Putting parables onstage is an often iffy endeavor, but there's no denying the impact of a successfully staged allegory. British playwright Dawn King's Foxfinder, making its U.S. premiere at Artists Rep, should be just that. A futuristic drama about a totalitarian government that sends an agent to investigate a mysterious fox infestation in the English countryside, it's what Time Out London called a "fascinating dystopian welter of fear, superstition and nature in revolt." Artists Repertory Theatre, 1515 SW Morrison St., 241-1278, artistsrep.org. Oct. 29-Dec. 1. $25-$55.
Song of the Dodo
Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble produced one of last season's most surprising and arresting shows, an adaptation of Shakespeare's Richard III. PETE's next work is a collaboratively devised piece of dance, theater and song that draws from texts by ancient Greek playwrights, Samuel Beckett and contemporary writers. Based on a short video featuring company members tiptoeing around in frilly white dresses—and another of them squatting and squawking wildly—it won't be like anything else you'll see on a Portland stage this fall. Studio 2, 810 SE Belmont St., petensemble.org. Nov. 9-24.
The Other Place Continuing its pattern of producing challenging work by rising playwrights, Portland Playhouse stages this haunting psychological drama, which ended its highly lauded Broadway run in March of this year. Sharr White's play centers on a biophysicist-turned-pharmaceutical pitchwoman who begins to show signs of a breakdown. Gretchen Corbett stars, playing a woman who's strong-willed and charismatic—but possibly unreliable. It's a demanding job: During the 80-minute show, her character never leaves the stage. Portland Playhouse, 602 NE Prescott St., 488-5822, portlandplayhouse.org . Nov. 13-Dec. 8. $18-$43. Note: This event has been canceled due to an illness in the cast.
Last spring, a member of Liminal Performance Group suggested—as a joke, or maybe a dare—that the company stage that overproduced mainstay of high-school theater, Our Town. Despite never having seen a production of Thornton Wilder's play, John Berendzen decided to take the proposal seriously, which means the group's co-founder and music director is for the first time helming a play that actually has a script. Liminal emerged from hibernation in 2012 to produce a hybrid installation-performance piece about Gertrude Stein, and this fall's Our Town will also be untraditional, but perhaps not as avant-fucking-garde as many people might expect. The text will remain intact, but the set will be stripped down, with the actors onstage for the entire show—they'll even run technical cues. The Headwaters Theatre, 55 NE Farragut St., No. 9, 567-8309, liminalgroup.org. Nov. 14-Dec. 1.
Third Rail Repertory Theatre produces provocative and sometimes downright polarizing plays, and its acting company is one of the city's best. Those performers deserve a wider audience, which elevates this winter's production of Michael Frayn's phenomenally funny play from pandering to a wise marketing ploy. Not only should the backstage comedy—about a regional British production of a terrible sex farce—be hilarious, but it will hopefully introduce new audiences to Third Rail. Sure, you could go to The Santaland Diaries for the fifth year in a row—but why? Winningstad Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, 235-1101, thirdrailrep.org. Dec. 6-Jan. 11.
Though more recognizable to the casual fan as "the third Conchord," Barry is a comic's comic, a veteran standup with a soft delivery who can read loan documents and make them sound hilarious. He's so good, he can even come to a gig without any actual jokes. For this tour, Barry doesn't have an act: He'll work off crowd interaction alone. So if you're one of those people who gets nervous about getting picked on at live comedy shows, it's a good idea to hide in the balcony. Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave. 8 pm Friday, Sept. 20. $20.
An Evening With Bob and David (and Posehn)
Comedy nerds, please try and contain your boners. Yes, this is indeed a reunion of Bob Odenkirk and David Cross, the two minds behind the '90s cult-favorite sketch series Mr. Show. And yeah, they have since become more widely known as, respectively, Saul Goodman and Tobias Funke. And we know there are thousands of famous lines you want to shout at both of them. But you saw what happened when people did that to Dave Chappelle last month. This is the comedy event of the season, certainly, but there's no need to embarrass yourself. Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway. 8 pm Saturday, Sept. 28. $47.
Comedy Bang! Bang! Live
In the world of comedy podcasts, Scott Aukerman is David Letterman to Marc Maron's Charlie Rose. Where the latter's much-praised WTF deconstructs the craft of comedy through sometimes painfully personal conversations, on Comedy Bang! Bang!, Aukerman prefers to put the craft on display—through in-character interviews, absurd games and random acts of off-the-cuff zaniness. Before the premiere of the televised version's second season on IFC, the show returns to Portland, with guests including the always-dapper Paul F. Tompkins and L.A. sketch troupe the Birthday Boys. Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie Ave. 8 pm Tuesday, Oct. 1. $25.
New Expressive Works
The second capstone performance for a new residency program at Studio 2 features four local choreographers and a healthy amount of audience interaction. Perhaps most eye-catching will be shock queen Kaj-Anne Pepper, who will seat the audience onstage for a performance that pits drag and contemporary dance against each other. Keyon Gaskin will explore the five senses, including (somehow) smell. Danielle Ross will partner with dancer Taka Yamamoto for piece that employs video projection, atmospheric effects, movement and vocalization to explore the various ways we perceive duets. Allie Hankins rounds out the show with an excerpt from her athletic and evocative piece The Bravest Bull Welcomes the Fight. Studio 2, 810 SE Belmont St., 221-2518. 8 pm Fridays-Saturdays, Sept. 27-28 and Oct. 4-5. $10 each, $15 for both.
The fall lineup for dance presenter White Bird isn't as tantalizing as the one for next spring, but the companies are world-class nonetheless. French Compagnie Maguy Marin is perhaps the most well-known—and the most controversial: Portland audiences walked out when it last appeared here in 2002. This show, Salves, should be more palatable, but still challenging. It's a mix of dance and abstract theater that evokes images of war. Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, whitebird.org. 7:30 pm Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 10-12. $26-$64. A more light-hearted showing is from Sydney Dance Company, Australia's leader in contemporary dance. Backed by a flashing LED light show, the 16 dancers in 2 One Another move with both energy and subtlety as they embody the possibilities of human interaction. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, whitebird.org. 7:30 pm Wednesday, Oct. 23. $26-$64.
The introductory show under new artistic director Kevin Irving will be a mix of familiar and new. The company is reviving former artistic director Christopher Stowell's A Midsummer Night's Dream, one of his best works, and pairing it with Nacho Duato's Por Vos Muero. Both pieces are contemporary in style and have a fanciful air about them: Stowell's features elaborate fairy costumes, while Duato's paints a dark, romantic picture of 15th- and 16th-century Spain. The selection of Duato, a world-renowned choreographer, has Irving's fingerprints all over it—the two have close ties, so the piece should offer a taste of what's to come. Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St., 248-4335. 7:30 pm Saturday, Oct. 12; 2 pm Sunday, Oct. 13; and Friday-Saturday, Oct. 18-19. $25-$142.
Joined by new dancer Viktor Usov, the contemporary company presents three new works in its New Now Wow show. Usov, whom artistic director Sarah Slipper calls a "prodigal son," returned to the company after a nearly three-year stint in Germany. His energy will come in handy for the three works on tap: one from Danielle Agami, a former member of Israel's Batsheva Dance Company, and two from Loni Landon and James Gregg, winners of NWDP's Pretty Creatives International Choreographic Competition. Lincoln Hall, Portland State University, 1620 SW Park Ave., 725-3421. 7:30 pm Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 24-26. $25-$39.
Jim McGinn is a fascinating study. He started dancing late, in his 30s. Now 53, he splits his time between his extracurricular dance passion and his work as a physicist. In Float, he was inspired by his time by the ocean—not just by the fluid motion of the waves, but also by lying on the beach afterwards for hours with hypothermia. The piece is choreographed to be constantly shifting, mixing the five-member company in different combinations of duets, trios and quartets. Conduit Dance, 918 SW Yamhill St., 221-5857. 8:30 pm Friday-Sunday, Nov. 1-3, and Wednesday-Friday, Nov. 6-8. $12-$15.
Roomful of Teeth
Resonance Ensemble and FearNoMusic team up to bring one of the country's hottest new music vocal ensembles to Portland. Propelled by the surprise success of one of its members—30-year-old composer, singer and violinist Caroline Shaw, who this year became the youngest recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Music—Roomful of Teeth is touring the nation with music from that award-winning a capella work, Partita for 8 Voices. The ensemble will also perform works by some of today's most adventurous—and mostly Brooklyn-based—young composers, including Judd Greenstein, Missy Mazzoli and Caleb Burhans. Lewis and Clark College, Agnes Flanagan Chapel, 0615 SW Palatine Hill Road, 957-0055. 7:30 pm Friday, Sept. 20. $11-$35.
"Exotic" is usually a term of opprobrium in classical music, but not in this Scheherezade program, which features some of the most colorful music ever written for orchestra. Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's 1888 sym honic suite beautifully conjures the atmosphere of the Arabian Nights tales. Another East-meets-West excursion written a century later, 20th-century Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu's gently evocative percussion concerto, From Me Flows What You Call Time, uses unusual instruments, some improvisation, and Japanese influences to musically embody Tibetan Buddhist principles. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, 228-1353. 7:30 pm Saturday and 8 pm Monday, Sept. 21 and 23. $22-$98.
For nearly three decades, these venturesome musicians have been bringing Portland the fruits of today's vibrant contemporary classical music scene. In this Entre Los Mundos/Between Worlds concert, the spotlight falls on Peruvian-American composer Gabriela Lena Frank. Lincoln Hall, Portland State University, 1633 SW Park Ave., 331-0301. 7:30 pm Thursday-Friday, Oct. 17-18. $10-$30.
Initially banned in London and Vienna for its lurid portrayal of sex and death, Richard Strauss' searing 1905 opera can still shock, especially its climactic Dance of the Seven Veils and necrophilic finale. Portland Opera's all-new production, starring Metropolitan Opera soprano Kelly Cae Hogan, won't skimp on the blood and lust. Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St., 241-1802. 7:30 pm Friday, Nov. 1; 2 pm Sunday, Nov. 3; 7:30 pm Thursday, Nov. 7; and 7:30 pm Saturday, Nov. 9.
Some of the most fascinating contemporary classical music is being written by female composers, as if they're making up for the centuries of being denied the opportunity. Likewise, of the many concerts this Oregon composers group has staged in the past few years, those devoted to the region's women composers have been some of the most entertaining and exploratory. This year's Crazy Jane Misbehaves lineup includes music by CC president Jan Mittelstaedt, electronic musician Susan Alexjander, PSU prof Bonnie Miksch and other talents. Lincoln Hall, Portland State University, 1633 SW Park Ave. 7:30 pm Friday, Nov. 15.
Like Al Gore with a personality, author and environmentalist Bill McKibben has long advocated for action on our most critical environmental issues. In his new book, Oil and Honey: The Education of an Unlikely Activist, he describes his involvement in the global climate fight and the need to come at the problem both on a local scale—such as his partnering with a Vermont beekeeper—and the larger fight against the fossil fuel giants. Newmark Theater, 1111 SW Broadway, 248-4335. 7:30 pm Tuesday, Sept. 24. $36 (includes a copy of the book), $20 admission only.
Local author, publisher and Powell's small-press-room overlord Kevin Sampsell has put together a massive bar hop and book reading at the upper stretch of Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard between 41st and 51st avenues, where bars run dense. At venues from punk dive Bar of the Gods to the older-than-school Eagle Lodge, six local publishing houses and reading series (Tin House, If Not For Kidnap, etc.) will play host to 52 authors over three hours, including Matthew Dickman, Lidia Yuknavitch, Pauls Toutonghi and Emily Kendal Frey. Readings are 15 minutes, and each hour offers a 15-minute break to switch bars and order drinks. By the end, we expect, all readings are slurred. Various venues on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard, 7 pm Wednesday, Oct. 2. Free. See lithoppdx.com for details.
Bibliophiles, rejoice! The annual celebration hosts nearly a week of author readings, book signings, panel discussions, workshops and more. Notable in this year's lineup is author Nicholson Baker, whose subject matter in his fiction and nonfiction ranges from sexual theme parks to Jiffy Pop to John Updike. The festival itself spans two days, but related events begin Oct. 1. Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 235-7575. 10 am-6 pm Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 5-6. $9 a day in advance, $11 a day at the door. See wordstockfestival.com for a full program.
Almost every writer has a niche, whether sports or history or paranormal erotic fiction. But Malcolm Gladwell seems to have nestled himself in the not-so-easy-to-accomplish niche of getting his readers to think—really think—about the world around them. His new book, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants, will be out in October. What a perfect coincidence (or is it?) that he will be speaking in Portland that same month. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, 248-4335. 7:30 pm Thursday, Oct. 10. $15 and up.
You know you've really made it as an author when one of your books provokes orders for your execution. Salman Rushdie has published 11 novels, won nearly every major literary award and been knighted by the Queen. But it was his fourth novel, The Satanic Verses, that gained him worldwide notoriety and prompted the Ayatollah Khomeini to issue him a death sentence in 1989. Now for the first time, Rushdie has released a memoir, Joseph Anton, recounting how he and his family were forced into hiding. Rushdie will appear as part of the Literary Arts lecture series. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, 248-4335. 7:30 pm, Tuesday, Oct. 8. $75 season subscription required.
The Hitchcock 9
Before Alfred Hitchcock made Americans fear motel showers, the Master of Suspense directed a string of silent movies in the U.K. in the '20s. Thanks to a massive project at the British Film Institute last year, nine of these have been digitally restored. Highlights include Hitch's last silent film, the thriller Blackmail (8 pm Saturday, Oct. 12), and The Ring (8 pm Friday, Oct. 18), about a love triangle between professional prizefighters and a snake charmer. But the real coup here is the live, original music that will accompany every screening, courtesy of Reed Wallsmith with Battle Hymns and Gardens, Three Leg Torso, and Tara Jane O'Neil, among others. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium, 1219 SW Park Ave., 221-1156. Oct. 12-27. Multiple showtimes. See nwfilm.org for schedule.
Having tackled the Turkish remake of Star Wars, the creative minds at Filmusik move onto another Turkish adaptation of classic American cinema. Released in 1983—a time when Turkish audiences demanded blockbusters but political instability prevented Western movies from appearing in theaters—Vahşi Kan, Yerli Rambo copies the Sylvester Stallone movie almost exactly, though it adds bulldozers and, in an ahead-of-its-time touch, zombies. The script has been translated into English, to be performed by a cast of local voice-over actors. They'll be joined onstage by musicians playing composer Justin Rall's original orchestral soundtrack, and by foley artists, who'll re-create the sound of each hand grenade and karate chop. Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd., 281-4215. 7 pm Friday-Saturday, Oct. 18-19 and Wednesday-Saturday, Oct. 23-26. Oct. 18-26.
Marne Lucas and Jacob Pander
In 1995, Marne Lucas and Jacob Pander collaborated on The Operation, an erotic art film shot in infrared. It got festival accolades and became a cult classic. Fast-forward to today, with the pair revisiting their landmark work with a new infrared project, Incident Energy. Pander and Lucas are keeping mum on the specifics of their subject matter, angling to heighten the surprise factor for viewers. But let it suffice to say the film fulfills their original conception in striking, dramatic and ultimately poignant ways. Disjecta, 8371 N Interstate Ave., 286-9449. Sept. 20-Oct. 13.
Contemporary Northwest Art Awards
For a Northwest artist, peer recognition doesnât get much better than the Contemporary Northwest Art Awards, held every two years at the Portland Art Museum. From hundreds of nominees, PAMâs curator of Northwest art, Bonnie Laing-Malcolmson, has chosen only six finalists to exhibit their work. At the opening-night gala Sept. 21, one will win the $10,000 prize. Check out our coverage of the awards to find out who wins and whether the show hits or misses its curatorial mark. Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park Ave., 226-2811. Sept. 21-Jan. 12.
Wit, absurdism and perversity combine in Jacques Flechemullerâs paintings and drawings. In the past, heâs brought us a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II carrying one of her prized Corgisâa work inexplicably titled My Cousin From Eugene. Then there was the charcoal drawing of a dog wearing a cone collar: God Is Invincible. For his next outing, the artist takes inspiration from French Neoclassicist Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, whom Flechmuller imagines sitting next to him in his studio, chiding him onward to greater technical and thematic risks. This show will almost undoubtedly improve your mood. And in the nihilistic environs of contemporary art, thatâs no small feat. PDX Contemporary Art, 925 NW Flanders St., 222-0063. Oct. 1-Nov. 2.
After WiedenkkndKennedy creative director Jim Riswold was diagnosed with leukemia in 2000, he decided to step down from that high-profile position to concentrate on two things: getting better and making art. Thirteen years later, heâs still doing both. His October show, Art for Oncologists, turns the fearsomeness of cancer into the stuff of unlikely whimsy. Riswold has created sculptures of oversized white hearts inscribed with the names of popular chemotherapy drugs. Coated in glossy resin and painted at an auto-body shop, theyâll be displayed inside what the artist calls âthe worldâs largest candy dish.â Other works will include silkscreens and nude photographs of his cancer-ravaged body. Rarely do artists, especially those whose work deals with disease, so skillfully finesse the line between fear and fabulousness. Augen, 716 NW Davis St., 546-5056. Oct. 3-Nov. 2.
Tom Cramer and Sherrie Wolf
Itâs hard to imagine two artists more different, yet more compatible, than Tom Cramer and Sherrie Wolf. Their inspired pairing is sure to prove a highlight of the autumn visual-arts calendar. Cramerâs show, Continuum, will highlight his trippy, folk art-inspired drawings, as well as the carved relief paintings that have made him one of the regionâs most recognizable artists. Wolfâs Stills, informed by her expertise in art history, are more intricate and realist but emanate a lushness of subject matter and paint application that finds an improbable thematic soulmate in the sensuality of Cramerâs work. Laura Russo, 805 NW 21st Ave., 226-2754. Oct. 3-Nov. 2.