PoMo Picks

Top Things to Do This Weekend: Apr 18–21

From grizzly bear tales to a cannabis-fueled film fest, Soul'd Out to the Jefferson Dancers, this weekend is ready to deliver.

By Rebecca Jacobson, Jackson Main, and Fiona McCann April 17, 2019

It's your last chance for Crowns at Portland Playhouse—the musical closes this weekend.

Books & Talks

Sophia Shalmiyev

7 p.m. Thu, Broadway 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. She’ll be joined in conversation by Red Clocks author Leni Zumas.

Mark Doten

7:30 p.m. Thu, Powell's Books on Hawthorne, FREE
In his latest novel, Trump Sky Alpha, the renowned satirist describes a live-streaming, airplane-piloting president who shuns his enemies and flaunts his successes until he drives the globe to nuclear destruction. After 90 percent of the world’s population is decimated, a journalist named Rachel works to put the pieces back together by documenting the final days of internet humor, all the while hoping she’ll discover what became of her daughter and wife. Spoiler: she finds much more than that. Doten will be in conversation with local author Justin Taylor.

Bryce Andrews

7:30 p.m. Fri, Powell's City of Books, FREE
In Down From Mountain: The Life and Death of a Grizzly Bear, the Montana-based conservationist and rancher documents the lives of two grizzly bear cubs whose mother, Millie, was tragically killed. Andrews’s latest work is a cautionary tale for an ever-changing American West.


Jefferson Dancers

7:30 p.m. Thu–Fri, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sat, Newmark Theatre, $16–20
Portland’s ridiculously talented company of high school-age dancers presents its annual concert, featuring works of many genres, ballet to jazz to African.

CLOSING Pearl Dive Project

7:30 p.m. Thu–Sat, BodyVox Dance Center, $30–64
For the second time around, BodyVox has enlisted nondancers—from chef John Gorham to roboticist/author Daniel Wilson to photographer Susan Seubert (who has an exhibit opening at Froelick this weekend; see below)—to choreograph original works, with assistance from the company. What could go wrong?


SPLIFF Film Fest

6 and 8:30 p.m. Sat, Revolution Hall, $20
Billed as a film fest “made by the stoned for the stoned,” SPLIFF comes from the folks behind Hump, the amateur porn extravaganza created by Seattle’s Dan Savage. The first-ever installment, hosted by Savage, hits Portland April 20 (good timing, that), featuring original shorts exploring weird and weedy themes. Maximum film length? 4:20, of course.


Soul'd Out Festival

Various times Thu–Sun, various venues, prices vary
The homegrown festival of funk, R&B, jazz, soul, and hip-hop turns 10, with highlights including blues master Buddy Guy (who played the fest’s first year), hip-hop legends Eric B and Rakim, Ukrainian folk band Dakhabrakha, and soul singer Saeeda Wright, who’ll perform an Aretha Franklin tribute. For more on the fest, check out our story from the April issue of the magazine.

Ural Thomas & the Pain

8 p.m. Fri, Revolution Hall, $17–20
The near-80-year-old Ural Thomas leads a seven-man soul and funk band that seamlessly blends his own decades-old songs with new material in famously emotional, dance-packed live shows. The Portland-based band boasts drum, string, key, and horn players, with résumés including work with the Five Fingers of Funk and Cherry Poppin’ Daddies. Last fall, they released their first full-length album after six years together. Federale and Orquestra Pacifico Tropical open.

and there was a new voice which you slowly recognized as your own

8 p.m. Fri–Sat, Performance Works NW, $12–20
Experimental artists Stephanie Lavon Trotter and Margaret McNeal, who comprise vocal duo Golden Organ, explore opera in this multidisciplinary work. In a statement about the show, they ask: “How can we process grief and cultivate listening and empathy, as individuals and a collective?”

Shy Girls

8 p.m. Sat, Wonder Ballroom, $17–20
In 2013, Shy Girls—a.k.a. singer and producer Dan Vidmar—became Portland’s preeminent purveyor of ’90s R&B-vibe bedroom music. Vidmar has since decamped to Los Angeles, but he’s back in town following last month’s release, Bird on the Wing.

Buke and Gase

9 p.m. Sun, Mississippi Studios, $12–14
The New York-based experimental pop duo returns to Portland on the heels of the release of Scholars, their first album in six years. Portland’s Like a Villain opens.


OPENING Crossing Mnisose

7:30 p.m. Thu–Sat, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sun, The Armory, $25–70
Sacajawea sometimes gets rendered as a mere sidekick to Lewis and Clark on their westward journey. Consider this Portland Center Stage world premiere—written by Mary Kathryn Nagle, a playwright, attorney, and Cherokee Nation citizen—a corrective to that, tracing Sacajawea’s story to present-day struggles for land rights. We've got more in our preview of the show.


7:30 p.m. Thu–Sat, 2 p.m. Sun, Portland Playhouse, $25–39
Playwright Regina Taylor based this musical on photos of African American women in their church hats, transforming those dramatic images into a story of a young woman who leaves Brooklyn for South Carolina after a family tragedy. Portland Playhouse takes on the gospel-fueled show, which the New York Times called “delightfully celebratory.”

CLOSING Until the Flood

7:30 p.m. Thu–Fri, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sat, 2 p.m. Sun, The Armory, $28.50–57
Pulitzer Prize finalist Dael Orlandersmith’s latest play is built on stories and interviews gathered after the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Portland Center Stage tackles the production, with Orlandersmith starring in the solo show.

Visual Art

OPENING Susan Seubert

10:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Thu–Sat, Froelick Gallery, FREE
The award-winning Portland photographer turns her lens on grief in A Typology of Lament, a series of photographs of delicate lace handkerchiefs—for wiping tears, perhaps?—that the artist says “tend towards stereotypes of femininity.” They’ve all been rendered using the 19th-century technique of wet plate collodion, a process that produces a negative image on glass from which prints are made.

CLOSING Shohei Takasaki

Noon–6 p.m. Thu–Sun, Nationale, FREE
The local artist bids Portland farewell (he’s moving to New York later this spring) with a solo exhibit titled Where Did You Sleep Last Night? Takasaki’s paintings are popping splatters of color juxtaposed with delicate, curvaceous shapes and careful linework, and in this exhibit, he explores whether it’s possible to truly understand a significant other. Read more about the exhibit here.

The Map Is Not the Territory

10 a.m.–8 p.m. Thu–Fri, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat–Sun, Portland Art Museum, $20
A consideration of contemporary Northwest art, this exhibition is the first in a new triennial series. Annette Bellamy, Fernanda D’Agostina, and Henry Tsang are among the artists represented in an examination of place that spans the Northwest coast from Oregon through Washington up to Vancouver, BC.

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