PoMo Picks

Top Things to Do This Weekend: June 1–4

Wonder Woman Day! Maya Rudolph's Prince cover band! Pedalpalooza! A David Bowie dance tribute! Chris Gethard! The Mountain Goats! Hello there, June.

By Rebecca Jacobson and Meagan Nolan June 1, 2017

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Ima Mfon's series Nigerian Identity, for which the Lagos-born artist photographed Nigerians living in New York and Texas, opens at Blue Sky this weekend.

Books & Talks

Living Canon: Three Poets

7 p.m. Thu, UNA Gallery, FREE
Earlier this year, local writers Dao Strom and Neil Aitken launched De-Canon, a project that aims to showcase writers of color. In addition to an online database of books and a forthcoming pop-up library, they’re also programming a series of live events, including tonight’s reading featuring poets Stephanie Adams-Santos, Trevino Brings Plenty, Christopher Rose. For more, check out our story on De-Canon.

Greg Rucka

2 p.m. Sat, Powell's City of Books, FREE
Diana Prince (a.k.a. Wonder Woman) is having a moment, engineered in no small part by Portland’s Greg Rucka. The Eisner-winning graphic novelist first scripted Wonder Woman for DC Comics in the aughts; in his recent return to the character, soon to wrap up, he helped canonize her queer identity. Two newly published volumes collect his writing for this Amazonian warrior—Wonder Woman Vol. 1: The Lies (Rebirth) and Wonder Woman Vol. 2: Year One (Rebirth)—and he'll be at Powell's to celebrate Wonder Woman Day.


Chris Gethard

8 p.m. Thu, Helium Comedy Club, $20
It all starts with a tweet. Chris Gethard asks folks to call in, and one lucky person gets to share whatever is on their mind with the comedian and his listeners. Sometimes the result—a podcast called Beautiful/Anonymous—is funny, sometimes it’s depressing. That’s all a part of the fun! Gethard brings the show to the stage for a thrilling, live, anything-can-happen comedy event.

Back Fence PDX

8 p.m. Sat, Alberta Rose Theatre, $16
Cells: They’re the theme for this installment of Portland’s own homegrown storytelling series, with LA writer Jessica Lee Williamson returning to dish alongside five other storytellers.

Stumptown Improv Festival Presents!

7:30 p.m. Sun, Gerding Theater, $10
The small-but-mighty improv fest returns for its fourth year in August—get a little preview of all that hot comedy action tonight, with performances by two Portland-based groups, Broke Gravy and Tunnel. 


The Goblin King: A David Bowie and Labyrinth Tribute

7:30 p.m. Fri–Sat, Headwaters Theatre, $15–18
Feathered hair, tight pants, goblins, and glitter galore: expect all that and more in TriptheDark’s tribute to David Bowie and Labyrinth in a night of “dance magic [and more] dance.” Slip on your best ’80s glam get-up and cheer for Sarah, Hoggle, and Jareth the Goblin King as they try to escape the labyrinth with the help of contemporary dance.



9 p.m. Fri, Wonder Ballroom, $30–35
According to LA Weekly, Prince once hugged Saturday Night Live vet Maya Rudolph and singer Gretchen Lieberum and told the two that he was a fan of their Prince cover band. The Purple One has since ascended to funkier, frillier realms, but Rudolph and Lieberum—who met as students at UC Santa Cruz—continue to pay him homage with serious pipes and stylin’ trench coats.

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The Secret Sisters bring their tight harmonies to the Old Church.

The Secret Sisters

8:30 p.m. Sat, The Old Church, $15
Singer-songwriter duo Laura and Lydia Rogers hail from Muscle Shoals, Alabama—the Southern musical mecca with world-renowned recording studios that brought you tracks from legends like Aretha Franklin and the Rolling Stones. The Secret Sisters bring an angelic twang to their perky, plucking tunes.

Valerie June

8 p.m. Sat, Aladdin Theater, SOLD OUT
The Tennessee-raised musician straddles rootsy twang and Southern gospel, infusing her voice—which is nasal and a little weird—with melancholy. (Her hair is also ridiculously rad.)

Mountain Goats

8 p.m. Sun, Crystal Ballroom, $27.50
There is no songwriter quite like Mountain Goats frontman John Darnielle. The musician and novelist (and erstwhile Portlander, albeit very briefly) is a prolific lyricist, with songs the New Yorker compared to “late-night pay-phone calls from a lover determined to complete a thought before the quarter runs out—even when the thought is about vegetables.” The band’s 16th studio album, Goths, dropped in May.


Miss Julie

7:30 p.m. Thu–Sun, Shaking the Tree, $25
Shaking the Tree’s Samantha Van Der Merwe directs August Strindberg’s 1888 drama of psychosexual sparring and class conflict.

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Beth Thompson and Matthew Kerrigan star in Shaking the Tree's Miss Julie.

That Pretty Pretty; or The Rape Play

7:30 p.m. Fri–Sun, Back Door Theatre, $15–25
The 2009 debut of Sheila Callaghan’s play in the West Village had the New Yorker gushing about the “sass and sarcasm” and “high-energy punk writing.” Now Portland’s Defunkt—no stranger to politically charged work—takes on this raucous examination of objectification and male violence. Bonus: Jane Fonda appears as a character. In leg warmers.

Visual Art

OPENING Wendy Ewald and Ima Mfon

Noon–5 p.m. Thu–Sun, Blue Sky Gallery, FREE
Ewald has spent 40-odd years distributing basic cameras to people to document their own lives, and This Is Where I Live collects the results from her repeated trips to Israel and the West Bank. Expect images snapped by Jewish Orthodox girls at a military academy, Bedouin students, elderly Palestinian women, marketplace vendors, and more. For Nigerian Identity, the Lagos-born Mfon photographed Nigerians living in New York and Texas, using a neutral background to focus attention on their faces. The effect is striking and regal.

OPENING Masao Yamamoto

11 a.m.–6 p.m. Thu–Sat, PDX Contemporary, FREE
The Japanese photographer’s lifelong fascination with birds is on full display in Tori, a collection of delicate gelatin silver prints of owls, eagles, pigeons, and other winged creatures. 

OPENING Revisiting Documerica

10 a.m.–6 p.m. Fri–Sun, Newspace Center for Photography, FREE
Forty-six years ago, the newly formed Environmental Protection Agency hired about 70 freelance photographers and charged them with one task: to document “subjects of environmental concern” across the country. The project captured more than 20,000 images, from snapshots of smog-shrouded cities to portraits of coal mining communities, creating a map of environmental destruction and a time capsule of 1970s America. They called it Documerica. Now, Portland’s Newspace Center for Photography is revisiting the project, albeit on a smaller scale. From an open call, it was whittled down to some 30 works from nine artists, in video, digital media, and photographs, on topics from Portland’s Ross Island to America’s rural environmentalism to New York’s contaminated Hoosick Falls. Read more in our exhibit preview.

Special Events


Various times and places through June, FREE
Pump those tires and lube that chain, folks: this monthlong celebration of velophilia features bikes rides for cyclists of all abilities and proclivities, from a family-friendly kazoo-themed spin to a black metal–fueled sojourn to a Cully bar crawl. And, of course, the for-everyone’s-eyes flesh frenzy that is the World Naked Bike Ride (June 24).

Woman Up!

8–1 p.m. Sun, Sellwood Riverfront Park, $25 for the 5k, after-party is FREE
Join Portland Monthly for a 5k run/walk/roll to raise funds for Girls Inc., then celebrate bold Oregon women with feminist social club the Perlene, the Badass Women’s Protest Choir, Salt & Straw, and local nonprofits. For more, check out our event preview.

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