MADCAP THEATER | The actor and writer Brent Askari has spent the last several years carving out a status as one of the best character actors in Portland — truly, if only there were awards for such a thing. One wonders, however, that the distinction might overshadow his considerable talents as a playwright. His original comedy Digby’s Home drew strong praise in its production last year, and his award-winning madcap play Cocktails and Travails is featured this weekend at the Theatre Project in Brunswick. Thursday at 7:30 pm; Friday and Saturday at 8 pm; and Sunday at 2. | $20 (or pay-what-you-want)| Theatre Project, 14 School St., Brunswick | theatreproject.com
DRUG TEST | In modern American societies, stress and pain are consistently taboo subjects. Everyone surely has a complex personal experience of them, yet discussions are hard to embark upon. Maybe this is how you should approach this evening’s talk by Ayelet Waldman, the Israeli-American author whose books take unique, accessible approaches to the subjects of mood disorder, harm reduction, and alternative therapy. Her new one, titled A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life, describes her experiences using microdoses of LSD to combat psychic pain, drawing upon literary and cultural histories of the drug from Lewis Carroll to the utopian 60s. Wild fact: Waldman is married to the novelist Michael Chabon. Don’t expect a dry science lecture. 7 pm | Print: A Bookstore, 273 Congress St., Portland | printbookstore.com
FAKE YOUR OWN NEWS | According to a New York Times story published last weekend, President Trump spends most of his time sitting around in a bathrobe watching cable news reports about the ineptitudes of his administration, cloistered and muttering. Don’t be that guy! Protests against the regime are sustained and social phenomenon, in Portland and everywhere. Tonight, the University of Southern Maine’s Women and Gender Studies offer a follow-up for those who attended the Women’s March. Titled “We Won’t Go Back,” it collects reports from that day among other protests since Inauguration Day. 7 pm | University of Southern Maine, Wishcamper Center Room 102, Bedford St., Portland
DANCE CLOSE | It’s occasionally worth not forgetting that beneath the contortions and disfigurations of Valentine’s Day in late capitalism, there’s an underlying idea worth affirming. Winter’s harsh glare can turn even the supplest love to bone, and mid-February’s a fine checkpoint for couples to melt it down again. Do whatever Tuesday you want; but for our money, tonight’s show by El Malo in the dark and stormy jazz club Blue gets at the intimacy of physicality and play more than a nifty New American dinner. 10 p.m. | one-drink-minimum | Blue, 650A Congress St., Portland | portcityblue.com
SHORT BURSTS | The New England winters are often best used to catch up on the cultural events and phenomena from the past year that we might have missed. Though we’re certain you’ve not fully digested the Top 50 album lists from Tiny Mix Tapes and Stereogum or whatever you’re into, we imagine you’ve fooled around with the feature-length Oscar-noms by now. Moonlight, La La Land, etc. Well, here are the shorts, a tidy assembly of both live-action and animated films from around the country. Both Oscar-Nominated Live Action and Animated Shorts are collected as separate, full-length visual stews. Plan, and you’ll have plenty of chances to see both, as they screen at Portland’s SPACE Gallery and Brunswick’s Frontier all week. 8 p.m. | $8 | SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland | space538.org | Frontier Café, 14 Maine St., Portland | explorefrontier.com
DOWNWARD GROG | We’ve heard tales of yoga sessions in expansive warehouse breweries, but not yet so in restaurant tasting rooms. Until now. The still-new Foulmouthed Brewery in South Portland is a straight-up rad spot, with chill vibes, solid design, and interesting lighting. They offer their spot for a yoga session tonight and every Friday, where afterward you can mingle and drink beer along with your electrolytes. 5:30 p.m. | $15 | Foulmouthed Brewery, 15 Ocean Street, South Portland | foulmouthedbrewing.com
EVERYTHING IS POLITICAL, BRO | After four students of color were the victims of a hate crime in Portland two weeks ago, threatened on the side of the road by a man using racial slurs and brandishing a screwdriver, Casco Bay High School Superintendent Xavier Botana wrote a powerful open letter in their defense. He’s now being attacked by the Maine Republican Party, whose head, Jason Savage, claims Botana has “politicized” the event on the taxpayer’s dime. Tonight at City Hall, a group “Stands in Solidarity with Our Superintendent” — if nothing else, it’s a lesson on the shifting definitions of “political” and “free speech.” 4:30 pm | City Hall, 389 Congress St., Portland
SING OUT | “Are you opera curious?” ask a group of Portlanders who newly stumbled upon the lovely idea of pairing beer with opera singing. The baritone Robert Mellon performs a series of arias at the Bissell Brothers tasting room. Free; donations support PORTopera. 5:30 pm | Bissell Brothers, 4 Thompson’s Point, Portland | bissellbrothers.com
MAKE YOURSELF LAUGH | A modern, lightly political comedy, Molly Smith Metzler’s play The May Queen follows a high school darling through her mysterious and adventurous adulthood, fending off questions and concerns from authoritative figures — often male — throughout. Directed by Brian Allen and starring Rob Cameron, Thomas Campbell, Laura Houck, Abbie Killeen, and Hannah Elizabeth Perry. A Maine premiere running through February 26, see it today at 3 or 7:30 pm | $22-30 | St. Lawrence Arts Center, 76 Congress St., Portland | goodtheater.com
INVITE YOURSELF | Once considered pure novelty, the Portland dance troupe Vivid Motion have hung around long enough to achieve institutional status. If you’re among the many who have seen their Nutcracker Burlesque and thought, damn, that looks fun, spend some hours this morning wrestling with the possibility of auditioning for their next production, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. They’re body-positive, so don’t try to pull any weird self-flagellation excuses. 10 a.m. | Dana Warp Mill, 90 Bridge St., Westbrook | vividmotion.org
LAWS OF THE BODY | How do you feel about a world where rallies and protests make up a sizable chunk of the city’s social events? Because that’s the one we’re in. A massive rally in support of Planned Parenthood, whose fight is about to get quite real, goes down today at noon. Organizers for this have taken steps to present this as an intersectional feminist event, with positions of solidarity for those fighting for racial and LGBTQ civil rights along with women’s reproductive rights. Noon | City Hall, 389 Congress St., Portland
KEEP UP WITH ART | Portland is running out of its outskirts galleries, the ones that show great contemporary art on the peripheries of the city, and of the fashion. The political reasons for that we won’t go into, but it’s more vital than ever that contemporary artists get support. If the last month has been too much a mess of distractions for you to check in, make an effort tonight to observe the “7 Maine Abstract Painters,” a collection of artists curated by the MECA professor and fantastic painter Michel Droge through the art school’s continuing studies program. With works by Emily Blaschke, Jenny Campbell, Alicia Ines Etheridge, Celeste June Henriquez, Doreen Nardone, Brenda Overstrom, and Donald M. Peterson, it closes tonight with a reception and discussion with the artists. 5-8 pm | Zero Station, 222 Anderson St., Portland
DANCE YR VALUES | Speak About It, a vital organization teaching consent, health, and inclusive sex-education for young people, help cut the tensions of the week with a massive ’90s dance party at Oxbow tonight, with proceeds directly supporting Planned Parenthood. 8 pm | Oxbow Blending and Bottling, 49 Washington Ave., Portland | speakaboutitonline.com
GOD IS AN IDIOT | Movie day, my dudes. Portland Museum of Art’s fine film series screens The Brand New Testament, a tongue-in-cheek feminist comedy that takes as its premise the existence of God: a scruffy white guy who lives in a high-rise apartment in Brussels, never taking off his pajamas. Fed up with the torment of living with his bored and insipid cruelty, his daughter Ea hacks onto his computer and releases sensitive information to his vast and unsuspecting subjects. Screening Friday at 2 and 6:30 pm; and Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm. | $8 | Portland Museum of Art, 7 Congress Sq., Portland | portlandmuseum.org
LOVE IS COMPLICATED | You know what? A spirited production of Romeo and Juliet is fitting for the season, and might just be the thing to stuff your heart with love. Obvious reasons! This one’s got the work of solid theater people all over it, including the smart directorial eye of Stacey Koloski. The quintessential impossible love story is in its final weekend at the proscenium stage of Portland Players in South Portland. Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday at 2. | $20 | Portland Players, 420 Cottage Rd., South Portland | portlandplayers.org
POP LIFE | The dance-pop band Strfkr — say it with me now — play Port City Music Hall tonight, on tour from Portland, Oregon on the strength of their new album, Being No One, Going Nowhere, released last fall on Polyvinyl Records, which once brought the groups American Football and Braid into your life. Be apprised that bandleader Joshua Hodges, back in 2007, named his project what he did as a joke, and it stuck. Perhaps the whole world is a joke that stuck. They play at 9 p.m. | $17 | Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland | portcitymusichall.com
GET EPISTOLARY | The nascent group Get Ready Weekly hosts a Valentine’s Day letter-writing party, that also doubles as a write-your-Senator party, at Oxbow (49 Washington Ave.) tonight. Meanwhile, the local content production firm Knack Factory stands up for the ACLU, hosting a “Libations for Liberty” cocktail party and donating its proceeds to the vital civic institution. 7-10 pm | 24 Free St., Portland | knackfactory.com
YOUR WORLD | If you keep up with modern music, you may already be familiar with the degree to which the London artist Sinkane, the performing alias of Ahmed Gallab, has owned Portland crowds before. With his band’s infectious blend of jazz, afro-pop, krautrock, funk, and Sudanese pop, Sinkane is on tour in support of the new album Life & Livin’ It — inspired, he says, by Funkadelic’s America Eats Its Young. All in all, it’s a pretty surefire bet for a transcendent show — particularly when paired with the captivating Providence-based songwriter Mal Devisa and local DJ Mosart212. Go. | $12 adv, $15 day of | SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress St. | space538.org
FOCUS | Next week’s highlights include an inclusive variety show at SPACE Gallery, the Boston-based songwriter Will Dailey at the Music Hall in Portsmouth, and the funk group Shut Down Brown return to Portland to play P.H.O.M.E. Stay healthy.
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