April 4th, 2014 | MATTHEW KORFHAGE Features | Posted In: Willamette Weekend

Willamette Weekend: 16 Things to Do and See in Portland, April 4-6

     
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Friday, April 4

The Liberators

[IMPROV] Long-form improv foursome the Liberators like to brag that they have a joint 60 years of experience, but what’s really impressive is they’ve been performing together for eight years. The results tend to be very funny. Brody Theater, 16 NW Broadway, 224-2227. 7:30 pm Friday, April 4. $13-$16.

Northwest Dance Project

[DANCE] The chamber company that could has outdone itself this time. On Thursday, April 3, Northwest Dance Project is simulcasting its Director’s Choice show via a 50-foot projection on the wall of downtown’s Jive building at 915 SW Stark St. With sound coming from small speakers, you could technically watch the entire show, going on live at the Newmark, for free—but only on First Thursday (it’ll screen again that night at 10:30 pm). The show includes a premiere work from artistic director Sarah Slipper, as well as three of her picks from the company’s past 10 years. The premiere, a piece for six dancers, is a Shaker-inspired piece that uses authentic Shaker brooms—they even stand up on their own, just like on Instagram. In another piece from Slipper, 2004’s A Fine Balance, a couple uses a table and chair to navigate the stages of romance. In State of Matter, a 2010 work by Ihsan Rustem, dancer Andrea Parson performs a whirling solo while her recorded voice recites a poem by Benjamin Wardell: “We are ephemeral collections of water and dust.” Finally, in Patrick Delcroix’s 2011 work Harmonie Défigurée, a group of what Delcroix calls “nasty girls” bursts on the scene to tempt men away from their happy romances. Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, 421-7434. 7:30 pm Thursday-Saturday, April 3-5. $5-$49.

Wesley Stace’s Cabinet of Wonders featuring Jim James, Colin Meloy, Wesley Stace, Ural Thomas & the Pain, China Forbes, Laura Veirs, Willy Vlautin, John Moderick, Black Prairie, Amy Miller

[VAUDEVILLE] Before you gasp at the cost of admission, consider this: Wesley Stace’s Cabinet of Wonders is a variety show benefiting MyMusicRx, an organization that utilizes the healing power of music on seriously ill kids. Also, there is an embarrassment of talent to share the stage, including Jim James, China Forbes, Colin Meloy, Ural Thomas and more. Stace, a novelist and folk musician who often plays under the stage name John Wesley Harding, curates the evening. Expect old-time tunes by all-star musicians woven around literature readings and comedy, all for a good cause. MARK STOCK. Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie Ave., 234-9694. 8 pm. $50-$150.

Joe Ely, David Ramirez

[TEXAS TROUBADOR] If Bruce Springsteen had been born in West Texas instead of East New Jersey, he might have been Joe Ely, the only singer I’ve ever seen who could rival the Boss’ joyous live shows. The 67-year-old, who once opened for and upstaged the Clash, the Stones and Tom Petty, hasn’t recorded a new solo album since 2011, but he’s hardly slowed down, having published a road journal, written a novel, released a live album, cut a couple CDs and toured with his longtime buddies the Flatlanders. His current acoustic duo with guitarist Jeff Plankenhorn will lower the voltage a bit, but as the title of a recent cut, “Not Much Has Changed,” suggests, the fierce blend of country, rock, Tex-Mex and folk that fueled classics like “Musta Notta Gotta Lotta,” “Honky-Tonk Masquerade” and “Me and Billy the Kid” also pervades his recent songs about grown-up subjects like facing mortality. BRETT CAMPBELL. Star Theater, 13 NW 6th Ave. 8 pm. $25. 21+.

Ecstasy: Traxman, Jammin Gerald, Modern Melodies (DJ Rafael and Massacooramaan), Ben Tactic, Lincolnup

[FOOTWORK] Though footwork, the quick, staccato descendant of juke music, was seeded in Chicago nearly two decades ago, it’s only sprouted into national consciousness in the last four years or so. Fully riding that 160 bpm wave is Traxman, a footwork and ghetto-house O.G. He stands apart in a scene dominated by fluttering 808 rhythms because he’s as focused on jazzy melody as on rhythm. He sees footwork as a house-music purebred: On “Slash Time,” digital and analog synths oscillate in the foreground, balancing out the jackhammer beat where other producers would have rammed it down the ears. MITCH LILLIE. Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison St., 239-7639. 9 pm. $5 before 10 pm, $10 after. 21+.

Saturday, April 5

Red Lips and Tulips

[WINE AND FLOWERS] Who knew Canby had one of the first wineries in the state? Probably just people from Canby. But the founders of St. Josef’s are celebrating the starting of their winery 36 years ago with gypsy jazz and Hungarian goulash, in honor of the European traditions they brought to Canby. Plus, there’s a tulip farm up the street. And tulip farms are pretty. St. Josef’s Estate Vineyards and Winery, 28836 S Barlow Road, Canby, 651-3190. Noon-5 pm Saturday and Sunday, April 5-6. $5 includes tasting glass, tasting and tour.

Back Fence PDX

[STORIES] Stories about breaking in, breaking out or even breaking stereotypes will be the unifying theme for this round of storytelling showcase Back Fence PDX. Joining the talented and diverse lineup will be actor and writer Joy Bryant, singer-songwirter Rebecca Gates, WW’s own Aaron Spencer and Arrested Development co-producer Joey Slamon. Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan St., 223-4527. 8 pm. $13 advance, $16 door. 21+.

Doug Wieselman, Battle Hymns and Gardens, Michael Hurley

[CONTEMPLATIVE CLARINET] Doug Wieselman is a veteran of the downtown New York avant-garde music scene who’s performed with everyone from Antony and the Johnsons and Iron and Wine to Laurie Anderson and Bill Frisell. His placid first solo album, From Water, features Wieselman, who also leads Kamikaze Ground Crew, soloing over multiple digital loops a la Frisell to create entrancing sonic aquascapes inspired by bodies of water, none of which apparently included Oregon’s stormy winter coast. This unusual triple bill also features veteran folk songwriter Michael Hurley, whose recently revived career includes tours with Son Volt, and Portland’s own all-star improvisational jazz quartet, Battle Hymns and Gardens, featuring Blue Cranes hornmen Joe Cunningham and Reed Wallsmith, drummer Tim DuRoche and bassist Jon Shaw. BRETT CAMPBELL. Information Warehouse, 411 SE 6th Ave. 8:30 pm Saturday, April 5. $8 advance, $12 day of show. 21+.

The Woolen Men, Eyelids, the Verner Pantons

[PAISLEY POP] Chris Slusarenko and John Moen have been in a lot of bands. Like, a lot. But both agree that Eyelids, the longtime Portlanders’ current group, is the kind of band they’ve always wanted to be in. Its sound is drawn from the music they listened to as teenagers: L.A.’s retro-psychedelic scene of the ’80s and the iconic New Zealand label Flying Nun. Last month, Eyelids issued its first official release, a 7-inch showcasing sparkling guitars and aching harmonies that have already earned the band comparisons to power-pop touchstones like Big Star and Teenage Fanclub. Tonight, they release another record, this one a split with Portland garage-pop favorites the Woolen Men. Hopefully, a full-length isn’t far behind. MATTHEW SINGER. Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water Ave., 894-9708. 10 pm. $5. 21+.

Charlie Parr, Betse Ellis

[BARNYARD BLUES] Charlie Parr first blew me away in a small bar near Yellowstone National Park. The Minnesota-born musician was as Americana as they come, packing little more than a worn 12-string guitar, a graying beard and his rich, sooty voice. He stomped and strummed like mountain musicians do, throwing a banjo and resonator guitar in the mix now and again. Parr’s latest effort, Hollandale, spotlights his technical side. It’s an all-instrumental affair based on songs from a previous standout record, Barnswallow. For those who think authentic country and Piedmont blues are now extinct, prepare to be proven wrong. MARK STOCK. Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave., 288-3895. 9 pm. $12. 21+.

The City of Tomorrow, Space Weather Listening Booth

[CONTEMPORARY CLASSICAL] Winners of America’s top chamber music competition, the young quintet City of Tomorrow continues exploring the frontiers of today’s wind music with this program, featuring Music for Breathing, an evocative new piece written for them by Seattle composer Nat Evans; Montreal composer Denys Bouliane’s bebop-influenced, Borges-inspired A Certain Chinese Cyclopaedia..; and a spoken-word piece by legendary performance artist Marina Abramovic. They’ll also play a pair of very different 20th-century wind classics: Samuel Barber’s breezy Summer Music and Luciano Berio’s piquant Riccorenze. Nat Evans is also in the opening act, an “immersive acoustic and electronic performance piece based on the aurora borealis.” BRETT CAMPBELL. Hipbone Studio, 1847 E Burnside St., 358-0898. 8 pm Saturday, April 5. Donation suggested.


Sunday, April 6 

Portland at Heart

[BOOKS[ Maybe you moved here from Michigan, Arizona or California. Or maybe you were born here, left and inevitably returned because Portland calls to us like a beacon, becoming our true home. Portland at Heart is a literary event that brings together a diverse collection of writers—some native, some transplants—to share their eclectic work. Reading this go-round will be Kathleen Lane, Margaret Malone, Colin Farstad, Charles Dye, Liz Fischer Greenhill, Michael Sage Ricci, Kevin Meyer, Bradley K. Rosen, Matthew Robinson and Edie Rylander. The Blue Monk, 3341 SE Belmont St., 595-0575. 5 pm. Free.

Midsummer

[THEATER] Spring is often referred to as the season of love. But for Bob and Helena, two unlikely lovers on the streets of Edinburgh, the solstice is when the magic happens. Midsummer is modestly subtitled “a play with songs,” and strictly speaking, that description holds up. This romantic romp from playwright David Greig and songwriter Gordon McIntyre is a straight play peppered with duets, meaning it’s not a musical per se. What it is, though, is an almost ridiculously charming piece of theater guaranteed to make you laugh, cry and wish that, like Bob, you had 15,000 pounds in a plastic shopping bag to squander on a pretty girl and a gang of street goths. Midsummer is at CoHo Theater, 2257 NW Raleigh St., 235-1101. 7:30 pm Thursdays-Saturdays and 2 pm Sundays through April 19. $20-$27.

Dum Dum Girls, Blouse, Strange Babez (DJ Set)

[BRASS IN POCKET] Dum Dum Girls leader Dee Dee Penny would probably be an incredible actress. It’s uncanny how she not only mimics the style but also the indelible songwriting of so many classic singers from decades past. On Dum Dum Girls’ latest record, Too True, Dee Dee is stuck in the ’80s, and her alternately rousing and hazy tunes sound like Chrissie Hynde fronting the Cocteau Twins. It’s her most confident and assured work, heavy on slow-burning ballads and torch songs that move away from the garage-rock scene the band came up through. Someone get this girl a role in the next Paul Thomas Anderson film. MICHAEL MANNHEIMER. Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside St., 231-9663. 9 pm. $15. 21+.

The Mousai

[CONTEMPORARY CLASSICAL] One of Portland’s most astute musical scouts, Mousai oboist Ann van Bever regularly disproves the outdated lie that contemporary classical music must be cold, dissonant and forbidding. She frequently finds 20th- and 21st-century sounds that are as ear-friendly—even to nonclassical audiences—as they are new and adventurous. For this Celebration Works concert, she and her colleagues perform delightful chamber works by the Dutch composer Hendrik Andriessen (father of Louis), Minnesota composer Stephen Paulus, Swiss composer Frank Martin, Washington, D.C.’s Haskell Small, and two locals, Portland’s Tomas Svoboda and Vancouver’s Matt Doran. BRETT CAMPBELL. First Presbyterian Church, 1200 SW Alder St., 228-7331. 2 pm Sunday, April 6. Donation suggested.

 
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