Storm Large performs with the Oregon Symphony for a special Valentine's Day concert.

Valentine's Day

V-Day is upon us whether we like it or not. If you're in the mood to celebrate (or even comiserate) the day, check out our handy round-up of events for everyone from the starry-eyed to the lovelorn.

Theater

Closing this weekend:

Hand2Mouth's Pep Talk
Thru Feb 16, Peninsula Park Community Center
"Like any good spirit squad, the Hand2Mouth team had me roped in from the get go for their joyous descent into that pillar of American culture: the motivational pep talk...The show teeters on a balance beam between gleeful parody—the coaches love to throw out motivational schlock like Wayne Gretsky’s motto: “You miss 100-percent of the shots you don’t take”—and homage of sorts. It lifts us up while simultaneously pillorying the absurdity of our competitively positive culture..." Read our full review.

Image: Brud Giles

Jitney
Thru 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.

The End of Sex
Thru Feb 15, Shoebox Theater
In this world premiere, produced by Theatre Vertigo and written by Craig Jessen (a playwright with Oregon roots), a pharmaceutical scientist accidentally synthesizes a drug that simulates the sensation of sex, fundamentally changing the equation of human relations. We found it to be "a uniformly well-acted romp through the quirks of intimacy and the flaws of pharmaceutical culture." Read our review as part of our Fertile Ground guide.

Opening this weekend:

Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom
Feb 14–Mar 22, The Back Door Theater
David Zellnik’s sexually frank and award winning romantic comedy is set in 1996, when the development of protease inhibitors has given a group of men facing death from AIDS a new lease on life. Not edgy enough? The play’s focus is a wheelchair-using writer of gay, Marxist pornography.

Film

Portland International Film Festival
Feb 6–22, various venues
Returning for its 37 year, the Portland International Film Festival just continues to grow—this time expanding to include OMSI’s newly renovated Empirical Theatre in its roster of almost every small theater in town. From full-length features to documentary shorts, this year’s lineup includes more than 125 films and special events. Check out some of the best bets.

Books and Talks

Live Wire! Radio host Luke Burbank.

Live Wire! Radio
Feb 15, Alberta Rose Theatre
Portland’s own nationally syndicated radio variety show celebrates 10 years on air this month with a stellar lineup. For the first time in the show's history, Pink Martini's full band (plus the Von Trapp great-grandchildren) will grace the stage. Joining them are husband-wife writing team Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket) and Lisa Brown, who will discuss their latest work, 29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy; local comic Jay Flewelling; the band the Doubleclicks; and more. Read our feature about how Live Wire, with its new host Luke Burbank, is teetering on the brink of national success.

Concerts

Amos Lee and Black Prairie
Feb 16, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
The folk/soul/blues crooner comes to town in support of his most recent record, the full-band affair Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song. Better yet, Portland's own Americana mavens Black Prairie support in advance of their new album out in March.

The Ghost Ease
Feb 16, Rontoms
The local lo-fi garage rock three piece fronted by singer and guitarist Jem Marie play the latest edition of Rontoms' free Sunday Sessions.

Your Rival
Feb 16, Valentine's
Your Rival's debut LP Here's to Me has attracted inevitable and deserved comparisons to everything from Pinkerton-era Weezer to Superchunk and Jawbreaker for massive pop hooks packaged in gloriously chaotic guitar noise.

Visual Art

Francesco Guardi, Piazza San Marco with the Basilica and Campanile, c. 1775-85
Francesco Guardi, Piazza San Marco with the Basilica and Campanile, c. 1775-85

Venice: The Golden Age of Art
Feb 15–May 11, Portland Art Museum
The initial exhibition by the Portland Art Museum’s first-ever European curator, Dawson Carr, Venice: The Golden Age Of Art & Music explores a period when composers like Gabrieli and Monteverdi mingled with painters such as Tintoretto and Bassano. Related programming includes a concert by Cappella Romana and the Portland Baroque Orchestra.



Every Thursday: The city's best arts and entertainment, can't-miss events, plus artist interviews and ticket giveaways. (See an example!)