One Week Only

* I Haven't Always Been A Bear
The $20 price tag on this event seems steep, but it includes the modern zoo's CD release party, food, literary readings, and this performance art piece by Allison Farrow, which she did in collaboration with video artist Sujin Lee. Good or bad, it will be FIVE HOURS long, which is at least something. Modern Zoo, 6635 N. Baltimore, Sat 6 pm - 11 pm, $20 suggested donation

Squeeze Box
Ann Randolph, a talented performer out of Los Angeles, will perform this one-woman show about characters living on the edge of society as a benefit for the Hells Canyon Preservation Council, which works to protect various ecosystems. Ann Randolph at Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison, (541) 963-3950, Mon 8 pm, $15 presale, $20 at the door

Improv Show
After a rousing first run of shows in June, this group of PSU students rides the improv train for another round. Kick the Squirrel, at the Back Door Theater, 4321 SE Hawthorne, Fri-Sat 8 pm, $8

Closing This Week

* Prague-Nosis
Turn off the stress glands and get ready to have some fun at Theatre Vertigo's extremely lighthearted, silly summer concoction. Written by Jeff Goode, author of the ridiculously fun Poona the Fuckdog, Prague-Nosis is a comedic murder mystery, loaded with wacky characters with names like Dick Piston, Pleasure Hello, and Havel Presley. Theatre Vertigo at the Russell Street Theater, 2512 SE Gladstone, 306-0870, Thurs-Sat 9 pm, through Aug 16, $12

STOMP
As played out and overproduced as it is, STOMP is also kind of fun. People whack each other with sticks, flick lighters, and push brooms, all to an amazingly catchy beat. It's not going to change your life, but it's pretty titillating. Broadway in Portland, at Keller Auditorium, SW Third and Clay, 224-4400, Thurs-Fri 7:30 pm, Sat 5 pm & 9 pm, Sun 3 pm & 7 pm, $10-$48

The Child is Father of the Man
The world premiere run of the talented Connor Kerns' new play, about a poetry teacher who looks to the ghost of his father and the writings of Yeats for some answers to his problems. Quintessence, at the Mago Hunt Theatre, University of Portland, 5000 N Willamette, 943-7287, Fri-Sat 8 pm, $12

Current Runs

A Midsummer Night's Dream
Portland Actors Ensemble's 34th annual Shakespeare in the Park production is probably Shakespeare's most park-friendly play. See www.portlandactors.org for info on future locations, as the park changes weekly. Shakespeare in the Park, at Laurelhurst Park, 321-0710, Sat-Sun 3 pm, through Sept 1, free

Chicken Soup For the Hole
Don't confuse this evening of wacky entertainment for Chicken Soup for the SOUL. It's a show by The Exotic Actors' Guild, whose dirty sketch comedy, bizarre love triangles, hippie music, and funk dancing are really quite a different thing entirely. Stark Raving, at the Coho Theatre, 2257 NW Raleigh, 232-7072, Fri-Sat 10:30 pm, through Aug 23, $12

* ElectroPuss
Watching ElectroPuss is like watching adult-themed Saturday morning cartoons. A show for those with short attention spans, it pulls you through a frantic, funny program of super-heroes and villains. It resides in a shadowy fantasy world reminiscent of Gotham City, in which everything is run by Electric Land, a power-company that takes the Power part very seriously. Electric Land employs the whole town, funds the schools, and keeps its workers subdued with spirit cheers and "donut Tuesdays." "We're family" is the company motto used to brainwash the employees, but it's the most dysfunctional version of a nuclear family imaginable. Despite the pulp motif, ElectroPuss tries to pack in some heavy themes. Corporate robbery, domestic abuse, disintegration of the family, environmental ruin for profit...it's all incorporated. And like the campy noir soundtrack running through the background, you don't need to take any special note--the ideas are obvious. What's far more enjoyable is watching Electric Land's progressive meltdown, character by character. In a somewhat uneven plot progression the show morphs into a musical--ala Little Shop of Horrors--as the results of a company audit are aired. When the plug on this show is finally pulled the results are pretty hilarious. AS Stark Raving, at the Coho Theatre, 2257 NW Raleigh, 232-7072, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, through Aug 23, $8-$17

Henry IV, Part One
A free outdoor production of one of Shakespeare's most entertaining history plays; a hodgepodge of war, family, and Falstaff drinking his bloody brains out. NW Classical Theater Company at the Terry Schrunk Federal Park, Terry Schrunk Federal Plaza, between SW 3rd & 4th, Jefferson & Madison, 274-4771, Sat 3:30 pm, through Aug 30, free

Oregon Ghosts
The lack of freshness in all three of these little vignettes (and I do mean "little"; at a whopping 23 bucks per ticket, this show has a running time of... one freaking hour) is a bit shocking. Local playwright Donald Olson has no interest in being creepy, but also zero comic ability. His play doesn't provide ghost stories at all, but characters calling themselves ghosts, telling stories that sound as if they've been lifted from Oregon travel brochures. The spirited performances from Ghost's cast don't even begin to excuse the appalling script, though newcomer Jonas Lerman's catchy musical interludes do liven things up for the duration of his short, precious stage time. JWS Lakewood Theatre Company, at Fir Acres Theatre, Lewis & Clark College, 0615 SW Palatine Hill Rd., 635-3901, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, through Aug 24, $21-$23

Summer in Brodavia
Old Brody veterans mix with new faces garnered from the Brody's improv classes to produce two acts of long form improv. Brody Theater, 1904 NW 27th Ave, 224-0688, Sat 9 pm, through Sept 6, $10

Dance/Other

* Iwashita Toru & Students
The PSU Center for Japanese Studies presents Toru, a master of the Japanese dance form Butoh, which involves a lot of full-body makeup jobs. The dancing itself is all over the map, sometimes frenzied, sometimes quite the opposite. But Butoh has one of those training regimens that join the mind with the body and are all the rage these days, so people are getting into it despite its apparent chaotic tendencies. Tonight's the culmination of a workshop Toru's been leading all week, with the students demonstrating what they've learned. Imago Theater, 17 SE 8th Ave, 231-9581, Fri 7 pm, FREE