The Essentials

11 Things to See and Do in Portland: November 2018

Tom Hanks and Abbi Jacobson come to town, Tank and the Bangas play the Roseland, and the Oregon Symphony mashes up Tchaikovsky and Drake.

By Rebecca Jacobson and Fiona McCann October 17, 2018 Published in the November 2018 issue of Portland Monthly

1. Mako Miyamoto

Nov 2–30, Stephanie Chefas Projects
Known for saturated landscapes (and occasional Wookiees), this Portland photographer’s new show, The Spectral Divide, was inspired by the infrared of the electromagnetic spectrum, and steeps Oregon’s lush landscape in vivid reds and cool blues.

2. Portland Book Festival

Nov 10
The literary extravaganza formerly known as Wordstock returns with a new name—Portland Book Festival—and the same one-day roster of readings, conversations, and authors, this year with added actors! Tom Hanks and Abbi Jacobson are on the 2018 lineup, alongside Rachel Kushner, Jonathan Lethem, and locals Patrick deWitt and Leni Zumas.

3. Tchaikovsky v. Drake

Nov 8, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
What can a 19th-century Russian composer and a 21st-century Canadian rapper possibly have in common? One Oregon Symphony show, at least. Three vocalists and a rapper (Drake not present) join the symphony to mash up the composer’s Fifth Symphony (Tchaikovsky not present) with hip-hop hits.

4. Cloth

Nov 9–11, New Expressive Works
PDX Contemporary Ballet founder Briley Neugebauer has said she takes modern dance and puts pointe shoes on it. This season, the company’s fourth, muses on existentialism and Richard Yates’s novel Revolutionary Road, opening with an in-the-round production about the choices we make as we grow up.

5. Everybody

 Nov 25–Dec 30, Artists Repertory Theatre
Last season, Artists Rep staged Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s An Octoroon, which riffed on an antebellum melodrama. The company returns with another show by the wildly talented writer, this one inspired by a 15th-century morality play about death and Christian salvation, with roles at each performance assigned by a lottery (oh, the suspense!).

6. Tank and the Bangas

Nov 7, Roseland Theater
This New Orleans outfit won NPR’s Tiny Desk contest last year, blowing listeners away with the sonic joy of its jazz/R&B/soul blend. Vocally versatile Tarriona “Tank” Ball leads her talented cohort at the Roseland Theater. Get ready for some high-energy, deep-diving delights

7. Ralph Pugay

Nov 1–Dec 22, Upfor Gallery
The Portland artist injects absurdity and brash color into narrative paintings—a gymnast being gored by a bull, a robot at a retirement home. This solo exhibit, A Spiritual Guide to Brute Force, features work from a summer of artist residencies across North America.

8. Young Fathers

Nov 14, Wonder Ballroom
This Scottish trio met at a hip-hop night in Edinburgh, and their music is still often described as such. But Young Fathers—who earlier this year released their third full-length album, Cocoa Sugar—aren’t so easily pinned down, with a sound that’s by turns catchy and esoteric, gorgeous and discordant.

9. The Little Prince

Nov 30–Dec 2, Winningstad Theatre
Family-friendly opera: not an oxymoron! Opera Theater Oregon, which aims to inject the form with social relevance, presents Rachel Portman’s riff on Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s much-loved novella. The kids’ll be ready for Carmen in no time.

Read It

In 1986, a million books were set ablaze in the Los Angeles Public Library. Onetime Portlander Susan Orlean sets out to investigate the unsolved conflagration in The Library Book, while reminding us of the library’s place at the heart of modern civilization. She reads at Powell’s City of Books on Nov 4.

Hear It

Performing as Black Belt Eagle Scout, Portlander Katherine Paul makes aching, atmospheric music. Her debut album, Mother of My Children, draws on post-rock, riot grrrl, and the rhythmic pulse of tribal drumming. Catch her live at Polaris Hall on Nov 16.

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