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Culture!

by: COURTESY OF OREGON SYMPHONY, Pianist Valentina Lisitsa takes a run at pieces by Rachmaninoff, Mendelssohn, Strauss and Steven Mackey, with the Oregon Symphony in tow.

LECTURE

'The Quest for Immortality: Treasures of Ancient Egypt'

Get your mummy on early as Bill Mercer, the museum's curator of Native American Art, talks about November's blockbuster show.

He will explain the culture and beliefs of ancient Egyptians, and why the pharaohs were so into tomb art.

- Joseph Gallivan

2 p.m. SUNDAY, Sept. 24, Portland Art Museum, Whitsell Auditorium, 1219 S.W. Park Ave., 503-226-0973, $10, includes museum admission (regular hours 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday)

THEATER

'The Road to Xibalbá'

Playwright Joann Farías, whose 'Tino Does Time' was produced at Miracle Theatre in 2004, returns with a world premiere.

On a trip to Guatemala, an American anthropology student glimpses the power of his Mayan past. A generation later, his disbelieving son has an encounter of his own in the sacred ruins of Mexico's Chichen Itza.

What, Farías asks, is the power of myth and where does it reside? Olga Sanchez directs.

- Eric Bartels

8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 2 p.m. SUNDAY, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, through Oct. 14, Miracle Theatre, 525 S.E. Stark St., 503-236-7253, $17-$20

'Reefer Madness! The Musical'

Kirk Mouser isn't surrounded by the kind of extravagant talent he left in New York when he returned to his native Portland and founded Stumptown Stages last season.

But it hasn't hampered the musical theater veteran, who starred in tours of Broadway megahits like 'Les Misérables,' 'Chess' and 'Phantom of the Opera.'

In two previous Stumptown productions, Mouser has demonstrated a knack for assembling committed, confident casts of actors that can power past an individual weakness or two.

The winning gusto shows up in this zany stage version of the stern, 1936 propaganda film, and there are fewer shortcomings to surmount. Vocally, Stumptown's leads are stronger across the board than in last season's 'Urinetown: The Musical,' and are backed effectively by a five-piece musical ensemble.

Taut and energetic, the cast breezes through this bright, goofy romp, firing up Stumptown's second season.

- EB

8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 2 p.m. SUNDAY, 8 p.m. Thursday, through Oct. 7, Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center, 5340 N. Interstate Ave., 503-381-8686, $22-$25

'Valparaiso'

The starting point for this challenging production is a misadventure involving an American businessman whose day trip to Valparaiso, Ind., ends up taking him to the Chilean seaport of the same name.

Don DeLillo, the author of more than a dozen novels and several plays, launches a withering examination of modern relationships, media and culture with sharp, provocative dialogue. Theatre Vertigo delivers the fast-paced production like a body blow, hard to take, but brutally effective. Final weekend.

- EB

8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, Sept. 22-23, Theater Theatre, 3430 S.E. Belmont St., 503-306-0870, $15

'Orestes'

Classic Greek Theatre of Oregon presents its annual late-summer event. Euripides' story of murder and revenge in the wake of the Trojan War gets a run of 11 shows in the open air at Reed College before moving across town to the West End Theatre.

- EB

4 p.m. FRIDAY, SATURDAY and SUNDAY, noon Thursday, also noon Sept. 22 and Sept. 27-29, through Oct. 1, Reed College, Cerf Amphitheatre, 3203 S.E. Woodstock Blvd., 503-258-9313, $10-$20

'Ragtime: The Musical'

The E.L. Doctorow novel, adapted by Terrence McNally, places three fictional families amid real-life events in turn-of-the-20th-century America.

The play makes its Oregon premiere under the direction of Greg Tamblyn.

- EB

8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 7 p.m. SUNDAY, 8 p.m. Thursday, also 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24 and Oct. 15-29, through Oct. 29, Lakewood Center for the Arts, 368 S. State St., Lake Oswego, 503-635-3901, $26-$28

'Who Stole My Dead Husband?'

The return of this popular evening of interactive dinner theater proves that you can't keep a good mob family down.

Like most Italian-American get-togethers, this one involves lots of loud voices, treachery and really rich food. Top local actors Jim Caputo, Corey Brunish and Danny Bruno star.

- EB

7:30 p.m. SATURDAY, through Jan. 31, Madison's East Wing, 1125 S.E. Madison St., 503-730-7040 or 1-800-966-8865, $50-$65 includes dinner and dessert, ages 17 and up

MUSIC

Oregon Symphony

Valentina Lisitsa, born in Kiev, Ukraine, has been one of the brightest lights on the international scene for a decade.

The virtuoso pianist, who has collaborated with Oregon Symphony Music Director Carlos Kalmar at Chicago's Grant Park Festival, will perform Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 4. Also on the program are works by Mendelssohn and Strauss, as well as Steven Mackey's whimsical 'Lost and Found.'

- EB

7:30 p.m. SATURDAY, 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23-24, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 S.W. Broadway, 503-228-1353, www.orsymphony.org, $18-$88

Bach Cantata Choir

Forty voices and a small chamber orchestra offer a pair of sacred Bach cantatas, Nos. 9 and 17, with Artistic Director Ralph Nelson conducting.

- EB

2 p.m. SUNDAY, Sept. 24, Rose City Park Presbyterian Church, 1903 N.E. 45th Ave., 503-702-1973, free

PERFORMANCE

'Maybe I'm Just Like My Mother'

For the late-night crowd, Lee Kyle - Splendora in the genre-challenging rock group Sissyboy - offers his one-person tribute, a work subtitled 'An Ode to Cornelia.'

- EB

10:30 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, through Sept. 30, Back Door Theatre, 4319 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd., 971-506-9291, $10

ART

Maryhill Double

Catch this oddity before it's dismantled: Disjecta has created Maryhill Double, a scaffolding-and-mesh installation on the Oregon side of the Columbia River that mirrors the Maryhill Museum in Washington.

- JG

Open noon to dusk SUNDAY, Sept. 24 and Oct. 1, bus tours depart 1 p.m. from 1 S.E. Third Ave. (under the Burnside Bridge), returning at 8 p.m., $10, add $5 for admission to the real Maryhill Museum

Portland Art Center

This instant institution continues to impress with the quality of the work it puts on and with its organization.

For the next two weeks the main gallery has 'The Inside Game,' a selection from the personal collections of Elizabeth Leach, Joel Leib, Rod Pulliam, Justin Oswald and Jeffrey Thomas. Each is or was a professional art dealer, so this is a great chance to see if taste and money are subject to the same natural laws.

In the Light and Sound Gallery, choreographer and dancer Linda Austin collaborates with composer Seth Nehil to create a video installation of Austin's dance 'Circus Me (A Round).'

The Open Space Gallery has a juried show of 32 encaustic artists from 127 national entries.

- JG

Noon to 6 p.m. FRIDAY-SUNDAY, Wednesday and Thursday, through Oct. 1, Portland Art Center, 32 N.W. Fifth Ave., 503-236-3322, free

Carolyn Cole

Cole has a new series of mixed-media abstract paintings, which she promises are about things, events and real life, rather than the materials the paintings are made from.

Also showing is recent sculpture by glass artist John DeWit, who can reference teapots and cacti in the same piece.

- JG

10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. FRIDAY, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. SATURDAY, 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, through Sept. 30, Butters Gallery, 520 N.W. Davis St., second floor, 503-248-9378, free