Pomo Picks

Top Things to Do in Portland This Week: Nov 4–10

Frida closes, the Cranberries head to the dance studio, Nas heads the Oregon Symphony, and more.

By Conner Reed November 4, 2021

Barbie Wu as Afong Moy in The Chinese Lady at Artists Repertory Theatre

Image: Lava Alapai

Halloween has come and gone, but there's still an eerie chill in the air. The Hollywood Theatre continues to program must-see horror films; Shaking the Tree Theatre's creepy autumn offering is back from its COVID hiatus. A wet November stretches before us, and Portland's got plenty of opportunities to stay dry, feel good, and keep up the autumn festivities. Here's what we have our eyes on this week.


Fall Premieres

7:30 p.m. Fri–Sat, Nov 5–6, Newmark Theatre, $28–58

James Joyce, Dorothy Parker, and the Cranberries walk into a dance studio. What emerges? Two original pieces from the always-fascinating NW Dance Project: one inspired by Joyce and Parker (with onstage snow to boot), and one set entirely to the piercing croon of Dolores O'Riordan. NWDP is back, baby, with a mostly new company, and the work is something to behold. Check out our preview here



7 p.m. Fri–Sat, Nov 5–6, Hollywood Theatre, $8–10 

Presented in a sparkling new 4K restoration, this arty Spanish horror freakout is a must-catch. It tells the story of a heroin-addicted horror filmmaker who slips into vampire-adjacent madness; among its superfans are Pedro Almodóvar. It has never been shown in American theaters before. Seize this opportunity.


Nas with the Oregon Symphony

7:30 p.m. Wed, Nov 10, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, $50 and up

The legendary rapper will bring cuts from his 1994 classic Illmatic to the Schnitz on Wednesday, alongside newer cuts from more recent projects (no word on whether we will be acknowledging the Kanye-produced Nasir), with backing from the Oregon Symphony. An opportunity to see an icon in Portland and for the newly rebooted symphony to flex its contemporary chops? Sign us up.

The Thesis

8:30 p.m. Thu, Nov 4, Kelly's Olympian, $15

Formed in 2014 as a response to police and venue discrimination against Portland rap shows, the Thesis has grown to become the city’s foremost hip-hop showcase. Once a month at Kelly’s Olympian, our most talented emcees gather for thrilling, high-energy, hyperlocal sets. This month's show is headlined by Fountaine, with sets by Heavy Gold, RKHTY, and Jordan Fletcher. Don’t miss out.  


7:30 p.m Sat, Nov 6, 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

Portland Book Festival

Various times Mon–Fri, Nov 8–12, literary-arts.org, $0–100 

Everyone’s favorite rainy, nerdy bookworm extravaganza returns this year, after 2020 saw it expand its traditional roster and move totally online. This time around, Literary Arts is going the hybrid route, presenting a shorter-than-last-year but longer-than-usual festival with a mix of online and in-person literary goodness. The virtual component kicks off on Monday and runs through the week. If you need a refresher on the stacked lineup, look no further


The Chinese Lady

7:30 p.m. Thu–Sat, 2 & 7:30 p.m. Sun, Nov 4–7, 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


7:30 p.m. Thu–Sat, 5 p.m. Sun, Shaking the Tree Theatre, $2–30

After a COVD-related pause, Shaking the Tree Theatre's creepy season opener is back, proving the autumn chills need not stop once Halloween has passed. Celine Song's Family is a surreal look at familial decay, and the perennial risk-takers at Shaking the Tree are a strong match for the material.

Frida ... A Self Portrait

7:30 p.m. Thu–Fri, 2 & 7:30 p.m. Sat, 2 p.m. Sun, Nov 4–7, Portland Center Stage, $21–57

Vanessa Severo’s one-woman show about the life and death of artist Frida Kahlo wraps its run this weekend at Portland Center Stage. When the piece premiered in 2019 at Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Broadway World called it “near perfection.” Check out our review here

Visual Art

Water: NFS

Noon–5 p.m. Fri–Sun, Oregon Contemporary, FREE

In place of this year's Portland Biennial, Oregon Contemporary (née Disjecta) is launching a program called Site, "a series of large-scale solo exhibitions by Oregon artists." First up are Natalie Ball and Annelia Hillman pue-leek-la', whose work deals with water sources in their respective Tribal communities. The artists will host a talk on Saturday, Nov 6, as part of the exhibition's opening reception.