8 p.m. Thu, 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. Fri–Sat, Helium Comedy Club, $25
The married comedians—she’s arch and cutting, he’s a neurotic motormouth—bring their act to Helium, promising live relationship advice alongside the stand-up sets. In other words, the perfect antidote to all that saccharine Christmas cheer.
8 p.m. Fri, Aladdin Theater, $20
The Portland native, Bridgetown cofounder, and all-around jovial funnyman returns home for a two-night stand-up run. Katie Nguyen, among the funniest (and busiest) of Portland’s current crop of comedians, opens. (For more, check out our profile of Nguyen.)
2 and 7:30 p.m. Thu–Sat, Keller Auditorium, $35–146
As reliable as the holiday season itself, Oregon Ballet Theatre’s annual performance of Balanchine’s The Nutcracker returns for the 16th year. If you prefer Tchaikovsky’s score live, make sure to catch one of the performances featuring the OBT orchestra.
8 p.m. Thu–Fri, Roseland Theater, SOLD OUT
The Portland-born (and now LA-based) rapper returns for two nights at the Roseland. Aminé (a.k.a. Adam Amine Daniel) broke onto the national scene in 2016 when his debut single, “Caroline,” went viral, landing him at no. 11 on the Billboard charts. On his sophomore effort, August’s OnePointFive, he keeps his playful style while tackling heavier issues around fame and money.
9 p.m. Thu, Doug Fir Lounge, $8–10
Pop music doesn’t have to be trite. In fact, says Tents frontman Brian Hall, “It can be art, and that art can be medicine.” And this Portland band, whose members have dealt with all variety of medical issues over the last few years, would know. The band’s debut full-length, Deer Keeps Pace, was released earlier this year, and is rich with reflections on illness and perseverance, with an undercurrent of persistent joy.
7:30 p.m. Thu–Sat, CoHo Theater, $25–40
Annie Baker is one of the sharpest, most empathetic playwrights working today, and Third Rail Rep has chewed into the Pulitzer winner’s work with aplomb. The gothic-tinged John is set in a B&B in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where a tchotchke-obsessed proprietor watches over a young couple as they navigate a rift in their relationship. This production, directed by Rebecca Lingafelter, is enormously affecting, with pitch-perfect performances all around.
CLOSING Vampire Tapestry
7:30 p.m. Thu–Sat, Chapel Theatre, $20-30
A psychotherapist tries to figure out why her patient suffers from delusions of being a vampire. Is it PTSD? Bipolar disorder? Or is he really one of the undead? Portlander Tobias Andersen (who also directs) adapted the show from Unicorn Tapestry, a Nebula Award-winning novella by Suzy McKee Charnas.
7:30 p.m. Thu–Sat, 2 p.m. Sun, Shoebox Theatre, $25
With a mission to present “world-renowned plays in an intimate performance space,” Asylum Theatre returns after a 17-year hiatus with David Mamet’s 1988 satire on Hollywood, a tale of commercialism versus art, and the misogyny that plagues the LA industry.
CLOSING Bell, Book and Candle
7:30 p.m. Thu–Sat, 2 p.m. Sun, Vault Theater, $30–35
When a Greenwich Village witch falls in love with her neighbor, should she cast the perfect spell or give up her powers permanently to win his heart? Bag & Baggage presents John Van Druten’s 1950 supernatural classic, which became a 1958 movie starring Kim Novak and Jimmy Stewart—and also helped inspire a lil ol’ TV show called Bewitched.
CLOSING Alien ate d Rhy thm
Noon–6 p.m. Thu–Sat, Ori Gallery, FREE
Hiba Ali and Jonathan Chacón, both queer artists of color, team up for a new joint exhibit. The featured work explores the circumstances and surroundings of each artist’s upbringing, with Ali and Chacón subverting the white walls of a conventional gallery with the color orange, bubbles, and foam tiles.
CLOSING Ralph Pugay
11 a.m.–6 p.m. Thu–Sat, Upfor Gallery, FREE
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.
CLOSING Books & Boxes
Noon–5 p.m. Fri–Sat, Roll-Up Photo Studio & Gallery, FREE
This whimsical exhibition presents 10 individual artists’ unique approaches to book arts and assemblage—think mixed-media collages and sculptural scenes. Maybe it’ll even inspire you to tackle that unread stack by your nightstand (or just take scissors and paint and transform them into something new...).