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Edited by Randall Barton

THEATER

'Act a Lady'

In Seattle playwright Jordan Harrison's 'Act a Lady,' three men in a middle American small town circa 1927 stage a French melodrama in drag, for reasons that are not entirely clear.

A more substantial play than its setup might suggest, 'Act a Lady' is deftly guided by director Cliff Fannin Baker and features a fine cast. Ebbe Roe Smith, Sharonlee McLean and James Farmer, in particular, are terrific.

- Eric Bartels

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 March 11, Gerding Theater at the Armory, Studio Stage, 128 N.W. 11th Ave., 503-445-3700, $16.50-$41.50

'The Thugs'

In playwright Adam Bock's cynical acting exercise, awkward silences and halting dialogue are meant to pass for intrigue.

Instead, six stereotypical characters in a harshly lit office say and do nothing for a full hour, effectively wasting a lot of top local talent.

This is like Mamet Lite. Or perhaps Mamet Zero.

- EB

10:30 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, through March 10, Gerding Theater at the Armory, Studio Stage, 128 N.W. 11th Ave., 503-445-3700, $21.50

'Vanya'

A hugely successful run of the Chekhov classic enters its final weekend at Artists Repertory Theatre.

- EB

8 p.m. FRIDAY, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. SUNDAY, March 2 and 4, Artists Repertory Theatre, Main Stage, 1516 S.W. Alder St., 503-241-1278, $24-$64

'Grease'

If you ever wondered what those kids from Rydell High would look like 30 years on, here's a chance to find out.

Corey Brunish and triple threat Oregonian columnist Margie Boulé star in Stumptown Stages' older, more veteran take on the gum-snapping musical classic. Watch for the hand jive contest.

- EB

8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 2 p.m. SUNDAY, through March 24, Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center, 5340 N. Interstate Ave., 503-381-8686, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , $22-$25

Arcadia'

Keith Scales directs an impressive cast in the Lakewood Theatre production of a time-traveling mystery-romance by award-winning author and playwright Tom Stoppard.

- EB

8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 7 p.m. SUNDAY, 8 p.m. Thursday, through April 7, Lakewood Center for the Arts, 368 S. State St., Lake Oswego, 503-635-3901, $23-$25

'Private Lives'

Integrity Productions dusts off Noel Coward's comedy of manners, inspecting it from all kinds of new angles. Kerry E. Sorci directs.

- EB

8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 4 p.m. SUNDAY, 8 p.m. Thursday, through March 18, Theater Theatre, 3430 S.E. Belmont St., 503-286-3456, $12-$15

'Hedda Gabler'

In the Ibsen classic, a woman fears she has married at the expense of her freedom.

Jon Robin Baitz's adaptation ends a two-week run at Portland State University.

- EB

7:30 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, March 2 and 3, PSU, Lincoln Performance Hall, 1620 S.W. Park Ave., 503-725-3307, $3.50-$8.50

'The Skriker'

The new and youthful CoToP Theater launches itself with English playwright Caryl Churchill's dark fantasy of two sisters pursued by a ghostly shape-shifter.

- EB

8 p.m. FRIDAY-SUNDAY, 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, through March 10, Theater Theatre, 3430 S.E. Belmont St., 503-312-4372, $10-$15

DANCE

'Room'

Local dancemakers Linda Austin and Tahni Holt perform as part of Reed Arts Week at the college.

- EB

7:30 p.m. FRIDAY, March 2, Reed College, Kaul Auditorium, 3203 S.E. Woodstock Blvd., 503-517-7627, $10

Tribal music and dance

Here's a low-risk way to check out the work of Paulette Rees-Denis and her Gypsy Caravan Dance Company.

The Urban Berbers, a troupe of avant-garde improvisational dancers, offer a free performance as part of International Women's Day at Portland State University.

- EB

12:30 p.m. SUNDAY, March 4, PSU, Smith Center Ballroom, 1825 S.W. Broadway, 503-287-1794, free

LECTURE

Hal Foster

The Princeton prof wasn't just early on the postmodernism bandwagon - he drove the thing.

As an art and architecture critic he lights up the pages of the London Review of Books and even the impenetrable October magazine. Here he speaks on post-conceptual art forms and the ideas and philosophies that shape them.

The lecture's called 'Chat Rooms, Archival Spaces, and Other (Mis)adventures in Contemporary Art' based on his examination of contemporary theory and practice in art.

Warning: Air quotes not accepted.

- Joseph Gallivan

2 p.m. SUNDAY, March 4, Portland Art Museum, Whitsell Auditorium, 1219 S.W. Park Ave., 503-226-0973, $10

The Quest for Immortality

The final weekend of this show of Egyptian antiquities is sold out, but to accommodate additional visitors, the museum will stay open until midnight on Saturday,March 3. Time-entry tickets must be purchased in advance.

- JG

10 a.m. to 8 p.m. FRIDAY, 10 a.m. to Sunday SATURDAY, noon to 5 p.m. SUNDAY, through March 4, Portland Art Museum, Whitsell Auditorium, 1219 S.W. Park Ave., 503-226-0973, $20

Wagner's 'The Flying Dutchman'

As part of its brown bag lunch series here's an intro to the next offering from the opera.

It's led by Portland Opera's director of music and education, Sara Jane Patterson, and its wonderfully eloquent and chipper chorus master, Robert Ainsley.

- JG

Noon FRIDAY, March 2, Multnomah County Central Library, U.S. Bank Room 801 S.W. 10th Ave., free

BOOKS

'A Message to Garcia'

Subtitled 'Elbert Hubbard and the Power of Print,' this book tells the story of American philosopher and writer Elbert Hubbard's inspirational 1899 essay 'A Message to Garcia.'

Portland collector and author Jack Walsdorf has loaned his personal materials to show how the power of print used to affect society.

- JG

10 a.m. to 6 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, noon to 5 p.m. SUNDAY, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to6 p.m. Thursday, through March 18, Multnomah County Central Library, Collins Gallery, 801 S.W. 10th Ave., third floor, 503-988-5402, free

ART

Matt McCormick

The local experimental filmmaker has his first gallery show.

- JG

10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, through March 31, Elizabeth Leach Gallery, 417 N.W. Ninth Ave., 503-224-0521

Mel Katz

It's Grandpop art time: Citizen Katz has a new raft of tidily finished metal sculptures, which mix curves with straights, bright colors with hard edges.

Katz and Connie Kiener, a painter also showing in March, will give a talk at the gallery 11 a.m. Saturday, March 10.

- JG

11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. FRIDAY, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. SATURDAY, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, through March 31, Laura Russo Gallery, 805 N.W. 21st Ave., 503-226-2754

Hadley Ferguson

The artist's feel-good show, Acrylic Paintings of European Scenes, is a good place to start your collection.

- JG

Noon to 5:30 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, noon to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, through March 31, Attic Gallery, 539 N.W. 10th Ave., 503-222-3850