PoMo Picks

Top Things to Do This Weekend: Dec 14–17

Jay-Z storms the Moda, John Mulaney hits the Schnitz, sugarplum fairies twirl through the Keller, and Ebenezer Scrooge does his cantankerous thing at Portland Playhouse.

By Rebecca Jacobson, Eleanor Van Buren, Hannah Bonnie, and Kayla Brock December 14, 2017

Bodyvox lexicon sdggss

In Lexicon, BodyVox takes dance high-tech.

Books & Talks

Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib

7:30 p.m. Thu, Powell's City of Books, FREE
In today’s temperamental political climate, we need They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib's new essay collection. The poet and critic examines sociopolitical issues through the lens of music, from Carly Rae Jepsen to Bruce Springsteen to Chance the Rapper, drawing conclusions Kirkus called “sometimes hopeful, often sorrowful, and always visceral.”


John Mulaney

7 and 10 p.m. Thu, 7 p.m. Fri, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, $25–35
The charming comedian with the old-fashioned storytelling chops (he also helped Bill Hader craft unforgettable SNL character Stefon) hits the road with his “Kid Gorgeous” tour.

The Siren Theater’s Brand New Best Christmas Ever

8 p.m. Fri–Sun, Siren Theater, $10–18
Eight crack sketch artists—including Shelley McLendon, Erin Jean O’Regan, and Jed Arkley—vow to give “100 percent holiday cheer” in this variety show modeled on holiday specials of yore.

Die Hard: The Parody Musical

7 p.m. Fri–Sat, Funhouse Lounge, $15–85
Sometimes Bruce Willis just hits you like a wall of inspiration and you turn to Kickstarter. Funhouse Lounge artistic director Andy Barrett raised more than $6,000 to adapt Die Hard—which appropriately takes place on Christmas Eve—for the stage, with 15 original songs and (of course) a singing and dancing John McClane.


a world, a world

7:30 p.m. Thu–Sun, Performance Works NorthWest, $10–25
The culminating installment in iconoclastic Portland choreographer Linda Austin’s (Un)Made—a series exploring the limits of personhood—a world, a world is an intimate show with five dancers navigating a landscape both “hyperactive” and “meditative.”

Hotel Gone

7:30 p.m. Thu, Sat, and Sun, Imago Theatre, $10–20
Jerry Mouawad’s latest show is a mashup of dance and live music, featuring five characters leaping and spinning in a hotel lobby. Mouawad, one of the idiosyncratic, genre-defying founders of Imago Theatre, promises “a world of timeless seduction and trapped mysteries.” 

The Nutcracker

7:30 p.m. Thu–Fri, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sat–Sun, Keller Auditorium, $23+
It’s not December without the pirouetting sugarplum fairies and sword-wielding mice of Balanchine’s beloved ballet. If you don’t like your Tchaikovsky canned, make sure to seek out one of the performances featuring a live orchestra.


7:30 p.m. Thu–Fri, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sat, BodyVox Dance Center, $28–56
Motion capture: not just for Gollum anymore. The ever-inventive BodyVox—the company previously incorporated lasers and green screens in its work—harnesses that technology, along with live video and infrared sensors, for a new dance show. 



8 p.m. Thu, Moda Center, $27.50
Earlier this year, the hip-hop star inked a 10-year (!), $200 million touring deal with Live Nation. This, on the heels of his 13th album, 4:44, is the first installment, with an opening set by Vic Mensa (for more, check out our Q&A with the Chicago rapper). Fingers crossed for a surprise Queen Bey appearance.

Christmas at the Old Church

7:30 p.m. Thu–Fri, 1, 4, and 7:30 p.m. Sat, 2 and 5 p.m. Sun, The Old Church, $22.50–49.50
Acclaimed pianist and composer Michael Allen Harrison has hosted a Christmas concert for more than 25 years, this season featuring such collaborators as vocalist Julianne Johnson and sports broadcaster Bill Schonely.

Charlie Hunter

9 p.m. Fri, Mississippi Studios, SOLD OUT
Widely considered the authority on seven- and eight-string guitars, Charlie Hunter comes to Portland for a night of jazz accompanied by drummer Carter McLean and saxophonist Rob Dixon.

Portugal. The Man

8 p.m. Sun, Crystal Ballroom, SOLD OUT
This fall, the Alaska-formed, Portland-based band rocketed to a new stratosphere with the phenomenally hooky “Feel It Still,” a song that would go on to break the record for the most weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart. Hustle and Drone, an electronic trio hailing from Salem, opens the show.


CLOSING The Humans

7:30 p.m. Thu–Fri, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sat–Sun, Artists Repertory Theatre, $25–50
The winner of the 2016 Tony Award for Best Play, Stephen Karam’s The Humans takes place in a New York City apartment on Thanksgiving as family secrets are unveiled and the pressures of the world bear down. The New York Times hailed it as “piercingly funny, bruisingly sad.”

CLOSING Pericles Wet

7:30 p.m. Thu–Sat, 2 p.m. Sun, Artists Repertory Theatre, $20–30
In this Portland Shakespeare Project world premiere, local playwright Ellen Margolis puts a modern spin on the Bard’s fable of secrecy, guilt, and incest.

A Christmas Carol

7 p.m. Thu, Fri, and Sun, 2 and 7 p.m. Sat, Portland Opera's Hampton Opera Center, $34–59
For the fifth year running, Portland Playhouse brings back its kicky, song-filled take on the Dickens classic.

Visual Art

Laura Berger

1–6 p.m. Thu–Sat, Stephanie Chefas Projects, FREE
The Chicago-based artist’s Here With You is an exploration of connectedness, with naked figures swirling in acrylic and gouache paintings.

The Wyeths: Three Generations

10 a.m.–8 p.m. Thu–Fri, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat–Sun, Portland Art Museum, $19.99 
PAM displays more than 80 paintings and drawings from one of the most artistically prolific families in the United States. Born in 1882, N.C. Wyeth was one of the nation’s premier illustrators. He passed his artistic talent onto his son Andrew, a painter. Also on show: work by Henriette Wyeth, N.C.’s daughter, and her husband, Peter Hurd, as well as paintings by Andrew’s son, Jamie.

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