Your Guide to November 2020 Events in Portland

ZooLights, the Portland Book Festival, and More Major Happenings
by Mercury EverOut Staff
November 3, 2020
Drive or walk through the Oregon Zoo's ZooLights display when you need a reminder of what's good in the world (magical penguins). (Oregon Zoo via Facebook)

This November will no doubt be shaped by the results of Election Day, but whatever happens, we want to make sure you have a lineup of things to do to stay sane, if not comforted by simple pleasures. Below, you'll find our picks for this month's biggest events in every genre that are happening in-person and online, from author events with Margaret Atwood and Isabel Wilkerson at the Portland Book Festival to the contemporary dance festival Union PDX, and from Pix Pâtisserie's La Fête du Macaron to the cheery Santa's Enginehouse at the Rail Heritage Center. For even more options, check out our complete in-person and streaming calendars.

THROUGH NOVEMBER 4

THEATER & PERFORMANCE

Mlima's Tale
Pulitzer Prize-winner Lynn Nottage's play, directed here by Reginald L. Douglas and performed by Profile Theater players, is told through the perspective of a Kenyan elephant whose prized tusks trap her in an illegal ivory market. "Mlima takes us on a journey through memory and fear, history and tradition, want and need, and the complicated deals we make with ourselves and each other to get what we most desire," read press materials. Watch the performance on the theater's website.

NOVEMBER 4-JUNE 20

THEATER & PERFORMANCE

Hot ‘n’ Throbbing
A single suburban mom writes feminist erotica to help pay the bills in Paula Vogel's latest production for Profile Theater.

NOVEMBER 5-21

READINGS & TALKS

Portland Book Festival
Literary Arts' annual book and author extravaganza will be extended into not one but over 20 days of online events with over 100 authors from Oregon and beyond, and all but three are free to attend. Presenters include Cold Millions author Jess Walter, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and playwright Ayad Akhtar, National Book Award honoree Bryan Washington, acclaimed Black history scholar Isabel Wilkerson, and Margaret Atwood.

NOVEMBER 6-20

Daughter
A young woman decides to move to New York City in the middle of a pandemic (yes, the current pandemic) and turns to her mother for comfort and advice in this heartwarming short play by Ellie Conniff. 

NOVEMBER 7-FEBRUARY 14

VISUAL ARTS

We Got Each Other's Back
Together with artists Heldáy de la Cruz, Julio Salgado, and Edna Vázquez, interdisciplinary artist Carlos Motta's three-part video installation features portraits of openly undocumented queer artists and activities in the US whose work condemns this country's history of unjust immigration laws. 
PICA (Northeast)

THROUGH NOVEMBER 12

FILM

Portland Latin American Film Festival XIV
The Hollywood Theater is moving the Portland Latin American Film Festival online, which is bittersweet. Bitter: Everyone loves a big screen, especially at this historic gem. Sweet: You'll have a full 48 hours to watch a film once you hit play. From September to November, the festival will present six movies from Argentina, Chile, Guatemala, Mexico, Switzerland, and Belgium that celebrate and honor the cultural diversity of Latin America. The upcoming film is Juliana Fanjul's Radio Silence (starting Thurs Nov 5), about a journalist who fights misinformation at the radio station where she's worked for years.

PODCAST

Vinegar Tom by Caryl Churchill: A Podcast
Portland's Theatre Company is bringing Caryl Churchill’s modern critique of 17th-century femme witchiness to your home to kick off their inaugural season. They recommend that you "turn off your screens, make a pot of soup, turn up the volume, and take down the patriarchy."

NOVEMBER 12

READINGS & TALKS

Kim Gordon: No Icon
A photo-heavy follow-up to her fantastic 2015 memoir Girl in a Band, former Sonic Youth frontwoman Kim Gordon's No Icon is a scrapbook of the artist's life, art, and style. Join her for a virtual conversation with Portland rock and roll icon (and memoirist) Carrie Brownstein. 

NOVEMBER 14

MUSIC

Anthony McGill & Gloria Chien: Clarinet Tours de Force
Anthony McGill, a principal clarinetist for the New York Philharmonic who performed at President Obama’s inauguration in 2009, will continue his collaboration with Chamber Music Northwest’s new Co-Artistic Director Gloria Chien with a performance of pieces by Brahms and Weber. 

NOVEMBER 14-15

READINGS & TALKS

Literally Crawling: A Virtual Lit Crawl
This two-day online festival of curated prose and poetry readings is brought to you by Zines + Things, the Poetry Brothel, and the Death Rattle Writers Festival.

THEATER & PERFORMANCE

Union PDX - Festival of Contemporary Dance
This slightly modified program features master classes taught by Oregon dance artists (in Afro-contemporary and Afro-Cuban, athletic contemporary, popping and tutting, hip-hop and krump, improvisation and composition, and Bharatanatyam), as well as a panel discussion.

NOVEMBER 14-22

SHOPPING

Portland Audubon’s 40th Wild Arts Festival
Support the work of the Portland Audubon Society by shopping for nature-themed works at their annual Wild Arts Festival, moving online this year. 

THROUGH NOVEMBER 15

THEATER & PERFORMANCE

OBT Act I: Wish List
The Oregon Ballet Theater had to cancel its in-person events for the season, but they'll stream performances—like the solo showcase Wish List—online.

NOVEMBER 23-JANUARY 10

WINTER HOLIDAYS

ZooLights
Drive or walk through the zoo's dazzling display of over a million lights. 
Oregon Zoo (Southwest)

NOVEMBER 27

SHOPPING

Virtual Black Friday Portland Indigenous Marketplace
Support local Indigenous vendors by buying their unique wares online. 

NOVEMBER 27-DECEMBER 13

WINTER HOLIDAYS

Santa's Enginehouse
Santa and his elves will take it upon themselves to transform the Rail Heritage Center into a winter wonderland filled with vintage rail cars and locomotives lit with twinkle lights for all ages to enjoy. 
Oregon Rail Heritage Center (Southeast)

NOVEMBER 28-29

FOOD AND DRINK

La Fête du Macaron Pix-O-Matic Popup
Pix Pâtisserie has replaced the stale Doritos and century-old Life Savers you'd find in your typical vending machine with French macarons in all the flavors of the rainbow, from pistachio and raspberry to salted caramel and a Big Lebowski-inspired White Russian, as well as mini ones that you can eat like popcorn. Order online for pickup. 
Pix/Bar Vivant (Southeast)

THROUGH NOVEMBER 30

GEEK

Pokémon Go-vember
Every day at 6 pm, Portland artist Mike Bennet and 2025th Street will drop an original Pokémon cutout in a secret location in town. Gather your Pokémon hunting crew and try to find as many as you can.