Arts

30 Arts Events to Check Out in Portland This Spring

TEDxPortland, Hamilton, and More
February 25, 2022
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Don't throw away your shot to see the smash hit Hamilton this spring. (Broadway in Portland)
Spring has sprung, and with it comes an exciting batch of events that will get you cultured and out to enjoy the weather. From the return of the smash hit musical Hamilton to the AAPI-centered film Crouching Comic and from TEDxPortland to Tyler, The Creator, we’ve rounded up 30 of the most anticipated arts and culture events that are happening this season.


COMEDY

Chelsea Handler: Vaccinated and Horny Tour Add to a List  
The raunchy comic has done her duty to public health and is hitting the road once again. Since she's now in a committed relationship with her longtime friend and fellow comic Jo Koy, our fingers are crossed that she'll dish on their cutesy antics.
Keller Auditorium, Downtown (Sat Mar 5)

Gabriel "Fluffy" Iglesias - Back On Tour Add to a List
As one of America’s most-loved stand-up comics, Gabriel "Fluffy" Iglesias is best known for his sly, self-deprecating humor and witty observations on everything from celebrity to cultural relations. Iglesias presents this sidesplitting show as a return to comedy after a string of voice-acting roles in Space Jam: A New Legacy, Coco, and UglyDolls.
Moda Center, Lloyd District (Sat Apr 9)

Paula Poundstone Add to a List  
To know her is to love her—Paula Poundstone's clever, shrewd humor is the stuff of legend. With a successful podcast, regular airtime on NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, a brand-new comedy album, and decades of humor writing and stand-up under her belt, Poundstone's gift for wry observation is a force to be reckoned with. 
Revolution Hall, Buckman (Sat Apr 23)

FILM

Crouching Comic Add to a List
Crouching Comic will premiere in Portland as part of the brand-new CINE / SEEN Film Festival Add to a List ’s programming. Written by Alberta Poon and Katie Nguyen with an all-Asian cast and crew, the film stars Nguyen (an IRL comedian and Portland Mercury Genius of Comedy) as a young comic grappling with mental health, performance anxiety, family troubles, and the first-generation understanding of identity.
Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District (Fri Apr 1)

2022 HUMP! Film Festival Add to a List
Keep it in your pants during this delightfully dirty program curated by prolific sex columnist Dan Savage. The HUMP! Film Festival features an indie showcase of sex-positive short films running the gamut of body sizes, shapes, ages, sexualities, genders, kinks, and fetishes.
Revolution Hall, Buckman (Mar 3-5)

The Princess Bride in Concert Add to a List
Follow the "inconceivable" adventures of Buttercup (aka The Princess Bride), the dashing "Dread Pirate Roberts" Westley, Inigo Montoya, Vizzini, and Fezzik as the Oregon Symphony provides a live score to one of the most beloved comedies and love stories of all time.
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, South Park Blocks (Apr 2-3)

MUSIC

Damien Geter: An African American Requiem Add to a List
Portland composer Damien Geter premieres An African American Requiem, his musical response to violence against African Americans in the United States. The piece takes inspiration from traditional Latin requiem text, civil rights declarations, Ida B. Wells’s “Lynching is Color Line Murder” speech, and modern activism to shape a moving and thought-provoking masterwork performed by the Oregon Symphony and Resonance Ensemble.
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, South Park Blocks (Sat May 7)

H.E.R.: Back of My Mind Tour Add to a List
Since the immensely talented Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter H.E.R. first landed in the public eye, she has cemented herself as the “anti-star” of the future, never allowing her personal life to overshadow her artistry and expertly crafted R&B gems. H.E.R. makes relaxed songs that could soundtrack just about any mood, with a voice that puts anyone at ease.
Moda Center, Lloyd District (Sat Apr 16)

Mitski Add to a List
After the release of her critically acclaimed fourth album, Be The Cowboy, Mitski turned from cult favorite to one of the biggest names in indie rock. On her new album, Laurel Hell, she tackles the complexities of success, transformation, and contradictory realities through built-up tensions that bloom into '80s dance beats with synth flourishes. Mitski has that special gift of turning the saddest song you've ever heard into a dance floor anthem, and if her live shows are anything like her songs, you’d better be ready to embrace crying and dancing simultaneously. 
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, South Park Blocks (Mon Mar 7)

Olivia Rodrigo: Sour Tour Add to a List
Pop-star-of-the-moment Olivia Rodrigo rose to fame over the pandemic with the release of her breakup anthem "Driver’s License" and subsequent debut album, Sour. Her powerful vocals, relatable vulnerability, and effortless cool-girl style turned the album into a vibe that defied age or demographic. Rodrigo’s influences are very clear, ranging from her Taylor Swift obsession to her parents' favorite alt-rock bands like The White Stripes and Green Day, which, depending on your age, might make you feel very old. But this much is certain: Rodrigo hasn’t even hit her full potential, yet she offers a promising glimpse into the future of pop.
Theater of the Clouds, Lloyd District (Tues Apr 5)

Tyler, The Creator: Call Me If You Get Lost Add to a List  
California rapper and pop culture polymath Tyler, The Creator needs no introduction at this point in his career. His musical output, which began in his teen years, started out with dark themes and controversy before it began exploring the softer parts of himself. On Tyler's latest album, Call Me When If You Get Lost, this trajectory continues with heavy raps woven together with vibrant pop hooks. And with the visually appealing Wes Anderson-esque music videos he’s been releasing lately, the live show is bound to follow suit.
Moda Center, Lloyd District (Mon Apr 4)

Wonderly: Story We Tell CD Release Add to a List
Wonderly consists of duo Jim Brunberg and Ben Landsverk, who create music for films, podcasts, and radio shows, most notably New York TimesThe Daily podcast. They will be performing in celebration of the release of their latest album Story We Tell.
Show Bar, Buckman (Fri Mar 18)

PERFORMANCE

The Central Park Five Add to a List  
This Pulitzer-winning production tells the harrowing story of the Central Park Five case. When five Black and Latino teens were accused of rape in 1989, coerced confessions resulted in wrongful convictions and a decades-long struggle for justice. The exoneration of Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise has since become a story of persistence and freedom, interpreted in this two-act opera by composer Anthony Davis.
Newmark Theatre, South Park Blocks (Mar 18-26) 

Dance Theatre of Harlem Add to a List  
The Dance Theatre of Harlem's history dates back to 1969, when the company was founded by Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook at the height of the civil rights movement. Known as the first major ballet company to prioritize Black dancers, the company is still recognized for its inclusive approach today. This program is part of White Bird's WE ARE ONE Festival Add to a List .
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, South Park Blocks (Wed May 4)

Hamilton Add to a List  
Smash-hit Hamilton melds hip-hop, jazz, and R&B in an unprecedented take on one of American history's key figures. Based on Ron Chernow's lauded biography of founding father Alexander Hamilton, this revolutionary musical penned by Lin-Manuel Miranda has become a household name, winning Tony and Grammy awards as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Keller Auditorium, Downtown (Apr 13-May 1)

The Queers Add to a List  
Playwright Mikki Gillette’s The Queers is a landmark event. The first-ever trans ensemble drama by a trans writer to premiere in Portland, The Queers centers three trans women grappling with their careers, finances, and love lives amid transition and the complicated, omnipresent transphobia they navigate. 
Back Door Theater, Hawthorne District (Mar 11-Apr 10)

Taylor Mac: A 24-Decade History of Popular Music Add to a List  
Taylor Mac blends drag, musical theater, and comedy to create performances that have been called "startlingly unique...a must-see" by the Huffington Post. For A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, the multi-talented artist (joined by the Oregon Symphony) presents a crash course in 240 years of American culture from the viewpoints of those who are traditionally underrepresented, ignored, or forgotten. Mac's glimmering, fabulous performance is bound to defy expectations.
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, South Park Blocks (Thurs Mar 31) 

PODCAST

Welcome To Night Vale: The Haunting of Night Vale Add to a List
This eerie, innovative podcast has found cult status in its narrative depictions of the tiny, isolated (fictional) town of Night Vale. Episodes take the form of community updates, complete with local weather, Sheriff’s Secret Police announcements, and news reports of supernatural, unexplained occurrences. From the minds of Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, Welcome to Night Vale blends the bizarre and macabre with Lynchian imagination.
Revolution Hall, Buckman (Sat Apr 30)

READINGS & TALKS

Bob Odenkirk & Cheryl Strayed Add to a List
Bob Odenkirk's unconventional, decades-long career began in underground Chicago comedy clubs and eventually led to an award-winning performance in Breaking Bad (with plenty of acclaimed writing and producing gigs in between). Odenkirk's new memoir Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama charts his complicated relationship with showbiz and comedy writing. He'll be joined in conversation by bestselling author/adventurer (and Portland local!) Cheryl Strayed, whose memoir Wild details her epic trek on the Pacific Crest Trail.
Revolution Hall, Buckman (Mon Mar 7)

Emily St. John Mandel in Conversation With Omar El Akkad at Powells Add to a List  
Emily St. John Mandel's immersive, layered storytelling journeys from Vancouver Island to a future moon colony in Sea of Tranquility, her latest novel. As her characters encounter pandemics across centuries and space, St. John Mandel's imaginative, tender style tells a timely tale of human perseverance. Mandel will be joined in conversation by Omar El Akkad, whose Giller Prize-winning novel What Strange Paradise follows a young Syrian boy on an unfamiliar island.
Powell’s City of Books, Pearl District (Tues Apr 19)

Everybody Reads 2022: Mira Jacob Add to a List  
This lecture by writer Mira Jacob is the culminating event of Everybody Reads 2022. Jacob will explore the intricate issues found in her graphic memoir Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations. Set in the post-9/11, pre-Trump era, Good Talk delves into experiences of love, belonging, and family while encountering racism in America. With a television series adaptation currently in development, Jacob's memoir approaches challenging emotional topics with heart-wrenching humor.
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, South Park Blocks (Thurs Mar 10)

2021/22 Portland Arts and Lectures: Richard Powers Add to a List  
Richard Powers's Pulitzer-winning work The Overstory takes on the weighty topic of ecological destruction through nine narratives of connection to trees. Now, the prolific author returns with Bewilderment, a New York Times bestseller told through the eyes of an astrobiologist and his troubled young son.
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, South Park Blocks (Thurs Apr 21)

TEDxPortland Add to a List  
The phrase "Thank you for coming to my TEDxTalk" will take on its original meaning at year ten of this annual event. Speakers Rukaiyah Adams (Chief Investment Officer, Meyer Memorial Trust), Jelani Memory (founder and CEO, A Kids Book About), Eric Tran, PhD (cancer research scientist, Earle A. Chiles Research Institute), and others will share "ideas worth spreading."
Moda Center, Lloyd District (Sat May 28)

VISUAL ART

Carey Wong: The World Transformed Add to a List  
Carey Wong's illustrious theatrical design career is on full display in The World Transformed, an exhibition of 16 scenic designs and set models. The exhibition offers a slice of local theatrical history, showcasing set models of Wong’s designs for Portland Center Stage’s inaugural season, and also includes designs for six shows with Asian/Asian-American settings. Text, research images, artwork, and photographs supplement the scale models, offering a comprehensive view of the scenic design process from concept to completion. 
Portland Chinatown Museum, Old Town-Chinatown (Apr 2-May 31)

NOTHINGBEING: A Virtual Symposium Add to a List
In anticipation of their upcoming live performance NOTHINGBEING, collaborators David Thomson, Anna Martine Whitehead, Samita Sinha, and Takahiro Yamamoto present this symposium of three recorded performance presentations, a roundtable conversation, and a public Q&A session. Presented virtually, the symposium will include an excerpt from Whitehead’s FORCE! An opera in three acts and Yamamoto’s project with filmmaker Roland Dahwen. NOTHINGBEING ponders questions of unity, connection, acknowledgment, and the social self.
Virtual via PICA (Sat Apr 16)

System as Object Add to a List  
Created by Portland-based sound/installation artist Crystal Cortez (aka Quartez), sound/intermedia artist Francisco Botello, audio/visual artist Benjamin Johnson, and AAPI multi-disciplinary artist General QU, this installation functions as a site-specific, generative, and regenerative entity, transforming itself without any outside intervention. Auditory and visual decomposition will occur over the entity's one-month lifespan. System as Object will conclude with a final performance and deactivation.
Oregon Contemporary, Kenton (Mar 4-20)

FESTIVALS & OTHER MAJOR EVENTS

Crafty Wonderland Spring Art + Craft Market Add to a List  
One of Portland’s OG indie markets, Crafty Wonderland is back for a spring shopping extravaganza including over 200 artists, designers, and crafters. Tickets for the event’s Friday preview night are pricier than Saturday admission (which will have an hourly timed entry), but you’ll get a first go at the goods and enjoy a complimentary drink from the bar.
Oregon Convention Center, Lloyd District (Apr 29-30)

CityFair Add to a List
Kicking off the Portland Rose Festival and serving as its "hub," CityFair will span three consecutive weekends and feature carnival rides, fair foods, interactive exhibits, live music, and more "nestled between the urban energy of the city and the natural beauty of the Willamette River."
Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Downtown (May 27-June 12)

McMenamins UFO Fest Add to a List
An event truly out of this world, this festival honors the 1950 Trent sighting in McMinnville, which yielded some of the most credible UFO photos to date. Encompassing two days of expert speakers, an alien costume ball, a cosmic costume contest, and more, this extraterrestrial event is the second largest of its kind in the country after one held in Roswell.
Hotel Oregon, McMinnville (May 13-14)

38th Annual Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival Add to a List
Gazing at 40 acres of tulips lined up in orderly rows against the majestic backdrop of Mount Hood never gets old. In previous years at least, the traffic tends to be pretty bad on weekends, but it’s worth the wait if your eyes are starved for color after a dull, gray winter. Peak blooms are expected to come in early to mid-April, but the fields are open for viewing (so long as you buy a ticket in advance) in March.
Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm, Woodburn (Mar 18-May 1)

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