Best Things To Do

The Top 35 Events in Portland This Week: Mar 18–24, 2024

Ian Karmel, Portland Tartare Tour, and More Top Picks
March 18, 2024
The Portland Tartare Tour will have you feelin' fancy with tartare specials and Westward Whiskey cocktail pairings.
There's a lot to do and see this week and no time to waste—we've done the heavy lifting by compiling the very best things to do, with events from Ian Karmel to the Portland Tartare Tour and from The Moth Presents: The Portland GrandSLAM to the opening weekend of the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival.

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Fear No Music: Iran/America - Common Themes, Different Worlds Past Event List
In honor of Women's History Month, chamber music ensemble Fear No Music has joined forces with the Iranian Female Composers Association (Niloufar Nourbaksh, Aida Shirazi, and Anahita Abbasi) and Black American composers Brittany J. Green, Jordyn Davis, and Shelley Washington, to compare and contrast the themes of their respective compositions. AV
(The Old Church, Downtown)



Lael Neale with Oh, Rose Past Event List
In her bio, singer-songwriter Lael Neale writes that she loves "not listening to music"—and it shows (in the best way). Employing drum machines, power chords, and a Suzuki Omnichord, Neale creates a singular sound that’s all her own. It's equal parts dream pop, classic country, and gospel. Her new album, Star Eaters Delight, sounds like an '80s private press record that would eventually land a coveted Light In The Attic reissue (IYKYK). Neale will support the album after a solo set from the PNW's own Oh, Rose. AV
(Mississippi Studios, Boise)


The Moth Presents: The Portland GrandSLAM Past Event List
The Moth's public story-sharing events have encouraged community, vulnerability, and connection across the world. In this rendition of the now-classic event, winners from the open-mic StorySLAM series will battle it out to win the title of Portland GrandSLAM Story Champion. Each ticket purchase includes a copy of The Moth’s new anthology, A Point of Beauty: True Stories of Holding On and Letting Go, which includes tales of "an international rescue mission for Paddington Bear, a family matriarch running numbers in Detroit, an epic Lucha libre showdown in Mexico City." LC
(Aladdin Theater, Brooklyn)



Church of Film: Video Witches - A Collection of Peculiar Feminist Work Past Event List
Feminism, video art, and "borderline psychotic" anti-patriarchal visions–if any of this appeals to you, let's be friends. Also, Church of Film will present a compilation of short flicks on these themes as part of its current Film Feminism series. The curated, '80s- and '90s-era video works will flicker around the margins of horror, noir, and fairy tale storytelling. It's witty, it's creepy, and it's pissed at the powers that be. Let's fucking go! LC
(Clinton Street Theater, Hosford-Abernethy)


Cooking with Friends feat. Chefs Doug Miriello and Rick Gencarelli Past Event List
Get your best mob wife 'fit ready: Chef Thomas Pisha-Duffly (Gado Gado, Oma's Hideaway) and a couple of his East Coast expat chef pals in Portland, Doug Mirello (Dimo's Apizza) and Rick Gencarelli (Lardo, Grassa, Bluto's), will join forces for an evening inspired by "East Coast Italian flair." They haven't released the menu yet at the time of this writing, but I'm willing to bet lots of red sauce is involved. Mangia bene! JB
(The Houston Blacklight, Hosford-Abernethy)


Cultivating Partnerships: Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Science in Land Stewardship Past Event List
Oregon Natural Desert Association's curiosity-sparking talks are a nature lovers' dream. Their High Desert Speaker Series, which focuses on the flora and fauna of Oregon’s high desert, will continue on March 20 with this discussion led by Dr. Cristina Eisenberg, a community ecologist, associate dean for inclusive excellence, and director of tribal initiatives at Oregon State University. She'll chat about her land stewardship research, ecocultural restoration opportunities, and the merging of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and Western science, commonly called "two-eyed seeing." LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District)



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 at this time of year. LC
(Kickstand Comedy, Ladd's Addition)



The Sisters of Mercy Sketch Comedy presents Spring Formal Past Event List
Nothing says spring like an opportunity to laugh my ass off—it's a cathartic way to shake off months of hibernation. Sisters of Mercy seem to understand this, so they've returned for a spring show (on the heels of their sold-out Halloween shindig) like Jesus emerging from that cave in Jerusalem. The gang (including '80s enthusiast Lori Ferraro, decent roller skater Shelley McLendon, turtle whisperer Laura Sams, and Stumptown Improv Festival producer Erin Jean O'Regan) will honor the coming of spring, nature's transformations, and all that good stuff on stage. LC
(Siren Theater, Boise)


March Into Fantasy Double Feature Past Event List
Wyrd War does it all—the record label, film series, and "guerrilla action group" also has an art gallery within walking distance of Hollywood Theatre. The fourth night of their "March Into Fantasy" series includes a special screening of the 1919 Expressionist masterwork (and malevolent freak fest) The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, which will take on a hypnotic new level of otherworldliness with a live original score performed by local dungeon synth artist Cold Sanctum. The silent film follows a fairground "doctor" and the unfortunate sleepwalker who murders at his command—it's a gem of early cinema that sorta-kinda invented the entire horror film genre, and influenced directors like David Lynch and Stanley Kubrick. After the screening, Australian dungeon synth artist Quest Master will perform against a "lush cinematic backdrop," and attendees can drop by before the show for a "dungeon festival market" in the theater's upstairs lobby. LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District)



Ian Karmel Past Event List
To know Ian Karmel is to love him: The former Mercury columnist, beloved Beavertonian, Emmy Award-winning comic, and onetime co-head writer for The Late Late Show with James Corden writer (he's fancy these days) played a key role in our humble city's comedy renaissance. He'll drop by his old stomping grounds with more of the lighthearted comedy that's earned him a loyal fanbase 'round these parts. LC
(Revolution Hall, Buckman)


CMAT Past Event List
CMAT (aka Ciara Mary-Alice Thompson) is the pop cowgirl that we deserve. Hailing from Dublin, she spins her Irish heritage, self-deprecating thoughts, and interest in pop culture into soulful country bops. Plus, her vocal chops are a whole other flex—she kind of sounds like Adele, if Adele went country. She will support her sophomore album, Crazymad, For Me, after an opening set from kindred pop vocalist Morgana. AV
(Mississippi Studios, Boise)


Smallpresspalooza Past Event List
Returning for its 13th year to reaffirm that any event can be a -palooza if the mood is right, Smallpresspalooza will offer up a marathon reading by a dozen small press-published authors. Hosted by Future Tense Books publisher (and Powell's small press champion) Kevin Sampsell, the event will include words by Cee Chávez, Shilo Niziolek, Juleen Eun Sun Johnson, Hope Amico, Libby Rice, Jessica Wadleigh, and others. LC
(Powell's City of Books, Pearl District)



Mary Timony Past Event List
Best described by Carrie Brownstein as “Mary Shelley with a guitar," indie rock innovator Mary Timony has made an undeniable mark on rock music as a member of bands like Helium, Ex Hex, Autoclave, and Wild Flag. Now, Timony is back with her first solo album in 19 years, Untame the Tiger. The album is a perfect encapsulation of her 30+ year career with melodic guitar riffs, melancholic lyrics, and signature deadpan vocals. It simultaneously sounds like it was recorded in 1998 while finding pockets of fresh experimentation—a true feat if you ask me! Don't miss an opening set from Philadelphia-based folk rock artist Rosali. AV
(Mississippi Studios, Boise)

Portland Gay Men's Chorus: Go On and Love Past Event List
At their spring concert, the Portland Gay Men's Chorus (one of the longest-running gay men's choruses in the country!) will explore the tangible ways that our thoughts, words, and actions have the potential to combat violence, racism, and oppression. The program will be centered around Joel Thompson’s compelling choral masterwork, “Seven Last Words of the Unarmed,” which honors Black lives lost to police brutality. AV
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, South Park Blocks)


Worst Day of the Year Ride Past Event List
There's no guarantee that March 24 is actually the worst day of the year, but it's likely to be a gray day between dark winter and false spring. In our very Portland way, we celebrate this bleak time with a 19-mile urban route or 36-mile "hillacious" bike ride in silly costumes. You'll be rewarded at the finish-line party at Lucky Labrador with hot soup, treats, and a costume contest. Cyclists under 16 ride free, so bring the whole fam! SL
(Lucky Labrador Brew Pub, Buckman)



Waterfront Park Cherry Blossoms
Each spring, 100 cherry blossom trees pop pink blooms at the Japanese American Historical Plaza up at the north end of Waterfront Park. Tourists and locals alike stroll the tree-lined stretch to partake in stunning photo-ops, bask in the delicate falling petals, and reflect on the history of Japanese Portlanders. JW
(Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Downtown, Monday-Sunday)

2024 Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival Remind List
After a particularly grueling 2023 season (atmospheric rivers to start and a heatwave to finish), the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm promises to come back better than ever this year for their 40th annual fest. Make sure you snag tickets in advance—they're only available online. We recommend a weekday visit to beat the crowds and boost your mood—after all, who doesn't love playing hooky to dance in 40 acres of flowers against the majestic backdrop of Mount Hood? SL
(Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm, Woodburn, Friday-Sunday)


Dune: Part Two Past Event List
A sweeping sci-fi film with origins right here in the Pacific NorthwestDune: Part Two is a sequel that surpasses the first by leaps and bounds as it transports us back to the world first created by the late local author Frank Herbert. Picking up where its predecessor left off, it follows the young Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) as he aligns himself with Chani (Zendaya) and the rest of the Fremen who have found a way to survive in the harsh desert climate of Arrakis. As they battle against the forces of the galaxy looking to mine the valuable resources that the planet holds, there is soon a growing sense that the greatest dangers are only just beginning. The film also digs into fears Herbert explored about the hazards of giving power to leaders who talk a big game even as they may be the villains of their own stories. Readers of said books know how this ends, but the film offers just as much to those who are going in blissfully unaware, and its stunning visuals deserve to be seen on the big screen. In all of 2024, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a film as immense and well-crafted as Dune: Part TwoSTRANGER CONTRIBUTOR CHASE HUTCHINSON
(Cinema 21, Nob Hill, Monday-Thursday)

Feminist March 2024 Past Event List
Happy Women's History Month! Hollywood Theatre's Feminist March program will once again offer up a full month of screenings celebrating women in film. Programmed by Hollywood Theatre community programmer Anthony Hudson and Hollywood staff members Destynee Norwood and Cable Wells, this year's lineup "delves unflinchingly into the dark and seedy depths of female experience" (oOoO!) with 19 films. The wide-reaching festival continues this week with the Lily Gladstone-fronted flick Certain Women, John Waters' Female Trouble in 35mm, a screening of Bring It On with a stand-up set by Seattle comic Zahnae Aquino, and more. LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, Monday/Thursday/Saturday)

Perfect Days Past Event List
New German Cinema pioneer Wim Wenders, who directed Wings of Desire and a mysterious terrain of canyons and neon in Paris, Texas, is known for his deliciously "slow" cinema and emphasis on desolation. Interestingly, this film (which was shortlisted for Best International Feature at this year's Oscars) feels a little more lighthearted, but I suspect that I will still come away feeling somehow devastated. Perfect Days follows a Tokyo toilet scrubber, Hirayama, whose days are filled with contentment, cassette tapes, books, and photos of trees. May we all be so blessed. LC
(Cinema 21, Nob Hill, Monday-Thursday)

Problemista Past Event List
If you count yourself among the ever-expanding subset of movie-goers whose ideal flick features Tilda Swinton and a side of surreal quirk, then Julio Torres's Problemista (an A24 film, obviously) has your back. The film follows a Salvadoran toy designer in NYC whose work visa runs out as he works as an assistant for an art-world weirdo. Expect something freaky and wonderful that also grapples with the broken US immigration system. LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, Monday-Thursday)

Your Fat Friend Past Event List
Jeanie Finlay's Your Fat Friend documents the rise of writer and self-described "very fat person" Aubrey Gordon, who cut her teeth as an anonymous blogger and has since become a bestselling author. I'm a big fan of the loud-laughing, Portland-based fat acceptance activist, whose podcast Maintenance Phase pokes fun at Goop-driven garbaggio and widens my perspective on what it means to be healthy. "It is a real paradigm shift to look at someone my size and think...that person may have put in a great deal of effort, and that may have been what got them here," says Gordon in the film. LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, Monday-Thursday)


Portland Tartare Tour Past Event List
Love it or hate it, tartare holds a special place in the culinary pantheon, beloved for its rich umami flavor. Westward Whiskey will spotlight the meaty, savory delicacy with bespoke tartare specials and whiskey-based cocktail pairings at five of Portland's favorite dining destinations, including Olympia Provisions, Fools & Horses, Scotch Lodge, Bellwether Bar, and Lechon. A portion of proceeds from the sale of each cocktail will support a charity of each restaurant’s choice. JB
(Various locations, Monday-Sunday)


Quixote Nuevo Past Event List
Cervantes's hero Don Quixote gains new life in this modern, Tejano-inspired twist on the 17th-century tale, set in the fictional town of La Plancha, Texas and infused with Spanish music. Quixote Nuevo follows a professor with dementia who imagines himself as Don Quixote and embarks on a love-driven journey while encountering border patrol drones. The Seattle Times described Quixote Nuevo as "deftly and efficiently lead[ing] viewers from reality to fantasy and into the murky borderlands that lie in between." LC
(Portland Center Stage, Pearl District, Wednesday–Sunday)

The Snowy Day Past Event List
This week's "thing that would heal me" is The Snowy Day, an operatic interpretation of Ezra Jack Keats’s meditative, dreamy '63 children's book. You might remember The Snowy Day like a fever dream—its central character is a star-shaped child who ventures out into the snow blanketing his neighborhood. The West Coast premiere of this kid-friendly opera features music by Joel Thompson and libretto by Andrea Davis Pinkney. LC
(Newmark Theatre, South Park Blocks, Friday/Sunday)


Fazilat Soukhakian: Queer in Utah Past Event List
In Fazilat Soukhakian's native Iran, same-sex sexual activity is still punishable by death. Before moving to the US, Soukhakian witnessed this discrimination and the fear it induced in the LGBTQ+ community, but after moving to Utah, she found a remarkably similar atmosphere. Her Queer in Utah project, begun in 2019, includes intimate portraits of a new generation of LGBTQ+ Mormons and residents of Utah who are challenging the constraints of their religious beliefs and the conservative heterosexual image. LC
(Blue Sky Gallery, Pearl District, Wednesday–Saturday)

The Fullness of the Seeming Void Past Event List
What is art for if not to explore the unknown? Frankly, I'm always seeking a little bit of spiritual enlightenment when I duck into a gallery. Adams and Ollman gets it—this cross-generational group exhibition manifests the mystical through a "lineage of personal and sensory investigations" from the '60s to the present. We're talking cosmologies, voids, and world-building, people! We're diving into the magic of the mundane and the enormity of everyday minutiae. Get into it. The Fullness of the Seeming Void (which pulls its title from a Helena Blavatsky quote—sick) includes works by supernova-conjuring art pioneer Lee Bontecou, iconoclastic painter Cynthia Carlson, Heidi Lau, whose work pulls from ancient Taoist mythologies, and Bettina, who lived at the Chelsea Hotel from the '70s until her death, among several others. LC
(Adams and Ollman, Northwest Portland, Wednesday–Saturday; closing)

Joseph Past Event List
Curated by Jeroen Smeets of The Jaunt, this group exhibition spotlights five artists who took part in the organization's "summer camp" program: painters Tim Biskup, Jillian Evelyn, and William LaChance, multimedia artist Macarena Luzi, and folk art-inspired artist Stevie Shao. The artists converged in Joseph, Oregon, a small town at the base of the Wallowa Mountains, to create amid the scenic atmosphere. Joseph showcases the "collective fruits of their creativity" and includes a limited edition silkscreen print. LC
(Chefas Projects, Central Eastside, Wednesday–Saturday)

Helen Frankenthaler: Works from The Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation Past Event List
The holidays—and the end of the year in general—tend to prompt a fair amount of self-reflection, rumination, and lofty plans for the new year. (I know it can't just be me.) Enter Helen Frankenthaler, the towering 20th-century Abstract Expressionist painter and printmaker whose lit-from-within, stained-and-poured techniques will stop you dead in your tracks and ease your existential woes. You can catch a cross-section of her woodcut, intaglio, lithograph, and screenprinted works in this exhibition, which centers her original contributions to printmaking. LC
(Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, Pearl District, Wednesday–Sunday; closing)

Hours After Winter Past Event List
Rachael Zur calls her sculptural works "expanded paintings"—they merge physicality with traditional painting techniques, and the pieces have been previously featured in New American Paintings. In Hours After Winter, Zur's latest solo exhibition, the artist ponders life cycles, renewal, and the "curious capacity domestic spaces have for holding the echoes of lives lived." If your interest in art about domestic spaces is piqued, I recommend heading to Blue Sky Gallery afterward for Sarah Malakoff's Personal History. LC
(Carnation Contemporary, Kenton, Saturday-Sunday)

Lee Kelly - Bennington Suite & Color Studies Remind List
Elizabeth Leach Gallery has showcased revered Pacific Northwest artist Lee Kelly's sculptures, paintings, and works on paper periodically since 1986, but this curated selection of the artist's watercolors and angular sculptures has never been exhibited before. Spanning thirty years of Kelly's career, Bennington Suite & Color Studies includes bright maquettes and Mayan architecture-influenced compositions created while he was at Bennington College in Vermont. LC
(Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Pearl District, Tuesday–Saturday)

Lee Materazzi: ¢a$h&¢arry Past Event List
Lee Materazzi's inaugural show at Nationale is also a traveling exhibition—it was previously presented at San Francisco's 1599fdT, and will be shown at San Diego's Quint Contemporary in the future. ¢a$h&¢arry compiles 250 archival images that chronicle the last five years of Materazzi's practice, including portraiture and reflections on the precarity of the human body. Materazzi shares her studio space and practice with her children, Mia and Brook, so the works on view in this show were "completed between the ages of 37 and 41 and 3 and 11, respectively." LC
(Nationale, Buckman, Monday/Thursday-Sunday)

MÉLANGE curated by Jeremy Okai Davis Past Event List
You might have seen Jeremy Okai Davis's work in his 2022 solo exhibition A Good Sport, which saw the painter investigate the experiences of Black Americans in traditional sportsmanship roles within the rigid confines of athleticism and academia. This time around, Davis has taken on a curatorial role—Mélange pulls together an "array of voices and creative expressions" from printmaker Rebecca Boraz, North Carolina-based artist Maria Britton (who uses used bedsheets, dry permanent markers, and newspapers as artistic material), Bronx-born collage artist Anthony R. Grant, and Chris Lael Larson, who "culls riches from the everyday absurd." LC
(Nationale, Buckman, Monday/Thursday-Sunday)

Meteorite Mama: Jessie Rosa Vala Past Event List
Jessie Rose Vala's latest installation pulls from mythic storytelling to erect a stoneware and neon "effigy" to hybridity and connectivity across the ages. The work includes glass pomegranates and is surrounded by sound and video elements that amplify Vala's focus on ancient histories and "future ways of being." Meteorite Mama also offers an opportunity to make your own talisman on March 9—effigies, beads, and string will be provided. The exhibition will conclude with a ritual event on March 30, which will include an acapella performance by devotional artist Willow Gibbons and a natural arrangement workshop led by floral designer Hilary Horvath. LC
(Well Well, Kenton, Saturday-Sunday)

OuterVoice: Kinds of Time Past Event List
Founded in 2023 by Portland video artist and writer Sarah Rushford, the time-based arts alliance Outer Voice aims to provide "space, community, support, and opportunity to local time-based artists" and to "foster community dialogue around time-based art." For this group exhibition, the 2023-24 season of Outer Voice participants (Claire Barrera, Roland Dahwen, Erin Boberg Doughton, Rubén García Marrufo, Sarah Rushford, Ash Stone, and Qi You) will present multidisciplinary works. On April 6 at 6 pm, the artists will also share a program of performances and video works. LC
(Oregon Contemporary, Kenton, Friday-Sunday; opening)

Sarah Malakoff: Personal History Past Event List
Large-scale color photographer Sarah Malakoff has been preoccupied by domestic interiors for as long as she can recall. Her long-term documentation project Personal History looks closely at how we arrange our spaces and how décor communicates our "tastes, personalities, quirks, and culture." (What would Malakoff think about the dishes in my sink?) This exhibition highlights objects arranged in American homes, including teapots, pinball machines, Obama pillows, Egyptian pseudo-artifacts, and lots of other odds and ends that might surprise you. Malakoff wonders how these objects "underscore the privilege and power implicit in the act of collecting." LC
(Blue Sky Gallery, Pearl District, Wednesday–Saturday)

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