Pomo Picks

Top Things to Do in Portland This Week: Sept 23–29

Japanese Breakfast comes to the Crystal, Oregon Contemporary opens a new show, a ’90s fringe classic screens at the Hollywood, and (much) more.

By Conner Reed September 23, 2021

Japanese Breakfast will play a show on her Jubilee tour at the Crystal Ballroom on Tuesday, September 28.

Image: Peter Ash Lee

Fall has finally arrived. It's bittersweet: it puts summer officially behind us (though clearly nobody clued in our upcoming 85 degree weekend), but it also means events and festivals are ramping up. This week, we've got some big names back in town, a pair of great film screenings, new visual art, and the continued march of the Time-Based Art Festival. Grab some apple cider and we'll see you there.


Marc Maron

7 & 10 p.m. Fri, Sept 24, Aladdin Theater, $45

The long-haul comedian and WTF with Marc Maron podcast host will hit the Aladdin for two back-to-back shows on Friday. (The early show is sold out, so act fast if you want to hit the 10 p.m.) Expect big questions, wry answers, and a heart beneath the gruff exterior, a la his 2020 Netflix special End Times Fun.


Ten Tiny Community Dances

Streaming, FREE

Most dance seasons don't kick off for another month or so (Oregon Ballet Theatre fires up mid-October, the NW Dance Project the first week of November, etc.), but last weekend, former creative laureate Subashini Ganesan and dancer Mike Barber presented Ten Tiny Community Dances, a project funded by the City Arts Program. In a 90 minute program, 10 local choreographers presented original pieces in Lents Park, and discussed the inspiration for each. The whole project is available for free on YouTube, and it's an invigorating watch.


Brokeback Mountain

7:15 p.m. Thu, Sept 23, OMSI Lot, $20–30

Who are you to deny the opportunity to hear Michelle Williams deliver the line “Jack Twist? Jack NASTY!” in the open autumn air? Ang Lee’s 2005 masterpiece—hard to divorce from its time but still moving as ever—will play at the OMSI lot this weekend, at a NW Film Center Screening that was originally slated to run on the roof of the Lloyd Center. (The August fire got in the way of that one.) We'll take just about any chance to revisit it.


7:30 p.m. Fri, Sept 24, Hollywood Theatre, $8–10

The final entry in queer provocateur Gregg Araki's Teenage Apocalypse Trilogy, Nowhere is a psychedelic, strung-out portrait of partying on the brink of apocalypse. A hard-to-find cult classic, it stars a dizzying number of ’90s giants in the middle of (or just before) their prime: Shannen Doherty, Christina Applegate, Denise Richards, Mena Suvari, Ryan Phillippe, Rose McGowan, Debi Mazar, and more. Not for the faint of heart, but a blast for those willing to take the ride—the Hollywood will show it on 35 mm film, proof of vaccination or negative COVID test required.


Japanese Breakfast

8 p.m. Tue, Sept 28, Crystal Ballroom, $39.50

The Eugene-raised musician-slash-bestselling author will hit the Crystal in support of Jubilee, her latest (and best) LP. Expect maximalism: horns, strings, buoyancy, and big outfits. If you see us there, crying, mind your business. Proof of vaccination or negative COVID test required.


8 p.m. Fri, Sept 24, The Lot at Zidell Yards, $30–45 per person

This onetime husband-and-wife duo, comprised of former Sleater-Kinney drummer Janet Weiss and former Donner Party guitarist Sam Coomes, remains one of Portland's most enduring musical units. Next year, they'll drop their 10th album (and first in eight years); this Friday, you can catch them at the Lot at Zidell Yards, in one of the venue's final shows before it packs up at the end of the month.

Special Events

Drags @ Zags Brunch Painting Party

11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Sun, Sept 26, The Hotel Zags, $65

Local queens Syrah St. James and Feather Dusted launched this new, weekly drag event at downtown’s Hotel Zags earlier this month. Attendees receive a full brunch, plus a painting setup, on-loan apron, take-home canvas, and all. St. James and Dusted will provide step-by-step painting instructions (and critiques) throughout, and yes, booze is available for purchase.

Time-Based Art Festival

Through Oct 3, Various times & locations, FREE–$200

PICA’s annual two-week performance art party continues this week, with a hybrid in-person/streaming program of mind-bending works. Drag clowns, Instagram Live theater, over-the-phone musical performances, guerrilla dance showcases—it’s all there. Check out our top picks for this year’s festival here, and stay tuned for more PoMo coverage as the festival unfolds. 

Visual Art

Lavender House

Noon–5 p.m. Fri–Sun and by appointment, through Oct 17, Oregon Contemporary, FREE

LA org Marathon Screenings brings video/audio/performance artist Sarah Rara's latest work to Portland in this exhibition at North Portland's recently renamed Oregon Contemporary. Inspired by video and audio of Rara's interactions with her landlords captured over several years, Lavender House is a video essay about a tenant's relationship to a vacant building in their neighborhood, kept empty by real estate red tape. The work will go on view this Friday, and Rara will speak at an opening reception next Saturday, October 2.

A still from Lavender House


11 a.m.–6 p.m. Thu–Sat and by appointment through 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.

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