Portland-area cultural events
'The Way We Worked'
The Oregon Historical Society presents an exhibition of 86 photographs of work, the way it was done between 1857 and 1987.
A mud-stained man stands in the giant hopper of an earthmover. A shirtless chap in ragged shorts leans into a riveting job. Men in overalls and ties carry bananas beside a freight car while the bosses look on. Working kids stand on a giant motorized loom, one barefoot.
Where's the Occupational Safety and Health Administration when you need it? This traveling show comes from the National Archives, although the Portland Art Museum's curator of photography, Terry Toedtemeier, has selected 50 additional photos from the Oregon Historical Society's archive that deal with Oregon subjects.
- Joseph Gallivan
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. FRIDAY, SATURDAY and Monday-Thursday, through Feb. 17, Oregon Historical Society, 1200 S.W. Park Ave., 503-222-1741, $10
'An American Daughter'
Wendy Wasserstein's superb play feels like a postgraduate crash course in everything from women's issues to media culture to American history, with seminars on religion, relationships and pop music thrown in.
But with Wasserstein brilliantly balancing intellectual heft, emotional authenticity and sitcom-ready wit, you never feel like you've had to do any of the coursework.
Jane Unger directs a superb cast at Profile Theatre. Karla Mason is exceptional as Dr. Lyssa Dent Hughes, a renowned health official whose nomination for surgeon general is threatened by a slip-up from her past.
Yet the great performances only start there. Andrea White, Paul Angelo and Brooke Lynne Fletcher are wonderful in crucial supporting roles, and Thom Bray and Dave Bodin are very fine as the doctor's husband and congressman father, respectively.
Simple prescription: If you're a fan of good theater, see this play.
- Eric Bartels
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, $10-$28
'La Carpa Calavera'
Miracle Theatre honors the dead with an irreverent, vaudevillelike celebration in which topical satire mingles with south-of-the-border-style music, dance and physical comedy.
8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 2 p.m. SUNDAY, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, through Nov. 12, Miracle Theatre, 525 S.E. Stark St., 503-236-7253, $13-$18
Live on Stage Theater winds down its three-week run of Pete Townshend's 1969 rock opera, which generated a string of familiar songs by the Who.
The production, directed by John Oules, features a live band.
8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, Oct. 27-28, World Trade Center, 121 S.W. Salmon St., 503-280-5483, www.liveonstage.us, $25
CoHo Productions fires up its season with Portlander Dan Trujillo's world-premiere dark comedy about children, adults and a gun.
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, $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.
8 p.m. to 11 p.m. FRIDAY-SUNDAY, Oct. 27-29, Portland Art Center, 32 N.W. Fifth Ave., 503-235-5284, $10-$20
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.
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
'Ragtime: The Musical'
The E.L. Doctorow novel, adapted by Terrence McNally, places three fictional families amid real-life events in turn-of-20th century America.
8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. SUNDAY, Oct. 27-29, 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.
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, ages 17 and up
Scandinavian concert and dance
Andrea Hoad, Loretta Kelley and Charlie Pilzer, who make up one of the top Nordic traditional trios in the country, go to work on fiddle, contrabass and hardingfele.
7:30 p.m. SATURDAY, Oct. 28, Friendship Masonic Center, 5626 N.E. Alameda St., 503-977-0275, $8-$10
Third Angle New Music Ensemble
Travel in time with the innovative chamber music ensemble extraordinaire. It teams up with Turner Classic Movies to provide a live soundtrack, composed and conducted by Vivek Madalla, to the 1924 King Vidor film 'Wild Oranges.'
Cabaret Boris and Natasha
Just in time for Halloween, Linda Austin and Performance Works NorthWest roll out this unique extravaganza of dance, masks, puppetry, animation and more.
8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, Oct. 27-28, Performance Works NorthWest, 4625 S.E. 67th Ave., 503-777-1907, $10-$15
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.
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. SUNDAY and Tuesday-Thursday, through Nov. 12, Contemporary Crafts Museum and Gallery, 3934 S.W. Corbett Ave. 503-223-2654, free
The Poetry Show
The multitalented Johnny Stallings would like every last Portlander to read at least one poem a week.
He plays host to an open recital, and themes change weekly.
7 p.m. SUNDAY, through Nov. 26, Hipbone Studio, 1847 E. Burnside St., 503-347-6869, $7