THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 19

After the triumph of their recent Verbs album, Au have spent the winter recording new material in Vermont. Tonight marks their long-awaited return, and they're joined by the kaleidoscope pop of Nurses and the wildly creative White Hinterland, whose last EP was sung entirely in French. NL

Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison, 8:30 pm, $6

In his newest novel, The Women, T.C. Boyle enriches your head with opulent words that will have you burrowing deeper into the complex world of Frank Lloyd Wright. Succor, paladin, seigneur, spondulics, vituperative, lacustrine, tourbillion, farrago, marmoreal... I'd pay so much more than 50 cents a word for all those beauties, but there's no need 'cause tonight it's free. CF

Powell's City of Books, 1005 W Burnside, 7:30 pm, FREE

Two of tonight's reasonably priced highlights of the Portland Jazz Festival include the Portland Jazz Orchestra playing Blue Note favorites, and the Moroccan kingdom's Master Musicians of Jajouka. MD

Portland Jazz Orchestra at the Old Church, 1422 SW 11th, 7:30 pm, $20, all ages; Master Musicians of Jajouka, Everyone Orchestra, Skerik Trio at Roseland, 8 NW 6th, 9 pm, $20-30

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 20

When they're not pulling off head-turning musical stunts, musical mastermind Panther (AKA Charlie Salas-Humara and Joe Kelly) makes danceable funk-punk capable of turning the most mild mannered of affairs into a raucous all-nighter. MV

w/Ghost to Falco, Ohioan; Backspace, 115 NW 5th, 9 pm, $5, all ages

The Cody Rivers Show is one of the funniest sketch comedy troupes you'll ever see. If you miss this show, you don't deserve laughter in your life. What else can I say? Oh—Curious Comedy is a new venue and you can drink beer there. Win, win, and win. AH

Curious Comedy, 5225 NE MLK, Fri-Sat 9:30 pm, $12

Since 1995, the Portland Oregon Hiphop (or POH-Hop) Festival has been burning down the house with the finest in local hiphop. Check out the second night of the POH-Hop-sponsored Black History Music Fest with the godfather of Portland rap, Cool Nutz, alongside Mikey Vegaz, T. Soprano, Diezel P, Luck-One, Todd G, and more! WSH

Ash St. Saloon, 225 SW Ash, 9 pm, $10

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 21

Yes, it's once again time for the Unique Animal Expo and Pet Fair! True, the event claims to merely feature "live birds, reptiles, and mammals"—but with a name like that, I'm pretty sure they'll also have centaurs, unicorns, pixies, minotaurs, mermaids, giraffes, basilisks, Fraggles, and probably a yeti! EH

Washington County Fair Complex, 873 NE 34th, Hillsboro, Sat-Sun 10 am-5 pm, $4-8

If you were to tell me a fellow who whistles while plucking the violin would achieve massive popularity, I'd think you were a birdbrain. But after listening to the sumptuously melodic, oddly wonderful songs of Andrew Bird, it all makes perfect sense. NL

w/Loney Dear; Roseland, 8 NW 6th, 9 pm, $22.50, all ages

Get all your culture in one convenient dose tonight, as local arts heavyweights Disjecta and Tin House team up with readings from Matthew Dickman and Arthur Bradford, and music by the Old Believers. AH

Disjecta, 8371 N Interstate, 7 pm, $6, all ages

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 22

Everyone knows the Oscars are just a bullshit marketing tactic, but it's fun to watch 'em anyway. This year, you can head over to the Hollywood Theatre for an expensive red carpet soiree that benefits Film Action Oregon, or you can play it cheap at the Bagdad or the Mission, or you can play it even cheaper by watching at home—and follow along on blogtown.portlandmercury.com, where yours truly will be live blogging the whole goddamn thing. EH

Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy, 4 pm, $50; Bagdad Theater, 3702 SE Hawthorne, and Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan, 5 pm, FREE; your couch, FREE

All hail the pioneers of late '70s art/punk/hiphop/disco: Blondie! After breaking up in 1982, Debbie Harry and the gang reunited in the late '90s and are currently on tour celebrating the anniversary of their amazing album Parallel Lines. One way or another, she's gonna get'cha! She'll get'cha! She'll get'cha, get'cha, get'cha, get'cha! WSH

w/Dahlia; Roseland, 8 NW 6th, 8 pm, $32.50-$50

A.C. Newman, best known as the leader of the New Pornographers, is coming to town to play from his latest album, Get Guilty. His new songs offer a familiar up-tempo force interspersed with some gentler piano and violin. You also won't want to miss the infectious ukulele lullabies of Dent May. KP

Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside, 9 pm, $12-14

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 23

If you've never seen the fantastical, Technicolor spectacle that is Xanadu, you've been missing out for 29 years. In this musical love story, Olivia Newton-John stars as a muse who comes to earth to inspire an artist who is stuck in a job where he paints larger versions of album covers. With music from Electric Light Orchestra and some impressive roller-skate disco dancing, you are sure to walk away inspired. KP

Pix Patisserie, 3901 N Williams, 8:30 pm, FREE

Her debut short-story collection, The Vagrants, raked in the awards; now author Yiyun Li is back with a novel about the aftermath of a young woman's execution in a small Chinese village after the Cultural Revolution. AH

Powell's City of Books, 1005 W Burnside, 7:30 pm, FREE

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 24

It's Fat Tuesday! The International House of Pancakes is doing its best to make sure that you comply, offering free effing pancakes to all. They just hope you'll donate what you would have paid to the local children's hospital. But that's between you, God, your stomach, and little Johnny... who has leukemia. PAC

IHOP, 4931 SE 82nd (and other participating IHOPs), 7 am-10 pm, FREE

The Fourth Annual Minigolf Art Invitational is a yearly reminder of why Holocene deserves your love. The actual, playable minigolf course winds through the club, each hole designed and constructed by local artists. Tonight's unveiling also features a live performance by Tender Forever. MS

Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison, Tues & Wed 6 pm, $8

When it comes to shedding those unwanted winter pounds, there's exercise (snore) and then there's Ra Ra Riot, a band every bit as ass-kickingly fun to dance to as the mountains of industry buzz surrounding them suggests. Tonight they bring their electrifying blend of chamber pop to the Doug Fir for a show that's guaranteed to leave you sweaty. MV

w/Cut off Your Hands, Telekinesis; Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside, 9 pm, $11-12

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 25

This is a double bill bound to paste a smile on that wintry mug of yours; the Morning Benders play shuffling, sloping rock while the Submarines' perfect pop songs are so magnanimously sunny they make Mates of State sound like the Bickersons. NL

w/the Mumlers; Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside, 9 pm, $10

There are a million places that would be better without any damn kids: water parks, zoos, Sam Adams' office... OMSI's got the idea, and their After Dark event will give you the chance to play with robots, chemicals, and water rockets without tiny, grimy hands pulling them away from you! Beer and wine will be available, and Cupcake Jones and Dave's Killer Bread are offering samples. You can also catch the Pink Floyd laser show at 8:30 pm. KP

OMSI, 1945 SE Water, 6-10 pm, $10 ($7.50 for laser show), 21+

Is metalbilly band Dead Man's Hand a reference to Jesus? Their unre-Lent-ing music plus a secret horror flick in honor of Ash Wednesday tonight benefits the Portland Hallowe'en Bazaar. SM

East End, 203 SE Grand, 9 pm, $5