PoMo Picks

Top Things to Do This Weekend: Dec 5–8

John Waters hits the Aladdin, three great gallery shows open, and Roald Dahl gets the musical treatment at Northwest Children's Theater.

By Conner Reed and Olivia Wolf December 4, 2019

John Waters comes to the Aladdin this weekend, we hope in this crocodile-toned suit with little monkeys on it.

Image: Greg Gorman

Books & Talks

Joy of Cooking

7:30 p.m. Sun, Powell's City of Books, FREE
Portlanders John Becker and Megan Scott, fourth-generation standard-bearers of Joy of Cooking (and PoMo recipe contributors), celebrate the recipe bible’s brand-new 2019 edition. Our best advice is to check any Thanksgiving-size kitchen trauma at the door. 


Visual Fluidity

7 p.m. Thurs, Whitsell Auditorium, $5–10
Seattle animator Neely Goniodsky presents a 13-year survey of her trippy, inventive shorts at the Whitsell Auditorium. From an homage to poet Edward Smyth Jones to a jazzy meditation on mortality, Goniodsky’s work is spry, lively, and moving. She’ll stick around for a post-screening Q&A.


Gabriel Kahane and Prokofiev's Fifth

7:30 p.m. Sat, 2 p.m. Sun, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, $31–125
Back in August, the Oregon Symphony named Los Angeles–born wunderkind Gabriel Kahane its new creative chair. This month, he performs selections from The Ambassador and Book of Travelers—his albums about LA architecture and a cross-country train journey, respectively—in a program with Soviet composer Sergei Prokofiev’s triumphant Fifth Symphony. It’s an ambitious single billing that covers a lot of ground; if this is the future of classical music, count us in.

Vampire Weekend Unplugged

8 p.m. Fri, Crystal Ballroom, SOLD OUT
The boys from Columbia (down one Rostam) kiss the amps goodbye for an intimate Crystal set. Fingers crossed for a left-field cover that sets Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged “Man Who Sold the World” shaking in its boots. 

Special Events

A John Waters Christmas

8 p.m. Friday, Aladdin Theater, $37–115
Everyone’s favorite pencil-mustached punk returns for his annual holiday appearance, “like a damaged St. Nick for the Christmas corrupted,” per the press release. It may not be an ideal family affair (unless your family regularly screens Female Trouble), but consider it a moment of Yuletide respite for the trash lovers in your brood. Read our interview with the Pope of Trash here.


OPENING: Matilda the Musical

12 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Sat–Sun, Northwest Children's Theater, $16–27
Revolting children, revolting times, delightful tunes. Tim Minchin’s stage adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic—which, between its New York and London runs, snagged 5 Tonys and 7 Oliviers—is in more-than-capable hands with the inventive aesthetes at Northwest Children’s Theater. Ideal preparation: revisiting the Danny DeVito-directed(!!!!) 1996 film as a family, which is somehow twice as good as you remember. 

Melancholy Play: a chamber musical

7:30 p.m. Thurs–Sat, 2 p.m. Sun, CoHo Theatre, $25–46
Sarah Ruhl wrote Melancholy Play, a brainy, surreal farce about characters who can’t stop talking about their feelings, in 2002 (the students at Portland Actor’s Conservatory performed it back in 2010). A decade later, Ruhl reworked her play into a chamber musical with help from composer Todd Almond—now, Third Rail brings that version to life.

The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart

7:30 p.m. Thurs–Fri, Tiffany Center, $10–50
This “dizzyingly funny” drama (says the Guardian) follows Scottish folklore scholar Prudencia Hart from a literary conference to a run-in with Satan. Staged pub-style in the Tiffany Center, complete with a whiskey list and a dinner menu, Artists Rep brings this buzzy, barrier-busting UK export stateside. It looks like a welcome holiday tonic for anyone suffering Nutcracker fatigue.

A Xmas Cuento Remix

7:30 p.m. Thurs–Sat, 2 p.m. Sun, Milagro, $20–29
Milagro stalwart Maya Malán-González workshopped this contemporary rewrite of A Christmas Carol last winter in a staged reading—this year, the company mounts it as a full-blown production. Billed as “a modern-day, Latinx take on Dickens’ classic,” Malán-González’s show pulls together a female-heavy cast and contemporary soundtrack for a world-premiere bilingual production.

Visual Art

OPENING: Arvie Smith

12 p.m.–5 p.m. Fri–Sun, Disjecta, FREE
Portland painter Arvie Smith’s provocative, many-hued show 2 Up and 2 Back is on at Disjecta through the beginning of February. One of the city’s sharpest talents, Smith explores bias, racism, cultural consumption and more, with welcome humor and breathtaking skill.

OPENING: Erika Morillo

12 p.m.–5 p.m. Thurs–Sat, Blue Sky Gallery, FREE
Umbral, Spanish for “gateway,” is the name of Erika Morillo’s grayscale photography collection on display at Blue Sky. It captures tender, idealistic moments from her son’s early life, and puts them in stark contrast to the turbulent household of her youth in the Dominican Republic. Morillo’s studies in psychology and sociology have a heavy influence on her work, which mostly tackles family dynamics and questions of identity. Join Morillo at the gallery for an artist’s talk on December 5 at 5:00 p.m. 

OPENING: Nat Meade

11 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Thurs–Sat, Froelick Gallery, FREE
The Massachusetts-born, Portland-raised, Brooklyn-educated painter debuts a new show called Sheesh at Old Town’s Froelick Gallery. Meade’s work—blocky, exaggerated, full of oppressive saturated color—dissects masculine tropes with humor and a dash of the surreal. It’s all there in the NSFW “Pecker,” which you can glimpse on Froelick’s website.  

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