Pomo Picks

Top Things to Do in Portland This Week: Aug 5–11

An open-air Stand by Me screening, a Paula Vogel play in a shipyard, the return of the Vanport Jazz Festival, and more

By Conner Reed, Cami Hughes, and Nick Campigli August 5, 2021

The cast of Profile Theater’s production of The Oldest Profession. From left to right: Amalia Alarcon-Morris, JoAnn Johnson, Jane Geesman, Elizabeth Elias Huffman, and Brenda Philips

Image: David Kinder

We're right in the thick of a summer that's going by way too quickly. Time to maximize the fun with an open-air screening of an Oregon classic, live jazz, site-specific theater, an ABBA bike ride, and more. See you there.


Brokeback Mountain

Doors 7:30 p.m. Sat, Aug 7, Lloyd Center Rooftop Cinema, $20–30

Who are you to deny the opportunity to hear Michelle Williams deliver the line "Jack Twist? Jack NASTY!" in the open August air? Ang Lee's 2005 masterpiece—hard to divorce from its time but still moving as ever—will play at the NW Film Center's rooftop cinema this weekend, and we'll take any chance to revisit it.

Stand by Me

Doors 7 p.m. Mon, Aug 9, The Lot at Zidell Yards, $35–50 per person

Rob Reiner's Oregon-shot coming-of-age classic, replete with River Phoenix and plenty of Willamette Valley foliage, will play the Lot at Zidell Yards early next week, with an opening set by local psych rock band the Shivas. Rescheduled from its original date last month the screening, intentionally or not, will bump right up against the 35th anniversary of the film's release (Aug 22, 1986).


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. 

Vanport Jazz Festival

Noon–9 p.m. Sat, Aug 7, Colwood National Golf Course, $74–175

The fourth annual Vanport Jazz Festival hits this weekend, with headliners Sheila E, Gerald Albright, Tahirah Memory, and Marion Meadows. There will be wine and liquor tasting throughout the day, plus various food trucks. Prior to the start of the Memory’s 2 p.m. set, Portland jazz musicians (from the Portland Jazz Collective) will welcome guests in, setting up a day filled with great music and even better company.

Special Events 

The Cabaret Society: A Rooftop Burlesque Revue

9:30 p.m. Sun, Aug 8, Botanist, $18–25

Pearl District cocktail spot Botanist will flex its lovely rooftop for the Cabaret Society's monthly 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 Café.

My People’s Market

4–8 p.m. Fri, Aug 6, noon–6 p.m. Sat–Sun, Aug 7–8, North Park Blocks between Davis and Flanders, FREE

The BIPOC maker market returns for its seventh iteration on the North Park Blocks this weekend, with more than 75 vendors each day, plus music, food and more. This year's event is themed "In It Together," and tickets are free, but you can snag a digital ticket here to help organizers keep a rough headcount.


Through 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 off on the right wheels with a 7:30 p.m. ABBA-themed ride on Friday (or perhaps the 5 p.m. Sandlot event better suits your fancy). Pay your respects to Beverly Cleary on Saturday afternoon with a ride to key locations from her literary universe, and maybe round out the weekend by ditching the bike for a board at Sunday's beginner skate meetup.


The Oldest Profession

7:30 p.m. Wed–Sun, Aug 5–15,  2 p.m. Sun, Aug 8 & 15, Old Moody Stages, $36–40

Profile Theatre will wrap its two-year exploration of the works of Paula Vogel with this production of her 1981 play, which focuses on five aging New York sex workers who deal with their impending obsolescence as Reagan enters the White House. The show will go up at Old Moody Stages, a new temporary venue on the South Waterfront, inside an enormous building where the Zidell Company used to construct ships.

Visual Art

A Feast of Light and Shadows

4–8 p.m. Wed–Thu, 2–6 p.m. Fri–Sun, June 30–Aug 29, Yale Union, FREE

Marianne Nicolson, a First Nations artist born in British Columbia, has transformed Southeast Portland’s Yale Union building into a meditation on the Potlatch, a celebratory Indigenous ritual banned by the Canadian government for nearly 70 years. Her exhibition comes alive in the light, featuring colored etchings on the space’s enormous windows, plus basins, photographs, and more. Read her exhibition pamphlet here for a more in-depth look at the methods and meanings of Nicolson’s exhibition.

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.

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.