Friday, Dec. 20
Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside, the Kids
[LAST SHOWS EVER, THIS WEEKEND] “You may think of me as just a little girl/But I am here to prove you wrong” sings Sallie Ford on “Bad Boys.” And with her rockabilly swagger and the sharp growl in her vocals, you know she’s speaking the truth. Sallie Ford, accompanied by her band, the Sound Outside, is giving you the middle finger and really doesn’t care. On latest LP Untamed Beast, the four-piece continues (until Saturday night!) the bluesy, early rock-’n’-roll sound established on 2011’s Dirty Radio, right down to the simple drum shuffles, tinny electric guitar and booming bursts of upright bass. Only this time around, Ford’s striking vocals are even more at the forefront, as she snarls, hollers and struts her way through songs mostly revolving around those good old standbys of sex and rebellion. KAITIE TODD. Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside St., 231-9663. 9 pm. $15. Sallie Ford also plays Doug Fir Lounge on Saturday, Dec. 21. 21+.
[MUSIC] “I Love It,” the 20-something Swedes’ mosh-pop anthem, redefined “inescapable” in 2012, soundtracking everything from video games to WNBA commercials to the continuing misadventures of Snooki and JWoww. You’d think the oversaturation would spell doom for the group’s first album post-omnipresence, which didn’t drop until this past September. Aside from a few skippable power-ballads, though, This Is...Icona Pop is stocked with balls-to-the-wall club bangers. Wonder Ballroom, 128 N Russell St., 284-8686. 8 pm. $23 advance, $25 day of show. All ages.
The Big Lebowski
[MOVIES] A marijuana-addicted bowling enthusiast who helped write the original draft of the Port Huron Statement becomes ensnared in a plot to defraud a charity benefiting inner-city children of promise without the necessary means for a necessary means for a higher education. He is ultimately unable to prevent the fraud but escapes with his johnson intact after impregnating the daughter of the wheelchair-bound fraudster. Clinton Street Theater, 2522 SE Clinton St., 897-0744. 7:30 pm. $6. Continues through Dec. 26.
Holiday Sweater Spectacular: Portland Cello Project
[MERRY CELLOS] Portland Cello Project has established itself as a genre-blending act to say the least, its cover repertoire ranging from Kanye to Radiohead to Beck. This season, though, sees the flock of cellists trying its hand at winter-themed arrangements under the release of the Winter (The Best Nine Months of the Year) EP. Fleet Foxes’ “White Winter Hymnal” might not exactly scream “Merry Christmas,” but you can also expect arrangements of classics like the flurried, horn-tinged “Carol of the Bells” and the lively Spanish carol “Riu Riu Chiu.” The winter-sweater theme continues from PCP holiday shows past, and, this year, the group is joined by Oregon Symphony principal cellist Nancy Ives, Tuscon singer-songwriter Howe Gelb and local singers Laura Gibson and Laura Veirs. KAITIE TODD. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, 248-4335. 8 pm. $32.50-$49. All ages.
Sons of Huns, Ancient Warlocks, Sleepcapsule, Red Cloud
[METAL] There’s not much to say about Sons of Huns that hasn’t been said already. The band has created a rowdy and raucous brand of garage rock that’s as frenetic on record as it is live. The trio’s Banishment Ritual LP is a tireless, skuzzy punk-metal hybrid that will be near the top of many Best of Portland year-end lists. 2014 should be an even bigger year for the guys, so this could be your last time to catch them in such an intimate (and loud) space. GEOFF NUDELMAN. Ash Street Saloon, 225 SW Ash St., 226-0430. 9 pm. $7. 21+.
[APPALACHIA CHRISTMAS] One of America’s most honored musicians, Mark O’Connor remains the only person to win the National Fiddle Championship, the National Guitar Flatpicking Championship and the World Mandolin Championship, and those are only a few of the dozens of awards the Seattle-born virtuoso has garnered over the past three decades. Also a composer of everything from string quartets to concertos to symphonies, and a major studio player, O’Connor has developed a new stringed-instrument teaching method based on American music. He’s bringing his method to Portland, along with a sextet featuring Cia Cherryholmes and Carrie Rodriguez, to apply his warm blend of country, folk and classical music (in the vein of his popular “Appalachia Waltz”) to Christmas songs. BRETT CAMPBELL. Scottish Rite Center, 1512 SW Morrison St., 332-2714. 8 pm Friday, Dec. 20. $10-$45.
Saturday, Dec. 21
Amnesia Solstice Sendoff
You’re going to need the beer. Somehow it’s not actually winter until this day. Which, given the current lazy state of the mercury, is depressing as hell. It means it’s getting even colder. Also? As winter rolls in, Amnesia Brewing will be rolling out, to Washougal, Wash., exclusively. (One of their brewers, A. Rob Lutz, will be taking over the space and brewing a beer called Stormbreaker.) Beers from Double Mountain, Burnside, 10 Barrel and craploads more will be there. The event is a benefit for the cancer treatment of Brewpublic’s Angelo De Ieso II—so at least something, hopefully, gets better today. Amnesia Brewing Company, 832 N Beech St., 281-7708. Noon-10 pm. $10, includes a commemorative glass and five drink tickets. $1 additional tickets. 21+.
The Most Expensive Painting in the World
It's at the Portland Art Museum. Wooooo! Money-gawking! Triptych: Three Studies of Lucien Freud is also a lovely, disturbing piece by Francis Bacon. Portland Art Museum. 1219 SW Park Ave.
[MUSIC] The group’s name means “beautiful music” in Haitian French Creole, and its mostly Portland-bred members blend ethnic and geographic roots to produce rhythmic neo-soul. This holiday-themed red-and-white party also features Balans, an all-Haitian band specializing in fast-tempo kompa. Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave., 288-3895. 9 pm. $10. 21+.
The Nutcracker makes Busby Berkeley seem like an austere minimalist. Compared to that ballet’s sumptuous, self-satisfied bliss, synchronized swimming might as well be a hockey fight. Oregon Ballet Theatre—one of only six companies in the country to get permission from George Balanchine’s notoriously litigious heirs to stage the most famous version of Tchaikovsky’s ballet—has accordingly taken its over-the-top sets right out of the playbook of golden-age MGM musicals. Fred and Ginger, in the form of the Nutcracker Prince and Clara, are getting the band together for the big show: a multi-tiered confection of hoop dancers, somewhat uncomfortable Chinese stereotypes and fairies in beautiful dresses. The score is, of course, long familiar from insurance commercials and Tom and Jerry cartoons, a mall CD of classical music’s greatest hits. “The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” is so omnipresent in music boxes and snow globes that it is strange to see it performed sincerely rather than as quotation. The cast changes at most performances, but on opening night, Xuan Cheng’s lively grace in the role of the fairy felt like clear, fresh water. Such an unabashed ode to joy as The Nutcracker hardly exists anymore: It is a fantasia single-minded in its self-love. It’s possible to hate it for its reliance on spectacle, its sheer and almost numbing prettiness in OBT’s hands. But you would be wrong to do so. Joy is joy, and beauty beauty; it is right, sometimes, to affirm them. Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St., 222-5538. 2 pm Friday-Monday, Dec. 20-23; and noon Tuesday, Dec. 24. $27-$144.
Sunday, Dec. 22
[COMEDY] YouTube stars Grace Helbig, Hannah Hart and Mamrie Hart—all likable and funny gals—take to the stage for an evening of live standup. As the event’s name suggests, anything could happen. Expect riffs on grilled cheese, Goldschläger, hair spray and Kanye West, and probably some comments about comments themselves. Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie Ave., 234-9694. 7 pm. $25.
[DANCE] In an attempt to find the place where science and spirituality meet, The Observer Effect is a “meditative, saturated, rumination on quantum physics,” says Tracy Broyles, who’s performed for 15 years in Portland. Through dance, live music, video projections and installation, the piece travels to Deepak Chopra-land and invites the audience to come along. After all, according to quantum theory, the audience is also creating the piece. Be prepared to feel feelings instead of fully understanding it. The Headwaters, 55 NE Farragut St., No. 9. 8 pm Thursday-Saturday, Dec. 19-21; 2 pm Sunday, Dec. 22. $12-$20.
Nowell Syng We: Songs and Carols From Medieval England
[MEDIEVAL ENGLISH CHRISTMAS] Sure, you can go hear any number of concerts featuring the usual carols and other familiar holiday fare. Or you can experience rare, spellbindingly beautiful, seasonal songs from more than a half-century ago—from ancient English sources, including the Selden carol book and Ritson manuscript—and the world premiere of a brand new work by one of the greatest living choral composers, England’s Ivan Moody. The piece was commissioned and sung by the incomparable In Mulieribus octet, featuring some of the finest female singers in Oregon. Or you can do both. But this is certainly the top classical choral or vocal pick of Portland’s holiday season. BRETT CAMPBELL. St. Philip Neri Church, 2408 SE 16th Ave., 764-7525. 7 pm Sunday, Dec. 22. See inmulieribus.org for ticket information
Blesst Chest, Night Mechanic, Rllrbll
[PDX PROG] This year saw Rllrbll release 4 Corners, its 37th studio album (that’s an exaggeration, but only slightly), an ode to a real area in the Southwest where pianist-vocalist Mae Starr makes semiannual pilgrimages. Some of the tunes sound appropriately pastoral, if blissfully damaged by krautrock. Other moments are positively New Wave, punk and funked-out and informed by myriad strains of experimental rock. You’ll never fit Rllrbll in a box, and why would you want to? Also appearing tonight is the instrumental prog supergroup Blesst Chest, featuring members of the Jicks, the Joggers and 31 Knots playing short, busy tunes that free them from the aesthetic confines of their day bands. NATHAN CARSON. Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside St., 231-9663. 8 pm. $5. 21+.