Pomo Picks

Top Things to Do in Portland This Week: July 1–7

The Thesis returns, the Waterfront Blues Festival relocates, and the NW Film Center launches its rooftop screening series.

By Conner Reed and Nick Campigli July 1, 2021

Linda May and Frances McDormand in the film Nomadland.

Feels a little wild to look forward to a weekend with a 90 degree high, but here we are. After last weekend's extreme heat canceled events around the city, a blessed stream of coastal air cooled Stumptown back down, and it's time for the games to resume. This weekend, we've got the return of a hip-hop showcase, the launch of a new outdoor screening series, a handful of new gallery shows, and more. 


Comedy in the Park

6 p.m. Friday, July 2, Laurelhurst Park, FREE

Incredibly reliable local comedy collective Kickstand will perform free shows every other Friday in Laurelhurst park throughout the summer. We've been, and can fully attest to the therapeutic value of gathering with a hundred or so fellow Portlanders and their very anxious dogs to laugh outdoors near a duck pond. 


Nomadland Rooftop Screening

Doors 8 p.m. Sat, July 3, Lloyd Center rooftop, $20–30

This weekend, the NW Film Center's rooftop screening series—formerly located at Portland State University—relaunches at the Lloyd Center for a two-month residency. It's a jam-packed lineup (this weekend alone brings  Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and Patty Jenkins's Wonder Woman), but our pick is this year's best picture winner Nomadland, based on the book by former Oregonian reporter Jessica Bruder. 

Summer of Soul at the Hollywood Theatre

4 and 7 p.m. Fri–Mon July 2–5; 7 p.m. July 1, 6–7, Hollywood Theatre, $8–10

The beloved NE Portland movie theatre will finally throw its doors back open this Friday, easing back into things with daily screenings of Questlove's new documentary Summer of Soul. The film recovers footage from the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, and it genuinely looks fantastic—but let's be real, we'd be telling you to return to the Hollywood if they were playing Gigli.


Chamber Music NW Summer Festival

Various times July 1–25, Kaul Auditorium at Reed College, $20–325

Chamber Music NW launches its ambitious summer festival this weekend, which will span in-person and virtual events, with a home base at Reed College's Kaul Auditorium. First up: a visit from the East Coast Chamber Orchestra, a series of musical conversations, and a new musical theatre piece by composer Marc Neikrug called Premiering a Song by Mahler.

Polka Dot Downtown

Noon daily (plus additional times, see here) through August, Pioneer Courthouse Square, FREE  

Portland artist Bill Will has unleashed a set of more than 100 colorful 12-foot vinyl dots throughout downtown, setting a wide variety of stages for local musicians and artists. The dots were created last summer, and designed to provide a safe entertainment space for Portlanders to enjoy local music during the pandemic. 

The Thesis

Doors 7:30 p.m. Thurs, July 1, Kelly's Olympian, $15

Portland's premier hip hop showcase returns to Kelly's Olympian, its pre-pandemic home, for its first show in front of a live audience since early 2020. It marks a steady comeback: the show will resume its monthly schedule at Kelly's Olympian downtown, taking place the first Thursday of every month. Local emcees YoungShirtMayne and Mat Randol will headline this week; tickets are available in advance or at the door. 

Waterfront Blues Festival

Various times Fri–Mon July 2–5, The Lot at Zidell Yards, $40–100 per person

This year's iteration of the Waterfront Blues Festival has been aptly named Upriver, as it will not, in fact, take place at its regular Tom McCall Waterfront Park location. Instead, it will relocate to The Lot at Zidell Yards on the South Waterfront, where interested parties can purchase tickets in groups of two, four, or six for each day's afternoon/evening shows. Many days are sold out (including, alas, Arietta Ward's July 4 sets), but there are still tickets left for Thursday's pre-concert and closing day. Check out the festival website for the full lineup.

Special Events 

Double Dipped Brunch

Sun through June 27, Local Lounge, $10 plus food

Who doesn’t love a little entertainment with brunch? To that end, MLK queer bar Local Lounge presents Double Dipped, a weekly brunch drag showPrevious Double Dipped performers include the former amateur winner of Local Lounge's Lavish Pucker, Pageant Anne J. Tifah and renowned local drag performer, Blondie. Local invites anyone and everyone to sit down and enjoy a mimosa or two while local drag performers do their thing.

Visual Art

Ansel Adams in Our Time

10 a.m.–5 p.m. Wed–Sun through August 1, Portland Art Museum, $17–20

Clearing Winter Storm by Ansel Adams

This exhibition (originally from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston) revitalizes the work of legendary landscape photographer Ansel Adams, successfully reminding us that his legacy spans far beyond postcards. Putting Adams’ photographs—particularly shots of the Bay Area and the Southwest—in conversation with contemporary images of the same landscapes, the show underlines his considerable influence on our collective understanding of the West. And crucially, it treats the contemporary work as more than just a foil, with enough variety per room to hold down several individual shows. 

I Am My Story: Voices of Hope

Noon–5 p.m. Wed–Fri & Sun, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat, through August 22, Oregon Historical Society, FREE–$10

A photo of the shirt Olive Bukuru wore when she immigrated to Oregon, accompanied by handwritten recollections


The latest collaboration between The Immigrant Story and Oregon Historical Society focuses on six women who’ve come to Oregon from Burundi, Congo, and Eritrea. Featuring their portraits, words, and photographs of the objects they brought with them from Africa to Oregon, the exhibition is an extension of Jim Lommasson’s What We Carried series.

Time Being

Noon–5 p.m. Fri–Sun, through August 8, Oregon Contemporary, FREE

This group show—the first to open at North Portland’s newly renamed Oregon Contemporary (formerly Disjecta)—features works by Lisa JarretBean Gilsdorf, and several others that distort the figure to tease out questions about our physical relationship with time.

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