1. Tommy Kha
Oct 4–28, Blue Sky Gallery
“My work is about the self in self-portrait, the portrait in self-portrait, the hyphen in self-portrait,” says Tommy Kha. In I’m Only Here to Leave, his face appears under a dentist’s chair, on a windowsill, on a male model, and on a bathroom floor, among other places, in an unsettling, affecting series of photographs.
Oct 8, Powell’s City of Books
One of our country’s wisest writers on gender and politics drops a new book, Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger, chronicling female rage over history, from the fight for suffrage to protests over Clarence Thomas’s Supreme Court confirmation to the #MeToo era.
Oct 18, Crystal Ballroom
The seismically virtuosic saxophonist and composer is unlike anyone else in the jazz world, a superstar who’s able to move from divine collaborations with Kendrick Lamar to evocations of John Coltrane to the Coachella stage, all the while drawing raves from even the most hardened critics.
Oct 19–27, Paris Theater
Sure, you could rail against fake news on Twitter. Or, if you’re avant-garde Ukrainian troupe Teatr-Pralnia (Laundry Theater), you could explore the phenomenon via boisterous puppet cabaret. The group unites puppetry, poetry, social media feeds, and live music to comment on our modern-day mess.
Oct 18–Nov 17, Shoebox Theater
The scrappy Theatre Vertigo takes on Erin Courtney’s experimental, Obie Award–winning mystery, which begins with a Hitchcock-worthy bird attack and only gets more terrifying from there.
Oct 2 & 3, Revolution Hall
A magazine onstage with storytellers, film, photography, animation, and a live score? Small wonder Pop-Up Magazine has been a returning favorite here. This time, buckle up for stories from Call Your Girlfriend’s Ann Friedman, Jenée Desmond-Harris of the New York Times, and filmmaker Veena Rao, among others.
Oct 4–6, Newmark Theatre
White Bird last brought Pilobolus to Portland in 2011, and now the 47-year-old company, known for its bendy acrobatics and surreal stagecraft, returns with a new multimedia program called Come to Your Senses.
Oct 6–13, Keller Auditorium
Between The Shape of Water and the merman erotica of The Pisces, aquatic romance is hot these days. Oregon Ballet Theatre taps into the trend with August Bournonville’s 1842 story ballet about a Neapolitan street girl who falls for a fisherman.
Oct 20–Apr 28, Portland Art Museum
See the arc of the century and modern realist representations of a changing America in this wide-ranging exhibit—think Isabel Bishop, Paul Cadmus, Edward Hopper, Jacob Lawrence—on loan from the Smithsonian.
10. Cameron Esposito
Oct 13, Revolution Hall
Fresh from her hourlong special Rape Jokes, in which she talks about growing up Catholic, her first girlfriend, and her own experience of sexual assault, the truth-talking, hella funny LA comic makes a Portland stop.
11. Mercury Rev
Oct 18, Mississippi Studios
It's been 20 years since Deserter’s Songs, an album of soaring orchestral rock that soundtracked a late-’90s moment, as we teetered on the edge of a new century. Now the Buffalo band is back to commemorate “time, and all the long red lines.”
Two Portland writers have debut novels on the bookshelves right now: Rebecca Clarren’s Kickdown pits a family of cattle ranchers against the oil and gas industry in an exploration of the personal cost of ecological destruction. Tammy Lynne Stoner’s Sugar Land is the story of one feisty Texas woman and her journey through the 20th century via prison and social ostracization to some kind of freedom.