PoMo Picks

Top Things to Do This Weekend: Feb 16–19

Edna Vazquez. Swan Lake. Argentine tango. The Northwest's first black comedy fest. Arctic photography. Portland's got it going on.

By Rebecca Jacobson, Fiona McCann, and Jason Buehrer February 16, 2017

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Peter Franc and Xuan Cheng rehearse for Oregon Ballet Theatre's Swan Lake.

Image: Courtesy Yi Yin 

Books & Talks

Tracy K. Smith
7:30 p.m. Thursday, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, SOLD OUT
The Pulitzer-winning poet and memoirist has written movingly about death, grief, and faith in the wake of each of her parents’ deaths.

Liars' League PDX
7 p.m. Saturday, Literary Arts, FREE
After its 2007 London birth, this storytelling event spread to New York City and Hong Kong—and, last year, to Portland, with professional actors peddling fiction by mostly Northwest writers. Tonight’s theme is an evergreen topic of the last decade: “Natives & Transplants.” Read more about the series here.


First Annual NW Black Comedy Festival
Various times Friday–Saturday, Funhouse Lounge and Ford Food + Drink, $10–40
More than two dozen black comics, all from the Northwest, gather for what local production company Dirty Angel Entertainment says is the region's first comedy fest of its kind. Find the full lineup here.


Sean Dorsey
7 p.m. Friday, Greenwood Performance Theater at Reed College, $5–10
Celebrated transgender contemporary choreographer Sean Dorsey’s newest show, The Missing Generation, is a valentine to a generation of survivors who lived through the early years of the AIDS epidemic. 

7:30 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Keller Auditorium, $29–146
Oregon Ballet Theatre Artistic director Kevin Irving unveils his new adaptation of the most classic of ballets, promising to go beyond the princess-turned-swan and give attention to another character: a neglected, somewhat delusional prince.


Portland Black Film Festival
Various times thru Feb 22, Hollywood Theatre, $9 per screening
The fest winds down with docs about black ice hockey players and gay rights within the African American community, as well as continued screenings of I Am Not Your Negro, Raoul Peck’s astounding new film about James Baldwin.

Portland International Film Festival
Various times and locations thru Feb 26, $12 general admission
Every February, big screens across the city get splashed with standout cinema from around the globe. It’s the biggest, baddest, and most ambitious film festival in the state, and it’s turning 40 this year, promising cinephiles nearly 100 feature films across genres and languages.


OPENING PDX Jazz Festival
Various times and locations thru Feb 26, $20–75
The year 1917 was an auspicious one for jazz, with the births of the holy musical trinity of Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, and Buddy Rich. This month’s PDX Jazz Festival—now without Jimmy Mak’s as a venue—“celebrates the centurions” with a lineup that includes Gillespie protégé Jon Faddis, the sextet of Monk’s son, T. S. Monk, Roy Ayers, and the Maria Schneider Orchestra. Check out our preview for more on the fest.

Songs of Love and War
7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Sunday, Hampton Opera Center
Portland Opera’s new addition to its calendar is Winter Vino e Voce, kicking off this year with Songs of Love and War. Director Christopher Mattaliano gives explanatory talks, wine is complimentary, and Claudio Monteverdi’s sensual madrigals make up the musical portion.

Edna Vazquez
8 p.m. Friday, The Old Church
Mariachi meets folk meets jazz. It may sound like a gag, but the Mexico-born, Portland-based Vazquez makes it a rich, deeply felt wonder. (For more, check out our 2015 interview with Vazquez.)

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Born in Jalisco, Mexico, Edna Vazquez now calls Portland home.

Angel Olsen
9 p.m. Friday, Crystal Ballroom, SOLD OUT
The Missouri-raised singer-songwriter is much more than a tortured indie-folk star, as made blisteringly clear by her 2016 album, My Woman, which balances synth, grunge, and playful beats.

Sallie Ford
9 p.m. Saturday, Mississippi Studios, $14–16
The Portlander’s second solo album, Soul Sick (released out February 10), is an ambitious, confessional ode to ’50s jukebox rock. We've got more on the singer-songwriter here.

Tango Caliente
7:30 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, $23–105
The sounds and swivels of Argentine tango hit the Schnitz, with the Oregon Symphony joined by quintet Tango Pacifico, singer Pepe Raphael, and dancers.

The Staves
9 p.m. Saturday, Wonder Ballroom, $15
On the heels of their European tour, these three British sisters—some of the best harmonizers out there—managed to put together a three-track EP before heading out on an extended US tour. What did you do on family road trips?


Resist! The Variety Show!
8 p.m. Thursday, Shout House, FREE
This new monthly variety show aims to teach tools for effective resistance through music, theater, comedy, poetry, and skill sharing. Admission is free, and donations will benefit the Civil Liberties Defense Center

OPENING Testament of Mary
7:30 p.m. Thursday–Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, New Expressive Works, $25
Corrib, Portland’s resident Irish theater company, puts on a monologue by Colm Tóibín—the author of Brooklyn—imagining the mother of Jesus grappling in anguish with the life and death of her son. Jacklyn Maddux stars.

7:30 p.m. Thursday–Sunday, CoHo Theater, $20–30
Ready to get off the bench? Part theater, part rally, Hand2Mouth’s show finds a quartet of performers playing enthusiastic coaches who really! believe! in! you! In solidarity with the national general strike on February 17, Thursday's performance is free.

7:30 p.m. Thursday–Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 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.

CLOSING Carnivora
7:30 p.m. Thursday–Saturday, Shoebox Theater, $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.

CLOSING Elliot, a Soldier's Fugue
7:30 p.m. Thursday–Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, Artists Repertory Theatre, $20–38
With a model unique in Portland, Profile Theatre spends an entire season digging into the work of a single playwright. This year is all about Pulitzer winner Quiara Alegría Hudes, known for poetic, musically rich plays. (She wrote the book for In the Heights, which features music and lyrics by a certain Lin-Manuel Miranda.) First up: her 2007 play about a 19-year-old marine returning from Iraq to his Puerto Rican family in West Philadelphia.

Visual Art

Leslie Dorcus
1–5 p.m. Friday–Saturday, Wolff Gallery, FREE
In Ensnared//Embraced, the Portland printmaker showcases expressive, intimate works about the emotional aftermath of an abusive relationship.

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Portlander Leslie Dorcus's work is on display at Wolff Gallery.

Magda Biernat and Katrina Kepule
12–5 p.m. Thursday–Sunday, Blue Sky Gallery, FREE
Biernat’s photo series, Adrift, takes us to hunting cabins and icebergs in the Arctic, a region that leaves little question about the alarming effects of climate change. In Sit Silently, Latvian photographer Kepule captures the collision of contemporary Europe with the Soviet past in her country’s capital.

Arvie Smith
10 a.m.–8 p.m. Thursday–Friday and 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturday–Sunday, Portland Art Museum, $19.99
With lush colors, swirling lines, and potent references—the Ku Klux Klan to Aunt Jemima to the police shooting of Michael Brown—the Portlander’s huge canvases are a politically charged visual feast.

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