FRIDAY, MARCH 24
Mope Grooves frontman Stevie Pohlman has channeled bouts with depression and despair into a poppy post-punk masterpiece on the Portland group's latest, the recently-released Low. Read our interview with Pohlman here. Mope Grooves plays American Legion Post 134, 2104 NE Alberta St., with Honey Bucket, Marcy's Band, Nick Normal, Super Hit, Toxic Slime Records and Cool Schmool, on Friday, March 24. 7:30 pm. $6, $10 includes copy of Joy. All ages.
James Chance & the Contortions
If James Brown got sucked into the Upside Down and had his genes spliced with Lou Reed, James Chance is what would get spat back out. After a long period of dormancy, the 63-year-old screamer-skronkophonist reassembled his old band for last year's The Flesh Is Weak, and still plays funk and disco like he's only ever heard them while high on paint thinner. Star Theater, 13 NW 6th Ave., 503-248-4700, startheaterportland.com. 9 pm. $14. 21+.
The Angry Brigade Opening Weekend
The Angry Brigade explores the eponymous London-based leftist domestic terrorist group that orchestrated a series of bombings in the early '70s, with a script from James Graham constructed to thwart comfortable categories like good and bad. Imago Theatre, 17 SE 8th Ave., thirdrailrep.org. 7:30 pm. $25-$42.50. Through April 15.
Winners and Losers
In Winners and Losers, the next show in Artists Rep's Frontier Series that imports national and international experimental performances, show creators Marcus Youssef and James Long sit onstage and argue whether a cultural figure or topic is a winner or a loser. But the show isn't really interested in evaluating pop culture, it's interested in a culture of masculine one-upmanship. So Youssef and Long end up arguing about their own lives just as much as their assigned topic: who had the more difficult upbringing, who's better at masturbating, etc. If it continues on the trend of the Frontier Series so far, it will be conceptual in a way that's still totally emotionally accessible to those who don't spend time pondering the constraints of traditional theater. Artists Repertory Theatre, 1515 SW Morrison St., artistsrep.org. 7:30 pm Friday-Sunday, 2 pm Sunday, March 24-26. $30.
Before the late 17th century, all women in English theater were boys: It wasn't until Charles II took power in the 1660s that it became legal for women to be actors. Playhouse Creatures, which is set just after the ban was lifted, explores the backstage lives and onstage performances of five actresses as they flex their freedom to be there. CoHo Theater, 2257 NW Raleigh St., cohoproductions.org. 7:30 pm Thursday-Saturday, 2 pm Sunday, through April 8. $20-$28.
Depicting the surreal adventures of three awkward teen boys trying to make it to the high school dance, School Dance is full of campy nonsense like a bike-riding montage set to "I Need a Hero," adult men playing teens, and a parallel universe called the "Land of Invisible Teens" that's haunted by Gizmo from Gremlins. Read out review here. Action/Adventure Theatre, 1050 SE Clinton St., actionadventure.org. 8 pm Thursday-Sunday, through April 9. $10-$15.
SATURDAY, MARCH 25
Why?, Open Mike Eagle
Yoni Wolf is the kind of dude you'd find sitting alone at a party, blazed out of his mind and trapped in his own head. It's a weird and frightening place to live, but any reason for concern about the Bay Area folk-rapper's well-being is mitigated by just how hilarious and carefully orchestrated his self-deprecating tales of life as a depressed slacker can be. The most powerful moments on Moh Lhean, the latest under his moniker Why?, feel like the spiritual heirs to Beck's "Loser," with just enough technology-driven angst thrown in the mix to keep the dread and despair as fresh as possible. Revolution Hall, 1300 SE Stark St. #100, 503-288-3895. 9 pm. $16 advance, $18 day of show. All ages.
In honor of the spring hop planting, Baerlic will host a miniature single-hop beerfest to showcase Chinook hops beer from Hopworks, a Denali-hopped beer Coalition, and a Comet-hopped beer from Widmer, among others. There will also be a hop farmer on hand from Crosby Hop Farm in Woodburn. Tickets are $15. Baerlic Brewing, 2235 SE 11th Ave., Portland, OR 97214.2:00 pm $15.
Blow Pony 10th Anniversary
Portland's lack of a proper "gayborhood" is well-documented, so the fact that Blow Pony, one of the queer community's biggest monthly dance parties, is a movable feast of sorts makes perfect sense. This month, the party celebrates its 10-year anniversary, which organizers promise to be a night of "fierceness, faggotry, fuckery and buggery." Bossanova Ballroom, 725 E Burnside St., 503-206-7630, bossanovaballroom.com. 9 pm. $19. 21+.
Cider Rite of Spring
More than 30 cidermakers will serve up about 100 different Northwest ciders above a beer bar with 100 taps for local beer. Sheesh. Expect every damn local cider brand you've heard of and a couple boutique spots like E.Z. Orchards and Rack & Cloth, plus sushi burritos and sushi doughnuts from Wasabi Sushi. The Evergreen PDX, 619 SE Alder St., nwcider.com. Noon-6 pm. $25, $40 VIP.
SUNDAY, MARCH 26
On Infinite Worlds, Lætitia Tamko, aka Vagabon, reveals an inimitable voice amid a smashed-up blend of recklessness and elegance. The album was bestowed an illustrious Best New Music tag from Pitchfork, alongside a profile that called her "an indie-rock game changer." See our interview with Tamko here. Vagabon plays Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave., with Allison Crutchfield and the Fizz, and Soar, on Sunday, March 26. 7 pm. $12 advance, $14 day of show. 21+.
Jon Ossoff Southern Feast
Want to make those red states blue? Blackbird Wineshop and the Ox cooks are hosting a Southern-style meal to raise money to flip a Georgia Congressional seat to the Dems—in a special election that has Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff ahead in the polls. For a Southern election, expect Southern food: Think grits and Brunswick stew, with Blackbird selecting the wine pairings. It's $60 for five wine pairings and food. RSVP at email@example.com. Blackbird Wineshop, 4323 NE Fremont St. 7:00 pm $60.
Quartet San Francisco with Alex de Grassi
What is it about the San Francisco Bay Area that makes string quartets go a little crazy? The '70s brought Kronos, and the '80s had Turtle Island Quartet. Since the early days of this century, Quartet San Francisco has featured jazz, tangos, Lennon/McCartney, Gershwin and tunes by founder Jeremy Cohen influenced by all of the above. On this tour, the crowd-pleasing foursome, whose appeal transcends classical music fans, teams up with another Bay Area native, acoustic guitar wizard Alex de Grassi, a mainstay of the old Windham Hill acoustic Americana label, whose music embraces classical, jazz and folk. The Old Church 1422 SW 11th Ave., 503-222-2031. 7:30 pm Sunday, March 26. $30-$52. All ages.
The dean of food science—who's also a pilot, music video cinematographer and Iron Chef host—will be in town acting like a mad scientist onstage at the Schnitz, making food with balloons and snowblowers and hammers and shit, plus playing guitar for some reason. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, 503-248-4335, portland5.com. 3 and 8 pm. $40-$125. All ages.
Winners and Losers
In Winners and Losers, show creators Marcus Youssef and James Long sit onstage and argue whether a cultural figure or topic is, well, a winner or a loser. But the conceptual dialogue quickly gets personal, and the two men end up arguing more about their own lives—who had the more difficult upbringing, who's better at masturbating, etc. Artists Repertory Theatre, 1515 SW Morrison St., 503-241-1278, artistsrep.org. 2 and 7:30 pm. $30. Opens March 24.