Top Things to Do Labor Day Weekend 2014

The Oregon Symphony returns to the Waterfront, the Portland Film Festival brings Toby back to 'Labyrinth,' and Art in the Pearl gives you another reason to walk the park blocks on a sunny afternoon.

Edited by Aaron Scott By Portland Monthly Staff and Schuyler Keenan August 27, 2014


Toby Froud with King Time, a handmade puppet from Lessons Learned

Portland Film Festival
The ambitious Portland Film Festival came out of nowhere last year, attracting 30,000 attendees with dozens of films. The festival's screenings, workshops, and meet-and-greets have been in full swing since Tuesday, but here are our picks for the final few days:

  • Labyrinth and Lessons Learned
    Thursday, Cinema 21
    Twenty-eight years ago, the baby Toby was kidnapped by the Goblin King on the set of Labyrinth. The son of Brian Froud, who designed Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal, the real Toby grew up to move to Portland and become an animator himself at Laika. Watch a newly restored copy of the cult classic, and then watch Toby's new short film, Lessons Learned. He teamed up with Heather Henson (the daughter of Jim Henson) to create a puppet film starring the goblins their parents created.  (Read our recap of the world premiere and our Long Story Short with Froud.)
  • House of Last Things
    Thursday, Mission Theater
    In House of Last Things, a sister and a brother, played by RJ Mitte (Walter "Flynn" White Jr. from Breaking Bad), house-sit for a mourning couple, only to encounter a mysterious boy who starts to control their minds in this supernatural thriller from Portland director Michael Bartlette. Mitte and Bartlett will be in attendance.
  • Road to Paloma
    Monday, Mission Theater
    In Road to Paloma, Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo from Game of Thrones) plays Wolf, a Native American who is being pursued by the FBI after avenging the murder of his mother on their reservation. Momoa will be in attendance.
  • Closing Film: Bronx Obama
    Sunday, Tom McCall Waterfront Park
    One of the more decorated films in the fest (it won Best of the Fest at AFI Docs), Bronx Obama follows the POTUS lookalike, Louis Ortiz, as he builds a career as the second face of change. You might recognize the story from a This American Life feature about Ortiz. We just wish the doc included his trip to the White House punking the Secret Service.

Top Down: Rooftop Cinema: The King of Comedy
Thursday, Hotel deLuxe
The NWFC's annual series at the Hotel deLuxe's parking garage closes with Martin Scorsese's The King of Comedy. This dark comedy follows a delusional aspiring comedian (Robert DeNiro) who kidnaps a talk show host in order to get a spot on his show. A DJ set by Ghost Capital precedes the film screening.


The Both: Aimee Mann and Ted Leo
Friday, Aladdin Theater
Oscar-nominated singer-songwriter Mann: "I'm like this flowery waif bird and, you're like a gnarled tree."
Hook-happy punk-vet Leo: "Then I was like, 'Come, land on my branch, and we'll make the music of the forest.'"
That's one explanation given on stage by these two very different musicians for why they came together, but it also illustrates a different point: they're winning raves as much for their charming and hilarious stage banter as for their musical prowess, which is saying something.

The Head and the Heart
Saturday, McMenamins Edgefield
The seemingly endless indie-folk boom has seen this Seattle acoustic outfit and its infectious harmonies jump from tiny folk clubs to a deal with the Emerald City's iconic label Sub Pop to headlining venues the size of, well, Edgefield.

Saturday, Mississippi Studios
The music of SOS isn't easily put into categories, but the hard-hitting, spaced out beats and instrumentals play off the hyper-sexual, slightly-autotuned vocals so well, who really cares? Their new, self-titled album isn't out until September 16, but the Portland/NYC-based duo will likely run through a few singles off the upcoming release, like "Youth in Decline." Sharing the bill with SOS are local hip-hop heroes Tope and Stuart Villain of the Soar Losers collective.

Saturday–Monday, Seattle Center
Looks like another jaw-dropping lineup for this annual music and arts fest in Seattle, which includes dance performances, readings, theater performances, fashion, and a plethora of big-time musical acts such as Wu Tang Clan, Foster the People, the Head and the Heart, Elvis Costello, Schoolboy Q, and Jonathan Richman. Comedy kingpins Paul F. Tompkins, Doug Benson, Janeane Garofalo, Rory Scovel, and Portland's own Matt Braunger will be on hand as well. Need an extra push? Read our post "5 Reasons to Make the Drive to Bumbershoot."


Oregon Symphony Waterfront Concert
Thursday, Tom McCall Waterfront Park
After having its funding pulled last year, the Oregon Symphony returns to the waterfront to launch its season with an event that's bigger than ever. It begins in the afternoon with performances by Metropolitan Youth Symphony, Portland Taiko, and more, before the symphony takes the stage with appearances by Oregon Ballet Theatre and the Portland Opera, and the annual firework finale set to Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture.

Cappella Romana: The Fall of Constantinople
Saturday, St Mary's Cathedral
Portland's globe-trotting early music ensemble, Cappella Romana, brings the song of a city's downfall to St Mary's Cathedral. This performance is in preparation for their European tour, which includes a stop in the Netherlands for the most prestigious historic music gathering in the world, the Utrecht Early Music Festival. Read more about their international fame in our feature "Portland Arts Ensembles with Global Followings."

Books & Talks

Mark Stein: American Panic
Thursday, Powell's City of Books
Find yourself unable to listen to the news for all the political fear-mongering? The New York Times best-selling Stein has your back with his new book, American Panic: A History of Who Scares Us and Why, which follows the hype and propaganda from the Salem Witch Hunt to present-day immigration debates.


Art in the Pearl
Saturday–Monday, Northwest Park Blocks
Looking for somewhere to take the family over Labor Day weekend? Over a hundred painters, potters, woodworkers, and more fill the North Park Blocks for this annual arts and crafts festival. A World Music Stage for your in-laws and educational activities for the kids should keep everyone occupied while you buy something nice for yourself.

This Is War
Saturday–Sunday, Portland Art Museum
PAM observes the centenary of World War I's beginning with a retrospective of the visual art that emerged from the period, largely drawn from the museum's collection.

 This is the final weekend to catch the following August shows:

PDX Contemporary Art: James Lavadour’s Fingering Instabilities
It’s been a good year for the self-taught Umatilla painter. His work was included in an exhibition at the 55th Venice Biennale, is being hung in the Denver Museum of Art, and was just announced to be included in a major US survey of 102 artists at  the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, AR, called State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now. We have the fortune of just having to go downtown to see it.

Having done commissions for the Metropolitan Museum of art and the Guggenheim in New York, this artist explores the hubris of man and civilization in her first solo Portland exhibition. In a massive work in the first room, she pins mylar prints of abstract architectural elements to the wall with 400 nails and magnets, building a timeless Towers of Babel. In the back room, similar towers are built and destroyed in a stop-motion animation. Plus, a series of prints that were made using explosives, giving new meaning to dangerous art.

Upfor Gallery: Jack Featherly’s Unpattern
Featherly’s oil and enamel paintings start with images gathered online (a Doonesbury cartoon, a pregnant woman) before filtering them through vivid colors and ASCII text until they are only impressions visible from certain angles.






Blue Sky Gallery: Goseong Choi’s At the At the End of Winter and Laura Larson’s Hidden Mother
Larson collects 19th-century tintype portraits of babies. Thing is, in order to keep the babies still for the long exposure times, the mothers often had to hide nearby, resulting in delightfully absurd, hilarious, and even creepy images where the mother is draped in a black cloth and functioning as the infant’s chair, is hiding behind a stroller with her had popping out, or is otherwise obscured in other beek-a-boo manners worthy of ostriches and cartoons. In stark contrast in the front gallery, Choi combines two sets of photographs about loss: one follows his mother’s grief after losing her mother, and the other express his own sorrow about the end of a relationship through images of burnt fields that feel like etchings of despair. In the back gallery,




Augen Gallery: Ryan Burns's Climate Proxies
In works with titles like "OAK, EST. AGE 94 YEARS, Hurricane Sandy 2012 Prospect Park, NY," Burns prints the cross-section of said tree, presumably destroyed by said disaster, over a collage of maps, wall paper, building plans, and other debris from the site, bringing together both the natural tree rings and the manmade ones in memorial to the loss.







Froelick Gallery: Whitney Lowe's A Road and a Picnic
In his first solo ceramic show, the graphic designer, architect, and former creative director at Weiden + Kennedy draws inspiration from Cormac McCarthy's post-apocalyptic The Road and a sci-fi novel by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky entitled Roadside Picnic. The black and white glazed ceramic wall-hangings leak teal and rust glaze from holes like mechanical blood from bullet holes (apparently the holes follow the punctuation marks from The Road).





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