12 Things to See and Do in Portland: July 2019

Pussy Riot masks, sandwich sculptures, Rodrigo y Gabriela, and sketch comedy galore—here’s what you can’t miss this month.

By Rebecca Jacobson June 25, 2019 Published in the July 2019 issue of Portland Monthly

1. Barbara Peacock

July 3–28, Blue Sky Gallery
In American Bedroom (above), the Portland, Maine–based photographer captures intimate, evocative portraits of—you guessed it—Americans in their bedrooms, from couples caught midcuddle to kids bouncing on the bed to squatters in Southern California’s Slab City. 

2. Our Ruined House

June 27–July 13, Reed College Performing Arts Building
The ever-iconoclastic Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble promises Pussy Riot masks, live-feed surveillance video, and a giant octopus in this new show, an exploration of relationships both romantic and geopolitical. 

3. Anthony McCann

July 9, Powell’s City of Books
The SoCal-based poet brings vivid lyricism to Shadowlands, an account of the 2016 right-wing occupation at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. He’s joined in conversation by local journalist Leah Sottile, host of the Bundyville podcast. 

4. Jessie Weitzel Le Grand

July 6–28, Carnation
In Bloom Tomb, the local sculptor and second-grade teacher showcases mixed-media “artifacts and snacks” from an imagined town she calls Ny By. Sounds precious, but it’s not: Le Grand’s multilayered sculptures are colorful, cheeky affairs featuring flowers and sandwich fixings. 

5. Universo

July 11–13, Hand2Mouth Theatre
In 1989 in Aloha, Oregon, a 14-year-old named Joaquin Lopez came out as gay. It was a rough time to be a queer kid, but Lopez found release on the dance floors of under-21 clubs in downtown Portland. Thirty years later, he’s completed a Spanish-language electro-pop album inspired by the music that soundtracked his teen years, accompanied by a multimedia show premiering this month at Milagro Theatre. 

6. Rodrigo y Gabriela

July 16, McMenamins Edgefield
April’s Mettavolution was the first full-length album from the electrifying Mexican acoustic guitar duo in five years. Inspired by Buddhism and the history of human evolution, the LP is commanding and appropriately meditative, closing with a 19-minute cover of Pink Floyd’s “Echoes.” 

7. In the Penal Colony

July 26–Aug 10, Hampton Opera Center
Jerry Mouawad, best known as Imago Theatre’s inventive cofounder, directs Philip Glass’s one-act chamber opera based on Franz Kafka’s short story about an island prison and its vicious execution machine. 

8. BKO Quintet

July 16, Lansu Garden
The Malian ensemble blends lute, harp, percussion, and incantatory vocals to danceable, driving effect—a summery jolt in the serene surrounds of the Lan Su Chinese Garden. 

9. Portland Sketch Comedy Festival

July 11–13, Siren Theater
Bridgetown Comedy Festival might be no more, but our city’s not hurting for humor. This celebration of sketch returns for year three, with a slew of hometown troupes, including the Aces and Spectravagasm, joined by funny folks from New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Vancouver, British Columbia. 

10. Lisa Taddeo

July 11, Powell’s City of Books
Journalist Lisa Taddeo’s much-hyped book debut, Three Women, draws on eight years of reporting to chronicle the sex lives of three American women: a mother in suburban Indiana who plunges into an intense affair, a restaurateur in the Northeast whose husband likes watching her have sex with other people, and a young North Dakotan navigating the fallout from a relationship with her high school English teacher. 

Read It

Russian oligarchs! Political corruption! Bureaucratic thickets! And, umm, endangered fish? In Stronghold, Tucker Malarkey—a former editor at Tin House who now lives in Berkeley, California—profiles her cousin, Portlander Guido Rahr, as he fights to save wild salmon in the Russian Far East.

Hear It

Portland MC ePP dropped There’s a Place for People Like You back in April, but it’s prime summer listening: 13 tracks of powerful lyrics, swaggering melodic hooks, and smooth, windows-down grooves. Bonus: the inimitable Last Artful, Dodgr makes an appearance on two songs.

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