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Where to Eat, Drink, Dance, Enjoy and Party Like A Russian All Year In Portland

2017-2018 Russian events calendar in Portland

Through Dec. 24
Oregon Ballet Theatre's Nutcracker
Savaged by critics and ignored by audiences upon its 1892 debut in St. Petersburg, this Christmas story of rats, toy soldiers and confectionary sprites was saved from the dust bin of history thanks to its Tchaikovsky score and is now one of the world's best-loved Christmas traditions. Oregon Ballet Theatre's production is the new American standard version by choreographer George Balanchine, which introduced the show to the U.S. and remains popular with children partly due to all the kids onstage. It's straightforward and charmingly traditional. Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St., 503-222-5538, obt.org. $29-$525.

Through Jan. 1
Russian Tea at the Heathman
At Vitaly Paley's seafood restaurant Headwaters at the Heathman, each weekend holds an experience that once seemed lost in Portland: Russian tea service. At the center, there is always the samovar—a spigoted tabletop dispenser that's like a baroquely Old World trophy full of tea—used here for chocolate peppermint pu'er tea or a smoked Caravan tea made specially for Paley by Steven Smith. Heathman Hotel, 1001 SW Broadway, 503-790-7752. Tea served daily till Jan. 1. Reservations required 48 hours in advance.

Dec. 15
MarkovCo Christmas Party
Throughout December, multiple generations of the Markov family—born in far-north Kargopol—will sell their Russian folk art prints, handmade pillows and hand-painted matryoshkas at their gallery, which they hope to grow into the largest Russian gallery in the United States. At the Christmas party this night, the art will be accompanied by wine and a short classic Russian comedy called Moonshiners. MarkovCo, 625 NW Everett St., No. 111, 503-954-6576. $12, includes food and drink. Tickets at markovco.com. Limited to 20.

Dec. 18
Nope, not the George Clooney one—its Russian predecessor, based on the same novel about an ill-fated space station orbiting an ocean planet. It's more poetic and thought-provoking than every Black Mirror episode combined. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium, 1219 SW Park Ave., nwfilmcenter.org. 7 pm. $9.

Dec. 23
Sultanov Russian Ballet Winter Show
Founded by St. Petersburg expat Artur Sultanov, Beaverton's Russian Ballet Academy  prepares dancers from ages 5 to 19 for professional careers. Its annual winter showcase is a mix of contemporary and classical ballet. Lincoln Performance Hall, 1620 SW Park Ave., russianballetacademy.net. 1 and 5 pm. $19-$25.

Magic Mirror
For its Christmas show, Scarlet Sails is staging a play that's basically a mashup of Russian folklore: a mirror that makes anyone who walks through it younger, an aging Father Frost, a nefarious Baba Yaga, and a bunch of woodland creatures caught between good and evil. The actors speak Russian, but if you don't, Scarlet Sails' next production will have English subtitles. Beaverton City Library, 12375 SW 5th St., facebook.com/groups/sstheater. Noon and 2 pm. $15.

Dec. 31
Kachka New Year's Eve Party in the Woods
Party like a Russian—with caviar and vodka in the middle of nowhere. At Suttle Lodge, deep in the forests of Oregon, Kachka chef Bonnie Frumkin Morales  will cook up a Russian-style party table, including porcini-stuffed eggs, horseradish vodka oyster shooters and, of course, caviar blini. Suttle Lodge, 13300 U.S. Highway 20, Sisters, 541-638-7001, thesuttlelodge.com. 9 pm-1 am. $150.

Jan. 6-21, 2018

Uncle Vanya
Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble is producing a new translation of Chekhov's classic play about quiet desperation in a dysfunctional family gathering on a Russian estate. PETE's version will be more like a cabaret than a traditional four-act play, and will feature live music by a trio that includes Chervona's Andrei Temkin. Reed College Performing Arts Building, 3203 SE Woodstock Blvd., petensemble.org. 7:30 pm Friday-Sunday. $30.

Jan. 12, 2018
Kachka Cooking Class
Wanna learn how to cook all the cool Russian stuff in Bonnie Frumkin Morales' Kachka cookbook from the chef herself? At Bob's Red Mill, Morales will offer up five recipes and demonstrate how to make perlovka grain, buckwheat blinis and farina parfait. If that all seems super-grainy, remember you're at a mill. Bob's Red Mill, 5000 SE International Way, Milwaukie, 971- 206-1241, bobsredmill.com. 6 pm.

Jan. 13, 2018
Chervona Old New Year
Portland's premier Eastern European party band Chervona will be rocking the Russian Old New Year for the 12th year in a row at Star Theater. But you can't just show up: You have to dress up. It's a Snow Ball, with all-white attire required. Guest-star singers promised. Drunkenness promised. Sold-out tickets almost assured. Star Theater, 13 NW 6th Ave., 866-777-8932, startheaterportland.com. 9 pm. $20 general admission, $70-$360 for reserved tables.
Jan. 13, Feb. 10 and March 10, 2018
Once a late-night party at the Portland Penny Diner, chef Vitaly Paley's Russian-food pop-up is a world of zakuski drinking snacks, borscht, pelmeni and piroshki—a $125 body-stuffing extravaganza of meat and fish and potato in the Heathman tea room. The Heathman, 1001 SW Broadway, 503-790-7752. 6:30 pm. Tickets will be sold at eatfeastly.com. Generally around $125.

Jan. 13-15, 2018
Stravinsky's Rite of Spring
Apparently the old Parisian riot story at the Nijinsky ballet is a little overblown—there were both boos and a standing ovation, and a lot of the controversy was over Nijinsky rather than Stravinsky. Either way, this is an epochal, wild-ass symphony—one of the gateways to the modern in music. Do yourself a favor and hear it live. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, orsymphony.org. 7:30 pm Saturday and Monday, 2:30 pm Sunday. Tickets start at $24.

Mondays starting Jan. 15, 2018
Dumpling Night at Paley's Place
On Mondays, Paley's Place will become a hall of Russian pickles, vodka, and course after course of dumplings like you've never seen. Details are still being worked out, but expect jam-filled dumpling dessert, dumplings with kraut, traditional bacon-stuffed varekniki and Georgian-style khinkali with beef, lamb and pork. Paley's Place, 1204 NW 21st Ave. Tickets at eatfeastly.com.

Feb. 10-12, 2018
Tchaikovsky's Pathetique (Symphony No. 6)
Tchaikovsky was an irredeemable Russian sap in love with the feeling of feeling—history's peak Romantic. Pathetique is his moony masterpiece, the sound of a giant heart bursting. Hold hands during the sad parts. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, orsymphony.org. 7:30 pm. Tickets start at $24.

Throughout March 2018

Juliana and PAVA
Moscow-born ethnomusicologist Juliana joins singing troupe PAVA to play ancient Russian folk songs at various King County libraries—with balalaika, hurdy-gurdy and flutes. For dates and locations, see ethnorussia.com/pava.htm.

March 17, 2018
Cappella Romana
Get down with a modern composition of Russian-choral Byzantine chant. Portland's nationally renowned Orthodox and Byzantine chorus Capella Romana will perform a new composition by the Rev. Dr. Ivan Moody. St. Mary's Cathedral,  1716 NW Davis St.,  503-228-4397, cappellaromana.com. $24-$49.
April 1, 2018
The Seagull
Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble continues its Chekhov series with what's widely considered one of the greatest plays of all time and a hallmark of realist drama. Set on a Russian estate, The Seagull is a compact but dense work full of tense love triangles and references to Hamlet. PETE is one of the most surprising, abstract companies in the city, so whatever its interpretation of Chekhov's classic looks like, it definitely won't be traditional. You can catch this free staged reading while PETE's production is still in progress. Lewis & Clark College Fir Acres Theater, 0615 SW Palatine Hill Road, petensemble.org. 7 pm. Free.

July 2018
Portland Slavic Festival
The biggest and most visible fest devoted to all things Russophone all year, the Portland Slavic Festival has taken over deep Southeast Portland's Ventura Park one weekend every July since 2009. Sure, there's the usual food and face paint and dancing you'd expect from a cultural festival, complete with vareniki you can make yourself. But in true Russian fashion, there are also 5-year-old pianists and champion wrestlers. Prodigies raised strictly! Contests of strength! Ventura Park, Southeast Stark Street and 115th Avenue, slavicfestivalportland.org.

Nov. 4, 2018
Bridge to Russia
Portland has a Russian sister city named Khabarovsk, so deep in the Russian southeast it's almost China. And each year the Portland Khabarovsk Sister City Association hosts native Russians living in Portland and emissaries from Khabarovsk with food and song, whether classical, Russian singing or, this year, a performance by Portland folk band Three for Silver, fresh from a tour of the Russian far east. See pksca.org for details.