Top Things to Do This Weekend: Apr 2–5

The rapping sous chef, the Memphis bluesman, the '80s Portland soap opera, and the art of elephants and RVs. All washed down with the finest Champagne.

By Ramona DeNies April 2, 2015

The only thing to describe him: cover art for Action Bronson's March 2015 album Mr. Wonderful.


Charlie Musselwhite at the Del Mar Blues Festival. Photo credit: Karen Chambers.

Charlie Musselwhite
Thursday at 8 pm, Aladdin Theater
Since the 1960s, blues harmonica master "Memphis Charlie" Musselwhite has played alongside the likes of Paul Butterfield and Junior Wells, and Buddy Guy. Inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2010, the former ditch digger partnered with Ben Harper on a project ("Get Up!") that won a 2014 Grammy for Best Blues Album. Need another reason to see the legend? Rumor has it he's the inspiration for Dan Aykroyd's character in The Blue Brothers.  

Action Bronson
Saturday at 8 pm, Wonder Ballroom
Action Bronson is a huge, bearded ginger who grew up in a cramped Queens apartment swollen with refugee relatives from Kosovo. He's also a rap star with a tendency to fling steaks and XBoxes from the stage. The former sous chef is known for elaborate phraseology and songs about food, from "Roasted Bone Marrow" to "Pouches of Tuna" to his 2011 EP Bon Appetit...Bitch!. Bring your appetite...for gritty New York rap. 


A Year in Champagne
Friday & Saturday at 7 pm, Saturday & Sunday at 5 pm, Sunday at 3 pm, NW Film Center
Sparkling, frizzante, call it what you will: there is but one region of the world that can lay claim to the name—and world-famous quaff—that is Champagne. This documentary follows six makers, from small independent producers to Bollinger and Gosset, to explain how this chalky, rocky French appellation is coaxed into yielding the luxurious libation synonymous with celebration. 


Campy scandal? Yes please! Image credit: Funhouse Lounge.

OPENING Multnomah Falls
Thursday–Saturday at 7 pm, Funhouse Lounge
You know the Cardigans and the Coltons—they're those wealthy Portland dynasties who loved, schemed, and lost throughout the 80s, from racy racquetball matches to fortunes won (and lost?) in the booming urinal cake business. Who knows what plot twists Funhouse Lounge will dish up in this improv soap opera series, which is partly based on nightly audience suggestions.

Saturday & Sunday at 7:30 pm, Sunday at 2 pm, Artists Repertory Theatre
Arthur Miller’s last major play centers on that painful but necessary process of dealing with a loved one’s material belongings after they have died, as its characters explore diverse notions of value and assessment. The performances, directed by Adriana Baer, will be a celebration of the centennial anniversary of the Pulitzer-winning playwright’s birth.  

Graveyard humor: cover art for Nathan Englander's The Ministry of Special Cases.

Ministry of Special Cases
Thursday at 7:30 pm, Sunday at 2 pm, Milagro Theatre
Nathan Englander's novel follows a grave-defacing man named Kaddish, who struggles, with his insurance adjuster wife and teenage son, to survive the insecurities of Argentina's Dirty War. Sasha Reich and Jamie M. Rea of the Jewish Theatre Collaborative bring Englander's satirical work to the stage in an original Page2Stage adaptation.

The Other Place
Thursday–Saturday at 7:30 pm, Sunday at 2 pm, Portland Playhouse
Who does the alpha doctor call when her own mind begins to fail? For the penultimate show of its seventh season, Portland Playhouse takes on the drama that gave writer Sharr White his 2012 Broadway debut. In 
The Other Place—hailed by Backstage as a "taut, incisive puzzle-play"—pharmaceutical peddler Juliana Smithton struggles to comprehend an "episode" that involves a yellow bikini. Read our review here. 

Thursday–Saturday at 7:30 pm, Sunday at 2 pm, CoHo Theatre
Amy Herzog's Belleville—the story of an American expat couple in Paris (she's a yoga instructor, he's with Doctors Without Borders)—has proved a tricky play to produce. The New York Times calls it "devastating" and "thrillingly good;" a Washington Post reviewer felt let down by the "thin plot" and "cheap theatrics" of another company. In Third Rail's take, Rebecca Lingafelter plays Amy, the young wife who catches hubby Zack (Isaac Lamb) with his pants down; from this seemingly small transgression, surfaces crack, and identities shift violently. Read our review here.


Colleen Plumb finds the animals around us. Image Credit: Colleen Plumb.

Cheryle St. Onge and Colleen Plumb
Thursday–Sunday from noon at 5 pm, Blue Sky Gallery
Blue Sky presents a menagerie of photos from the animal kingdom. In cool black and white, St. Onge’s Natural Findings captures animals (sometimes literally) in a human world; Plumb’s Animals Are Outside Today approaches the same subject with colorful whimsy. 

Intisar Abioto
Thursday & Friday 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.

In Celebration of Pig Pens: The "Sties" the Limit
Thursday–Friday from 8 am to 5 pm, Portland Building
Last year, Michael Graves—the architect behind downtown’s infamously uncongenial office tower—declared the Portland Building lobby a “pigpen.” Local artists Lou Watson and Michele McCall-Wallace make hay with this insult, filling the lobby’s art gallery with pigpen riffs from the Peanuts gang to the Grateful Dead.

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 (below, his triptych Final Destinations) 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.  


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