Spring Arts: The Essentials

9 Things to See and Do in Portland: March 2020

The shows and events we love this month.

By Conner Reed February 25, 2020 Published in the March 2020 issue of Portland Monthly

As the Crow Flies

Happy March, everyone: we’re done with roosting season, that magical time of year when thousands of crows overrun our city like ink-streaked harbingers of death. To mark its end, Kaeli Swift (a PhD who studies crow death behaviors) gives a talk at the Aladdin about the birds, their social customs, and (yes) their death rituals. Mar 3, aladdin-theater.com

Portland International Film Festival

Back for a 43rd year, PIFF hits the NW Film Center with its usual mix of screenings, talks, and workshops. This year, the festival introduces its Cinema Unbound Awards—recipients range from sometime-Portlander Todd Haynes to Shrill star John Cameron Mitchell. Mar 6–15, nwfilm.org

Berio’s Sinfonia by Rose Bond

Loose-cannon Italian composer Luciano Berio (often credited with merging classical and electronic music before Philip Glass could drive) wrote the epic, wide-ranging Sinfonia in the late ’60s. Now the Oregon Symphony performs it alongside a series of original animations by local multimedia heavyweight Rose Bond. Mar 14–16, orsymphony.org

Bikini Kill

The Olympia riot grrrl legends swing into Portland for two sold-out nights at the Crystal. The current tour marks their first official reunion since disbanding in 1997—expect heads to explode during “Rebel Girl.” Mar 22–23, crystalballroompdx.com

Tommy Orange

The author of There There comes to the Schnitz as a part of the Multnomah County Library’s Everybody Reads series. The book, a sprawling account of Native American life in Oakland, was a 2019 Pulitzer finalist the New York Times called “tense [and] prismatic, with inexorable momentum.” Mar 5, literary-arts.org

Nikki Glaser

The sharp, prolific stand-up was the first contestant eliminated on season 27 of Dancing with the Stars after breaking her back and botching her salsa. No sweat: her latest special Bangin, which premiered on Netflix last October, is a bona fide delight. She hits Rev Hall this month for a pair of shows on her Bang It Out tour. Mar 14, revolutionhall.com

Danse Macabre

Here’s a pitch: 15th-century French poetry, giant puppets, and a “heavy metal–sounding mixture of early and modern music performed on original medieval instruments” (per the press release). This take on The Testament by François Villon certainly sounds like something, and after its work-in-progress showings at Fertile Ground, we’re excited to see what. Mar 12–29, hand2mouththeatre.org

Ed Bereal

The LA-born firebrand opens a show at PAM as part of APEX, the museum’s ongoing series on Northwest-based artists. Bereal’s last show, Wanted: Ed Bereal for Disturbing the Peace, was a hit in Bellingham—one piece depicted a bronze-genitaled Ronald McDonald as one of the Five Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Mar 7–Aug 29, portlandartmuseum.org

Attention Everyone!

A-WOL, Portland’s stalwart aerial dance collective, puts on a spring showcase at its warehouse space on NE Schuyler. Expect Cirque-level skill with some contemporary dance sprinkled in. You’ll never look at a set of drapes the same way again. Through Mar 7, awoldance.org

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