Bruce Campbell is God. Well, a kind of god, anyway. To the average person, he is probably most recognizable from his Old Spice ads (or maybe his current role on USA’s Burn Notice, but to quote Aziz Ansari, “Who the hell watches Burn Notice?”). For cult movie fans—like, say, the folks at horror-themed Southeast Portland bar the Lovecraft, which is throwing a party this week in honor of his 53rd birthday—he is Humphrey Bogart…although Bogie never fought a mummy while dressed as Elvis. With an unparalleled zeal for delivering one-liners and a chin that looks like it could absorb a blow from a sledgehammer, Campbell, who lives near Medford, has built one of the most gloriously odd oeuvres in cinema, leaving a pile of demons, monsters, clones of himself and at least one gypsy in his wake. Here now, the top five things Bruce Campbell has fought in his long, weird career. Hail to the king, baby.
His Own Hand (Evil Dead II, 1987)
Arguably, the exact moment in which Bruce Campbell became Bruce effin’ Campbell is the scene from the second Evil Dead flick in which his defining character, Ash Williams, does battle with his own possessed hand. Like a bloodstained Buster Keaton, Campbell throws himself around a kitchen before finally lopping the tittering little bastard off with a chainsaw and blasting it with a shotgun.
Little Bruce Campbells (Army of Darkness, 1992)
What’s better than one Bruce Campbell? How about an entire Lilliputian gang of Bruce Campbells! In the final installment of the Evil Dead series, Ash shatters a mirror, birthing about a half-dozen tiny, murderous versions of himself, who proceed to torment him with a fork.
Bubba Ho-tep (Bubba Ho-tep, 2002)
Bruce Campbell plays a man who thinks he’s Elvis Presley, teaming up with a black man claiming to be John F. Kennedy to take on an Egyptian mummy adorned in Western wear.
Tatoya the Gypsy (The Man With the Screaming Brain, 2005)
Most of the times Campbell commits onscreen violence against women, they’ve already been transformed into demons. In his directorial debut, however, Campbell’s female antagonist is just a regular ol’ Bulgarian gypsy.
Guan-Di (My Name Is Bruce, 2007)
For this self-directed low-budget horror-comedy, Campbell finally played himself. Not surprisingly, even the “real” Bruce Campbell fights interdimensional monsters—in this case, the vengeful Chinese patron saint of bean curd. Campbell saves the day as usual, but on the whole, the movie is actually pretty terrible. Oh, well. Can’t win ’em all, even if you’re Bruce Campbell.
GO: Bruce Campbell’s birthday at the Lovecraft, 421 SE Grand Ave., 270-7760. Wednesday, June 22. Festivities include a character costume contest, raffle and films. 8 pm. 21+.
THURSDAY, JUNE 23
[COMEDY] TIM MINCHIN
Australian Tim Minchin mates razor-sharp social commentary with catchy, piano-heavy rock anthems. Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie Ave., 234-9694. 8 pm. $25.
[MOVIES AND MUSIC] FILMUSIK, BLUE CRANES
Blue Cranes, the city’s hottest original jazz ensemble, supplies the live soundtrack for the latest installment in Filmusik’s pairing of live voice actors and Foley artists with kitschy old movies. The culprit this time: the 1978 sci-fi film Planet of Dinosaurs. Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd., 281-4215. 8 pm Thursday-Friday, June 23-24. $8-$10.
FRIDAY, JUNE 24
“Buck Brannaman” sounds like a porn star or a superhero’s secret identity, but it’s actually the name of a real-life horse whisperer, and the subject of this surprisingly charming documentary. Cinema 21, 616 NW 21st Ave., 223-4515. Multiple showtimes. $6-$8.
SATURDAY, JUNE 25
[PARADE] SECOND ANNUAL PORTLAND HAT PARADE
Everybody loves a parade, and we’re tickled by the silliness of this one: Don your favorite hat and parade from Lulu’s Vintage to Via Delizia, via a photo shoot and millinery tour. Departs from Lulu’s Vintage, 916 W Burnside St., 360-1142. 1 pm. Free.
[MUSIC] ASTER AWEKE
Known as “Ethiopia’s Aretha Franklin,” Aster Aweke is back with a new album featuring her soaring vocals and danceable grooves, and a deserved reputation as one of the queens of the world-music scene. Bossanova Ballroom, 722 E Burnside St., 971-222-4324. 10 pm. $40.
MONDAY, JUNE 27
[MUSIC] BLONDE REDHEAD
Formed beneath the stylistic shadow of Sonic Youth in the early ’90s, this trio has managed to maintain an allegiance to those early experiments in mellow noise, without losing its cool. Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside St., 231-9663. 9 pm. $20 advance, $22 day of show. 21+.
TUESDAY, JUNE 28
[MUSIC] MY MORNING JACKET
With the release of its sixth album, Circuital, My Morning Jacket has perhaps become one of the greatest live acts currently making the rounds, boasting an uncanny ability to shift from mellow, dreamlike melodies to hard-as-nails rockouts. McMenamins Edgefield, 2126 SW Halsey St., Troutdale, 669-8610. 6:30 pm. $40 advance, $43 day of show. All ages.