Youth is overrated. Mel Katz turns 77 this month, but his new sculptures are so fresh and spontaneous, they look like they were made by a 25-year-old wunderkind. For his 13th solo show at Laura Russo, which opens Thursday, March 5, Katz eschews his customary bright colors, instead transposing his black-and-white drawings directly into towering aluminum totems, which evoke comic books, graphic novels, illustration, and other movements on the vanguard of contemporary art. With their biomorphic curves, the works are sensuous—hell, they’re downright sexy!— with passages that suggest décolletage, hips and other body parts that go bump (and grind) in the night. So what’s with all this high-art TA? “My father was a tailor,” Katz says, “so I grew up in a household where there were arms and legs, patterns for shirts and pants and other garments, hung up on a tagboard on the bedroom door....” These shapes, he allows, may have imprinted themselves in his psyche and resurfaced in his artwork. Whatever their origin, the sculptures are one part figuration and one part architecture, stirred up and whisked together with whimsy and a graphic vitality that is almost shockingly au courant.
SEE IT: Mel Katz shows at Laura Russo Gallery, 805 NW 21st Ave., 226-2754. Show runs March 5-28. Free.
WEDNESDAY MARCH 4
[MUSIC] MISSISSIPPI RISING
Weinland, Pete Krebs, the Portland Cello Project and more help celebrate the reopening of now spacious Mississippi Studios. Don’t worry—it still sounds great. Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave., 288-3895. 7 pm. Free. 21+.
THURSDAY MARCH 5
[STAND-UP] RABBIS GONE WILD
A rabbi, a rabbi, a rabbi, a rabbi, a rabbi and a rabbi walk on stage in this comedic fundraiser for Florence Melton Adult Mini-School. No, we’re not making this up. Shaarie Torah, 920 NW 25th Ave. firstname.lastname@example.org 7:15 pm. $10-$36.
[WORDS] READING FRENZY BENEFIT
Donate time and money to a beloved PDX bookstore with performances from local bands, authors and short films from Sleater-Kinney alum Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen from SNL. Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison, 239-7639. 8:30 pm. $8-$20.
FRIDAY MARCH 6
[MUSIC] RAPHAEL SAADIQ
Bummed that Spoon is sold out? Raphael Saadiq and his Motown-esque soul showstoppers are a good alternative. Who says all Grammy winners are lame? Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell St., 284-8686. 9 pm. $18 advance, $20 day of show. 21+.
[SCREEN] TWO LOVERS
Forget whether Joaquin Phoenix is crazy: In this romantic-dilemma movie, he’s brilliant. (And maybe a little crazy.) Cinema 21, 616 NW 21st Ave., 223-4515. $5-$8.
SATURDAY MARCH 7
[CLASSICAL] PORTLAND YOUTH PHILHARMONIC
David Hattner’s PYP performs the world premiere of Seasons’ Greetings by Jacob Avshalomov. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, 223-5939 7:30 pm. $16-$50.
SUNDAY MARCH 8
[OUTDOORS] 2009 U.S. NATIONAL SNOWSHOE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Cheer on athletes as they compete for spots on the national team, and get free PowerSox! White River West Sno-Park, 4 miles north of U.S. 26/Oregon 35 junction, 668-1700. 8 am. $20-$30. Sno-Park permit required.
TUESDAY MARCH 10
[CLASSICAL] GREGORY EWER ILYA POLETAEV
The Oregon Symphony violinist joins the prize-winning harpsichordist/pianist in music by Debussy, Brahms and more. The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th Ave. 341-0606 7:30 pm. $10.