ArtsWatch tips for November

ArtsWatch’s 30 tips for November

From the concert halls, theaters, and galleries, we compile our insiders' list of things to watch for this month

Thirty days hath November. And ArtsWatch has 30 tips for the new month. Halloween’s over. On to Thanksgiving! In Portland’s never-ending cultural swirl, the new seasons are firmly established and we’re steaming toward the holidays. Soon enough there’ll be visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads, and on our stages. Before that happens, let’s take a look at a very solid lineup of November arts. The usual caution holds true: this is very much a partial list, and many other good options will be out there. Think we missed a really good one? Add it as a comment. This list may stop at 30, but we’ve only just begun. (Some starting dates are for preview performances.)

Britain's BalletBoys, Nov. 11-12, White Bird at the Schnitz. Photo: Panayoitis-Sinnos

Britain’s BalletBoys, Nov. 11-12, White Bird at the Schnitz. Photo: Panayoitis-Sinnos

Back Fence PDX. An excellent lineup of storytellers in November’s first show, a benefit for the Dougy Center: actor Vin Shambry, poet Matthew Dickman, Ellen DeGeneris show writer/Moth performer Brian Finkelstein, writer & traveler Karen Finneyfrock. More shows this month on the 20th and 21st. Disjecta, Saturday, Nov. 1.

ShowPDX: A Decade of Portland Furniture Design. This just-opened juried invitational reflects exactly what its title says. See what you can sit on, write on, eat on, store your books on. Museum of Contemporary Craft, through Jan. 31.

The Lost Secrets of the Bennett-Bracket Portfolio: Getting to the Roots of a Botanical Mystery. Well, we’re not quite sure. But the Faux Museum captured us with this claim: “Of all the botanical mysteries you’ve been invited to this year, this is the one you don’t want to miss!” The artist paints, draws, and works in broken glass, organic materials, “as well as the occasional cake sprinkle. Faux Museum, Nov. 1-Dec. 31.

The Dance and the Railroad. This month’s Portland Civic Theatre Guild reading looks like a good one: Dmae Roberts directs David Henry Hwang’s play about two Chinese artists and their fellow workers on the railroad in the American West in 1867. This is an admirable series, in midmorning, in the lovely Old Church downtown, inexpensive, and with cookies and coffee. 10 a.m. (refreshments), 10:30 a.m. (performance), Nov. 4.

Roger Kukes and Stu Levy. An intriguing double feature at Augen Gallery: new works by Kukes, whose painstaking, fantasy-filled paintings reflect his background in animation; and Levy, whose photographed landscapes are at once austere and pregnant with romance. Nov. 6-29.

True West. Profile Theatre’s Sam Shepard season continues with one of the rambunctious American playwright’s signal works, a wrestling match about family and belief and the wide open spaces. Profile at Artists Rep, Nov. 6-23.

Margaret Cho at Helium, Nov. 6-8. Photo: Eamon Coyne

Margaret Cho at Helium, Nov. 6-8. Photo: Eamon Coyne

Margaret Cho. The celebrated comedian and activist performs five shows in three nights in Portland. Helium Comedy Club, Nov. 6-8.

Die Fledermaus. Float along in this bubble of wit and operetta melody. Portland Opera kicks off its 50th season with the same work that inaugurated its first, on Dec. 11, 1964. Keller Auditorium, Nov. 7, 9, 13, 15.

Sacred/Profane. The always interesting 23 Sandy Gallery specializes in photography and book arts, and this juried show brings together the work of 52 artists nationally whose works “take a stand or cross the line between the sacred and the profane, the dichotomy of often-polarizing points of view.” Nov. 7-Dec. 20.

She Loves Me. Tobias Andersen directs Paul Angelo and Dru Rutledge in this lovely, sophisticated, and all too rarely performed musical by Joe Masteroff, Jerry Bock, and Sheldon Harnick, who also created Fiddler on the Roof. Lakewood Theatre, Lake Oswego, Nov. 7-Dec. 21.

Portland German Film Festival. Ten contemporary films, opening with the U.S. premiere of the melancholic comedy The Whole Shebang (Alles Inklusive). Cinema 21, Nov. 7-11.

Word. Polaris Dance Theatre’s Robert Guitron has created pieces performed entirely to spoken word, by writers including Maya Angelou, Samuel Beckett, Sam Mowry, Suli Breaks, and Marie Howe. Polaris Studio Theatre, Nov. 7-9 and 14-16.

Portland Symphonic Choir. The 140-member choir celebrates its 70th season with Mozart’s masterwork Requiem, paired with contemporary British composer Tarik O’Regan’s Triptych. With the Portland Sinfonietta. St. Mary’s Cathedral, Nov. 8-9.

 Sitka Art Invitational. The venerable art center on the north Oregon coast also operates one of the oldest and most successful annual benefit art auctions, with dinners and tours and donated art for sale from many of the region’s top artists and craftspeople. Miller Hall, World Forestry Center, Nov. 8-9.

Portland Youth Philharmonic. Talk about venerable: this beloved youth orchestra is in its 91st season. (Membership, obviously, has changed over the years.) The fall concert includes some Harbison, some Rachmaninoff, and excerpt’s from Wagner’s Gotterdamerung. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Nov. 8.

Greasers. British contemporary art icon Terry Atkinson, who’s been prodding and arguing with conceptual artists and the avant-garde for decades, considers the permutations of, well, grease in his first institutional solo show in the U.S. Yale Union, Nov. 8-Dec. 21.

BalletBoyz. More contemporary art from Britain: this 10-member, all-male troupe performs two works, Liam Scarlett’s Serpent and Russell Maliphant’s Fallen, in the White Bird dance series. Schnitzer Hall, Nov. 11-12.

As You Like It. This is a game-changing production for Post5 Theatre – its first show in its new space at 1666 S.E. Lambert St. in Sellwood. Join Rosalind, Orlando, Touchstone and the crowd for a party in the woods. Post5, Nov. 11-Dec. 7.

Damon Kupper in "A Night in November," Nov. 12-16.

Damon Kupper in “A Night in November,” Nov. 12-16.

A Night in November. Corrib, Portland’s Irish theater company, teams with CoHo to bring back Damon Kupper in his Drammy-winning performance in Marie Jones’s solo play set during a World Cup qualifying match between the two Irelands. It’s a short run, Nov. 12-16.

a-Bout. Jim McGinn’s contemporary troupe TopShakeDance performs a piece for four dancers and a dummy: “duels executed in bouts: think boxing, wrestling, mma, and roller derby.” AWOL Dance Collective, Nov. 14-16 and 21-23.

Cabaret Boris and Natasha. Linda Austin’s rolling revue at Performance Works NW includes a reprise of her own solo Hummingbird, plus appearances by Linda K. Johnson, Jen Hackworth, Claire Barrera, Fatha Green, and of course, the ever-evolving Boris & Natasha Dancers. Plus, entr’acte “interventions” by The Greatest Entertainers Ever. That’s their name, not necessarily their description. Nov. 14-15.

Disjecta Eighth Annual Art Auction. The North Portland contemporary art center’s annual benefit art auction has become a primo place to hang, mix, meet, and buy art. The list of donating artists is long and illustrious, from Corey Arnold and Cynthia Lahti to Wendy White Star and Whiting Tennis. Disjecta, Nov. 15.

45th Parallel: Vienna and Prague. The fine chamber group, nine members strong for this concert, will fill The Old Church with music for winds and strings by Mozart, Martinu, and Janacek. Nov. 20.

Bernadette Peters. The Broadway legend joins the Oregon Symphony for a single concert. If you love musical theater, this is a goddess in the flesh. Schnitzer Hall, Nov. 22.

Twist Your Dickens and The Santaland Diaries. Merry Whatsit and a Happy YouKnow. Portland Center Stage kicks off the inevitable with reprises of these two seasonal attractions, the first a sendup by the comedy troupe Second City and the second David Sedaris’s popular lament about playing an elf at Macy’s. Twist Nov. 22-Dec. 24 on the Main Stage; Santaland Nov. 23-Dec. 28 in the Ellen Bye Studio.

Bohemian Trumpets and Stylus Fantasticus. A delightful-looking program from the highly talented Portland Baroque Orchestra of 17th century music for trumpets and strings, including works by Biber, Farina, Muffat, Schmeltzer, and Vejvanovsky. First Baptist Church, Nov. 22; Reed College Kaul Auditorium, Nov. 23.

 Blithe Spirit. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Christopher Liam Moore directs Noel Coward’s almost indescribably delicious foray into the comic occult, with Vana O’Brien as that rare medium, Madame Arcati. Artists Rep, Nov. 25-Dec. 28.

 Mamma Mia! She’s unstoppable. The Abba musical rolls into town once again: if you love Mamma, you’re in luck. Broadway Across America at Keller Auditorium, Nov. 25-30.

 Tales from Mother Goose and The Enchanted Toyshop. Portland Ballet, the fine training company for promising young dancers, continues its Thanksgiving-season tradition of light-hearted but challenging alternatives to The Nutcracker. Choreography by John Clifford, live music by the Portland State University Orchestra. PSU Lincoln Performance Hall, Nov. 28-30.

5 Lesbians Eating Quiche. In the 1950s, a community center annual breakfast, a prize quiche, an atomic-bomb threat and some burning hidden desires combine to … oh, let’s just say it: it’s a farce. Triangle Productions, Nov. 28-Dec. 20.


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