Murder, conspiracy and apocalypse! No, it’s not the latest
Ron Paul slogan. As grim as the farcical presidential race has become,
it has nothing on some of the bloody, unsettling and bizarre plays
premiering at this year’s Fertile Ground Festival. The city-wide,
uncurated celebration of new work by local artists, now in its fourth
year, will bring more than 100 performances and readings to very nearly
every theater in town over 10 days, and the mood is dark. There’s
political intrigue (The North Plan, They), supernatural terror (Ablaze, Bite Me a Little), gore ([I Am Still] the Duchess of Malfi, Grand Guignol 4) and rumblings of doomsday (Waxwing, B’aktun 13). So get out there and take in a little light entertainment—that is, if you’ve got the guts.
THURSDAY JAN. 19DR. DEMENTO
[MUSIC] As Reedies go, you could have a sincere debate about whether Steve Jobs or Dr. Demento has had a larger influence on the music biz. Jobs, of course, revolutionized the medium. Dr. Demento, in turn, ruled as the king of the parody radio show that gave us “Weird Al” Yankovic and “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” His lecture-and-spin series at Reed College features the songs the Beatles grew up with on Thursday, a century of protest songs on Friday and his greatest hits on Saturday. Vollum Lecture Hall, 3203 SE Woodstock Blvd., 771-1112, reed.edu. 8 pm each day. $5.
FRIDAY JAN. 20BLACK ELK
[MUSIC] Black Elk-related news items have been in short supply these past couple of years, so the sludge-metal quartet’s return to its hometown, along with a fancy new rhythm section, seems as good an excuse as any to remind the world that the band still exists and is totally effing rad. Branx, 320 SE 2nd Ave., 234-5683, 9:30 pm. Free. All ages.
SHACKLETON’S ANTARCTIC NIGHTMARE
Lawrence Howard revives his solo performance about Ernest Shackleton’s doomed expedition to the southern extremes. Hipbone Studio, 1847 E Burnside St., portlandstorytheater.com. 8 pm Fridays-Saturdays through Jan. 28. $15-$20.
SATURDAY JAN. 21AN EVENING WITH JOANNA PRIESTLEY
[MOVIES] She ranks among Portland’s best animators. She has new movies. At least one is about the (former) planet Pluto. She’ll be there. It’s winter. What else are you doing? Watch the stars! Maybe they’re not stars. NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium, 1219 SW Park Ave., 221-1156. 7 pm. $6-$9.
MONDAY JAN. 23SATURDAY MORNING CARTOONS AT NIGHT
[MOVIES] It hardly seems possible this has not happened in Portland previously, but it hasn’t. Here are Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, Thundarr the Barbarian and Schoolhouse Rock, all together on a big screen with beer. Hey, hey, hey. Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd., 281-4215. 7:30 pm. $5. Free cereal for early arrivals.
TUESDAY JAN. 24CONCRETE BLONDE
[MUSIC] If the recent release of the 2012 Coachella lineup weren’t indication enough that the ’90s are back in full force, how about the resurrection of Concrete Blonde? A new self-released, two-song 7-inch finds the group brandishing its same old desert-baked and punk spirit. Star Theater, 13 NW 6th Ave., 248-4700. 9 pm. $25 advance, $30 day of show. 21+.