Top Things to Do This Weekend: Dec 11–14

'The Nutcracker' opens, Cheryl Strayed talks 'Wild,' Sleater-Kinney tickets go on sale, China Forbes sings opera, and Rudolph gets a live adaptation. Don't let the rain keep you in!

With Portland Monthly Staff December 10, 2014

Holiday Guide 

Hanukkah's under a week away and Christmas is creeping up quickly, but why wait when revelry is rampant throughout the city—the holidays start the minute you finish your turkey, after all. Take a peak at our annual Holiday Guide for tips on where to celebrate. Here's a sample roundup of this weekend's festive favorites:

Special events

Cheryl Strayed and Reese Witherspoon at the Portland premier of Wild

Live Wire with Cheryl Strayed, Kurt Braunohler, and Justin Simien
Saturday at 7:30, Alberta Rose Theatre
On Monday, local best-selling author Cheryl Strayed was joined by Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern for a fancy, red-carpet premiere of the movie Wild at Cinema 21 (see our recap and slide show). Now is your chance to hear what it's been like touring the world with the star-studded cast in support of her powerful story. Also on the radio variety show's season finale blowout: comedian, podcaster, and occasional voice on FOX's Bob's Burgers Kurt Braunohler; Justin Simien, director of the award-winning Dear White People; and local gospel-oriented singer Liz. If you can't make it, you can check out our interview with Strayed in our December issue.

Phame @30
Saturday at 7, World Forestry Center Miller Hall
PHAME has celebrated three decades of providing creative opportunities to adults with developmental disabilities for its whole season, which draws to a close with a holiday show featuring more than 50 of the program’s musicians and friends.

Masquerade Ball
Saturday at 8:30, Branx (at Rotture)
The party-throwing professionals over at Proper Villain Productions are cooking up another night of dance and debauchery. The Masquerade Ball features light shows and live body painting, but the main event is Oregon-native and illustrious underground hip-hop producer RJD2. Don't recognize the name? Surely you recognize his Ghostwriter loop.


Ticket Alert: After releasing their complete catalogue as one hefty box-set back in October, Sleater-Kinney announced they'd been working on an album, No Cities To Love, set for January 20. The ladies just announced the hometown show will be May 5 at The Crystal Ballroom, the same stage on which they announced their breakup back in 2006. Tickets go on sale on Friday at 10 am, and will sell out quicker than you can say 'riot grrrl.' 

Friday at 8, Roseland Theater 
The zany art-pop duo's inventive brand balances on worldbeat and electronic-pop, as if two tunefully-inclined friends snuck into a university music room and played whatever they could find. They're touring in support of their third album, Nikki-Nack, released back in May.


Image: Blaine Truitt Covert

Bodyvox: Firewall
Thursday–Saturday, Bodyvox
This new piece from artistic directors Jamey Hampton and Ashley Roland explores the realm of optical illusion and perspective through BodyVox’s signature embrace of mixed-media possibilities. "In 'Figments,' dancers bobbing choppily across green screens in split-color unitards may have little to do with malware, but the effect IS pure visual eye-candy when the green half of their costumes disappears on the big screen projections, leaving the images of moving cut-outs..." Read our review.

Yossi Berg and Oded Graf
Thursday–Saturday, Lincoln Performance Hall 
These Israeli choreographers further their reputation for provocative dance theater that’s full of humor with the US premiere of their new work, BodyLand. In this piece, which drew rave reviews during a European and Israeli tour in 2013, five men from four countries—France, Denmark, Germany, and Israel—explore how the shaping forces of culture and geography are manifested in our bodies.


China Forbes

A Room with a View: China Forbes Sings Opera
Thursday, First Congretional Church
Pink Martini singer China Forbes teams up with the Portland State University Orchestra and local opera singer Angela Niederloh-Hayward to perform arias by Giacomo Puccini, Jacques Offenbach, and Alfredo Catalani.

Simone Dinnerstein 
Sunday–Monday, Lincoln Performance Hall
This Juilliard alum jump-started her career with her 2007 self-financed recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, which debuted at no. 1 on the Billboard classical chart. Since signing with Sony in 2010, she’s gained accolades and continued to charm the charts with her exploration of the repertoire of Bach and Schubert, both of whose work she’ll perform in Portland. 


The Maids’ Tragedy
The NW Classical Theatre Company turns from Shakespeare to his contemporaries, Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher, with this Jacobean tragedy. The production marks both the last show under the artistic direction of company founder Grant Turner and the second visit by guest director Barry Kyle, honorary associate director of the Royal Shakespeare Company. You can’t get further from sappy holiday cheer than this bloody revenge story, scrooges.


True Story Of 3 Little Pigs
Friday–Sunday, Oregon Children's Theatre
This family-friendly farce tells the familiar story from the perspective of the Big Bad Wolf—who, you might not be surprised to find out, insists it was all a setup.

Friday–Sunday, Imago Theatre
Imago Theatre reprises its longest-running and most successful show, which has been produced on Broadway—twice—and toured the world. In the kid-friendly work, the company employs costumes, acrobatics, and universal themes to bring into existence a surrealist world of fantastical creatures and inanimate objects. 


Anthony McCall, "You and I, Horizontal (II)" 2006

Zena Zezza: Anthony McCall
Thursday–Sunday, "Winter Libations" and Open House Sunday from 3–5 pm, Hallock & McMillan
This New York-based British artist is best known for his "solid light" installations that project particular patterns of light in dark rooms to create what feel like radiant sculptures. Arts organization Zena Zezza invited him to transform Hallock & McMillan, Portland's oldest commercial building, dating back to 1857. On Sunday, they're inviting folks for an afternoon of warm drinks prepared by T Project, an artisanal small batch Portland tea company infusing the best botanicals (and bourbons) in your cup, while listening to ambient music by Geoff Wexler.

Terry Atkinson
Friday–Sunday, Yale Union
British conceptual artist Terry Atkinson is having his first US institutional solo exhibition in Portland. His work is based around wood and metal forms and wall-mounted sculpture, loosely based on drawings and sketches from the 1980s and 1990s. The "Greasers" will be on display along with Atkinson's drawing and paintings. 

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