Best Things To Do

The Top 31 Events in Portland This Week: May 22–28, 2023

Portland Rose Festival, First Aid Kit, and More Top Picks
May 22, 2023
The Portland Rose Festival kicks off this week. (Portland Rose Festival via Facebook)
Tuck into another fresh batch of our top event selections of the week, from $NOT to First Aid Kit: Palomino Tour and from the Portland Rose Festival to the 2nd Annual Holi Spring Harvest Fest with DJ Anjali & The Incredible Kid.

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La Haine
Past Event List Nationale curator/founder May Barruel and Salomée Souag, whose dreamy canvases are currently on view at the gallery, recently discussed their upbringings on opposite sides of the Franco-Swiss border. Then, the '95 crime drama La Haine came up, and the duo discovered that its still-relevant themes of police brutality, racism, pissed-off youth, and social commotion had been influential on their respective work. Released amid France's fracture sociale, the flick follows the aftermath of a young man's brutalization at the hands of the police. When riots erupt, a group of friends grows increasingly angrier at the circumstances of their own marginalization. This screening also serves as a celebration of Souag's debut exhibition at Nationale, so make sure to catch the show before it closes on May 28. LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District)


Meet & Eat - A Unique Social Hour and Authentic Culinary Experience
Past Event List In celebration of AANHPI Heritage Month and ZabPinto's upcoming residency at the Ritz-Carlton Food Hall, ZabPinto executive chef Thanaboonthiwat "Malvin" Panyapa will prepare a menu of vibrant Isarn Thai cuisine at this event hosted by local "genre-fluid pop artist" Alana Rich. Your $15 ticket includes unlimited Thai food, a raffle ticket, and a redeemable gift voucher for your next meal at ZabPinto—sounds like a pretty sweet deal to us. Plus, mingle as you sip craft cocktails and listen to music from DJ Ken Hop and other artists. JB
(ZabPinto Thai Kitchen, Pearl District)


First Aid Kit: Palomino Tour
Past Event List On their latest album, Palomino, sister-led folk band First Aid Kit pays homage to classic rock greats like Fleetwood Mac, Kate Bush, and Tom Petty with stories of heartbreak, happiness, life, and love, woven into "a patchwork of natural instrumentation." And like an old patchwork quilt, the album intricately stitches together contemporary pop, acoustic folk, classic country, and ‘80s synth until you’ve reached peak coziness. Arrive in time to catch an opening set from beloved Americana artist Hurray for the Riff Raff. AV
(Keller Auditorium, Downtown)


National Geographic Live: Adaptation
Past Event List French American climate researcher, environmental anthropologist, and filmmaker Alizé Carrère jet-sets from Vanuatu's island waters to the ice pyramids of Ladakh in northern India to figure out how folks across the planet are adapting to the existential anxieties of our changing climate. We know it's a tall order, but her discoveries of innovations and ancient techniques might actually give you some hope for our very warm future. Carrère will spill the deets at Adaptation, presented as part of the National Geographic Live series, which shares the efforts of its daredevil contributors. LC
(Newmark Theatre, South Park Blocks)



Consider This: Redrawing Borders
Past Event List Alexander Baretich, designer of the doug fir-emblazoned Cascadian flag, Carina Miller, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs member and chair of the Columbia River Gorge Commission, and Matt McCaw, spokesperson for the fussy conservative Greater Idaho movement, will chat all things border-related as part of Oregon Humanities' hybrid 2023-24 Consider This series, which has a "People, Place, and Power" theme. This edition should offer a particularly zesty mash-up of opinions, so snag a ticket (only $15!) to hear a wide range of perspectives on physical and symbolic borders. LC
(Alberta Rose Theatre, Concordia)

Peniel E. Joseph: 2023 Hatfield Lecture
Past Event List Peniel E. Joseph, founding director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at the University of Texas at Austin, will drop by Portland for a lecture on his book The Third Reconstruction, which posits that the racial justice activism of 2020 has "marked the climax of a Third Reconstruction." Translation: Joseph will interpret recent events as integral to civil rights history, making connections across time to link the meteoric rise of Black Lives Matter to Obama's election and the January 6 US Capitol attack. LC
(Newmark Theatre, South Park Blocks)



$NOT: Get Busy Or Die North American Tour Past Event List
On his third album, Ethereal, NYC-based trap rapper $NOT experiments with styles from hyperpop to Frank Ocean-esque R&B alongside big-name features like A$AP Rocky, Juicy J, and Joey Bada$$. He will support the album after opening sets from Canadian rapper Night Lovell, emo rap artist DC The Don, and DJ Micro. And, in case you're wondering, $NOT is not Mr. Mucus' new venture into rap music. AV
(Crystal Ballroom, West End)

The Oregon Symphony: Music of Led Zeppelin
Past Event List The Oregon Symphony will be joined by a full rock band for a one-night-only homage to  legendary classic rock heavies Led Zeppelin. Expect timeless hits like "Stairway to Heaven," "Black Dog," and "Whole Lotta Love," performed with the unexpected: epic strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion, and a rotating cast of vocalists.
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, South Park Blocks)



SH/FT: A Celebration of Fashion Design
Past Event List This week's reminder that the kids are all right comes in the form of a sustainable fashion show. SH/FT: A Celebration of Fashion Design centers young designers who've worked with mentors to construct original garments from upcycled materials. Drag divas will showcase the clothes on stage at this hybrid fundraiser in support of Arts for Learning NW, which connects teaching artists with schools to enhance art programming. Pack a picnic or snag snacks from on-site vendors Amelia's, Pidgin Hole, and Pip’s Doughnuts; attendees can smize for selfies at a photo wall and groove to music by DJ Mickey. A raffle winner will be drawn by sparkly crowd fave Poison Waters at 8 pm. LC
(Oregon Contemporary, Kenton)


Roman Norfleet with Angel Bat Dawid Past Event List
Treat yourself to an evening of spiritual jazz with local artist Roman Norfleet and critically acclaimed composer/clarinetist Angel Bat Dawid. Norfleet will celebrate his new Mississippi Records-released album Roman Norfleet & Be Present Art Group with a live performance of the album, followed by a solo set from Dawid, and finally, a collaborative set. AV
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District)



The Shivas, Plastic Cactus, and Marni
Past Event List In March, Pickathon announced stalwart Portland rock band the Shivas would grace its farm fest stages this August. However, fans can catch a Shivas set a little sooner than that, thanks to an upcoming Lollipop Shoppe show. Los Angeles act Marni will open the night with experimental folk and dream pop, before audiences can burrow into dark desert- and surf rock-inspired sounds of Plastic Cactus—who are still in the process of working on their next reverb-drenched record. We’re hoping for a taste of the so-far unreleased material. The Shivas headline the show, surely performing the recent raucous new cover of “Perder (feat. Carrion Kids).” Originally released and performed by Mexico City band Las Pipas de La Paz and named after the Spanish verb meaning “to lose,” the collaboration is an homage to Las Pipas de La Paz member Rulo Pipa, who passed away in April 2021. As the Shivas have been performing together since 2006, they have seven full-length albums of material from which to create a killer setlist, including their most recent, Feels So Good/Feels So Bad, which dropped via local label Tender Loving Empire in 2021. PORTLAND MERCURY CONTRIBUTOR JENNI MOORE
(Lollipop Shoppe, Buckman)



2nd Annual Holi Spring Harvest Fest with DJ Anjali & The Incredible Kid Past Event List
Topaz Farm will honor the season of rebirth on their land while celebrating the Hindu festival Holi, which marks the arrival of spring. The vibrant dance party will be soundtracked by DJ Anjali & The Incredible Kid, during which festival goers will pelt each other with brightly colored organic, plant-based powders imported from India (white clothes are recommended for full effect). There will also be South Asian cuisine, drinks, dance lessons, and farm animals. A percentage of proceeds from the event will benefit farmers in India. AV
(Topaz Farm, Sauvie Island)


Kassi Valazza with Julianna Riolino Past Event List
I love it when artists reference their own names (see: Caroline Polachek's "Caroline Shut Up," Cardi B's "Bartier Cardi" or Harry Styles’ latest album,  Harry's House). So, when I saw that Kassi Valazza's new album was called Kassi Valazza Knows Nothing, I was immediately intrigued. The album doesn’t disappoint, with British folk-inspired tunes that explode into spellbinding psychedelic jams. However, it's Valazza's timeless vocals, which bring to mind folk greats like Joan Baez, Buffy Saint Marie, and Iris Dement, that make the album an instant classic. She will play songs from the album after an opening set from indie-Americana singer-songwriter Julianna Riolino. AV
(Mississippi Studios, Boise)



Raise a Glass with Kelsey Glasser Past Event List
Calling all aspiring oenophiles: If you know you like wine but wish you knew more about it, Arden owner and sommelier Kelsey Glasser is here to help with a series of interactive, in-person classes to boost your savvy and confidence. For this class, she'll team up with wine expert Sergio Licea of Flor Wines to help you define your wine likes and dislikes and how to communicate them clearly, so you can seek out wines you enjoy and are never at a loss for words in a bottle shop ever again. JB
(Arden, Pearl District)



Orcas: Our Shared Future
Remind List Those who keep up on regional wildlife news are likely already aware of a dire situation in the Puget Sound, where Southern Resident Orcas are on the brink of extinction due to pollution, vessel traffic, and a dramatic decline of their primary food source, Chinook salmon. (Unsurprisingly, humans have played a central role in the animal's critically endangered state.) The orca, aka the apex predator of all oceans and an utterly majestic creature that deserves to thrive, is the central focus of Orcas: Our Shared Future. The new exhibition of over 100 Orcinus artifacts includes life-sized replicas, fossils, original artwork from Pacific Northwest Coast Indigenous peoples, and more, offering a rare opportunity to deep-dive into the animal's complex social structures, its connections to humans, and the surprising consequences of orca captivity. LC
(OMSI, Central Eastside, Tuesday-Sunday)


Multnomah County Fair 2023
Past Event List Wholesome, fam-friendly vibes abound at the Multnomah County Fair, where attendees can peep a pioneer village, chow down on nachos, and flip out on amusement park rides (you know you want to). A car show will showcase lowriders and hot rods, and cultural performers will hit the stage throughout the weekend. Perhaps most importantly, the dachshund race is cute enough to make you forget your problems for a few blessed minutes. (Visitors can also enter their own weiner pup for a chance to win prizes.) LC
(Oaks Amusement Park, Sellwood, Saturday-Sunday)

Portland Rose Festival 2023 Remind List
The city's landmark festival will return to celebrate its 115-year legacy with petals, pistils, stamens, and a slew of much-loved events that "focus on fun." The festivities kick off this week with carnival rides and games at CityFair, an opening night full of fireworks, and the Rose Festival Treasure Hunt.
(Various locations, Friday-Sunday)

The 8th Vanport Mosaic Festival
Past Event List Vanport, the largest World War II federal housing project in the United States and once Oregon's second-largest city, was destroyed by a flood in 1948 that left 18,000 people homeless and forced Portland’s white residents to reckon with their racist housing practices. In observance of the 75th anniversary of the flood, this 11-day festival of "memory activism" will commemorate the disaster with community-minded presentations, a "reunion/celebration of former Vanport residents," documentary screenings, oral history recordings, tours, and more. This weekend, ethnomusicologist Kelly Bosworth will share archival tunes from Vanport and the nearby Kaiser shipyards and Flood Safe Columbia River will offer a walking tour. That's not all, though—check out this year's program for a full rundown. LC
(Alberta House, Concordia, Monday-Sunday)


70mm Celebration for Memorial Day Weekend Remind List
In celebration of the Hollywood's successful Film Forever campaign, which enabled them to purchase "legacy projection equipment" (aka two additional 70mm projectors), the cinema mainstay will screen a series of 70mm prints to drool over. Make a Memorial Day weekend of it with showings of PTA's '70s-era teen dream Boogie Nights, Kubrick's cosmic freakout 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Tobe Hooper's intergalactic vampire adventure Lifeforce. The Hollywood is currently the only film venue in Oregon with the capability to screen 70mm, which features a greater aspect ratio and higher resolution than traditional 35mm film. Don't miss this chance to see what the cinephiles are chattering about. LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, Friday-Sunday)

Master Gardener Past Event List
Say what you will about Paul Schrader (and there's, uh, a lot to say—I'm a diehard fan of this Twitter account that tracks the cinema auteur's unhinged Facebook posts), but the dude knows how to tell a story in a clear, precise, and maybe even transcendental style. If you saw First Reformed, you're already familiar with Schrader's austere brand of spiritualism. Hopefully, Master Gardener continues the thread; the flick follows Joel Edgerton as a horticulturist at a historic estate, where his wealthy employer demands he take on a troubled new apprentice, triggering chaos and potentially violent reveals. LC
(Laurelhurst Theater, Buckman, Monday-Thursday)


Indie Wine Mixer
Past Event List What better way to spend your Memorial Day weekend than sipping wine? Hosted at McMinnville's historic Bindery event space, this festival uplifts 20 different pint-sized producers, including Approachment, Arabilis Wines, De La Boue, Jackalope Wine Cellars, Mijita Wine Company, Sunshine Effect, and more. In honor of Memorial Day, 5% of ticket sales will be donated to the Heroic Hearts Project and the Foundation For Women Warriors. JB
(The Bindery, McMinnville, Saturday-Sunday)


Mainstage Kabuki: The Adventures of High Priest Kôchi Past Event List
The Adventures of High Priest Kôchi is a tale that's pretty much as old as time: it was adapted from a bunraku puppet play that was first performed waaay back in 1685. This kabuki adaptation winds the epic yarn of betrayal, murder, and redemption, complete with samurai, a spider seductress, Buddhist angels, and the "king of Hell." We're gonna assume that means the devil plays a role. Portland State University is the only college in the United States that stages a yearly kabuki production, combining music, dance, and miming in the traditional Japanese style; show their efforts some love by heading to one of their performances, which will feature live music by an  mystery guest musician from Japan. LC
(Lincoln Hall, South Park Blocks, Thursday-Sunday)

Road House: The Play Remind List
One fateful Christmas day in the 2010s, I popped in a VHS of the '89 schlockfest Road House, and the rest was history: I was immediately awestruck by Patrick Swayze's Dalton, a peace-keeping bar bouncer with a Ph.D. whose proclivity for beating up corrupt henchmen lands him in a back alley of Trouble with a capital T. This movie's got khaki slacks, monster trucks, and lines like this. It is awesome. Road House: The Play parodies the trash classic with jaunty music and mockery added to the plot; the show debuted in 2010 to sold-out audiences and rave reviews, so head to a performance for sweaty, ass-kicking laughs courtesy of Portland's funniest (including the Merc's own Wm. Steven Humphrey). LC
(Siren Theater, Boise, Friday-Saturday)

True Story Remind List
The final production of Artist Rep's 2022/23 season sees a grief-wracked writer navigate a weird-out ghostwriting gig: He's hired to pen the biography of a wealthy man who was acquitted of his wife's murder on a technicality. Yeah, that doesn't sound suspicious at all. Steinberg Award-winning playwright E.M. Lewis's True Story draws from classic noir detective stories to traverse the slippery terrain of "facts, biases, and perceptions." (Cue moody jazz saxophone here.) LC
(Portland Center Stage, Pearl District, Wednesday-Sunday)

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon Past Event List
Based on the Newbery Honor-winning children's novel by Grace Lin and inspired by a Chinese folktale, this theatrical interpretation of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon follows a young girl who sets off on a journey to find the Old Man on the Moon, a legendary character she's heard of through her father's stories. Who doesn’t love a kid on a heroic quest?! Determined to transform her family's misfortune, Min Li encounters a treasure trove of magical creatures; we’re fired up to see the novel’s flamboyant red dragon roar to life off the page. LC
(Newmark Theatre, South Park Blocks, Saturday-Sunday)


Godeleine De Rosamel: Everything Takes Forever Past Event List
French sculptor Godeleine de Rosamel began her career as a children's book illustrator, and now brings her curious creatures to life in glazed ceramic. The works have a sense of softness, innocence, and childlike wonder; de Rosamel imagines her forms adventuring in a humanless utopia free of "politics, gender, and suffering," but still relates the works to the modern world's devastating impacts on biodiversity. Step into her curious world at this solo exhibition. LC
(Chefas Projects, Central Eastside, Wednesday-Saturday; closing)

Holly Osborne
Past Event List Oregon-born artist and teacher Holly Osborne continues to draw from the natural world as inspiration in this invigorating solo exhibition. The acrylic and oil artist's colorful compositions elicit peace and a sense of the unexpected; lush, candy-colored landscapes encourage the eye to roam and wander. LC
(Froelick Gallery, Pearl District, Tuesday-Saturday)

The Life and Art of Bue Jack Kee: From Obscurity to Acclaim
Remind List Developed in partnership with the Bue Kee family, the Hallie Ford Museum, and private collectors, The Life and Art of Bue Jack Kee: From Obscurity to Acclaim weaves the little-known tale of Bue Kee, a Portland-born Chinese American artist who studied at the Museum Art School (now known as PNCA) and whose work "captures an intimate view of Portland Chinatown and the beauty of the Pacific Northwest." Kee was awarded the school's inaugural Carey Award in 1929 and produced ceramic centerpieces for Timberline Lodge and Tongue Point Naval Air Station as part of the WPA's Federal Art Project. Dig further into Kee's uniquely Oregonian career at this exhibition, which includes "a dazzling array of watercolors, paintings, lithographs, drawings, and ceramics." LC
(Portland Chinatown Museum, Old Town-Chinatown, Friday-Sunday)

Mishka Henner & Vaseem Bhatti: Energy Goast Past Event List
UK-based creative duo Vaseem Bhatti and Mishka Henner's Energy Goast is a "nature awareness brand," designed to question the commodification of the planet in our dystopia-adjacent era of synthetic landscapes and nuclear, military, and energy infrastructures. Inspired by Northern England's West Coast, the project pulls from West Cumbria's energy Masterplan, which was "produced by a regional consortium that sought to attract further energy and infrastructure investment to the Cumbrian economy." Energy Goast takes the form of "great outdoors" advertising, Instagram posts, and #outdoors content creation, but elevates the medium to construct a critique of the so-called Energy Coast. (Get her, Jade!) LC
(Blue Sky Gallery, Pearl District, Wednesday-Saturday; closing)

Robin Friend: Bastard Countryside Past Event List
British-Australian artist Robin Friend "upends the archetypal British landscape" in Bastard Countryside, scanning the terrain for the familiar oranges and yellows of his Australian childhood. Throughout the course of the project, Friend found what he describes as modern ruins—monumental piles of abandoned cars, heaps of broken satellite dishes, and more. The resulting body of photographs is anxious, pensive, and more than a little cynical, depicting a disfigured land torn asunder by its rapid industrialization. (If this kind of critique perks up your ears, don't miss Mishka Henner & Vaseem Bhatti: Energy Goastalso on view at Blue Sky.) LC
(Blue Sky Gallery, Pearl District, Wednesday-Saturday; closing)

Salomée Souag: Fruit of My Past
Past Event List Swiss-born artist Salomée Souag honors her Peruvian and Algerian ancestors in her symbol-driven murals and designs, creating works that aim to shed shame and promote healing. In her solo exhibition Fruit of My Past, Souag embraces an intimate, fluid approach, combining dreamy canvas works (we're reminded of Agnes Pelton's transcendental compositions) and soft sculptures that reclaim vulnerability in the face of toxicity and external pressures. LC
(Nationale, Buckman, Monday/Thursday-Sunday; closing)

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