PoMo Picks

Top Things to Do This Weekend: Jan 19–22

Roxane Gay. Louis C. K. DeVotchKa. Rent. Rodin. The largest dog show in the West. Portland is finally thawing out—and bursting with cures to your cabin fever.

By Rebecca Jacobson and Jason Buehrer January 19, 2017

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Roxane Gay hits Powell's on Thursday with her new short story collection.

Books & Talks

Roxane Gay
7:30 p.m. Thursday, Powell's City of Books, FREE
In new short story collection Difficult Women, the frank and fierce Bad Feminist author tells tales of women eking out existences across modern-day America, from a black engineer recently landed in Michigan to a girls’ fight club.

Not Our President: Women Writers Against Trump
7 p.m. Friday, Ford Food & Drink, FREE 
On the evening of Inauguration Day, 10 of Portland’s women writers—short story writer Margaret Malone, memoirist Jenny Forrest, and poet Shayla Lawson, among others—will get together at Southeast Portland’s Ford Food & Drink to raise their voices against “Trump and the misogyny and oppression he represents.” All donations collected at the free event will benefit Planned Parenthood.  

Jon Raymond
7:30 p.m. Friday, Powell's City of Books, FREE
The Portland author has just released Freebird, his first novel in five years. It's the story of an LA sustainability nut who slides into a moral quagmire, her narrative running alongside that of her teenage son attempting to forge a relationship with his grandfather, and of her former Navy SEAL brother who struggles to redress the wrongs he sees in the world he returned to from Afghanistan. We've got more in our Q&A with Raymond.


Louis C. K.
8 p.m. Thursday–Saturday, Moda Center, $25–50
Are there really any words left to describe Louis C. K.? The Louie star is a master of self-deprecation, a slayer of labyrinthine punch lines, and a juggler of tender insight and bursts of perversity.

What a Joke
7 p.m. Saturday, Curious Comedy Theater, $12–15
Dinah Foley, Anthony Lopez, Belinda Carroll, Mohanned Eslsheiky, and Andie Main team up for this show to raise money for the ACLU. They’re part of a nationwide push by comedians in more than 20 cities across the country who are responding to the election of Donald Trump with benefit shows.

Gad Elmaleh
8 p.m. Saturday, Revolution Hall, $30
In France, Elmaleh is famous. Like, real-deal, no-joke famous: He sells out arenas. His breakups are covered by the tabloids. But in a serious feat of cultural (not to mention linguistic) translation, he’s now on the road with an English-language show, Oh My Gad. Can his flashy brand of charm win over Americans accustomed to schlubby informality? For more, check out our Q&A with Elmaleh.


Tahni Holt Dance
8 p.m. Thursday, 7 and 9 p.m. Friday–Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday, Reed College Performing Arts Building, $25–34
Portland choreographer Tahni Holt, who’s presented her highly conceptual, cerebral dance pieces in town for almost two decades, unveils a new work. Holt received $15,000 from dance presenter White Bird to create Sensation/Disorientation, a 60-minute work performed in the round by six women, ranging in age from 15 to 59, who spend much of the hour in very close physical contact—entangled and wriggling on the floor as in a “puppy pile,” Holt says, or seated and gasping for air in tight embrace. For more, check out our preview of the show.

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Women tumble against each other in Tahni Holt's latest dance piece, Sensation/Disorientation.

Urban Meadow
7:30 p.m. Thursday–Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Lincoln Hall, $25–64
For two decades, the Portland dance-theater company BodyVox has brought cheeky humor and playful athleticism to the stage. This weekend, catch a greatest-hits collection of dances, plus, says the company, “at least one world premiere.” 


Rebellion & Revolution: Insurgent Cinema
7 p.m. Saturday, Hollywood Theatre, $9
With this original series, the Hollywood celebrates “subversive cinema, guerilla-style filmmaking, and insurrection in film." Up this weekend is 1995's Hate (La Haine), a searing black-and-white French film set in a housing project outside Paris.


7:30 p.m. Thursday, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, $20–75
Part baroque pop, part gypsy rock, part circus show, the Denver quartet joins the symphony for a night of unclassifiable sound.

7:30 p.m. Friday, Alberta Rose Theatre, $35
Paris-born composer Daniel Wohl blends the acoustic and the electronic—NPR said his most recent album “seems like the product of some wild-eyed professor mixing up aural compounds in a laboratory.” Tonight, he joins string players and percussionists from local new music outfit Third Angle, with visuals by artist Daniel Schwarz.

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Pablo Sainz Villegas doesn't just gaze rakishly out windows—he also plays classical guitar.

Pablo Sainz Villegas
7:30 p.m. Friday, Newmark Theatre, $30–50
The Spanish-born classical guitarist brings his globe-trotting, soulful sound to this solo performance.

Courtney Marie Andrews
9 p.m. Friday, Mississippi Studios, $12
Busking her way up and down both coasts as a teenager led this country singer-songwriter to work with acts like Jimmy Eat World and Damian Jurado. Her latest album, Honest Life, came out in 2016.


OPENING Fertile Ground Festival
Various times Thursday–Sunday, various locations, festival pass $50
Think of this annual festival, now in its ninth year, as an 11-day buffet of new, locally produced performance. Things range from refined to very, very raw, but that’s part of the deliciousness (and chaos) of it. Visit the festival website for the full lineup.

7:30 p.m. Thursday–Saturday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Gerding Theater, $25–70
Portland Center Stage launches the first half of a two-part historical epic, set in the early 1800s, about John Jacob Astor’s grand (and failed) attempt to establish an international fur trading hub—and full-on political empire—in what’s now Astoria.

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Astoria or bust!

OPENING Carnivora
7:30 p.m. Friday–Sunday, Shoebox Theatre, $10–19.99
In this Theatre Vertigo world-premiere horror tale by Portlander Matthew B. Zrebski, a woman finds herself in a clearing in the Ozarks, possibly after the end of the world—and definitely tormented by ghosts and mythical beasts.

7:30 p.m. Friday–Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, Imago Theatre, $25–$42.50
Annie Baker’s 2013 play, set in a shabby movie theater in Massachusetts, won the Pulitzer. It has also caused minor audience revolts, with huffy midshow walkouts. Yes, it’s three hours long and rife with pauses and repetition. But Baker is a seriously sharp and empathetic chronicler of human malaise (she’s also funny!), and Third Rail has done a bang-up job with her work in the past.

7:30 p.m. Thursday–Saturday, Milagro Theatre, $20–27
Milagro’s entry into this year’s Fertile Ground Festival is a new play by Emilio Rodriguez about a young man’s quest to follow in the footsteps of Oregonian Ben Linder, a political activist and engineer who tried to bring vaccines to children in Nicaragua. Linder, also a juggler and unicyclist, used his circus talents to work with these communities, a legacy that lives on through organizations like Clowns Without Boarders.

7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Keller Auditorium, $30+
The 20th anniversary touring production of the Pulitzer-winning, La Bohème–inspired musical makes a stop at the Keller.

Visual Art

OPENING Rodin: The Human Experience
10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturday–Sunday, $19.99
This traveling exhibit gathers some of Auguste Rodin’s most astonishing brass sculptures, including his portraits of Gustav Mahler, Victor Hugo, Balzac, and the Japanese dancer Hanako.

Contemporary Prints from Crow’s Shadow
11 a.m. –5 p.m. Thursday–Saturday, Hoffman Gallery at Oregon College of Art and Craft, FREE
This wide-ranging showcase of 21 prints made on-site at Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts—a nonprofit in Pendleton that works to provide opportunities for Native American artists, as well as training in Native art practices—includes work by Wendy Red Star, James Lavadour, and Rick Bartow.

Special Events

Rose City Classic
8 a.m.–6 p.m. Thursday–Sunday, Portland Expo Center, $10–15
Since 1948, the Dog Fanciers Association of Oregon has produced what has become the largest dog show event in the West, a five-day extravaganza drawing canines from across the country.

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