Top Things to Do This Weekend: Nov 26-Nov 30

Take a break from turkey leftovers to sing along to Abba hits with Mamma Mia!, start an indie-folk dance-party at Horse Feathers' record release show, or take in the tree lighting and Macy's Parade.

With Portland Monthly Staff November 26, 2014


Mamma Mia!

Mamma Mia! 
Wednesday–Sunday, Keller Auditorium
No one should really be surprised that Abba’s songs have been turned into an internationally adored musical: that’s pretty much the only way those unapologetically cheesy late-’70s chart-toppers could age gracefully—and by graceful, we mean in overly ridiculous costumes that still fit. 

Blithe Spirit 
Thursday–Sunday, Artists Repertory Theatre 
There’s more than one play about ghosts that theaters can produce during the holidays: in this spectral 1941 comedy by Noël Coward, a famous author invites an eccentric clairvoyant to his house only for the woman to summon the ghost of his irritable first wife. The run has already been extended twice before even opening, so if you want to take in some Coward, you better book tickets soon.

Miracle on 43rd Street 
Friday–Sunday, Venetian Theatre
Last year, this Hillsboro company skewered It’s a (Somewhat) Wonderful Life with a 1940s-era radio performance gone horribly wrong. This season they give the same treatment to the story of a Macy’s Santa who turns out to be the real deal—only with an added mafia boss, show-tune-loving detective, and station manager with digestive problems. 


Tree Lighting Ceremony
Friday at 5:30pm, Pioneer Courthouse Square  
There's no way to kick off the holidays like singing carols with Thomas Lauderdale of Pink Martini and hundreds of other people before a 75-foot Douglas Fir as the lights spark on. Oregon's 234th Army Band and the Pacific Youth Choir will perform as well.  

Macy's Holiday Parade 
Friday from 9–11am, Downtown  
Tis the season means 'tis also the time for holiday parades to start flowing through town, and the first to close down streets and cause traffic in the name of jolly holiday spirit is, of course, the iconic Macy's Holiday Parade. With over 20 inflatable floats, marching bands from across the city, and swarms of costumed characters, the parade is a train of family fun. 

Tale As Old As Time: Disney In Concert with the Oregon Symphony
Saturday–Sunday, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
Just when you thought you wouldn’t be able to please the whole family during Thanksgiving weekend, this multimedia celebration of Disney classics and modern favorites comes along to soothe your tryptophan headache.

The Circus Project Presents: "A Book is Not a Ladder"
Portland's own Circus Project is hosting Seattle's Acrobatic Conundrum for an installment of A Book is Not a Ladder, an existential performance that draws inspiration from Jorge Luis Borges' Library of Babel.


Storm Large's Holiday Ordeal 
Friday–Saturday at 8pm, Aladdin Theatre 
To put it simply, Storm Large is a performer, but her performances are anything but simple. She's a complicated character with a range of experience, from weekly shows at Dante's Inferno with her band the Balls in the early aughts, to competing on the reality TV show Rock Star: Supernova, to publishing the award-winning memoir Crazy Enough in 2012, to touring internationally with Pink Martini, to her recent cover-heavy solo album, Le Bonheur. Her annual Holiday Ordeal draws from every step of her career with performances, skits, and special guests—and is distinctly not family friendly.

Horse Feathers

Horse Feathers Record Release Concert
Saturday at 8pm, Crystal Ballroom 
After a decade of making intimate, lush folk music under the moniker Horse Feathers, Portland musician Justin Ringle (in the horns) almost gave up his guitar in disillusionment following the 2012 album Cynic’s New Year. (Did the title reflect his mood?) Instead, he returns with a desire to make happier music on So It Is With Us. It’s not a dance album, but there’s certainly a new zest to the band’s sound. 

Wild Ones & Radiation City 
Saturday at 9pm, Star Theater
The Portland-based electro-pop five-piece Wild Ones are embarking on a West Coast winter tour with fellow Rose City residents Radiation City. Wild Ones released their debut full-length, Keep It Safe, last summer and has since teamed with local label Party Damage, as well as Boston's Topshelf Records. Radiation City have three albums to their name and are a part of Portland's beloved craft label Tender Loving Empire.  


David Benoit Charlie Brown Christmas Special 
Sunday at 7:30pm, Newmark Theatre
Having said that the music of Vince Guaraldi's original Peanuts Christmas special greatly influenced his passion for jazz, the Grammy-nominated pianist Benoit has taken the reigns as the leading performer of Charlie Brown's iconic music. He has two tribute albums to his name—Here’s To You, Charlie Brown: 50 Great Years and 40 Years: A Charlie Brown Christmas—from which he'll draw for this concert with help from his quartet and the Grant High School Royal Blue Choir.


Funny Over Everything
Saturday at 9:30pm, Hollywood Theatre
The Hollywood Theatre's almost-monthly stand-up showcase has featured now-famous funnymen like Doug Benson, Hannibal Burress, Shane Torres, and Ian Karmel. So even if you don't recognize some of the names taking the stage this month, don't think you won't be seeing them on bigger stages in the near future. This month's headliner is Matt Kirshen, a budding British comedian with accolades in the writer's room of Craig Ferguson and Jimmy Fallon, as well as promising bid on NBC's Last Comic Standing.


Take a tour through downtown's galleries for your last chance to see many of these November shows:

Roger Kukes's "Mechanically They Spilled Him from his pounding horse..."

Roger Kukes
Augen Gallery
It has taken almost ten years for this Portland artist to complete his three-part Theater of the Land series of exhibitions exploring 19th-century antagonism between Native Americans and the encroaching US military-industrial complex (represented not only by soldiers, but also personified sick nuclear power plants and weeping, melting snowmen). This final round of acrylic paintings are large, bright, and bitingly funny cowboy vs. Indian landscapes soaked in iconography, anachronism, and caricature. But just as interesting is that Kukes displays his entire process, from small sketches to large ink drawings made from enlarged facsimiles of the sketches to meticulous color studies that feel like the painting equivalent to the inventory page on a model train set, revealing the rich, multi-month process behind each detailed painting.

Corey Arnold's "Fight or Flight"

Corey Arnold
Charles A. Hartman Fine Art
This lifelong fisherman got his break when photographs he took while working on a commercial fishing boat in Alaska were used on a Times Square billboard for The Deadliest Catch. His work captures the mind-boggling might of the ocean, often offset by the small but perseverant humor of man. 

Jared Soares & Adriana Lopez Sanfeliu
Blue Sky Gallery
Two photo essays set in primarily minority communities are paired for this month’s exhibition: Soares’s Small Town Hip Hop, which follows the small scene in Roanoke, Virginia, and Sanfeliu’s Life on the Block, sometimes strikingly bleak black-and-white photographs of women living in Spanish Harlem. 

Through the Lens: Portraiture & Self-Potraiture 
Elizabeth Leach Gallery
This portrait show includes works by giants both international and regional, from Robert Mapplethorpe and Nan Goldin to Seattle photographer Isaac Layman and Blue Sky cofounder Christopher Rauschenberg.

ShowPDX: A Decade of Portland Furniture Design
Museum Of Contemporary Craft 
For 10 years, ShowPDX has been exhibiting some of the best furniture made in Portland (since before the term 'maker' was even a thing—read our story). Now the Museum of Contemporary Craft is giving the best of the best a retrospective. 

Eva & Franco
PNCA's Feldman Gallery & Project Space
This duo delves into the nature of the Internet and its intense capacity for emotional impact through trickster stunts and crowd-sourced participation. Their works range from the banal (instructions to people around the world to record themselves and post it online) to the highly controversial (recording web-cam reactions on Chat Roulette to Franco hanging himself—and never revealing that it's faked). 

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