Pomo Picks

Top Things to Do in Portland This Week: July 29–Aug 4

Knives Out on a rooftop, contemporary dance at a shipyard, an Indigenous maker market, and more

By Conner Reed and Nick Campigli July 29, 2021

Bells by Aki Onda, from A Letter from Souls of the Dead, which is currently on display at PICA

Image: Marcus Fisher

We're right in the thick of a summer that's going by way too quickly. Time to maximize the fun with some comedy in the park, saxophone in a pub, a sunny horror film fest, and a Golden Girls bike ride. See you there, and stay cool this weekend—we're in for a second, less-intense heat wave, and it's probably a good idea to double-check these events' websites to make sure the heat doesn't interfere with anyone's plans.


Comedy in the Park

6 p.m. Friday, July 30, Laurelhurst Park, FREE

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. 

Nicole Byer

7 & 9 p.m. Thu–Sat, July 29–31, Helium Comedy Club, $25–35

Aside from her tenure voicing virtually every supporting character on Tuca & Bertie, you might know Nicole Byer from one of her three podcasts or for hosting Netflix’s baking-fail show Nailed It! She’s everywhere right now, and deservedly so—as fate would have it, “everywhere” includes six shows at Helium this weekend. Tickets for Friday and Saturday's shows are sold out, so move fast. 



7:30 p.m. Fri–Sat, July 30–31, Old Moody Stages, $25–44 sliding scale

The contemporary dance company will christen the newly constructed Old Moody Stages this weekend with two performances of Early, a piece it will then take to Mexico City. Both performances will be followed by a Q&A with the director and dancers.


Knives Out

Doors 8 p.m. Sat, July 31, Lloyd Center Rooftop Cinema, $20

The NW Film Center’s rooftop screening series—formerly located at Portland State University—continues at the Lloyd Center with a Rian Johnson's zippy 2019 whodunnit. Full of big sweaters, bigger accents, and a should-be-star-making turn from Ana de Armas, it's ideal under-the-stars viewing. In other good news for film fans, the NW Film Center has extended its rooftop cinema schedule through September, with some winning new picks: check out the full lineup here.  

Portland Horror Film Festival

July 28–Aug 5, Hollywood Theatre, $17–165

The scrappy annual festival features a lineup of 10 features and 78 shorts, most running in-person at the Hollywood Theatre and available to stream at home (a select few films are streaming exclusives). Titles include a new adaptation of Henry James's The Turn of the Screw, a Christmas vampire bloodbath set at Lake Tahoe, and a documentary about a never-made giant turtle monster movie.  


BrandonLee Cierley

2 p.m. Sunday, Aug 1, Alberta Street Pub, $10

The Tacoma-born new-jazz saxophonist (and former Portland Monthly playlist fixture) will hold down his own billing at the cozy Alberta Street Pub this weekend, with the support of a full band. It comes on the heels of his joyful single "Baachan" and the one-year anniversary of his debut album, Here Comes a New Challenger. 

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. 

Special Events 


June 1–Aug 31, Various 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 Friday with a 5:30 p.m. Golden Girls–themed ride (or perhaps the 7 p.m. Grateful Dead ride better suits your fancy). Take a Saturday-morning ride down to the PSU farmers market, and maybe round out the weekend by ditching the bike for a board at Sunday's beginner skate meetup.

Portland Indigenous Marketplace

11 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat, July 31, Tilikum Plaza, FREE

This semi-regular maker market, showcasing work by Indigenous artists, will take up residence near OMSI and the opera this weekend at Tilikum Plaza, by the east end of the Tilikum Crossing bridge. Check out some of the market's featured artists here.

Visual Art

A Letter from Souls of the Dead

Noon–6 p.m. Thu–Fri, noon–4 p.m. Sat–Sun, July 10–Sept 4, PICA, FREE

The first solo exhibition by musician and visual artist Aki Onda, A Letter from Souls of the Dead marries sound, photography, found objects, and prints, to elicit séance and other forms of interspiritual communication.

Color Line: Black Excellence on the World Stage

10 a.m.–5 p.m. Wed–Sun through Aug 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. Du Bois for the 1900 Paris Exposition. Du Bois 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 Aug 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’s 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. 

Time Being

Noon–5 p.m. Fri–Sun, through Aug 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.