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The Best Things To Do from Home This Week: COVID-Safe Portland Events for Dec 14-20, 2020

Pink Martini, a Pickathon Solstice Party, and More Top Picks
December 14, 2020

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Portland's legendary big-band jazz group Pink Martini will take over the online concert circuit this week with their Holiday Spectacular (Thurs-Sun) and an appearance at the We Are Friends Music Festival (Thurs). (Holly Andres)

As you continue to quarantine at home, count on our latest roundup of picks for ways to stay entertained without venturing into the germy outside world. We've compiled them below—from a Pickathon Solstice Party to the We Are Friends Music Festival, and from Collide-O-Scope: Xmess to Home for the Holidays: A Pink Martini Holiday Spectacular. Plus, check out our StreamLocal events hub and stay tuned for a roundup of the best socially distanced things to do this weekend. 

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A Cartoon Monsoon Holiday Spectacular
The hilarious Patti Harrison (you know her as the deadpan office assistant in Shrill), Ike Ufomadu (Tooning Out the News), and Francesca D’Uva (one Debra of the chaotic web series Three Busy Debras) will lock away their dirty jokes for the night and team up with WNYC to spread some all-ages holiday cheer. 


Weird Homes Holiday Tour: Decked Out Collections
Take a virtual tour of a kooky Texas home bedecked with pop culture collectibles of decades' past, from vintage action figures to dolls to metal lunch boxes, with Atlas Obscura.


Collide-O-Scope: Xmess 2020
Collide-O-Scope will encapsulate the absolute mess that is the 2020 Yuletide season in video-compilation form. 


Drag Queen Bingo
Rose City queen Poison Waters and friends will host a night of bingo on Zoom. The $10 ticket price is knocked if you buy four bottles of wine or more from Hip Chicks Do Wine. 

See Also: Multi-Day Events



Art and Conversation: Japanese Women Printmakers
Portland Art Museum curator Jeannie Kenmotsu will discuss the museum's current exhibition of etchings, relief prints, and lithographs highlighting Japan’s first printmaking society for women artists, Joryū Hanga Kyōkai. 


Amazon Music Holiday Plays: Foo Fighters
Join TikTok-bred rapper and host Lil Nas X for the latest edition of Amazon Prime's holiday concert series, this time featuring a headlining set from the Foo Fighters.

Howie Day
Self-made, often self-accompanied singer-songwriter Howie Day will take the pop-chart charisma garnered from his late-'90s start to the digital Seattle stage. 

See Also: Multi-Day Events



Silent Reading Party
A lot of people are taking the opportunity to turn the online version of The Stranger's super-successful words 'n' vibes experience into a weekly online destination, a respite from (waves hands exasperatedly at basically everything) and an opportunity to simply... slow up, sit down, and just listen to live piano music while sinking into a good book. If you haven't tried it out yet, tonight's the night, and we'll see you at 6pm. If you have tried it out before? Welcome back. It's a damn nice oasis of low-key bliss, isn't it?


Magical Strings presents: Celtic Yuletide
What's merrier than a lively Celtic harp? This online concert with Magical Strings will beckon the Yuletide spirit.

Pearl Jam + Lin-Manuel Miranda
Join Seattle-bred, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-approved band Pearl Jam and Hamilton progenitor Lin-Manuel Miranda for a conversation about their artistic inspirations and their support for the Georgia Latino community in advance of the January runoff election. 


Melange Presents Caliente! A Latinx Revue
This fiery revue is brought to you by Latinx performers from coast to coast: Ricky Rosé, Elyse Elaine, Mia Maravilla, Mia Moore, and Flor Silvestre.

See Also: Multi-Day Events



Where Are The Wolverines?
This episode of the Oregon Wildlife Foundation’s free online wildlife series will focus on Oregon's lone wolverine (his name is Stormy) and what conservationists have learned from two years of tracking data, images, and videos of his whereabouts. 


Courtney Barnett - From Where I'm Standing
Live from Melbourne, Australian indie-rock darling Courtney Barnett will bring on her full band for an evening of old favorites and brand-new songs.

The Mistons
Oregon Music Hall of Fame inductee Sean Croghan (Crackerbash, Jr. High, Pynnacles) and drummer Micah Kassell make up this duo that dips into "the stratosphere of urgent rock needed in this crazy time." Join them for an online concert.

We Are Friends Music Festival
The Portland branch of Friends of the Children, which describes itself as a "revolutionary mentoring program empowering youth to overcome generational cycles of poverty and systemic barriers to reach their full potential," will put on an online music extravaganza with live sets from hometown heroes like Portugal. The Man, Pink Martini, the Slants, Darrell Grant Trio, Mikel Phillips, and Low Bar Chorale.


First Draft Reading Series: David Wolman and Julian Smith
Oregon Book Award winners David Wolman and Julian Smith will read from their book, Aloha Rodeo, at this edition of Literary Arts' First Draft Writers’ Series.

Slamlandia: December
The slam poetry open mic Slamlandia invites troubadours of all stripes to gather online, courtesy of Literary Arts. 

See Also: Multi-Day Events



Cinema + Conversation: Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
Together with Netflix, the National Museum of African American History & Culture Center for African American Media Arts will host a discussion with the cast and crew of George C. Wolfe's August Wilson adaptation Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, featuring performances by Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman, and Glynn Turman.


ArcoPDX presents Große Fuge — a Late-Beethoven Tribute Livestream
ArcoPDX will be the latest to celebrate Beethoven's 250th birthday with an intimate concert streamed live from Holocene. 

Barenaked Ladies: a Very Virtual Christmas
Canada's Barenaked Ladies are, in the words of former Stranger critic Dave Segal, "the aural equivalent of khaki trousers." They are also extremely successful rock musicians who have managed to swing themselves onto the nostalgia circuit for sold-out tour stops for the last few summers. They'll get festive on the internet tonight with a livestreamed concert. 

Save the Senate Festival
This 48-hour broadcast, a benefit for the Georgia senate runoffs, will be packed with performances with big names in indie music, like Amanda Palmer, Ani DiFranco, Death Valley Girls, Okkervil River, and Rufus Wainwright.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra Live Stream Watch Party
Yes, I know, they're cheesy in the extreme and not even actually from Siberia, but Trans-Siberian Orchestra's jolly blend of electric-guitar shredding and Christmas music is like the flu: It comes around every year and it's extremely catchy. That being said, if I'm going to be afflicted with pinch-harmonic-inflected cheer, then I'm at least going to focus on the upside. Which is, TSO formed from the remains of the excellent and under-appreciated power-metal outfit Savatage, whose interpretation of Edvard Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King" probably sparked the whole classical-music-meets-metal fad. Now if only they still had Alex Skolnick from Testament in the band. JOSEPH SCHAEFER

Warren Wolf / Sean Jones Experience
The Mt. Hood Jazz Festival present multi-instrumentalist Warren Wolf, trumpeter Sean Jones, and bassist Jeff Reed for a concert performed live from An Die Musik in Baltimore. 

See Also: Multi-Day Events



8th Annual Vespertine Winter Ball
Bust out that gothic woodland creature costume you have lying around for an evening of wintry pageantry with four virtual rooms of live DJs, performing artists, vendors, and tarot readers. 

Black Holidays! #PDXEdition
Portland-based Black DJs (Deena B, Chanti Darling, and Dirty Red among them) and Open Signal will bring the holiday party to you. 

Christmas Concert Livestream
A Buxtehude chorale cantata with members of Portland Baroque Orchestra will be bolstered by festive music by Isabella Leonarda, Chiara Margarita Cozzolani, Olivier Messiaen, Judith Wier, Stacy Gibbs, Cecilia MacDowell, and others. 

Jim Brickman
Sing along and be merry at Portland'5 Center for the Arts' online concert with pop pianist and radio host Jim Brickman.

Josh Groban: His First Ever Holiday Concert
We're honestly shocked that multi-platinum singer-songwriter Josh Groban has never done a Christmas concert before—seems up his alley, no?—but we're happy to announce that he'll make his Yuletide debut on the internet this year.

Pickathon Solstice Party
Make the winter solstice a little less dreary by joining Pickathon online as they stream performances by funk outfit Outer Orbit with Sarah Clarke and Kassi Valazza live from their Portland headquarters.


12th Annual Chrismahanukwanzakkah: Holidaze #Screentease
Enjoy burlesque, belly dancing, nerdlesque, and more tantalizing forms of entertainment revolving around the Chrismahanukwanzakkah season with local and visiting performers like MissLady Dolore and Juju Valentine. 

3 Leg Torso Presents: The Elves of Northern Frostländ
Santa has apparently recruited three elves to make toys in his scarcely appointed workshop in the chilly Arctic, and all they've been given to save themselves from the dreary darkness are their various musical instruments. Hence this concert. 

Experience Theatre Project Presents: A Drunk Christmas Carol
Two actors, randomly chosen on the night of this show conceived by artistic director Alisa Stewart, will each take five shots of an unholy spirit of the alcohol variety before taking on the spirits of Christmas past, present, and future. Meanwhile, three sober actors will attempt to keep the script on track.

The Nutcracker Romp
Performance companies have clearly grown bored of the standard retelling of The Nutcracker, and so we don't blame them for trading in the show's linear story for a montage of Nutcracker memories from the Land of Sweets. You also have the option of ordering a holiday-themed package of treats and gifts to enjoy during the show.

PassinArt A Theatre Company Presents Joyful Sounds A Virtual Holiday Concert
Rile up your holiday spirit with festive gospel songs courtesy of PassinArt, the longest-running Black theatre company in Oregon. 

See Also: Multi-Day Events



A Steele Family Christmas featuring LaRhonda Steele
Enjoy a special Christmas show with LaRhonda Steele, Mark Steele, and the Steele Family Band.


Pocket Messiah
This YouTube premiere of Portland Baroque Orchestra's production of Handel's holiday classic Messiah comes in a "pandemic-friendly, pocket-sized edition" for your convenience. It features Northwest-based soloists Arwen Myers, Hannah Penn, Zach Finkelstein, and Daniel Mobbs alongside organist and a string quartet.

Winter Wonderland Sing-Along
All Classical Portland and the Portland Opera will co-host this online holiday sing-along for folks of all ages.



Home for the Holidays: A Pink Martini Holiday Spectacular
Slinky, jazzy big-band legends Pink Martini will put on their annual Christmas concert with guest performances from Storm Large, Ari Shapiro, Edna Vazquez, Jimmie Herrod, Sofia von Trapp, and Cantor Ida Rae Cahana.


Roux Poster Show
Buy cute posters created around the theme of food and gathering by artists around the world, including Luisa Martínez and Courtney Knight.
(All week)

Winter Pop-Up
Purchase small, giftable works by select PDX contemporary artists.


Charles Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol'
Portland Center Stage brings Charles Dickens's classic Christmas ghost story to the digital stage, featuring Tony Award-winning actor Jefferson Mays (I Am My Own Wife, Gentleman’s Guide...) in 50 (!) roles. Michael Arden, another Tony winner, directs.
(All week)

Four interdisciplinary artists (Ashley Mellinger, Francisco Garcia, Fyndi Jermany, and Kailey Rhodes) have been selected by a panel of judges to show work responding to the current moment, which you can see all at once at the Portland Playhouse's two-weekend virtual arts festival Wonderland.


2020 Virtual Yule Ball
PDXpelliarmus, the Portland Chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance (yes), has your back with an entire weekend of Yule Ball-type activities: an at-home TriWIzard Tournament, trivia, wizard rock, story time, and raffles.