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Nothin' but the blues: Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival

Plus: Your guide to the next 72 hours
by:  Kevin Anspach, The Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival from today through Tuesday at Tom McCall Waterfront Park (file photo).

FESTIVAL

Summer festival season officially kicks off this weekend with the

Waterfront Blues Festival. The five-day event features more than 150 performances on four stages, eight Blues Cruises (at a separate admission), workshops, jam sessions, a kids' blues lab and outdoor film screenings.

From established international performers like Dr. John, John Hiatt and the North Mississippi Allstars, Buckwheat Zydeco and Little Feat to up-and-comers like Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk and regional favorites Curtis Salgado and Reggie Houston, there's something for everyone. This year's festival has a special emphasis on the colorful and vibrant Gulf Coast/ New Orleans scene, featuring the 'Soul Queen of New Orleans,' Irma Thomas, plus the Rebirth Brass Band and Marva Wright.

In addition to a spectacular spectrum of entertainment, the festival also is a benefit for the Oregon Food Bank.

- Barbara Mitchell

11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday-Tuesday, June 30-July 4, Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Naito Parkway between Southwest Harrison and Northwest Glisan streets, 503-973-3378, www.waterfrontbluesfest.com, $8 plus two cans of nonperishable food per person per day at gate; $25 five-day passes available from TicketsWest (224-8499) through Friday, subject to service charges

ART

Portland Art Museum

The museum has another of its free days today, and docents will provide nine different free tours throughout the day. You might only go in looking for air conditioning, but while there check out two new shows. Richard Rezac (through Sept. 10) is a Chicago-based maker of oddball sculptures. His work, according to modern art curator Bruce Guenther, 'combines reduced forms in opposition to and in harmony with one another.' The show includes 13 new sculptures and related drawings.

'Through Rustling Grasses: Nature in the Japanese Print' (through Sept. 24) consists of 70 prints and books, and will explore the nature-themed styles and concerns that have captivated Japanese artists since the mid-1700s. Note too that the Hilda Morris retrospective closes July 16.

Also showing is 'Great Painters in Brescia from the Renaissance to the 18th Century' (through Sept. 17). The museum is open as usual Tuesday, July 4.

- Joseph Gallivan

10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Tuesday-Wednesday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Portland Art Museum, 1219 S.W. Park Ave., 503-226-2811, $6-$10 (free Friday, June 30)

MUSIC

Chamber Music Northwest

Chamber Music Nothwest's 36th annual Summer Festival brings to town five weeks of talks, lectures and intimate open rehearsals along with some of the finest chamber players in the world.

Artistic Director David Shifrin has said that enthusiastic audiences and the festival's two picturesque venues - Reed College and the Catlin Gabel School - make it a can't-miss event for some visiting musicians.

Pianist Gary Graffman appears tonight on a program that features Franz Schmidt's unorthodox Quintet in A Major for Piano Left-Hand and Strings; Saturday brings the Opus One Piano Quartet. In all, more than 40 artists will perform.

- Eric Bartels

8 p.m. Friday, June 30, Catlin Gabel School, 8825 S.W. Barnes Road, 8 p.m. Saturday, July 1, Reed College, Kaul Auditorium, 3203 S.E. Woodstock Blvd., 503-294-6400, www.cmnw.org, $21-$40

MOVIE

'Always for Pleasure' (NR)

Down by the river, when the sun goes down, the Northwest Film Center presents outdoor film screenings as part of the Waterfront Blues Festival.

It's the perfect setting for Les Blank's free-form 1978 documentary 'Always for Pleasure.'

Funerals, saints' days, and Mardi Gras all bring the residents of New Orleans out into the streets to dance, drink beer and celebrate a mind-boggling treasure trove of musical talent and tradition.

Blank captures both the details and the spirit of New Orleans; if ever there was a movie to dance along with, this is it.

- Anne Marie DiStefano

10 p.m. Saturday, July 1, Front Porch Stage at the Waterfront Blues Festival, www.waterfrontbluesfest.com, $8 plus two cans of nonperishable food

EXTREME SPORTS

Zumiez Couch Tour

Take your superstar skater or your old-school self out to this sixth annual tour, making a one-day appearance in Portland with pro skateboarders from the Element team, including Bam Margera, Tosh Townend, Colt Cannon, Nyjah Huston and Brent Atchley.

The Portland-Tigard stopover on the 12-city tour offers skateboard demonstrations and autograph sessions with the athletes, as well as live music from bands Kut U Up and the Fall of Troy, along with appearances by Couch (the tour mascot).

- Suzie Ridgway

1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, July 1, Washington Square, 9585 S.W. Washington Square Road, 503-639-8865, www.zumiezcouchtour.com, free