The Essentials

12 Things to Do and See in Portland: April 2018

Soul'd Out brings the likes of Erykah Badu and Wyclef Jean to town, Portlander Anis Mojgani drops new poetry, and young composers reimagine the music of Elliott Smith.

By Rebecca Jacobson and Fiona McCann March 27, 2018 Published in the April 2018 issue of Portland Monthly

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Erykah Badu

1. Soul’d Out

Apr 18–22, varius venues
An embarrassment of riches: Erykah Badu, De La Soul, Wyclef Jean, and Cécile McLorin Salvant share billing in Portland’s annually awesome Soul’d Out Festival. Catch these and more of the best soul, hip-hop, R&B, and jazz music makers around at venues all over the city. 

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Anis Mojgani

2. Anis Mojgani

Apr 29, Powell's City of Books
It’s hard to overstate the life-affirming joy communicated when charismatic Portlander Anis Mojgani—national slam poetry champion and beloved speaker and performer—delivers his poems in a live setting. Hear him showcase work from his latest collection, In the Pockets of Small Gods

3. A Fond Farewell

 Apr 12–13, Alberta Rose Theatre
Ever-inventive theater company Hand2Mouth teams up with Third Angle New Music for an evening honoring Elliott Smith, with six young composers commissioned to “reimagine” the legendary Portland singer-songwriter.

4. The Thanksgiving Play

Apr 1–29, Artists Repertory Theatre
Here’s a Sisyphean project: a politically correct school pageant about both Thanksgiving and Native American Heritage Month. That’s the premise of Larissa FastHorse’s new satirical comedy, a world premiere commissioned by Artists Repertory Theatre.

5. Zulema Renee Summerfield

Apr 20, Powell’s City of Books
In the sun-drenched Californian suburbs of the 1980s, the 8-year-old protagonist of Portlander Zulema Renee Summerfield’s debut novel, Every Other Weekend, adjusts to the logistical changes that come with her parents’ divorce, while battling anxiety about drought, Gorbachev, and other grown-up preoccupations.

6. The Academy of Saturn

Thru Apr 26, Reed College’s Cooley Art Gallery
Acclaimed British duo Jon Thomson and Allison Craighead use data as their palette—geolocated tweets form a wall of poetry, a slide show gets an eerie audio pairing to create a new narrative—to explore our technologically connected and disconnected world. 

7. Leslie Jamison

Apr 9, Powell’s City of Books
Acclaimed novelist and essayist Jamison follows best-selling collection The Empathy Exams with The Recovering: Intoxication and its Aftermath, a critically lauded chronicle of clawing her way back to sobriety after her alcoholic 20s, and an examination of the troublesome mythology surrounding writing and booze.

8. Man/Woman

Apr 12–21, Newmark Theatre
It’s a gender showdown at Oregon Ballet Theatre, with a program of all-female and all-male works (plus a co-ed piece, for good measure) exploring stereotypes of femininity and masculinity. Among the mix: a men’s trio in blue tutus, James Canfield’s 1990 meditation on the AIDS crisis, and Michel Fokine’s iconic The Dying Swan

9. Smith Eliot

Thru Apr 28, Wolff Gallery
In Ghost Ships, the Portland mixed-media artist showcases her photo-collaged wooden boxes—small reflections on time, memory, and secrets—alongside newer images in antique bubble-glass frames. 

10. Luna Gale

Apr 20–May 12, CoHo Productions
Sexual abuse, drug addiction, and a custody battle: the stakes are high in Rebecca Gilman’s 2014 play, a peek into the moral murkiness (and sheer exhaustion) of social work. 

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Read It

Julia Stoops’s debut novel, Parts Per Million, mines Oregon’s eco-activist past, with three characters investigating fraud and broadcasting their finds on the airwaves in a state heaving with anti-Iraq war protest.

Hear It

Proggy Portland rock trio Sama Dams drops a new album, Say It, this month, comprising 10 tracks of twisty grooves, howling guitar solos, and haunting vocals by singer-keyboardist Lisa Adams. Catch them live at Mississippi Studios April 5.

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