Pomo Picks

Top Things to Do in Portland This Week: Aug 19–25

Outdoor comedy, porcine cinema, a rumination on public monuments, and more.

By Conner Reed August 19, 2021

Pioche, Nevada, a 1982 photograph by Ingeborg Gerdes in Blue Sky Gallery's Out West exhibition.

We're in the thick—the dog days, even—of a summer that has gone by way too quickly. Time to carpe the remaining diems with outdoor comedy, porcine cinema, and a rumination on public monuments. See you there. 


Comedy in the Park

6 p.m. Friday, Aug 20, 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 adorable, anxious dogs to laugh outdoors near a duck pond. 



7 p.m. Wed, Aug 25, Old Moody Stages, $20–60

This showcase from self-proclaimed "dance hub" Dance Wire will feature work from 10 dancers—the company's "dance ambassadors"—in a wide variety of styles. A sampling of items on the roster: ballet, fire dance, Bollywood, and Mexican folkloric. The performance will be held outdoors on the South Waterfront at the new, collaborative venue Old Moody Stages.


Agnès Varda Forever Festival

7 p.m. various dates through Aug 31, Clinton Street Theater, $8–35

This five-film mini-fest, inspired by the public art project that's taken over the city's utility poles, mixes classics by the mother of the French New Wave with some lesser-known fare. This week includes festival opener Cléo from 5 to 7, perhaps Varda's most celebrated film, and her sexy 1970 metacinematic cut Lions Love (...and Lies). Opening night will include a talk with POW Film Fest executive director Tara Johnson-Medinger.

Babe: Pig in the City

7:00 p.m. Tue, Aug 24, Cinemagic, $6–8

We have written rapturously of this hallucinatory sequel to the beloved 1995 film elsewhere on the site, so we'll spare you the treatise here, but here's the deal: in honor of Pig, Hawthorne mainstay Cinemagic is in the middle of a "Nicolas Cage and Pigs" screening series. Tuesday the 24th will see a matinee of Pig followed by a screening of Babe: Pig in the City, followed by a screening of Cage's insane metal revenge thriller Mandy. Do you want to see Mad Max mastermind George Miller's pig-starring anti-capitalist masterpiece on the big screen? You do. 


Kishi Bashi

7 p.m. Thu, Aug 19, The Lot at Zidell Yards, $60–75 per person

The ethereal singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist will hit the Lot at Zidell Yards this week backed by his drug of choice: a whole bunch of strings. He'll support this year's poetic Emigrant EP. As always at the Lot, tickets are sold in distanced pods of 2, 4, or 6.

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 


Through Aug 31, various locations
Pedalpalooza, the beloved three-month biking festival that holds multiple events every single day, is heading toward its 2021 home stretch. For this weekend specifically, start off on the right wheels with a 6:00 p.m. Taylor Swift ride that kicks off at Colonel Summers Park. Get in your Star Wars best on Saturday afternoon for a Mandalorian-themed pedal, or maybe you'd prefer taking it easy at Sunday's slow roll.

Portland Indigenous Marketplace

11 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat, Aug 21, 432 NE 74th Ave, FREE

This semi-regular maker market, showcasing work by Indigenous artists, will take up residence just west of Montavilla Park this weekend, in a parking lot on NE 74th Ave. Check out some of the market’s featured artists here.

Visual Art

Archives for Black Lives

Noon–5 p.m. Thu–Sun by appointment, Holding Contemporary, FREE

Don't Shoot PDXwhich held an exhibition at Holding Contemporary last summer, has returned to the space this month to showcase pieces from its archives detailing the lives and historical treatment of Black people in Portland. On Sunday, the gallery will direct visitors toward a live stream from LA's Autry Museum about the importance of archives.

Out West

Noon–5 p.m. Wed–Sat through Aug 28, Blue Sky Gallery, FREE

Acclaimed late photographer Ingeborg Gerdes, a German immigrant who set up shop in San Francisco in the late ’60s, spent the bulk of her career chronicling the American West in vivid, idiosyncratic detail. This retrospective at the the Pearl District's Blue Sky Gallery seeks to capture the qualities that make her work tick.


Aug 25–Oct 9, 1010 NW Flanders St, FREE 

As a part of its Portland Monuments and Memorials Project, Converge 45 will host this two-month exhibition in a 5,000-square-foot Northwest Portland warehouse. Featuring work by more than 30 artists, it reckons with the meaning and importance of public monuments, featuring proposals and prototypes for new ones beside art that provokes questions about old ones.