Garrison Keillor was put on Earth to do one thing: tell stories. This Thursday, you have the chance to watch him hone his transfixing craft in Portland, without even having to sit through his dusty Prairie Home Companion skits about private eyes eating cornmeal biscuits. Unfortunately, the cost of admission (not including the actual cost of admission, which starts at $40) is listening to Keillor do another thing. That's right: Garrison Keillor is going to sing.

This is a practice he undertakes often, even though—how do I put this delicately?—he has the voice of an existentially troubled Lutheran toad. Still, it is one of my life precepts that everybody has a song they can sing beautifully, even white men who like to wheeze gospel numbers after sighing meaningfully. In that spirit, here are five songs I would not mind Garrison Keillor singing to me.

1. “Once in a Lifetime,” Talking Heads
Just the spoken part. When he got to the bit about this not being his beautiful wife, I would honestly reconsider a lot of life decisions. 
2. “Wave of Mutilation,” The Pixies
3. “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner,” Warren Zevon
4. “Between the Bars,” Elliott Smith
People would just be jumping off buildings. 
5. “Making Love Out of Nothing at All,” Air Supply
This would not go smoothly. But having thought of it, I can’t get the idea out of my mind. It would either be the worst musical performance in human history, or Jesus and the Mahdi would return simultaneously. Or both. I would probably pay $35 for this.

GO: Garrison Keillor performs at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, 228-1353, 7:30 pm Thursday, March 8. $40-$125.

Headout Picks


[DANCE] The company stages The Best of Now, a spring show featuring three world-premiere works by Nederlands Dans Theater veteran Patrick Delcroix, Chinese-Canadian choreographer Wen Wei Wang and NWDP artistic director Sarah Slipper. Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, 248-4335. 8 pm Friday-Saturday. $27-$53. 
[MOVIES] The director of WALL-E has made a movie about a Civil War veteran hopping across Mars like a Space Jam character. At its worst, it’s the most blithely idiosyncratic sci-fi since The Chronicles of Riddick. At its best, it’s what people wanted from the Star Wars prequels. Multiple locations including Roseway Theater, 7229 NE Sandy Blvd., 282-2898. Multiple showtimes. $9.


[MUSIC] The folks behind the monthly dance parties known as Bubblin’ continue their peerless run of 2012 shows with this bill of all locals. Headlining is Nathan Detroit, a DJ who favors the sounds of deep house, the offshoot electronic genre that still relies on 4/4 beats and the steady repetition of melodic ideas but is shot through with warm, lush undercurrents. Rotture, 315 SE 3rd Ave. 9 pm. $4. 21+. 


[MOVIES] The Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival tells the story of a man who knew he was supposed to be a boy ever since he was a little girl. He’s saying all this with his hands—twisting, fluttering and signing a mile a minute—because in addition to being transsexual, the Portlander is also deaf. More of a grainy video love letter than a proper film, it’s still an inspiring, happy-making thing to watch. Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd., 281-4215. 5 pm. $10. 


[BOOKS] In honor of Small Press Month, Powell’s hosts the fifth Smallpressapalooza, a four-hour marathon of readings by local writers whose works have been published by small presses. Readers include Ryan Chin, Martha Grover, Lisa Wells and more. Powell’s City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St., 228-4651. 6 pm. Free.
[MUSIC] With unconfinable young voices like Ben Williams riffing on the pop of their time, not just a musty old canon, jazz is once again tapping contemporary pop energy. The bassist won the prestigious Thelonious Monk International prize in 2009. Jimmy Mak's, 221 NW 10th Ave., 295-6542. 7 pm (all ages) and 9 pm (21+). $15-$20.