Empress Of's new album, Us, is the artist's most accessible yet. But that doesn't mean Lorely Rodriguez's musical project has lost any of its cool factor. Deeply influenced by Ariana Grande, much of Us sounds like an undiscovered Carly Rae Jepsen effort. It's ideal for people who like to dance and aren't burned out by club monoculture. Star Theater, 13 NW 6th Ave., startheaterportland.com. 9 pm Wednesday, March 6. $15. 21+.
Cherry Glazerr began as Clembutt, the solo project of then-15-year-old Clementine Creevy. In 2012, when one of Creevy's SoundCloud releases caught the ears of a Burger Records executive, she assembled a band of high school friends, renamed her project and eventually released Haxel Princess, a lo-fi debut full of songs about grilled cheese and bloody Band-Aids. The group has only continued to mature without losing any of their grit—their recent album, Stuffed and Ready, has earned worthy comparisons to Hole and Sleater-Kinney. Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell St., wonderballroom.com. 8:30 pm Wednesday, March 6. $15. All ages.
42nd Portland International Film Festival
Over the next two weeks you can take in 130 films—88 features and 48 shorts—at theaters all across town as part of the annual Portland International Film Festival. Though if you don't have that much free time, just watch the opening-night selection, Amateurs, a Swedish comedy about two cities trying lure a megamart chain called Superbilly. After the screening, hit up the opening-night party, sponsored by a slew of booze producers. Various locations, through March 21. Amateurs screens at Whitsell Auditorium, 1219 SW Park Ave., and Regal Cinemas Fox Tower 10, 846 SW Park Ave., nwfilm.org. 7:30 pm Thursday, March 7. $9-$14. The opening-night party is at the Portland Art Museum's Fred and Suzanne Fields Ballroom following the movie. $25.
Leonard Cohen Is Dead
This is an homage to avant-garde theater pioneer Richard Foreman, so expect a good dose of absurdism and ontology. The Hey Dey Gang is cornered by police in a fleabag motel after kidnapping the daughter of a trillionaire. Bullets fly, philosophy is debated. And Leonard Cohen has nothing to do with it. Imago Theatre, 17 SE 8th Ave., imagotheatre.com. 7:30 pm Thursday-Saturday, 2 pm Sunday, March 7-16. $15-$20 or $30 to see all three shows in the Next Wave Festival.
After releasing a new single last year, James Blake posted a statement about the "sad-boy" tag that's often used to describe his crooning, hip-hop and pop-influenced electronic music. "I've always found that expression to be unhealthy and problematic when used to describe men just openly talking about their feelings," he says. Fair point. But while Blake remains decidedly in touch with his feelings on new album Assume Form, you'd be hard-pressed to find anything sad about it—the album bursts with romance and creative production choices. Roseland Theater, 8 NW 6th Ave., roselandpdx.com. 9 pm Friday, March 8. Sold out. All ages.
XRAY FM 5th Birthday Party
This week marks the fifth birthday of local radio station XRAY FM, and they're throwing a big party to celebrate. The event will be hosted by veteran hip-hop promoter DJ Klyph and spitfire local rapper KayelaJ, with sets from DJs Ambush and Kevin Barry. But things will really get going with performances by local singer Blossom and Seattle's SassyBlack, each of whom have their own unique take on soulful R&B. The former has more of a hip-hop feel, while the latter has notes of experimental jazz, but both have the power to move you. Polaris Hall, 635 N Killingsworth Court, xray.fm. 9 pm Saturday, March 9. $15 general admission, $5 for members.
Ali Wong: The Milk and Honey Tour
After two hit Netflix specials, it's clear Ali Wong rules the domain of raunchy, expletive-laden humor once reserved exclusively for dudes. But what's even better than her rawness is the subject matter, including motherhood, miscarriages and gender disparity—stuff often neglected in standup. Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St., portland5.com. 7 and 9:30 pm Saturday, 7 pm Sunday, March 9-10. $39.50-$65.
Portland isn't just a beer town—we love coffee and doughnuts, too. No wonder this festival, which combines all three, is such a hot ticket. Baker's Dozen is back for a fifth year, featuring baked confections and specialty beverages, including actual coffee. You can try all 13 beers in a souvenir glass along with 13 delectable doughnut morsels. It's a meal that would make Homer Simpson drool. Ecliptic Brewing, 825 N Cook St., eclipticbrewing.com. 10 am Saturday, March 9. $25 in advance, $35 at the door (if available).
Distillers Guild Toast
If most bartenders have a few shelves' worth of booze to work with, consider this their walk-in closet. The Distillers Guild Toast features more than 120 spirits—from absinthe to whiskey—all produced in the Northwest. Five Portland chefs will also prepare appetizers to accompany all those shots. Tiffany Center, 1410 SW Morrison St., tiffanycenter.net. 5 pm Saturday, March 9. $45 general admission, $65 VIP. 21+.
Portland Brunch Festival
Portland is a city that loves brunch. But a lot of times, we do it all wrong. Why stand in line or wait for hours just to get some warm eggs when you can have unlimited access to a bloody mary buffet in a VIP lounge while a live band plays in the background? This festival celebrating millennials' favorite meal is worth waking up early on a Sunday for. Leftbank Annex, 101 N Weidler St., portlandbrunchfestival.com. 10 am Sunday, March 10. $30 in advance, $40 at the door, $100 VIP. 21+.
Mitchell S. Jackson
From Mitchell S. Jackson, author of 2015's Everybody Reads selection, The Residue Years, comes a hybrid essay collection and memoir. In Survival Math, Jackson takes readers to the Northeast Portland of the '80s and '90s—an area ravaged by drugs and violence. Despite the forces conspiring against him, Jackson managed to piece together a family and an identity, while developing no small amount of writing chops. He'll be speaking with Oregon Supreme Court Justice Adrienne Nelson. Powell's City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St., powells.com. 7:30 pm Monday, March 11.