Top Things to Do This Weekend: Apr 28–May 1

From Bombino's entrancing guitar licks to International Tabletop Day to some next-level, one-on-one theater, send out April with a bang.

By Rebecca Jacobson, Ramona DeNies, Sylvia Randall-Muñoz, and Jack Rushall April 28, 2016

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Tuareg musician Bombino brings his blistering, hypnotic guitar lines to the Star Theater on Thursday.


Mohsin Hamid
7:30 p.m. Thursday, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, SOLD OUT
Hear from the Pakistan-born author of such acclaimed novels as The Reluctant Fundamentalist and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia.

David Schmader
7:30 p.m. Thursday, Powell's Books on Hawthorne, FREE
Schmader, former associate editor of The Stranger, has a new book out, the title of which really speaks for itself: Weed: The User's Guide—A 21st-Century Handbook for Enjoying Marijuana.


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Jen Kirkman maybe kinda sorta sometimes knows what she's doing.

Jen Kirkman
7 p.m. Saturday, Hollywood Theatre
The comedian, best known for her appearances on Chelsea Lately, is on tour for new memoir I Know What I’m Doing—and Other Lies I Tell Myself. Expect candid tales of sex, divorce, and turning 40.


Worth My Salt
7:30 p.m. Friday–Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday, Gerding Theater
Cherdonna Shinatra is a confusing sort of drag queen. In some ways, she’s more of a clown—behold the garish eye makeup, the overdrawn lips, the fumbling and bumbling movements. But she’s also a drag queen who’s a woman underneath—the female-bodied, female-identified Jody Kuehner, a formally trained Seattle dance artist. This weekend, Kuehner comes to Portland with Worth My Salt, an evening-length performance about existential crisis. For more, read our Q&A with Kuehner.

CLOSING D.I.V.A. Practice
8 p.m. Friday–Sunday, New Expressive Works/Studio 2
Tonight, D.I.V.A. stands for drag-improv-voice-action, with performance artist Pepper Pepper (also known as Kaj-anne Pepper) blending contemporary dance with drag to explore gender, the role of drag today, what it means to be “fabulous in the face of uncertainty.” Drag artist Mr. E joins in for a duet, and Cabiria Jones contributes an original score. Expect glitter. Lots of glitter. For more, read our preview.


The Benefits of Gusbandry
7 p.m. Thursday, Whitsell Auditorium
What happens when a 40-year-old straight, single woman meets her soul mate, only to find that he prefers to sleep with men? She makes him her “gusband,” at least according to Alicia J. Rose, whose five-episode YouTube and Vimeo series on the subject has already been lauded by pop cultural tastemakers such as Flavorwire and the AV Club. With as many local cameos as a Portlandia episode—is that the Aces’ Michael Fetters peeping from a glory hole?—it’s a slickly produced, sharply written, and hella funny take on forty-something singledom and the value of friendship. The season finale airs tonight. 

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In Seijun Suzuki's Carmen from Kawachi, a countryside girl heads to the big city.

CLOSING Seijun Suzuki Retrospective
7 p.m. Friday, Whitsell Auditorium
The B-movie director, now 92, has inspired Quentin Tarantino and Jim Jarmusch, but his films—marked by wild visuals, operatic violence, and a frenzied narrative style—aren’t widely seen outside his native Japan. NW Film Center's retrospective closes tonight with Carmen from Kawachi, Suzuki's highly stylized riff on Bizet's classic opera.


Beach House
8 p.m. Thursday, Crystal Ballroom, SOLD OUT
Last year, indie rock elite and late-night glass of red wine perpetuators Beach House did the unthinkable—they released two new albums within months of each other: Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars

9 p.m. Thursday, Star Theater
The phenomenally skilled Tuareg musician just released a new album, Azel, which showcases his entrancing guitar lines and slightly gravelly vocals.

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It's a long way from Shreveport to Portland.

Kyle Craft
8 p.m. Friday, Doug Fir Lounge
Recently signed to Sub Pop Records, Kyle Craft and his five-piece band have resettled in the Pacific Northwest from Craft’s home state of Louisiana, and will debut album Dolls of Highland the very day of this show. SPIN called Craft's sound "a swampy ’70s boogie that splits the difference between Dr. John and David Bowie."

Portland Cello Project
8 p.m. Friday–Saturday, The Old Church
Spin Magazine refers to Portland Cello Project as an “indie orchestra,” unsurprising considering their collaboration with such local favorites as the Dandy Warhols. Still, PCP attempts to make the cello an instrument that can perform across genres, with shows that have taken place everywhere from symphony halls to punk rock clubs. 


CLOSING In the Heights
7:30 p.m. Thursday–Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday–Sunday, Brunish Theatre
Playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda is theater gold right now, thanks to the frenzy over his new musical Hamilton. It’s not his first Broadway hit; witness this tribute to NYC’s diverse Washington Heights neighborhood—a Tony Award winner in 1999.

CLOSING The New Electric Ballroom
7:30 p.m. Thursday–Saturday, Imago Theatre
In Enda Walsh’s wide-touring black comedy, presented here by Third Rail, three aging sisters in rural Ireland compulsively rehash a starry teenage night of near seduction. It's a deftly directed showcase of some of Portland's best theatrical talent: Diane Kondrat shines as the ingenuous, eager Clara, though every cast member contributes to bring this play to its tragic crescendo.

CLOSING The Pianist of Willesden Lane
7:30 pm Thursday–Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday–Sunday, Portland Center Stage
In a sort of musical memoir, Mona Golabek tells the story of her mother, a classical pianist who managed to escape Nazi-occupied Vienna at age 14.

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Myth meets manuscript at the Multnomah County Library.

OPENING TeatroSOLO/LoneTheater
Various times Saturday–Sunday, various locations
This is next-level theater, folks: Argentine artist Matías Umpierrez’s innovative short plays are performed for just one person at a time. (Show up at an appointed location with ticket, the “actor” finds you.) The series is already a global hit; now watch as it literally pops ups across Portland.

OPENING Into the Beautiful North
7:30 p.m. Thursday–Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, Milagro Theatre
In this world premiere, playwright Karen Zacarías adapts Luis Alberto Urrea’s novel about a group of young Mexican women who—fearing narcos and bandits, and just having watched The Magnificent Seven—cross the US border in an attempt to repatriate the men who’ve left.

OPENING Peter and the Starcatcher
7:30 p.m. Thursday–Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, Portland Playhouse
Humorist Dave Barry’s take on the Lost Boys skips the stardust for a coming-of-age tale equal parts misfit and swashbuckler.


On Coloring
8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Thursday–Friday, Pushdot Studio, FREE
Artist and author Catherine Haley Epstein curates On Coloring, with work from local and international artists inspired by creative icons ranging from Diane Arbus to Donald Judd to Eva Hesse. The tracings are drawn from Epstein’s coloring book: In a True Democracy the Many are Obligated to the Few. Proceeds go to Da Vinci Arts Middle School.

6–9 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Saturday, Eutectic Gallery, FREE
“Objects of conveniences”—mass-produced, disposable—are recast in clay permanence by artists Chris Dufala, Shalene Valenzuela, and Mitchell Spain.


International Tabletop Day
11 a.m.–7 p.m. Saturday, Powell's City of Books and Powell's Cedar Hills, FREE
You know (and love) Pandemic and Catan. But the world of tabletop gaming is vast and growing—so seize the opportunity to binge on dozens of demo games at two Powell's locations.

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