The Bard's on boards
by: ©2008 JAMIE BOSWORTH, Ulysses S. Grant (Tobias Anderson, left) and Mark Twain (Dave Bodin) have much to discuss in “A Few Stout Individuals.”

'The Beard of Avon' and 'Twelfth Night'

It isn't the dazzling sleight of hand Artists Repertory Theater pulled off earlier this season, turning a single story and one cast into simultaneously staged plays, but Portland Center Stage begins the new year with a pretty neat trick.

After two opening nights in as many weekends, the company will alternate two thematically linked plays using the same cast, sets and, in some cases, costumes in a single run.

Before getting to one of Shakespeare's most sublime works next weekend, Portland Center Stage gets the blood going with Amy Freed's devilishly clever comedy about the possibility that the Bard was nothing more than a beard, a lowborn hack poet fronting for the real author of the canon, a worldly but dissolute aristocrat with too tenuous a hold on his standing to publicly associate with the unsavory world of theater.

- Eric Bartels

'The Beard of Avon': 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday; 'Twelfth Night': 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday (previews), through March 9, Gerding Theater at the Armory, 128 N.W. 11th Ave., 503-445-3700,, $15-$60

Kultur Shock

There are some bands that simply need to be experienced live, and Seattle's Kultur Shock is one of them.

Up until now, it's probable that anyone who heard a recording of the band's unique explosion of Balkan folk, metal and punk rock might have left without getting it.

Now the band is celebrating the release of its first live album, which was recorded during an emotional and ecstatic sold-out show in Bulgaria last year. It's excellent evidence of Kultur Shock's energy and uniqueness, but you still don't want to miss the chance to see the band for yourself.

- Barbara Mitchell

9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18, Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E. Burnside St., 503-231-9663, $10

Rose City Classic Dog Show

With more than 4,000 four-legged entries, this five-day Portland series is one of the biggest dog events in the country.

Organizers say that the weekend - when the canines compete in agility, speed and obedience - is the best time for spectators. The Animal Planet network films the Variety Groups and Best in Show judging Saturday night.

- Lee Williams

7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday-Monday, Jan. 18-21, Expo Center, 2060 N. Marine Drive, 503-761-8962, $10, $20 families

Rhymes and Rhythms

Portland Chamber Orchestra highlights a lively program with the signature work of controversial 20th-century English author and poet Edith Sitwell.

Her 1922 collaboration with composer William Walton, chanted poetry set to music, will be revived by narrators Mary McDonald-Lewis and Edmund Stone; the puppetry of Tears of Joy Theatre; and the chamber orchestra, led by Music Director Yaacov Bergman.

Also on the program are Leonard Bernstein's 'Serenade,' which features Chicago violinist Tai Murray, and Haydn's Symphony No. 22 in E flat major.

- EB

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, Reed College, Kaul Auditorium, 3203 S.E. Woodstock Blvd., 503-771-3250, $20-$25

Cheap Dates

Let's face it, TV sucks right now. So head to the big screens.

Thankfully, theatrical movie releases, so far, haven't felt the impact of the writers strike, and there are some cheap movie deals throughout city, throughout the week, that are worth considering.

Mondays and Tuesdays, it's only $5 for any of the indie gems at Living Room Theaters (341 S.W. 10th Ave., 971-222-2010).

Every Wednesday, the Mission Theater (1624 N.W. Glisan St., 503-249-7474, ext. 5) offers the midweek necessities, 'Beer, Burger and a Movie,' for $10.50.

Downtown's Broadway Metroplex (1000 S.W. Broadway, 1-800-326-3265, ext. 683) saves you a couple dollars on first-run films, with a $7 admission all the time. Farther north, at St. Johns Cinema and Pub (8704 N. Lombard St., 503-286-1768), first-run blockbusters are only $6 - and $3.75 for showings before 6 p.m.

- LW

'A Few Stout Individuals'

John Guare's 2002 play won raves on Broadway, delivering all manner of imaginative surprises in reimagining an 1885 meeting between author Mark Twain and the crumbling war hero and former President Ulysses S. Grant.

Actors Dave Bodin and Tobias Andersen play the famous Americans in Profile Theatre's second Guare work of the season, which follows a fall production of 'Six Degrees of Separation.'

- EB

8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, 8 p.m. Thursday, through Feb. 17, Theater Theatre, 3430 S.E. Belmont St., 503-242-0080,, $10-$28 ($10-$15 Friday, Jan. 18)

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