Top Things to Do This Weekend: Jan 18–21
Books & Talks
7:30 p.m. Thu, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, $29
The two-time National Book Award winner—she took home the prize for 2011′s Salvage the Bones as well as last year’s Sing, Unburied, Sing—writes with unparalleled urgency and lyricism.
Kachka: A Return to Russian Cooking
7:30 p.m. Fri, Powell's City of Books, FREE
When modern Soviet-era restaurant Kachka opened in 2014, owner Bonnie Morales convinced Portland that vintage USSR food, with its inborn comfort and surprising diversity, was not only worthy, but perhaps offers the most fun way to eat and drink. In this new cookbook, Morales and coauthor Deena Prichep capture that spirit: you’ll learn about the wonderful world of vodka infusions, secrets of DIY caviar, tips for navigating a Russian market and its bulk candy aisle, and how to MacGyver a mangal grill using your home Weber.
8 p.m. Fri, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, $39.50–75
Recognized as the “King of the Rant,” the Grammy-winning comedian (and actor and author) is the voice of reason we need right now. Known for his trademark comedic yelling, Black’s career began in 1996 on Comedy Central, and he’s since become a familiar guest on the late-night circuit. Prepare to get political: this show is a stop on his “The Joke’s on Us” tour.
7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Sat, Curious Comedy Theater, $12
The smart-aleck Los Angeles comedian returns to Portland to record her second album for Kill Rock Stars. Portlanders provide opening sets: the early show features Mohanad Elshieky and Kirsten Kuppenbender, while Kuppenbender returns alongside Jason Traeger for the late show.
7:30 and 10 p.m. Thu, Jack London Revue, $20
The youngest son in a family of jazz royalty—you might have heard of brothers Branford and Wynton—Marsalis grew up as a drummer, and more recently began to perform on the vibraphone. The New York Times calls his drumming “eccentric within graceful boundaries” and says he’s “an exact and articulate” vibraphonist. Either way, this is jazz at a level both disciplined and accomplished. He plays two, separate-ticket sets at the Jack London.
8 p.m. Thu, Mississippi Studios, $12–14
Singer-songwriter Laura Burhenn, the force behind the Mynabirds, brings her soulful sound and timely lyrics to the stage. Her most recent album, Be Here Now, is a collection of nine songs written over two weeks in January 2017—a politically full-throated and emotional response to Donald Trump’s inauguration and the Women’s March.
The Secret Sisters
8 p.m. Fri, Mississippi Studios, $18–20
Singer-songwriter duo Laura and Lydia Rogers hail from Muscle Shoals, Alabama, the Southern musical mecca that brought us tracks from legends like Aretha Franklin and the Rolling Stones. These two bring an angelic twang to their perky, plucking tunes, and their third album, 2017′s You Don’t Own Me Anymore, was produced by Brandi Carlile.
8 p.m. Sat, Keller Auditorium, $30–55
After a stretch of self-imposed isolation—her “monastic fantastic,” she told the New Yorker—Annie Clark (a.k.a. St. Vincent) returns in all her glam glory with Masseduction. It’s the shape-shifting musician’s most personal album to date, with songs about pills and heartbreak and suicide, but also replete with Technicolor hooks and giddy strings. And don’t even get us started on the first single, “New York”: a morsel of wondrous melancholy.
9 p.m. Sat, Mississippi Studios, $15–17
Early last year, Sallie Ford dropped her second solo effort, Soul Sick, an ambitious ode to ’50s jukebox rock. Her menacing yowl glides over jangly guitar riffs in a transcendent collision of angst, whimsy, and rollicking melancholy—but you can still dance to it.
Various times and venues thru Jan 28, prices vary, $50 for festival pass
The Fertile Ground Festival, now in its 10th year, is an 11-day buffet of new, locally produced performance. With fully staged world premieres running alongside bare-bones readings and very-much-in-progress workshop productions, things range from refined to very, very raw, but that’s part of the deliciousness (and chaos) of it.
Weaving Women Together
7:30 p.m. Thu–Sat, 2 p.m. Sun, Hampton Opera Center, $15–20
Written, composed, and performed by Portlander Nikki Weaver, this workshop production traces Weaver’s experience of losing her mother via personal stories—and pieces of fabric—from dozens of women.
2 p.m. Sat–Sun, Artists Repertory Theatre, $25–50
Oregon playwright E. M. Lewis unveils her five-hour epic about the discovery of the hole in the ozone layer, set in 1986 at the South Pole Research Station. Science! Love! Global politics! Don’t fret: audiences get a dinner break midway through the show. For more, check out our Q&A with Lewis.
CLOSING Uncle Vanya
7:30 p.m. Thu–Sun, Reed College's Diver Studio, $25–30
As part of their Anton Chekhov series, Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble presents an unexpected spin on Uncle Vanya, in a new translation by Portlander Štĕpán Šimek. They’re calling it “Vanya in a sweaty cabaret,” and it features music from three guests: Courtney Von Drehle and Ralph Huntley of Klezmocracy, and Andre Temkin of Chervona.
7:30 p.m. Thu–Sat, Milagro Theatre, $20–27
What is your bi-dentity? In this bilingual world premiere, Teatro Milagro’s touring cast uses interviews, poetic narrative, and movement to explore the pressures to identify as a single race.
Noon–5 p.m. Thu–Sun, Blue Sky Gallery, FREE
Books and Films 1947–2018 draws together the work of the influential Swiss-American photographer, best known for The Americans, a landmark 1958 book that captured people across lines of race and class. Born in Switzerland in 1924, Frank is still active today.
10 a.m.–8 p.m. Thu–Fri, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat–Sun, Portland Art Museum, $19.99
This exhibit of prints, drawings, and posters—from Dürer and Picasso to regional artists Beth Van Hoesen and Frank Boyden—spans 500 years, showing animals as specimen, symbol, and everything in between.
Racing to Change: Oregon's Civil Rights Years
10 a.m.–5 p.m. Thu–Sat, noon–5 p.m. Sun, Oregon Historical Society, FREE–$11
The Oregon Black Pioneers—a nonprofit dedicated to African American history—curate a new exhibit about the ’60s and ’70s in this state, from protest movements to clashes with police to housing and employment discrimination.