What to Do in Portland (March 8-14, 2023)

Go on a road trip with Portland Center Stage’s production of Lauren Yee’s “Young Americans.”

WATCH: Young Americans

When writing Young Americans, Lauren Yee was inspired by the road trips she’s taken with her husband, along with their epic playlists. The play, originally commissioned as part of Portland Center Stage’s Northwest Stories program, takes the audience on two cross-country adventures, 20 years apart. In one, newly engaged (and newly acquainted) immigrants Jenny and Joe depart for their home together in Portland, learning to connect as a couple. Two decades later, Joe and their adopted daughter, Lucy, set out on a similar journey. Identity, family relationships and sense of place are all examined through a humorous lens—just keep in mind that there is far less David Bowie music than you might expect based on the title. Portland Center Stage at the Armory, 128 NW 11th Ave., 503-445-3700, pcs.org. 7:30 pm Wednesday-Friday, 2 and 7:30 pm Saturday-Sunday, 2 pm select Thursdays, through March 26. $30.75-$66.50.

LISTEN: Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Five-time Grammy Award-winning African choral sensation Ladysmith Black Mambazo has been inspiring hope around the globe since the 1960s, and the group will bring that optimism to the Aladdin this week. Best known for collaborating with Paul Simon on his 1986 album Graceland, Ladysmith Black Mambazo has a lengthy catalog of music that deserves to be explored, particularly since former South African President Nelson Mandela designated the group the country’s cultural ambassadors. Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie Ave., 503-234-9694, aladdin-theater.com. 8 pm Friday, March 10. $38.

GO: Rhythm & Roots

One of Portland’s newer creative labs, The Haven, hosts an evening centered on movement and music to help attendees gain a new perspective on sound and soul. We’re not exactly sure what that entails, but “interactive rhythm circles” are advertised, so you should at least get in some cardio during this five-hour event. Attendees are encouraged to bring an instrument to maximize their experience. The Haven, 819 SE Taylor St., thehavenpdx.com. 8 pm Friday, March 10. $22-$44, sliding scale.

WATCH: Oh, the Humanity, and other good intentions

This series of five short plays explores themes that, whether we like to admit it or not, tie together humanity: hope, failure, love and loneliness. Writer (and Pulitzer Prize finalist) Will Eno has been heralded by The Guardian as “a supreme monologist, using a distinctive, edgy blend of non sequiturs and provisional statements to explore the fragility of our existence.” If that sounds a bit high-falutin, just think of him as a new generation’s Samuel Beckett who takes pleasure in playfully skewering life’s tragedies. Lincoln Performance Hall, 1620 SW Park Ave., pdx.edu/music-theater/oh-the-humanity. 7:30 pm Wednesday-Friday, 2 pm Saturday, March 8-11. $6-$15, free for Portland State University students.

DANCE: Bad Bunny Dance Party

We’ve officially reached peak Bad Bunny now that rumors are swirling about his involvement with a member of the Jenner-Kardashian clan. Before his inevitable downfall (the Kardashian curse is real!), dance the night away to the Puerto Rican pop star’s greatest hits along with a lineup of reggaeton, hip-hop and Latin anthems. Sadly, Bunny will be there only in spirit. Dante’s, 350 W Burnside St., 866-777-8932, danteslive.com. 9 pm Saturday, March 11. $12. 21+.

EAT: SnackFest

The popular Portland Night Market will once again transform into a food-focused festival this week. Expect to find dozens of vendors, including local restaurants and food trucks, spread out across the labyrinthine warehouse and patio near the Morrison Bridge. The event is free, which means you’ll be bumping elbows with other snackers (seriously, it’s a spill hazard), so get there when it opens to avoid the crowds. Portland Night Market, 100 SE Alder St., 503-974-6717, snackfestpdx.com. 5 pm Friday, noon Saturday, March 10-11. Free.

GO: Rose City Sneakerfest

Since Portland is home to Adidas’ North American headquarters, and the Nike campus is just one town over, you’d expect to see more events dedicated to shoe aficionados in our area. Not so until Rose City Sneakerfest debuted last year, which drew so many streetwear enthusiasts, the show outgrew its original space. Now located in Leftbank Annex, the third installment of this convention gives sneakerheads the opportunity to buy, sell and trade shoes. Be sure to wear your flashiest kicks—others will be watching and judging. Leftbank Annex, 101 N Weidler St., 503-937-1069, rosecitysneakerfest.com. Noon-6 pm Saturday, March 11. $10-$20.

WATCH: Oregon Documentary Film Festival

This seasonal screening has been bringing together documentary enthusiasts since 2017. Fifteen shorts, all on the International Film Festival Circuit, will be shown following a coffee social and awards ceremony. It’s a bit of a marathon, so be sure to heavily caffeinate at that opening networking event. Clinton Street Theater, 2522 SE Clinton St., 971-808-3331, cstpdx.com. 2-8 pm Sunday, March 12. $38.

LAUGH: Laugh Basement

Laugh Basement has made the transition from a monthly event to a weekly showcase of standup talent ready to send you into the long week ahead laughing. That job goes to L.A. comedian and writer Zak Toscani, whose résumé includes performing at Seattle’s Bumbershoot, Portland’s now-defunct Bridgetown Comedy Festival, and the High Plains Comedy Festival in Denver. Also featured on the bill: Taka Horton, Michael Markus, Lydia Manning and Tanner Torkelson. The Goodfoot, 2845 SE Stark St., 503-239-9292, thegoodfoot.com. 7:30 pm Monday, March 13. $10.

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