Books & Talks
Lit Crawl Portland
6–9 p.m. Friday, various downtown locations
As a Wordstock kickoff, literary enthusiasts of all stripes gather at downtown bars to read passages about sex and death, perform poetry with musical backing, play game shows about sad animals, and do other alcohol-fueled bookish things. Plus, from 7–7:45 p.m. at River Pig Saloon, Portland Monthly editors host a literary trivia smackdown. Can you handle the heat?
9 a.m.–6 p.m. Saturday, various venues
The beloved literary festival—comprising readings, lectures, panel discussions, workshops, and a book fair—was reborn last year as a single-day shindig at the Portland Art Museum. This year’s installment adds five stages along the South Park Blocks (including the 2,776-seat Schnitz), which presenter Literary Arts promises will more than double the fest’s seated capacity. The lineup reads like a who’s who of contemporary literature: Nicholson Baker, Colson Whitehead, Yaa Gyasi, Sherman Alexie, Jonathan Lethem, and Maria Semple, among many others. Check out our festival picks here.
7:30 p.m. Sunday, Powell's City of Books
Having traveled the world writing and reporting about beer for the likes of Bon Appetit and the New York Times, Portlander Lucy Burningham’s latest book follows her pursuit to become a Cicerone—an internationally recognized beer expert. For more, we've got a Q&A with Burningham.
7 p.m. Sunday, Aladdin Theater
Best known for his work with actor Simon Pegg on such films as Run, Fatboy Run, and Shaun of the Dead, the Irish author and stand-up comic passes through Portland on the fifth extension of his popular Off the Hook tour.
Polaris Dance: Reclaimed
7:30 p.m. Thursday–Friday, Polaris Dance Theatre
Polaris kicks off the season with Reclaimed, a retrospective of artistic director Robert Guitron’s work with the dance company over the last 10 years, including pieces from Too Blue, Repo, and Tangled.
Hump Film Festival
Various times Thursday–Saturday, Revolution Hall
For more than a decade, Dan Savage’s Hump Film Festival has delivered us a carefully curated selection of amateur adult films. With more than 20 films to choose from, you’re sure to find something that gets your rocks off.
Various times Friday–Sunday, Hollywood Theatre
Jim Jarmusch’s new documentary about the rise and fall of Iggy Pop and the Stooges—chock-full of archival footage, interviews, and performances—is a must for any punk fan.
XX Digitus Duo
7:30 p.m. Thursday, Alberta Rose Theatre
The piano duo opens the Siren Nation Festival, ping-ponging between styles and genres as deftly as they share a keyboard. The multimedia concert, 20 Frames Per Second, features music ranging from Paul Bowles to arrangements of Radiohead and Zappa, as well as a world premiere score to a 1927 Dag Gabrielsen film.
8 p.m. Friday, Aladdin Theater
On latest album When You Wish Upon a Star, the fantastically creative, Grammy-winning Seattle guitarist reimagines classic film scores and TV theme songs. Tonight, he takes the stage with a trio of other musicians.
9 p.m. Sunday, Mississippi Studios
Cake yourself in glitter for the glam-garage pop-punk of the queer Brooklyn duo, who approach identity politics with tongue-in-cheek humor, goofy onstage antics, and wild outfits.
OPENING The Oregon Trail
7:30 p.m. Thursday–Saturday and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Gerding Theater
Pack up the covered wagon (have you bought enough bullets and spare axles?) and head west for Bekah Brunstetter’s new play, which imagines intersecting experiences of The Oregon Trail: one of the iconic computer game and one of the dusty, treacherous thing itself.
CLOSING How I Learned What I Learned
7:30 p.m. Thursday–Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, Portland Playhouse
Since 2010, Portland Playhouse has produced six works by landmark black playwright August Wilson, who died in 2005. Now it’s landed the rights to his autobiographical solo show, which traces Wilson’s life as he comes of age in Pittsburgh, confronts the injustices of racism, and develops his powerful, poetic voice.
CLOSING El Muerto Vagabundo
7:30 p.m. Thursday–Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, Milagro Theatre
What happens to the dead when they leave this world without friends or family to mourn them? Whom do they visit on Dia de los Muertos? Inspired by the obituaries of homeless veterans, writer and director Georgina H. Escobar explores this loss to the community in her newly conceived play, part of Milago’s annual Day of the Dead celebrations.
CLOSING Head Hands Feet: Four Tales of Dismemberment
7:30 p.m. Friday–Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday, Shaking the Tree
Shaking the Tree artistic director Samantha Van Der Merwe excels at transforming fantastical stories into immersive theatrical worlds, which she’ll do four times over for this multimedia retelling of three grisly fairy tales and one Greek tragedy. (We've got more on the show here.)
From the Envelope of Suicides
7 p.m. Thursday, Shout House
Portland writer Ben Moorad has spent the last decade digging into the files of his grandfather, a doctor who studied and documented hundreds of suicides in the middle of the 20th century. Now, he’s turned that research into a series of performative readings. For more, check out our preview.
OPENING Cauleen Smith
11 a.m.–5 p.m. Thursday–Saturday, Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design, FREE
In this video installation, Asterisms, Smith unites seemingly discrepant objects from both her personal collection (including one rock that might be a meteorite) and the Museum of Contemporary Craft.
OPENING Alexander Chekmenev and Pablo Ortiz Monasterio
Noon–5 p.m. Thursday–Sunday, Blue Sky Gallery, FREE
Chekmenev’s photography offers a glimpse into post-Soviet Ukraine, including portraits of homebound citizens having their passport photos taken. Monasterio, meanwhile, has created photo collages to memorialize the disappearance of 43 Mexican students in 2014—a kidnapping linked to the drug war.
OPENING Hidden Assembly
10 a.m.–9:30 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Friday–Sunday, Newspace Center for Photography, FREE
Artists shine a light on the often invisible laborers who make the products we consume, from Mary Lum’s collection of the bottoms of brown paper bags bearing the names of those who oversaw their production, to Betty Marín’s examination of seasonal migrant workers in the Christmas tree industry. (The exhibition also takes place at the Center for Contemporary Art and Culture at PNCA, 511 NW Broadway, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Thursday–Saturday.)
OPENING Sean Healy
10:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Thursday–Saturday, Elizabeth Leach Gallery, FREE
In Gut, the multimedia artist—known for work created from chewing gum and cigarette butts—examines maleness and aging via materials that, in his words, “droop and sag.”
Sitka Art Invitational
Party 6–9 p.m. Friday; public exhibit and sale 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Saturday–Sunday, World Forestry Center
More than 130 artists from the Northwest gather for this showcase and sale of nature-inspired work, from clay sculptures to vibrant paintings to delicate wood carvings.
OPENING Siren Nation Festival
Various times and locations Thursday–Saturday
The annual Siren Nation Festival—showcasing original art by women—returns for its tenth year with comedy (featuring Caitlin Gill, JoAnn Schinderle, and Alyssa Yeoman), burlesque, storytelling, and shows from Jenny Hval and Natasha Kmeto among the offerings. Heed the call! (For full schedule and venue info, check the festival website.)
International Roller Derby Championship
Various times Friday–Sunday, Memorial Coliseum
The Rose City Rollers brought home a world championship trophy last year. Can they defend the title on home turf?