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Books & Talks | Comedy | Film | Music
From Fashion Week to Bruce Lee and the return of Portland's Adult Soapbox Derby, there's plenty to keep you busy in and around the Rose City this week. Here's what we've got our eyes on. (For more things to do around the state this month, check out our roundup of what to do in Oregon in August.)
Books & Talks
7 p.m. Mon, Aug 15 | Powell's City of Books, FREE
Stanford Urban Law professor Michelle Wilde Anderson's latest book, The Fight to Save the Town, makes case studies of four struggling communities, including Josephine County, Oregon. She assesses the damages, reports how local governments are responding, and paints a daily portrait of life in each place. She'll hit Powell's City of Books to discuss her findings on Monday, in a conversation with Grants Pass nonprofit executive Kate Dwyer.
6 p.m. Fri, Aug 12 | Honey Latte Cafe, Pay What You Will
Local collective Kickstand Comedy returns to its sometimes-home, Honey Latte Cafe in Southeast Portland, for an open-to-all improv jam. Expect a variety of skill levels, an arms-wide-open vibe, and—ideally—a laugh or two along the way.
7 p.m. Sun & Tue–Wed, Aug 14 & 16–17 | Helium Comedy Club, $15–28 per show
Helium Comedy Club's annual search for the city's best comedian is slowly winding to a close. The quarterfinal round wraps on Sunday night, and semifinals begin on Tuesday— completists can catch these last heated moments before the final showdown takes place on August 21.
7:30 p.m. Mon, Aug 15 | Hollywood Theatre, $8–10
The latest entry in the Hollywood Theatre's just-launched Thank God It's Queer (TGIQ) series, programmed by drag multi-hyphenate Anthony Hudson, is one of Spanish provocateur Pedro Almodóvar's finest hours. Gael García Bernal plays multiple roles in this steamy, reflexive, Hitchock-loving soap about movies, the church, and storytelling itself.
Various dates and times through Aug 30 | Clinton Street Theater, $8–25
Throughout the rest of August, the Clinton Street Theater will highlight five hard-hitting classics from the martial arts legend-turned-Hong Kong and Hollywood film star. The festival kicks off on Monday with 1972's Fist of Fury, and continues with Enter the Dragon, The Way of the Dragon, The Big Boss, and Game of Death.
11 a.m. Sat, Aug 13 | Cinema 21, $8
Robert Altman's classic anti-Western is set in Washington and shot in British Columbia, but its hardscrabble portrait of the post-settlement Northwest would slot snugly among our list of the 50 essential Oregon films. Warren Beatty and Julie Christie play unlikely and reluctant business partners who open a successful brothel in the town of Presbyterian Church, which works until it doesn't. Any chance to see this ruthless, snow-swept masterwork on the big screen is a win.
8:30 p.m. Thu, Aug 11 | Crystal Ballroom, SOLD OUT
The aughts-psychedelia heroes returned after a long hiatus this February with Time Skiffs, and after a few delays, they're finally on the road touring behind the record. Coincidentally, the group's Portland show coincides with a buzzy solo release from band member Panda Bear. Tickets are currently sold out, but anyone looking to stuff their pre-weekend with maximum Animal Collective trippiness can (carefully!) hit resellers to get their fix.
8 p.m. Sat, Aug 13 | Wonder Ballroom, $29
This out-and-proud pop trio has felt like they were on the verge of conquering the world for the last four years or so, and this tour might be the thing that finally pushes them over the edge. Their self-titled third album, which dropped in June, earned near-universal acclaim, and the light-as-air gay crush single "Silk Chiffon" continues to dominate on TikTok. If you're looking for canny, fist-in-the-air Saturday night anthems, look no further.
10 a.m.–4 p.m. Sat, Aug 20 | Mt Tabor Park, FREE
Whether it’s speed, style, or novelty that gets you down the mountain, the Adult Soapbox Derby has a prize for you. If you’ve been waiting for a chance at childhood redemption, have a “derby life” tattoo, or (like us) you just want to watch some of Portland’s finest cruise Mount Tabor in a hot dog car, race time’s at 10 a.m.
Various dates and times through August 31 | Various Locations, FREE
Portland's beloved summer-long bike fest is still in full swing. Highlights from this week's lineup include a secret roller disco, a ride that honors World Lizard Day, and a cargo-hauling competition called the "Carry Shit Olympics."
Various times Tue–Sun, Aug 16–21 | Moxy Hotel, Various Prices
Sustainability is the name of the game at this 21-year-old bonanza: it’s a plastic-free zone where experts and amateurs alike gather to gawk at gorgeous gowns. This year’s theme is “Keep Portland Pretty,” with 8 p.m. shows nightly in a variety of categories at downtown’s new(ish) Moxy Hotel.
11 a.m.–4 p.m. Sundays through October | 240 SE Clay St, FREE
The now-weekly vintage shopping bonanza will hold down the lot at SE Second and Clay well into the fall. Expect food, clothes, plants, prints, music, and more, with some of the city's most exciting and well-curated vendors making a showing.
10 a.m.–5 p.m. Wed–Sun through Nov 13 | Portland Art Museum, $22–25
Perspectives, the latest exhibition at the Portland Art Museum, showcases photographs taken during 2020's Black Lives Matter protests by six local BIPOC photographers. They offer a variety of—yes—perspectives on a moment whose legacy is still being settled, and help remind us what a vital, vibrant, important chapter in the city's recent history it was.
10 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon–Sat through Sept 30 | Parallax Art Center, FREE
The unifying theme of this group show, as assembled by veteran curator Christie Mitchell, is unease: pieces by five high-profile artists digest the ambient terror of the 2020s and force some sort of reckoning from the observer. Brooklyn artist Qualeasha Wood’s stunning tapestries interrogate racism and internet culture; Iranian-American Sheida Solmani’s photo collages present surreal, damning portraits of America’s effects on contemporary Iran. Through it all, the works “act out the anxiety, fear, dread, and disconnect of this time, yet also create space for processing, healing, and perhaps even hope,” per Mitchell’s curatorial statement.
Drawing on his nerve-shredding experience waiting to receive a US visa, multidisciplinary Portland artist Yuyang Zhang’s exhibition features sometimes-bright, pop-colored collages that poke irreverent fun at American/Chinese cultural exchange, beside melancholy photos of cars and everyday objects. The result is arresting, tongue-in-cheek, and all the more alluring for its occasional inscrutability.
11:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Tue–Fri, 11:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat through Aug 27 | Russo Lee Gallery, FREE
Increasingly buzzy local artist Julian Gaines, who has collaborated with Nike and whose work has appeared on the cover of New York magazine, has finally opened his first show in Oregon. Titled Under the Flag, it features fifteen paintings that deal with blackface, Oregon’s racist history, and Gaines’s own sense of our complicated relationship with American flags—viewers have to lift them up to see the work, and ideally grapple with some symbolism in the process.