The pointe of the season
by: ©2006 BLAINE TRUITT COVERT, With the entire cast made up of Oregon Ballet Theatre dancers, apprentices and students, this “Nutcracker” gets everyone involved — and enthralled — in the Sugarplum Fairy’s story.



Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins

As the voice and face of indie-rock darlings Rilo Kiley, Jenny Lewis has become the genre's reigning pinup queen. With her first solo release last January, she showed a more soulful side.

Partially recorded here in Portland with help from local hero M. Ward, 'Rabbit Fur Coat' features the rich gospel backing vocals of the Watson Twins as well as contributions from Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard and Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst.

While the album retains a bit of Rilo Kiley's indie charm, it also calls to mind the golden feel of '70s songwriters like Linda Ronstadt and Laura Nyro.

- Barbara Mitchell

8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8, Wonder Ballroom, 128 N.E. Russell St., 503-284-8686, $15, all ages


Christmas Ship Parade

What began as a single, decorated boat in the 1950s has turned into two fleets totaling 55 to 60 twinkling boats, traveling up and down the Willamette and Columbia rivers for the two-week Christmas Ship Parade.

The fleets, under the direction of the lead ship's skipper, will maneuver at key shoreline viewing points, such as forming a circle and performing individual curtsies (making turns to the right or left), enabling viewers on the east and west banks to see all angles of each of the bright, festive ships.

On Saturday, both fleets will assemble in front of RiverPlace Marina (1750 S.W. Harbor Way) and travel to Lake Oswego and back, past Milwaukie. Start times vary by date (see Web site for schedule).

- Suzie Ridgway

Nightly through Dec. 20,, free



Alicia J. Rose

For many people, she is Portlandia. The local wonder woman (she books, she plays, she snaps) Alicia J. Rose shows off her photos of Oregon Ballet Theatre dancers.

Very Arbus, very colorful, very nice.

- Joseph Gallivan

10 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday and Tuesday-Thursday, through Jan. 5, the Press Club, 2621 S.E. Clinton St., 503-233-5656, free


'Meet Me in St. Louis'

In 1944, Margaret O'Brien played Judy Garland's little sister in the Vincente Minnelli-directed hit film 'Meet Me in St. Louis.'

O'Brien appears in Portland this weekend for a screening of the classic musical, which popularized the song 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.' If you love Technicolor, extravagant Hollywood productions and/or Judy Garland, this is a must - especially with O'Brien present to answer questions after the show.

- Anne Marie DiStefano

2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, Cinema 21, 616 N.W. 21st Ave., 503-223-4515, $10


'George Balanchine's the Nutcracker'

For some Portlanders, this is the proof that the holiday season is under way. Oregon Ballet Theatre launches a run of 16 performances of the seasonal classic, the only production of Balanchine's beloved ballet on the West Coast.

It is a sign of OBT's maturation under fourth-year Artistic Director Christopher Stowell that the entire cast will be made up of company members, apprentices and students from the School of the Oregon Ballet Theatre for the first time.

There are other new twists. No fewer than five ballerinas will rotate through the Sugarplum Fairy role, and a new and improved Christmas tree will make its debut.

Look for cameos from OBT Executive Director Jon Ulsh, Portland Mercury Editor Wm. Steven Humphrey and Trail Blazer center Joel Pryzbilla.

Special fundraising Sugarplum Parties follow the first two Saturday matinees, with youngsters given a chance to mingle with performers on stage.

- Eric Bartels

7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, through Dec. 24 (additional dates later in run), Keller Auditorium, 222 S.W. Clay St., 503-222-5538,, $18-$110


The delightful creatures created in this dazzling Imago Theatre spectacle don't hibernate between productions, the first of which premiered in 2004. Rather, they continually evolve under the imaginative guidance of co-Artistic Directors Jerry Mouawad and Carol Triffle.

As bizarre at times as it is cute and cuddly, the show has won acclaim around the country and remains a solid entertainment bet for all ages.

- EB

7:30 p.m. Friday, 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 1:30 p.m. Sunday, through Dec. 31 (additional shows later in run), Imago Theatre, 17 S.E. Eighth Ave., 503-231-9581, $16-$29

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