Top Things to Do This Weekend: May 2–5
Books & Talks
7:30 p.m. Sun, Powell's City of Books, FREE
The Mississippi-raised writer has earned a torrent of accolades for his recent memoir, Heavy, written in the second person as an address to his mother, a devoted woman who loved him fiercely but who also beat him. “Gorgeous, gutting,” wrote the New York Times.
8 p.m. Sat, Siren Theater, $12–15
Hosted and produced by Jason Lamb and Julia Ramos, this stand-up showcase for comedians of color tonight features co-headliners Papp Johnson, a dry, Los Angeles-based comic, and recent New York transplant Wilfred Padua, whose jokes take on sex, race, and stereotypes. James Barela, Kate Aguilar, and Khadija Hassan round out the lineup.
7:30 p.m. Fri–Sat, Performance Works NW, $15
Portland choreographers Kelly Koltiska and Amelia Unsicker showcase original work, performed by an ensemble of dancers, about the connections we build in our lives. They promise “thoughtful, beautiful, intriguing, quirky movement.”
Various times Thu–Sun, Hollywood Theatre, $10 tickets or $75 festival pass
The country’s only festival devoted to LGBTQ documentaries returns to the Hollywood Theatre with a dozen films, with subject matter spanning from lucha libre to Chelsea Manning to a trans man’s path to parenthood.
8 p.m. Thu, OMSI's Kendall Planetarium, SOLD OUT
On Anna Tivel’s fourth album, The Question, the Portland singer-songwriter brings raspy, intimate vocals and vivid imagery to Americana tracks that touch on themes of fear, loneliness, and belonging. This show at OMSI’s planetarium will pair her lush sounds with some sort of immersive visual display.
Lady Sings The Blues: A Tribute to Billie Holiday
8 p.m. Sat, Alberta Rose Theatre, $18–20
This 13th annual homage to the jazz legend features more than a dozen performers—including Arietta Ward, Lenore, and Annette Lowman—taking on Lady Day’s tunes. Renee Mitchell emcees.
Orquestra Pacifico Tropical
9 p.m. Sun, Mississippi Studios, $12–15
Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with the cumbia-infused, borderline-pyschedelic sounds of Portland’s Orquestra Pacifico Tropical, who’ll share the all-local bill with rapper Karma Rivera, hip-hop/soul artist Lisa Vazquez, and Latinx DJ collective Noche Libre.
CLOSING Crossing Mnisose
Noon and 7:30 p.m. Thu, 7:30 p.m. Fri, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sat–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. For more, check out our story about Nagle and the play's development.
CLOSING Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train
7:30 p.m. Thu–Sat, CoHo Theatre, $25–32
Angel Cruz spends most of his day locked up. He’s on trial for murder and his only other human contact is with a serial killer cellmate and a tough-as-nails guard. But Cruz’s public defender risks her career to help get him out in this play by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis.
CLOSING How to Keep an Alien
7:30 p.m. Thu–Sat, 2 p.m. Sun, New Expressive Works, $20–25
Irish actor and playwright Sonya Kelly’s humorous and moving play chronicles her real-life fall for an Australian stage manager and their subsequent wrangling with the Irish government to prove their love and avoid her girlfriend’s deportation. It was hailed by the Irish Times as “a stirring dossier of an accelerated romance.” In this Corrib production, Sara Hennessy plays Kelly.
OPENING Escaped Alone
7:30 p.m. Fri–Sun, Shaking the Tree, $10–30
Caryl Churchill is one of the most inventive playwrights working today, and her latest work, according to the Guardian, is “an intricate, elliptical, acutely female view of the apocalypse.” Shaking the Tree, which did a bang-up job with Churchill’s Far Away back in 2012, presents the play’s West Coast premiere.
OPENING An Inward Gaze
Noon–9 p.m. Thu, noon–5 p.m. Fri–Sun, Blue Sky Gallery, FREE
This joint exhibit features the work of two photographers who challenge the male gaze: New York City’s Arielle Bobb-Willis, whose boldly hued images transform bodies into disjointed sculptures, and Portland’s Brittney Cathey-Adams, whose black-and-white self-portraits claim her right to take up space as a person of size.
OPENING Jo Hamilton
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
In The Matriarchs, the Masked and the Naked Man, the Scotland-born Portland crochet artist turns her remarkable technique—intricate works made of yarn that blast apart any perceptions of the craft as dowdy—to portraits that explore the superficial judgments we pass on others.
CLOSING 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.