Pomo Picks

Top Things to Do in Portland This Week: Oct 29–Nov 3

Musings on the future of Chinatown, Scooby Doo improv, A Nightmare on Elm Street onstage, the return of the Opera, and more

By Conner Reed October 29, 2021

Vanessa Severo as Frida Kahlo in Frida ... A Self-Portrait at Portland Center Stage

Image: Owen Carey

Halloweekend is finally here. With plenty more options to gather and get spooky than last Hallow's Eve, we support whatever (safe, smart) celebrations you've scheduled for yourselves. If you're in need of inspiration, look no further: season openers at Artists Rep and PCS continue their run, the Portland Opera returns full force, the good folks at Funhouse Lounge have a Scooby-themed improv show ready to roll, OMSI's LAIKA celebration wraps up, and lots (lots) more. Here’s what we have our eyes on.  


Esther Povitsky

7:15 p.m. Tue–Wed, Nov 2–3, Helium Comedy Club, $29–39

The actress-slash-comedian, who's appeared in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Love, Dollface, Lady Dynamite, and more (and who who created Freeform's Lonely Island-produced Alone Together), will hit Helium for back-to-back sets on Tuesday and Wednesday. Her standup is sharp, personal, and (we'll say it!) very funny—it's a midweek outing you won't regret.

Murder Mystery Machine

7 p.m. Thu–Sat, Oct 28–30, Funhouse Lounge, $13 and up

The good folks at the SE Portland comedy venue-slash-clown-themed bar are some of history's greatest committers to the bit, so we're confident in their ability to pull off this unwieldy concept: each night, their cast improvises an original slasher film based on suggestions from the audience, and it's investigated live onstage by the Scooby Gang. Plenty of hijink(ie)s doubtlessly await, and just in case, there's always the opportunity to grab another vodka soda in the middle.


Soccer Mommy

8 p.m. Mon, Nov 1, Revolution Hall, $18–20

Sophia Allison (who performs as Soccer Mommy) is finally touring her excellent sophomore LP Color Theory after dropping it at the unfortunate hour of February 28, 2020. It's an anxious, melodic collection with the aughts-cribbing earworm "Circle the Drain" sure to clean up on Monday night.


7:30 p.m Fri & 2 p.m. Sun, Oct 29 & 31, Keller Auditorium, $35–135

The Portland Opera returns to in-person, proscenium performances with this production of Puccini's classic three-act melodrama. Damien Geter, the company's interim music director, plays escaped prisoner Angelotti, and Seattle soprano Alexandra LoBianco plays the title role. Grab a ticket and celebrate the return of grandeur. 

Special Events

Drags @ Zags Brunch Painting Party

11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Sat, Oct 30, The Hotel Zags, $65

Local queen Syrah St. James has been hosting this mostly weekly drag event at downtown's Hotel Zags since early September; for Halloweekend, she'll be joined by fellow Portland queen Valerie DeVille. Attendees will receive a full brunch, plus a painting setup, on-loan apron, take-home canvas, and all. St. James and DeVille will provide step-by-step painting instructions (and critiques) throughout, and yes, booze is available for purchase.

The Fear

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.


The Chinese Lady

7:30 p.m. Fri–Sat & Wed, 2 p.m. Sat–Sun, Oct 29–Nov 3, Ellyn Bye Studio at Portland Center Stage, $15–35

Artists Repertory Theatre returns to the stage this weekend with a production of Lloyd Suh’s play, which won raves when it premiered in New York back in 2018. It tells the story of Afong Moy, a 14-year-old billed as the first Chinese woman on American soil, who was put on display in New York as a curio, performing Western ideas about Chinese life. Check out our review of the production here

Frida ... A Self-Portrait

7:30 p.m. Fri–Sun & Wed, 2 p.m. Sat–Sun, Oct 29–Nov 3, 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.” 

A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Play

8 p.m. Fri–Sat, Oct 29–30, 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 StreetLess 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.

Visual Art

15 Days of LAIKA

Various times Tue–Sun through 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. 

The Future of Chinatown

11 a.m.–4 p.m. Fri–Sun through Feb 6, Portland Chinatown Museum, $5–8

This photography exhibit by artist Dean Wong is part of Finding Chinatown, his ongoing initiative tracing the histories of Chinatowns across North America. The Future of Chinatown deals specifically with West Coast Chinatowns, detailing their struggles with gentrification and attempting to chart a path forward for them—especially relevant as Portland’s continues to face overlapping crises. 

Show Comments