Top Things to Do This Weekend: May 7–10

Obama AND Bill Moyers? Very statesmanlike! Also, drunk comedians (so, so many), duct tape art, and a penal colony tale from Down Under.

By Ramona DeNies May 7, 2015


All the Comedy: Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson host Blaria Friday night at the Doug Fir Lounge.

Bridgetown Comedy Festival
Thursday–Sunday, various times & locations
The eighth annual local laugh-off is blowing up; this year, over 120 comedians rock eight inner-Southeast venues. Heavy hitters include Jessica Williams, Neil Hamburger, and Moshe Kasher; among the local favorites, we’ve got Bri Pruett, Nathan Brannon, and Gabe Dinger. (Sport for those who can’t afford the $89–225 festival pass: park yourself at the nexus of, say, SE Seventh and Sandy, and soak in the spectacle of comedy junkies hoofing it, drunkenly, to the next show.) 


Bill Moyers: What's the Situation?
Thursday at 7 pm, Arlene Schnitzer 
Prime-time news commentator, Baptist preacher, architect of LBJ’s Great Society—Bill Moyers is one of America’s eminent political thinkers (and he has the silver mane to prove it). As the penultimate speaker in the World Affairs Council of Oregon’s Warning! Contents Under Pressure series, Moyers tackles (we're just guessing here) subjects of gravity and weight.


They Might Be Giants
Friday at 8 pm, Roseland Theater
For more than 30 years, They Might Be Giants have been building birdhouses in the souls of nerdtastic rockers worldwide (and their kids: this show is age 14 and up). The unflaggingly prolific Brooklyn duo continues to change it up; starting in January, the band revived their fan-favorite free Dial-a-Song program, with 52 new tunes airing this year. 

Sax and the Symphony
Saturday & Sunday at 7:30 pm, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
In 2002, composer Roberto Sierra wrote the jazz-inflected Concerto for Saxophones to showcase the virtuosity of James Carter. When it premiered at the Detroit Symphony, the audience erupted in such thunderous, unending applause that Carter had to replay the final stretch to get them to settle down. We suspect Portland audiences, with their tendency for standing ovations, will be no less effusive—particularly since the lineup also includes Samuel Barber’s quietly gripping Adagio for Strings.


Photo credit: Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil:Varekai
Thursday–Saturday at 7:30 pm, Friday & Saturday at 4 pm, Sunday at 1:30 pm and 5 pm, Memorial Coliseum
The Montreal megacircus’s latest skyborne act (directed by former Oregon Ballet Theatre artist Fabrice Lemire—read our recent Q&A with Fabrice here) centers on a volcano, an enchanted forest, and an ancient prophecy. The story begins with Icarus, but here his fall is the beginning—into a euphoric world of cane-balancing, crutch gymnastics, and the Cirque’s signature Russian Swings. 


Image credit: Mona Superhero

OPENING Mona Superhero
Thursday–Saturday from 11 am to 7 pm, Sunday from 11 am to 3 pm, Mother Foucault's Bookstore
Looking to spend time on the fibrous, sticky edge of art's new wave? In Infrastructure Pt 1, duct tape is the medium; Voodoo Doughnut's house muralist Mona Superhero is the method. Portland's iconic bridges serve as the through-thread for Superhero's show.  

OPENING Nadia Sablin and
Scott Dalton

Thursday–Sunday from noon to 5 pm, Blue Sky Gallery
Take flight at Blue Sky this month with two exhibits rooted in place. Sablin’s From the Mountains and to the Sea brings to light the “dark magic” of Ukraine. In Where the River Bends Dalton explores life in two cities separated by the US/Mexico border but joined by a bridge. 

Stephen O'Donnell's Le Pince-nez.

OPENING Sarah Horowitz and
Stephen O'Donnell

Thursday–Saturday from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm, Froelick Gallery 
Horowitz’s In the Pines examines branches and brambles in delicate detail through finespun inked drawings on Japanese paper. And marking 15 years with the Froelick, figurative painter O’Donnell’s 95 / 15 treats gender and historicism with trademark humor and lush acrylics. 


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 StatesRead our review here.

OPENING How to Stop Dying
Thursday–Saturday at 8 pm, Action/Adventure Theater
More fruit from Portland’s 2015 Fertile Ground Festival: Action/Adventure company member Noah Dunham’s two-act comedy lampoons reality television of the ghost-hunting persuasion. Making appearances: mysterious funeral homes, paranormality, immortality.  

Photo credit: Benjamin Scheuer

Friday–Sunday at 7:30 pm, Sunday at 2 pm, Portland Center Stage
What does the “best musical of the year” sound like? Well, sort of existentially acoustic. Traveling troubadour Benjamin Scheuer’s autobiographical one-man, six-guitar show starts off wholesome and sweet—with memories of the cookie-tin banjo made by his late father—but soon navigates a “Freudian minefield,” according to the Huffington Post, to arrive somewhere far more macabre. 

OPENING Our Country's Good
Friday & Saturday at 7:30 pm, Sunday at 2 pm, Venetian Theatre
In 1789, the settlement of Sydney, Australia, is getting its first theatrical show. Because this is a penal colony, the young British lieutenant serving as director has convicts serve as cast members. Things aren't going smoothly: only two copies of the script are available; the leading lady might be hanged. Bag & Baggage's entire Resident Acting Company turns out for Timberlake Wertenbaker's 10-character play, based on Thomas Keneally's 1987 novel The Playmaker. 

OPENING The Undiscovered Country
Friday–Sunday at 7:30 pm 
Defunkt’s Paul Angelo directs D. C. Copeland’s trio of addiction stories for a world premiere set right here. The young playwright recently relocated to Portland from New York; she calls out Samuel Beckett and Franz Kafka as primary influencers of her absurdist style. 

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