PoMo Picks

Top Things to Do This Weekend: Jan 12–15

Do-si-do to Appalachian string music, watch Northwest history unfurl onstage, take a romp through the post-Communist world of punk rock, and behold the lipstick-smeared zaniness of YouTube star Miranda Sings.

By Rebecca Jacobson, Fiona McCann, and Lauren Kershner January 12, 2017

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Yallah! Underground, a doc about young alternative musicians in the Middle East, plays as part of the NW Film Center's Reel Music Festival.

Books & Talks

Colum McCann (rescheduled; date TBD)
7:30 p.m. Thursday, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
The Dublin-born writer, National Book Award winner, and practitioner of “radical empathy” most recently published Thirteen Ways of Looking, a fiction collection the New York Times called “melancholy and affecting.”

Franz Nicolay
7:30 p.m. Friday, Powell's City of Books
In The Humorless Ladies of Border Control, the musician and former keyboardist for the Hold Steady takes a romp through the post-Communist world of punk rock, from the Balkans to Russia to Mongolia.

Dear Sugar Radio: The Writers Resist
6 p.m. Sunday, Aladdin Theater, SOLD OUT
Dear Sugar hosts Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond bring their advice podcast onstage for a special recording with a slew of local writers—including Samiya Bashir, Zahir Janmohamed, Rene Denfeld, Cari Luna, and Lidia Yuknavitch—and music from Colin Meloy, Angela Freeman, and Wonderly. It’s a multi-city effort that, per the press materials, seeks to “re-inaugurate a shared commitment to the spirit of compassion, equality, free speech, and the fundamental ideals of democracy.” 


Miranda Sings Live ... You're Welcome
8 p.m. Thursday, Keller Auditorium
A red-lipstick-smeared bundle of narcissism and eccentricity, Miranda Sings is the YouTube-famous alter ego of actor Colleen Ballinger—and, as of October, the center of a new Netflix series, Haters Back Off! Expect songs, jokes, and hyperbolic displays of awkwardness.

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Say whaaaaat? Haters Back Off! star Miranda Sings hits Portland.


OPENING Reel Music Festival
Various times Friday–Sunday, Whitsell Auditorium
The NW Film Center’s multiweek, music-loving festival returns for its 34th year, with a lineup ranging from a restoration of 1930 musical revue King of Jazz to documentaries about Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, young alternative musicians in the Middle East (pictured), and three black metal fans from Colombia, Iran, and Greece on a tumultuous trek to Norway. For more, check out our six festival picks.

Rebellion & Revolution: Insurgent Cinema
7 p.m. Saturday, Hollywood Theatre
The Hollywood launches a four-film series to celebrate “subversive cinema, guerilla-style filmmaking, and insurrection in film.” Up this weekend is a digital restoration of 1966 classic The Battle of Algiers.


Portland Old-Time Music Gathering
Various times Thursday–Sunday, The Tiffany Center
Attention, fiddle fans and banjo buffs: the annual celebration of Appalachian–style string music returns for the 18th year, with five stacked days of concerts, square dances, workshops, and jam sessions.

David Bromberg Quintet
8 p.m. Friday, Aladdin Theater
The master of bluesy Americana released his 18th album last fall, bringing together deep cuts from the Mississippi Delta, covers of Ray Charles and Muddy Waters, and a couple of new tunes.

Summer Cannibals
9 p.m. Friday, Wonder Ballroom
The fierce heirs to the Portland punk rock mantle released Full of It last year, a harder record that ups the ante for Jessica Boudreaux and co., and then delivers with a masterfully polished rawness.

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Summer Cannibals rock the Wonder.

Dar Williams
8 p.m. Saturday, Alberta Rose Theatre
The folk-pop icon celebrates the 20th anniversary of Mortal City by performing the complete album (plus other poignant, politically engaged standbys).

Fruit Bats
8 p.m. Saturday, Revolution Hall
After nearly two decades of shifting lineups and at least one breakup announcement, the folk-rock outfit fronted by Eric D. Johnson released a new album last spring, full of rollicking banjo riffs and wistful ballads.

Natasha Paremski
4 p.m. Saturday–Sunday, Lincoln Hall
The 29-year-old Moscow-born piano virtuoso plays two different programs, heavy on Chopin and Brahms.


7:30 p.m. Friday–Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, CoHo Theater
What really happened when D. B. Cooper parachuted out of that Boeing 727 somewhere over the Cascades in 1971? It’s a question that’s animated obsessive quests and countless conspiracy theories, and now a world premiere by Washington-raised playwright Tommy Smith, directed by Portland fave Isaac Lamb.

7:30 p.m. Saturday–Sunday, Gerding Theater
Portland Center Stage launches the first half of a two-part historical epic, set in the early 1800s, about John Jacob Astor’s grand (and failed) attempt to establish an international fur trading hub—and full-on political empire—in what’s now Astoria.

9 p.m. Thursday, Funhouse Lounge
Bri Pruett, one of Portland’s funniest, gutsiest comedians, is about to abandon us for Los Angeles. But first, she’s putting on a solo show that roves from body positivity to online dating to overcoming trauma to real talk about sex. Plus: song, dance, and a Sade-heavy soundtrack. For more, check out our interview with Pruett.

Visual Art

OPENING Sarah Levy
Noon–6 p.m. Thursday–Friday, White Gallery, FREE
After gaining widespread attention for her menstrual-blood portrait of Donald Trump, the Portland artist presents Morbid Symptoms, a solo show featuring fantastically expressive drawings of faces. The show’s title is drawn from Antonio Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks, which Levy relates to personal grief as well as to current political movements across the globe.

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Sarah Levy's expressive portraits are at the White Gallery, a student-run exhibition space at Portland State.

Image: Sarah Levy

OPENING Torrent Tea
10 a.m.–10:30 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Friday–Sunday, Newspace Center for Photography, FREE
From a small perch in inner Southeast, Newspace takes on big issues: the industrial-prison complex, democracy, nuclear materials. Now comes Torrent Tea, a group exhibition from artists of color showing portraits of blackness and queerness. It aims to take back the medium of photography “from a canon that has historically neglected their participation.”

Kris Hargis
10:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Thursday–Saturday, Froelick Gallery
In The less I speak, the more I learn, Hargis showcases unstinting self-portraits, including oil paintings, pastel drawings, and an eight-foot-tall sculpture made of wood, clay, hemp, and copper.

Special Events

First 100 Days: United in Resistance
Various times Saturday–Sunday, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art 
The Portland Institute for Contemporary Art hosts a variety of events in the lead-up to inauguration, including a presentation on the "Art of Protest" and an art-making workshop in which participants can construct protest banners and signs. Find the full schedule here.

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