Indian-American film director Mira Nair speaks at Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall tonight as part of the Portland Arts & Lectures series. Nair directed Salaam Bombay!, Mississippi Masala, Monsoon Wedding, and The Namesake, and her current projects include Shamtaram, based on the novel by Australian cuckoo-bird Gregory David Roberts and starring Johnny Depp, and Amelia, a biopic of Amelia Earheart starring Hilary Swank. I haven't seen most of Nair's work but I remember being impressed by her skewed take on Thackeray's Vanity Fair, which avoided the staid corsets-'n'-handfans adaptation for a colorful, surreal pageant that felt like something out of Bollywood, all while remaining true to the period. I think she also directed that silly cable movie where Uma Thurman makes some bad decisions, goes crazy, and thinks she is blind. And she did Kama Sutra, which—while sexy—is probably not what you think. Anyway, she's a gifted storyteller, and the furthest thing from a Hollywood hack; while it's stupid to pigeonhole an artist or writer (or in this case a director) based on their gender and ethnicity, there aren't many voices like Nair, and tonight should be pretty compelling.

Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, 7:30 pm, $12-28. More info here.