Top Things to Do This Weekend: July 17–20

Purple Rain and Dirty Dancing outdoors at Zidell Yards, PDX Pop Now, the Book of Mormon, the Cathedral Park Jazz Fest. The fun simply doesn't end.

Edited by Aaron Scott By Portland Monthly Staff and Schuyler Keenan July 17, 2014

Ticket Alert

  • Lena Dunham stops in Portland on her book tour for Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's Learned. She'll talk with Portlandia's Carrie Brownstein for a night of Girls meets Riot Grrrls, but you're going to have to call on some major connections to get tickets, because they sold out instantly.
  • Jason Mraz (and Raining Jane) forgoes his usual arena/amphitheater for the slightly smaller Keller Auditorium on October 24. Tickets on sale Friday at 10 am.
  • Interpol hits the Crystal Ballroom on September 17 in support of its new album, El Pintor. Tickets on sale Friday at 10 am.


PDX Pop Now!
Friday–Sunday, Audio Cinema
PDX Pop Now is the pulse of Portland’s musical body—pretty much every band you love in town has played here at one time or another. This year’s lineup features the dreamy synth wash of Wampire, uplifting choral-pop from Ages and Ages, and the folk balladry of singer-songwriter Vikesh Kapoor. Since there's a something for every musical taste, our preview offers Seven Bands from Seven Genres.

Ken Kesey on top of Further and the Oregon state flag blowing behind it

Northwest String Summit
Thursday–Sunday, Horning's Hideout
Yonder Mountain String Band invites its many-stringed friends, including some of the biggest names in bluegrass (Sam Bush Band, Railroad Earth, the Wood Brothers, Steep Canyon Rangers), to a weekend-long bluegrass jam. Also there: Ken Kesey's bus Further, from the Merry Pranksters cross-country road trip that sparked the counterculture revolution, turns 50 this year and will be on site for tours. Read our story about Kesey and his long, strange trip.

Lyle Lovett
Saturday, McMenamin's Edgefield
Don’t make the mistake of pigeonholing the Grammy-winning Lovett as part of an increasingly insipid country scene. Even if his first hit single is called “Cowboy Man” and one of his most popular is “That’s Right (You’re Not From Texas),” this prolific and impossibly funny singer has been writing smart songs with broad appeal since his 1986 debut. Plus, the entire band wears suits and knows how to swing.

Saturday, Doug Fir Lounge
Frontman Adam Shearer’s voice falls somewhere between Elliott Smith and Neil Young, and although the down-tempo tunes he pens with the band that bears his middle name have been a fixture in the local scene for the better part of a decade, this is the first time they've played live in some time.


The Book of Mormon
Thursday–Sunday, Keller Auditorium
This Tony-winner's tale of two earnest Mormon missionaries trying to spread the good word in Uganda is "quite simply the most fun I’ve ever had at a musical—a nonstop barrage of killer one-liners, skewered pop culture morsels, high kicks, and cheesy Biblical reenactments that leaves the mind scandalized and the belly sore from laughter..." Read our full review.

CoHo Summerfest: High Plains: A Western Myth
Thursday–Sunday, CoHo Theatre
Summerfest's third one-person show this year is High Plains: A Western Myth, a dark ghost story set in modern day Colorado. It was written by Brian Watkins, performed by Ben Newman, and is returning to the States after a run at the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival.


The Purple One knows how to drive-in in style...

Drive-In at Zidell Yards
Friday–Sunday, Zidell Yards
Northwest Film Center revives the retro with the Drive-In at Zidell Yards screenings. Watch classics like Purple Rain, Dirty Dancing, and the Oregon-filmed Stand By Me, under a beautiful backdrop of stars and the Ross Island Bridge. If you don't want to drive, bike or walk down with a blanket to stretch out along the Willamette and take in the movie all the same.



Trumpeter-producer Farnell Newton

Cathedral Park Jazz Festival
Friday–Sunday, Cathedral Park
Now in its 34th year, the longest-running free jazz festival west of the Mississippi returns to St. Johns to highlight the diversity of local music, with performances from funky trumpeter-producer Farnell Newton, beloved and prolific pianist Louis Pain and his smaller band King Louie Trio, vocalist Jeff Baker, and many more.

Chamber Music Northwest: Brahms' Piano Quartet, with Andre Watts
Friday at Kaul Auditorium, Saturday at Lincoln Hall
Andre Watts has been performing for over 50 years, a career first sparked by Leonard Bernstein's choice to debut Watts with the New York Philharmonic. Fitting, then, that the superstar pianist be paired with the Dover Quartet, who first played Chamber Music Northwest last year as Protege Artists. Hear them perform Brahm's piano quartet and Osvaldo Golijov's "The Dreams & Prayers of Isaac the Blind."

Chamber Music Northwest: Bullycide
Monday at Kaul Auditorium, Tuesday at Lincoln Hall
It's not the weekend, but we're intrigued enough to include composer the Northwest premiere of David Del Tredici's Bullycide, an intense nine-movement work that deals with the real life story of five teenagers' suicides. Tredici channels his own experience with homophobic bullying into the piece, which features pianist Orion Weiss and violinist Bella Hristova. The performance at Kaul Auditorium includes a discussion between Tredici and radio host Dave Miller, which will be taped for OPB's Think Out Loud program.

Books & Talks

Entertainment for People: Dan Kennedy
Friday–Saturday, Disjecta Contemporary Art Center
Dan Kennedy, host of the popular storytelling podcast the Moth, joins the regular cast of the monthly “New Shit Show” (including local folkie Laura Gibson and stand-up comedian Amy Miller) for two blowout variety shows.


Thursday–Saturday, Conduit Dance
It’s the third year for this curated performance series from local contemporary dance incubator Conduit, bringing together emerging and established local dancers to collaborate on new works. This weekend's performances include Portland-based dancers Meshi Chavez, Roland Toledo, Christopher Peddecord, Radical Child and NYC-based Kyle Marshall and Meagan Woods.

Northwest Dance Project: Pretty Creatives
Saturday, Lincoln Performance Hall
In something like the Iron Chef of dance performances, the two winners of this international choreography competition (Lesley Telford and Eric Handman) have just 18 hours to work with the 40 dancers in NWDP’s Launch summer workshop before unveiling new works to the public.

Transcending Time: The Sacred Music of Mikagura
Saturday, First Congretional Church
The Japanese Garden hosts the first-ever performance in the continental US of this ancient Shinto ritual, featuring 24 musicians and dancers from Kamakura, Japan. The performance will follow a brief lecture by Head Priest Shigeho Yoshida on the history and meaning of Mikagura.


Highland Games
Friday–Saturday, Mt. Hood Community College
These games are no mere caber toss: Portland’s premier celebration of Scottish culture includes piping and drum competitions, whisky tastings, and sheepdog demonstrations. Pairs well with haggis.

Sand in the City
Friday–Sunday, Pioneer Courthouse Square
Corporate teams face off in a massive sand-castle building competition in Pioneer Courthouse Square in support of children’s charities like Angels in the Outfield and Impact NW Communities for Safe Kids.

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