What to Do in Portland This Week (March 15-21, 2023)

Ballet Hispánico’s production of “Doña Perón” pays tribute to Evita, the former first lady of Argentina.

Doña Perón (PAULA LOBO)

WATCH: Doña Perón

Ballet Hispánico, the largest Latinx-Latine-Hispanic cultural organization in the U.S., is also one of the most popular companies White Bird has brought to town. Colombian-Belgian choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa created this production to pay tribute to Eva Perón, better known as Evita, the former first lady of Argentina. Ballet Hispánico has been a champion of Latinx voices for more than 50 years. Now’s your chance to hear those voices. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, 503-245-1600, whitebird.org. 7:30 pm Wednesday, March 15. $32-$75.

WATCH: I’m Black When I’m Singing, I’m Blue When I Ain’t

Legendary poet, activist and scholar Sonia Sanchez’s stirring choreopoem portrays the experiences of iconic Black artists—like Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday and Nina Simone—and their genius and grace as they faced the barriers associated with systemic racism. This is only the second professional production of I’m Black When I’m Singing since it premiered at Georgia’s oldest and largest Black theater company, Jomandi Productions, in 1982. Audience members are invited to engage with Sanchez by sharing their thoughts and feelings about the play by sending her postcards designed by local artist Wanda Walden. CoHo Theatre, 2257 NW Raleigh St., 503-235-1101, thirdrailrep.org. 7:30 pm Wednesday-Saturday, 2 pm Sunday, March 16-April 2. $25-$45.

EAT: Irish Beer Dinner

Zupan’s and Gigantic Brewing have teamed up to celebrate St. Patty’s Day with the products they know best: food and beer. You’ll have the unique opportunity to compare classic Irish brews (think Guinness, Harp and O’Hara’s) with Gigantic’s versions during side-by-side tastings of a Pilsner, a red and two stouts. The food menu is made of modern takes on traditional Irish dishes, including an amuse-bouche of split pea and ham soup, a beef short rib and cabbage stew, and a milk chocolate porter cake served with clotted cream. Zupan’s Markets Cellar Z, 2340 W Burnside St., zupans.com/shop/event-tickets/march-16-gigantic-beer-dinner. 6 pm Thursday, March 16. $75.

WATCH: The First Step

This new documentary follows political commentator Van Jones, who’s best known for working on President Barack Obama’s first election campaign, appearing on CNN, and popularizing the term “nothing burger.” The “first step” refers to Jones’ efforts during the Trump administration to get Congress to pass criminal justice reform legislation. Director and former Portlander Brandon Kramer thoughtfully captures Jones’ lonely battle for progress as he fights resistance from every political corner. Cinema 21, 616 NW 21st Ave., 503-223-4515, cinema21.com. 7 pm Thursday, March 16. $9-$11.

DRINK: Paddy’s 2023 St. Patrick’s Day Festival

Last year, Paddy’s took a big step toward pre-pandemic normalcy by hosting its St. Patrick’s Day street party, complete with tents, bands, pipers and beer. This time around, the celebration should transport you all the way back to the freewheeling days of the 2010s since the bar is trying to reclaim its Guinness World Record for making the largest Irish coffee—a title it last held more than a decade ago. After it’s assembled, you can purchase a normal-sized glass and taste history being made. Paddy’s Bar & Grill, 65 SW Yamhill St., 503-224-5626, paddys.com. 11 am-2 am Friday-Saturday, March 17-18.

DRINK: Kells Irish Festival

After bringing back its Irish Festival last year for the first time since the start of the pandemic, Kells expanded it in 2023. This is the second weekend of the event, held at both the downtown pub and Northwest Portland brewery. You can expect traditional Irish dancers, pipe-and-drum bands as well as plenty of Irish beer and more corned beef than you can handle. Kells Irish Restaurant & Pub, 112 SW 2nd Ave., 503-227-4057, kellsportland.com. Kells Brewery, 210 NW 21st Ave., 503-719-7175, kellsbrewpub.com. Noon-midnight Friday-Saturday, March 17-18.

LAUGH: Cannon Beach Comedy Festival

Cannon Beach isn’t known as a mecca for comedy—at least not yet. Perhaps this festival, now in its third year, will start to change the sleepy coastal town’s entertainment scene for the better. Headliners include Kyle Kinane (Drunk History, Workaholics, Comedy Bang! Bang!), internet sensation Brent Weinbach, and two comics who’ve been named “Portland’s Funniest Person”: Arlo Weierhauser and Shain Brenden. The price for two days of comedy is only $35, which is as good a deal as any you can get in “everything is overpriced” Cannon Beach. Coaster Theatre Playhouse, 108 N Hemlock St., Cannon Beach, 541-215-4445, cannonbeachcomedyfestival.com. 7:30 pm Friday-Saturday, March 17-18. $20 for a single night, $35 for a weekend pass.

LISTEN: Tank and the Bangas

This group from the Big Easy put the music world on notice by winning NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest in 2017. Since then, they’ve been nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy and continued to push the boundaries of their unique blend of hip-hop, soul, rock, funk and whatever else feels good. Catch them live for one night only at Rev Hall. Revolution Hall, 1300 SE Stark St., 971-808-5094, revolutionhall.com. 8 pm Friday, March 17. $25.

WATCH: Palestinian Film Festival

The final weekend of the Palestinian Film Festival includes not only the screening of three shorts, but also discussions led by artist Bashar Alhroub, who has created a new work with Portlanders that retells the story of the Tower of Babel, and author Hashem Sayed. Bonus: There will be a hummus-making demonstration and, yes, the spread’s recipe is actually more complex than you think! Lloyd Center, 1405 Lloyd Center, eventbrite.com. 1-6 pm Saturday, March 18. $4-$12.

WATCH: 24th Annual Clowns Without Borders Benefit Show

Despite their creepy reputation, Portland has a soft spot for clowns. The Rose City has apparently been this benefit’s most successful fundraiser since its inception. Or perhaps we just love a good humanitarian mission. Clowns Without Borders provides much-needed joy and laughter to people in refugee camps, conflict zones or areas that have recently been through a natural disaster. This year, the group is raising funds to launch a tour in Turkey for those affected by the devastating February earthquake. Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta St., 503-719-6055, albertarosetheatre.com. 2 and 7 pm Saturday, March 18. $12-$60.

LAUGH: Wanda Sykes

If you’re already counting down the days until Netflix releases Wanda Sykes’ new hourlong standup special in May, then you’ll definitely want to snag tickets to see the award-winning comic perform in person. Known for being outspoken and tackling a wide range of topics—from politics to reality TV to racism to that Oscars “slap heard ‘round the world”—Sykes is always at the top of her game, making it no surprise that she was ranked as one of Entertainment Weekly’s “25 Funniest People in America.” Ilani Casino Resort, 1 Cowlitz Way, Ridgefield, Wash., 877-464-5264, ilaniresort.com. 8 pm Saturday, March 18. $35-$55. 21+.

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