The title of Dan O'Brien's play references a photograph of a dead American soldier being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu. War journalist Paul Watson won a Pulitzer Prize for that 1993 shot, but it haunted him long after the shutter snapped. O'Brien's play, receiving its world premiere at Portland Center Stage, is both a portrait of Watson and a story of the relationship between the two men as they bear witness and seek absolution. At the helm of this promising production is ambitious risk-taker Bill Rauch, artistic director of Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
Gerding Theater, 128 NW 11th Ave., 445-3700,
. 7:30 pm Tuesdays-Sundays, 2 pm Sundays, noon select Thursdays, Oct. 2-Nov. 11.
âMaster Haroldâ...and the Boys
Profile Theatre produces a full slate of plays by a different playwright each year, devoting this season to Athol Fugard, a South African dramatist known for political, persuasive plays about apartheid. âMaster Haroldâ is a semi-autobiographical work about three friendsâone white, two blackâgrappling with the tangles of bigotry and institutionalized racism in 1950s South Africa. Director Jane Ungerâs strong cast includes Bobby Bermea, who gave a stirring performance in Portland Playhouseâs Brother/Sister Plays last season. Theater! Theatre!, 3430 SE Belmont St., 242-0080, profiletheatre.org. Oct. 3-Oct. 28.
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
In this election year, Portland Playhouse looks back on American political historyâway back. The company stages its first musical, an emo-rock tale about our seventh president, the man behind the Trail of Tears. Heavy on narcissistic numbers and oversexed characters, this is populist politics squeezed into a pair of skinny jeans. Expect brassy (but not irrelevant) relief from contemporary political muckâThe New York Times said Bloody Bloody âpresents a wild and woolly chapter in American history that feels anything but distant.â Portland Playhouse, 602 NE Prescott St., 488-5822, portlandplayhouse.org. Oct. 11-Nov. 11.
Young playwright Annie Baker has a good thing going. She's a writer of delicate but probing works, quiet plays that have a way of sneaking up on you. Artists Rep produced her Obie-Award winning
Circle Mirror Transformation
last season, and this fall CoHo Productions will stage her play about a Body Awareness Week at a fictional Vermont college. The comedy, which
called "marvelously deft and humane," explores sexuality and all its pain and humor.
CoHo Theater, 2257 NW Raleigh St., 205-0715,
. 7:30 pm Thursdays-Saturdays, 2 pm Sundays, Oct. 18-Nov. 10. $20-$25, Thursdays are pay-what-you-can.
Never a company to shy away from a challenge, Defunkt Theatre opens its 13th season with Harold Pinterâs enigmatic play about a son who brings his American wife to meet his working-class family in North London. The Tony Award-winning drama, described by critic John Lahr as âboth a family romance and a turf war,â exposes thorny issues of morality, sex and violence. Paul Angelo directs. Back Door Theater, 4319 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 418-2960, defunktheatre.com. 8 pm Thursdays-Sundays, Oct. 12-Nov. 17. $15-$20, Thursdays are pay-what-you-can. Third Rail Repertory resurrects the words of Sarah Palin (she coined the playâs title phrase) with this Richard Nelson work, set on election day 2010. Itâs the first in a planned cycle of four plays about the Apple family, a clan of devoted Democrats exploring the shifting currents of politics and relationships. Third Rail, one of just two theaters in the country to tackle the cycle, pulls out a top-notch cast for this first installment: Bruce Burkhartsmeier, Maureen Porter and Mike OâConnell, among others. Winningstad Theatre, Portland Center for the Performing Arts, 1111 SW Broadway, 235-1101, thirdrailrep.org. 7:30 pm Thursdays-Saturdays, 2 pm Sundays, Oct. 5-28. $22.25-$41.25.
Andrea Schwartz-Feitâs wax-based paintings gain a fresh freedom in her latest body of work. For years, the artist used tightly controlled grids to depict abstract patterns and natural scenes in twinkly blocks of color. Now, she has deep-sixed the grid and unleashed a gift for flowing gesture. Most of her forms are ovals that loop up, down, over and around, in patterns that variously resemble trees, flowers, chain link and other natural and human-made objects. Light-hearted, even dainty, in their compositions despite their heavy grayscale palette, the paintings make thrifty use of negative space and subtly textured surfaces. Butters Gallery, 520 NW Davis St., 248-9378. Oct. 4-29.
Portland Art Museum: The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece
Remember the classical curves of the Venus de Milo statue? The ripped abs and tight pecs of the Kouros? These ideals of Western beauty were brought to us by ancient Greece in all its glory, and while those specific pieces are not included in The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece, scores of other important artifacts are: statues, armor, vases and more. This traveling exhibition, which originated at the British Museum, touches down in Portland to remind us of the contours and proportions that have stood as paragons of physical perfection through the millennia and still retain their ability to inspire, ennoble and, yes, even arouse us. 1219 SW Park Ave., 226-2811. Oct. 6-Jan. 6.
Rene Rickabaugh and Francis Celentano
The double bill of Rene Rickabaugh and Francis Celentano offers an invigorating study in contrasts. Rickabaugh's earth-toned, hyper-detailed still lifes could not be more dissimilar in subject matter or technique from Celentano's bold op-art abstractions, with their dizzying patterns and circus-ready color palette. The works are apt to counterbalance one another with a dynamic tension between fastidiousness and bravado.
Laura Russo Gallery, 805 NW 21st Ave., 226-2754. Oct. 4-27.
âWhat happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,â unless youâre artist MK Guth. Guth turned her 20-day residency at Las Vegasâ Cosmopolitan Hotel into a photographic and sculptural exhibition destined for the bluest of Portlandâs blue-chip galleries, Elizabeth Leach. A 2008 exhibitor at New York Cityâs prestigious Whitney Biennial, Guth is one of the Northwestâs most respected conceptual artists. Like nearly all of her past shows, this one promises to mix populist appeal with a winning sense of whimsy. Elizabeth Leach Gallery, 417 NW 9th Ave., 224-0844. Oct. 4-Nov. 24.
Stephen Stubbs and Pacific Musicworks with Les Voix Baroques
Some of North Americaâs most accomplished early music experts perform one of the first masterpieces of the Baroque era, Claudio Monteverdiâs stirring 1610 choral orchestral classic, Vespers of the Sacred Virgin. Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 147 NW 19th Ave., 222-6000. 5 pm Sunday, Oct. 21. $26-$54.
Cappella Romana and Portland Baroque Orchestra
Two of the Northwestâs finest historically informed ensembles perform popular masterpieces by the three of the greatest Baroque composers: Handel, Vivaldi and J.S. Bach. First Baptist Church, Southwest 12th Avenue and Taylor Street. 7:30 pm Friday-Saturday, Oct. 12-13. Kaul Auditorium, Reed College, 3203 SE Woodstock Blvd., 222-6000. 3 pm Sunday, Oct. 14. $18-$49.
With help from the protean voices of Willamette Radio Theater, the plucky indie opera group revives one of the first operas ever created for radio, American composer Gian Carlo Menottiâs The Old Maid and the Thief. The production will be staged with the audience in a 1939 radio studio (contrived by Portland all-classical radio station KQAC), and will include a show-within-a-show plotline, an original short film, a live score performed by a chamber ensemble and more. Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan St., 314-0256. 7:30 pm Friday-Saturday and Thursday-Friday, Oct. 5-6, 11-12, and 2 pm Sunday, Oct. 7. Ticket prices not available at press time.
Portland dance presenter White Bird celebrates its 15th season with two choreographers whoâve made headlines recently. Former New York City Ballet principal dancer Benjamin Millepiedâbetter known as Mr. Natalie Portmanâstrikes out on his own with the L.A. Dance Project, a company whose collective repertoire spans Nijinska to Petronio. The other will be 1964âs Winterbranch, from modern legend Merce Cunningham. (7:30 pm Wednesday, Sept. 26, at Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall). Then thereâs Akram Khan, whose choreographic tribute to victims of terrorism you didnât see during the Olympics opening ceremoniesâif you were watching in the States, that is, as NBC supplanted it with Ryan Seacrestâs Michael Phelps interview. The Akram Khan Company brings Vertical Road, an evening-length work inspired by Sufi tradition and the Persian poet Rumi. Whirling dervishes may come to mind in this propulsive and mesmerizing work. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, whitebird.org. 7:30 pm Wednesday, Oct. 17.
A Portland Circus on Cageâs Silence
Itâs easy enough to play six degrees of separation in the dance world: About the time White Bird shares work by Merce Cunninghamâand Trisha Brown, a Cunningham acolyteâPortland choreographer Linda Austin joins in a 100th birthday party for Cunninghamâs longtime musical collaborator. Austin and sound artist Seth Nehil have collaborated on A Portland Circus on Cageâs Silence, an hourlong movement and music performance supplementing the Pacific Northwest College of Art exhibit Happy Birthday: A Celebration of Chance and Listening. Cunningham and Cage came to be known for âchance dance,â in which random events such as the roll of a dice could shape movement and music phrases. Austin and Nehil, like their inspirations, are working separately. The first time their creations will merge will be in the PNCA Commons, where 16 dancers, 10 musicians and a poet will wander among viewers, on balconies and in hallways. An oversized projected stopwatch will coordinate the performers to the score. A whoâs who of local contemporary dancersâincluding Mike Barber, Tere Mathern and Carla Mannâare slated to perform. PNCA Main Campus, 1241 NW Johnson St., 226-4391. 7 pm Wednesday, Oct. 3.
If Akram Khan didnât quite get his full due at this summerâs Olympics, Portlandâs Northwest Dance Project certainly did. The young company jetted off to London to dance Ihsan Rustemâs State of Matter at the 2012 Cultural Olympiad after winning the 2012 Sadlerâs Wells Global Dance Competition with it. At its âNew Now Wowâ program this fall, NWDP offers three contemporary-dance world premieres, including Rustemâs elegant new work for sets of partners, Mother Tongue, and one each from New York-based Gregory Dolbashian and Brazilian dancemaker Alex Soares, winners of the companyâs annual Pretty Creatives International Choreographic Competition. Lincoln Hall, Portland State University, 1633 SW Park Ave., 725-3421. 7:30 pm Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 4-6. $32-$39.
The Olympics also factor into Oregon Ballet Theatreâs season opener, Body Beautiful, a collaboration with the Portland Art Museum. While the museum boasts the U.S. premiere of The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece, a British Museum sculpture collection shown in London during this summerâs Olympic Games, OBT offers a program celebrating the beauty of the human form in motion. Apollo, Balanchineâs first collaboration with Stravinksy, celebrates the god and his muses with sculptural neoclassical movement; Kent Stowell takes on the tragic love story of Orpheus and Eurydice with the pas de deux Orpheus Portrait, and William Forsytheâs lean and rhythmic ensemble piece shows off dancers for the physically gifted beings they are. Artistic Director Christopher Stowell and artist John Grade collaborate on the final work, a world premiere called Ekho. Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St., 248-4335. 7:30 pm Saturday, Oct. 13; 2 pm Sunday, Oct. 14; 7:30 pm Friday-Saturday, Oct. 19-20. $25-$150.
Shortly before Fox Searchlight releases the biopic Hitchcock, Portland dance-theater company Lane Hunter Dance revives its dance interpretation of Psycho, based on Hitchockâs film and the Robert Bloch novel that inspired it. Hunter and Laura Haney play Norman Bates and Mary Crane. Theyâll be joined by Polaris dancers Krista Loveless and Mike Dawson and Broadway dancer Brad Hampton in the piece, which blends dance and video in a seasonally appropriate choreographic chiller. World Trade Center Auditorium, 121 SW Salmon St., 464-8688. 7:30 pm Wednesday-Saturday, Oct. 17-20. $25.
Dangerous Desires: Film Noir Classics
Journey into the dark heart of cinema with NW Film Center's retrospective of rare film noirs. Among the 35 mm prints screening during this two-week celebration of dames, detectives and dirty dealings: 1951's
(7 pm Friday, Sept. 14), the story of a crooked cop's twisted obsession with a lonely housewife, written the blacklisted Dalton Trumbo;
(9 pm Friday, Sept. 22), which earned legendary crime writer Raymond Chandler an Oscar nomination in 1946; and 1954's ultra-rare
(5 pm Sunday, Sept. 30), described as "a B-movie version of
NW Film Centerâs Whitsell Auditorium, 1219 SW Park Ave., 221-1156. Sept. 14-30. Multiple showtimes. See nwfilm.org for a complete schedule.
Jackpot Records Film & Music Festival
Portland institution Jackpot Records hosts its ninth annual film festival, this year featuring documentaries on unsung heroes ranging from Southern California punk legends the Circle Jerks to soulman Charles Bradley to gay icon Jobriath, once referred to as âthe American Bowie.â Bagdad Theater, 3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 236-9234. 8 pm Monday-Friday, Sept. 24-28. $5. See jackpotfilmfest.wordpress.com for a complete schedule.
Fed up with our Monopoly-style government where the ultra rich simply purchase the politicians and policies that suit them, investigative journalist Greg Palast is indicting the whole process with his new book, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps. Partnering with political cartoonist Ted Rall, Palast is going after small-time abusers of voting laws and the Bond villains of democracy, intending to âname and shameâ them all. The reading will also serve as a fundraiser for community radio station KBOO. Clinton Street Theater, 2522 SE Clinton St., 238-5588. 7:30 pm Wednesday, Sept. 26. $35 (includes copy of book).
Themâs Fightinâ Words
Celebrating all things gritty and kinda badassâlike strippers with black eyesâthe new reading series Themâs Fightinâ Words, curated and hosted by local slam poet Johnny No Bueno, brings together local authors and regular working stiffs to share their writing. After kicking off the evening with an open mic, this monthâs reading will host writer and artist Matty Byloos (Donât Smell the Floss) and Robert Lashley (Songs My City Taught Me). Donât show up wearing Izod. St. Johns Booksellers, 8622 N Lombard St., 283-0032. 7 pm Friday, Sept. 28. Free.
Youâll no doubt recognize her soothingly authoritative tone as the senior news analyst for National Public Radio. Cokie Robertsâ extensive 40-plus-year journalism career has garnered her the highest praise, including three Emmy awards and induction into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame. Speaking as part of the Voices lecture series, which hosts some of the most accomplished women of the professional world, Roberts will speak about an insiderâs view of Washington, D.C. Tickets for the simulcast (which includes the reception) are still available. First Congregational Church, 1126 SW Park Ave., voicesinc.com. 7:30 pm Wednesday, Oct. 3. $39.
David Byrne with Carrie Brownstein
David Byrne knows a little about music, having served as a founding member and principal songwriter of the Talking Heads. Heâs won a Grammy, a Golden Globe and an Oscar, been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and is now releasing a book, How Music Works. Joining him to discuss his journey through music and passion for the craft will be Portland mascot Carrie Brownstein. Bagdad Theater, 3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 236-9234. 7 pm Friday, Oct. 19. $34 (includes copy of book).
IMAGE: Catalina Kulczar
Anyone who has ever read the devastatingly beautiful writing of Barbara Kingsolver (The Poisonwood Bible, Animal Dreams, The Lacuna) understands the magic quality that words can acquire in the hands of a true master. Hear the author herself in conversation with Portlandâs Literary Arts Director Andrew Proctor as part of the organizationâs lecture series. Tickets are only available with a subscription, but with other upcoming guests including Jonathan Franzen and Stephen Greenblatt, itâll be worth it. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, 248-4335. 7:30 pm Friday, Nov. 16. $75.