March 2nd, 2012 2:00 pm | by WW Arts & Culture Staff Features | Posted In: Willamette Weekend

Willamette Weekend

8 things to do in Portland, Mar. 2-4

Friday, March 2

Ceremony of Sludge: Heavy Voodoo, Axxicom, Avi Dei, Zmoke
[MUSIC] In celebration of the sheer volume (!) of heavy bands in Portland, here comes the first installment of a two-night festival chock-full of distortion and decibels. Day one includes Avi Dei, one of the more exciting new rock acts in town. The band pays homage to Pentagram and Dead Moon in equal parts, with a singer whose maniacal laughter strides the line between Captain Beefheart and Gillan-era Sabbath. Day two showcases the mathematical juggernaut Towers, the ceremonial sludge of Doomsower, and riff worshipers Lamprey. Keep it heavy. NATHAN CARSON. The Alleyway Cafe and Bar, 2415 NE Alberta St. 8 pm. $4. 21+.

Better Than Something: Jay Reatard
[FILM] Fans of Jay Reatard: You will see this documentary no matter what I say, because you know as well as I do the man born Jimmie Lee Lindsey Jr. was a heartbreaking jerk of staggering genius responsible for creating the most vital rock-’n’-roll music of this young century, and even a middling bit of opportunistic hagiography would scratch your nagging itch for more Jay and therefore be essential. But I am pleased to inform you that Better Than Something forgoes hack idolatry in favor of a thoughtful portrait of an undeniably talented man who seemed to funnel every good part of his being into making great art before dying at the ridiculous age of 29. You will fall in love all over again. Newcomers to the life and work Jay Reatard: I implore you to see Better Than Something so that you might groove to the raw and vicious work of a master songwriter who passed away at the top of his game after devoting 15 years to furious production and prickly behavior. Interviews with friends, family and the man himself shed light on a cursed dude who couldn’t help living in the red, for better and worse. You will fall in love. CHRISS STAMM. Clinton Street Theater, 2522 SE Clinton St. 7 and 9 pm Friday-Thursday, March 2-8.

Saturday, March 3

Norwegian Wood
[FILM] Murakami fanboys (and girls), rejoice: Norwegian Wood has finally made it to American screens. Let’s keep that jubilation subdued, though, shall we? This is a film more about suicide than anything else, though healthy doses of love and sex keep it from being a total bummer. The movie, released in 2010 in Japan, is a neat little summary of Haruki Murakami’s 1987 novel, in which Watanabe (Kenichi Matsuyama) and Naoko (Babel Oscar nominee Rinko Kikuchi) fall for each other after the suicide of Naoko’s boyfriend, Kizuki. Their love in the time before antidepressants—those groovy 1960s—is brooding and tragic. Eventually, Watanabe hooks up with the film’s sole upbeat character, Midori (Kiko Mizuhara). Unfortunately, the sassy, modern, fun Midori is a footnote to the depression-fest put together by director Tran Anh Hung. This is a film to be watched alone, with a bottle of wine. PATRICIA SAUTHOFF. Fox Tower, 846 SW Park Ave. Multiple showtimes.

The Minders, Spookies, The Welsh Bowmen
[MUSIC] The Minders are probably too big to be playing the Ella Street Lounge. Martyn Leaper's catchy, fuzzy pop outfit—think of the Beatles and the Replacements and Cheap Trick having a tryst—is not particularly good at self-promotion but retains a healthy fan base. It's hard to bring up Leaper without mentioning his roots in the same Elephant Six songwriting collective that birthed bands like Neutral Milk Hotel and Of Montreal, but doing so suggests some level of pretension in the Minders, and the band has none: The recently reemerged rock quartet's songs make perfectly epic party fodder, but they also hold up under close inspection. Tonight's show is an old-fashioned fundraiser for a split 7-inch with lo-fi openers Spookies, which share a Minders band member in ex-Shaky Hand Mayhaw Hoons. Ella Street Social Club. 714 SW 20th Place, 9 pm. $5. 21+.

4 Men Only
[DANCE] Conduit presents a curated evening of solos by four performers. Among them are Portland contemporary dance veteran Gregg Bielemeier, who created and performs the intriguingly titled I chipped my tOOth on an Anchovy (a piece that may contain nudity, so consider yourself forewarned). Guest artist Bob Eisen, a specialist in post-modern movement who trajectory is not unlike that of Bielemeier’s, brings us For Lulu, a series of solos set to both Lou Reed and Metallica. Butoh-influenced artist Meshi Chavez stages Une fleur pour mon amour, with original music composed and performed by sometime collaborator Lisa DeGrace. That leaves Gregg Sax, whose work What is Not Still…? (featuring video images he created himself) has been inspired by his work as a Chinese medicine practitioner. Conduit Dance, 918 SW Yamhill St., Suite 401, 221-5857. 8 pm Friday-Saturday, March 2-3. $14-$16.

Sunday, March 4

Nellie McKay
[MUSIC] With her pretty party dresses and roots in schmaltz (though her branches extend into rock and hip-hop), Nellie McKay has always had more than a bit of old-fashioned showbiz about her. Her current album is titled I Want to Live after the noir biopic about an executed murderess (as it were) that won Susan Hayward a Best Actress Oscar. It's a project perfect for McKay's carefully calibrated balance of camp and pathos. Folding a handful of clever originals into a blend of idiosyncratically delivered standards to evoke both the historical era and her skewed take on it, McKay's new show offers fresh context to the fortunate few who've seen her before, and should both charm and thoroughly disorient those sampling her for the first time. JEFF ROSENBERG. Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta St. 8 pm. $20 advance, $25 day of show. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

[THEATER] New company Ominous Horse presents a fresh translation of an 1836 play by Georg Büchner, about a young soldier who goes insane under the pressure of military humiliation and medical experimentation. The production features original music by Ryan Sollee, frontman of The Builders and the Butchers, performed live by the cast. Sollee’s bleak, imagistic lyrics should be a perfect fit for the play’s nightmarish tone. The Headwaters, 55 NE Farragut St., No. 9, 984-5831. 8 pm Thursdays-Saturdays, 2 pm Sundays through March 17. $10-$15. Thursdays are “pay what you will.”

Oregon History Comics Release Party
[COMICS] Over the past two years, local history buffs the Dill Pickle Club have been releasing a series of 10 comics of interesting, little-known stories from Oregon's past (such as "Portland's Black Panthers" and "Faces of the Lone Fir Cemetery"), written by Mercury journalist Sarah Mirk and illustrated by local artists. Now all 10 are available in one smart-looking box set (there's an actual box and everything). To celebrate, this release party at Powell's will feature a slide-show presentation about the project, "history trivia," and the opportunity to purchase original artwork from the comics. Powell's City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St. 7:30 pm. Free. All ages.

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