MARCH

March 8-11 | Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival

Hollywood Theatre
Known to its fans as “POWfest,” this five-year-old celebration of female filmmaking typically boasts two-thirds of its films’ directors in the audience—one of them picking up the annual POWfest Pioneer Award. Past winners include Irene Taylor Brodsky (The Final Inch) and Gillian Armstrong (My Brilliant Career). This year’s fest features documentary Sisters in Arms, about Canadian women serving in combat in Iraq. Portlander Megan Johnson will premiere her feature film Stealing Roses, a tragicomedy about a man who starts robbing banks to pay for his dying wife’s cancer treatments. Jacqueline Gualt will debut Dinner Party, a short from her five-part series “about friendship … and revenge.” $7.50–10. powfest.com

March 9-10 | Best of Now

Northwest Dance Project
Chinese-born Canadian choreographer Wen Wei Wang features in this trio of world premieres with the latest of his visually striking mix of martial arts and street dance. French choreographer Patrick Delcroix and NW Dance Project artistic director Sarah Slipper add their own seductively energetic, ballet-rooted pieces. Newmark Theatre, nwdanceproject.com

 

Generations

Photo: Courtesy Museum of Contemporary Craft

Generations: Betty Feves

March 10 through May 19 | Portland 2012: A Biennial of Contemporary Art

Back in 1992, Prudence Roberts, then an associate curator at the Portland Art Museum, was part of a team that resuscitated the Oregon Biennial after its death many years before. Now teaching and running the gallery at Portland Community College’s Rock Creek campus, she’s returning as the picker-in-chief for the reinvented biennial put on by the alt-arts space Disjecta. Culling from 280 entries and more than 50 studio visits, Roberts selected 24 artists and collaborative teams for four different venues. If you want a seasoned pro’s view of the brightest lights of contemporary Portland artmaking, look for the glow here with work like Cynthia Lahti’s emotionally layered ceramic sculptures, Akihiko Mioshi’s confounding photographic abstractions, Wendy Red Star’s meditations on the powwow, and the collective Future Death Toll’s Internet-based sound art. Various venues; disjecta.org

March 10 through June 17 | Emerging

Portland Art Museum
Upon the sudden death of the Portland Art Museum’s much-beloved curator of photography, Terry Toedtemeier, local photographers Christopher Rauschenberg and Stu Levy called in some chits, asking the many artists around the world whom Toedtemeier had shown, helped, and otherwise engaged (and sometimes peeved) to give a print in his memory. More than 100 ponied up, among them Jerry Uelsmann, Linda Connor, Mark Klett, Suzanne Opton, and many others who can be labeled among the greatest living artists of the photo medium. This “new acquisitions” show offers a look at some of them, along with other pieces reeled in by Toedtemeier’s successor, Julia Dolan, by equally important artists like Bea Nettles, Ray Metzker, Drex Brooks, Chris McCaw, and Frederick Henry Evans. pam.org

March 15 through July 28 | Generations: Betty Feves

Museum of Contemporary Craft
One of the pioneers of mid-20th- century modernist pottery, Betty Feves never achieved the renown of Robert Arneson or Peter Voulkos. But among potters, she was no less influential. Having studied with painter Clyfford Still during his brief stint in the late ’30s at Washington State University and later at the Art Students League and Columbia University in New York, she learned the iconoclasm of abstract expressionism firsthand and then turned it to her own, cooler ends in her studio in Pendleton. Curator Namita Gupta Wiggers is pulling together the first serious survey of Feves’s work ever in Oregon. It’s about time. Whether drawing, throwing pots, sculpting, or investigating experimental firing techniques, she created a graceful, gritty beauty that will excite far more than the pottery set. $4. mocc.pnca.edu

 

Hennessy

Photo: Courtesy PICA

Keith Hennessy, PICA

March 23-25 | A Head of Time

Linda Austin
From her tiny, former St. Mary’s Romanian Orthodox Church just off SE Foster Road, Linda Austin has built an experimental stronghold with Performance Works Northwest. In a simple, bleachered room, she helps young talents flower and brings out the movement latent in nondancers (among them, prominent Portlanders like former Metro head David Bragdon and Pink Martini’s Thomas Lauderdale) with her everchanging troupe, the Boris and Natasha Dancers. But Austin is also a serious, accomplished choreographer who weaves the more ethereal concerns of dance with Chaplinesque physical humor for an allegorical magic. This is a rare opportunity to see her work on a full-production-equipped stage. Imago Theatre, performanceworksnw.org

March 28 | East Coast Chamber Orchestra

Chamber Music Northwest
The Occupy Wall Street movement offered a glimpse of pure democracy—warts, beauty marks, and all. For some lessons in harmony, the protesters might look to East Coast Chamber Orchestra, which operates with some of Occupy’s anarchic style. Calling itself “democratically principled,” the 27-member group makes all of its arrangement decisions by discussion and consensus—this by some of the music world’s biggest names: Jonathan Vinocour (viola) of the San Francisco Symphony, Grammy-nominated Melissa Reardon (viola), and Raman Ramakirshnan (cello) of the internationally renowned Daedalus Quartet. $15–45. Reed College, Kaul Auditorium, cmnw.org

March 29 through May 13 | Brother/Sister Plays

Portland Playhouse
In the annals of graduate school theater, few productions have rocketed to the success of the Brother/Sister Plays. First workshopped at the Yale School of Drama in 2006 by then-second-year-student playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, the project won rave reviews at New York’s Public Theater, ultimately earning McCraney a prestigious Whiting Award. The autobiographically inspired tale of an African American family’s two-generation plight of poverty, addiction, disease, a hurricane, and the youngest son’s gay sexual awakening is “operatic, while the gritty moment-to-moment truth was as sharp as Sam Shepard,” says Portland Playhouse Artistic Director Brian Weaver. “These plays will illuminate the pre-Katrina Louisiana bayou community for our Portland audience.” $15–28. portlandplayhouse.org

APRIL

April 3-29 | Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Portland Center Stage
Seattle writer Kevin McKeon has adapted literary epics A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations, so giving him the job of whittling the pages of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina down to a bite-size production seems like a smart call. A doomed romance set in politically turbulent 19th-century Russia, the story follows the titular heroine, as she exchanges the role of dutiful wife and mother for that of a woman driven to desperate deeds by her all-consuming desire for another man. “Love. The reason I dislike that word is that it means too much for me, far more than you can understand,” she says of her untenable predicament. $34–59. Gerding Theater, pcs.org

April 7 and June 21-24 | PICA Gets Physical

No local arts group has seen more change than the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art. Founded in 1995 by the charismatic Kristy Edmunds (now curating the UCLA Live festival in Los Angeles), it began as a series of performances and exhibitions in borrowed spaces, grew into a full-fledged “institution” in Wieden & Kennedy’s sparkling headquarters, then shrank and reincarnated into the annual Time-Based Art Festival. But with the phenomenal success of TBA and a new curator, Angela Mattox, from San Francisco’s dynamic Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, PICA’s reaching for a year-round presence again. Its latest digs are smack-dab in what might be called the new “Stark Street District” cultural hub at 415 SW 10th Avenue. Look for the April open house and mark your calendars for June 21–24: PICA will host legendary San Francisco choreographer Keith Hennessy and his company for a series of symposia and in-progress performances for “Turbulence,” a new “dance about the economy” the group will premiere at September’s TBA Festival. pica.org

 

Göteborg Ballet

Photo: Courtesy White Bird Dance

Göteborg Ballet

April 12-14 | Göteborg Ballet

White Bird Dance
Plenty of companies work hard to reach new audiences. The Sweden-based Göteborg Ballet reaches for a new kind of ballet. The classically trained, full-scale company can move from “crashing wildness” to “luscious glut of physical imagery” to “wrenchingly plaintive and beautiful” in a single evening, according the Boston Globe. Artistic Director Johannes Öhman has created a showcase for some of Europe’s leading choreographers that, on this tour, will make only two US stops. Count yourself lucky, Portland. $26–64. Newmark Theatre, whitebird.org

April 12-15 | Chromatic Quartet

Oregon Ballet Theatre
Accompanied by everything from Stravinsky to African drums, this eclectic evening of four short pieces is anchored by a rerun of an audience favorite, the explosive “Lambarena.” But get ready to stretch with two new works: a company premiere of Christopher Wheeldon’s “Liturgy,” an exploration of the architecture of the duet; and a still-to-be-titled world premiere by Canadian choreographing sensation Matjash Mrozewski. “Equally at home in ballet or contemporary dance,” writes Toronto’s Globe and Mail, “Mrozewski’s works are hallmarked by his fearless love of innovation, with each successive piece radically different from the one before.” $23–140. Newmark Theatre, obt.org

April 26-27 | New Ideas in Music

Third Angle New Music Ensemble
Nothing stokes the mind’s fires like a competition—which is why Third Angle Ensemble is hosting its first-ever contest to identify the most innovative local, regional, and national new ensemble compositions. Mirroring Third Angle’s wide repertoire, among the judges are Portland State University’s Bryan Johanson, the Charles Ives Living Award–winning Chen Yi, and Zygmunt Krauze of the Academy of Music in Warsaw. $30. thirdangle.org