Some of Portland’s Biggest Spring 2023 Concerts and Events

An incomplete guide to Portland’s best cultural offerings this spring, including onetime locals Ari Shapiro and Yeat

By Dalila Brent, Margaret Seiler, and Matthew Trueherz March 15, 2023 Published in the March 2023 issue of Portland Monthly


Spring hasn't officially started yet, but our spring arts calendar is already packed: SZA to TEDx, authors to dance troupes to poetry slams. Looking for even more to do? Check out our regular rundown of things to to in Portland this week.


Ballet Hispánico

Local dance presenter White Bird brings the New York–based company to town to perform Colombian-Belgian choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Doña Peron, paying tribute to the former First Lady of Argentina. March 15, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

Ruth Ozeki

The author, filmmaker, and Smith College professor’s 2013 novel, A Tale for the Time Being—which begins with a Hello Kitty lunchbox washed ashore on a Canadian island—is this year’s pick for the Multnomah County Library’s Everybody Reads program. March 16, Keller Auditorium

Common Ground

A work by choreographer Yin Yue, a practitioner of “FoCo ” (a portmanteau of folk and contemporary to describe a mashup of dance traditions), shares a bill with world premieres from NW Dance Project founder Sarah Slipper and Zurich-based Caroline Finn. March 17–18, Reser Center for the Arts


Known for her big hair and bigger vocals, this St. Louis–born songstress was recently named Billboard’s 2023 Woman of the Year. Expect to hear hits like “Kill Bill,” “I Hate U,” and “Shirt” from her latest album, SOS, which has already gone platinum. March 18, Moda Center


Though he’s now based out of LA, Yeat spent his formative years in Portland’s burbs—Lake Oswego, to be specific. His Auto-Tuned verses over EDM-style beats are often compared to Playboi Carti and Young Thug—the latter is featured on Yeat’s 2022 album, 2 Alivë. His tracks made waves on TikTok and Soundcloud in 2021 and the 23-year-old rapper quickly rose to stadium-level acclaim. March 30, Moda Center

Paul Taylor Dance Co

Carrying on the legacy of its founder, who died in 2018, this New York–based company’s Portland visit is part of White Bird’s spring lineup. An influential modern dancer and choreographer, Taylor collaborated with artist Robert Rauschenberg and composer John Cage, among others, and his own company’s alumni include Pina Bausch and Twyla Tharp. March 30–April 1, Newmark Theatre

Michelle Zauner

Michelle Zauner

The Eugene-raised writer visits the downtown Powell’s to celebrate the paperback release of her 2021 memoir, Crying in H Mart. After she wraps the book tour in April, Zauner will start a very different kind of tour with her band Japanese Breakfast, but at press time there were no Portland dates listed for that one. March 31, Powell’s City of Books


Ari Shapiro

All Things Considered radio host Shapiro, who went to Beaverton High, returns to town for an appearance with Pink Martini frontman Thomas Lauderdale, who went to Grant High, at Revolution Hall, a.k.a. the former Washington High. While Shapiro is a not-so-secret singer who’s guested with Pink Martini in the past, this appearance is presented by Powell’s and billed as a “conversation” (not a concert) about Shapiro’s new memoir, The Best Strangers in the World: Stories from a Life Spent Listening. April 2, Revolution Hall

The Spin

Blending dance, theater, comedy, and improv, dancers will prepare and rehearse 25 dances, and then the spin of a game-show wheel will determine what’s actually performed. April 6–8 & 13–15, Bodyvox 


Oregon Ballet Theatre restages this mid-’00s commission from Bolshoi-trained dancer and choreographer Yuri Possokhov, set to Russian-born composer Igor Stravinsky’s score. April 7–15, Newmark Theatre

They Might Be Giants

This thrice-rescheduled pair of concerts (thanks, COVID) from John Flansburgh and John Linnell, who first teamed up more than 40 years ago, is for the 16-and-older set, so be sure to leave your tiniest TMBG fans at home. At least all the original fans of the group’s first kiddo album, 2022’s No!, are now of legal drinking age. April 18–19, Crystal Ballroom

Ada Limón

The California-raised, University of Washington–educated Limón was named US Poet Laureate last summer—she is the first Latina to hold the title and, we’re pretty sure, the first poet laureate to have a stint at Martha Steward Living on her résumé. Her appearance is part of Portland Arts & Lectures subscription series. April 20, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

Y La Bamba

Y La Bamba

Fifteen years in, this indie Latin band fronted by Luz Elena Mendoza celebrates the release of its seventh album, Lucha, described by local record label/
boutique Tender Loving Empire as a narrative that “explores multiplicity—love, queerness, Mexican American and Chicanx identity, family, intimacy, yearning, loneliness.” April 26, Wonder Ballroom


Watch the teens throw down at the annual youth poetry slam championship, presented by Literary Arts. April 27, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall


Myra’s Story

Gemma Whelan directs this presentation for the Irish-focused Corrib Theatre. Playwright Brian Foster has described his title character as an amalgam of street drinkers he observed growing up in Derry in Northern Ireland. May 5–28, 21ten Theatre

Caroline Polachek

The alt-pop singer-songwriter was the opening act on the Dua Lipa tour in 2022, but she pulled out before the Moda Center show due to an ankle injury. A year later, Portlanders can sing along to “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings” in a slightly more intimate venue. May 9–10, Crystal Ballroom


The Liverpool electronic act named after a Roxy Music song is nearly a quarter century old, which may explain why the band titled its January 2023 album Time’s Arrow. May 11, Wonder Ballroom


The lineup for this year wasn’t available at press time, but expect a mix of local and national thinkers to pace the stage presenting the now-cliché TED talk—and probably don’t expect a controversial surprise appearance by a partyless gubernatorial candidate. May 20, Moda Center 

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