Fall is in full swing, and while our pandemic progress remains incremental, plenty of events and institutions have reemerged from the haze. The Oregon Symphony is back, Portland Center Stage enters previews for its first show in nearly two years this weekend, and stalwart haunted house The Fear has resumed in-person scares. There's plenty of other fall fun to be had this weekend, too—here's what we have our eyes on.
8 p.m. Sun, Oct 10, Revolution Hall, $35
Comedian Jacqueline Novak launched this one-woman show (billed as "the most highbrow show about blow jobs you'll ever see") off-Broadway in 2019, and she'll take it on tour across the US starting this weekend. We've been lucky enough to catch it, and will fully attest to its can't-miss status: it's beautifully single-minded, zeroing in on fellatio with the eye of an eager philosopher, never reaching for more profundity than it can grasp. The real draw is Novak's breathless delivery, which is so precise and athletic that you wish for a blow job show Olympic event just so she might take home the gold.
7 p.m. Wed, Oct 13, Hollywood Theatre, $10–12
As part of the Hollywood's #OregonMade series, these partially Oregon-shot horror classics (well, classic and sequel) will appear on a double bill. Only the sequel is set in the Beaver State, but both were at least partially shot here (the original’s indelible lighthouse is the Yaquina Bay light in Newport). You probably know the drill: Naomi Watts watches a cursed video tape and is marked for death; the girl who voices Lilo in Lilo & Stitch crawls out of a well.
7 p.m. Thu, Oct 7, Clinton Street Theater, $8 advance
Another Halloween double feature where one title is a little more...polished than the other, this one-two punch of folk horror is a good bet for anyone who can't go to bed on a spooky note. Robin Hardy's 1973 original is a bona fide knockout, and Neil LaBute's Nic Cage-starring ’06 remake gave us "Killing me won't bring back your GODDAMN HONEY," so it's hard to say which had the greater impact. You can decide for yourself, I suppose.
8:30 p.m. Tue, Oct 12, Wonder Ballroom, $17
The gleefully singular hyperpop masterminds launch a new U.S. tour this week to support their upcoming sophomore LP, 10,000 gecs. A dizzying mix of punk, industrial, bubblegum pop, and ultra-online petulance, the gecs are perhaps not for everyone. But for those willing to get on their wavelength? This is guaranteed to be a hell of a night.
7:30 p.m. Sat & 2 p.m. Sun, Oct 9–10, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, $25–95
The Oregon Symphony is back in action: their season-opening rendition of Mahler's second symphony wrapped on Monday, and Gabriel Kahane's long-delayed Open Music series launched on Wednesday. This weekend, their pops programming returns, with a program of symphonic jazz from the Harlem Renaissance that includes cuts by Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, and Louis Armstrong.
11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Sun, Oct 10, The Hotel Zags, $65
Local queens Syrah St. James and Feather Dusted launched this new, weekly drag event at downtown’s Hotel Zags in early September. 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.
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.
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 start this 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.”
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.
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.
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 hosts 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. Act fast—the show closes once and for all on Saturday.