Top Things to Do This Weekend: Sept 4–7
The Avett Brothers play Edgefield, opera goes indie with 'The Canticle of the Black Madonna,' chamber music gets folky with Musee Mecanique, and the piano recital gets a makeover with Kathleen Supove.
Bag&Baggage: The Crucible
Thursday–Sunday, Bag&Baggage Productions
The Hillsboro company's multimedia take on Arthur Miller's classic tale of paranoia and accusation will mark the largest cast in its history. Also, they mixed up five new cocktails inspired by lines from the play ("The Kept Poppet," "God's Icy Wind") because, y'know, burning witches is thirsty business. PoMo has an exclusive on The Crucible Cocktail Collection.
Profile Theatre: Sam Shepard One Acts
Thursday–Sunday, Profile Theatre
Artistic director Adriana Baer and her company could hardly have chosen a more prolific playwright for their 2014 season, and this six-day festival will see Profile stage nine of Shepard's many short plays and stories. If you've got a Midwest hardiness to match Shepard's, you can even catch all nine in one day.
The Canticle of the Black Madonna: A Soldier's Journey
Friday–Saturday, Newmark Theatre
Given the extraordinary cost of an opera, it's not every day an indie production makes it to the stage—which is just one of many factors that make Canticle stand out. Created by Oregon composer Ethan Gans-Morse and librettist Tiziana DellaRovere, and directed by Portlander Kristine McIntyre (her credits include the Metropolitan Opera), Canticle follows a US soldier returning from Afghanistan with PTSD. The ambitious production stars first-rate singers, including Michael Mayes in the lead, and will coincide with ancillary events for veterans and civilians alike. Read our preview.
Friday–Saturday, McMenamins Edgefield
Though we can in part blame these North Carolina bluegrassy folk rockers for the glut of insufferably Mumfordesque banjo-shredding acoustic acts out there, there's a reason the Avett Brothers have spawned so many lesser imitators: that singing and picking is in service of solid songwriting.
Giants of Jazz and Blues
Friday, Antoinette Hatfield Hall
This benefit concert, true to the name, features giants of the blue notes like Grammy winner (and American Music Program founder) Thara Memory, and Bitches Brew contributor Bennie Maupin. The best of Portland's local jazz and blues musicians will fatten up the night's lineup. Proceeds go toward the American Music Program, which ensures that the influence of jazz greats like Miles, Ellington, and Basie make it into the next generation of musicians.
Saturday, Alberta Rose Theater
In a city where “folk” gets hyphenated with every genre label, this chamber-folk group distinguishes itself by taking time to perfect their lushly orchestrated songs. From Shores of Sleep is their first record in five years, and they've decided to let fans pay what they want for a digital download, with 10% going to XRAY.fm.
From art superstar Ryan Trecartin to local lights like Victor Calderone, from New York City basements to Oregon beaches, the downtown galleries are seeing summer off with a bang at tonight's monthly gallery walk.
Rachel Tess: Souvenir
Saturday–Sunday, Opsis Architecture
With a foot in Portland and a foot in Sweden, this Portland native's latest work reflects her itinerant lifestyle: Souvenir, a dance set on a transportable stage of interlocking pine boards, enough to fill a 40-foot shipping container. Tess created the piece in Sweden, premiered it in Manhattan, and will stage a new version of it in Portland next spring after a preview this month. She calls the travelling stage "a mobile choreographic environment." Read our preview.
Books & Talks
Literary Arts' 30th Birthday: Colin Meloy, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Calvin Trillin
Monday, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
Portland's premier literary nonprofit celebrates a big birthday with a performance from the Decemberists' proudly bookish Colin Meloy, an appearance by Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat Pray Love, The Signature of All Things), and a return of the first-ever Portland Arts and Lectures guest speaker, New Yorker writer Calvin Trillin. It might be on Monday, but we're including it hear because literature knows no puny weekend boundaries.
Friday, Powell's City of Books
Another Sunset We Survive (2007), the third book of poetry from local writer Gray, was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award; her new novel, Carry the Sky, explores bullying at an elite boarding school.
Saturday–Sunday, Hollywood Theatre
The Portland chapter of this storytelling series, in which adults unearth and unveil horribly embarrassing relics from their adolescence and the story that goes with it, gained deserved notoriety as the scene for part of a 2013 documentary about the nationwide phenomenon.
Sunday, Powell's City of Books
The best-selling author of Nixonland explores the rise of Ronald Reagan and a new conservative political culture after Vietnam in his new book, The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan.
Saturday, Brunish Hall
Portlander-native-turned-Brooklynite Kathleen Supove makes her hometown debut with her newest recital, The Exploding Piano. The piece attempts to capture the avant garde sounds of New York's famous Downtown scene with works by the leading contemporary composers. The New York Times wrote: "What Ms. Supove is really exploding is the piano recital as we have known it."