Best Things To Do

The Top 38 Events in Portland This Week: Jan 3-8, 2023

Moulin Rouge! The Musical, Bish Where?, and More Top Picks
January 3, 2023
The show must go on at Moulin Rouge! The Musical. (Matthew Murphy/Broadway Across America)
2023 is off to a sexy and scintillating start, with must-see events from Moulin Rouge! The Musical to Bish Where? and from Sofi Tukker to O-Shogatsu Festival: Japanese New Year.

Venues may have health guidelines in place—we advise directly checking the specific protocols for an event before heading out.

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Good News with Lee H. Tillman Add to a List
Portland's funniest folks riff on the day's headlines at this comedy showcase organized by low-key festival favorite Lee H. Tillman. Geopolitics and celebrity gossip make pretty great joke fodder, so turn up to this edition of Good News for ultra-current comedy from local stud Adam Pasi, first-generation Indian American jokester Neeraj Srinivasan, and Helium Comedy Club regular Tory Ward.
(Show Bar, Buckman)


Mobilities, Deaf Telepathy, and Atomic Momma Add to a List
Portland-based quartet Mobilities bring their adventurous blend of rock 'n' roll, post-punk, and psych-rock back to the stage supporting their latest release Sideways Days, after opening sets from like-minded psych-rockers Deaf Telepathy and Atomic Momma.
(Holocene, Buckman)



Com Truise (DJ Set) Add to a List
Stranger writer Jas Keimig wrote: "Com Truise is the perfect music to smoke to. Well, all music is, if you really try—but hitting a joint while listening to “Memory” or his single “Existence Schematic” feels like you’re getting high inside of a really advanced computer. Tron-level advanced. Maybe I’m influenced by the fact that “Alfa Beach” off his 2012 album In Decay was used by HBO stoner comedy series High Maintenance in an old trailer for some of its webisodes." Usher in the weekend with the LA-based musician as he spins a mix of chill, synthy sounds. 
(The Get Down, Buckman)

Gerle Haggard Band with Luther's Boots Add to a List
Get your fix of cosmic outlaw country tunes courtesy of this seven-piece, all-female tribute to the "Okie from Muskogee," Merle Haggard. Anticipate a mix of his well-known hits, obscure singles, and early work as well as some of his carefully chosen blues and jazz covers. Johnny Cash cover band Luther's Boots will get things started.
(Mississippi Studios, Boise)

Lainey Wilson: Country With A Flare Tour Add to a List
Country music queen Lainey Wilson, who you may have seen acting in Paramount+'s neo-western drama Yellowstone, will play in support of her new album, Bell Bottom Country, which combines classic Americana with elements of '70s rock, funk, and soul. Like-minded artists Ben Chapman and Meg McRee will open.
(Crystal Ballroom, West End)



J.R.R. Tolkien’s Birthday Add to a List
Everyone's favorite tree lover is turning 131 this year, and although J.R.R. Tolkien has long since departed this realm for the elvish afterlife, you can still celebrate the 20th-century visionary at Kennedy School with screenings of the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy. After sitting in the theater for eight hours of fantasy lore, you'll want to shake off the stiffness with live music by folk-pop trio The Junebugs.
(Kennedy School, Concordia)


Yoga + Beer Portland | Baerlic Brewing Add to a List
Bend and stretch with a feel-good yoga practice, then refuel afterwards with a crisp pint from Baerlic Brewing while socializing with fellow yogis.
(Baerlic Brewing Company, Hosford-Abernethy)


Asilo Ocuro - Goth en Español Night! Add to a List
Dance into the dark side with DJs Sonido Dead Steady and Espina Letal as they serve up a spread of Spanish-language goth, darkwave, and industrial jams.
(The Midnight PDX + The Sïx, Sunnyside)

Black Tie/White Noise: Black Star with The Christopher Brown Quartet Add to a List
Celebrate the Thin White Duke's "golden years" with The Christopher Brown Quartet for a jazz tribute to David Bowie's final album, Blackstar, followed by a set of his greatest hits.
(Jack London Revue, Downtown)

Deb Talan Add to a List
Singer-songwriter Deb Talan is best known as one-half of the folk-pop duo The Weepies, but she's also been dazzling audiences as a solo artist for over two decades with her angelic acoustic tunes about nature, historical figures, and astronomy.
(Alberta Rose Theatre, Concordia)

The Lowest Pair with Ollella Add to a List
The Lowest Pair, the duo of Kendl Winter and Palmer T. Lee, is strong in their simplicity—two whispering banjos making a bed for Lee and Winter's clear, modest harmonies. It's easy on the ear, the kind of thing you could hear night after night. ROBIN BACIOR
(Mississippi Studios, Boise)


Bish Where? Add to a List
Bish, you betta get yourself to this star-studded debut of Portland's new quarterly queer+ party. Drag royalty like Laganja Estranja (RuPaul's Drag Race), Stacy Layne Matthews (RuPaul's Drag Race), Landon Cider (Dragula), and Geneva Convention (Camp Wannakiki) will kick off the new year with local stars Jayla Rose (Lizzo's Watch out for the Big Grrrls) and Flawless Shade (Painted with Raven).
(The Get Down, Buckman)


First Saturday Open House Add to a List
Head to modern mainstay Oregon Contemporary's open house to peep home school's exhibition i gently place my brain on cold rice Add to a List  before it closes on January 8. Visitors can also catch a performance lecture by Intisar Abioto, and in the same building, they'll find Flowstone Add to a List at Carnation Contemporary. Make it a day of art viewing before grabbing drinks in the quaint Kenton neighborhood.
(Oregon Contemporary, Kenton)



Anti-Capitalism At Work: A Discussion Series Add to a List
Fed up with the capitalist grind? (If you didn't answer "yes," what's your secret?) Conducted by "people-first management expert" Marina Martinez-Bateman, this thoughtful six-session discussion series continues this month with a talk on unrealistic work goals.
(Clinton Street Theater, Hosford-Abernethy)

O-Shogatsu Festival: Japanese New Year Add to a List
The Portland Japanese Museum's O-Shogatsu Festival will celebrate the Japanese New Year with a jam-packed day of cultural activities, including the first hatsugama (tea ceremony) of the year, a traditional brush painting workshop, a shishimai (lion dance), and complimentary brew from Portland Coffee Roasters.
(Portland Japanese Garden, Washington Park)


Koleda! Slavic Winter Festival Add to a List
Heads up, borscht lovers! Learn more about vibrant Ukrainian, Belarusian, and Russian cultures at this winter celebration organized by Fool House Art Collective. Koleda honors the transitional time between the setting and rising sun; this interpretation of the traditional festival will include ceremonial dishes, craft vendors, bonfire dancing, a musical performance by renowned Belarusian folk artist Serhiy Dogushev, and "entertainment by skomorokhs and mummers." Traditional clothing, animal costumes, and masks are welcomed!
(Oregon Latvian Community Center, Hillsdale)


Dark Lagoon Goth Tiki Night No Cover at The Mad Hanna Add to a List
Most people probably don't consider tiki and goths a natural pairing, but this event aims to change that by mashing up the two subcultures, resulting in a darkly kitschy combo. Pile on the eyeliner and dark lipstick and sip a tropical cocktail while bopping around to a blend of exotica, surf, rockabilly, goth, and more.
(Mad Hanna, Cully)


R.A.P. Ferreira & AJ Suede Add to a List
Nashville-based rapper, producer, theorist, and label head R.A.P. Ferreira (FKA Milo) made waves with his 2017 album, Who Told You to Think??!!?!?!, which received praise from Rolling Stone and Pitchfork. He will stop by in support of his latest release, 5 to the Eye with Stars, which employs candid, autobiographical lyrics and jazz-infused beats. He will be joined by Seattle-based rapper/producer AJ Suede.
(Mississippi Studios, Boise)


Bowie Birthday Bash! Add to a List
Put on your red shoes and dance the blues to the otherworldly hits of dearly departed pop king David Bowie on what would have been his 76th birthday. DJ Gregarious will spin an eclectic mix of the late singer's iconic discography (yes, even his late '90s techno-industrial era!) alongside music videos and rare live footage from VJ Disorder.
(Holocene, Buckman)



I Am An American: Stories of Exclusion and Belonging Add to a List
Hate crimes targeting Asian Americans are on the rise—if you don't know about it, you haven't been paying attention. In collaboration with Portland photographer Jim Lommasson and artist Roberta Wong, The Immigrant Story presents this exhibition of photographs, objects, and artwork to bring awareness to the current experiences of Asian Americans. The show's title, I Am An American, became a rallying cry after Japanese Americans were imprisoned in internment camps in WWII. While trends of xenophobia and discrimination continue, this exhibition speaks to the endurance of strength of Asian Americans in the face of generations of adversity.
(Oregon Historical Society, South Park Blocks, Tuesday-Sunday)


Babylon Add to a List
Damien Chazelle's glittery tale of '20s Los Angeles decadence features an ensemble cast of Hollywood heavy hitters like Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, and Olivia Wilde. The cacophonous, epic tale channels the glamour and excess of the era, and critics are torn—some refer to the film as "phenomenal filmmaking" (Variety), while other outlets describe the film as "a bloated mess" (Paste Magazine). See for yourself!
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, Tuesday-Thursday)

Battle Royale Add to a List
It's all exploding neck collars and kids with random weaponry in Kinji Fukasaku's freaky masterpiece, which follows a near-future Japan rife with juvenile crime. When a gaggle of 9th graders are carted off to a remote island to hunt each other for sport, chaos ensues (duh). Is it tasteful? No. Is it great anyway? Well, fans of Lord of the Flies and Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange will find something to clap about.
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, Wednesday-Thursday)

Blade Runner: The Final Cut Add to a List
In this final cut edition of Ridley Scott's android-ridden fever dream Blade Runner, viewers will catch additional restored footage not seen in any other version of the film. Whether you're new to the cyberpunk masterpiece or a longtime fan of Deckard's race through a high-tech, decaying future, this restoration is a great way to revisit the cult classic's world of replicants and shoulder pads.
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, Saturday-Sunday)

Eo Add to a List
Inspired by Robert Bresson's 1966 film Au Hasard Balthazar, renowned Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski's Eo follows an inquisitive donkey on a trek through the European countryside, where he experiences a wide range of emotions and human interactions. The film does contain some depictions of animal cruelty, but if you can stomach it, Eo is rumored to be brilliant—the film already boasts a 97% score on Rotten Tomatoes, and won the Jury Prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, Tuesday-Thursday)

UHF Add to a List
If you dug Daniel Radcliffe's zany vibes in 2022's Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, don't miss this '89 Weird Al romp. He's at the top of his game in UHF, starring as an outrageous misfit who creates satirical TV shows and lands in hot water with a bitter media CEO. Roger Ebert hated the flick, and deemed Yankovic a "dispirited vacuum." Respectfully, we disagree.
(Clinton Street Theater, Hosford-Abernethy, Saturday-Sunday)

The Whale Add to a List
True to his provocateur style, Darren Aronofsky's latest flick has already generated a polarizing response. Roxane Gay described The Whale, which follows a withdrawn English teacher's endeavors to reconnect with his estranged daughter, as "a gratuitous, self-aggrandizing fiction at best" with "a demeaning portrayal of a fat man." The Daily Telegraph disagreed, giving the film a perfect rating and praising Brendan Fraser as "seal[ing] his comeback in a sensational film of rare compassion." 
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, Tuesday-Thursday)


Navajo Skies Add to a List
Navajo folklore comes to the domed Kendall Planetarium this month, with awe-inspiring celestial stories told in Navajo and English, plus brilliant imagery set to traditional songs and Native American flute music.
(OMSI, Central Eastside, Tuesday-Sunday)


Portland Music Month 2023 Add to a List
Portland Music Month is a (you guessed it) month-long celebration that aims to revive the vibrant local music industry. Fans are encouraged to snap out of their mid-winter hibernation to help Portland's independent venues and artists by seeing live shows, buying merch, winning prizes, and supporting the Independent Musicians Empowerment Grant. Come out and honor the musicians that helped us all get through the darkness of the past few years. Highlights from the series include a DJ set from electronic artist Com Truise Add to a List , jazz ensemble Christopher Brown Quartet Add to a List 's tribute to David Bowie, British pop singer/actress Suki Waterhouse Add to a List , and iconic indie rock band Luna Add to a List .
(Various locations, Wednesday-Sunday)

Sofi Tukker Add to a List
NYC-based electro-pop duo Sofi Tukker will continue their trajectory to jungle-pop perfection with tracks off their new album, WET TENNIS, a hefty acronym for “when everyone tries to evolve, nothing negative is safe." Don't miss opening sets from house-infused pop artist Anabel Englund and dance troupe Bob’s Dance Shop (as seen on season 16 of America's Got Talent).
(Roseland Theater, Old Town-Chinatown, Friday-Saturday)


American Fast Add to a List
This Rolling World Premiere launch by director Kareem Fahmy follows a top-ranked college basketball player whose faith is challenged when March Madness falls during Ramadan. Khady Salama's religious mother expects her to fast during game days, and as she rises in the ranks and inspires other Muslim players, Khady must give careful consideration to what matters most.
(Portland Center Stage, Pearl District, Thursday-Sunday; opening)

Moulin Rouge! The Musical Add to a List
Baz Luhrmann's sparkly world hits the theatrical stage in this musical directed by Tony Award nominee Alex Timbers. You probably already know the plot of the romantic drama set in turn-of-the-century Paris, so just sit back and thrill your eyeballs with the glamour of the show—Moulin Rouge! brings new meaning to the word "extra."
(Keller Auditorium, Downtown, Wednesday-Sunday)


Charlie Salas-Humara: Carts Behind the Jewel Osco Add to a List
Self-taught painter and musician Charlie Salas-Humara channels liminal spaces in Carts Behind the Jewel Osco, a solo exhibition of thickly impastoed works. With titles like Hidden Alleyway and In the Denny’s Parking Lot, Salas-Humara reflects on washed-out, forgotten, and ignored spaces, creating densely layered surfaces that evoke a landlord's hasty paint job in a new rental. (In a good way.) The show prompts an engaging question—just what is happening under the surface? 
(Nationale, Buckman, Thursday-Sunday)

Flowstone Add to a List
WAVE Contemporary co-founder Hannah Newman and widely exhibited artist Susan Murrell "explore the end of day as it relates to the end of days" in Flowstone, a collaborative project. Through familiar lenses of landscape painting and figurative sculpture, Newman and Murrell delve into complicated territories of body and land, untold futures, and ecological dread.
(Carnation Contemporary, Kenton, Saturday-Sunday; opening)

i gently place my brain in cold rice Add to a List
Presented by curatorial residents Victoria Anne Reis and manuel arturo abreu of home schooli gently place my brain in cold rice compiles sculptures, video pieces, photography, and writing, grappling with tactility and ritual in virtual and "transmedia" realms. The inquisitive exhibition's eight artists include local creator and doula Ansar El Muhammad, Pittsburgh-based artist Khadijat Yussuff, Kigali-based collective Ibisazi Designers Nyabyo, and others. 
(Oregon Contemporary, Kenton, Friday-Sunday; closing)

Looking Back, Looking Forward Add to a List
Inspired by the COVID-19 lockdown and a 2019 residency in the Arctic Circle region of Finland, Kristen Miller's Looking Back, Looking Forward explores repetition, ritual, and memory through small textile works that function as records of time. During the pandemic, Miller stitched beads onto scraps of worn linen to "record" her day-to-day experiences; the pieces shown in this solo exhibition feel both pensive and hopeful, capturing small notes of color and texture that once comprised the artist's days.
(PDX CONTEMPORARY ART, Slabtown, Tuesday-Saturday; closing)

Sara Siestreem (Hanis Coos): looking for the land///found the weather Add to a List
Hanis Coos artist Sara Siestreem, who was recently awarded the 2022 Forge Project Fellowship, presents a new body of work focused on her ongoing themes of ceremonial tradition, ecological justice, and Indigenous feminism in looking for the land///found the weather. The solo exhibition includes bundles of suspended sweetgrass braids, video artworks, painted diptychs, and other experiments in immersion, confrontation, and metaphor to create "act[s] of refusal and resistance."
(Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Pearl District, Friday-Saturday; opening)

Vince Skelly and Lynne Woods Turner Add to a List
Sculptor Vince Skelly and two-dimensional artist Lynne Woods Turner join heads for this two-person exhibition, contemporary mainstay Adams and Ollman's last show of the year. The duo explores opportunities for playful skewing of scale and form through oil paintings on cheesecloth, chainsaw-sculpted furniture, and other unexpected mediums and tools.
(Adams and Ollman, Northwest Portland, Wednesday-Saturday)


ZooLights Add to a List
What do wild animals, elephant ears, hot cocoa, and over half a million lights have in common? You can find 'em all at ZooLights, a Portland holiday requisite that includes a drive-through option on select dates again this year.
(Oregon Zoo, Washington Park, Tuesday-Thursday)

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