Tet Nguyen Dan—better known as Tet or Vietnamese New Year—was on Jan. 23. The big celebration in Portland is this weekend, however, since the Portland International Auto Show was at the Convention Center last week and age-old lunar festivals have to wait behind shiny new cars.
This is the Year of the Dragon. That’s a big deal, because it’s the luckiest year in the zodiac and the most popular in which to have children.
Sadly, I was born in the year of the lame-ass ox. But in honor of 2012, I’d like to look back at the best dragons of my childhood:Puff the Magic Dragon
I hated when we sang Puff’s titular song in class because the last few choruses made me cry every time. “His head was bent in sorrow/ Green scales fell like rain/ Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane.” That’s heavy shit for a 5-year-old.
Smaug from The Hobbit
I barely remember a whit of this book, other than my mother reading it to me every night when I was 6, and that it had a dragon. Afterward, I would lay awake petrified that Gollum was hiding under my bed. Thanks mom! (In fairness, I also believed witches, snakes and Worzel Gummidge were under my bed.)
Falkor from The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter
Yes, II. I preferred the totally bastardized 1990 sequel, probably because it starred the dreamy Jonathan Brandis. Rest in peace, Jonathan—at least you got to fly on the back of a giant talking dragon.
Dragonzord from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
When Green Ranger played his Dragon Dagger like a flute, this giant Godzilla-dragon-robot thing would rise out of the water and beat up bad guys with its tail. It could also fire missiles out of its fingers. If that wasn’t enough, it would combine with the other robots to become Mega Dragonzord. If that wasn’t enough, it would combine with a brachiosaurus robot to become Ultrazord. Nothing could defeat Ultrazord.
GO: Tet Festival 2012 will be at the Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 10 am to 6 pm Saturday, Feb. 4. congdongvietnamoregon.org.
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 1FARNELL NEWTON PLAYS WAYNE SHORTER
[MUSIC] A player well-versed in funk, bop, old-time swing and avant jazz, Newton will be in the house to perform a set of songs written by Wayne Shorter, a great saxophonist who moves between genres with a similar ingenuity and panache. Ivories Jazz Lounge and Restaurant, 1435 NW Flanders St., 241-6514. 8:30 pm. $7. 21+.
FRIDAY, FEB. 3A SEPARATION
[MOVIES] If you think divorce in Iran is as simple as a dude saying, “I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you,” check out this engrossing drama from Tehran, about the 50 ways you can’t leave your lover. Regal Fox Tower Stadium 10, 846 SW Park Ave., 221-3280. Multiple showtimes. $10.50.
[MUSIC] For 10 bucks, you can spend two nights shaking your ass to the best dance music—electronic and analog alike—for two nights straight. Hard to beat, especially when bands like Wampire, Radiation City, Truckasaurus and Brainstorm lead the charge. Branx, 320 SE 2nd Ave., 234-5683. 7 pm. $7. All ages (upstairs shows are 21+).
SATURDAY, FEB. 4FOR THE BEST AND FOR THE ONION!
[MOVIES] The Cascade Festival of African Films gets an extensive review in our movie pages, but here we’ll just point you toward what is probably (though we have not researched this) the only wedding drama about the market for Niger’s purple onions. Know yr African cinema! Portland Community College Cascade Campus, Moriarty Arts and Humanities Building, 705 N Killingsworth St., Room 104. 2 pm. Free.
SUNDAY, FEB. 545TH PARALLEL QUARTET
[MUSIC] A foursome of Portland’s top classical players convene to perform Dvorák’s “American String Quartet,” Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden” and a quartet arrangement of Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child o’ Mine.” Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta St., 719-6055. 7:30 pm. $15.
TUESDAY, FEB. 7ELEANOR FRIEDBERGER
[MUSIC] Friedberger’s debut album, Last Summer, exudes humility in title and execution. Free of the cut-and-paste aesthetic of her other group, the Fiery Furnaces, she indulges in ’70s-style pop that shuffles, swings and stomps comfortably, edged with sparkling post-production touches. Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave., 288-3895. 9 pm. $10. 21+.