The Essentials

13 Things to See and Do in Portland: February 2018

A dance tribute to Sgt. Pepper, jazz master Dr. Lonnie Smith, and tiny sculpted cats—here's what you can't miss this month.

By Rebecca Jacobson and Fiona McCann January 30, 2018 Published in the February 2018 issue of Portland Monthly

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Hassan Hajjaj's Wamuhu

2.5 Minute Ride

Jan 25–Feb 11, Artists Repertory Theatre
Profile Theatre normally devotes its seasons to a single playwright. This time, the company tweaks the formula: two writers, Lisa Kron and Anna Deavere Smith, will share the next 18 months. Up first is Kron’s Obie-winning solo show, which straddles several family trips, including one to an Ohio amusement park and another to Auschwitz, where Kron’s grandparents were killed.

New Feelings

Feb 1–Apr 14, PNCA Center for Contemporary Art & Culture
From the rhinestone-loving Mickalene Thomas to Moroccan-born Hassan Hajjaj—who frames his color-popping, pattern-wild images (including Wamuhu, above) with convenience-store goods—this photography exhibit explores race, history, and identity via staged portraits by six artists from around the globe. 

Alix Pearlstein

Jan 31–Feb 24, Upfor Gallery
The artist may describe the exhibition Harem ROOM-1 as a “figurative installation” with a nod to “a collection of like, fetishized elements” but we know this will be a room full of TINY SCULPTED CATS and that is exactly what we need in these dark days of winter.

Min Jin Lee

Feb 14, Powell’s City of Books
, Min Jin Lee’s multigenerational saga, examines the legacy of immigration and the status of outsider through a 20th-century Korean family in Japan. It enraptured critics, and was hailed by writer and editor Roxane Gay as her favorite book of 2017.

Adán Jodorowsky

Feb 14, Wonder Ballroom
This French-Mexican actor—you may have seen him in father Alejandro’s autobiographical films The Dance of Reality and Endless Poetry—also composed the soundtracks to both, along with several albums of disco-pop-infused dance tracks. Rumor has it he got his first guitar lesson from George Harrison. Catch him at the Wonder Ballroom with local folk legends Y La Bamba in support.

41st Portland International Film Festival

Feb 15–Mar 1, multiple venues
Another year, another blitz of new cinema from across the world. Three picks: Veep creator Armando Ianucci’s The Death of Stalin, Israeli drama Foxtrot, and the
Oregon-shot Lean on Pete, adapted from Willy Vlautin’s novel.

Mark Morris Dance Group

Feb 21, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
A half-century ago, the Beatles jolted the world with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. In Pepperland, Brooklyn choreographer Mark Morris pays tribute to the Fab Four. Co-commissioned by White Bird, the evening-length work features explosive choreography, neon miniskirts and stage suits, and a jazzy score riffing on the original songs. 

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Dr. Lonnie Smith

Dr. Lonnie Smith

Feb 23, Winningstad Theatre
With a career spanning five decades, NEA-anointed jazz master Dr. Lonnie Smith is probably the most renowned jazz organist in the country: a finger-whirring whiz on the Hammond B-3. His first Blue Note album came out in 1968; his latest, in 2016. Catch the legend live as part of a stellar PDX Jazz Festival lineup.


Feb 23, Crystal Ballroom
Last month, Portland’s beloved orchestral-pop army—the outfit counts at least 11 members—unveiled its first new studio album since 2013. Front man Kyle Morton described Offerings as a “70-minute exploration of memory and sacrifice in three movements.” Emotionally raw and a little spooky, it’s as layered and lush as anything we’ve heard from Typhoon.

Strong Female Protagonist

Feb 23–25, Mar 2–4, PNCA Mediatheque
If you like your drag performances with a healthy injection of Judith Butler, Wayne Bund is here for you. In this comedic, multimedia solo show, the Portlander traces his evolution as alter ego Feyonce, along the way underscoring “the power of femininity and sass.”

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Read It

Like a Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls for grown-ups, Karen Karbo’s In Praise of Difficult Women profiles 29 exemplars, from Hillary Clinton to Frida Kahlo. Meanwhile, Tin House managing editor Cheston Knapp’s Up Up, Down Down is a collection of essays on male maturation, blurbed by the likes of Anthony Doerr and Maggie Nelson.

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Hear It

Portland music scene stalwart Dana Janssen (remember Akron/Family?) drops his latest Dana Buoy release this month. A collaboration with longtime collaborator and friend Justin Miller, Ice Glitter Gold adds a dose of psychedelia to clean dance beats and buoyant guitar riffs, for a smart, melodic, indie-pop take on love in various states of disconnection.   

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