Top Things to Do This Weekend: Feb 5–8

Sprezzatura! Over the next few days, that spirit of continental grace is on full display, from swanky new PAM exhibit Italian Style to James Franco and Chris O'Dowd's effortless mastery of both Mice AND Men.

By Ramona DeNies February 5, 2015


OPENING Italian Style—Fashion Since 1945
Saturday & Sunday, Portland Art Museum
Exploring the evolution of Italian style from the devastation of postwar Italy to the modern era of Gucci and Armani, this traveling exhibition from London’s Victoria and Albert Museum lands at PAM for its only West Coast stop. Immerse yourself in seventy years of Italian finery while glimpsing the future of Italian style. (More here on the exhibit's only West Coast stop.) 


38th Annual Portland International Film Festival
Thursday–Sunday at various times, locations
For 38 years, the Portland International Film Festival has brought rare cinematic gems from across the world to Portland's local theaters. This year, PIFF's roster of 97 features (and 60 shorts) includes a Spanish-language showcase, more than two dozen Oscar-submitted flicks, and animated cuts curated by LAIKA's Mark Shapiro. (We've got a shortlist of promising picks!)


Joyce Carol Oates
Friday at 7:30, Powell's City of Books
Set in 1980s Detroit, Oates’s The Sacrifice reworks the real-life case of Tawana Brawley into a seditious study of the impact of sexual and racial violence on a young girl. 

Brian Posehn
Thursday at 8 pm, Friday & Saturday at 7:30 and 10 pm, Helium Comedy Club
Think all comics are effete nerds who’d get beat up in a fight? Then hang out with Posehn, whose love of heavy metal has led to hit YouTube videos like “Metal by the Numbers” and an appearance in Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects. Of course, he’s also appeared on Friends and Everybody Loves Raymond, so you can’t take him too seriously.  

Ian Karmel
Saturday at 8 pm and 10:30 pm, Mississippi Studios
Portland funny person Ian Karmel moved to L.A. last year, but he’s back on friendly soil to record his first live album on the Kill Rock Stars label. Karmel’s national profile keeps rising (with stints on ConanPortlandia, and as a writer for Chelsea Lately)—enough so, he tweets, to move beyond the “and more” category on show lineups. We caught up with Karmel before Saturday's show; read excerpts from our chat here.) 


NT Live: Of Mice and Men
Sunday at 2 pm and 7 pm, World Trade Center Theatre
Currently playing at the Longacre Theatre in New York, this revival of John Steinbeck's novel stars James Franco as George and Chris O'Dowd as Lennie Small. Need we say more? 

Opening How to End Poverty in 90 Minutes
Thursday–Sunday at 7:30 pm, Portland Playhouse
Somewhere between theater, panel discussion, and town hall meeting, the world premiere of this interactive theater piece from Sojourn Theatre (read the origin story here) attacks the problem of poverty from a variety of angles and culminates in an audience vote on how best to donate $1,000 a show from ticket sales. 

Thursday–Sunday at 7:30 pm, Artists Repertory Theatre
Through the story of a deaf man raised by hearing parents who meets a hearing woman born to deaf parents, and consequently is introduced to the deaf community, this British drama explores ways that “families,” both related and otherwise, pass down ideologies, hierarchies, and unique languages.

Opening Becoming Dr. Ruth
Thursday–Saturday at 7:30 pm, Sanctuary @ Sandy Plaza
This one-woman show features local favorite Wendy Westerwelle as iconic sex guru Dr. Ruth Westheimer. The eventual radio host starts her journey as Karola Siegel, an orphan fleeing Nazis in Germany, continues as a freedom fighter in Jerusalem, and arrives in America as single mother. Get some! 

Opening Carmen
Friday at 7:30 pm and Sunday at 2 pm, Keller Auditorium
Though a critical disaster within the opera community on its 1875 premiere, George Bizet’s story of a soldier’s downfall at the hands of the beguiling eponymous gypsy is now recognized as one of the genre’s greatest achievements. Before you go: learn how three behind-the-scenes consultants (a French coach, fight master, and flamenco dancer) are working to bring out Carmen's passionate best.


Cappella Romana: Good Friday in Jerusalem
Friday & Saturday at 8 pm, Sunday at 2 pm, Trinity Episcopal Church and St. Mary's Cathedral
Over its 24-year history, Cappella Romana has released 20 albums, making the early-music ensemble perhaps the most prolific local music group today. Now it releases its 21st, a collection of Byzantine hymns from Jerusalem church fathers. 


Oregon Children's Theatre: Skippjon Jones
Saturday & Sunday at 2 pm and 5 pm, Newmark Theatre
Just two more weekends to catch this playful OCT production. Based on a book by Judy Schachner, Skippyjon Jones is about a Siamese cat with serious self-identity issues: he starts out thinking he’s a bird, only to trade the feathered life for the more exciting alter ego of a superhero Chihuahua. Anyone know a good pet psychologist?  




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