couple's first date and moving forward in time, and struggling actress Cathy (Merideth Kaye Clark) working backward from the end of their marriage five years later…You won't be the only one tearing up in the audience...” Read our full review.

After the Revolution
Thursday–Sunday, 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. "Portland Playhouse puts on a stirring family drama with enough thought-provoking, philosophical meat to make a feast..." Read our full review.

The Giver
Thru Sunday, Oregon Children’s Theatre at Winningstad Theatre
OCT is restaging it's 2006 runaway hit, The Giver, which has now received more than 250 productions around the world, just in time to refresh our memory before the story comes out as a major movie adaptation starring Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, and, of all people, Taylor Swift. How did the dystopian sci-fi tale go from a controversial young adult book to Portland play to blockbuster movie? We chart it's journey.


QDoc: Queer Documentary Festival
Thursday–Sunday, Kennedy School (Opening night and party at the art museum's Whitsell Auditorium)
The only queer doc fest in the country opens with the winner of Sundance’s Documentary Director award, The Case Against 8 (the California proposition, that is), and closes with the surefire Trekkie hit To Be Takei (George, that is), which peeks into the life of geekdom’s queer mayor.  In between are movies about bank robbers, roller derby, and Susan Sontag.

Northwest Animation Festival
Thru Sunday, Hollywood Theatre
For those who miss Saturday-morning cartoons but don’t want to surrender their maturity, there is the Northwest Animation Festival. Highlights include a behind-the-scenes look at Laika’s new film, Boxtrolls, and the new Kickstarter-funded, Milton-inspired film by Phil Tippett of Star Wars and Jurassic Park fame.

Books, Talks and Comedy

Out-of-Print Authors Panel: Ursula K Le Guin, Cheryl Strayed and Lidia Yuknavitch
Thursday, Powell's
Three leading ladies of Portland’s lit scene handpick out-of-print books—Crazy Weather, The Lists of the Past, and The Tattooed Heart & My Name Is Rose—for discussion and reprinting by Pharos Editions.

Burnt Tongue Reading Series
Saturday, Crush
The writing teacher Tom Spanbauer has inspired a small army of authors—so many, in fact, his students have put together their own reading series, Burnt Tongue (one of his writing terms). This rendition features Ariel Gore (Hip Mama, Atlas of the Human Heart), Sean Davis (The Wax Bullet War), and more. Read our story about Spanbauer's influence, including interviews with Cheryl Strayed, Chelsea Cain, and Monica Drake, in preview of his new book, I Loved You More.

Late Night Action
Saturday, Secret Society
Hosted by comics Alex Falcone and Bri Pruett, Late Night Action delivers all the things you love in a talk show but with a decidedly Portland twist. May's special tech show features Kickstarter founder Andy Baio, AppCamp4Girls founder Jean MacDonald (AppCamp won Best New Nonprofit in our 2013 Light a Fire nonprofit awards), comedian Zak Toscani, rejected sketches from Live Wire Radio, and musical guest Adam Shearer from Weinland. Read more about Falcone and Pruett in our roundup of four hot comics in our April issue.

ticket alert

Hip-hop superstar-cum-recluse Lauryn Hill has served her time (both in the music industry and the prison-industrial complex: last year she finished a three-month sentence for tax evasion) and is taking to the road with a string of intimate shows she's calling her Homecoming Concert Series. Tickets to her July 6 Crystal Ballroom stop go on sale this Friday at noon. 

Also on sale on Friday at 9am: Sarah Brightman at Edgefield on August 1.


Jesse Cook
Thursday, Newmark Theatre
With his eight studio album, The Blue Guitar Sessions, Jesse Cook takes a drastic departure from his flamenco roots for a stripped down sound aimed at replicating the vintage recording style of Miles Davis.

Saturday, Rotture
The artist Baths has become a standby on the electronic music scene and continues to deliver with a more upbeat summer release, Obsidian. The opener, electro-pop band Young Fathers, describes its sound as “tectonic plates of genres rubbing up against each other like under-sea dirty party-people”—which cuts possessors of, like, five different phobias out of their fanbase.


Tony Feher
Friday–Sunday, Lumber Room
By arranging cheap manufactured goods—green plastic fruit containers, bottles, and pennies—just so, this respected New York–sculptor helps us see that there’s beauty, and often humor, in most every object, if we just look at it right. The opening reception is Sunday, May 18 from 12–2 pm.



Classical Music

Joshua Bell
SaturdaySunday, Arlene Schnitzer
One of the greatest living American violinists, widely acclaimed for his gorgeous tone as well as his 300-year-old Stradivarius, performs the only concerto Jean Sibileus ever composed.


Conduit Dance's 19th Birthday Celebration
FridaySaturday, Conduit Dance
Conduit celebrates 19 (almost 20!) years of dance production with a benefit performance including pieces by brand new artists and veteran Conduit dancers (Mary Oslund, Gregg Bielemeier, Tere Mathern, and more). Dora Gaskill's site specific work PITCH opens each night's performance in Director's Park. Raffle prizes include subscriptions to White Bird, restaurants, and more. The Friday night gala ends with a reception and toast.

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