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Weekend!Arts
by: COURTESY OF TERRY GARLAND, Gospel tunes get a Swedish accent when Evie Tornquist sings in Beaverton this weekend.

DANCE

Compagnie Tché Tché

White Bird presents an all-female company on a mission.

The Ivory Coast-based troupe, apart from its artistic brilliance, is out to dispel orthodox thinking on the role of women in African society, and does so with a passion.

- Eric Bartels

8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, Dec. 8-9, Portland State University, Lincoln Performance Hall, 1620 S.W. Park Ave., 503-725-3307, www.whitebird.org, $14-$25

GOSPEL MUSIC

'Gospel Christmas'

A proud Portland tradition will be represented when the Northwest Community Gospel Chorus joins the Oregon Symphony for three holiday performances.

- EB

8 p.m. FRIDAY-SUNDAY, Dec. 8-10, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 S.W. Broadway, 503-228-1353, www.orsymphony.org, $25-$73

Evie

Blond gospel singer born Evie Tornquist first gained stardom in Sweden, was inducted into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame last year and will sing Christmas favorites as part of services this weekend.

- EB

7 p.m. FRIDAY, 6 p.m. SATURDAY, 9:15 a.m. and 11 a.m. SUNDAY, Dec. 8-10, Beaverton Christian Church, 13600 S.W. Allen Blvd., 503-646-2151, free

OPERA

'The Return of Ulysses'

The Portland Opera's annual foray into chamber opera (small band, just nine singers) promises the level of challenge expected of a big-city opera house.

Claudio Monteverdi's 'Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria' tells Homer's tale of the hero Odysseus/Ulysses returning from exile and defeating the suitors sniffing around his wife, Penelope.

- Joseph Gallivan

7:30 p.m. FRIDAY, Dec. 8, 2 p.m. SUNDAY, Dec. 10, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12, 14 and 16, Portland Opera Studio at the Hampton Opera Center, 211 S.E. Caruthers St., 503-241-1802, $75, in Italian with English subtitles

THEATER

'This Wonderful Life'

Devoted fans of 'It's a Wonderful Life' have little to fear from Mark Setlock and Steve Murray's sprightly, one-man stage version (this year, the show's second, acted by Matthew Floyd Miller).

The brisk, 75-minute show is a warmhearted homage to Frank Capra's classic, with a few quips about the film's subtle hints of romance, ethnic stereotypes and not-so-subtle admiration of capitalism (George Bailey needs his friends, but it sure helps when they bring money).

Dressed like Bailey while impersonating every character from drunken Mr. Gower to flashy Violet Bick to little Zuzu, Miller stretches a flexible figure and expressive face that recall funnyman Jim Carrey, and he uses the multilevel set and simple props well.

Miller doesn't provide the stomach-clutching hilarity of Carrey's best work, but the show offers plenty of chuckles to keep everyone in the audience entranced, from grade-schoolers having the new experience of grown-up theater to grown-ups who were around when the film debuted.

- Audrey Van Buskirk

7:30 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. SUNDAY, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, through Dec. 24 (check for additional dates), Gerding Theater at the Armory, 128 N.W. 11th Ave., 503-445-3700, www.pcs.org, $16.50-$39.50

'A Taffeta Christmas'

With significant local theater talent involved, this one might well be worth the trip across the Columbia.

An all-girl quintet from Muncie, Ind. - OK, not really - stars in a Christmas songfest written and arranged by Rick Lewis. Ron Daum directs.

- EB

7:30 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, through Dec. 23, Clark College, Decker Theatre, 1925 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver, Wash., 1-360-573-4984, www.publicplayhouse.org, $14-$16

'Sister's Christmas Catechism'

This is the Northwest premiere of a Maripat Donovan sequel to 'Late Nite Catechism,' which enjoyed a two-year run here. It's an occasion for more audience-friendly wackiness from Triangle Productions.

- EB

8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 4 p.m. SUNDAY, through Dec. 23, First Unitarian Church, 1011 S.W. 12th Ave., 503-239-5919, www.tripro.org, $20-$30

'Christmas Revels'

Knights and countesses and mummers converge for a village solstice party in medieval France, an occasion for music, song and comedy. A Portland favorite for 12 years, the event incorporates no fewer than 74 players.

Actor Atticus Mowry says it's anything but sedate. 'It's kind of a pagan yule celebration,' he says. 'It's very lively.'

- EB

7:30 p.m. FRIDAY, 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. SATURDAY, 1 p.m. SUNDAY, Dec. 8-10 (additional 5 p.m. show closing night), Scottish Rite Theater, 1512 S.W. Morrison St., 503-274-4654, $7-$32

'1941 Christmas From Home'

For five years audiences ate up a series of these shows, done in the style of a World War II-era live radio broadcast.

After a year off, the family-friendly extravaganza of period sketches, stories and songs is back, propelled by a live band and homemade sound effects.

- EB

7:30 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 2 p.m. SUNDAY, through Dec. 17 (additional, signed performance 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 14), Hollywood Theatre, 4122 N.E. Sandy Blvd., 503-245-6919, $18, $16 students and seniors, $9 veterans

'Pageant'

The term 'beauty queens' gets a new definition when Triangle Productions revisits its gender-bending spoof.

- EB

8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, through Dec. 23, Firehouse Theater, 1436 S.W. Montgomery St., 503-239-5919, www.tripro.org, $20-$25

'Plaid Tidings'

If you liked the very likable 'Forever Plaid,' you'll want to catch the continuing antics of Smudge, Francis, Jinx and Sparky, the Eisenhower-era quartet whose members are determined to play the gig of their dreams despite the fact that they're dead.

- EB

8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 2 p.m. SUNDAY, 7 p.m. Thursday (some changes in dates and times later in run), through Dec. 23, Portland Center for the Performing Arts, Brunish Hall, 1111 S.W. Broadway, 503-248-4355, $20-$28

'I Am My Own Wife'

Wade McCollum brilliantly embodies nearly three dozen characters with mind-blowing dexterity in Doug Wright's profound and moving one-man play, which won a Pulitzer Prize and two Tony Awards in 2004.

Guided by the playwright's compelling narrative, McCollum takes a little-known eccentric - German antiquities collector and transvestite Charlotte von Mahlsdorf - and infuses her with such authenticity that she is fully real the minute we meet her.

- EB

7:30 p.m. FRIDAY, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. SATURDAY, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. SUNDAY, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, through Dec. 31, Gerding Theater at the Armory, Studio Stage, 128 N.W. 11th Ave., 503-445-3700, www.pcs.org, $16.50-$59.50

'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'

You almost wonder if it makes sense to stage something as iconic as this, so indelible was the Oscar-hogging 1975 movie version. But Integrity Productions and director Corey Brunish do a fine job with Ken Kesey's classic.

Don Alder turns in an energetic performance as Randle P. McMurphy, a charismatic con man who meets his match inside a mental institution, and Jane Geesman finds the right temperature setting for McMurphy's icy rival, Nurse Ratched.

A large supporting cast, led by Tim Blough, is uniformly solid.

- EB

8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 4 p.m. SUNDAY, 8 p.m. Dec. 8-10, Theater Theatre, 3430 S.E. Belmont St., 503-286-3456, $10

'Mutt'

Local actor Lava Alapai mines her own story for the outline of this world premiere.

Serena Matthews is 18 years old when she learns that she's black. In the search for self-discovery that follows, Serena is counseled by a white friend, a chorus of dancers and a puppet named Whoopi Godmother.

- EB

8 p.m. FRIDAY, SATURDAY and Thursday through Dec. 30, Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center, 5340 N. Interstate Ave., 503-952-6646, www.manyhatscollaboration.com, $12

'Inspecting Carol'

A struggling theater company is at wits' end with its annual production of 'A Christmas Carol,' but desperate for the cash it will generate. Then word comes that a National Endowment for the Arts inspector soon will arrive to decide whether the company is fit to receive further funding. Big laughs ensue.

- EB

8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. SUNDAY, 7 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, through Dec. 24, Artists Repertory Theatre, 1516 S.W. Alder St., 503-241-1278, www.artistsrep.org, $22.50-$42.50

'A Tuna Christmas'

Funny enough to have won a Tony nomination on Broadway, this is the sequel to 'Greater Tuna.' Catch up with the hilarious denizens of Tuna, Texas, for some holiday cheer.

- EB

8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. SUNDAY, 8 p.m. Thursday, through Dec. 17, Lakewood Center for the Arts, 368 S. State St., Lake Oswego, 503-635-3901, www.lakewood-center.org, $23-$25

'The Maids'

Lee Kyle and Devan McGrath, best known for their work in the Portland punk/drag art band Sissyboy, star in the first full-length work of theater by their P.boy productions.

Fellow Sissyboy Jeffrey Kreischer also stars in Jean Genet's absurdist drama, which is based on a disturbing true story.

- EB

8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, Dec. 8-9, Back Door Theater, 4319 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd., 971-506-9291, $10-$12

'I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change'

People don't flock to this hit musical revue for cutting-edge comedy. The references to Sharon Stone and Häagen-Dazs - Häagen-Dazs? - ensure it plays like a period piece, but the show's veteran cast, back from a long and successful run earlier in the decade, is agile and assured.

- EB

8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, through Dec. 23, World Trade Center, 121 S.W. Salmon St., 503-624-0403, www.pixiedustshows.com, $27-$30

'Christmas of Swing'

The award-winning Broadway Rose Theatre Co. resurrects the wartime charm of the Andrews Sisters for this lively slice of holiday nostalgia, set at a rehearsal for a Christmas Eve USO show. Lisamarie Harrison, Carrie Baldwin-Sayre and Chrissy Kelly star.

- EB

8 p.m. FRIDAY, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. SATURDAY, 2 p.m. SUNDAY, Dec. 8-10, Tualatin High School Auditorium, 22300 S.W. Boones Ferry Road, 503-620-5262, www.broadwayrose.com, $19-$26 (Sunday shows sold out)

Brody Theater

The grandfather of Portland improv theater, Brody just got pink-slipped at its longtime home in Northwest Portland.

Improvising, founder and leader Tom Johnson and his troupe will follow through on scheduled performances of 'Theatresports' (Fridays) and 'Antiques Improv Show' (Saturdays) until the curtain drops Dec. 16, all the while looking for a new venue.

- EB

8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, through Dec. 16, Brody Theater, 1904 N.W. 27th Ave., 503-224-0688, www.brodytheater.com, $7-$10

LECTURE

Dr. Bryan Wittine

Bay Area-based Jungian analyst Dr. Bryan Wittine gives a lecture called 'The Coming of Light at Times of Darkness.'

Jungians are capable of seeing darkness at noon, so this should be a great way to get ready for the solstice and the last part of your life. According to Wittine, 'Darkness is the holding, containing Mother-Father consciousness, sometimes called the Absolute, which gives birth to Light, symbol of the Holy Child and the essential Self of every human being.'

- JG

7:30 p.m. FRIDAY, Dec. 8, First United Methodist Church sanctuary, 1838 S.W. Jefferson St., $12; www.ofj.org, 503-223-3080

ART

Prints for PICA

Local artists get together and prove there's more to being an artist than 'installing' things from Goodwill and going to parties.

It's a tribute to the old trades and crafts, and sales of the work benefit the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art.

- JG

5 p.m. to 9 p.m. SATURDAY, Dec. 9, 333 Studio, 333 N.E. Hancock St., 503-242-1419

Megan Murphy

At first they look like dreary slabs of grayness, but on closer inspection (and with a bit of background about the artist's spiritual practice) they become dreamy meditations on our riparian inheritance.

- JG

11 a.m. to 6 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, through Dec. 30, PDX Contemporary Art, 925 N.W. Flanders St., 503-222-0063, www.pdxcontemporaryart.com

Joan McGuire

Portland Tribune graphic designer puts down the mouse and picks up the brush to create a display of tempestuous oils depicting coffee cups and teapots sitting calmly in denial of - or defiant of - approaching heavy weather.

- JG

6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. FRIDAY, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. SATURDAY and SUNDAY, 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, through Dec. 31, the Ugly Mug, 8017 S.E. 13th Ave., 503-230-2010

The Culture of Haiti in Art

Art from the poorest country in the world: oil paintings, hammered metalwork, beaded and sequined bags, and flags. For sale.

- JG

9 a.m. to noon SUNDAY, and by appointment, through Dec. 31, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral Kempton Hall, 147 N.W. 19th Ave., 503-478-1203

All the Art That Fits

Play Spot the Department as you view paintings by 23 city of Portland and Multnomah County employees. Your tax dollars at play.

- JG

7 a.m. to 6 p.m. FRIDAY and Monday-Thursday, through Jan. 5, Portland Building, 1120 S.W. Fifth Ave., 503-823-5426, www.racc.org

Marne Lucas

What could be more Portland than a bunch of artists you've never heard of sporting 'Are we famous yet?' looks for the camera.

Lucas, already a fine portraitist working on international subjects, got a Regional Arts and Culture Council grant and snapped 17 artists in comical poses for 'Sitting City: Portland Artist Portraits.' The idea was to present a snapshot of the Portland art scene in 2006.

'Most of the setups were my gut impression of these folks, a fantasy projection of how I see them, often in a situation that mimics their work,' Lucas says. This show should make a suitably upbeat launch of Mark Woolley's new commitment to his east-side gallery.

- JG

11 a.m. to 6 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, through Dec. 30, Mark Woolley Gallery, 128 N.E. Russell St., 503-284-3636, free