July 20th, 2012 | by WW Arts & Culture Staff Features | Posted In: Willamette Weekend

Willamette Weekend

11 things to do in Portland, July 20-22

     
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Friday, July 20

PDX Pop Now! Festival
[MUSIC] Every year, the PDX Pop Now! festival offers a glimpse into the music that’s moving Portland. And despite this city’s recent reputation as a haven for confessional, tattooed singer-songwriters and beardy folk-pop bands, the past few years of PDX Pop Now! have shown a music scene moving away from the gentle sounds of yesteryear and in an entirely new direction. OK, maybe a dozen entirely new directions. This year’s festival—all-ages, free and totally exhausting, as always—is devoid of local superstars but overflowing with genre diversity from house music to experimental skronk to hard-hitting hip-hop and smooth, ’80s-inspired electropop... read our full write-up here. Refuge PDX, 116 SE Yamhill St., from 6 pm Friday to 1 am Monday, July 20-23. Free. All ages. See pdxpopnow.com for full schedule.

Cathedral Park Jazz Festival
[MUSIC] Now under new leadership after financial shakiness led to questions whether the 32-year-old Cathedral Park Jazz Festival would survive, the annual event boasts a strong lineup of 26 performers, including such well-known local improvisers as Pink Martini’s Martin Zarzar (who has a new solo album out), his fellow Martini horn man Gavin Bondy’s Shanghai Woolies, PSU prof and former New York jazz pianist George Colligan, Andrew Oliver and Dan Duval’s trio the Ocular Concern, Rich Halley, Tim Willcox Quartet, Dan Balmer’s Go by Train, Trio Subtonic, Quadrophonnes sax quartet, singer-pianist Halie Loren, Krebsic Orkestar, Eugene’s sax man Joe Manis' trio, former Bill Evans sideman Chuck Israels’ jazz orchestra, and much more. Food and other vendors will be there, and it’s a great picnic opportunity. Cathedral Park, North Edison Street and Pittsburg Avenue. Friday 5 pm, Saturday-Sunday noon-11ish pm. Free. All ages.

The Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters
[FILM] Anal-retentive neatniks, rejoice: Somebody finally made a Tetris movie! A documentary about the grand masters of a game that rewards a hyperactive impulse toward tidiness would be expected to play as a portrait of extreme obsessive-compulsive disorder, but the film, by Portland’s Adam Cornelius, gets by on sheer congeniality. Tracking local enthusiast Robin Mihara’s quest to gather together the world’s highest scorers and crown an undisputed champ, The Ecstasy of Order is no King of Kong, but that’s only because its subjects are too damn nice. (Of course, they’re also exceptionally geeky: One player wears retro videogame shirts exclusively and claims he learned to conquer the Rubik’s cube in order to impress women.) Although it lacks a strong anchoring personality, the movie gets a dollop of pathos from a former Nintendo World Champion named—no shit—Thor Aackerlund. A shy, tortured soul among affable nerds, he started entering gaming competitions as a kid after a fire consumed his childhood home and his mother was diagnosed with a heart ailment; for a time, his family lived solely off his winnings. The gulf of tragedy separating him from the rest of the players brings out the social autism of his gaming peers: After learning of an accident in 1996 that crushed Aackerlund’s skull and left him in a coma, Mihara’s reaction is to ask, “Did that affect your game at all?” Hollywood Theatre. Multiple showtimes.

Portland International Beerfest
[BEER] It’s that time of year again: 150 beers from all over the world (though it must be said a disproportionate number of those beers are from the U.S., and specifically the West coast) will be available during three days, alongside food from Koi Fusion, Potato Champion and others. The catch? You’ll have to pack into the North Park Blocks with some truly obnoxious people to drink it. If you can handle the bro factor, the ticket price gives you re-entry all weekend and the event helps raise money for animal charities. So that’s nice. North Park Blocks, Northwest 8th Avenue between Burnside and Glisan streets, portland-beerfest.com. 4-10 pm Friday, noon-10 pm Saturday and noon-7 pm Sunday, July 20-22. $25-$40.


Saturday, July 21

Kenny & Zuke's 2nd Annual Picklefest
[FOOD] Last year, Kenny & Zuke’s held a pickle-making contest among local chefs, and the amount of people who showed up to taste the fruits of their labor was insane. This year, the deli is turning it into a full-blown Picklestock. In addition to sampling the submissions from this year’s contestants, attendees can taste pickles from local companies, eat barbecue and listen to live music. Pickle on, Portland, pickle on. Wallace Park, Northwest 25th and Raleigh. Noon-6 pm Saturday, July 21. Free. $7 to taste the pickle samples, barbecue costs extra.

Possession
[FILM] A cousin to the icky brain-meets-body horror of early Cronenberg, 1981’s Possession depicts the psychological ravages of divorce with such disorienting intensity it makes the political and emotional trauma of A Separation look like a celebrity anullment. A young, wild-eyed Sam Neill plays Mark, a spy of some sort (the details of his occupation are vague) who returns home to Berlin after a job to find his wife, Anna (Isabelle Adjani), readying to leave him. The reins of reality loosen from there. Director Andrzej Zulawski keeps the camera circling around the disintegrating couple, conveying their growing shared madness by entrapping them in claustrophobic closeups. Neill is delightfully crazed, though he’s nearly outdone in that department by Heinz Bennent as Anna’s kung-fu fighting, motorcycle riding German lover. Both performances are so oddly histrionic they become unintentionally comedic. But Adjani legitimately disturbs. Screeching, crying and prone to hysterical fits, she’s like Shelley Duvall in The Shining channeling Diamanda Galas. Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd. 9:30 pm Saturday-Sunday, July 21-22.

Theatre Without Animals
[THEATER] French absurdist playwright Jean-Michel Ribes’ work has been translated into 12 different languages—but until Brooke Budy came along, never into English. Now Factory Theatre stages Budy’s English-language premiere of Ribes’ series of eight short absurdist pieces, which examine ridiculousness in our relationships. CoHo Theater, 2257 NW Raleigh St., 7:30 pm Friday-Saturday. $10-$15.

Hazy
[VISUAL ART] Australian artist Mel George uses kilnformed glass to guide viewers on a tour from the land down under to Istanbul to Venice, finally winding up right here in Portland. Inspired by the tiled mosaics she saw in Turkey and Italy, George created a mosaic of her own for Hazy, her thoughtful exhibition at Bullseye. The piece, Frame of Time, is made up of 366 small rectangles, one for each day of the year. The interior of each calendar entry is a different color, corresponding to the weather, mood, or activities of each day during the artist’s year of far-flung travels. The result is a virtuosic visual diary, chromatically and emotionally powerful. Other works in the show incorporate architectural elements, including a fond paean to Portland’s 11 bridges. Bullseye Gallery, 300 NW 13th Ave.


Sunday, July 22

The Dark Knight Rises

[FILM] Let’s keep this simple: The Dark Knight Rises is the best entry in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. It’s tighter and better paced than its hyperbolically praised predecessor. It uses its actors better, including Christian Bale, who got shunted into the background of his own movie last time around. And it’s got one hell of a villain. Multiple theaters and showtimes.

BodyVox in Motion with Chamber Music Northwest
[DANCE, MUSIC] Igor Stravinsky’s music is well known in the dance world, although his opera “A Soldier’s Tale” might be less known than, say, “The Rite of Spring” or The Firebird. As the opening act to its 15th season, local contemporary dance company BodyVox has taken up that score in its second collaboration with Chamber Music Northwest. Company co-founders Jamey Hampton and Ashley Roland will debut the work, which is set to live music performed by CMNW festival and Protégé artists and based on a Russian folk tale about a traveling soldier who makes a deal with the devil. The program will also include the repertory works Moto Perpetuo and Falling For Grace and Roland’s suite Two for One…Three for All…Four for Nothing!, set to Chopin. Lincoln Hall, Portland State University, 1620 SW Park Ave. 8 pm Friday-Saturday, July 20-21; 3 pm Sunday, July 22. $25-$50.

Portland Queer Music Festival
[MUSIC] While organizers of the second annual Portland Queer Music Festival can't be faulted for their ambitions—splitting 24 bands between Someday Lounge and Backspace for one loooong Sunday—scheduling grand old Bay Area electro-poppers Imperial Teen as headliners of the all-ages stage seems a curious choice. Half the quartet has never shied away from embracing a queer sexuality (though they also never allowed LGBTQ issues to become a defining band motif), but a full 16 years after the band's critically acclaimed debut, would empirical teens have the slightest notion who they were? Backspace, 115 NW 5th Ave.; Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th Ave. Starts 2 pm. All ages. $10-$15.
 
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