Top Things to Do This Weekend: Feb 15–18
Books & Talks
7:30 p.m. Sun, Powell's City of Books, FREE
Hundreds die each year while crossing from Mexico into the United States, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. As part of the Border Patrol, Francisco Cantú witnessed some of these deaths firsthand and delivered survivors to detention. Haunted by their stories, he returned to civilian life, but when an immigrant friend visited his dying mother in Mexico and never returned, he was sucked back into border issues. Cantú’s new book, The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches From the Border, was praised by Kirkus as “a devastating narrative of the very real human effects of depersonalized policy.” And given our current politics—and construction of wall prototypes already underway—it couldn’t be timelier. For more, check out our Q&A with Cantú.
7 p.m. Fri, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, $30–45
Filipino-American comedian Jo Koy comes to Portland with his Break the Mold tour. Since 1989, he’s garnered laughs at self-funded shows, but he broke into the mainstream when he performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 2005. These days, he hosts a podcast called The Koy Pond, and he’s a regular on Adam Carolla’s podcast as well. His latest stand-up special, Jo Koy: Live from Seattle, was released last year on Netflix.
41st Portland International Film Festival
Various times and venues thru Mar 1, $12 ($350 festival pass)
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.
Black History Month Film Series
6 p.m. Fri, 3 p.m. Sat, The Center for Self Enhancement, FREE
Self Enhancement, Inc. screens two films to mark Black History Month: Priced Out, which grapples with gentrification in Portland's Albina neighborhood (read more here), and I Am Not Your Negro, Raoul Peck's astounding, essay-style documentary about James Baldwin. Each screening will be followed by a panel discussion. After Friday's showing of Priced Out, director Cornelius Swart will be joined by SEI founder and president Tony Hopson and Michelle Lewis, an Albina resident who appears in the film. And on Sunday, James Baldwin's niece (!), Aisha Karefa-Smart, will talk with Portland State professor Derrais Carter.
PDX Jazz Festival
Various times and venues thru Feb 25, prices vary
The annual fest turns 15 this year, with more than 100 events across 11 days. A top pick? Dr. Lonnie Smith, playing the Winningstad on February 23. With a career spanning five decades, the NEA-anointed jazz master 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. Other shows to catch: Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble with Edna Vazquez, Bill Frisell, and a tribute to pianist and educator Geri Allen.
8 p.m. Thu, Roseland Theater, SOLD OUT
The 22-year-old British singer-songwriter has seen a quick rise since releasing her self-titled debut album last year, heralded for her catchy pop with a dark tinge.
Sabertooth Micro Fest
8 p.m. Fri–Sun, Crystal Ballroom, prices vary
The “psychedelic stoner rock” fest returns for the fourth year, boasting three nights of music from the likes of Coven, Parquet Courts, Japanese Breakfast, Jay Som, Thurston Moore Group, and more.
The Music of John Williams
7:30 p.m. Sat, 2 p.m. Sun, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, $24+
Just in time for Oscar season, John Williams’ music arrives at the Schnitz. Fans of the music of Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Indiana Jones are in for a treat as the Oregon Symphony pays tribute to the famed composer.
5:30 p.m. Thu–Fri, 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! And, winningly, a children's story told in Norwegian (trust us, it actually works). Don’t fret: audiences get several opportunities for respite including a dinner break midway through the show. For more, check out our interview with Lewis.
7:30 p.m. Fri–Sat, 5 p.m. Sun, Shaking the Tree, $30
Shaking the Tree, one of Portland’s more innovative theater companies, tackles the Scottish play. Director Samantha Van Der Merwe says the company’s warehouse “will become a shifting landscape of light and shadow where imaginings seem real, and real events become worse than any imaginings.”
12 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Thu, 7:30 p.m. Fri, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sat, 2 p.m. Sun, Gerding Theater, $25–57
Adam Szymkowicz’s world-premiere play follows Suzanne, a small-town photographer, who allows us a glimpse into her neighbors’ love lives.
7:30 p.m. Thu–Sun, Back Door Theater, $20 suggested
In Alexi Kaye Campbell’s portrait of homosexuality during different eras, three actors play two sets of characters with identical names, 60 years apart. The Olivier Award-winning play is presented here by Defunkt, which often grapples with LGBTQ issues onstage.
11 a.m.–6 p.m. Thu–Sat, Upfor Gallery, FREE
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.
11 a.m.–6 p.m. Thu–Sat, PNCA Center for Contemporary Art & Culture, FREE
From the rhinestone-loving Mickalene Thomas to Moroccan-born Hassan Hajjaj—who frames his color-popping, pattern-wild images with convenience-store goods—this photography exhibit explores race, history, and identity via staged portraits by six artists from around the globe.