The intentions behind NEAFTD obviously have the best interests of food trucks in mind. How is it, then, that only five of Portland’s food trucks ended up acknowledging this day?
“This is the first year for National Eat At A Food Truck Day and while we would love to have all trucks in every city participate, it takes time for a food day like this to take off,” said Madison Rosinski a representative of NEAFTD founder Roaming Hunger, a food truck booking service.
On this coming Thursday, June 9, curious drinkers in Portland have an opportunity to try some of the most buzzed about natural wines in the world all day at P.R.E.A.M. (2131 SE 11th Ave., 503-231-2809, preampizza.com), the WuTang leaning pizzeria from Ned Ludd vet Nicholas Ford. Those would be the wines of Georgia—the nation, not the state—in a wine list takeover curated by Ryan Jones of Ardor Natural Wines.
If you’re unfamiliar with Georgian wine—or natural wine in the first place—the two have a symbiotic relationship that goes back thousands of years. Georgia is arguably where winemaking was invented, and in this small Caucus nation, independent from Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union, it has long been fused with the local music and religious traditions into something like a Dionysian feasting and drinking culture
That’s all described beautifully in the wine writer Alice Feiring’s ode to Georgia, “For The Love of Wine”, a loving survey of the subject. Between all day feasts and visits to backyard wineries, Feiring describes how Stalin, himself Georgian, nearly snuffed out the local winemaking traditions in favor of mass produced factory wine.
Local winemaking traditions went underground and persevered, centered largely around the use of qvevri—enormous beeswax-lined clay vinification vessels that are the calling card of Georgian wine.
Fill up a qvevri with grapes—skins, stems and all—then bury it in the ground, press it down every so often (perhaps in accordance with the moon cycle), and what comes out is some of the most distinctive wine made on the planet. They’re often a wild bronze or amber color, and typically bottled unfiltered—no chemicals, no added sugar, no bullshit.
Compared to the buttery chard my mom likes this stuff is still pretty underground, but the wines are increasingly being sought by natural wine geeks and thrill seekers around the world. Today winemakers from Italy to France to the Willamette Valley make wine inspired by the Georgian tradition, and that’s because nothing else tastes quite like it: raw, wild, weird, a pure expression of fruit.
You can make qvevri wine from anything—there’s even chill clay vessel chardonnay—but part of the magic in Georgian wine comes from the use of obscure local wine grapes like kisi, mtsvane,and rkatsiteli. You’ll find Georgian wine on lists and shelves of the best wine bars and retail shops in the world, but pairing that wine with swaggy pizza is a uniquely Portland crosspollination.
“We wanted to plan an event where we could showcase the funky flavors of Georgian wine and be able to match them up with my food,” Ford tells WW. Challenge accepted.
Ardor’s Ryan Jones will be pouring a selection of Georgian wines brought to Oregon by Tim Davey at Corridor 5, a progressive Portland wine importer that focuses on small producers with sustainable winemaking practices.
“These wines are living mysteries”, Davey says, “with surprising texture, infinite structure, an electric freshness.”
Jones, meanwhile, is an exciting new voice for natural wine in Portland; his Ardor brand currently occupies weekend evenings at The Red E Cafe on Killingsworth, and his collaboration with PREAM is promising.
“What’s so rad about these wines is that while many winemakers around the world are revisiting traditional techniques after having converted to modern, conventional agriculture, winemakers of Georgia never left them,” Jones says.
“These are the original natural wines.” Taste them alongside dope pizza this Friday at PREAM, and if you want to dig deeper, Alice Feiring’s book is awesome and available at Powell’s.
GO: Ardor and the wines of Georgia and the Balkans will be at P.R.E.A.M., 2131 SE 11th Ave., 503-231-2809, preampizza.com. 5-10 pm Thursday, June 9. No admission or tickets.
[STANDUP] Before Curtis Cook becomes the next big comic in Portland to blow up, watch him do drunken and hilarious crowd work at this weekly bike-shop showcase with patriarchy mole Alex Falcone, “accessible Kardashian” Bri Pruett and Anthony Lopez, the little one. Velo Cult Bike Shop, 1969 NE 42nd Ave., 503-922-2012. 9 pm. Free, $5 suggested donation. 21+.
[GIRLS WITH FANGS] Uncensored story time with a feminist slant takes over the posh tomboy boutique Wildfang once a month. Round 3 features ladies from W+K, local runner/baker Karolyn Tran and Judge Adrienne Nelson. Free, if you bought anything at Wildfang in the last 30 days. Wildfang West, 404 SW 10th Ave., 503-964-6746. 7 pm. $10.
Thursday, May 26
Pretty Penny Pop-Up
[CHICKEN?] Fine St. Jack and La Moule chefs Aaron Barnett and Cameron Addy will put their vast wealth of Continental culinary knowledge and experience to use by making fried chicken sandwiches and chicken finger baskets, one day only, in the old Lardo food cart. Lardo, 1212 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 503-234-7786, lardosandwiches.com. 5-9 pm or until they get tired.
Saturday, May 28
[WEIRD SOUTH] Atlanta’s Awful Records is the South’s answer to Odd Future circa 2010, and Father is its de facto leader. On his new album, Father raps in a subdued drawl that suggests disillusionment with the drug-fueled lifestyle he glorifies. Analog Cafe, 720 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 503-206-7439. 4 pm. $17. All ages.
[WINE] Southeast Wine Collective will host a party and tasting of 24 spring releases from the 10 wineries housed there—from flagship Division Wines to newcomers Stedt and Welsh. Southeast Wine Collective, 2425 SE 35th Place, 503-208-2061, sewinecollective.com. 3-6 pm. $20-$25, includes food.
Tuesday, May 31
Tim Heidecker and His Ten Piece Band
[COMEDY ROCK] Best known as the dominant half of the comedic duo Tim and Eric, Heidecker’s music career actually predated his other entertainment forays. On his recent LP, In Glendale, hokey, MOR radio rock is done convincingly enough to make your head itch. Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave., 503-288-3895. 7:30 pm. $25 advance, $28.50 day of show. 21+.
[BADA-BLING] Division’s newest sleek boutique opens with gold manicures for all. It’ll also raffle off Baleen jewelry—the minimalist metals you’d see at Noun or Woonwinkel—and OTBT shoes that would normally burn a $150-sized hole in your calfskin wallet. Gild Shoes, 3370 SE Division St., 503-236-8209. 6 pm. Free.
[PITCHIN’] Without any idea what they’re getting in to, local comedians give an improvised PowerPoint presentation. As the pre-prepared slides roll, Shannon Graves, Chad Parsons, Brad Fortier and the hilariously unfiltered Caitlin Weierhauser will attempt TED Talks, startup pitches and seminar speeches, goaded on by Lez Stand Up’s Kirsten Kuppenbender as emcee. The Siren Theater, 315 NW Davis St., sirentheater.com. 8 pm. $16.
P.R.E.A.M. Ecliptic Dinner
[BEER] Right on the heels of John Harris’ 30th anniversary of brewing beer, the hip-hop pizza shop will be making beer cocktails from his Ecliptic beers—gin and gose, a tequila-mezcal cocktail with Orbiter IPA—paired still further with cookout fare like a meatball burger and chicken-fried potato chips (!). P.R.E.A.M., 2131 SE 11th Ave., 503-231-2809. 6-9 pm.
Friday May 13
[FADING AMERICANA] Yet another Portland institution is being put to rest: Richmond Fontaine’s 11th LP, the bittersweet You Can’t Go Back If There’s Nothing to Go Back To, will be the band’s last. As ever, it’s rapt with images taken from the fringes of Oregonian life—too-young strippers, too-full houses in Felony Flats—serving as a eulogy not just to the band, but to Portland itself. Star Theater, 13 NW 6th Ave., startheaterportland.com. 9 pm. $12. 21+.
Saturday May 14
St. Johns Bizarre
[STREET FAIR] The only Portland street festival that matters, the Bizarre saved its strongest music lineup yet for its 10th anniversary, with long-running crash-pop duo Quasi, late-night R&B throwback (and reigning WW Best New Band) Chanti Darling and Mean Jeans spinoff Patsy’s Rats among the highlights. North Lombard Street at Philadelphia Avenue, stjohnsbizarre.com. Free. 10 am.
Sunday May 15
[BETTER THAN THE BINS] No kids, no bras, no weird smells. The Crystal’s sixth annual clothing swap lets you take home as many clothes as you can stuff in your bag. How much you enjoy this “naked lady” party for the entire Portland metro area will depend on how many mimosas you get at the bar. Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside St., crystalballroompdx.com. 11 am. $9 and a bag of clothes.
Jonathan Gold is one of food journalism’s only legitimate heroes, and certainly the only one with a Pulitzer on his metaphorical belt buckle.
With his Counter Intelligence column forL.A. Weekly and the Los Angeles Timesbeginning in the ’80s, Gold helped change the way traditional working-class and ethnic fare like tacos and pho are viewed by food critics—as cuisines every bit as layered, vital and full of history as the stuff at high-dollar French spots.
City of Gold, a new documentary by Laura Gabbert that opens at Cinema 21 on Friday, accompanies the legendary journalist as he tours the eateries and neighborhoods of L.A. Gold talked to WW on the phone about Everclear, quinoa and the tiresome kabuki of food-critic anonymity.
WW: So you’re a film star now.How does it feel?
Jonathan Gold: I’m a writer, I’m behind a typewriter. It’s slightly uncomfortable seeing myself onscreen. But the movie shows what I do in a way that represents me. I love the way it makes Los Angeles look. It’s a part of Los Angeles that doesn’t make it onto film so often. In a way, it’s probably as much about the ecstasy of being in your car as the sun sets as it is about going to restaurants.
You’ve said food now occupies the cultural position once held by rock ’n’ roll, What’s the worst thing about that?
The extreme dogmatism. Jesus—you’re in Portland. I only have to talk to vegans every couple weeks. I’m sure you talk to them every day. Or the paleo people, or the people who insist on eating gross organ meats because they want to one-up one another. ‘Oh, goat penis? I just had a dog anus!’
Any worries about being anonymous as a food critic after doing a movie?
Any critic in town that restaurateurs care about is known within a few months. It’s less about absolute anonymity and more about plausible deniability. I got tired of the kabuki. They can’t make it better. They don’t have magical ingredients in the back. The recipes aren’t going to change. Their aesthetic isn’t going to change. Shitty waiters aren’t going to become better waiters.
It seems weird to complain about service in a specific way. If the food is great, I’m happy to eat in a phone booth. When I first started writing about food in L.A., I was a punk-rock kid who had lucked into a gig. It’s not about being served well at Spago. I was surprised that they let me in at all.
Did you ever feel like you didn’t belong there?
A little bit. I wore suits more than I do now, but they were always those thrift-shop, skinny-lapel jobs. I’d go with friends who were wearing their one pair of pants. You know this; you work at an alt weekly.
This is not a town that cares what you wear.
I appreciate we’ve talked this long and you haven’t asked a snarky question about Everclear. I used to go to Portland a lot and sometimes I felt I was not welcome after that piece went out. [Gold had written an article in the August 1996 issue of Spin about a feud between Portland musicians Pete Krebs and Art Alexakis—see our recent oral history.] There were a lot of people who didn’t like that piece in Portland. Actually, Art didn’t like it much either.
What’s been your experience eating in Portland?
[Food writer Karen Brooks] almost had me persuaded to move there. We’re talking earlyish ’90s. It was lovely, and she’d have dinner parties where there’d be the chief of police and somebody who owned two galleries and a house painter and somebody who drove a school bus.
Any food you’ve liked here?
Jen Louis [of Lincoln on North Williams Avenue] is a kitchen god. The first four or five times I went to Pok Pok were magical. The chicken-rice truck [Nong’s Khao Man Gai]is great.
[Le Pigeon’sGabe Rucker] is really good with meat and with meaty flavors, and he plays with gaminess in a way that not a lot of chefs control. The contrast between, say, maybe the sourness and high quality of a piece of duck, what he’s able to bring out with the red-wine reduction that comes with it. It’s really good—really good rustic French cooking. There aren’t a lot of places in the United States that do that.
In the movie, your editors all say you’re constantly late turning in your reviews. Why so?
Overresearch, probably. You know the thing, you’re doing a restaurant that’s an Indian restaurant. You find out the cook is from is Hyderabad, you like the biryani, you discover that Hyderabad has not only an English speaking press but a really extensive one, and they’re as obsessed with food as we are, and specifically biryani.
You can read 12,000 descriptions of biryani if you want to do that. At a certain point you say, “OK. 106 descriptions of of biryani suffice. I think I’ve got it.”
If you’re a writer you have the word disease. You never know quite as much as you think you need to know—even if you’re just going to spend one sentence on it. Go to China, you realize with Google Translate you can read Chinese social media. That’s a terrible time suck. Don’t do it. Life’s too short.
You rarely write bad reviews. Are they worth anything to anybody?
People love bad reviews. They’re easy to write, you can make them funny. It’s really fun to be mean. Definitely I’ve done my share of it.
There was a showing of the film at the MOMA in New York. The guy who introduced the film had been maitre’d of the St James Club in L.A. My review was vicious enough it shut down the restaurant and he got fired. He was thanking me because he has a pretty big gig now. I tried to soften it but [St. James Club] was really bad. That was a horrible place.
My reviews are more descriptive than they are evaluative. If you read the narrative one way you know it’s a place you’ll hate, you read it one way you know it’s a place you’ll love. I put stuff in context. I put it in culinary context. I try to let you know exactly where and what it is.
I hate lounge restaurants. Loathe them. But sometimes I have to write about them. There are good lounge restaurants and bad lounge restaurants.
When you find a place you don’t like, do you refuse to review it?
Probably more often than not. When I review a restaurant I go usually four or five times. When you’re writing a bad review you have to go more times, because you can’t get the tiniest thing wrong. Imagine going back six times to a restaurant you think is boring. You can’t do it. Why would you do it? A restaurant that bores you is going to go out of business anyway.
If there was a sacred cow that had really sunk, would I hesitate to do what Pete Wells did with Per Se? Nah, I’d do it. I’ve done it.
Had you been to Per Se recently?
Nah, I’d been a couple months after it opened.
Thomas Keller has a very particular style. It’s a long meal—there’s a not considerable amount of butter involved in it. It’s a physical ordeal in a certain way. There’ll be two bottles of wine or more, twelve courses, something that you will not have encountered. You’re either in for that ride or you’re not. The thing he has that he gives you in exchange for this endurance contest is a sort of technical perfection that very few restaurants can pull off… If he’s lost that technical perfection, that’s worth calling out.
You’ve said you never want to talk to a New Yorker about pizza ever again. How come?
Because they have extreme opinions and their opinion is always right. There’s pizza in Portland that’s as good as all but maybe half a dozen places in New York. But you can’t tell a New Yorker that, they’ll take your head off. Because all good pizza is from New York.
You can’t talk to a New Englander about lobster rolls because they start talking about top loading versus side-loading hot dog buns till your eyes glaze over and your head is conked down on the table.
The case that comes up most often is talking to people from Taiwan about beef noodle soup. You’d better have an hour.
Is there anything in your old reviews where you look back and cringe?
I can look back at stuff I wrote in the ’80s and wince a little bit at what I may have written about caviar, rattlesnakes and beef tenderloin with kiwi. They were perfectly valid within the culture of the time, even though they were incredibly stupid. There will be a day where I’m actually nostalgic for quinoa bowls and wood-roasted Brussels sprouts.
My wife and I were in Peru. We went to this workshop in one of the barrios. They were having a workshop on how to cook with indigenous ingredients. Women I assume were going to this because they were being given bags of food at the end. At one point, they started talking about quinoa. You see these angry looks on the faces of the women. “Quinoa! Fucking quinoa! You think we walked miles barefoot through the Andes in order to cook quinoa?”
Now I hear there’s a quinoa shortage in parts of Peru.
It’s better if you pop it like popcorn. Oh—you know, I will never be nostalgic for the era of eggs on everything. I can’t wait for it to end.
I think I had eggs, bacon and kale on spelt recently.
Of course it’s spelt. Everything is fucking spelt, or sprouted black barley, or grains that our forefathers had the good sense not to put into bread.
What bread would you want on a sandwich?
Depends on the sandwich, but usually a beautifully crackly crusted country white, then you slice it, put it on the grill so it’s just a little charred. Whatever you put on it from then on is gravy.
One last question on the way out: What’s the last really good thing you ate?
The best thing I ate today was a plate of broccoli rabe at the Mission Chinese in New York City that had what I believe is bonito shaved over it. Once you did that you realized it was sitting on brisket that tasted like everybody’s grandma’s brisket. I would bet there’s something very close to Lipton’s onion soup mix on it, which is [Mission Chinese chef] Danny Bowien’s secret joke on everyone.
See it:City of Gold is not rated. It opens Friday at Cinema 21. Jonathan Gold will appear live via Skype on March 31 after the 7 pm screening.
[FILM] Wim Wenders’ stunning second feature was shelved for decades thanks to German music regulations. This rerelease—with a new soundtrack—will kick off the Film Center’s Wenders retrospective. Northwest Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium, 1219 SW Park Ave., 221-1156. 7 pm. $9.
Saturday March 5
Great Notion Beer Release
[GREAT BEER] In our blind tasting of 73 IPAs, Great Notion’s two beers rank as the third and fifth best in Portland. Now, they’re breaking out the imperial IPA and a crazy breakfast stout. Great Notion Brewing, 2204 NE Alberta St., No. 101, 548-4491. Noon-11 pm. $10.
Beaverton Sub Station Anniversary
[SUBS] Chuck Wilson is the heart and soul of downtown Beaverton, and he’ll be celebrating 35 years of making old-school, meat-packed, fresh-bread subs there. Celebrate his sub shop’s birthday with cake from Beaverton Bakery. Beaverton Sub Station, 12448 SW Broadway St., Beaverton, 626-2782. 10 am.
Sunday March 6
[INDIE ROCK] Eleanor Friedberger’s work as a member of the Fiery Furnaces was a jubilant celebration of weird, tripped-out bliss. As a solo artist, though, she’s gone for a more subdued aesthetic. The tunes on her vibrant, sunny new record, New View, employ a relaxed tone drawn from her own personal experiences. Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside St., 231-9663. 8 pm. $12 advance, $14 day of show. 21+.
Monday March 7
[POST-PUNK] Protomartyr’s gloomy, gritty post-punk appeals to nebbish goths and punk ruffians alike. Frontman Joe Casey made last year’s The Agent Intellect a cathartic exorcism of personal demons and familial loss, giving the band its most praised release to date. Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside St., 231-9663. 8 pm. $12. 21+.
[COMEDY] Shelley McLendon and Michael Fetters as the titular Aces rarely flash into Portland’s comedy scene—but when they do, it is lucid. Their fifth sketch show goes backwoods, playing off camp tropes and shower jokes. The Siren Theater, 315 NW Davis St. 8 pm Friday-Saturday, through March 12. $15.
[THEATER] PTSD, brutal sex and racism rocket to center stage in Dufunkt’s wonderful and gut-punching production of Sarah Kane’s first play. In it, the repulsively offensive journalist Ian rapes an unsuspecting ingénue named Cate in his Leeds hotel room, which is then stormed by a rebel soldier armed with a rifle. Scenes of anal rape, brutality and cannibalism earned Blasted harsh criticism and then strong praise from Harold Pinter—we’re with Pinter. Not recommended for audiences under 18. There will be a post-show discussion about PTSD and domestic violence on Saturday, March 12. No show Feb. 28. Back Door Theatre, 4321 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 481-2960. 7:30 pm. $10-$25.
The Bloodtypes, the Birth Defects, Don’t
[BLOODLUST] Don’t frontwoman Jenny Connors has always had an awesome voice. But on the band’s sophomore album, Fever Dreams, her vocals are particularly boss, striking the exact midpoint between Courtney Love’s uninhibited gruffness and the pout of Gwen Stefani. The Bloodtypes make a point of making its bloodlust known and the sophomore album, Pull the Plug, is loud, fast, dark, goofy and a little over the top, and the band can whip out a catchy, ’80s synth-pop song just as effectively as a two-minute rager. The Know, 2026 NE Alberta St., 473-8729. 8 pm. $7. 21+.
Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors, Sean McConnell
[FOLK ROCK] You may have heard a Drew Holcomb song on How I Met Your Mother or Nashville or House, but the earnest Nashvillian’s music is not just regulated to poignant moments of onscreen character development. Holcomb’s seventh studio album, Medicine, represents everything that country-folk crossovers can be—rollicking yet soothing, commercial-sounding while also being deeply personal. HILARY SAUNDERS. Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie Ave., 234-9694. 9 pm. $15 advance, $18 day of show. Under 21 permitted with legal guardian.
PDX Jazz Fest: RW WORKz
[BEYOND BOP] Even if you stop counting after 1970, Reggie Workman’s credits are astounding, releasing a batch of jazz albums perched on the edge of freedom. But the bassist has been at it since then, and his latest endeavor, RW WORKz, includes a batch of younger performers, including Tapan Modak on tabla. The amorphous troupe—it’s occasionally counted saxophonist Odean Pope among its members—reaches toward a contemplative spot, a space folks like Pharoah Sanders are still searching for more than 50 years after beginning to get those explorations down on record. If the Friday gig isn’t enough, though, Workman’s also set to play Saturday as part of an Alice Coltrane celebration, along with Sanders. DAVE CANTOR. Alberta Abbey, 126 NE Alberta St., 897-7037. 10 pm. $15-$35. All ages.
SATURDAY, FEB. 27
Basia Bulat, the Weather Station
[FOLK POP] Canadian singer-songwriter Basia Bulat plays a bunch of instruments not often found in folk-pop music. She strums the autoharp and dulcimer, and also plucks a South American eight-string guitar called a charango. But even though these instruments often sound higher and thinner than what you find in three-chord radio pop songs, Bulat’s alternating cooing and belting unite her diverse voicings. Bulat just released her fourth album, Good Advice (produced by My Morning Jacket’s Jim James), which integrates these instruments with a more mainstream structural approach. HILARY SAUNDERS. Doug Fir Lounge, 803 E Burnside St., 231-9663. 9 pm. $12 advance, 14 day of show. 21+.
Toast Distiller’s Festival
Toast brings together a profound wealth of Northwest spirits, along with whiskey, tequila, rum, gin and all the rest from all around the globe. Over 40 distillers will be represented, and the ticket price will include food from Bellino, Lechon, Pok Pok, Smallwares and Swank and Swine. Really Big Video, 539 NW 10th. Ave, oregondistillerytrail.com. 4 pm-10 pm (3-11 pm for VIP). $45-$65.
Beacon, Natasha Kmeto
[NOIRTRONICA] Brooklyn duo Beacon crafts some of the cleanest, chilliest, darkest electronic pop out there. The slickness of its sound is perhaps no surprise, given that Thomas Mullarney III and Jacob Gossett are former Pratt Institute students. Latest release Escapements delivers trance-inducing layers of synth, samples and serene vocals. It’s cool to the touch, but thaws out thanks to an audible R&B undercurrent. Local powerhouse Natasha Kmeto imparts some bluesy soul to the pop-oriented bill. MARK STOCK. Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave., 288-3895. 9 pm. $12 advance, $14 day of show. 21+.
Betsy and Iya Bazaar
[BUY PDX] The Kinfolk-worthy boutique that specializes in delicate metal jewelry hosts a sale for international wares that owners Betsy and Suzy have found on their travels. Shop West African baskets, colorful fans, rugs and glass beads from places like Peru. Betsy and Iya, 2403 NW Thurman St., 10 am. Free.
Commons Dinner at Imperial
[HOTEL-DRUNK] The maker of our 2013 Beer of the Year, the Commons, is putting together a four-course, four-beer dinner with our 2015 Restaurant of the Year, Imperial. The meal will include an epic elk shank. What’s not to like? See WW‘s Restaurant Guide. Imperial’s Pettygrove Room, 410 SW Broadway, 228-7222. 6:30 pm. $80, includes tip. Tickets at eventbrite.com. 21+.
[THEATER] Post 5’s first season sans Boyces starts with madness. Shakespeare’s biggest dive into daddy issues follows the insecure Lear as he denounces his daughters and wanders, blind and mad, through a tempest. Shouldering the beast of a role is Drammy Lifetime Achievement Award-winner Tobias Andersen, joined by Portland’s powerful Ithica Tell. Directed by Rusty Tennant, who’s one third of the theater’s new management team. Read the full Q&A with Tennant here. Post 5 Theatre, 1666 SE Lambert St., 971-258-8584. 7:30 pm. $20.
[COMEDY] Lewis Black can’t be credited with inventing political comedy, but he very well might have perfected it. A veteran of The Daily Show, author of three best-selling books and scene-stealer in almost every movie he’s ever been in, Black’s ranting style of political humor has made him the gold standard in his chosen comedy mode. Black brings his tour to Portland for one night only; he probably has some thoughts on the current presidential election. MIKE ACKER. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, 800-273-1530. 8 pm. $25-$75.
Man vs. Snake
[PIFF] Like 2007’s The King of Kong,Man vs. Snake chronicles the present-day battle to be world champion of the 1982 arcade game Nibbler. Animated flashbacks are interspersed with talking heads and gameplay footage as original record-holder Tim McVey defends his title. The story is nothing new, with many of its beats lifted straight from King of Kong, but the characters and their struggles are always entertaining. Hyperactive Canadian pizza-delivery man Duane Richard is undeniable with his manic profanity and a hairstyle that goes from dreads to bowl cut in under two hours. Critic’s Grade: B+ MIKE GALLUCCI. Cinema 21. 10:30 pm Saturday, Feb. 27.
PDX Jazz Fest: Universal Consciousness with Pharoah Sanders
[ALICE’S WONDERLAND] Many casual fans forget, but Alice Coltrane contributed almost as much to jazz as her husband John, composing some of the most beautiful melodies in the history of the genre. Tonight, her son, saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, leads an all-star group, including pianist Geri Allen, bass legend Reggie Workman and special guest Pharoah Sanders—one of the most critically-hailed reed men to ever live—in celebration of all things Alice. PARKER HALL. Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway. 7 pm. $29-$59. All ages.
The Silence of the Lambs
[LUBE TUBE] Currently a mainstay in Portland theaters due to a combination of the film’s 25th anniversary and Portland’s hatred of small dogs, The Silence of the Lambs keeps the lotion flowing for another week. Mission Theater. 8:30 pm
SUNDAY, FEB. 28
The 88th Annual Oscar/Obscure Awards
As you’re probably aware, the Academy Awards telecast only shows you only a sliver of the awards given out. You get the glamor of Best Picture without having to see the nominees for Best Title Cards or Best Original Lighting Design. It can get obscure. So, to help you out, We’ve combed every industry rumor mill and back channel to advise you on your predictions for these lesser-known Oscars. See the list here. The Academy Awards Ceremony is on ABC. 5:30 pm. Hotel Monaco’s viewing party is at 4 pm.
[GEORGE CLOONEY] From the opening scene, in which Capitol Pictures “fixer” Eddie Mannix (a gruff Josh Brolin) skips out of confession, it’s a quick 27-hour shitstorm through high drama as movie star Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) gets abducted. The Coens’ funniest film since The Big Lebowski combines a zany caper, a communist plot, ’50s studio politics and a touching story about one man’s calling in life into a cohesive, lighthearted and quip-heavy comedy. It’s a neat package like only the Coen brothers can tie up. Read JOHN LOCANTHI’s full review here. PG-13. Critic’s Grade: B+ Playing atBagdad, Cedar Hills, Eastport, Clackamas, Living Room Theaters, Oak Grove, Bridgeport, City Center, Division, Evergreen, Lloyd Center, Tigard, St. Johns Cinemas.
[BOOKS] When his father goes missing, Army veteran Atticus Turner and his Uncle George, author of (very “in this universe” real) The Safe Negro Travel Guide, travel from Chicago to New England to find him. In Matt Ruff’s newest novel, Lovecraft Country, the Turner men find a country full of not just the racial horrors of mid-’50s America, but some otherworldly ones as well. Powell’s City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St., 228-4651. 7:30pm. Free.
Mt. Portland, Various Artists
[COMP ROCK] The regional compilation can be a dubious undertaking. It typically runs the risk of overestimating the potential broad appeal of its scene’s subtle charm. But Mt. Portland is more a recording project, by Portland’s Buzz or Howl Studios, wherein contributions were made via a free, onsite recording session from house engineer and owner Stan Wright. Since the influx of creative types to Portland over the last several years has made transplant-composed art-rock bands ever more prevalent, there’s no shortage of delightfully strange samplings here. Read the full review here. Release party at Rontoms, 600 E Burnside St., with And And And, Joel Magid, Candace, Boone Howard and Michael Finn Duo. 7:30 pm. Free. 21+.
[GANGSTA RAP] Summertime ’06, his debut double album, is gangsta rap insofar as it draws directly from his time as a teenage gangbanger. But the production, from Def Jam maestro No I.D. and others, has an eerie, dystopian feel, more Cormac McCarthy than Beats by Dre. Staples is a gifted lyricist, but his gift is not clever punch lines or cinematic storytelling. It’s his ability to lock eyes with the listener and drag them into his worldview. While Kendrick Lamar grapples with turning pain into hope, Staples deals in blunt-force realism: No abstract images or poetic metaphors, just the dead bodies in the alley as he saw them. Read the full article here. Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE Cesar E. Chavez Blvd. 8 pm. Sold out. All ages.
You For Me For You
[THEATER] If Kafka, Lewis Carroll and Dalí met in the woods, their collective diary might look like Junhee’s story in Mia Chung’s play about two North Korean sisters separated at the border when they try to escape starvation and censorship. But Junhee (Khanh Doan) is only half the story in Portland Playhouse’s deftly-staged show. The backdrop—a tiled world map on three sliding panels—splits to reveal an alternate stage. There, Junhee’s sister Minhee (Susan Hyon) escapes to New York City and is bluntly introduced to modern culture via customs and Costco sampling ladies. Read the full review here. Portland Playhouse, 602 NE Prescott St., 488-5822. 7:30 pm Wednesday-Saturday and 2 pm Sunday, through Feb. 28. $32-$36.
[FOOD] Viet-Cajun spot Tapalaya’s sous chef will be cooking up miso mushroom and chicken-pork tonkotsu ramen with Louisiana cracklins in a one-night Japanese-Cajun pop-up, which will also feature plenty of pickles, spicy Cajun rolls, and special sauces from Creaux mustard. Tapalaya, 28 NE 28th Ave., 232-6652. 4 pm.
[GYPSY PAINTERS] One of Colorado’s finest, Devotcka is hard to pin down. The band stammers in and out of all kinds of genres, from classical to gypsy rock to gentle, thoughtful indie pop, all with a bigger sound and more emotion than any reasonable quartet should be responsible for. Revolution Hall, 1300 SE Stark St., 288-3895. 9 pm. $25. 21+.
Thursday Jan. 14
Eowyn Emerald & Dancers
[DANCE PARTY] In Portland’s quiet dance bubble, Eowyn Emerald is really moving. Last week, she imported top Northwest choreographers, and this week she’s celebrating another acceptance to the Edinburgh Fringe festival with this contemporary showcase that’s part of Third Rail Repertory Theatre’s Wild Card lineup. Imago Theatre, 17 SE 8th Ave., thirdrailrep.org. 7:30 pm. $20.
[HIP-HOP] After losing momentum following the long wait and disappointing returns of 2011’s Lasers, the critically lauded Chicago MC recovered, at least partially, with last year’s solid, progressive Tetsuo & Youth. With three more records scheduled to drop in 2016, he is poised to win back his day-one supporters. Roseland Theater, 8 NW 6th Ave., 971-230-0033. 8 pm. $26.50-$40. All ages.
Friday Jan. 15
The Yellow Wallpaper
[THEATER] CoHo’s world premier for Fertile Ground is opening before the festival, and the feminist-slanting thriller about a woman prescribed a “rest cure” for her postpartum depression is already a standout thanks to Sue Mach’s writing and multimedia updates. CoHo Theater, 2257 NW Raleigh St., 220-2646, cohoproductions.org. 7:30 pm. $29.
Sunday Jan. 17
[BOOKS] In his junior year of high school, Time deputy culture editor Sam Lansky moved from Portland to Manhattan, enrolled in a swanky school, got himself a crazy pill habit and later wrote a book about it. This is required reading for all West Hills trophy children. Powell’s City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St., 228-4651. 7:30 pm. Free.
[PUNK POET] Listen, Patti Smith is playing Horses—one of the greatest albums ever recorded—in its entirety, and you’re sitting on your ass wasting time instead of selling your own mother in order to buy tickets to this goddamn event of the year. What the hell is wrong with you? Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, 248-4255. 8 pm. $39.50-$52.50. All ages.
Thursday Jan. 7
Cadence Festival of the Unknown
[JAZZ TALES] Except for the tune that became “Lady Sings the Blues,” Herbie Nichols never achieved the fame of fellow innovative jazz pianist Thelonious Monk. This performance by David Haney mixes music and narration, recounting a tale about Nichols taking a gig on a Turkish cruise ship that went comically awry. Classic Pianos, 3003 SE Milwaukie Ave., 239-9969. 8 pm. $10. All ages.
Preserving the Japanese Way Dinner
Lincoln’s Jenn Louis will team with Preserving the Japanese Way author Nancy Singleton Hachisu for a $25 three-course dinner with salty, fermenty and otherwise preserved bits from Hachisu’s cookbook, including sake ice cream, noodles with meat sauce, and miso-plum-pickled turnips. Lincoln, 3808 N Williams Ave., 288-6200, lincolnpdx.com. 6:30 pm. $25. Reservations recommended.
Friday Jan. 8
Remarkable Oregon Women
Jennifer Chambers explores some of the most amazing stories of women standing up and standing out in the state—including Laura Stockton Starcher, who outpolled her husband to become mayor of Umatilla in 1916. Powell’s City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St., 228-4651. 7:30 pm. Free.
Saturday Jan. 9
The Liberators’ 10th Birthday
[IMPROV] One of Portland’s most established, and best, improv troupes is celebrating its 10th birthday and its new home. The quartet of veteran comics is back together for the first time since August. The Siren Theater, 315 NW Davis St., theliberators.net. 8 pm. $12 advance, $15 day of event.
Tuesday Jan. 12
The Book of Mormon
[HALLELUJAH CHORUS] Jon Stewart said it’s “so good it makes me angry.” If you haven’t heard the word, this everything-busting musical from the creators of South Park is the pinnacle of our generation’s theater. Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St., 800-273-1530. 7:30 pm. $40-$154.
Thirty-three shows and 20 years after it started as a group of recent college grads who thought that they were pretty funny, one of Portland’s oldest comedy troupes is retiring. Boasting over 50 company members and alumni, the group promises even more for their farewell sketch comedy show at Milagro, notably beef ghosts (hamburgers?) and Tony Marcellino from Portland improv troupe the Liberators. Milagro Theatre, 525 SE Stark St., 236-7253. 8 pm. $16-$19.
[ARTHOUSE CINEMA] Opera Theater Oregon presents a restoration of the French romance The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, preceded by live French cabaret music. Clinton Street Theater, 2522 SE Clinton St., 7 pm. $10.
Low, Andy Shauf
[SLUMBER MILL] Typically classified by the oversimplified genre description “slowcore,” indie trio Low has been crawling along for more than two decades with its idiosyncratic brand of folk. Its last LP featured production from Jeff Tweedy, and now Ones and Sixes gets help from former Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche. It was recorded at Bon Iver’s rural Wisconsin studio, and the sound evokes images of the snowy plains of Eau Claire in the winter. It’s got a dreary, freezing-cold feel—sometimes scary, and almost entirely beautiful. CRIS LANKENAU. Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside St. 9 pm. $20. 21+.
SATURDAY, NOV. 21
Double Dragon 4th Anniversary
[DRINK + EAT] Double Dragon—home to excellent banh mi and even better kimchi hot dogs—will turn 4 this Saturday. They’re celebrating with $4 sammies, $4 daiquiris with 4-year rum and $4 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon. Sensing a theme? It’s subtle. Double Dragon, 1235 SE Division St., 230-8340. 8 pm.
Youth Lagoon, Taylor McFerrin
[PSYCH POP] Trevor Powers’ warbly bedroom symphonies can be thought of as the distant, more experimental and spaced-out cousin to fellow Boise natives Built to Spill. On his third LP, Savage Hills Ballroom,he shinesunder the polish of producer Ali Chant, and age has broadened his lyrical spotlight to include biography and societal malevolence. The broader, more textured pop template sets a gorgeous foundation for the ugly realities of toxic relationships, self-medication and death. CRIS LANKENAU. Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside St. 9 pm. $20 advance, $23 day of show. 21+.
[WEIRD BURLESQUE] Weird Al Yankovic-inspired burlesque, Al-Stravaganza!, comes to the Funhouse Lounge. What will it include? More importantly, what should it include? Here are three sexy Weird Al numbers we want to see: “Key Party in the CIA” Based on: “Party in the CIA,” based on “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus. Hot CIA agents swap wives while they destabilize countries. Includes fun waterboarding play. “Amish Bonnet-Fetish Paradise” Based on: “Amish Paradise,” based on “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio, based on “Pastime Paradise” by Stevie Wonder. What’s under Al’s beard? Find out in this candlelit buttonless striptease. Tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1669. “Beat It” Based on: “Eat It,” based on “Beat It” by Michael Jackson. Works either way. Funhouse Lounge, 2432 SE 11th Ave., 841-6734. 9 pm. $15-$20.
[EDM + BACON] Combining two of the most indulgent, dripping and pungent fads to reign alt-culture, EDM and bacon, Savory Events throws their fourth “hamcoming” extravaganza. It started in 2013 as an after party where someone started cooking bacon. Now it bigger, if not more savory, including aerial dancers and nearly a dozen DJs, but there is still bacon. AudioCinema LLC, 226 SE Madison St., 9 pm. $10.
[FINE-TIPPED ART] Toronto-based graphic artist Allister Lee sketched 999 black markers—a glass-barrel Magic Marker, a plastic Crayola jumbo grip and a classic Sharpie—and titled it B.I.B. (Black is Beautiful). It may not be obvious at first why you’d want to see 999 black markers at a gallery, but when you see it for yourself—it’s worth it. Through Nov. 30. One Grand Gallery, 1000 SE Burnside St., 212-365-4945.
The Devil and Billy Markham
[THEATER] Shel Silverstein’s six-part, epic poem about the unshakable Billy Markham and how he took a bet for his life debuted in Playboy in 1979. Starting on Nashville’s Music Row (where else?) Billy takes a Beckett-esque romp through Hell and back, encountering God and the Devil along the way. Artists Rep’s reprisal of the wry one-act will follow performances of Broomstick and share the same, spooky set. Artists Repertory Theatre, 1515 SW Morrison St., 241-1278. 9:30 pm Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 19-21. $20.
[BOOKS] Image Comics was founded in 1992 with the revolutionary idea that maybe it was good to let writers and artists own the characters they created. In that time, it’s spawned titles such as Spawn, The Walking Dead and Witchblade. It brings together four stars: Kelly Sue DeConnick, writer of Bitch Planet; Kurt Busiek writer of Astro City; and Joe Keatinge, editor of the PopGun anthology and writer of Shutter and the forthcoming Ringside. Powell’s City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St., 228-4651. 4 pm. Free.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
[JENNIFER LAWRENCE] Did you miss the first 2.5 Hunger Games because you weren’t into movies about kids murdering each other? Here are literally all the facts you need to know to seem like an aloof expert without losing six hours of your life. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is rated PG-13. It opens Friday at most Portland-area theaters.
SUNDAY, NOV. 22
Sci-Fi Authorfest 9
[BOOKS] This huge gathering of sci-fi authors will include Brent Weeks (Lightbringer series), Hugo winner Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and Annie Bellet, who withdrew from Hugo consideration during the Sad Puppy mess. Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing, 3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd., 228-4651. 4 pm. Free.
[BUY PDX] Frances May is a city favorite for sweet women’s designs (they do have menswear and jewelry too), and once a year their pop-up sells them for 75-90% off. Cash and card accepted, elbowing discouraged. The Cleaners at Ace Hotel, 403 SW 10th Ave., 12 pm-4 pm. Free.
Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 27
[CLASSICAL] No one knows if Mozart ever performed his final piano concerto live. In fact, there’s not even agreement on whether he wrote it in 1788 or 1791, the year of his death. But being such a late piece in his career, it is both expansive and experimental for its time—three movements that unusually employ multiple cadenzas. Guest conductor Stanislaw Skrowaczewski is, at 91, the oldest working major conductor in the world. Tonight, he will lead the symphony with a dark and dramatic mid-20th-century orchestral concerto by Lutoslawski. This bombastic, percussion-heavy work will more than offset the traditional and baroque Brahms bit at night’s end. NATHAN CARSON. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, 7:30 pm Sunday, Nov. 22. $29-$105. All ages.
[THEATER] What’s coming—sexist vitriol? Dead baby jokes? Two hours of blackfacing? In Liminal Performance Group’s adaptation of this seminal anti-play—written in 1966 by Austrian dramatist Peter Handke, when he was 23 years old with a Beatles coif and round sunglasses—the actors do remarkably little offending. On opening night, the audience members did a whole lot more to offend one another, including texting, singing, snapping selfies, talking back to performers and loudly departing for the restroom. I’m not sure Liminal’s version is entirely successful—Handke was once an enfant terrible of the literary world, but his smashing of the fourth wall and junking of plot and character doesn’t feel so revolutionary in 2015. Even those who enjoy theater about theater will roll their eyes and check their watches at times. But it’s still a welcome alternative to innocuous crowd-pleasers.Video cameras transmit live black-and-white footage onto one wall. Another wall shows a live text-message feed—we’re given a phone number, and the result is a stream of Beyoncé GIFs and boner jokes. It’s clear: We are the performers. There is no show without us. REBECCA JACOBSON. Action/Adventure Theatre, 1050 SE Clinton St., 567-8309. 7:30 pm Friday-Sunday and 2:30 pm Sunday. Through Nov. 22. $10-$25.