Top Things to Do This Weekend: Apr 30–May 3

Ciao, Italian Style—but hello, David Sedaris, Downton Abbey, Alex Ross, American Night, plus three more new shows. Prego, Portland!

By Ramona DeNies April 30, 2015

Ciao, Italian Style! Photo credit: Portland Art Museum.


Luke Kempner brings on the Downton.

America's Got Downton
Saturday & Sunday at 7:30 pm, Antoinette Hatfield Hall
Upstairs, downstairs: can one fresh-faced thespian impersonate all of Downton Abbey? Should he? And why would he? YouTube celebrity Luke Kempner’s original one-man act drew sell-out crowds at the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe Festival; his pace is so fast and furious that the Huffington Post calls him “the Energizer bunny of impressionists.” (He’s also Stephen Fry–approved.) 

Third Angle With Alex Ross: Hearing Voices
Friday at 7:30 pm, Alberta Rose Theater
From Mahler to the minimalists, no one is more musically attuned to the last century than Alex Ross of the New Yorker. To tell the story of our own West Coast avant-garde, Ross reads from the 2008 Pulitzer-finalist tome The Rest Is Noise, interspersed with Third Angle performances of the works he’s discussing by regional heroes like Harry Partch, Lou Harrison, Janice Giteck, and John Luther Adams.  

David Sedaris 
Saturday at 8 pm, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
I haven’t got the slightest idea how to change people, but still I keep a long list of prospective candidates just in case I should ever figure it out.” —from David Sedaris's Naked. What can we say about the master of the modern memoir that he hasn’t already said about himself, with more humor and pizzazz than his five closest imitators combined?


Friday at 7:30 pm, Sunday at 2 pm, Keller Auditorium
Romance swells, crescendos, and ultimately endures, sotto voce, over three generations on the Mississippi showboat Cotton Blossom. In 1927, Oscar Hammerstein’s complex story marked a serious departure from American stage musicals; Portland Opera revives Jerome Kern’s enduringly popular score with a partially local cast. 


Ozvaldo Gonzalez stars in Milagro's production of American Nights.

OPENING American Night: The Ballad of Juan José
Thursday–Saturday at 7:30 pm, Sunday at 2 pm, Milagro Theatre
Written on commission for the 2010 Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Richard Montoya’s tale of a Mexican immigrant zealously preparing for his citizenship exam mixes textbook stereotypes with alternate narratives courtesy of Howard Zinn’s controversial A People’s History of the United States. 

OPENING Grounded
Friday & Saturday at 7:30 pm, Sunday at 2 pm, CoHo Theatre 
A pregnant F-16 pilot’s reassignment? Directing foreign attack drones from a trailer in the Nevada desert. George Brant’s “spare, profane” one-woman show won big at the 2013 Edinburgh Festival; now Portland native Isaac Lamb directs the hard-working Rebecca Lingafelter in the final show of CoHo’s 19th season.

OPENING 4,000 Miles
Saturday at 7:30 pm, Sunday at 2 pm, Artists Repertory Theatre
Longtime Portland director Alana Byington leads a strong cast in this dramedy from Amy Herzog, which was a 2013 Pulitzer finalist for its salty exploration of a politically radical grandmother (inspired by the “ungrandmotherliness” of Herzog’s own) and visiting grandson in the midst of crisis. 

Starting this weekend, Third Rail produces Dan Rebellato's Static at Imago.

Saturday at 7:30 pm, Sunday at 2 pm, Imago Theatre
Among the belongings of her recently deceased husband, Sara finds a mixed tape. Is this a parting gift from her spouse (who was, at the time of his sudden hemorrhage, also quite deaf)? Or a message from beyond the grave? Dan Rebellato’s play premiered in Glasgow; Third Rail’s production, directed by Scott Yarbrough, is performed in English and American Sign Language.  

Thursday–Sunday at 7:30 pm, Sunday at 2 pm, Portland Center Stage
Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac gets a facelift (a new translation and slicked-up verse sensibilities—think slam poetry) from playwright Michael Hollinger with an assist from Aaron Posner. Seattle's Andrew McGinn plays the large-beaked lover of Roxane (Jen Taylor). Warning: according to PCS, the production "contains heart-stopping swordplay and swoon-inducing romance." Read our review here.


Roads, less travelled—minds, much blown? TEDxMtHood this Saturday at Rev Hall.

Saturday at 9 am, Revolution Hall
The locally organized speaker series returns! This fifth anniversary event convenes a dozen-plus speakers including record producer Tucker Martine, “rejection expert” Jia Jiang, and ASHA International founder Gayathri Ramprasad (check out our top five picks here). Each will wax eloquent, for 18 minutes or less, on the 2015 theme “Roads Less Traveled.” 


CLOSING Italian Style—Fashion Since 1945
Thursday & Friday from 10 am to 8 pm, Saturday & Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm, 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. Go behind the scenes with PoMo Style Editor Eden Dawn.

David Hilliard's Ebb at Elizabeth Leach Gallery.

CLOSING David Hilliard and Christopher Rauschenberg
Thursday–Saturday from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm, Elizabeth Leach Gallery
Two panoramic photographers present the beauty of the long shot. Hilliard’s narrative panels tell the story of a moment, giving intimate portraits a comic strip effect. Rauschenberg’s assembled photographs lend perspective to the parts of daily life.  

CLOSING Intisar Abioto
Thursday from 9 am to 5 pm, Duplex Gallery
Tennessee artist Intisar Abioto is well known locally for her Black Portlanders project. With this show, the talented potrait photographer widens her geographic lens to explore notions of place and identity throughout the world.

(Left) God Body. Portland choreographer Keyon Gaskin at Solar Throat, an 'afro-futuristic/afro-surreal' performance series. Portland 2014 (Right) Sister Dem. Aisha Abioto at 14. Memphis, TN. 2014. Images courtesy of Intisar Abioto.

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