Opening This Week

No Place for Sissies
This new collaborative show has an all-star cast including Ingrid Carlson, Trish Egan, and Kam Sisco. It also has the worst marketing team in Portland. Its flyer's tag line is, "A New Play about Aging and Caregiving." GACK! Bump in the Road Theatre, at Concordia University, NE 27th at Highland, 750-1439, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through Feb 7, $10-12

One Week Only

The Sterno Kings
PAC brings back the popular blues band for their annual fundraiser. Music, food, and fun, you just can't beat it. Portland Actors Conservatory, 1436 SW Montgomery St, 274-1717, Sat 6:30 pm, $5

Current Runs

* Hi!
The incredible cross-dressing superfreak diva Amber Martin re-mounts her stellar one-woman show to raise money for an upcoming tour. When last Hi! showed M. William Helfrich wrote, "For over an hour, Martin has complete control of the stage, singing and dancing through strange originals and classic covers such as a hummed version of Zeppelin's 'Communication Breakdown.' The prerecorded music for the songs is awesome, and so is the rest of the sound design. The timing of the sound is right on, and works so well with what Martin is doing onstage, you'd think she were controlling it. Martin has such great presence, I'd enjoy watching her throw clay, or give a dog worm medicine." Conduit Studio, 918 SW Yamhill, 4th Floor, 224-8499, Fri-Sat 8 pm, through Jan 31, $10-13

Talking Heads
Three stories told by three women, written by one of Britain's most famous playwrights, Alan Bennett. Triangle Productions, at Theater! Theatre!, 3430 SE Belmont, 239-5919, Thurs 7:30 pm, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through Feb 1, $19-23

* The Bad Seed
Most people know The Bad Seed from the 1956 cult film starring the pigtailed Patty McCormack as a homicidal schoolgirl. On film, the adaptation of William March's novel comes across kitschy, like a long episode of The Twilight Zone. J. Paccassi's new stage adaptation deprives the audience the distant luxury of a movie screen, forcing the viewer to share the same room with a 10-year-old psychopath. Paccassi's direction dampens the shock value of the murderer child genre into a beautifully woozy chamber drama, with long bits of silence where horror takes the stage. Ina Strauss is incredible as the dreamboat housewife faced with an unspeakable terror in her own home. Strauss glows with style while her life is in balance, but her grace withers into Jackie Kennedy black and finally into the tragic chic of Shakespeare or Ibsen. TP e3 Productions at the Electric Company, 2512 SE Gladstone, Suite 200, 232-5955, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, through Feb 7, $12-15

The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?
The first Portland production of the latest masterpiece by Edward Albee, who can't seem to stop writing amazing plays, even though he's like 102 years old. Artists Repertory Theatre, 1516 SW Alder St, 241-1278, Tues-Thurs, Sun 7 pm, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through Feb 22, $15-32


* Belly Dance Superstar w/ Flying Bokhara Orkestrah
Who knew there was a whole tour for Belly Dance Superstars? Well, there is, okay? And one of their reps graces Portland with workshops today at 1:30 pm, and a performance with the Flying Bokhara Orkestra tonight. The star in question goes by the name Ansuya and is, in addition to being immensely talented, fricking HOT! Portland Metro Performing Arts, 9933 SE Pine, 234-7035, Sat 8 pm

* Stephen Petronio Company
At the very least, you can enjoy the music at this show. The two new works from Petronio and his nine-dancer ensemble are set to a commissioned score from Laurie Anderson, as well as selections from Lou Reed. Plus, a new solo performed by Petronio himself, Broken Man. White Bird, at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, SW Broadway & Main, 224-4400, Wed 7:30 pm, $18-39


Work For Brains
Comedian Rachel Parenta continues indulging her obsession with temp work, having co-written this sketch-comedy show (with Mark Bridges) about bartenders, dead-end office jobs, and... zombies!? All right! Portland Underground Showbiz Society, at the Back Door Theatre, 4321 SE Hawthorne, 274-7921, Fri-Sat 10:30 pm, through Feb 21, $10

Portland's resident drag king troupe returns to jump around, lip synch, and incite general dirty dancing-related chaos. Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison, 7 pm, $5

* The Famous Mysterious Actor Show
If you haven't seen the Famous Mysterious Actor Players yet, it's time you did. Their faux Letterman-style talk show features spontaneous brawls, random humiliations and degradations, and special guests galore. Tonight they'll be joined by Tres and Kenneth from the ever-awesome Voodoo Doughnut, and... AND the Mercury's very own Wm. Steven Humphrey!! Ash St. , 225 SW Ash St, 226-0430, Thurs 9 pm, $6

A Pair of Queens
The once majestic Three Queens have been reduced to just two by the departure of the stellar Joslin Larson. Deanna Moffit and Brad Fortier shalt push on, fighting to pick up the pieces of their shattered regime. ComedySportz Arena, 1963 NW Kearney Street, 236-8888, Fri 10 pm, $5

* Portland Comedy Competition, Semifinals
It's week three of Portland's only, and thus most prestigious standup comedy competition. The audiences have cast their votes and the original lineup of 20 comedians has been narrowed down to 10. This week, the comedians square off five more times at different venues to earn your votes and see who will play in the finals for lots of money. Tonight, it's Conan's, but check for info on the other four dates and venues, which include Billy Reed's. Conan's, 3862 SE Hawthorne, 234-7474, Thurs 9 pm, free