May 4th, 2012 5:00 pm | by WW Arts & Culture Staff Features | Posted In: Willamette Weekend

Willamette Weekend

11 things to do in Portland, May 4-6

Friday, May 4

Castles in the Sky: Miyazaki, Takahata, and the Masters of Studio Ghibli
[FILM] The films of Hayao Miyazaki and the other animators associated with Tokyo’s Studio Ghibli are renowned for their illustrative elegance and wondrous imagination. Funny, then, that the company originated in 1985 as a thumb to the eye of the rest of the Japanese anime industry. Its name translates to “Mediterranean wind,” the idea being that the studio was constructed to blow away all others. As the NW Film Center’s month-long retrospective shows, it just about has... read the full write-up here. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium, 1219 SW Park Ave. Begins Friday, various showtimes.

Wild Flag
[MUSIC] Carrie Brownstein and company play hard in concert. The part-Portland quartet’s recent Coachella performance was second to none in terms of intensity; It was wrought with extended solos, whammy-bar noodling and truckloads of distortion. The Sleater-Kinney influence looms, but Wild Flag is its own avant-punk animal altogether. Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside St. 9 pm. $15 advance, $18 day of show. All ages.

[THEATER] Triangle Productions premieres a musical by company honcho Don Horn about the life of Gracie Hansen, a Washington housewife who started a Ziegfeld Follies-style cabaret show to raise money for the local PTA. She went on to open her own pavilion at the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, then moved to the Barbary Coast bar at Portland’s long-since-demolished Hoyt Hotel, and eventually ran for governor of Oregon in 1970. Sanctuary at Sandy Plaza, 1785 NE Sandy Blvd., 239-5919. 7:30 pm Thursdays-Saturdays, 2 pm Sundays. Closes May 27. $15-$35.

Saturday, May 5

The Shondes, Tacocat, Bat Fancy
[MUSIC] I caught the Shondes on their swing through our neck of the woods late last year, and the Brooklyn quartet's contagious joie de vivre sent me out into a chilly October night feeling warm and blessed. That talent for tapping into bliss is definitely apparent on 2011's Searchlights, but seeing the Shondes sporting milewide smiles while bouncing through a set of heartfelt, violin-spiked pop anthems is a gift—a welcome reminder that the thrill of creation is sometimes powerful enough to escape the stage and invade its witnesses. So bring your bad vibes tonight. The Shondes will kill them. CHRIS STAMM. Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside St. 9 pm. $8. 21 .

The Centering
[THEATER] Chris Harder revives his solo show about a political prisoner, driven to the edge of madness by his interrogators, who retreats to a circus inside his head. Harder won a Drammy award for his performance in the role in 2007, but this time the part will be performed by Andy Lee-Hillstrom. Shoe Box Theater, 2110 SE 10th Ave., 541-351-8386. 10 pm Fridays-Saturdays, 2 pm Sundays. Closes May 20. $10-$25.

The Clean Bin Project
[FILM] Canadians Jenny Rustemeyer and Grant Baldwin have created a tidy little documentary that depicts their yearlong effort to stop producing garbage. Agreeing not to buy any non-food goods and vowing off all packaging, the two give a surprisingly compelling 365-day chronicle of their efforts and all the inevitable ass-aches their noble mission brings. And while there are some notable omissions (including the issue of toilet paper), the film doesn’t shy away from the logistics of cutting waste—specifically, the unbalanced division of labor and the inevitable strain it puts on even the most well-intentioned relationship. SAUNDRA SORENSON. Clinton Street Theater, 2522 SE Clinton St. 7 pm and 9 pm.

Kentucky Derby
[HORSIES] While the live racing season at Portland Meadows ended last month and there won’t be any ponies on offer, the track still goes all out on Derby day. The doors open at 7 am, at which point you can bet on your favorite horses (may we suggest Daddy Nose Best?) and the Meadows will keep feeding you all day with the $35 “Turf Club Buffet.” Portland Meadows, 1001 N Schmeer Road,

Free Comic Book Day
[COMICS] Charge your blasters and tell Mom you’ll be home late—it’s Free Comic Book Day. Comic shops across Portland offer special appearances by authors and artists, costume contests and a slew of giveaways. For a complete listing of events, visit

Sunday, May 6

Cinco de Mayo Festival
[FESTIVAL] Nothing says “celebrate Mexico’s military victories” like eating elephant ears and riding bumper cars. But, in addition to the standard carnival crap that fills Waterfront Park for every occasion, a number of Mexican restaurants, taquerías and panaderias usually also set up shop for Cinco de Mayo—last year the best ones were all tucked in the back in a tent near Hawthorne Bridge. There also will be music, a battle of the bands, an attempt to break the Guinness world record for the most people wearing sombreros in one place, mariachi mass and a naturalization ceremony. Though sadly, this year, no fireworks. Tom McCall Waterfront Park 11 am-11 pm Friday-Sunday. $8 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-12 and seniors age 62 and up, free for children under age 6.

The Maltese Falcon
[FILM] Let’s all take a moment to thank George Raft for The Maltese Falcon. Sure, he’s not actually in it—that’s why we’re grateful. The blank chorus boy with the tough-guy mug made a second career out of turning down plum Warner Bros. roles (along with Falcon, he rejected High Sierra and Casablanca), and each time the work fell to Humphrey Bogart. Sam Spade made Bogie: It set the template for how his predatory grin would be belied by eyes sadder than a basset hound walking through a puddle. Nobody did tragedy so casually as Bogart onscreen—except maybe Raft in real life. Laurelhurst Theater, 2735 E Burnside St. Multiple showtimes.

Willis Earl Beal, Colin Jenkins, Vikesh Kapoor
[MUSIC] Wills Earl Beal has a backstory that buzz merchants are downright salivating over. A self-proclaimed "underground cult legend," the Chicago-based singer was homeless for a stretch and used to record his lo-fi soul onto CD-Rs and leave them to be found around the Windy City. Fast-forward to 2012 and Beal is signed to XL Records and getting praised by the likes of Pitchfork and The New York Times. His debut album, Acousmatic Sorcery, has lost none of the rough-hewn brilliance (warbling drum machines; gruff, intoxicating singing; analog hiss) of early demos, making his rise into the indie echelon that much more welcome.  Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison St. 8:30 pm. $10 advance, $12 day of show. 21
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