OPENING: Brenda Mallory: Gather Back
11–6 p.m. Thurs–Sun, Upfor Gallery, FREE
The mixed-media artist and Cherokee Nation member transforms unremarkable, often discarded objects—linen firehoses, rubber drive belts, honeycomb packaging paper—into striking sculptures. In this solo exhibit, Mallory digs into “ideas of reclamation and reformation.”
OPENING: Death and Delight
7:30 p.m. Thurs–Sat, BodyVox Dance Center, $32–52
Violent delights, violent ends, and a few pas de bourrees for good measure. Contemporary dance group/school BodyVox marries selections from Profokiev’s Romeo and Juliet and Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream for an evening of “hip hop fairies, misguided romance, and gender-bending role playing.”
7:30 p.m. Thurs–Sun, 2 p.m. Sat–Sun, Portland Opera, $30–60
Fresh off its premiere at the Steppenwolf in Chicago, La Ruta comes to the Portland Opera’s intimate inner-Southeast space via Artists Rep. Based on real testimony, the play explores a series of disappearances in Juárez, Mexico, incorporating live music and a nonlinear structure.
11 a.m. Thurs, 7:30 p.m. Thurs–Sun, 2 p.m. Sat–Sun, The Armory, $21–87
What happens when an online ancestry search reveals that your fiancé’s ancestors kept your forebears as slaves in antebellum Kentucky? Playwright Brittany K. Allen chomps into that thorny question, assisted by a hip-hop dance chorus, in this world-premiere production at Portland Center Stage.
It was the pull-quote heard ’round the world: “If Thornton Wilder had dropped acid, he might’ve written Smokefall.” So said Variety about Noah Haidle’s strange, beautiful play about one family’s intergenerational ripples when it premiered in Chicago in 2013. The proud weirdos at Defunkt are a promising match for the material (one act is set entirely inside of a womb). Check out our review here.
Books & Talks
9 a.m.–6 p.m. Sat, South Park Blocks, $15–75
Bibliophiles, rejoice! The jam-packed, one-day Portland Book Festival returns to the south park blocks with 100+ authors, among them pop culture demigod Malcolm Gladwell, former Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, Eisner-winning graphic novelist Raina Telgemeier, poet Morgan Parker, and local (and national) literary treasure Karen Russell.
12–7 p.m. Sat, Self Enhancement, Inc., FREE
My People's Market is back for its fifth incarnation, this time heading to North Portland's Self Enhacnement, Inc. space to showcase work by local entrepreneurs of color. Saturday's market is free to attend, but you can snag tickets for Friday night's preview party, with early access to the event plus happy hour deals and a slew of musical performances.
7 p.m. Fri, The Old Church, $10–40
Chamber music collective 45th Parallel Universe performs two shows in one night at The Old Church downtown. Vive la Femme, performed by the collective’s all-female string quartet, highlights the work of suffragette composers Rebecca Clarke, Dame Ethel Smyth, Amy Beach, and Ruth Crawford Seeger; Primordial Swamp throws together contemporary Iranian composer Reza Vali, classical Hungarian composer Ernő Dohnányi, and several artists from 45th Parallel for a sort of left-of-center jam session.