Books & Talks
6:30 p.m. Thu, Powell's City of Books, FREE
In Mother Winter, Sophia Shalmiyev follows the crumbs back to her native Russia in search of the mother she lost to addiction and geography. It’s a lyrical memoir and feminist appraisal of the events that brought her to motherhood in Portland.
7:30 p.m. Fri, Psychic Sister, $10–20
The long-running feminist literary tour—2019 marks its 22nd year—swings through Northeast Portland’s witchy Psychic Sister shop with a slew of rabble-rousing writers and artists.
7:30 p.m. Sun, Powell's City of Books, FREE
In his latest novel, The House of Broken Angels—just nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award—bestselling author Luis Alberto Urrea chronicles a Mexican-American family as they gather for the final birthday party of the clan’s dying patriarch. The Washington Post called it “a big, sprawling, messy, sexy, raucous house party of a book, a pan-generational family saga with an enormous, bounding heart, a poetic delivery and plenty of swagger.”
8 p.m. Thu, Alberta Rose Theatre, $30–35
British comedian, writer, and cricket commentator Andy Zaltzman returns to Portland for a live taping of his satirical news podcast, The Bugle. Saltzman created the show with John Oliver, and the two co-hosted it from 2007 to 2015. Since 2016, Saltzman has steered the show with help from a rotating roster of co-hosts, and tonight he’ll descend upon the Alberta Rose with a Santa Claus-sized bag of puns, political satire, and whimsy.
2, 6, and 9 p.m. Fri, 2 p.m. Sat, Revolution Hall/Doug Fir Lounge, $22–25 (most shows sold out)
The Portland-raised comic titan—he now lives in LA and tears it up writing for The Late Late Show with James Corden—brings an uncanny blend of fury and charm to the mic. He returns for a slew of home-turf shows at both Revolution Hall (Friday at 6 and 9 p.m.) and the Doug Fir (Friday and Saturday at 2 p.m.), most of which are already sold out.
7 and 9:30 p.m. Sat, 7 p.m. Sun, Keller Auditorium, $39.60–65
Ali Wong made history with the release of her 2016 Netflix special, Ali Wong: Baby Cobra, by becoming the first comedian to record a stand-up show while seven months pregnant. Last year, she returned—pregnant again—with another Netflix special, Ali Wong: Hard Knock Wife. Now she’s back (sans baby bump) on the Portland stage for her Milk and Money tour, birthing jokes and punchlines a-plenty.
8 p.m. Thu–Sat, Newmark Theatre, $25–34
White Bird last brought these French-Canadian dancers to Portland for a carnal, physically taxing take on The Rite of Spring. That’s par for the course for the troupe, which returns with a piece inspired by Belgian artist Henri Michaux and another set to a live performance of Chopin’s 24 Preludes.
7 p.m. Sat, Hipbone Studio, $10–13
Raised in postwar Japan and now based in Portland, modern dancer and choreographer Toshiko Namioka brings her idiosyncratic style—which lands somewhere between Western modern dance and butoh—to a two-part performance. In the first half, she’ll be accompanied by poet and musician David Wagstaff, and in the second part by local dancer Loretta Orosz.
Various times Thu–Sun, various venues, prices vary
Founded in 1977, the Portland International Film Festival is back for its 42nd year, showcasing documentaries, shorts, features and animated works by local and international filmmakers. Spread over seven venues, PIFF will screen more than 140 films, in addition to hosting visiting artists and putting on celebratory festivities. Plus, we've got a by-the-numbers look at the annual fest.
7:30 p.m. Thu–Fri, New Expressive Works, $10–25
In this commission by Third Angle New Music, local sound artists Branic Howard and Loren Chasse create a sonic snapshot of Portland. Their piece, “In a Room,” draws on field recordings, from creaking pine trees to sizzling power lines, to explore the soundscapes of this city. For more on the show, check out this story from our March issue.
8 p.m. Thu, Aladdin Theater, $22–25
We’re calling everything “extra” now, and this Boston-based string quartet has a lexical innovation of their own: Extralife, the title of their latest album. NPR called it “a sumptuous set of harmony-heavy songs,” adding that Darlingside is “eschewing the Americana-leaning folk-rock of their earlier work to explore experimental, complex chamber pop.”
8 p.m. Fri, Polaris Hall, $20–25
Last year, Portland’s prolific folk-pop singer-songwriter released The Lookout, an LP featuring guest vocals by Sufjan Stevens and Jim James. The album, which NPR says offers “a buffer to a chaotic world,” explores the delicate instability of life through rich imagery, such as a lightning rod or a mother with her child.
7:30 p.m. Sun, Mississippi Studios, $22–25
Portland’s favorite drop-in pop chorus hosts its third annual (!) Jesus Christ Superstar sing-along, backed by a 12-member backup band (which even boasts a horn section). Per the press release, “expect epic rock battles, esoteric trivia, and general rabble-rousing.”
OPENING The Island in Winter
7:30 p.m. Thu–Sat, 2 p.m. Sun, Vault Theater, $27–32
Bag & Baggage Productions presents a world-premiere, bilingual adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, revamped by Hillsboro native Carlos-Zenen Trujillo. The show, part of a multi-year project to re-envision Shakespeare’s problem plays, takes Miami and Havana as the setting for this tale of infidelity, jealousy, forgiveness, and bittersweet romance.
8 p.m. Fri–Sat, Curious Comedy Annex, $18
Portland writer and performer Eleanor O’Brien, known for frank shows about sex and pleasure, presents a solo piece that she says “envisions a path out of the darkness of misogyny and into the Age of Enlightenment.” Bold claim, but given O’Brien’s track record of both genuine wit and moving storytelling, we’re in.
CLOSING Dream Logic
11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Sat, 1:30, 3:30, and 6 p.m. Sun, Alberta Abbey, $5–25
Portland’s Hand2Mouth is known for its wildly inventive approach to theater. The company’s latest, Dream Logic, transports the viewer to a parallel universe where the rules don’t apply, and it features a winning theatrical score by beloved children’s musician Red Yarn. Recommended for adults and kids ages 10 and up, it's a playful and interactive show that roves the hallways, staircases, and rooms of Northeast Portland's Alberta Abbey.
OPENING Ronny Quevedo
11 a.m.–8 p.m. Thu, 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Fri–Sat, Upfor Gallery, FREE
Ecuador-born artist Ronny Quevedo uses embossing to create pieces for Every Measure of Zero, which explores marginalized cultures and their relationship to physical labor. The resulting pieces are geometric, abstract representations of personal stories and the traditions of uncolonized societies.
OPENING Natalie Krick
Noon–9 p.m. Thu, noon–5 p.m. Fri–Sun, Blue Sky Gallery, FREE
In Natural Deceptions, Portland-born photographer Natalie Krick explores the tension between her “attraction and aversion to popular culture.” The exhibit features bold portraits of Krick and her mother, with glossy, editorial-style images that dig into femininity, age, sexuality, and what it means to be a beautiful woman.
OPENING Mel Katz
11 a.m.–8 p.m. Thu, 11 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Fri, 11 a.m–5 p.m. Sat, Russo Lee Gallery, FREE
Longtime Portland sculptor Mel Katz brings his latest work—bright, eye-popping, abstract pieces, all made of anodized aluminum—to Russo Lee. Rich blues and reds dominate the work in Wall Sculpture, complete with Katz’s signature bulky curves.
CLOSING Lilian Martinez
Noon–6 p.m. Thu–Sun, Nationale, FREE
The Observer called Lilian Martinez “Matisse of the Instagram era,” which is frankly underselling the Los Angeles artist’s luscious, colorful figures. Soft Shades, her first solo show at Nationale, features paintings with soft pastels and curvy lines showing bodies at rest.