Portland is home to some terrific dance companies, several of which have events coming up.
Portland's answer to Seattle's Pacific Northwest Ballet, directed by Christopher Stowell (son of former PNB directors Kent Stowell and Francia Russell), has a lively looking program running through April 28. Titled "Chromatic Quartet," it features a world premiere by Matjash Mrozewski, along with works by Balanchine, Wheeldon and Caniparoli. (Newmark Theatre, 1111 S.W. Broadway, 888-922-5538 or http://www.obt.org)
—White Bird Dance:
The city's primary presenter of touring shows brings American troupe Lar Lubovitch Dance Company (www.lubovitch.org) to town on May 2 and French/Brazilian troupe Compagnie Käfig (www.kafig.com) on May 9. (Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 S.W. Broadway. 503-245-1600 or http://www.whitebird.org.
This antic, playful modern-dance company has produced lively pieces both on stage and in film — so it makes perfect sense that its next production, "The Cutting Room" (May 3-19), will "mash up" scenes from classic movies with live movement and an original score. (1201 N.W. 17th Ave., 503-229-0627 or http://www.bodyvox.com)
Portland, like Seattle, is a bustling theater town. Two picks:
—Portland Center Stage is midway through a run of "Anna Karenina" (through May 6), distilled from Tolstoy's 800-plus pages into a three-hour stage show by Kevin McKeon of Seattle's Book-It Repertory Theatre. Next up are two musicals with African-American roots: "Black Pearl Sings!" (April 24-June 17) and "It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues" (May 22-June 24). (128 N.W. 11th Ave., 503-445-3700 or http://www.pcs.org)
—Artists Repertory Theater just closed the Northwest premiere of David Mamet's controversial "Race" and isn't taking it any easier by bringing the Tony- and Pulitzer-winning musical about bipolar illness, "Next to Normal," to the stage (April 24-June 3). (1515 S.W. Morrison St., 503-241-1278 or http://www.artistsrep.org)
It couldn't be simpler: Go to Powell's City of Books and stay for a day — or a lifetime — at this Shangri-La of bookstores, which comes with a color-coded map to help you navigate its vast multistory premises. Huge selection, helpful clerks, nightly readings, a busy cafe … it has everything. (1005 W. Burnside St., 503-228-4651 or http://www.powells.com)
Films with a difference
Portland has a thriving film scene with an accent on independent taste. Downtown venues offering venturesome fare include the Northwest Film Center (1219 S.W. Park Ave., 503-221-1156 or http://www.nwfilm.org) and the Living Room Theaters (341 S.W. 10th Ave., 971-222-2010 or http://www.livingroomtheaters.com), a multiplex across the street from Powell's that serves food and drink with your movie.