Top Things to Do This Weekend: Feb 2–5
Books & Talks
7:30 p.m. Thursday, Powell's City of Books, FREE
Declared a “must-read” by Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn, the former New York Times reporter’s latest book chronicles the story of Kendall Francois, a young man who strangled eight women in the fall of 1998 and hid their corpses in his home—much to the oblivion of his live-in family. In The Spider and the Fly, Rowe merges true crime and psychological suspense to analyze her own fascination with the inner workings of the dark, criminal mind.
Portland Kids' Film Festival
Various times Saturday–Sunday, Hollywood Theatre, $9 per screening ($45 festival pass)
Calling all munchkins: this one's for you. In its second year, this festival for kids ages 2–15 doubles in size, with six different programs ranging from European animation to films starring strong girls.
OPENING Cascade Festival of African Films
Various times Friday–Sunday, Portland Community College's Cascade Campus, FREE
Back in 1991, this fest launched as a humble four-film affair. This year, it’s up to 17 feature-length films (plus six shorts) from across the continent, including South Africa, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, and Tunisia. Opening night is Portland filmmaker Christopher Kirkley’s Tuareg-language tribute to Prince’s Purple Rain.
CLOSING Reel Music Festival
Various times Thursday–Sunday, Whitsell Auditorium, $6–12
The NW Film Center’s multiweek, music-loving festival returns for its 34th year, with subject matter ranging from Estonian composer Arvo Pärt to young alternative musicians in the Middle East.
8 p.m. Thursday, Moda Center, $64.50–90
Earning his now-famous nickname from a black and yellow sweatshirt he used to wear, the multi-Grammy-winning recording artist lands in Portland. Joined by a three-piece band that includes his longtime guitarist Dominic Miller, Sting’s second stop of the 57th and 9th Tour is sure to be a smash.
Karl Denson's Tiny Universe
8 p.m. Friday, Aladdin Theater, $25
Fresh off a tour with the Rolling Stones, Karl Denson brings sexy saxophone soul to the Aladdin stage. The Runnin’ with the Diesel tour promises songs from his upcoming album, as well as popular covers by Prince, the White Stripes, and Beastie Boys.
Dvořák’s New World Symphony
7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, $23–105
Oregon Symphony music director Carlos Kalmar conducts Dvořák’s much-loved piece, written by the Czech composer while he was living in America in the 1890s, and influenced by both African American spirituals and Native American music.
OPENING 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.
Global Voices Lab: International Plays in Translation
Various times Friday–Sunday, Lincoln Hall and Portland Community College’s Cascade Campus, $20–$30
Portland audiences don’t get many chances to see theater from outside the English-speaking world. Consider Boom Arts’ two-weekend confab a small corrective to that, with readings and workshop performances of contemporary plays (in translation, of course) from Turkey, Peru, Nigeria, South Africa, Indonesia, and Austria.
7:30 p.m. Thursday–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, CoHo Theater, $23–28
What really happened when D. B. Cooper parachuted out of that Boeing 727 somewhere over the Cascades in 1971? It’s a question that’s animated obsessive quests and countless conspiracy theories, and now a world premiere by Washington-raised playwright Tommy Smith, directed by Portland fave Isaac Lamb.
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.
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.
OPENING Saimaiyu Akesuk
10:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Thursday–Saturday, Froelick Gallery, FREE
Birds, bears, and bugs: simplicity and whimsy meet in the drawings of Saimaiyu Akesuk, an Inuit artist from Nunavut.
OPENING We the People
5:30–8:30 p.m. Thursday, Wieden & Kennedy, FREE
Wieden & Kennedy launches a new gallery show featuring demonstration signs from recent social justice marches. The evolving exhibit will run through March before traveling around the world to the ad agency's international offices. We've got more on the exhibit here.
Portland Winter Light Festival
Various times and locations Thursday–Sunday, FREE
Portland is about to get lit. This outdoor event, now in its second year, features light-based art installations, electrifying performances, and all-ages activities taking place across the city.