PoMo Picks

Top Things to Do This Weekend: Nov 2–5

From John Hodgman to Siren Nation, a Wayne Coyne art show to the Hump Film Fest, this weekend takes no prisoners.

By Hannah Bonnie, Rebecca Jacobson, Fiona McCann, and Eleanor Van Buren November 2, 2017

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Jessica Boudreaux of Summer Cannibals plays Siren Nation on Sunday.

Books & Talks

John Hodgman

7:30 p.m. Fri, Powell's City of Books, FREE
In his new collection of absurdist essays, Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches, the humorist meditates on middle age by navigating two “wildernesses”: his childhood in western Massachusetts and his wanderings along Maine’s coastline.

Samiya Bashir

4 p.m. Sun, Powell's Books on Hawthorne, FREE
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.


Light a Fire

5:30 p.m. Thu, Leftbank Annex, prices vary
For 13 years, Portland Monthly’s Light a Fire awards have celebrated the nonprofits, charities, organizations, volunteers, and board members helping to make our city—and the world—a better place. This year, we need do-gooders more than ever—and countless Portlanders are heeding the call to action. Winners will be featured at tonight’s awards ceremony and dinner. Read more about our Light a Fire winners here.


Beth Stelling

8 p.m. Thu, 7:30 and 10 p.m. Fri–Sat, Helium Comedy Club, $15–31
From Conan to Jimmy Kimmel Live, Stelling is well-practiced on the late-night circuit, with conversational, often sarcastic stand-up that takes on gender expectations, female reproductive health, and the experience of leaving her home state of Ohio.

Mike Birbiglia

7:30 and 9:45 p.m. Fri, Newmark Theatre, $39.50
Sure, you could watch Birbiglia's specials—My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend and Thank God for Jokes—on Netflix. Or you could catch the comedian IRL on his The New One tour, spinning tales that straddle the line between awkward and tender.



7:30 p.m. Thu–Fri, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sat, Polaris Dance Theatre, $17.50–25
Polaris Dance Theatre artistic director Robert Guitron choreographs a tribute to three late greats—Prince, David Bowie, and Leonard Cohen—that reflects on storytelling and the power of art. 

Diva Practice

8 p.m. Thu–Sun, The Headwaters Theatre, $20
On stage, one of the city’s best-known drag queens puts a Donald Trump mask on, morphing it through gestures and video manipulations. It’s part of the show Diva Practice, which Pepper Pepper says is both a research project and “a performance about queens dancing in the face of uncertainty.” Still not sold? Here are four reasons you must see the show.


Northwest Filmmakers' Festival

Various times thru Sun, Whitsell Auditorium, $9 per ticket, $35 festival pass
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.

Hump Film Festival

Various times thru Nov 11, Revolution Hall, $20–25
The sex-positive film festival returns for its 13th year, with amateur porn—all films are five minutes or less—celebrating sexuality in all shades, shapes, and sizes.


King Krule

8 p.m. Sat, Wonder Ballroom, SOLD OUT
In his 2013 breakout single “Easy Easy,” King Krule’s low, gruff voice built along the lone strings of a Fender. Now the English redhead rocker has just released his third album, The Ooz


CLOSING Every Brilliant Thing

Noon and 7:30 p.m. Thu, 7:30 p.m. Fri, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sat, 2 p.m. Sun, Gerding Theater, $25+
Playwright Duncan Macmillan’s one-man show—a hit Off-Broadway and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival—follows an unnamed narrator as he recounts growing up with a suicidal mother. After she first attempts to kill herself, the 7-year-old starts making a list of everything that’s brilliant: ice cream, the color yellow, people falling over. He keeps adding to it as he grows up, falls in love, and experiences his own bouts of depression. It’s a touching, very funny script, tackled here by Portland fave Isaac Lamb.

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It's off to the Caucasus at Shaking the Tree.

CLOSING The Caucasian Chalk Circle

7:30 p.m. Thu–Sat, Shaking the Tree, $30
Written at the close of World War II, Bertolt Brecht’s parable tells the story of a peasant woman who inadvertently rescues the child of the town’s governor after he is beheaded following a coup. This Shaking the Tree production promises to comment on class elements of the fable that remain relevant today.

OPENING Water by the Spoonful/The Happiest Song Plays Last

7:30 p.m. Thu–Sat, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sun, Artists Repertory Theatre, $20–38
Profile has devoted this season to Quiara Alegría Hudes, and it sends things out with two shows in rotating rep: Water by the Spoonful, a 2012 Pulitzer winnert, and its sequel, The Happiest Song Plays Last. Both chronicle the life of a returned Iraq War veteran as he tries to reconnect with his Puerto Rican family—and community at large—in Philadelphia.

Dead Special Crabs

5 p.m. Sun, Artists Repertory Theatre, FREE
In Portland playwright Dan Kitrosser's comedy, a road trip from Maine to Florida comes to include "serial killers, cults, emo poets, first-time homosexuals and noir private detectives." (And crabs, duh.) Catch a free staged reading tonight.

Visual Art

OPENING Sylwia Kowalczyk and Benoit Fournier

Noon–9 p.m. Thu, noon–5 p.m. Fri–Sun, Blue Sky Gallery, FREE
In Babylon, Benoit Fournier juxtaposes mise-en-scènes and experiments with red hues. Meanwhile, Sylwia Kowalczyk, a Polish native, rips photographs printed on paper and rearranges the pieces to form altered figures, which she then re-photographs. The title of her exhibit, Lethe, takes its name from the river in Purgatory that cleanses Dante in the Divine Comedy.

OPENING The King's Mouth

11 a.m.–6 p.m. Thu–Sun, PNCA, FREE
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.

OPENING Lucinda Parker

11 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Thu–Fri, 11 a.m–5 p.m. Sat, Russo-Lee Gallery, FREE
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.

Sitka Art Invitational

10 a.m.–4 p.m. Sat–Sun, World Forestry Center, $5
The 24th annual Sitka Art Invitational displays more than 350 works of various mediums from more than 140 Pacific Northwest artists, who collaborated with scientists to create their environmental art. Plus, on Friday, chat with featured artists from 6–9 p.m. (tickets $45–65).

Special Events

All Together Festival

Various times thru Sun, various venues, prices vary
In 2007 Brianne and Jared Mees opened a tiny shop in Northwest Portland, selling records on their own nascent label as well as zines and handmade goods. They called it Tender Loving Empire, a name neatly combining earnestness and ambition. Ten years, 70 records, and four stores later, TLE captures a particular Portland ethos: still rough-hewn and community focused, but also ready and willing to expand. The label celebrates with a festival at venues around the city—expect sample sales and s'mores cookouts by day and performances by Y La Bamba, Typhoon, and Loch Lomond by night. Plus: we took a spin through TLE's catalog.

Siren Nation Festival

Various times thru Nov 13, various venues, prices vary
From musicians to comedians to painters, women in the arts take the spotlight in this 11th annual festival. Things kick off with Reflections, a group show featuring 50 women artists from the Pacific Northwest. Musical performers include powerhouse hip-hop star Lizzo, local folk duo Lenore, and Jessica Boudreaux of Summer Cannibals. Also on: a stacked comedy showcase, an art and craft sale, and a variety of workshops and panels. Check the website for full schedule and ticketing info.

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