Sept 3–8; Various venues
MFNW continues to soundtrack Portland with a formidable lineup of nationally acclaimed headliners (Young the Giant on Thursday, Animal Collective on Friday, the Head and the Heart on Saturday, and Neko Case on Sunday), local blood (Chromatics, the Thermals, and Typhoon), and the second year of its TechFest NW. Having trouble deciding who to see? Check out our list of 10 under-the-radar acts that deserve your attention.
Typhoon Record Release Show
Sept 5–6; Old Church
This local orchestral/indie rock collective celebrates the release of their expansive new record, White Lighter, with two shows at the Old Church as part of MusicFest NW. These mark the only two hometown performances before the band embarks on a whirlwind national tour in support of the album, which was released August 20th to rave reviews from pretty much everyone.
The Big Meal
Sept 3–Oct 6; Artists Repertory Theatre
Eight actors play 26 characters and five generations, all intersecting through the tables and kitchen of a quintessential American restaurant. “This is what we do—new work,” said artistic director Damaso Rodriguez of what will be the West Coast premiere of this off-Broadway hit.
Aug 31–Oct 27; Portland Center Stage
This surrealist fantasy about the last night of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life premiered in 2009 at London’s Theatre503 before going on to win an Olivier Award for Best New Play and then be a Broadway smash starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett. “It’s not the ‘I have a dream’ Martin Luther King," says Rodney Hicks, the actor who plays ther civil rights leader. "It’s a fictionalized version of who he is behind closed doors. It’s a radical King.”
Sept 3–8; Portland Opera
John O’Hurley, better known as J. Peterman, Elaine’s boss on Seinfeld, plays the plum role of lawyer Billy Flynn in this touring production of Bob Fosse’s Broadway smash. Read our Q&A with O'Hurley here.
Books and Talks
Sept 7; Alberta Rose Theater
New permanent host Luke Burbank steps into the ringmaster's chair as this hip hootenanny variety show steps into its 10th anniversary (can you believe it?!). Guests include writer/director Lynn Shelton, composer/musician/decorated writer James McBride, Found magazine founder and This American Life correspondent Davy Rothbart, essayist Stacey Bolt, SF's alternative folk rockers Thao and The Get Down Stay Down, and local makers of "funeral pop" Wild Ones.
Sept 5; Various galleries
Read our round-up of the best bets for this month's First Thursday here (will be available Thursday).
Pendleton Round Up
Sept 7–14; Pendleton
Saddle up for the centennial-plus-four edition of the Pendleton Round-Up, where hardened hands make even the blandest of barnyard deeds, like milking a cow, look exciting. Exhilarating events like bareback riding and steer wrestling join more subdued nods to frontier life, such as Native American pageants, parades, and plenty of good ol’ country music.
The Color Run
Sept 7; Portland International Raceway
Don't participate in the Color Run, also known as the Happiest 5k on the Planet, if you aren't ready to get a little messy. You'll be blasted with powders in all colors of the rainbow (don't worry, it doesn't hurt) as you run, walk, or stroll around Portland. It's like a marathon brought to you by Crayola.
Mummies of the World
Through Sept 8; OMSI
Last chance to catch more than 150 amazingly preserved mummies and burial artifacts from Asia, South America, and Europe—the largest collection of mummy memorabilia ever assembled. Granted, they'll be around longer than you (what's a couple more decades to a 6,400-year-old child and a centuries-old Argentine monkey wearing a feathered skirt and headdress), but you won't be able to see them here.
Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre NW: Something to Declare
Sept 6–7; Custom House
If, like us, you’ve always been captivated by the curiosity to get inside Portland’s iconic Custom House, now’s your last chance before it's converted into, gag, offices. Known for taking dance into unusual civic setting, choreographer Heidi Duckler and a team of Portland and Los Angeles dancers will take over the historic building with a work cleverly labeled Something to Declare, which will move between the interior stairwell and courtyard of the House.