Pomo Picks

Top Things to Do in Portland This Week: July 15–21

A Prince-themed bike ride, Clueless on a rooftop, suburban Shakesepare, and more.

By Conner Reed, Nick Campigli, and Cami Hughes July 15, 2021

Y La Bamba, who will perform two shows this weekend at The Lot at Zidell Yards

Image: Gia Goodrich

It's already mid-July, and turns out we're right in the thick of a summer that's going by way too quickly. Time to maximize with a rooftop cabaret, a Black excellence exhibit, and a pair of live shows from some of Portland's best musicians. 



5 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. Fri, July 16, NW Dance Project, $20

NW Dance Project concludes its two-week MOVE residency this Friday with performances of new works by choreographers Joseph Hernandez and Yoshito Sakuraba. Most recently, Hernandez was deemed a “New Name to Watch” by Dance Europe Magazine after the premiere of his show The Night Falls Quietly. Sakuraba has showcased work in Germany, Mexico, Spain, and beyond, and has won awards from the FINI Dance Festival in Italy and the Masdanza International Contemporary Dance Festival in Spain. 


NW Film Center's Rooftop Screenings

Doors 8 p.m. Sat–Sun July 17–18, Lloyd Center rooftop, $15–60

The NW Film Center's rooftop screening series—formerly located at Portland State University—continues into its third weekend at the Lloyd Center with a double whammy: 1980's House Party, starring hip-hop duo Kid 'n Play, on Saturday, and teen classic Clueless on Sunday. Excellent news for virgins who can't drive: it's not a drive-in! 



Chamber Music NW Summer Festival

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

Chamber Music NW continues its ambitious summer festival for a third week, with both in-person and virtual events and a home base at Reed College's Kaul Auditorium. This weekend features a garden party, continued virtual streams of the musical Premiering a Song by Mahler, and artist talks.

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, created last summer, were designed to provide a safe entertainment space for Portlanders to enjoy local music during the pandemic. 

Ural Thomas and the Pain

7:30 p.m. Fri, July 16, The Lot at Zidell Yards, $40–65 per person

Ural Thomas has earned his title as Portland’s “Pillar of Soul” in his countless performances throughout the nation, sometimes alongside music legends James Brown, Otis Redding, and Stevie Wonder. He’ll be performing with the support of a nine-piece band (also filled with Portland celebrities) with the hope of bringing the audience to its feet and get them to dance. Tickets are selling fast, so buy them soon!

Y La Bamba

12:30 p.m. & 6 p.m. Sunday, July 18, $50–75 per person

The eclectic Portland-based band is finally reuniting on stage with a matinee and evening show at The Lot. Singer-songwriter Luz Elena Mendoza and her accompanying band will perform the group's signature mix of Latin pop, folk, and rock music—as always, seats are sold in pods of 2, 4, or 6.


Westside Shakespeare Festival

Various times Fri–Sun, July 16–18, Beaverton City Library South Lawn, $5 suggested donation

This weekend, the three-day 2021 Westside Shakespeare Festival begins. The festival's highlight is a production of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), a comedic 97-minute dash through all 37 of the Bard's plays. Throughout the day, you can grab a meat and veg pie from Ms. Lovett's Pie stand, drink a pint of mead at the 21+ pop-up pub The Elephant, or see a sword-fighting demonstration from Academica Duellatoria. On Saturday, the Queen's Feast begins. An "authentic 1591 culinary experience," you can pick up some spit-roasted pig, watch fire dancers, or have a chat with the feast's guests of honor: Queen Elizabeth I and William Shakespeare.

Special Events 

The Cabaret Society: A Rooftop Burlesque Revue

9:30 p.m. Fri, July 16, Botanist, $18–25

Pearl District cocktail spot Botanist will flex its lovely rooftop for an open-air drag/burlesque/boylesque show this weekend. Organized by burlesque fixture Lacy Productions, the show will stick to a speakeasy theme, with elixirs from the host bar and eats from the nearby Havana Cafe.


June 1–Aug 31, Various prices and locations

Pedalpalooza is upon us, the beloved three-month biking festival that holds multiple events every single day. For this weekend specifically, start it off on the right wheels on Saturday with an 8 p.m. Prince-themed ride. Don’t know how to ride a bike? They offer classes to learn how to ride, with loaner bikes and helmets available. Maybe you take a class this weekend, and then show off your new skills the Sunday at the Mimosa Brunch picnic ride?

Visual Art

Color Line: Black Excellence on the World Stage

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

Two African American women, three-quarter length portrait, seated, facing each other (1899 or 1900), part of W. E. B. Du Bois’s albums of photographs exhibited at the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900, v. 1, no. 48. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

This exhibit was originally put together as "The American Negro Exhibit" by sociologist, historian, and civil rights activist W.E.B. Dubois for the 1900 Paris Exposition. Dubois created this collection of photographs of African American men and women, and other institutions such as churches, to challenge the racist stereotypes and the existing “colorline,” which he deemed the 20th century’s worst problem.  

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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