Top Things to Do This Weekend: Aug 17–20
Books & Talks
7:30 p.m. Thu, Powell's City of Books, FREE
Award-winning poet Matthew Zapruder’s aptly named Why Poetry investigates how we are taught to read verse, what the art form means to us, and how it’s vital in our current era. Portland writer Lidia Yuknavitch joins him.
De-Canon Pop-Up Library Exhibit
Noon–5 p.m. Sat–Sun, FREE
Earlier this year, local writers Dao Strom and Neil Aitken launched a “visibility project” to showcase authors of color via a growing online database and IRL events, such as this pop-up library. Expect some 150 books on modular shelving at Old Town’s Una Gallery for the month, as well as readings, workshops, and live performances, including one by dance collective Physical Education. (For more, check out our story on De-Canon.)
Bob the Drag Queen
8 p.m. Sat, Aladdin Theater, $30–80
Attention, RuPaul’s Drag Race fans: Bob the Drag Queen, winner of season eight, hits town to premiere her new stand-up special. Expect riffs on politics, love, social media, and more.
Top Down: Rooftop Cinema
7 p.m. Thu, Hotel DeLuxe, $9–12
This film festival atop the Hotel deLuxe is an annual summertime treat of cinema classics alfresco, brought to you by the NW Film Center. Tonight: Bruce Campbell cult classic Army of Darkness.
Flicks on the Bricks
7 p.m. Fri, Pioneer Courthouse Square, FREE
Every summer, a mondo screen goes up in Portland’s living room, with free flicks on Friday nights. Bring a pillow and snacks (but please, not your mammoth lawn chair). Tonight is the last screening of the summer: Forrest Gump.
8 p.m. Thu, Crystal Ballroom, SOLD OUT
The duo of Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn was an accidental one, but that hasn’t stopped them from becoming a pop-electronic force everywhere from Jimmy Fallon to Radiolab to South by Southwest.
9 p.m. Fri, Roseland Theater, $23
The artist behind the Portlandia theme song just dropped a new visual album, Mister Mellow, that mocks the chillwave mini-genre he pioneered while not straying far from the mostly instrumental, dreamy vibe he’s known for.
Rebirth Brass Band
7 and 10:30 p.m. Sat, Mississippi Studios, $25–30
With 33 years under their belts, this New Orleans brass band has an impressive résumé: they’ve been featured in movies, books, and television shows (including NCIS: New Orleans and HBO’s Treme) and won the first-ever Grammy for Best Regional Roots Music Album. Barack Obama even mentioned wanting to see their legendary Tuesday-night gig at the Maple Leaf Bar in New Orleans. Consider this the next-best thing to a Big Easy appearance.
7:30 p.m. Thu–Sat, 2 p.m. Sun, CoHo Theatre, $25–45
Third Rail stages some of the pluckiest theater in town, and this two-hander by British playwright Duncan MacMillan—performed here by Darius Pierce, best known for The Santaland Diaries, and the equally ace Cristi Miles—should be no exception. It’s a dive into the moral murkiness of starting a family. Like, umm, that carbon footprint? Particularly relevant in a post-Paris-pact world.
Noon–5 p.m. Thu–Sun, Blue Sky Gallery, FREE
Yeah, yeah, this month brings a total solar eclipse, recommended for those who dig hellish traffic and scary tourist mobs. Avoid all that at Blue Sky Gallery, where cofounder Christopher Rauschenberg curates a group show of “noncelestial eclipse images.” As in, ordinary objects obscured by other ordinary objects—think balloons or birds or books in front of people’s faces.
Adult Soapbox Derby
9:30 a.m.–4 p.m. Sat, Mt. Tabor, FREE
For the child inside all of us—but not for the faint of heart. During this annual event, dozens of racers speed down Mt. Tabor in hand-built apparatuses fueled only by a push at the top of the hill and gravity’s force. You're guaranteed to wonder two things: why you aren’t participating, and why anyone would volunteer to do something so terrifying.
Jade International Night Market
5–10 p.m. Sat, Portland Community College's Southeast Campus, FREE
The annual summer event in Southeast Portland’s Jade District seeks to educate people about the issues impacting the changing neighborhood, celebrate the diversity and culture of its communities, and support small local businesses residing within. Meet your neighbors while enjoying multicultural foods, shops, and performances.
War on the Catwalk
8 p.m. Sat, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, $22.25–159
August 19 is a big night for RuPaul’s Drag Race in Portland: Not only is Season 8 winner Bob the Drag Queen in town (see above), but six Season 9 queens—Sasha, Shea, Farrah, Aja, Alexis, and Trinity—have arrived on their nationwide tour to strut their stuff. “Sashay away,” as RuPaul says, and get yourself a ticket.