Friday, Nov. 22
Back Fence PDX
[STORIES] As we head to the kitchen for the most gluttonous time of the year, Back Fence PDX presents its storytelling showcase appropriately titled Recipe for Disaster. Taking the stage is L.A.-based writer and performer Lauren Weedman, OPB producer and host Julie Sabatier, organic farmers and scientists Alia Al-Humaidhi and Thom Young (storytelling in tandem), L.A. comedian Buck Ball and investigator Erik Meharry and EMT Ryan Gregory (also performing together). Mission Theater and Pub, 1624 NW Glisan St., 223-4527. 8 pm. $12.50-$20. 21+.
[DANCE] The Argentinian/French company sets its newest show, Nuit Blanche, in a nightclub as a tango party comes to an end. With all the slinkiness you’d expect from a tango performance, and dashes of extravagant theatricality, the 60-minute show moves from desire to loneliness to passion. Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, 245-1600. 7:30 pm. $26-$66.
Celin and Celino Romero
[CLASSICAL GUITAR DYNASTY] If I say, “guitar” you might say, “Les Paul,” “Hendrix” or “Wes Montgomery.” But in the classical music world, the response would almost universally be “Romero.” For more than half a century, the Spanish family has been synonymous with classical guitar, touring widely and popularizing music of the Spanish masters. Celin Romero founded the dynasty’s celebrated quartet with his father, Celedonio, and his brothers after the family moved from Spain to Southern California in 1957. His son, Celino, joined in 1990. This Portland Classic Guitar recital brings father and son to town for a duet performance of guitar classics and a master class. BRETT CAMPBELL. First Congregational Church, 1126 SW Park Ave., 228-7219. 8 pm. Friday, Nov. 22. $30-$49.
Holcombe Waller, Fear No Music
[CHAMBER-FOLK SONG CYCLE] Fresh off last month’s successful appearance with the Oregon Symphony, artsy indie-folk songwriter and performance artist Holcombe Waller again turns to classical instruments to realize his increasingly ambitious musical vision. This time he enlists Portland’s adventurous new-music ensemble FearNoMusic, plus Pink Martini chanteuse China Forbes, for the world premiere of his new, interactive-video enhanced, theatrically staged song cycle, Wayfinders. Waller’s “poetic ruminations” dwell on the theme of human navigation, ranging from ancient sea voyages to contemporary techno-boosted excursions. BRETT CAMPBELL. Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta St., 719-6055. 7:30 pm. $15-$40. Under 21 permitted with legal guardian.
Polica, Marijuana Deathsquads
[MIDWEST WEIRD] Recall your first spin of Relayted, the 2011 album from Midwest megagroup Gayngs, and tell yourself with a straight face you weren’t hoping for Bon Iver-does-Sade. Rather than being “the next Justin Vernon thing,” the ’80s adult-contemporary pastiche turned out to be visions of the future as portended by Ryan Olson, chief and sonic visionary of Minneapolis label Totally Gross National Product. Upon this flotilla Olson has dispatched from the heartland, we have Polica, an icy, almost trip-hop imagining of the course Gayngs charted, and Marijuana Deathsquads, a dual-drummer barrage of warped vocals, pitch-bent synth pulses and deranged squawking courtesy of Olson and rapper P.O.S. It’s berserk electro for leftover Mars Volta enthusiasts and sensual, electronic dream pop for everyone else—sounds like a weird second date to me. PETE COTTELL. Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell St., 284-8686. 9 pm. $16 advance, $18 day of show. All ages.
Saturday, Nov. 23
[GAMES] Pips & Bounce are hosting a Fight Club-themed pingpong fundraiser to send table tennis player Jenny Beck to the Parapan American Games. There will be demos by former Olympian Sean O’Neill, and free food and drink from Rogue Nation and Green Dragon PDX. Fight Club attire encouraged. The Green Door at the Rogue Nation warehouse, 1001 SE 9th Ave. 6-10 pm. $10 adults, $5 children over 7.
The Last Unicorn
[UNICORNS] Will this screening and Q&A with writer Peter S. Beagle result in mobs of 30-something women storming thrift stores looking for Lisa Frank gear for the author to sign? Probably. Hollywood Theatre. 2 pm Saturday and 7 and 9:30 pm Sunday, Nov. 23-24.
[MUSIC] Some shows just seem tailor-made for the Old Church’s hallowed walls. Nepenthe, the latest album from this ethereal songstress, is something of a spiritual experience in itself, a glowing, gentle record featuring looped waves of Barwick’s sky-walking vocals, glacier-thawing melodies and subtle, ambient tinkering. The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th Ave., 222-2031. 8 pm. $13 advance, $16 day of show. All ages.
Albert Hammond Jr., Rathbone
[THE BEST STROKE] By now, Strokes fans know better than to expect a “Strokes album” from the former hipster princes of the Lower East Side. Every fourth track on the last two may seem like bones thrown at early adopters, but a few solo records from guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. have made it obvious whose skinny jeans contain all the pop genes. Indeed the “Strokes-iest” of the group, Hammond desperately hangs onto everything we loved about Is This It’s crisp, bone-dry drums, Ric Ocasek guitar overdubs and that compressed warmth that flattened verse and chorus into indistinguishable cogs. The essence of Hammond’s familiarity is also the thorn in his side: It’s more of the same, for better or worse. PETE COTTELL. Hawthorne Theatre Lounge, 1503 SE Cesar E. Chavez Blvd., 233-7100. 9 pm. $20 advance, $23 day of show. 21+.
Fireballs of Freedom, Sex Crime, Piss Test, Red Shadows
[RAWK] Currently working on a new album tentatively scheduled for late spring release, hard-living legends Fireballs of Freedom have returned from a long hiatus tighter than ever before, the greasy power of their classic sleaze-rock blueprint melting the faces of the still-devout faithful over a handful of comeback shows last year. For the first time since 2005, the Portland-via-Missoula boys have even recorded a new track for the fourth incarnation of local label Jonny Cat’s Mutant Party 7-inch compilation, alongside garage-punk compatriots Red Shadows, Sex Crimes and Piss Test. JAY HORTON. The Know, 2026 NE Alberta St., 473-8729. 9 pm. $5. 21+.
Sunday, Nov. 24
[COMEDY] Earlier this month, WW turned to science—well, a poll of this city’s comedy community—to determine Portland’s five best standup comics. Read their profiles here and see all five, for free, on Sunday. Alhambra Theatre, 4811 SE Hawthorne Blvd. 7 pm. Free. 21+.
Song of the Dodo
[THEATER] From the walls and floor covered in plastic the color of Big Bird to the man in the surgical mask sweeping shredded bits of brown rubber into shapes like Rorschach inkblots, this new, original play from Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble is unlike any other work happening in Portland. If any sequence defines the alternately silly, contemplative and bleak Song of the Dodo, it’s one involving Rebecca Lingafelter shoving an egg into her mouth. Sheathed in a dignified gray dress, Lingafelter gapes at the audience, her lips stretched around the egg. She waits. She bites down. The egg is raw. The yolk oozes down her chin. Lingafelter spits and smacks. She picks up a glass of red wine and glugs, the liquid streaming down her neck and leaving pink stains on her dress. It’s one of the most disgusting and arresting things I’ve seen onstage. REBECCA JACOBSON. Studio 2, 810 SE Belmont St. 8 pm Thursdays-Sundays through Nov. 24. $12-$40.
[SINGER-SONGWRITER] “I love life,” says Freedy Johnston on his website’s tour page, announcing his weeklong residency at the Crystal Hotel right here in Portland, which commences tonight. (And no, he doesn’t say that to all venues.) You should love life, too: Admission is free to all the shows. The Kansas-born New Yorker should have no dearth of material to choose from over the run, with seven albums of finely crafted songs under his belt, dating back to 1990. The last of those came out nearly four years ago, so hopefully he has a passel of new tunes to share as well. Odds are they’ll be sweetly sung, liltingly melodic and lyrically dense-yet-dextrous as ever. JEFF ROSENBERG. Al’s Den at the Crystal Hotel, 303 SW 12th Ave., 972-2670. 7 pm. Free. Freedy Johnston plays Al’s Den nightly through Friday, Nov. 30. 21+.