The Essentials

13 Portland Shows, Events, and Pure-Genius Things to Know This November

From Joe Biden to Ibeyi to Ta-Nehisi Coates, here’s what you can’t miss this month.

By Rebecca Jacobson and Fiona McCann October 16, 2017 Published in the November 2017 issue of Portland Monthly

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Joe Biden speaks at the Schnitz on November 30.

Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival

Nov 1–5, Whitsell Auditorium
The 44th iteration of this annual showcase of work by the region’s leading filmmakers promises shorts programs and 10–12 feature film screenings. This year’s highlights include a focus on women in animation with Joanna Priestley, Joan Gratz, Rose Bond, Ruth Hayes, Gail Noonan, and Marilyn Zornado.

The King’s Mouth

Nov 2–Jan 6, Center for Contemporary Art & Culture at Pacific Northwest College of Art
If you’ve ever seen a Flaming Lips show—if you’ve experienced the confetti, disco balls, unicorns, and massive inflatable things—you’ve peeked into the madcap mind of front man Wayne Coyne. Now you can fully crawl inside: The King’s Mouth is a floor-to-ceiling installation piece at Pacific Northwest College of Art that invites viewers to lie back on plush red pillows for a spectacle of light, sound, and Day-Glo-tinged psychedelia.

Lucinda Parker  

Nov 2–Dec 2, Russo Lee Gallery
The longtime local artist—she came to Portland in the 1960s—presents Knowledge Is Not Our Enemy, a collection of paintings of Mount Hood and other Pacific Northwest landscapes, rendered with abstract forms and rich, layered color.

When We          

Nov 9–12, Performance Works NW
Portlander Allie Hankins and San Franciscan Rachael Dichter collaborate on a new dance piece, which Hankins—known for canny, charismatic performance art as well as avant-garde aerobics—promises will be “crude, tense, funny, surreal.”

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Ta-Nehisi Coates visits Portland for Wordstock.


Nov 11, various venues
More than 100 authors and several thousand readers coalesce around the South Park Blocks again for Portland’s one-day literary festival, with local authors such as Omar El Akkad and Lidia Yuknavitch slated alongside their acclaimed national counterparts—Pulitzer-winning novelist Jeffrey Eugenides, New Yorker staff writer Adam Gopnik, poet Morgan Parker, and National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates (pictured above), among others. Mark your Moleskine calendars now.


Nov 16, Revolution Hall
Stark electro-beats, haunting vocals, and Yoruba chants—these French-Cuban twin sisters make music like nothing else out there. They dropped their sophomore album, Ash, in late September, featuring collabs with the likes of jazz saxophonist Kamasi Washington and Spanish hip-hop star Mala Rodríguez.

Ilana Glazer and Phoebe Robinson                     

Nov 17, Revolution Hall
Two hilarious humans—Glazer stars in Broad City, while Robinson cohosts the 2 Dope Queens podcast and is the author of You Can’t Touch My Hair—team up for this “Yaaas Queen Yaaas” stand-up tour, promising to distract us all from these uncertain, oft-ghastly times.

Belfast Girls

Nov 17–Dec 10, Shaking the Tree Theatre
Corrib Theatre’s new season launches with Jaki McCarrick’s drama, which follows five young Belfast women fleeing the Great Famine on an Australia-bound ship. Things go south (and not just literally).

A Christmas Memory/Winter Song

Nov 18–Dec 31, Gerding Theater
It’s fruitcake weather, so Truman Capote’s classic tale seems an apt addition to the the holiday calendar. Portland Center Stage pairs it with a cycle of seasonal songs created by Merideth Kay Clark (a.k.a. Elphaba in the first touring production of Wicked) and PCS production associate Brandon Woolley.

Bill Murray

Nov 28, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
America’s favorite ghostbusting, greenskeeping weatherman trades the big screen for our big stage in this evening of music and literature. With cellist Jan Vogler, pianist Vanessa Perez, and Mira Wang on violin, Murray sings Gershwin and Mancini, and recites the likes of Whitman and Hemingway.

Joe Biden

Nov 30, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
Just when you think all hope is lost, Diamond Joe returns! The former vice president and (for some
... OK, many) walking reminder of happier times stops at the Schnitz to promote his new memoir, Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose. Given his well-documented penchant for icy-cold treats, we see this as a sort of homecoming. Have one on us, Joe!

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Read It:

Samiya Bashir’s Field Theories brings thermodynamics and the blues together in one electric book, a visceral exploration of black bodies that gives legendary voices—notably John Henry and his wife, Polly Ann—new and necessary volume. Hear her at Powell’s on Hawthorne, November 5.

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Watch It:

The Benefits of Gusbandry, Alicia Rose’s delicious stoner comedy starring Brooke Totman and Kurt Conroyd, unveils three new episodes of the gay-straight, laugh-out-loud love fest this month. Watch the full series of nine episodes on November 3 at the Portland Film Festival (or on Amazon Video whenevs—it’s a mere 98-minute binge).

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