Fall is in full swing, and as Halloween approaches, Portland's social calendar is ramping up. Portland Center Stage is back, Live Wire is once again filling the Alberta Rose with in-person variety shows, and OMSI is launching some must-see LAIKA programming to commemorate the studio's 15th anniversary. There’s plenty of other fall fun to be had this weekend, too—here’s what we have our eyes on.
7 p.m. Mon, Oct 18, Clinton Street Theater, FREE (suggested donation $6)
French provocateur Julia Ducourneau's latest film, Titane, which won the Palme D'Or at Cannes this year, is the talk of many towns right now. It's a full-throttle body-horror freakout that pivots hard toward sweetness after punishing the senses (all told, it's not our favorite thing in the world, but we'll give props to any movie in which "car impregnates woman" is not the biggest swing). On Monday, the Clinton will screen Ducourneau's debut, the equally brutal Raw, where a young woman's sexual discovery is paralleled with her budding taste for raw meat. Happy Halloween!
Various times and dates, Hollywood Theatre, $8–10
The latest film from sometime-Portlander Todd Haynes is a dazzling, immersive documentary about one of the most influential bands of all time. Skirting the didactic conventions of most rock docs, Haynes pillages archival footage, avant-garde cinema, and a jaw-dropping array of talking heads to conjure a mosaic of New York in the ’60s that illuminates the Velvets' ascent and importance. It's available to stream on AppleTV+ starting Friday, but it demands to be seen on the biggest screen possible—why not pick the theater where Haynes himself sits on the board?
12:45 p.m. Sun, Oct 17, Holocene, $25
Back for a 2nd year, the three-day Portland Black Music Expo will culminate at Holocene on Sunday with a lineup of some of Stumptown's best vocalists: Arietta Ward, LaRonda Steele, Tahirah Memory, and Ronnie Wright. If you'd prefer to make a weekend of it, Mic Capes will headline a set at Polaris Hall on Friday, and local members of the Recording Academy will host an information session on Saturday to help demystify it for fellow musicians.
7–10 p.m. Sun & Thu, 7 p.m.–midnight Fri–Sat through Oct 31, 12301 NE Glisan St, $30–50
This Portland-by-way-of-Vancouver haunting crew (which planted its flag in PDX in 2015) has returned with five new attractions at its NE Glisan warehouse location. Thrill-seekers can subject themselves to a haunted elevator, a creepy carnival, and more, including an “extreme attraction” called “Layers of Darkness” which we are maybe too scared to investigate even though its name sounds kind of like an erotic paperback. For a more complete list of PDX haunted houses, see attached.
7:30 p.m. Thu, Oct 14, Alberta Rose Theatre, $30–45
After a brief snag, Live Wire's fall 2021 season resumes with a sterling lineup: comedian Tom Scharpling will join occasional Portlander Mohanad Elsheiky (who currently works at Fulll Frontal with Samantha Bee), local indie rock band MAITA, and acclaimed poet Kaveh Akbar for a sure-to-rule variety show at the Alberta Rose Theater. If you can't get enough of Elsheiky after the show, he'll do a set of his own on Friday at Curious Comedy Theater on NE MLK.
7:30 p.m. Sat–Sun & Wed, Oct 9–10 & 13, Portland Center Stage, $21–57
Vanessa Severo’s one-woman show about the life and death of artist Frida Kahlo will kick off Portland Center Stage’s first season since the pandemic hit—previews started last weekend, and it opens in earnest on Oct 15. When the piece premiered in 2019 at Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Broadway World called it “near perfection.”
7:30 p.m. Thu–Sat, 2:00 p.m. Sun, Oct 14–17, Coho Theatre, suggested donation $5–50
At this year's Fertile Ground festival, the Vanport Mosaic streamed the first act of this new play by Don Wilson Glenn, and this weekend, they'll mount the whole thing at Slabtown's Coho Theatre. It's a hyper-stylized take on an imagined slave revolt at Mount Vernon, where Martha Washington launches a cooking show and the formerly enslaved Ona Marie Judge returns to the property to secure her freedom.
8 p.m. Fri–Sun, Oct 8–10, Siren Theater, $20–30
Siren Theater founder Shelley McClendon has penned and performed wacky adaptations of several ’80s classics for the stage, and this season, she’s remounting her 2019 adaptation of Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street. Less likely to haunt your dreams than the original, this adaptation poses important questions like “Why must 30-year-olds play teenagers?”, more relevant now, in the wake of Dear Evan Hansen, than ever.
Various times Tue–Sun, Oct 15–31, OMSI, various prices
To honor the pride and joy of Portland stop-motion's 15th anniversary, OMSI has put together a special exhibition and screening series that will run through the end of the month (fitting, considering LAIKA's Coraline and Paranorman are perhaps Oregon's greatest Halloween exports). You can access the pop-up exhibition—featuring sets and models from the studio's films—with admission to the museum, and screen each of LAIKA's five feature films on various dates for the rest of the month.
Noon–5 p.m. Fri–Sun and by appointment, through Oct 17, Oregon Contemporary, FREE
LA-based 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.