Books & Talks
7:30 p.m. Friday, Powell's City of Books, FREE
Caldwell has proven herself an astute chronicler of the stumblings of young adulthood, and her new collection of personal essays, I’ll Tell You in Person, traipses from Craigslist to addiction to acne to TJ Maxx.
9 p.m. Friday, Secret Society
The South Dakotan-turned-Portland-turned-Los Angeleno speckles his mellow standup with both street slang and grandpa lingo, to surprising but seriously endearing effect.
The Mystery Box Show
7 p.m. Sunday, Alberta Rose Theatre
Portlanders unleash their juiciest, kinkiest, and most scandalous sex stories. In other words, a great first Tinder date.
In Good Company
7:30 p.m. Thursday–Saturday, Lincoln Performance Hall
Dynamic Portland company Northwest Dance Project presents its annual holiday show, with all works choreographed by the dancers themselves.
7:30 p.m. Thursday–Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, BodyVox Dance Center
In ebb, the international collective transforms scenes from the work of Samuel Beckett—full of stone sucking, chair dragging, chicken mimicking—into playfully digressive movement.
OPENING The Nutcracker
2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday–Sunday, Keller Auditorium
It’s not December without the pirouetting sugarplum fairies and sword-wielding mice of Balanchine’s beloved ballet. If you don’t like your Tchaikovsky canned, seek out one of the eight performances featuring a live orchestra.
Various times Thursday–Sunday, Whitsell Auditorium
The NW Film Center tosses the spotlight on Japan’s impressive cinematic landscape, with screenings of contemporary films from across genres.
8 p.m. Thursday, Revolution Hall
This marks the 10th straight year of the onetime wild child’s Holiday Ordeal, with the frequent Pink Martini collaborator performing songs and unleashing stage gags, with assistance from special guests.
The Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition
6 p.m. Friday, Pioneer Courthouse Square, FREE
The competitive open-air caroling extravaganza returns to Pioneer Courthouse Square for its third year in a row. Not satisfied just being an audience member? Any group of at least three is welcome to enter. For shy performers who need a bit of a push: the grand prize is just that—$1,000.
Tuba Christmas Concert
1:30 p.m. Saturday, Pioneer Courthouse Square, FREE
If there hasn’t been enough tuba music in your life lately, swing by Pioneer Courthouse Square to get your fix. Nearly 300 tuba and euphonium players return for the 26th annual brass-based holiday romp.
8 p.m. Saturday, Revolution Hall
Based in Portland, the identical twin sisters make folky, haunting music that straddles the space between bouncy and bleak.
The Dandy Warhols
8 p.m. Saturday, Crystal Ballroom
In addition to recently transforming part of their 10,000-square-foot Odditorium in Slabtown into a bar called “The Old Portland,” the local psych-power-pop institution finds time to throw down for this annual all-ages holiday show.
OPENING A Tuna Christmas
7:30 p.m. Thursday–Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, Winningstad Theatre
Oregon Repertory Theatre invites audiences to witness the trauma of the holiday season as experienced by the citizens of Tuna, Texas, where Patsy Cline reigns eternal. Jeffrey Jason Gilpin and Alan King portray all 22 characters—with the help of some split-second costume changes—in the second in a series of four plays about Texas’s third-smallest town.
7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Sunday; 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Headwaters Theatre
Performing pantsless—and underpantsless—is a good way to get attention. But that only partly explains the power of Truscott’s Asking for It, a searing (and hilarious) solo show about rape culture that blazed through town last year. Boom Arts brings her back for an encore performance of that piece, along with A One-Trick Pony, inspired by Andy Kaufman. Expect more nudity, and dick jokes.
Venus and Adonis
7:30 p.m. Thursday–Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, Shaking the Tree
Top-notch performers Rebecca Ridenour and Matthew Kerrigan put a theatrical twist on Shakespeare’s erotic poem about love goddess Venus and her obsession with the beautiful, uninterested Adonis. (Extra incentive: the poem also features a vicious wild boar and a horny horse.)
9 p.m. Thursday, Star Theater
What goes together better than stripping, Christmas, and opera? Nothing, that’s what. Based on the life of beloved Portland stripper and author Viva Las Vegas, this one-act opera zeroes in on a stressful family visit over the holidays—because, well, Viva’s dad happens to be a midwestern preacher. For more, read our preview.
Blood on the Cat's Neck
7:30 p.m. Thursday, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Friday–Saturday, 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Disjecta
Thank the heavens for Liminal Performance Group. As other companies trot out tired Christmas material, this iconoclastic outfit spins Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s 1971 play about aliens and vampires into an immersive, video-, song-, and fetish-filled fantasia. Bring the in-laws.
OPENING La Belle
7:30 p.m. Friday, noon and 3:30 p.m. Saturday–Sunday
Elaborate puppets, a large whirring ship, original music, extensive shadow play—little wonder this Imago Theatre show has been in the works since 2013. The wildly creative minds behind the Frogz and ZooZoo menageries unveil a new Beauty and the Beast–inspired romance, set on a steamship in the 1920s. For more, check out our preview and slideshow.
Corita Kent: Spiritual Pop
10 a.m.–8 p.m. Thursday–Friday and 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturday–Sunday, Portland Art Museum
Countercultural expression doesn’t normally come out of the convent, but Kent was an unconventional nun, as evidenced in this career-spanning collection of screen prints.
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.)
1–5 p.m. Friday–Saturday, Wolff Gallery, FREE
Portlander Clarke says the fantasy-specked photos in her new exhibit, The Stories People Tell, “serve as visual interpretations of folktales.”