FRIDAY, DEC. 18
[EPIC] One does not simply reboot Star Wars. Sorry, wrong franchise. But for real, though. If there's one thing we know about Star Wars fans, it's that they're as resistant to change as any religious zealot, even when it's coming from their bearded, bullfrog-necked god himself. You couldn't change the damn credits font without risking a message-board lynching. And so, the best thing that can be said about The Force Awakens—J.J. Abrams' first crack at repairing the damage done by the useless prequels and the revisionist tinkering of Our Father Who Shall Not Be Named—is that it's classicist in the way of a well-executed neo-soul record, crackling with familiarity without bowing to the altar of history. Read the full review. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is rated PG-13. It opens Friday at most Portland-area theaters.
[SOLD OUT] When Typhoon started a decade ago, it wasn't meant to be anything more than a friendly studio project. In the 10 years since, the indie-pop orchestra has grown into one of Portland's most beloved bands. It has toured the U.S. several times, shared stages with the Shins and the Decemberists, jammed on late-night television and released three albums (plus an EP) of music that is simultaneously confessional and bombastic, communicating fear and struggle but also revelry for life. This week, Typhoon plays a sold-out show at Revolution Hall to celebrate 10 years together. Revolution Hall, 1300 SE Stark St., 8 pm. Sold out. All ages.
Disenchanter, Year of the Cobra
[POSI-DOOM] It's been a year since local doom-rock trio Disenchanter successfully Kickstarted a recording budget for its first professional album. Strange Creations' seven songs comprise nearly an hour of Dungeons and Dragons-infused riffs and grooves. The rhythm section is rock-solid and fully in focus, thanks greatly to the treatment provided by Portland's best midpriced metal studio, Haywire, and mastering legend Brad Boatright. The star of this show is, of course, singer-guitarist Sabine Stangenberg. Her vocals are soulful, and her leads don't disappoint. The band recently played its first Bay Area show, and is poised to go even further thanks to a recently inked vinyl deal with the Netherlands' Dark Hedonistic Union Records. NATHAN CARSON. Ash Street Saloon, 225 SW Ash St., 226-0430. 8 pm. $5. 21+.
The Vagina Talk Show and The Penis Talk Show
[PEEP SHOW] Imagine The Dating Game, without pants. That's more or less what you'll find in a pair of shows hitting the Clinton Street Theater this weekend. Unfussily titled The Vagina Talk Show and The Penis Talk Show, both feature local panelists with their torsos concealed behind a curtain, lower halves unclothed and ready for interrogation as the audience submits anonymous questions. Clinton Street Theater, 2522 SE Clinton St., cstpdx.com. 7 pm and 9 pm. $12. 21+.
Creative Music Guild Benefit featuring Modern Kin, the Crenshaw, Dragging an Ox Through Water
[FUNDRAISER] For 20 years, the non-profit Creative Music Guild has promoted the advancement of improvisational music via concerts and workshops. Tonight's fundraiser features gospelized rockers Modern Kin, folk mad scientist Dragging an Ox Through Water and acoustic-electronic duo the Crenshaw. Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water Ave. 9:30 pm. $8 advance, $10 day show. 21+.
In Good Company
[DANCE] Northwest Dance Project's annual end-of-year show is all new works choreographed and performed by some of Portland's top dancers. With another Princess Grace Award and a new studio this year, the company has reason to celebrate. Revolution Hall, 1300 SE Stark St., 421-7434. 7:30 pm. $40. Under 21 permitted with legal guardian.
SATURDAY, DEC. 19
X, Mike Watt & the Secondmen
[L.A. ICONS] As a Southern California kid with a deep love for the classic punk and post-punk of the region, this is a dream bill aimed right at my teenage heart. Don't get me wrong, it's still kind of amazing for me even in 2015. But the members of X—whose four-album run from 1980's Los Angeles to 1986's More Fun in the New World produced some of the best rock music of the decade—have been fairly transparent that shows are essentially just easy paychecks for them. On the other hand, I've never seen Mike Watt—the bass virtuoso of Minutemen and latter-day Stooges fame—give a half-assed performance. And X's paychecks these days are going to help guitarist Billy Zoom fight cancer. So why be cynical? This is the show of the year, and you can't tell my 33-year-old heart otherwise. MATTHEW SINGER. Star Theater, 13 NW 6th Ave. 9 pm. Through Dec. 20. $25. 21+.
The Miracle Worker
[THEATER] There's nothing miraculous about it. Staging The Miracle Worker alongside Crumpet the elf and multiple Christmas Carols could have ruined Artists Repertory Theatre's Christmas, but artistic director Dámaso Rodriguez knew what he was doing before the first casting call. This Miracle Worker to grabs your insides long before Sullivan cracks her tempestuous charge, though. The veteran cast riffs on Gibson's minimal dialogue, adding brawls and well-timed comedy for a surprisingly gripping ride. Flashbacks add a ghostly effect, staged behind a curtain that only turns translucent when it's backlit. And just before the break, we get a chase scene that rivals Bond. Artists Repertory Theatre, 1516 SW Alder St., 241-1278. 7:30 pm. $25-$48.
Hailey Niswanger and PDX Soul
[LOCAL SOUL, NATIONAL SOUND] Saxophonist Hailey Niswanger may be one of the most talented up-and-coming jazz musicians in the country, but she is also a West Linn native. Presently residing for most of the year in New York, she is home for the holidays, bringing the majority of the band she used for her latest release, PDX Soul, to Dante's for an evening of homecoming celebration. A quick-jabbing alto player with a big, clean-cut sound, Niswanger's horn is just as suited to fast bop as it is soaring soul serenades, a powerful combination no matter which side of the continent her stage is located. PARKER HALL. Dante's, 350 W Burnside St., 226-6630. 9 pm. $10. 21+.
Jingle All the Way (1996)
[X-MAS MOVIE] How Jingle All the Way—a family comedy about Arnold Schwarzenegger in a Black Friday battle royale with Sinbad and Phil Hartman over a hot new action figure—wasn't an instant classic is puzzling. But maybe it's because it's a family comedy about Arnold Schwarzenegger in a Black Friday battle royale with Sinbad and Phil Hartman over a hot new action figure. The moral: Christmas is about getting your child exactly what he wants, no matter the consequences. Mission Theater.
[COMEDY] Aries Spears served as a principal cast member on MADtv from the third to 10th season of the hit sketch comedy show. He has appeared on Def Comedy Jam and Showtime at the Apollo, two of the most iconic comedy shows of all time, and is a practitioner of a number of spot-on impressions including James Brown, Shaquille O'Neal, Al Pacino and Eddie Murphy. Helium Comedy Club, 1510 SE 9th Ave., 888-643-8669. 7:30 and 10 pm. $18-$33. 21+.
SUNDAY, DEC. 20
[ALT-ADULT] Out of a haze of marijuana and vague grief comes Colleen Green. Her latest record, I Want to Grow Up, shows a woman struggling with doing just that. Her music feels like an update of the musical tastes the young alt-adult grew up with. Blink-182 and grunge seem to be at the forefront here, but updated with that bedroom pop, Burger Records-style L.A. sound. She sings about television, not being able to pay attention and the mundane things that make up our lives, for better or worse. Analog Cafe, 720 SE Hawthorne Blvd., with Pity Sex. 7 pm. $12 advance, $14 day of show. All ages.
The Eight: Reindeer Monologues
[THEATER] Twilight Theater does dark, and weird, well. Adding an addled Mrs. Claus, reindeer off their rockers and thinly-veiled political commentary to Christmas, this is the holidays as told by its favorite enslaved animals. The adult comedy stars Portland regulars like Russell Owens and Rob Harris, but it's a 20-year-old play by Jeff Goode, the writer behind American Dragon and MTV's Undressed, giving it strong legs Twilight Theater, 7515 N Brandon Ave., 847-9838. 3 pm. $15. 21+.
A Greener Christmas Hip-Hop Toy Drive, featuring Devin the Dude, Potluck, Chillest Illest, Stevo the Weirdo, Prince Hyph
[WEED WRAPS] Devin the Dude might be taking a dump on the cover of his 1998 debut, but his raps aren't doo-doo. They are, however, frequently about getting really high (the Dude even had a signature vaporizer worked up to coincide with the release of One for the Road in 2013), or women. You know, normal stuff. And while his material has expanded a bit over the past decade to reflect on the human condition, there's not a tremendous difference between what he released in 1994 as a member of Odd Squad and his newer fare. There just might be a better chance of hearing him croon now. Devin comes to town at part of Portland rap ambassador Cool Nutz's annual holiday toy drive. DAVE CANTOR. Peter's Room at Roseland Theater, 8 NW 6th Ave. 8 pm. $10 with toy donation, $18 without. All ages.
Box Set Duo Trio
[TWO BECOMES THREE] You read the name right. San Francisco songwriters Jim Brunberg and Jeff Pehrson formed a band in 1991, waggishly dubbing it Box Set. When Brunberg's eventual move to Portland—where he founded Mississippi Studios—meant that the core pair could only infrequently play together, they called that configuration Box Set Duo. Having now added a third member, Ben Landsverk—a longtime associate of Holcombe Waller, who played alongside Brunberg in the great, short-lived A Year Afar—they've adopted the convoluted handle Box Set Duo Trio. On new release One Night Live, they demonstrate that whatever the name, they remain a winning combination. JEFF ROSENBERG. Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave., with Ed Haynes. 8 pm. $15 advance, $18 day of show. 21+.