Books & Talks
7:30 p.m. Thu, Powell's City of Books, FREE
Poet, essayist, and onetime amateur pianist Bruce Berger hits Powell’s to read excerpts from his latest collection, A Desert Harvest. The new book pulls together previously unpublished work, with selections from There Was a River, Almost an Island, and The Telling Distance. Expect to leave with a new lease on sunsets.
8 p.m. Thu, 7:30 and 10 p.m. Fri–Sat, Helium Comedy Club, $25
Janeane Garofalo, she of Wet Hot American Summer, SNL, and (God bless) Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce, hits Helium for a night of “well-informed opinions and unflinching honesty.” Here’s hoping for some unhinged absurdity on par with that counselors-on-a-bender scene from Wet Hot, too.
Various times Thu–Sun, Whitsell Auditorium, $8–10
The NW Film Center’s annual festival, co-presented with the Institute for Judaic Studies, is back with 13 films released between 2017 and 2019. Titles range from a documentary about Israel’s national baseball team to a brooding noir set in mid-’30s Budapest.
Various times Thu–Sun, venues vary, prices vary
The Northwest’s only chamber music festival takes over stages across the city for its 49th year. Featuring multiple events every day from late June to late July, it covers a lot of ground: Mozart, film scores, jazz clarinet, an “instrument petting zoo” where kids can get familiar with brass and strings. Performances are supplemented with a series of talks and open rehearsals for the extra-curious.
8 p.m. Thu–Fri, Disjecta Contemporary Art Center, $24
This one-man show from Portland musician Matt Sheehy is billed as “part rock concert, part podcast, and part The Twilight Zone.” In addition to touring with bands like EL VY, Sheehy is the front man of electro-pop group Lost Lander. This wide-ranging performance, inspired by Sheehy’s time living and working as a forester in Aberdeen, Washington, runs about 80 minutes and includes live-action and animated projections.
9 p.m. Fri, Aladdin Theater, $18–20
Proving the world would benefit from more period-positive surf tunes (sample line: “Sew a scarlet letter on my bathing suit, ’cause I’ve got sharks in hot pursuit”), the palindromic Seattle quartet brings irreverent lyrics and bubblegum glee to pop-punk tunes about mansplainers, Internet trolls, and seasonal affective disorder. Their latest, May's This Mess Is a Place, "maintains a throughline of Tacocat's signature snark and surf-pop without sugarcoating the effects of the emotionally-draining political landscape," said NPR.
7:30 p.m. Thu–Sat, 5 p.m Sun, Portland Playhouse, $10–40
Julie Hammond, best known locally for her work with Hand2Mouth, brings her theater piece from Vancouver, B.C., to the Portland Playhouse stage. Other Inland Empires links California surf culture with Central European Jewish identity, employing inflatable seagulls and palm trees in the process. Also expect “pop music meditations” and “a lost tooth hold[ing] hands with an earring." We talked with Hammond about what else went into the Gidget-inspired show—read more here.
OPENING Our Ruined House
7:30 p.m. Thu–Sun, Reed College Performing Arts Building, $20–25
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.
OPENING CoHo Summerfest
7:30 p.m. Thu–Sun, CoHo Theatre, $25 per show; $75 four-show pass
Slabtown’s CoHo Productions brings four new pieces to the stage. First up is Witch Hunt (updated from its January workshop at Fertile Ground), which features performers from the CoHo Clown Cohort toying with the boundaries between sin and sainthood.
7:30 p.m. Fri–Sat, 5 p.m. Sun, Imago Theatre, pay-what-you-will ($20 suggested, $40 to reserve seats in advance; VIP packages available for $100)
In its 12th year, the genre-defying fest hops the river to Southeast’s Imago Theatre, with five West Coast artists exploring neurodiversity, fatness, and video games, among other matters. Plus: site-specific works in and around the nearby Jupiter Hotel.
CLOSING Barry Johnson
11 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Thu–Fri, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat, Russo Lee Gallery, FREE
The Seattle-based, self-taught artist makes use of a wide range of forms—from painting to sculpture to photography—as a means of exploring race, identity, and culture. As part of the gallery’s “In The Office” series, Russo Lee hosts hosting a collection of Johnson’s work, largely consisting of his vibrantly colored mixed-media portraits.
CLOSING This Place
11 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Thu–Sat, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Sun, Waterstone Gallery, FREE
Waterstone Gallery’s June exhibition features the work of two artists. The featured artist is painter Shawn Demarest, who brings a touch of magical realism to her vibrant, whimsical renderings of Portland’s streets, while guest artist Careen Stoll’s elegant ceramic pieces act as a balance, their gentle curves producing a more soothing effect on the viewer.