Event Calendar

Things to Do in Portland This Week

A Broadway musical comes to town, Chuck Klosterman speaks at Powell's, NYC comedian Sam Morril sells out Rev Hall, and more.

By Matthew Trueherz

Header image Serious Cupcakes at Bodyvox courtesy Michael Shay/Polara Studio


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Books & Talks | Comedy Dance | Film |  Music

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From a Chuck Klosterman reading to a Broadway Temptations musical's Portland premiere to a visit from NYC comedian Sam Morril, there's plenty to keep you busy in and around the Rose City right now. Here's what we've got our eyes on. (For more things to do around the state, check out our roundup of what to do in Oregon in February.) 


Books & Talks

Chuck Klosterman 

7 P.M. Tue, Feb 7 | Powell’s City of Books, Free  

He’s profiled the likes of Taylor Swift and Jonathon Franzen for GQ, a magazine that hails him “Generation X’s definitive chronicler of culture.” He held down the New York Times Magazine’s “ethicist” column for years. Klosterman has brought his seemingly endless wit and more-than-strong-but-well-defended opinions (always tinged with a bit of argumentative angst) to pretty much every major magazine and newspaper over the past several decades, all the while producing a dozen books across fiction, nonfiction, and essay collections. Klosterman’s latest, The Nineties, recounts the final relatively analog decade. Oprah to Alan Greenspan, politics to television to music and the confluence of all of the above. Many critics argue there’s no more capable writer for the task.   

Nina Totenberg 

7:30 P.M. Thu, Feb 2 | Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, $36–111 

Dinners With Ruth chronicles Totenberg’s nearly 50-year friendship with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. For the past four decades, Totenberg has served as NPR’s legal affairs correspondent, winning Peabody, Polk, and countless other awards for her journalism, which has included reporting on the Watergate hearings and on sexual harassment allegations against Clarence Thomas.  

Comedy

Sam Morril 

7 & 10 P.M. Sat, Feb 4; 7 P.M. Sun, Feb 5 | Revolution Hall, Sold Out  

Morril’s widespread television performances and four comedy specials recorded in as many years might be why his name sounds familiar, or it might be his cameo as a stand-up on screen with Joaquin Phoenix in Joker (2019). Because it’s what comedians do today, Morril also hosts a podcast (We Might Be Drunk, with Mark Normand). His NYC brand of dry comedy usually involves some poking around the personal lives of audience members; Portlanders seem ready for it, as he’s sold out three shows at Rev Hall. 

David Nihill 

8 P.M. Wed, Feb 8 | Helium Comedy Club, Sold Out  

Born in Ireland, Nihill has been on the road since he graduated college. He’s given TED talks and a won the San Francisco Comedy Competition, following in the steps of Robin Williams, Ellen DeGeneres, and Dana Carvey. His international tour lands for a single show at Helium Wednesday.  

Dance 

Serious Cupcakes  

7:30 P.M. Thu & Fri, Feb 2 & 3; 2 & 7:30 P.M. Sat, Feb 4 | Bodyvox, $35–60 

This very serious, but neatly packaged, series from one of the city’s most athletic and humorous dance theaters premieres new work and new choreographers in slew of cupcake-sized performances. Choreographers include Gregg Bielemeier, Alicia Cutaia, Éowyn Emerald, Theresa Hanson, Brent Luebbert, Daniel Kirk, Sara Parker, and Skye Stouber.  

Film 

Infinity Pool  

Cinema 21, Laurelhurst Theater, Hollywood Theatre, Fox Tower 

The reign of Mia Goth continues.... After starring in back-to-back Ty West slasher films (Pearl and X, both released in 2022), Goth is again cast in a dubious and terrifying role—giving what the Guardian calls a hauntingly and “admirably committed” performance. This time, Goth shares the screen with Alexander Skarsgård—and his clone, created to be executed in his place as punishment for a manslaughter charge. The film is director Brandon Cronenberg’s third feature, following Antiviral (2010) and Possessor (2020). Cronenberg’s father, David, is known as the pioneer of the “body horror” genre, a style of filmmaking Infinity Pool wholeheartedly embraces.  

Eraserhead in 35mm 

7 P.M. Sat, Feb 4 | Hollywood Theatre, $8–10 

Lizard babies and industrial gloom! Catch David Lynch’s 1977 debut feature film in 35mm. The legend goes that the film marks pretty much everyone who watches it: there’s pre-Eraserhead life, and post. That said, the surreal shock delivered by Jack Nance and Charlotte Stewart never quite fades with multiple viewings.  

The Spook Who Sat by the Door  

7 P.M. Sat, Feb 4 | Clinton Street Theater, $8 

The fictional story of the first black CIA agent, adapted in 1973 from Sam Greenlee’s 1969 novel of the same title. To a Herbie Hancock original score, Dan Freeman (Lawrence Cook) spends five years as an intelligence agent. Eventually, he leaves the agency, going on to train young black people in Chicago to become “Freedom Fighters.” Ultimately, the film works as a satire of the civil rights movement, though set in the ’70s, and discusses black militancy.  

Music

Rubblebucket  

8 P.M. Wed, Feb 8 | Wonder Ballroom, $22 

Once romantic partners of 11 years, now resigned to bandmates, Brooklyn-based dance-y experimental pop duo Rubblebucket has plenty of tea to spill. In 2018, they told Paste Magazine about their then-current breakup album Sun Machine—of course, it was written about breaking up with each other. Earth Worship, their follow-up LP, came at the end of last year: groovy, cerebral, a good time.  

Common Kings  

8 P.M. Fri & Sat, Feb 3 & 4 | Roseland Theater, Sold Out  

Nothing grabbed hold of the early 2010s quite like the wave of reggae and ska. Common Kings sit comfortably on a throwback playlist next to Rebelution and Stephen Marley. The Orange County–based group hit it big in 2013 with the aptly named album Summer Anthems. A decade later, tracks like “Wade in Your Water,” with their callouts of Billabong board shorts and “surfer girls to chill up on” still boast Spotify listeners in the dozens of millions.  

Theater

Ain’t Too Proud 

Various Times Tue–Sun, Feb 7–12 | Keller Auditorium, $34.75+ 

Obie-winning playwright Dominique Morisseau’s latest Broadway musical tells the story of The Temptations. From humble Detroit beginnings to over a dozen chart-topping hits, Ain’t Too Proud follows the legendary Motown quintet through the civil rights movement.  

Ms. Holmes & Ms. Watson – Apt 2B 

VARIOUS TIMES AND DATES, THRU FEB 12 | PORTLAND CENTER STAGE AT THE ARMORY, $25–103 

Kate Hamill has built a reputation for adapting classic novels into modern-day plays. Her latest is based on the stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the guy who dreamt up Sherlock Holmes. Hamill’s adaptation, which was developed at PCS’s JAW New Play Festival in 2021, stars a female cast. According to the Wall Street Journal, which named her its playwright of the year in 2017, “Whatever [Hamill] decides to do, it will be worth seeing.” Read out review here. 

The Americans  

7:30 P.M. VARIOUS DATES THRU FEB 4 | ALBERTA HOUSE, $5–50 

The Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble’s latest production centers on the question: Who and what is American? PETE’s co-artistic director Cristi Miles and collaborator Chris Gonzalez were inspired by a series of black-and-white photographs by the Swiss photographer Robert Frank, also titled The Americans. Their mission? An attempt to untangle history-book America from the actual events and lived experiences of all Americans. The resulting hour-long dance piece is set to a jazz score on a stage hung with paintings from Portland artist Henk Pander depicting the 2020 protests.   

Visual Art

Stevie Shao and Lily Seika Jones  

Reception 4–6 P.M. Sat, Feb 4; on thru Thu, Feb 26 | Nucleus Portland, Free 

Stevie Shao is a Seattle-based, Chinese American painter whose work spans murals enveloping entire buildings to works rendered on plywood cutouts. From Vancouver BC, Lily Seika Jones works in a more confined medium: watercolor and ink paintings on paper. Both artists’ work employs mythic creatures and those borrowed from fairytales and folklore across many cultures, interrogating the messages of how we depict them, and how these stories and archetypes shape our world. 

Weaving Data  

11 A.M.–5 P.M. TUES–SAT; on thru APR 29 | JORDAN SCHNITZER MUSEUM OF ART AT PSU 

Weaving Data, curated by Theo and Nancy Downes-Le Guin of Upfor Gallery, discusses the relationship between weaving and technological advancement, and looks to comment on the diversity of representation technology so squanders. The nine participating artists range from Azerbaijani artist Faig Amed, whose surrealists takes on traditional rugs often look as though they’re melting, to the LA-based mixed media artist April Bey, whose textile works tackle themes of race and gender.  

John Vitale  

11 A.M.–6 P.M. Mon & THU–Sat, Noon–5 P.M. Sun, thru Feb 26 | NATIONALE, FREE 

What Has Gone Wrong Becomes an Opening is Vitale’s (who owns the Portland-based skateboard company Killing Floor) first solo show at Nationale. His large-scale abstract paintings don’t shy away from contrast: heavy shapes of royal blue and ink black juxtapose plains of khaki, blush, or stark white; scratched pencil marks cut through thick waves of acrylic and latex. Vitale says this collection represents, as the exhibition’s title suggests, a new, organic direction in his work. The statement for the show calls them “reactions to his immediate sensory stimuli.”

John Vitale, courtesy Nationale

Lisa Congdon 

NOON–6 P.M. WED–SAT, THRU FEB 11 | CHEFAS PROJECTS, FREE 

The Opposite of Sorrow, the Portland artist’s show of acrylic paintings from the past year, confronts the question of whether art has to deal with struggle or sorrow to be taken seriously. Condon’s brightly colored, folk art–inspired works, instead, relentlessly celebrate joy as a counterbalance to the darkness of the world. A concurrent group exhibit, curated by Congdon, Quadrivial, features work from 16 local and national artists.  

Lisa Congdon's Ode to Sarah Bates

IMAGE: CHEFAS PROJECTS

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