’s name suggests a band of positives, of affirmatives, of yeas. The Brooklyn band’s music does nothing to dispute that; its eclectic collection of sounds, instruments, moods, and vibes encapsulates all the experiences of a mind blown wide open. Since 2006, the group has released three full-length albums, the most recent of which is the explosive Fragrant World, released Aug. 21. Yeasayer is now saying “yes” more than ever, adding dancey beats and ’80s synth vibes to their freak-folky sound and creating a monster musical hybrid that’s nearly impossible to resist.
[FILM] In an oeuvre defined by overbearing bleakness—this is the guy who thought The Road
would make a great movie—Lawless
is the most easily digestible of John Hillcoat’s bitter pills. Based on the book The Wettest County in the World, author Matt Bondurant’s investigation into his family’s history as outlaw moonshiners, the film blends truth and myth into the kind of crowd-pleasing, Western-style thriller that used to get Kevin Costner nominated for Oscars back in the ’90s. Adapted by musician Nick Cave, who wrote Hillcoat’s masterful outback Western The Proposition
, it’s still got the filmmaker’s stamp of brutality (need I remind you of the thing with the testicles?). But for him, this is a popcorn flick. There are moments of humor and everything!.. read our full review here
. Multiple cinemas and showtimes.
Ben Macy, The Blake Lyman Trio
[MUSIC] One of the regulars of the Portland jazz scene over the past decade or so, pianist Ben Macy
has spent less time performing in local clubs recently, and the release of his splendid new CD, Of Scars and Permanence
, explains why. Recorded in the warm acoustic of an east Portland church over the past year, it comprises appealing, relaxed new Macy originals that reflect his current influence: the atmospheric, open-space cool jazz of Polish pianist-composer (and recent Portland Jazz Festival guest artist) Tomasz Stanko and other ECM artists like Bobo Stenson. It’s a natural fit for a musician who has long cultivated the still-fertile late-night ground plowed by Bill Evans and his successors. Bassist Jon Shaw, drummer Kyle Owen and trumpeter James M. Gregg, who appear on the album, will join Macy for this CD and vinyl release concert. BRETT CAMPBELL. Jimmy Mak's, 221 NW 10th Ave. 8 pm. $10. 21+.
[FESTIVAL] Portland’s Romanian Orthodox Christian community invites you to “party like a Transylvanian,” which includes eating traditional homemade sausages and pastries, drinking Romanian wine and beer and watching folk singing and dancing. St. Mary’s Romanian Orthodox Church, 13505 SE Stark St. 11 am-8 pm Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 1-2. Free.
Saturday, Sept. 1
Datura Blues, The Ocean Floor, Ed and the Red Reds, Rainbow Riders, Brothers of the Sacred Cloth, Firs of Prey, SSS Music, Die Geister Beschworen
[MUSIC, FILM] For the third consecutive year, a handful of excellent local musicians—with the psychedelic/hypnotic Datura Blues and the delicate/orchestral Ocean Floor leading the charge—will gather in this (likely quite crowded) Southeast Portland backyard to watch and soundtrack Akira Kurosawa's sprawling, lovely 1990 film Dreams
. Best of all, viewers can still follow the plot, because the film will be subtitled. Mad Haus, 3737 SE Madison St. 9 pm. Free. All ages.
[CONVENTION] The annual Portland area anime convention returns for its 10th year. If you enjoy dressing up like Japanese cartoon characters, this is the festival for you. Super kawaii! Hilton Vancouver Washington, 301 W 6th St., Vancouver, Wa. Sept. 1-3. $20-$45. More info here.And So It Goes
[THEATER] Aaron Posner directs the world premiere of his own play, which weaves together several short stories by Kurt Vonnegut. Posner first staged a straightforward version of the show in the 1980s, but the current production—which features three love stories set in an imaginary American town— promises to be a more fluid exploration of bitterness and love. Artists Repertory Theatre, 1515 SW Morrison St., 241-1278. 7:30 pm Wednesdays-Saturdays, 2 pm and 7:30 pm Sundays.
Sunday, Sept. 2
Robot & Frank
[FILM] Indirectly answering the question of what happened to Rocky’s cousin Paulie and his robot maid as they grew old together, freshman director Jake Schreier’s touching Robot & Frank asks big questions about the automation of elder care while avoiding the tendency to milk tear ducts. The film follows an elderly, retired cat burglar (the great Frank Langella) who lives in isolation in the near future, struggling with kleptomania and bouts of dementia to the chagrin of his son (James Marsden), who purchases an ASIMO-like robot (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard) to cook, clean, and care for him. It’s a buddy film in which the buddy is a computer, yet somehow it all registers on a deeply human level. AP Kryza. Fox Tower. Mutiple showtimes.
Ana Tijoux, Tope
[MUSIC] Beyond what I've learned from this city's taquerias, I don't speak a lick of Spanish. That has in no way hindered my enjoyment of Ana Tijoux new album, La Bala
, a genre-polygamous journey through hip-hop, R&B, Latin funk and good old pop. Perhaps as a consequence of her own multicultural background—Tijoux was born to Chilean parents in France (she has rapped in French on earlier releases), and she has shown little interest in being marketed as some exotic sexpot, instead delivering dense rhymes that read pretty solid even after a sparring match with Google Translate. Tijoux has a fantastic singing voice and some amazing producers to boot. I'd be shocked if she ever played a venue as intimate as Lola's Room again, so catch her while you can. And maybe brush up on your Spanish first. Lola's Room at the Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside St. 8 pm. $15 advance, $20 day of show. 21+.
Soft Metals, Cosmetics, Lighthouse, DJs Maxx Bass, Musique Plastique
[MUSIC] Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I think you'll agree: Soft Metals
has not been faithful. Exhibit A: After forming in Portland a few years ago, the duo of vocalist Patricia Hall and electronics-guy Ian Hicks dumped our cute, smart and sensitive city (which had done everything—everything!—to support the pair's music) for the admittedly hotter, but clearly vapid, Los Angeles. Exhibit B: On the duo's 2011 self-titled debut (which received the imprimatur of trendsetting Brooklyn label Captured Tracks), Soft Metals shamelessly flirts with house, techno, experimental electronic and any other EDM genre with a pulse right in front of its surreal, synth- and drum machine-centered sound. Indeed, Soft Metals are stylistic slatterns, beyond any reasonable doubt—but the red A never sounded so good. JONATHAN FROCHTZWAJG. Rotture, 315 SE 3rd Ave. 9 pm. $7. 21+.
Sleepwalk With Me
[FILM] In what can unofficially be considered
This American Life ’s first
feature film, Ira Glass co-writes a
full-length dramatization of Mike
Birbiglia’s popular stand-up routine
about chronic sleepwalking and
brushes with death—and it holds up
in translation. As comedian autobiographies
go, it’s among the more
humane. The conflict is almost
a cliché: As “Matt Pandamiglio,”
Birbiglia is ambivalent about marrying
longtime girlfriend Abby (Lauren
Ambrose), partly due to the fact his
comedy career has stalled. SAUNDRA SORENSON. Cinema 21, 616 NW 21st Ave. Mutiple showtimes.