PoMo Picks

Top Things to Do This Weekend: May 17–20

From Laura Veirs to Bill Nye, sketch comedy to LGBTQ documentaries, here's what's on deck.

By Rebecca Jacobson, Fiona McCann, and Natasha Tandler May 17, 2018

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Portlander Laura Veirs celebrates her new album at Mississippi Studios on Saturday.

Books & Talks

Bill Nye

7:30 p.m. Fri, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, $40–250
Bill Nye—the “Science Guy” who starred in much-adored TV show for kids in the ’90s—comes to Portland to talk about a serious subject: how you can save the planet. Expect an educational evening about protecting public lands, combating climate change, and even a brief lesson about the effects of the Mount St. Helens volcanic eruption to mark the explosion’s 38th anniversary. Proceeds will benefit the Mount St. Helens Institute, a nonprofit that educates the public about volcanic landscapes and environmental stewardship.


Beth Stelling

8 p.m. Fri, Star Theater, $18
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.

Nacho Gold

8 p.m. Fri–Sat, Siren Theater, $16–19
Sketch comedy troupe the 3rd Floor spent 20 years plying their goofball trade in Portland before calling it quits in 2016. Then last year a half-dozen 3rd Floor alums decided to give it another go, under a new name. Behold the results.


Rain & Roses

7:30 p.m. Thu–Fri, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sat, North Warehouse, $30–64
BodyVox brings its playful brand of dance-theater to a North Portland warehouse, accompanied by a live band performing songs composed solely by women musicians, from Björk to Billie Holiday to Dolly Parton.



Various times Thu–Sun, Hollywood Theatre, $8–75
This year’s impressive lineup at QDoc—the only film festival in the US devoted to LGBTQ documentaries—features flicks about the origins of the anarchist queer punk scene, two gay Syrian refugees participating in an international beauty pageant, and a group of transgender Tonga women combating religious intolerance in the South Pacific.


Portland Cello Project

8 p.m. Fri, Revolution Hall, $22–25
What started as an informal collaboration of cellists performing Western classical music at the Doug Fir Lounge has blossomed into a nationally recognized performance group that aims to transcend musical genres across the board. Special guests tonight include Oregon Symphony cellist Nancy Ives, songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Maiah Wynne, and trumpeter Farnell Newton.

Alela Diane

8 p.m. Sat, The Old Church, $15
Here’s a frustrating misconception: songs about motherhood won’t sell. Alela Diane—a Portland-based singer-songwriter whose lyrical ballads are backed by piano-heavy melodies—wrote her latest album, Cusp, to shatter this false assumption and create space for mom musicians to freely express their experiences. Released in February, the album has met wide acclaim: the Guardian called it “outstanding,” praising Diane’s ability to “use motherhood as a lens to examine wider issues.”

Laura Veirs

8 p.m. Sat, Mississippi Studios, $20
Shortly after releasing her collaborative album with Neko Case and k.d. lang, folk-pop singer-songwriter Laura Veirs wrote The Lookout—a new LP featuring guest vocals by Sufjan Stevens and Jim Jamesin her attic studio in Portland. The albumwhich NPR says offers “a buffer to a chaotic world,” explores the delicate instability of life through rich imagery, such as a lightning rod or a mother with her child.

La Luz

9 p.m. Sat, Aladdin Theater, $15
The women of Seattle quartet La Luz call their style “surf noir”: beachy but raw, pairing sunny sounds with dark subject matter. They’re joined by Savilá, a blissed-out, cumbia-inspired Portland trio (one of its members, Fabi Reyna, also founded the magazine She Shreds and is featured in our May issue).

Moorea Masa & the Mood

8 p.m. Sun, Doug Fir, $10–12
She’s appeared on American Idol, recorded with the Decemberists, sung with Ural Thomas, and toured with k.d. lang. Now the 25-year-old Portlander with the textured, jazzy voice releases her debut album. Shine a Light showcases Masa’s vocal range across heartfelt R&B numbers—be here for its release show, so you can say you knew her when.



7 p.m. Thu–Sun, Funhouse Lounge, $15–30
For the OUTwright Theatre Festival, which celebrates work by LBGTQ artists, Fuse Theatre Ensemble presents a site-specific rendering of John Kander and Frank Ebb’s classic musical. Set in the messy, scandalous milieu of Berlin’s Kit Kat Klub in the early 1930s, Cabaret gives a timely reminder of how fascism can creep into every corner of society.

Watsonville: Some Place Not Here

7:30 p.m. Thu–Sat, 2 p.m. Sun, Milagro Theatre, $20–27
Milagro ends its season with playwright Cherríe Moraga’s bilingual story of a group of Chicana women who take part in a strike at their cannery while politicians debate the merits of an anti-immigration bill. For more on Milagro—and its unique struggles in the Trump era—check out our recent story on the company.

Visual Art

CLOSING Animating Life: The Art, Science, and Wonder of Laika

10 a.m.–8 p.m. Thu–Fri, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat–Sun, Portland Art Museum, $19.99 
The pioneers of stop-motion animation—responsible for CoralineParaNorman, and Kubo and the Two Strings—get a star turn in this major Portland Art Museum exhibit. Expect puppets and props, plus behind-the-scenes photos, film clips, and a slew of screenings. Laika just announced that its next film, slated for release next spring, is about finding Bigfoot, with Zach Galifianakis voicing the beast. And for even more on Laika, check out our story on the miniature masterpieces created by costume designer Deborah Cook.

CLOSING The Feeling Good Handbook

11 a.m.–6 p.m. Thu–Sat, Upfor Gallery, FREE
Heidi Hahn and Shana Moulton are determined to prove that neither the most sophisticated 21st-century technology nor the “connections” made through social media can provide answers to the timeless existential questions of the human race. (No biggie, really.) The Feeling Good Handbook is their multimedia exhibit, featuring narrative paintings and episodic video works.

PDX Squared

6 p.m. Sat, Splash Worldwide, $40–65 to participate, $30 for dinner and live judging
For this urban photography competition, 72 photographers—each assigned to one square block of Portland—have just 24 hours to capture a compelling, award-winning shot. If the pressure weren’t already high enough, participants will also be judged before a live audience at the closing event.

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