Friday, Dec. 6
Holiday Ale Fest
A quarter past noon, the Grinch paused and put his hand to his ear. And through the streets of Portland, a sound he did hear. It started in low, then it started to grow. WOOOOOOOO! BEER! WOOOOO! Pioneer Courthouse Square, 701 SW 6th Ave., holidayale.com. 11 am-10 pm Friday-Saturday, 11 am-5 pm Sunday, Dec. 4-8. $30. 21+.
[THEATER] Third Rail Rep produces provocative and sometimes polarizing plays, but its acting company is one of the city's best and deserves a wider audience. That elevates this production of Michael Frayn's phenomenally funny play from pandering to a wise marketing ploy. Not only should the backstage comedy—about a regional British production of a terrible sex farce—be hilarious, but it will hopefully introduce new audiences to Third Rail. Winningstad Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, 235-1101. 7:30 pm. $23-$46.
Though perhaps best-known for playing the trucker hat-wearing Frank Rossitano on 30 Rock, Friedlander has a boisterous brand of standup comedy and some of the best crowd work in the biz. Helium Comedy Club, 1510 SE 9th Ave., 888-643-8669. 8 pm Thursday and 7:30 and 10 pm Friday-Saturday, Dec. 5-7. $20-$27.
The Black Crowes
[STONER ROCK] The rootsy hippiedom of the Black Crowes is an American institution. Still anchored by brothers Chris and Rich Robinson, the bandâs catalog stretches back more than two decades, casually shuffling between early Zeppelin crunch and the ragged stoner boogie of the Dead. The bandâs jammy live sets are never a greatest-hits collectionâhearing âHard to Handleâ is doubtfulâbut there are always bootleg-worthy rock-ânâ-roll gems amid the feathered hats and ace touring guitarist Jackie Greeneâs blazing solos. BRANDON WIDDER. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, 248-4335. 8:30 pm. $46.50-$68.50. All ages.
Lee Ranaldo and the Dust
[ROCK] Now that it looks like Sonic Youth has really broken up, it's easier to peg guitarist Lee Ranaldo: He's the classic-rock one. Ranaldo's second solo album since the split, Last Night on Earth, recorded with his backing band the Dust, hits a familiar note. It's filled with the same elastic solos and poetic wordplay as his jams on the last few SY records. That's not a bad thing. Ranaldo has a gift for writing long songs that drift more than they jam, and Last Night on Earth's dusky feeling evokes the languid Crazy Horse material more than, say, Wilco. Plus, with Steve Shelley on drums, this might be one of the last chances we have to see half of Sonic Youth onstage together. *Cries into keyboard*. MICHAEL MANNHEIMER. Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside St., 231-9663. 9 pm. $15. 21+.
Saturday, Dec. 7
Animated Christmas 2
[MOVIES] Because you wonât be able to watch TV this month without thinking âGod, the Christmas shit I used to watch as a kid was so much better than this,â the Hollywood Theatre presents a collection of rare 16 mm and VHS cartoons that will prove your childhood taste was crappier than you remember. Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd., 281-4215. 2:30 pm. $8.
Champagne and Caviar
[FOOD] Woodstock Wine & Deli rings in its anniversaries the old-fashioned way: by treating its customers like a beautiful 23-year-old ballet dancer it's attempting to seduce. Specifically, with a pair of 9-liter Salmanazars of old-country Champagne plus caviar and oysters. Who could resist their charms, even as they approach a hoary 28 years of age? Also on offer: a tasting of local wines and microbrews and barbecue-smoked pig sliders. Woodstock Wine & Deli, 4030 SE Woodstock Ave., 777-2208. 2-6 pm. $15, includes tasting glass. 21+.
[CULT AWFUL MOVIE] No, Tommy Wiseau isn't a midnight-movie monster. He's a goddamn saint in a baggy suit. Cinema 21. 10:45 pm Friday-Saturday, Dec. 6-7.
Rudolph: On Stage
[THEATER] Adapted by Shelley McLendon and directed by John Breen, Rudolph: On Stage pays loving homage to the longest-running Christmas TV special in history, tugging on deep-seated nostalgia without devolving into schmaltzinessâor, crucially, trying for edginess with misguided scatalogical humor. Instead, we get Jed Arkley as a wide-eyed, clumsy Rudolph and McLendon as his gal pal Clarice, prancing delicately about the stage (when McLendon later plays Charlie-in-the-Box, her physicality and comic timing are equally spot-on). Tony Marcellino portrays both the skinny jeans-clad Santa and misfit elf/aspiring dentist Hermey, constantly flicking his head to shake his blond Bieber bangs out of the way. Things can be rough around the edges, and the production could stand to lose some of its meta-commentary, but thatâs forgotten during giddy song-and-dance routines that perfectly ape the jerkiness of stop-motion animationâand big ups to the lady elves for their âSingle Ladiesâ choreography. And weâd be remiss to ignore Portland Mercury editor and veteran community theater actor William S. Humphrey, who slathers his face with white makeup and dons an elaborate costume (that, the program notes, he built himself) as Sam the Snowman. All twinkly eye and swishy walkâthe bottom snowball sways slowly side-to-side as he shuffles aroundâhe presides over the yuletide proceedings in a fatherly and only occasionally creepy manner. REBECCA JACOBSON. CoHo Theater, 2257 NW Raleigh St. 7:30 pm Fridays-Saturdays through Dec. 21. $20-$24.
The Long Winters
[MODERN TRAD POP] The Long Winters' singer-songwriter John Roderick made a splash in the early '00s with the excellent Americana-inflected pop effort When I Pretend to Fall, a record that applied the airtight assembly of '60s pop hits with the jangly delivery most alt-rock groups of the '90s pilfered from R.E.M. Besides an LP in 2006, Roderick spent the latter half of the decade resting on his proverbial laurels, which brings us to the requisite decade-old anniversary tour of his 2003 effort. Roderick has a golden ear for energetic arrangements built from traditional components, and this is as good an opportunity as any to find him revisiting the peak of his career up to this point. PETE COTTELL. Star Theater, 13 NW 6th Ave. 9 pm. $14. 21+.
Drunken Prayer, Root Jack, Denim Wedding
[ECLECTIC OVERLOAD] When I interviewed Morgan Geer, who records under the name Drunken Prayer, a few years ago, he told me a story about meeting Tom Waits and hitting him up for career advice. Geer had recently dragged himself out of a creative rut, but was unclear of what to do next. Waits' answer? "Well, everything. Don't put a fence around that property." House of Morgan, the part-time Portlander's third Drunken Prayer album, certainly isn't fenced in by much of anything. Recorded using a Tascam cassette machine and a Radio Shack mic (does Radio Shack still exist?), the record, on which Geer plays just about everything, moves from back-porch blues to rollicking cow punk to tears-in-the-sand border country to no-fi gospel hymns to a swaying, mandolin-garnished sea-chanty kind of thing. It's an ecstatically unfiltered brain dump, and while it isn't totally coherent, there's a certain thrill to getting smacked with that many disparate ideas all at once. Waits would approve, if nothing else. MATTHEW SINGER. Dante's, 350 W Burnside St., 226-6630. 9 pm. $7. 21+.
PSU Music Forward
[CLASSICAL BENEFIT] Some of Portland's favorite musicians, including pianist Darrell Grant, opera diva Angela Niederloh, guitarist Bryan Johanson, and the Florestan Trio, teach at Portland State University. And PSU students—like those in its chamber choir, which won the grand prize in a major international competition in Italy last summer— regularly excel in concert as well as in classrooms, immeasurably enriching the city's music scene. Like other Oregon college students, they need financial aid to pay sky-high tuition, thanks to the state's deplorable failure to invest in higher education. In this benefit for PSU music scholarships, the aforementioned faculty musicians and many others, plus student jazz combos, a taiko ensemble, orchestra, chamber music, choral and opera performers, demonstrate the vast range and quality of the school's many musical offerings. BRETT CAMPBELL. Portland State University, Lincoln Hall, Room 121, 1620 SW Park. 3 and 7:30 pm Saturday, Dec. 7. $25-$50.
Sunday, Dec. 8
[BOOKS + FOOD] We'll admit it, we love these things. All the chefs come out of the kitchen to hawk their recipes, from Andy Ricker to John Gorham to the host, Vitaly Paley. The snacks are free, the event is free, there's cocktails available from Brandon Wise. And heck, if you're totally into it, featured author Anya Von Bremzen (Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking) will be sitting in for a four-course Russian-themed dinner at Imperial starting at 5 pm for $65 (reservations at 228-7222). Otherwise, just walk out at 3 pm, drunk with food in your mouth and money still in your pocket. Hotel Lucia, 400 SW Broadway, 225-1717. 1-3 pm. Free.
The Lone Bellow
[COUNTRY SOUL] Few horseback-riding accidents end as fruitfully as the one that impacted the Lone Bellow's Zach Williams. The ordeal surrounding his wife's temporary paralysis became the impetus for the Brooklyn trio's self-titled debut, a countrified tapestry of Southern roots rock and hushed-harmony gospel shuddering with equal parts lament and desire. The outfit finds home in galloping, distortion-pinched optimism of its harder numbers, but its teary-eyed ballads, like "Two Sides of Lonely," make the Lumineers' "Ho Hey" seem paltry in comparison. BRANDON WIDDER. Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie Ave., 234-9694. 8 pm. $13 advance, $15 day of show. All ages.
Ural Thomas and the Pain, Y La Bamba
[PORTLAND SOUL] Ural Thomas is proof that, at one time, the whitest city in America not only had soul but bred it, too. Starting out in the late 1950s singing doo-wop on Portland street corners, Thomas cut a series of hot-shit R&B 45s on his own label in the '60s, showcasing his roughed-up, been-through-some-stuff voice. He appeared at the Apollo Theater in Harlem dozens of times, opening for the likes of Stevie Wonder and Otis Redding, and seemed poised for a national breakthrough. Then, as often happens, things derailed. By the mid-'70s he had moved back to his old North Portland neighborhood, where he's lived ever since. But Thomas isn't content just being an artifact. He's got a new band, the Pain, and its powerful, energetic coming-out party at Doug Fir last month confirmed that while Thomas is a vital link to Portland's past, he's living in the present, and gazing toward the future. MATTHEW SINGER. Rontoms, 600 E Burnside St., 236-4536. 9 pm. Free. 21+.
[MUSIC] For its debut full-length Get Lost, the band formerly known as three-fourths of Youth has retreated further northward, and now exists between seasonsâspecifically, that precise moment when the chill of fall turns to the slog of winter. Announcing itself with a gust of distortion and clinking wind chimes on the stunning, expansive opener âSomething to Get You By,â the quartet sounds like itâs deliberately conjuring the first storm of the year. None of this is to say that Get Lost is a drag, though. In fact, the albumâs overcast vibe only serves to accentuate the warmth of Maggie Morrisâ voice. Cocooned within her and Stephen Leisyâs expressive guitar interplay, it makes a walk in the rain seem awfully inviting. Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave., with the We Shared Milk and the Ghost Ease. 9 pm. $5. 21+.