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by: ©2006 BLAIN TRUITT COVERT, Spare and sure goes the dancing in Oregon Ballet Theatre’s version of George Balanchine’s 1946 “The Four Temperaments.”

Edited by Randall Barton

DANCE

'The Four Temperaments'

After the lush opulence of 'Swan Lake,' which brought Oregon Ballet Theatre's previous season to a stunning climax, Artistic Director Christopher Stowell and company created the perfect follow-up in this year's fall program.

As if to wash the palette clean, OBT opens a new season with a streamlined, even Spartan, treatment of George Balanchine's 1946 'The Four Temperaments.' Costumes are plain, lighting simple and scenery virtually nonexistent.

If there are bells and whistles, they are provided by Niel Deponte and the OBT Orchestra, which played brilliantly opening night.

The effect is to throw into high relief Balanchine's still-sturdy vision, Hindesmith's fine score and, of course, Stowell's company, which, in his fourth year in Portland, is looking just fine.

With the retirement of Kester Cotton, one of OBT's top male performers the past three seasons, and the absence of Ronnie Underwood, who is recovering from surgery, the company felt a bit thin on opening night.

But that meant more opportunities for the durable Paul DeStrooper, who proved essential to all three of the program's ballets. There also was a glimpse of newcomers Alexey Dmitrenko, Adrian Fry and Andrea Cooper.

The evening is, notably, a showcase of Stowell's programming skills. In a quick, bright surprise opener, he puts the developing talents of his School of Oregon Ballet Theatre students on display, and later revisits his own 'Adin,' the first ballet he choreographed for OBT after his arrival in 2003.

The big punch comes with the company's final effort of the night, a spirited and endearing handling of Jerome Robbins' fanciful 1956 comic ballet 'The Concert.'

A slapstick romp that requires intricately staged mayhem and gives OBT's dancers a chance to show off some surprisingly impressive acting chops, it had the audience howling last weekend.

- Eric Bartels

7:30 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, Oct. 20-21, Keller Auditorium, 222 S.W. Clay St., 503-222-5538, $10-$105

'The Crimson Cabaret'

The high-flying Pendulum Aerial Dance Theatre fills the skies overhead once again, this time as part of a series of dinner theater events.

Artistic Director Suzanne Kenney, with help from members of Seattle's Teatro Zinzanni, is in charge of the acrobatics; chef Ron Baker of the caterer Food in Bloom takes care of the food.

- EB

8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 7 p.m. SUNDAY, Oct. 20-22, Montgomery Park Atrium, 2701 N.W. Vaughn St., 503-319-5486, www.pendulumdancetheatre.org, $65 ($25 for show only)

CRAFTS

New Embroidery: Not Your Grandma's Doily

A mixture of forces (feminism, irony, curiosity) has seen artists exploring domestic crafts in the last decade, needlework chief among them.

This show features humorous, intelligent, oddball and downright messy embroidery.

- Joseph Gallivan

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. SUNDAY, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, through Nov. 12, Contemporary Crafts Museum and Gallery, 3934 S.W. Corbett Ave. 503-223-2654, www.contemporarycrafts.org, free

THEATER

'Theatre du Grand Guignol'

If you enjoyed the Théâtre des Vampires scene in the movie 'Interview With the Vampire' you will be oddly enchanted by the tableau of blood, guts and sex at this debut production of Tragedies Theater Company.

The troupe winningly inhabits ghoulish dramas and comedies written for the original Théâtre du Grand-Guignol (pronounced geen-YOL), a Paris theater (1897-1962) famous for its bloody special effects and sex farces.

The atmosphere at the Little Church, one block off Northeast Alberta Street, is haunting, and production values are top-drawer. Actors look like they've stepped out of an Edward Gorey illustration or silent movie.

Instead of black and white, however, everything is ensanguined. Those in the front rows are apt to be sprayed with 'blood.'

Each one-act has a different - and most enjoyable - director and cast. The audience is convincingly transported to 1925, when melodrama was king.

Those weaned on the quick edits of film may feel like it's a long haul to the 'payoff,' and the production runs a full three hours. But if what you like about Halloween is the doomed atmosphere, this is a lot of fun. Beware, the plastic chairs are truly a horror.

- Randall Barton

8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 8 p.m. Thursday, through Oct. 28, the Little Church, 5138 N.E. 23rd Ave., 503-367-2100, www.thetragedies.com/tickets.htm, $15

'Leni'

Few 20th-century artists are tethered to a more enduringly controversial legacy than filmmaker and Nazi propagandist Leni Reifenstahl, who did her best work for a genocidal regime.

Using various media, Insight Out Theatre Collective's Sarah Greenman probes the contradictions in the first full production of her play, which she also directs.

- EB

8:30 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 8:30 p.m. Thursday, through Nov. 11, Academy Theater, 7818 S.E. Stark St., 503-493-8070, $5-$15

'West Side Story'

The Sondheim-Bernstein-Robbins classic, which Portland Center Stage shined up to inaugurate its new Gerding Theater at the Armory, looks great, sounds great and has a heart that's still beating powerfully as the show nears 50.

A Romeo and Juliet update that pits the power of love against the fear of change, the story remains a vibrant piece of entertainment.

From the opening moments, when Tony Clarno's Riff hikes himself up a towering, block-letter show logo and pauses atop to light a smoke, we get an idea of both the sass and the athleticism director Chris Coleman's production has in store. And it doesn't disappoint.

His mostly New York-based cast brings first-rate skill and energy in support of its leads.

- EB

7:30 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. SUNDAY, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, noon and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, through Nov. 12 (some showtimes vary, check Web site), Gerding Theater at the Armory, 128 N.W. 11th Ave., 503-445-3700, www.pcs.org, $18.50-$61.50

'Night of the Living Dead'

Longtime Northwest Children's Theater principal John Monteverde brings a new company to life - sort of - with the stage version of George Romero's 1968 cult-film classic.

Not pure camp, the Blue Monkey Theater Company production offers some genuine scares. Recommended for ages 13 and older.

- EB

10 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, Oct. 20-21, 10 p.m. and midnight FRIDAY and SATURDAY, Oct. 27-28, Valley Cinema Pub, 9360 S.W. Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, 503-777-4506, www.bluemonkeytheater.org, $12

'An American Daughter'

Profile Theatre begins its 10th season, in which it honors the late Wendy Wasserstein.

A Pulitzer Prize winner, Wasserstein examined the place of women in the modern world with wit and humor in plays like 'The Sisters Rosensweig' and 'The Heidi Chronicles.' Both plays will be produced at Profile this season.

- EB

8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 2 p.m. SUNDAY, 8 p.m. Thursday, through Nov. 12, Theater Theatre, 3430 S.E. Belmont St., 503-242-0080, www.profiletheatre.org, $10-$28.

'Jingle Spree'

CoHo Productions fires up its season with Portlander Dan Trujillo's world-premiere dark comedy about children, adults and a gun.

Antonio Sonera directs.

- EB

8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 2 p.m. SUNDAY, 8 p.m. Thursday, through Nov. 18, CoHo Theater, 2257 N.W. Raleigh St., 503-220-2646, www.cohoproductions.org, $20-$23

'The Catacombs Project'

A hipster haunted house explores dreams of Portland, past and present, via an interactive performance-based installation.

The shows, put on by Hand2Mouth Theatre, Fever Theater, et al., run continuously.

- JG

8 p.m. to 11 p.m. FRIDAY-SUNDAY, 8 p.m. Thursday, through Oct. 31, Portland Art Center, 32 N.W. Fifth Ave., 503-235-5284, $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, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. SUNDAY, 8 p.m. Thursday, through Oct. 29, Lakewood Center for the Arts, 368 S. State St., Lake Oswego, 503-635-3901, $26-$28

MUSIC

Alfredo Muro

The area's favorite Peruvian-born Brazilian guitarist celebrates the release of a new CD, 'Alma Brasileira, Vol. II.'

- EB

7:30 p.m. SATURDAY, Oct. 21, Portland Community College-Sylvania Performing Arts Center, 12000 S.W. 49th Ave., 503-888-6145, $20-$50

Robert Levin

The virtuoso pianist, music theorist and Mozart scholar offers a free performance followed by a CD signing.

- EB

1 p.m. SATURDAY, Oct. 21, Music Millennium Northwest, 801 N.W. 23rd Ave., 503-231-8909, free

Oregon Chamber Players

The professional ensemble celebrates its 12th season with rare gems by Rameau, Rossini, Poulenc and Boccherini.

- EB

7:30 p.m. SATURDAY, Oct. 21, All Saints' Episcopal Church, 4033 S.E. Woodstock Blvd., 1-888-627-8788, $12-$15; also available through TicketsWest (503-224-8499), subject to service charges

BOOKS

Art Book Sale

The Portland Art Museum's Crumpacker Family Library is clearing out 1,000 books with a two-day book sale.

The fine library of 33,000 volumes is open free to the public. When it was renovated a year ago the stacks were bulging, so this is a chance to clear out the duplicates and nonart books and raise some money to buy … more books.

- JG

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, Oct. 20-21, Portland Art Museum, Mark Building, James and Marion Miller Gallery, 1219 S.W. Park Ave., 503-226-2811, free, does not include museum admission

VARIETY

Miz Kitty's Parlour

This offbeat monthly cabaret became so popular in its first four seasons it had to move to a larger venue.

Year 5 gets under way with help from rootsy artists Trashcan Joe, the Sassparilla Jug Band and Ida Viper, along with belly dance goddess Severina, the innovative Cellobop and something having to do with a murder mystery.

- EB

7 p.m. SATURDAY, Oct. 21, Imbibe, 2229 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd., 503-239-4002, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., $10 (cash only), all ages befroe 10 p.m.