PoMo Picks

Top Things to Do This Weekend: Feb 23–26

All-lady mariachi troupes, rock-’n’-roll photographers, Pulitzer-winning authors, and holograms. The weekend has arrived.

By Rebecca Jacobson, Jason Buehrer, and Fiona McCann February 23, 2017

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All-lady ensemble Mariachi Flor de Toloache plays the Newmark on Thursday.

Books & Talks

Viet Thanh Nguyen
7:30 p.m. Thursday, Powell's City of Books, FREE
Nguyen won the 2016 Pulitzer for his novel The Sympathizer, an Apocalypse Now–inspired tale centered on a Vietnamese spy, and he’s back with The Refugees, a short story collection about immigration, culture shock, and complicated ideas of home.

Colum McCann
7:30 p.m. Friday, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, $32
The Dublin-born writer, National Book Award winner, and practitioner of “radical empathy” most recently published Thirteen Ways of Looking, a fiction collection the New York Times called “melancholy and affecting.”

Ethan Russell
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Newmark Theatre, $26–36
For a nonmusician, Russell has had a hell of a rock-’n’-roll career, photographing concerts and album covers for the likes of the Beatles, the Who, and the Rolling Stones. In his live show, he takes audiences on a multimedia ride—think of it as an exceptionally rollicking PowerPoint presentation.


Kathleen Madigan
8 p.m. Saturday, Aladdin Theater, SOLD OUT
After nearly 30 years of performing, the veteran road comedian still delivers tight, relatable stand-up that draws on her big Irish Catholic family, her upbringing in Missouri, and, sometimes, her obsession with missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.


Swan Lake
7:30 p.m. Thursday–Friday and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 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. For more on OBT, read about its upswing here


Portland International Film Festival
Various times and locations thru Monday, $12 general
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.

Cascade Festival of African Films
Various times thru March 5, 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.


Mariachi Flor de Toloache
7:30 p.m. Thursday, Newmark Theatre, $20–25
Mariachi swagger for days”—that’s how NPR has described this New York–based, all-female mariachi ensemble, which went from busking near Times Square in 2008 to a Latin Grammy nomination in 2014.

Weyes Blood
9 p.m. Thursday, Mississippi Studios, $12
Some of the creative energy for the the folk-pop songwriter's latest album, Front Row Seat to Earth, came after she lost her phone, as she explained in a recent interview with LA Weekly: “Words, ideas and songs started returning to my brain. I thought that those thoughts had gone away as I’d gotten older, but it wasn’t the case.”

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Natalie Mering, a.k.a. Weyes Blood, plays Mississippi Studios on Thursday.

PDX Jazz Festival
Various times and locations thru Sunday, $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. For more, check out our festival preview.

Songs of Love and War
7 p.m. Thursday and Saturday, Hampton Opera Center, $65
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.

John Scofield
7:45 p.m. Friday, Revolution Hall, $29–59
Scofield has played with a who’s who of jazz history, and on 2016 album Country for Old Men, he digs deep into bluegrass and country to reveal some of jazz’s early roots.

Elgar's Enigma Variations
7:30 p.m. Saturday–Sunday (continues Monday), Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, $29–105
Schumann and Elgar come together for an evening of masterworks. Starting off the evening is Elgar’s Variations on an Original Theme, which the composer wrote as tributes to his closest friends and family. Popularly known as the Enigma Variations, they’re also said to have a hidden melody. Rounding out the evening is a Schumann piano concerto played by acclaimed pianist Jeffrey Kahane.


CLOSING We're All Mad Here
7:30 p.m. Thursday–Saturday, Shaking the Tree, $10–25
Samantha Van Der Merwe’s theater company, Shaking the Tree, had planned to produce Macbeth this winter. Then Trump won the presidential election—and they decided to shelve it till next season. (“I think it will be interesting to explore that play after a year of Trump,” she says.) In its place, Matthew Kerrigan performs a timely new solo show exploring his experiences as a young gay man in the Midwest. Plus, check out our show preview.

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Maiesha McQueen plays Ethel Waters at Portland Center Stage.

His Eye Is on the Sparrow
7:30 p.m. Thursday–Saturday and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Gerding Theater, $25–60
Larry Parr’s “musical biography” charts the turbulent life of Ethel Waters, who defied the challenges of Jim Crow in her journey from the black vaudeville circuit to Broadway and Hollywood.

Marjorie Prime
7:30 p.m. Thursday–Saturday and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Artists Repertory Theatre, $25–50
Before Jon Hamm, Geena Davis, and Tim Robbins make it into a movie, catch the stage version of Jordan Harrison’s sci-fi-tinged play about aging, memory, and (ooh!) holograms.

Pep Talk
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! 

Visual Art

I Am Not Invisible
5–7:30 p.m. Friday, Portland Art Museum, FREE
At this one-night pop-up exhibit, glimpse 20 portraits of female Oregon military veterans, photographed by Sally Sheldon. Portland State's Veterans Resource Center and the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs collaborated on the show, which will tour the state. Per the press materials: “Our goal is to increase awareness and dialogue about women veterans and to enhance the public’s view of the myriad experiences—both good and bad—of women who have served in the military, including the collective inequities that abound for them as veterans.”

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CLOSING 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.

CLOSING Torrent Tea
10 a.m.–10:30 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Friday–Sunday, Newspace Center for Photography, FREE
From a small perch in inner Southeast, Newspace takes on big issues: the industrial-prison complex, democracy, nuclear materials. Now comes Torrent Tea, a group exhibition from artists of color showing portraits of blackness and queerness. It aims to take back the medium of photography “from a canon that has historically neglected their participation.”

CLOSING Francesca Capone
Noon–6 p.m. Thursday–Sunday, Nationale, FREE
In Text Means Tissue, the interdisciplinary artist explores femininity and language via her own handwoven pieces, furniture made with a New York artist, and writings about the relationship between women and textiles.

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