Jan 22–Feb 16, Portland Playhouse
Continuing its spin through the Pittsburgh Cycle, August Wilson’s 10-play, two-Pulitzer-winning survey of the 20th-century African American experience, Portland Playhouse stages this story of embattled cab drivers serving Pittsburgh’s historically black Hill District in the ’70s. Read our story about Jitney, the August Wilson Red Door Project, and how Portland’s theaters are tackling race.
Jan 22–Feb 16, Peninsula Park West Gym
Inspired by an ensemble-wide obsession with Friday Night Lights’ Coach Taylor, this new performance from experimental theater troupe Hand2Mouth features four coaches looking for a team. Expect to cheer as they guide you from passive observation to active engagement with H2M’s trademark zany humor and charm.
Jan 23, Wonder Ballroom
Justin Vernon comes to town with the consistent standout of his various projects since he (essentially) dissolved Bon Iver after the groups Grammy-winning, self-titled 2012 record. Formed of members from various midwestern post-rock and experimental acts, Volcano Choirs retains the same expansively layered sonics of Vernon's other work with a greater emphasis on collective vision.
Best! of Portland
Jan 25, Wonder Ballroom
This third annual bash showcases School of Rock musicians playing on stage with a dizzying array of buzz-building local acts. The exhaustive lineup—one wonders how they'll fit it all in—includes Typhoon, Shy Girls, Radiation City, the Thermals, and many, many more. (According to sources, each band will only play one song.)
Oregon Symphony: Red Hot Blues
Jan 25–26, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
The symphony gets soulful with help from jazz vocalist Dee Daniels and jazz trumpeter Byron Stripling for this bluesy bill of music by Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Count Basie, and others.
Chamber Music Northwest Winter Festival
For its first-ever Winter Festival, Chamber Music Northwest convenes eight Oregon Symphony members (including concertmaster Sarah Kwak), CMNW artistic director (and accomplished clarinetist) David Shifrin, and others for four evenings of “seasonal” works, including a world premiere and, natch, Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. Performances alternate between PSU's Lincoln Hall and Reed College.
Phillip Adams Balletlab
Jan 23–25, Lincoln Hall
The Australian company performs its confrontational, morbid, dance-theater piece Amplification, a “portrait of the body in chaos” inspired by car accidents and developed through research in an emergency room.
Thru Jan 26, Leftbank Project
In keeping with its mission to “draw dance away from the stage,” POV Dance has collaborated with musicians and a filmmaker to present this multimedia work in the lobbies, corridors, and “intimate nooks” of North Broadway’s Leftbank Project complex. It's the last weekend to catch this show!
Deville Cohen, ZERO
Jan 25–Mar 2, Disjecta
Taking inspiration from the cult sci-fi show The X-Files, this Israeli artist tears apart the idea of crime scenes, sometimes literally, in his video work that incorporates sculpture, theater, chicken cutouts, soccer, and little green sticky hands. With the help of Artis Foundation, he will also, for the first time, build a large scale installation alongside the work. “Agent Scully, we trust you'll make the proper scientific analysis. Opening night party on Saturday, Jan 25 from 6–10 pm.
Jan 26, Scottish Rite Center
For this long-standing local Japanese New Year celebration, a coalition of Portland Japanese cultural organizations ring in the Year of the Horse with performances by drumming ensembles and a dance troupe, activities like origami and a tea ceremony, and, of course, locally distilled sake.