8 p.m. Thu, 7 and 10 p.m. Fri–Sat, Helium Comedy Club, $17–33
You may have seen this comedian, writer, and actor on his recurring segment, “No More Mr. Nice Gay,” on Chelsea Lately, or playing Natalie Portman’s roommate in No Strings Attached. (He used to be a staff writer for Fashion Police, too.) He’s known for his passionate tweets about pop culture and politics—and for being outrageously opinionated in general—so prepare for an earful.
7:30 p.m. Thu–Sat, BodyVox Dance Center, $30–64
For 20 years, Portlanders Eric Skinner and Daniel Kirk have been making emotionally rich contemporary dance. For this program, their ensemble performs two restaged pieces, as well as a new duet by Skinner, set to Verdi and Charpentier, that “[explores] the relationship between a dancer’s youth and maturity.”
9 p.m. Thu, Doug Fir Lounge, $16–18
Known for her honeyed voice and alt-country sound, Jessica Lea Mayfield's latest album, Sorry Is Gone, is her rawest but tightest to date, chronicling the breakup of her marriage with an impressive balance of grunge and exuberance.
8 p.m. Thu, Roseland Theater, $26–28
The alt-Southern rock band got political on their latest album, 2016′s American Band, hitting on issues of race, cultural divisions, and gun violence. Nashville native Lilly Hiatt opens the show.
7:30 p.m. Fri, Moda Center, $80.50–335
Megastar Katy Perry’s fourth major label album, Witness, didn’t do so well upon its release last summer, but the ensuing tour has fared slightly better. Prepare for screams, funky costumes, and lots of dancing. One burning question: will Left Shark make an appearance? Carly Rae Jepsen opens.
7:30 p.m. Thu–Sat, 2 p.m. Sun, Northwest Children's Theater, $20–25
When Bess Walder and Beth Cummings were being evacuated as children from Britain in 1940, a torpedo hit their ship in the Atlantic Ocean. The two survived and solidified a lifelong friendship while hanging on to a lifeboat for 16 hours, awaiting rescue. This true story of fortune and fortitude premieres here in a warm and tightly choreographed coproduction between Corrib and Northwest Children’s Theater, deftly directed by Avital Shira.
7:30 p.m. Thu–Fri, PICA, $12–30
A New York queen of the underground, performance artist Penny Arcade gives a fiercely feminist take on “the post-gentrification landscape,” riffing on everything from millennials to cupcake shops.
5:30 p.m. Thu–Fri, 2 p.m. Sat–Sun, Artists Repertory Theatre, $25–50
Oregon playwright E. M. Lewis unveils her five-hour epic about the discovery of the hole in the ozone layer, set in 1986 at the South Pole Research Station. Science! Love! Global politics! Don’t fret: audiences get a dinner break midway through the show.
OPENING Alix Pearlstein
11 a.m.–8 p.m. Thu, 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Fri–Sat, Upfor Gallery, FREE
The artist may describe the exhibition Harem ROOM-1 as a “figurative installation” with a nod to “a collection of like, fetishized elements” but we know this will be a room full of TINY SCULPTED CATS and that is exactly what we need in these dark days of winter.
OPENING New Feelings
11 a.m.–6 p.m. Thu–Sat, PNCA Center for Contemporary Art & Culture, FREE
From the rhinestone-loving Mickalene Thomas to Moroccan-born Hassan Hajjaj—who frames his color-popping, pattern-wild images with convenience-store goods—this photography exhibit explores race, history, and identity via staged portraits by six artists from around the globe.
Noon–5 p.m. Thu–Sun, Blue Sky Gallery, FREE
Books and Films 1947–2018 draws together the work of the influential Swiss-American photographer, best known for The Americans, a landmark 1958 book that captured people across lines of race and class. Born in Switzerland in 1924, Frank is still active today.
Various times and locations Thu–Sun, FREE
Portland is about to get lit. This outdoor event, now in its third year, features light-based art installations, electrifying performances, and all-ages activities taking place across the city.