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The Top 34 Events in Portland This Week: May 28–June 2, 2024

Red Hot Chili Peppers, Monet to Matisse, and More Top Picks
May 28, 2024
This week, the Red Hot Chili Peppers kick off the fourth North American leg of their two-year global tour in Ridgefield. (Red Hot Chili Peppers via Facebook)
This week, we're closing May out strong and diving right into June, thanks in part to stellar events from the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Unlimited Love Tour to Kamasi Washington and from Monet to Matisse: French Moderns to Portland Center Stage's production of the Tony Award-nominated Clyde's.

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Red Hot Chili Peppers: Unlimited Love Tour Past Event List
Founding fathers of funk-rock the Red Hot Chili Peppers will stop by Ridgefield to support their 2022 albums Unlimited Love and Return of the Dream Canteen. Recorded during the same studio sessions, the albums’ sound calls back to the band's beginnings with organically crafted jams, funky basslines, and rap-infused vocal stylings from Anthony Kiedis. Plus, the recordings marked the rejoining of founding member/guitarist John Frusciante for the first time since 2006's Stadium Arcadium. Trap rapper Ken Carons and funk-infused indie rock band Irontom will open. AV
(RV Inn Style Resorts Amphitheater, Ridgefield)

Sarah McLachlan - Fumbling Towards Ecstasy 30th Anniversary Tour Past Event List
For those born in the 1990s, singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan's featherlight piano ballads may bring to mind heartbreaking images of sheltered animals gazing longingly into the camera. However, fans of Cocteau Twins, Kate Bush, or Sinead O’Connor should consider revisiting her early work. McLachlan’s 1993 album, Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, is a true touchstone of ethereal folk-infused indie rock. She will celebrate the album's 30th anniversary alongside treasured indie pop artist Feist, who will be supporting her new album, Multitudes. AV
(Hayden Homes Amphitheater, Bend)

The Wallflowers Past Event List
Roots-rock heavies the Wallflowers (led by Bob Dylan's offspring Jakob Dylan) will ignite the stage with guitar-driven tunes from their first album in nine years, Exit Wounds. Although the album was written and recorded before the COVID-19 pandemic, its songs reflect these turbulent times—"I'll Let You Down (But I Will Not Give You Up)" uses a "wayward bus" as a metaphor for the social unrest in the United States. AV
(Aladdin Theater, Brooklyn)



Secret Aardvark Remind List
Over 30 of Portland's best improvisers will gather again for this who's who of Rose City comedy. Each Secret Aardvark event features an extra-special mystery guest (past guests have run the gamut from David Lynch to random high school theater students), and the show's so spicy that it's named after the organizers' fave local hot sauce, so it should warm your chilly bones. LC
(Kickstand Comedy, Ladd's Addition)


The 3rd Annual Best of PPS Film Festival Past Event List
After spending years in a pandemic-driven lurch and showing support for their teachers union, Portland Public Schools students could use a little love. Since 2019, the Best of PPS Film Festival has done just that—the free fest spotlights films by students from across the district, and is judged by a panel of "industry insiders and professionals." This would make me very nervous if I were a young filmmaker, so show 'em your support. Who knows—you might see the earliest work of a new Gus Van Sant or Miranda July. LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District)



Maren Morris Past Event List
Maren Morris is a rare star in the predominantly white modern country universe—she speaks up about political issues, acknowledges the genre's debt to Black musicians, and fights for LGBTQ+ rights. And, her music has become increasingly refined through the years, beginning with glossy overproduced tracks (no shade—I love "'80s Mercedes!") and blossoming into the personal, raw sound displayed in her latest release Humble Quest. She will support the album alongside indie folk singer-songwriter Allison Ponthier. AV
(Hayden Homes Amphitheater, Bend)


Two Dykes and a Mic - Topping Your Best Friend Tour Past Event List
McKenzie Goodwin and Rachel Scanlon's very gay podcast will stop by Portland to top your Friday night. Self-described as "the gayest show of all time" (I guess they haven't heard the Neil Patrick Harris episode of Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!), listeners are invited to "snort queer joy and laugh [their] gay cans off." Yay! Goodwin, aka the gay Norah Jones of comedy, and Scanlon, who is also gay, will share relationship advice, Bumble fumbles, and new ruminations ("What's gayer?" and "Who tops who?" among them) at this live edition of the pod. LC
(Aladdin Theater, Brooklyn)



Dinosaur Improv Past Event List
Dinosaur Improv might send your blues into extinction, because although they may try to orchestrate the perfect joke, nothing's funnier than whatever comes out of a comic's mouth completely unscripted. Salute our nation's leading improv geniuses—including Paul Scheer (Veep), Rob Huebel (Transparent), and Jason Mantzoukas (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Big Mouth)—at this ensemble show, which promises Jurassic levels of off-the-cuff laughter. LC
(Revolution Hall, Buckman)


#InvestigatingJoy Past Event List
Jagger Blaec, the first Black woman to produce Portland's The Moth and the twice-sold-out Heaux Stories, "strives to tell the truth about the more taboo topics of the human experience." Her latest project, #InvestigatingJoy, sees host Dahlia Belle and a lineup of diverse storytellers and talents share a mini-doc on Black queer-owned acupuncture center Black Pearl Wellness, a sound bath performance, tarot pulls, poetry, and more. Best part? All attendees will receive a "comprehensive digital guide for BIPOC wellness services and providers," and a portion of proceeds will be donated to queer mutual aid and performers. LC
(Tomorrow Theater, Richmond)


2024 Farm to Plate Series Remind List
It doesn't get much fresher than eating a meal in the very place where the ingredients were grown. Topaz Farm's resident "farm-to-plate" chefs and culinary power couple Christian and Janelle Ephrem will craft a series of five-course meals sourced from Topaz itself, with menus designed mere days in advance and produce harvested just hours before the dinner. You'll get to take a seat at a long communal table and dine beneath a 500-year-old oak tree. JB
(Topaz Farm, Sauvie Island)


PICA Gala: Executive Venus, Mother of Pearl Past Event List
Don thy pashmina afghans, 'cuz the trendiest fundraiser in town will return on a no-nonsense (okay, a little nonsense) “Executive Venus, Mother of Pearl” theme this year. Contemporary art mavens PICA have pulled out all the stops—this year’s gala is aboard a twilight dinner cruise on the Portland Spirit, which is a very convincing reason to crawl out of your shell and go to a gala, if you ask me. Plus, you’re encouraged to dress as an undersea executive. LC
(PICA, Eliot)



Daryl Hall, Elvis Costello & The Imposters, and Charlie Sexton Past Event List
This lineup looks like it hopped right out of my dad's music cabinet like a classic rock-themed version of Toy Story. Smooth groove legend Daryl Hall will stop by Troutdale for a solo performance just months after suing his long-time bandmate John Oates. New wave phenom Elvis Costello and his backing band the Imposters and longtime rocker Charlie Sexton (of "Beat's So Lonely" fame) will get the evening started. Here’s hoping that Hall will play some songs from Hall & Oates' 1973 masterpiece Abandoned Luncheonette. AV
(Edgefield, Troutdale)

Kamasi Washington Past Event List
Saxophonist/producer/bandleader Kamasi Washington is one of the most renowned contemporary jazz musicians working today. Known mostly for his sometimes-smooth and sometimes-erratic stylings on the tenor sax, Washington has ascended into the realm of world-class artistry; both his studio debut The Epic and its follow-up Heaven and Earth received universal acclaim, and he’s played on an array of important works, like Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, You’re Dead by jazz fusion artist Flying Lotus, as well as Thundercat’s heartbreak-y space-funk single, “Them Changes.” PORTLAND MERCURY CONTRIBUTOR JENNI MOORE
(Crystal Ballroom, West End)


Clayton J. Szczech in Conversation with Jim Meehan Past Event List
Tequila isn't just for Jimmy Buffett fans or college students looking to get wasted on spring break anymore—it's also poised to surpass vodka to become the top-selling spirit in the U.S. The agave-based spirit has shed its tacky reputations to take on a new, more sophisticated life, and sociologist and writer Clayton J. Szczech is here to help you navigate it with his book A Field Guide to Tequila, which contains everything from the five classes of tequila to how to host your own tasting. Szczech will visit Powell's for a conversation with star bartender Jim Meehan, author of The PDT Cocktail Book and Meehan’s Bartender Manual. JB
(Powell's City of Books, Pearl District)



Threading Together: Traditional Attire Past Event List
Discover traditional attire from AANHPI cultures (and grab a cup from the serene, newly renamed Yun Shui Teahouse) at Threading Together, Lan Su's newest exhibition of traditional clothing. The show displays "7-10 outfits" that "narrate the stories of their diverse and rich cultural heritage." It's a solid way for the sartorially inclined to learn more about fashions from Thailand, Vietnam, China, India, Japan, Nepal, and other countries, just in time for AANHPI Heritage Month. LC
(Lan Su Chinese Garden, Old Town-Chinatown, Tuesday-Sunday; closing)


Portland Rose Festival 2024 Remind List
The city's landmark festival will return to celebrate its 116-year legacy with petals, pistils, stamens, and a slew of much-loved events that "focus on fun." The festivities include the Grand Floral Parade (a botanical spectacular on wheels) and the twinkly nighttime Starlight Parade of illuminated floats, plus the Queen's coronation, a treasure hunt, dragon boat races (a thrilling Chinese tradition practiced in the Rose City since 1989), and a three-weekend CityFair with carnival rides. LC
(Various locations, Thursday-Sunday)

The 9th 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 76th anniversary of the flood, the 15-day festival of "memory activism" will commemorate the disaster with community-minded presentations, exhibits, documentary screenings, tours, and more. Check out this year's program for a full rundown. LC
(Various locations, Wednesday-Saturday)


Babes Remind List
Quick, sardonic script-flipper Michelle Buteau holds her own amid the current pack of aging dude comics bickering over whether human rights are funny, and Ilana Glazer is rapidly becoming a legendary millennial freak. (Yes, the batshit angel from Broad City still exists, she's still hilarious, and she's spoken up about the genocide in Gaza. Try to keep up!) It's only natural that the two should join forces in Babes, the one-night-stand comedy and directorial debut from Pamela Adlon, aka the voice of Bobby on King of the Hill. Women rock. LC
(Cinema 21, Nob Hill, Tuesday-Thursday)

Challengers Past Event List
Italian auteur Luca Guadagnino's latest follows Zendaya as Tashi, a prodigy tennis player-turned-coach whose training transformed her husband into a national champion. Things get weird and maybe horny when she forces him to play a pro-tournament "Challenger" event alongside her former boyfriend. Do I care about tennis? No, of course not!! But I don't ask for much—Zendaya and a psychosexual plotline are enough for me. LC
(Cinema 21, Nob Hill, Tuesday-Thursday)

Evil Does Not Exist Remind List
Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s follow-up to the Murakami-inspired Oscar winner Drive My Car follows a father and daughter who spend their days gathering wild foods for a local udon restaurant. Their livelihood might be threatened when a city agency plans to create a bougie "glamping" site not far from their rustic hamlet. (Fuck glampers, am I right?) Evil Does Not Exist won the 2023 Venice Silver Lion; I'm intrigued by the film's quiet, snowy cinematography and its naturalistic approach. LC
(Cinema 21, Nob Hill, Tuesday-Thursday)


Celebration of Oregon Brewers Festival Past Event List
Beer lovers, rejoice: Two perennial favorite gatherings, the Portland Rose Festival and the Oregon Brewers Festival, are merging once again for a dual celebration, included with the purchase of a CityFair ticket. OBF founder Art Larrance will curate a lineup of hoppy offerings, and attendees will be able to take home a keepsake 2024 Rose Festival mug with any 12-ounce pour. JB
(Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Downtown, Friday-Sunday)


John Craigie Performs The Beatles "Lonely Rubber Soul" Past Event List
Modern-day troubadour John Craigie will apply his tender folk sound and comedic storytelling to the Fab Four’s classic tunes for his take on the Beatles' seminal 1965 album, Rubber Soul. He will play the album in its entirety, interspersed with history and stories about each beloved song. Plus, five secret guests will open, each playing one non-Rubber Soul Beatles track. AV
(Polaris Hall, Humboldt, Tuesday-Thursday)


Blonde on a Bum Trip Past Event List
The feature production at Fuse Theatre's annual OUTwright Theatre Festival comes straight from the brain of Mikki Gillette, whose past show The Queers was the first-ever trans ensemble drama by a trans writer to premiere in Portland. Gillette has proven herself as a powerful voice in contemporary theater, and she's one to keep an eye on. If you haven't yet engaged with Gillette's work, I recommend checking out this production of Blonde on a Bum Trip, which is set within Warhol's factory scene and follows the lives of pioneering trans actresses Candy Darling, Holly Woodlawn, and Jackie Curtis. LC
(Reed College, Reed, Thursday-Sunday)

Clyde's Remind List
As a Pulitzer Prize winner and 2007 MacArthur genius, Nottage often centers working-class people in her storytelling—her 2015 play Sweat centered small-town Pennsylvania factory workers facing job insecurity, racism, and class disparities. This time around, she had me at "play about a sandwich." Nottage's Clyde's follows a team of formerly incarcerated kitchen staff who navigate life after lock-up while on a "quest to create the perfect sandwich," so I hope you brought napkins. Check out this interpretation of the play for a funky cross between The Bear and Abbott Elementary. LC
(Portland Center Stage, Pearl District, Saturday-Sunday)

Middletown Mall Past Event List
Isn't it everyone's secret desire to return to the safe, pastel stucco surroundings of a '90s-era mall? Japan-born, Hawaii-raised playwright Lava Alapai agrees with me—her play Middletown Mall is staged in a long-gone food court, where 20-somethings navigate economic disparity, social stresses, and family antics. Things grow more complicated when they all begin to prepare for America's biggest karaoke contest, "Sing Out!” LC
(CoHo Theater, Northwest Portland, Thursday-Sunday)

The Wolves Past Event List
PSU's theater program will present Sarah DeLappe's Pulitzer Prize-nominated play The Wolves, and the muscular coming-of-age tale sounds like it'll have some fun set pieces—hope you like AstroTurf! The production follows a high school girls' indoor soccer team, where players "explore thorny and shifting landscapes of identity, friendship, competition, and belonging." I would not return to high school if you paid me one million dollars, so I'm rooting for 'em. LC
(Lincoln Hall Boiler Room Theater, Downtown, Wednesday-Saturday)


A Berry, A Boot, A Building, A Blue Door: New Works by Mike Young Past Event List
California-born artist Mike Young began earning money from hand-drawn greeting cards in the '70s. Young is deaf and blind in one eye, and observes images from books and magazines close up, "bringing his face close enough to nearly touch the pigment and paper." Drawn to contour, outline, architectural detail, and anatomy, Young's pictorial works feel familiar yet reorganized. "His accumulations tell fragmented stories and invent new taxonomies," PICA artistic director Kristan Kennedy explains. A Berry, A Boot, A Building, A Blue Door: New Works by Mike Young is a great opportunity to check out Elbow Room, a local arts organization providing material support, mentorship, and studio space to artists experiencing intellectual and developmental disabilities. LC
(Elbow Room, Buckman, Tuesday-Friday)

Bong Wai Chen: Reframing Tradition Remind List
It's AANHPI Heritage Month—why not make an effort to learn more about Chinatown artist Bong Wai Chen, whose bold, thoughtful calligraphy and ink-on-paper art practices made a profound impact on Oregonian artists?! Chen's retrospective, BONG WAI CHEN: Reframing Tradition, is the third in a series organized by the Portland Chinatown Museum, which aims to spotlight the contributions of the city's Chinese American artists. Get jazzed for the show with this cute photo of Chen at Reed in the '60s. LC
(Portland Chinatown Museum, Old Town-Chinatown, Thursday–Sunday)

Monet to Matisse: French Moderns Remind List
With 60-ish masterpieces pulled from the Brooklyn Museum’s illustrious European art collection, the Portland Art Museum's latest exhibition centers the modernist accomplishments of French artists. You might've already guessed that Monet to Matisse: French Moderns features pieces by Monet and Matisse, but visitors can also spy works by Cézanne, Chagall, Degas, and know, pretty much every creator mentioned in your Art History 101 class, all curated one place. My advice? Make a super-sensory day of it: Dress fancy, feast your eyeballs, then pick up some runny cheese from Providore on the way home. LC
(Portland Art Museum, South Park Blocks, Saturday-Sunday; opening)

Peter Gronquist: Light Record Past Event List
In Peter Gronquist: Manifest, the Portland-based multimedia artist's large-scale sculptural paintings spotlit his interest in excavating personal narratives through found material manipulation. While his previous exhibition at Elizabeth Leach included bone fragments, dyed wasp paper, wool, lace, rose quartz, and "fossilized" event posters as materials, his new show takes a completely different tactic. Peter Gronquist: Light Record displays a body of abstracted works inspired by both photographic and painting processes; the result is "a near-perfect fusion of painting's signature autographic "stroke" and the more anonymous, almost mechanic registration associated with the bulk of photographic reproduction and its myriad effects." LC
(Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Pearl District, Tuesday–Saturday; closing)

Ryan Pierce: Improbable Springs Past Event List
I first wrote about Ryan Pierce's work back in 2021, at the height of a cinematically bleak pandemic. I was amazed by Pierce's ability to "envision the potential for worldly change from an optimistic, anti-apocalyptic lens. "[Pierce's] paintings depict the confluence of environmental chaos and the end of industrial capitalism as a revelrous feast, full of mayhem and clutter and uniquely human messes...[they] don’t force a new narrative on the viewer, but instead offer possibility: What if the future looked like this?" The artist will return to Elizabeth Leach for another solo exhibition, which will continue to "reposition" humanity's place on earth and imagine how nature might carry on in our absence. LC
(Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Pearl District, Tuesday–Saturday; closing)

Sol Neelman: Weird Sports Past Event List
Far be it from me to shrug off a show called Weird Sports, which are, to be honest, the only sports I want to hear about. Sol Neelman celebrates sports-as-performance art in the solo exhibition, including surreal pastimes like beer tossing, barstool skiing, log riding, lightsaber fencing, and something called "live monster wrestling." There's a deeper reason for the curious collection of photographs, too—Neelman's father died when he was two, and Weird Sports allows him to "witness—and document—the joy [he] always imagined [he'd] have with [his] father if he was still alive, whether going to a Cubs game or playing catch in the backyard." LC
(Blue Sky Gallery, Pearl District, Wednesday–Saturday; closing)

Vision of Place Past Event List
In celebration of 65 years of Portland's sister city relationship with Sapporo, Japan, this group exhibition brings together works by Portland photographer Sandra Chandler and Hokkaido-based photographers. Chandler's minimalist, serene works, which capture Hokkaido's winter landscapes, will be exhibited in the Jordan Schnitzer Japanese Arts Learning Center’s Calvin and Mayho Tanabe Gallery, while poetic perspectives by the Hokkaido-based group The North Finder will be displayed in the Pavilion Gallery. The North Finder aims to “raise the image of Hokkaido through photography and help people to know Hokkaido more deeply." Cool! LC
(Portland Japanese Garden, Washington Park, Wednesday-Sunday)

William Matheson: The Glow Remind List
William Matheson may be Portland-based, but his paintings have been shown all over the world, from Mongolia to the Czech Republic. His sixth solo exhibition at Nationale might also be his most metaphysical—the artist thinks carefully about the concept of "the glow," from its connection to wildfires and ecological peril to something more elusive. Painted on jute, Matheson's compositions are innately textural, sinewy, and hazy, streaked with summery hues and hints of smoke and fumes. LC
(Nationale, Buckman, Thursday-Sunday)

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