PoMo Picks: April 2015

This month's best bets for things to see and do, from gender-bending rap to The School for Lies

April 2, 2015 Published in the April 2015 issue of Portland Monthly

Art: David Hockney A Rake’s Progress

First, there was early-18th-century printmaker William Hogarth, known for his tableaux on loose London living (gin bad; beer good). Two centuries later, composer Igor Stravinsky drew on Hogarth’s series A Rake’s Progress for his only full-length opera. But the star of this show is art celebrity David Hockney (a huge Hogarth fan), who in 1975 stunned the opera world with his boldly modern staging for Stravinsky’s piece. Witness the evolution of Hockney’s vision, from the original etchings to scale models.

Apr 18–Aug 2
Portland Art Museum 

Theater: Couplets Therapy

In The School for Lies, playwright David Ives remixes Molière’s The Misanthrope with a clever modern sensibility. Updates aside, Ives maintains Molière’s rhyming couplets—as well as his acidic, mordant sensibility. A taste:

FRANK: ... And she loves you?
PHILINTE: Who knows? I haven’t said.
FRANK: Well, tell her then! “I love you!” Bang! To bed!
[CELIMENE enters, unnoticed] 
I just can’t comprehend your subtle set. As for your hostess—sounds like a coquette. One of these social magpies. Faddish, feigning, Poised, predatory, but always “entertaining” With men on leashes panting for her twitch. Your Celimene sounds like a royal b—
How I’ve itched To meet you.

Apr 10–May 9 | Shoebox Theatre

Image: Casablanca


Why should you care about Stromae? Here’s why: the Belgian phenomenon’s theatrical, gender-bending mix of rap, Eurodance, and Afro-Cuban rhythms has pretty much made him Europe’s hottest pop star. Your cocktail-party primer before his April 7 show (more info here):

“Alors on danse”
(So we dance) Stromae’s first single dropped in 2009 and immediately became a massive European hit. In 2010, America’s very own Kanye West joined Stromae for a rhyme-infused remix.

(Dad, where are you?) Stromae released this powerful dance track in 2013, along with a surreal video, in reference to his own father, who was killed in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

(Wonderful) In 2013, hidden-camera footage of Stromae stumbling drunk in one of Brussels’s busiest squares went viral. Turns out he was shooting the music video for this piano-driven ballad.

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