Top Things to Do This Weekend: Oct 20–23
BOOKS & TALKS
7:30 p.m. Thursday, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, SOLD OUT
The acclaimed Ojibwe writer recently published her 15th novel, LaRose, which charts the fallout of an accidental killing on a Native American reservation in North Dakota. The Guardian called it “an astonishing novel ... told by a storyteller both formidable and tender.”
7:30 p.m. Friday, Powell's City of Books, FREE
The Irish-born author won huge acclaim for 2010’s claustrophobic Room. (In a rare twist, the film adaptation earned similarly rapturous praise.) In her latest novel, The Wonder, Donoghue delivers a psychological thriller set in 1850s Ireland.
8 and 11 p.m. Thursday, Aladdin Theater, SOLD OUT
The Broad City fave is electric and wonderfully discursive, with the kind of onstage ease that you know can’t come that easy.
W. Kamau Bell
7:30 (sold out) and 10:30 p.m. Friday, Aladdin Theater
Whether chatting with Ku Klux Klansmen on his CNN show United Shades of America, trying to puzzle out how to explain racism to his mixed-race daughters on This American Life, or talking politics with fellow comic Hari Kondabolu on the incisive podcast Politically Re-Active, Bell is everywhere. Onstage, he’s an affable performer who delights in stoking discomfort in his audience. For more, check out our Q&A with Bell.
6:30 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Revolution Hall
If you like listening to a metalhead tell nerdy, jovial jokes about farting and fatherhood, Posehn is the comedian for you.
7 p.m. Thursday–Saturday and 9 p.m. Friday–Saturday, BodyVox
Nothing says Halloween like pirouetting poltergeists and choreography inspired by Hitchcock and folklore. The dance theater company’s annual spooktastic show—this year titled Blood Red Is the New Black—features a mix of old and new work, geared toward the whole fright-loving family.
Inbal Pinto & Avshalom Pollak Dance Company
8 p.m. Thursday–Saturday, Lincoln Hall
The Israeli choreographer duo collaborated with three Japanese musicians to create Wallflower, an award-winning celebration of color and shape accompanied by an evocative original soundtrack. The piece, which features 10 dancers in breathtaking costumes, amazed critics in Tel Aviv and Tokyo.
Portland EcoFilm Festival
Various times Thursday–Sunday, Hollywood Theatre
From a documentary about seed conservation (from the bang-up team behind The Real Dirt on Farmer John and Queen of the Sun) to a 1975 sci-fi flick about robot gardeners in outer space, this four-day fest might just have something for everyone.
8 p.m. Thursday, Wonder Ballroom
The former Of Montreal member just released his third solo album, Sonderlust, which manages to be hyperactive and wistfully romantic all at once, with each track more danceable than the last.
8 p.m. Thursday, Crystal Ballroom, SOLD OUT
The indie rock outfit released its first record in five years this summer to the delight of fans and critics. And Then Like Lions is front man Israel Nebeker processing his father’s death and the end of a 13-year relationship in a melodic, layered meditation on loss produced by our hometown master, Tucker Martine.
9 p.m. Thursday, Mississippi Studios
The self-described “music for burnouts” made by these Portland locals makes you feel like you’re in one of those ’60s surfing B-movies.
8:30 p.m. Sunday, Holocene
The L.A. duo makes music that sounds a bit like Interpol and Bloc Party had a child. A really, really cool child.
CLOSING Richard III
7:30 p.m. Thursday–Saturday, Post5 Theatre
Post5 puts the spotlight on one of Shakespeare’s gnarliest villains, in a production directed by Patrick Walsh.
CLOSING The Nether
7:30 p.m. Thursday–Saturday, Imago Theatre
In a not-too-distant dystopian future, men frequent an online realm to prey on virtual Victorian children. That’s the setting for Jennifer Haley’s disconcerting new play, which caused a critical stir after its London premiere—some deemed it sensationalistic, while others hailed its sly moral provocations. Scott Yarbrough directs this Third Rail production.
How I Learned What I Learned
7:30 p.m. Thursday–Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, Portland Playhouse
Since 2010, Portland Playhouse has produced six works by landmark black playwright August Wilson, who died in 2005. Now it’s landed the rights to his autobiographical solo show, which traces Wilson’s life as he comes of age in Pittsburgh, confronts the injustices of racism, and develops his powerful, poetic voice.
The Wong Street Journal
7:30 p.m. Thursday–Saturday, The Headwaters
Craving respite from hashtags and clickbait, Kristina Wong jets off for some “voluntourism” in Uganda. There, the third-generation Chinese American quickly encounters confusing racial dynamics (she’s believed to be white), grapples with privilege and inequality, and winds up recording a rap album, all of which she recounts in this solo show.
7:30 p.m. Thursday–Sunday, Back Door Theatre
Fresh off the New York Times′ top-10 list of 2015 plays, Hir makes its Northwest premiere with Defunkt—the latest last stop in a cross-country march through American theaters. This darkly funny comedy follows the heart-wrenching transitions of a family confronted with PTSD, life-changing illness, and shifting gender identities.
Hold These Truths
7:30 p.m. Thursday–Saturday and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Gerding Theater
In the early 1940s, a Japanese American college student in Seattle named Gordon Hirabayashi fought back against the unconstitutionality of mass internment—he landed in jail and spent years fighting to get his convictions overturned. Hirabayashi is at the center of Jeanne Sakata’s one-man play, part of Portland Center Stage’s Northwest Stories series.
11 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Thursday–Friday and 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturday, Russo-Lee Gallery
Thirty years is a long time—maybe even longer in gallery years. But that’s how long Laura Russo Gallery has served the region’s artists and art audiences in its Northwest space. This month the gallery celebrates its 30th birthday with a new name—the Russo-Lee Gallery, after proprietor Martha Lee—and a 30th-anniversary group show, featuring work from all the contemporary artists the gallery represents, among them Samantha Wall, Michael Brophy, and Mel Katz.
10 a.m.–10:30 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Friday–Saturday, Newspace Center for Photography
“What does democracy look like in 2016?” That’s the question to which photographers—from across genres and formats—have responded for this open-call group show, to be accompanied by debate screenings and a reading group on “political depression and the politics of heavy feelings.”
12–2 p.m. and 5–7 p.m. Thursday and 12–2 p.m. Saturday, Mont-Blanc Building
Get a peek at some of the most pioneering (but also functional) furniture design being created in the Pacific Northwest, from sleek benches to geometrically patterned stools to chic lighting fixtures.
Retro Gaming Expo
Various times Friday–Sunday, Oregon Convention Center
Among other events, the weekend-long expo features the Classic Tetris World Championship finals, with the world’s greatest players duking it out in everybody's favorite block-stacking video game. And this year, a Portlander might stand a shot at the title—we've got more on local phenom Terry Purcell.