It would get a bit boring if the annual Waterfront Blues Festival enlisted only aging Delta guitar players and sad-eyed Chicago harmonica blowers to grace its riverside stages every year. Instead, the fest—celebrating its 25th year—plays with variations on a relatively family-friendly theme that this year will bring everything from funk act Galactic to soul icon Bettye LaVette. And while we wouldn't have it any other way, we also can't resist putting some of this year's acts and experiences to a bluesiness and hipness litmus test.
Click on the image below for a larger version. Illustrations by Adam Krueger:
SEE IT: The 25th Annual Waterfront Blues Festival is at Tom McCall Waterfront Park, just north and south of the Hawthorne Bridge, on Wednesday-Sunday, July 4-8. See music calendar, pages 33-34, for complete day-by-day festival lineups. Suggested donation of $10 and two cans of nonperishable food for each day. Five-day passes are $50 and up. All ages. Information at waterfrontbluesfest.com.
[EXPLOSIVES] Donât blow your fingers off, kids. Everywhere.
[MOVIES] One of the greatest and strangest sci-fi films of all-time in glorious HD. But donât take our word for it, hereâs Box the Robot: âItâs all here, ready. Fish and sea greens, plankton and protein from the sea. And then it stopped coming. And they came instead. So I store them here. Iâm ready. And youâre ready. Itâs my jobâto freeze you.â Laurelhurst Theater, 2735 E Burnside St. 9:30 pm. 21+.
[BOOKS] Based on the best-selling book by Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, the NE New Jim Crow Study Group hosts a forum to discuss the issues facing African-Americans today. Speakers include sociology professor Ricci Franks and former convict and prisoner-rights activist Nabeeh Mustafa. Portland Community College Cascade Campus, Moriarty Arts and Humanities Building, 705 N Killingsworth St. 6:30 pm.
[MUSIC] Portland orchestral-rock powerhouse Typhoon returns after a long hiatus to play old favorites and to preview new, recently recorded tracks from its forthcoming full-length. This outdoor concert is becoming an annual tradition for the band, which last year had more than 600 people packed in to see it. Ecotrust, 721 NW 9th Ave. 5:30 pm. Free. All ages.
BRIDGE FESTIVAL BLOCK PARTY
[MUSIC] Celebrate Portlandâs bridges with music from Solovox, Excellent Gentlemen, the Quick & Easy Boys and more. The Slate, 2001 NW 19th Ave. 5 pm. pdxbridgefestival.org. Free. [MUSIC] The beloved New York dance/punk/noise trio returns to Portland on the back of one of its most accessible records, this summerâs WIXIW. Pay special attention to Canadian MC Cadence Weapon, who visited Doug Fir less than a month ago with Japandroids and pretty much killed it. Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside St. 9 pm. $15 advance, $17 day of show. 21+. [BOATS] According to the Willamette Sailing Club, âNo carpentry skills, tools, or materials are neededâ to build your own full-scale boat at its annual celebration of water and wood. Theyâve got enough of all three to make sure your raft is yar enough to fulfill your childhood sailing fantasies. Willamette Sailing Club, 6336 SW Beaver Ave. Noon-6 pm. Free.