Your Guide to Things to Do in Portland This October 2020

Halloweentown in St. Helens, the Portland International Film Festival, and More Major Events This Month
by Mercury EverOut Staff
September 30, 2020
Recognize this iconic pumpkin? It'll greet you at Spirit of Halloweentown, the St. Helens attraction that takes its cues from the Disney Channel classic. (Spirit of Halloweentown via Instagram)

In case the towering pile of pumpkins outside your nearest grocery store didn't catch your eye, we're happy to inform you that October has arrived. You probably already have some plans lined up (like voting, watching The Shining, eating Kit-Kats), but did you know about all the arts, culture, and food events happening this month? We've rounded up the most exciting ones we could find below, from the Portland International Film Festival to the Cinema of Horrors Drive-In, and from Oaks Park Oktoberfest To Go to an International Coming Out Day Comedy Extravaganza. For even more options, check out our complete streaming and in-person calendars, plus our guide to fall film festivals

All events are online unless otherwise noted.

OCTOBER 1

COMEDY

The I, Anonymous Live-streaming Show!
The long-running Portland Mercury column I, Anonymous is famous for asking readers to send in their most whacked-out rants and scandalous confessions—anonymously! In this special LIVE-STREAMED edition of The I, Anonymous Show, your host Kate Murphy will read some of the wildest and uncensored I, Anonymous submissions we've ever received. And even better, these secret (often very naughty) stories will be dissected and discussed by a panel of hilarious, nationally recognized comedians: Pallavi Gunalan, Wilfred Padua, and Nariko Ott! So if you're looking for a night of side-splitting, jaw-dropping rants and confessions—don't miss this live-streamed edition of The I, Anonymous Show!

COMMUNITY

Bookmark: A Benefit for Literary Arts
This virtual fundraiser for the local nonprofit Literary Arts, whose mission is to "engage readers, support writers, and inspire the next generation with great literature," will consist of a showcase of stories from Oregon artists.

FILM

POW Film Festival
If the last film festival you attended saw a dearth of women filmmakers, take comfort in the Portland Oregon Women's Film Festival, which highlights well-known and emerging women directors. All proceeds will benefit the Clinton Street Theater. This year's online event will focus on women and non-binary filmmakers from the Portland Metro area, like Jen Tate (Karaoke People), Cambria Matlow (No More Dope Parties), and Brandy Machado (Happenstance: The Funeral), plus a slew of short films.

OCTOBER 1-3

FILM

PIFF
Cut short in March due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the Northwest Film Center's 43rd annual film festival and "multi-media feast" will return with version 2.0 at the Cinema Unbound Drive-In and online. A few highlights include Anca Damian's expressionistic French animated film Marona’s Fantastic Tale, a portrait of renowned butterfly expert Robert Pyle in The Dark Divide, and Pedro Costa's Vitalina Varela, about a Cape Verde woman who travels to her husband's funeral after a quarter-century apart.

OCTOBER 1-4

FILM

H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival
In partnership with the Portland Horror Film Festival, this 25th annual event promises four days of science-fiction greatness, featuring special guests Barbara Crampton and Victor LaValle.

FOOD AND DRINK

North Bank Beer Week: Weekend Edition
This annual beer week celebrating Southwest Washington beer is in its fifth year and has a lineup of socially distant events planned for 2020, including virtual festivals, beer releases, Oktoberfest-themed days, outdoor movies, and even beer can races.
Various locations (Vancouver)

OCTOBER 1-31

FOOD AND DRINK

Dine the Couve
All month long, you can take advantage of super-cheap "3 for $25" specials from participating Vancouver restaurants. Some restaurants will be offering takeout options in addition to dine-in.
Various locations (Vancouver)

OCTOBER 2-11

FILM

Portland Dance Film Fest
With 10 days of screenings, workshops, and world premieres (including 24 short films made while sheltering in place, such as Deny Ardianto's Morning Coffee), this fourth annual film festival will have you longing for live dance performances again.

OCTOBER 3

FESTIVALS

Stammtisch Oktoberfest
The casual German eatery whose name translates to "regular table" (we love that) will scale back the non-social distancing-friendly aspects of Oktoberfest to focus solely on the best part: beer and hearty German food. Make a reservation (for no more than 10 people) and enjoy fine biers and a special menu from Chef Graham Chaney. Each person is required to buy a 2020 Stammtisch ceramic liter stein, which you get to take home and cherish forever. 
Stammtisch (Northeast)

FOOD & DRINK

VirtuWedge 2020
The annual cheese-tasting extravaganza The Wedge will go remote, bringing you an insulated tote bag filled with 10 artisan cheeses from Oregon cheesemakers, plus Kelly's Jelly, Anthem Cider, and crostini and chocolate from Whole Foods. This year’s kits are sold out, but you can still tune in to the virtual event—they’ve even provided a list of vendors so you can assemble your own mini kit.

THROUGH OCTOBER 4

FILM

Tag! Queer Shorts Festival presents Noche de Película
Noche de Película will center Hispanic, Latin-American, and Afro-Caribbean LGBTQIA+ films from 10 countries in this mini online festival, presented by the Hollywood Theater.

OCTOBER 4

READINGS & TALKS

How to Fly by Barbara Kingsolver
Acclaimed writer Barbara Kingsolver will read from her new book of poems, How to Fly (In Ten Thousand Easy Lessons), in which she "trains her eye on the everyday and the metaphysical." She'll discuss the book live online with Lavinia Singer. 

OCTOBER 7-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," reads press materials. Watch the performance on the theater's website for a whole month.

OCTOBER 8-11

FILM

Portland Premiere! 'The Dark Divide'
The Rose City Rollers will host this drive-in premiere of The Dark Divide, a new documentary starring David Cross and Deborah Messing that's based on the true story of renowned butterfly expert Dr. Robert Pyle’s 1995 journey across one of America’s largest undeveloped wildlands.
Oaks Park (Southeast)

OCTOBER 9-10

THEATER & PERFORMANCE

Bad Citizen: Part II
These four new short plays that explore the challenge of being a citizen in a divided society are a collaboration between Northwest Theatre Workshop and Theatre Vertigo. Each online performance includes a post-show conversation with the cast, crew, and you, the audience.

OCTOBER 9-NOVEMBER 1

FILM

The Cinema of Horrors: Drive-in
Want to level up the terror at your next horror movie-watching experience? All manner of freakish creatures will lurk outside your car and make you throw your popcorn everywhere while you watch scary blockbusters like A Nightmare on Elm Street, Evil Dead, and It.
Clark County Fairgrounds (Ridgefield)

OCTOBER 10

FESTIVALS

Oaks Park Oktoberfest To-Go
The festhalle is closed this year, but you can still stop by Oaks Park to pick up Oktoberfest classics like locally made sausage, beer, sauerkraut, and apple strudel. When you get home and unpack your Bavarian bounty for four, tune in to the Oaks Park YouTube channel for some Oktoberfest-themed music and entertainment.
Oaks Park (Southeast)

MUSIC

Soovin Kim: Bach’s Complete Violin Sonatas & Partitas
Chamber Music Northwest will kick off their virtual season on the right foot (for free!) with Bach’s set of six sonatas and partitas for solo violin, performed by Co-Artistic Director Soovin Kim. 

READINGS & TALKS

John O. Brennan: Undaunted
Covering more than 30 years in his career in government, John Brennan shares his trajectory from a young CIA recruit with a penchant for spy stories to his travels in the Middle East to his final days as CIA director. Hear him read from his memoir Undaunted tonight with Powell's.

OCTOBER 11

COMEDY

International Coming Out Day Comedy Extravaganza!
Join Portland Pride and XRAY.fm in celebrating queer comedy (and queerness in general) with over 25 LGBTQ+ comedians from around the world, like Belinda Carroll and DarcelleXV: The Musical’s James Sharinghousen. You can stream the whole thing on Pride Northwest's YouTube channel, or you can listen in on XRAY. 

OCTOBER 12

SHOPPING

Indigenous Peoples Day Portland Indigenous Marketplace
The Portland Indigenous Marketplace will celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day with speakers, live music, and local Native vendors online. 

OCTOBER 13

READINGS & TALKS

Helen Macdonald
Literary Arts presents this evening with writer/poet/illustrator/historian Helen Macdonald, talking about her forthcoming essay collection Vesper Flights, which explores the link between humanity and nature.

OCTOBER 14

FOOD AND DRINK

Virtual OMSI After Dark: CiderFest
Quaff boozy Oregon cider at home, courtesy of everyone's favorite science museum, and witness demos, meet cider makers, and enjoy some live music. Tickets include up to 10 ciders, two tasting glasses, and access to the virtual event.

OCTOBER 15-31

Slay
From the freaks who brought you the HUMP! and SPLIFF Film Festivals comes something new, fun, and totally terrifying: SLAY! SLAY calls for filmmakers to send in homemade short horror films—eight minutes or less—capturing what scares them most. From classic ghost stories and slasher films to dystopian cults and political nightmares, SLAY dares you to show us your darkest fears. We know reality is scarier than fiction right now. Let’s purge our fears together. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY

OCTOBER 16-30

FILM

The Fungi Film Festival
As far as we know, this is the world's first short film festival dedicated to the mushrooms, lichens, and microfungi of the Pacific Northwest. Premiering during the peak of mushroom foraging season, the first night of the festival will also feature an event with mushroom growers, artists, and mycologists livestreamed from McCoy's Portland-based mushroom farm.

OCTOBER 17

FOOD AND DRINK

Portland Cider Summit
The annual cider festival is going virtual with take-home cider kits, available for pickup on October 17 or for delivery between October 13-16. Choose from the "bottled classics" kit, "modern cider" kit, and "artisanal imports" kit, and get access to a virtual tasting on October 17 with tasting notes from the cidermakers, entertainment, and musical performances.
Veterans Memorial Coliseum (North Portland)

MUSIC

An Evening with Portland Opera
This virtual benefit concert will highlight Portland Opera artists whose shows were canceled or postponed due to the pandemic. Watch it live on Vimeo and YouTube. 

RESISTANCE & SOLIDARITY

PDX Women's March
Portland will participate in the nationwide Women's Marches with a family-friendly day championing equal rights in the face of Trump-helmed tyranny. Expect music, speakers, and kids' activities. And pussy hats. 
City Hall (Southwest)

OCTOBER 18

COMMUNITY

Pug Crawl 2020 | Pugtoberfest
Owners and enthusiasts of the cutest and most wrinkly dog breed are invited to dress their pugs in costumes or build floats for them and submit the photos to the Oregon Humane Society for a spot in this year's virtual Parade of Pugs. (Or to just watch.) Plus, visit the online "vendor village" for Oktoberfest beer, pint glasses, and other goodies. 

OCTOBER 22-31

FILM

BloodyVox: Lockdown
BodyVox, a local dance school led by Emmy Award-winning choreographers Jamey Hampton and Ashley Roland, made a film "immersive cinematic experience" based on their stage show BloodyVox. A collaboration with Northwest filmmaker Robert Uehlin, the Halloween-y project is inspired by The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Moulin Rouge, The Blair Witch Project, and Chicago.

OCTOBER 23-25

FILM

Bicycle Film Festival 2020
The longrunning Bicycle Film Festival Northwest will present an international selection of three short film programs. In addition to screenings, the online event includes panel discussions with titles like "Bicycle, a Tool for Social Change" and "Women in Cycling."

OCTOBER 24

MUSIC

Marc-André Hamelin & Gloria Chien: Virtuoso Pianos
Lauded as a "performer of near-superhuman technical prowess" by the New York Times, pianist Marc-André Hamelin will treat you to some classical deep cuts from the 19th century to the present, including two new works with Chamber Music Northwest Co-Artistic Director Gloria Chien (one of which is Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, which Rich Smith has called "tonally ambitious, inquisitive, impressionistic, challenging").

OCTOBER 24-25

FOOD AND DRINK

Portland VegFest
The largest vegan food festival in the Pacific Northwest will hold its 16th year online, where you can explore new and established plant-based brands, cook along with professional chefs, and hear from vegan activists and athletes. 

OCTOBER 27

READINGS & TALKS

Roxane Gay and Tracy Lynne Oliver: The Sacrifice of Darkness
The best-selling author of Bad Feminist is out with a new book co-authored by Tracy Lynne Oliver (Magician) and illustrated by comic artist Rebecca Kirby that expands Gay's short story "We Are the Sacrifice of Darkness" into a full-length graphic novel. Join the creators for an online presentation with Powell's.

OCTOBER 29-NOVEMBER 15

THEATER & PERFORMANCE

OBT Act I
The Oregon Ballet Theater will make this season's in-person events available to stream online as well, including the solo showcase Wish List and (R)Evolve, a series of conversations about the intersection between dance and social justice.  
OBT Warehouse (and online)

OCTOBER 30-NOVEMBER 12

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."

THROUGH NOVEMBER 1

HALLOWEEN

Spirit of Halloweentown
The Disney Channel classic Halloweentown, about a young witch from a long line of witches who forsakes suburban life to follow her cool grandma to a town where it's Halloween all year round, comes alive in St. Helens this time of year. Head to the historic town for family-friendly haunted tours, costume contests, and more.
Spirit of Halloweentown (St. Helens)

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 (starting October 1) is Jose Manuel Cravioto's Olimpia, which tells the story of two members of the Mexican National University brigade during the 1968 student movement in Mexico.