Best Things To Do

The Top 40 Events in Portland This Week: Feb 26–Mar 3, 2024

Jim Gaffigan, Sudan Archives, and More Top Picks
February 26, 2024
Jim Gaffigan is "barely alive." Relatable, tbh. (Jim Gaffigan)
Step one: Peruse our list of can't-miss events, which includes gems like Sudan Archives, Jim Gaffigan, Fall Out Boy, and more. Step two: Enjoy yourself at said events. Step three: Thank us later.

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Damian + Stephen Marley: Traffic Jam 2024 Past Event List
Former Stranger contributor Kyle Fleck writes: "The winding road of musical history is paved with the sons and daughters of icons, who (often through nepotism, sometimes with talent) gave a shot at their own careers, never to step out from the shadow of their legendary parents. What sets reggae icon Bob Marley’s brood apart is their undeniable hit-making abilities: Damian’s blistering 'Welcome to Jamrock' was pretty much inescapable the summer it was released, and Stephen’s a Grammy-winning, critically lauded artist in his own right. His is a dressed-up, omnivorous take on reggae, incorporating hip-hop drum breaks, record scratches, and pop-leaning female backup singers, along with the requisite mentions of Jah. It’s sort of a globalized, millennial take on reggae, and while it lacks the rootsy charm of his father's classic records, it’s nice to see the Marley clan doing their own thing and doing it well." The brothers will return to Portland on their Traffic Jam tour with a medley of their solo hits and their father's timeless classics. AV
(Roseland Theater, Old Town-Chinatown)

Helado Negro Past Event List
Former Portland Mercury contributor Daniela Serna writes: "As Helado Negro, Roberto Carlos Lange creates shimmering and effervescent synth-pop that inhabits the twilight spaces between cultures. Born in South Florida to Ecuadorian parents and currently based in New York, Lange imbues his music with the heat and bright party sounds of Latin America, and often switches between Spanish and English. It’s crafted with musical dexterity—record samples, loops, synths, and a myriad of live instruments are the building blocks of Lange’s electro-psych-pop dreams." He will return to Portland with songs from his new album, PHASOR, which was written and recorded during lockdown and which he describes as "an homage to going outside again." AV
(Revolution Hall, Buckman)



Rev. Kristin Michael Hayter Past Event List
Classically trained singer and multi-instrumentalist Kristin Hayter (fka Lingua Ignota) floats between neo-classical piano ballads, industrial noise, and heavy metal, filling those sounds with subversive lyricism that draws on her personal experiences with religion, violence, and misogyny. She will support her latest release, SAVED!, which Pitchfork's Daniel Felsenthal described as "a scholarly deep dive into the ecstatic and strangely melodious world of traditional Christian hymns and original devotionals." AV
(Aladdin Theater, Brooklyn)



Fall Out Boy Past Event List
Pop-punk fans, rejoice! Fall Out Boy is bringing their skinny jeans, power chords, and swooped fringe (just kidding, Pete Wentz weirdly has long blonde middle-parted hair atm) back to Portland on their So Much For (Tour) Dust tour. They will support their new album, So Much (for) Stardust, which is their first new music since their critically disparaged 2018 album Mania. Need more nostalgia? JIMMY EAT WORLD is opening. Yeah, that's right, the guys that sing "The Middle." AV
(Moda Center, Lloyd 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)


SNEAK PREVIEW NW // Matinee Baby Past Event List
Many years ago I manned the then-sluggish popcorn machine at the historic Clinton Street Theater, so I'm excited to see Portland-born filmmaker Thom Hilton's Matinee Baby, a new short (fiscally sponsored by PAM CUT) centering two Clinton Street employees and a cast of their "increasingly wacky, genre-tinged suitors." Glamorous drag clown Carla Rossi makes an appearance, and the film will debut at festivals later this month, so here's your chance to be among the first to see it! For the premiere, Tomorrow Theater will be decked out with an interactive lobby display of makeup designs by Sprout Chinn and costumes by former Vogue fashion editor Lucas O’Brien. The screening will kick off with live tunes from the Matinee Baby soundtrack, and after the show, select members of the cast and crew will offer a Q&A session. LC
(Tomorrow Theater, Richmond)


Hailu Mergia Past Event List
Keyboard and accordion luminary Hailu Mergia initially played with the Walias Band—an Ethiopian jazz-funk group that was wildly popular in their home country. When the group toured the US in 1981, they didn't find the success they'd hoped for. However, Mergia decided to stay and spent the next several decades working as a cab driver in Washington, DC. Luckily, he continued to write music in his spare time, telling the Guardian,“After I drop my customer, I grab my keyboard from the trunk and sit in the car and practice.” When his three '70s solo albums got a reissue through the Awesome Tapes from Africa label in 2013, a new generation of fans gave Mergia's musical career a second life. He will stop in Seattle to finally support his 2020 album, Yene Mircha. AV
(Aladdin Theater, Brooklyn)


Charles Yu Past Event List
Charles Yu, who was one of the key writers behind the visionary universe of HBO’s Westworld, is also a fiction author; his 2020 National Book Award-winning novel Interior Chinatown investigated race, social roles, Asian stereotyping, and pop culture. (Vanity Fair called it "a shattering and darkly comic send-up of racial stereotyping in Hollywood"—add it to your TBR list if you haven't.) Yu will head to Portland and hopefully offer us a few tips on "how to live safely in a science fictional universe." LC
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, South Park Blocks)

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore in Conversation With Leni Zumas Past Event List
Queer icon and activist Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, who penned the Lambda Award-winning memoir The End of San Francisco and approximately one million other essays, stories, and books, is back with Touching the Art, which Kirkus Reviews describes as being chock-full of "frank, intimate reflections on art, life, and their often complex intersections." For this conversation, Sycamore will be joined by Leni Zumas, author of the dystopic novel Red Clocks. LC
(Powell's City of Books, Pearl District)



Portland's Shortest Parade and Mills Ends Beer Release Party Past Event List
This is what they're talking about when they say "keep Portland weird": Local celebrity/bagpiper/Darth Vader-helmeted unicyclist the Unipiper will lead a procession from Mill Ends Park, known for being the world's smallest park, to Paddy’s Bar and Grill, a mere 400 feet away. There, you'll be able to sample Gigantic Brewing's new Mills End Red (an Irish red beer) and win free swag and raffle prizes. JB
(Paddy's Bar & Grill, Southwest Portland)


Ministry & Gary Numan Past Event List
Former Portland Mercury contributor Chris Sutton wrote of the groundbreaking industrial band: "The long journey of Ministry has transformed the dark wave pioneers into soul-destroying digital horror mavens. Classics like “Jesus Built My Hotrod” introduced the mainstream to the band’s sonic brutalism and inspired a new generation of aspiring cyber degenerates." To please all of you goth freaks (I say this with love), Ministry will be joined by synth-pop legend Gary Numan. AV
(Roseland Theater, Old Town-Chinatown)

Sudan Archives Past Event List
Much of the world's greatest jazz music has been made by artists who pushed boundaries and ruffled some feathers. Brittney Parks, better known as Sudan Archives, has that same spirit. Although she’s never claimed to be a jazz artist, the multi-instrumentalist made it clear early on in her career that she wanted to make music on her own terms. In her early work, this involved laying electronic textures and taut rhythms over violin. One of her earliest songs, “Come Meh Way,” led to a recording contract with Stones Throw Records, and since then she’s released two records, including 2022’s stellar Natural Brown Prom Queen. At this point, Sudan Archives has carved out her own genre; everyone else is just following her lead. PORTLAND MERCURY CONTRIBUTOR MARK LORE
(Portland Art Museum - Kridel Grand Ballroom, Downtown)


Live Wire Radio: Bianca Bosker, Tessa Hulls, Pure Bathing Culture Past Event List
Live Wire's spring offerings will continue with another edition of the honest and funny conversational show hosted by Luke Burbank. This time around, featured guests will include New York Times bestselling writer Bianca Bosker, whose tome Get the Picture: A Mind-Bending Journey Among the Inspired Artists and Obsessive Art Fiends Who Taught Me How to See was recently released, and artist-adventurer Tessa Hulls, who has worked on her graphic memoir Feeding Ghosts for the last decade. Portland-based indie-pop outfit Pure Bathing Culture will sling the sparkly tunes that have earned them high acclaim—they've toured with Father John Misty, La Luz, Widowspeak, and Tennis. LC
(Patricia Reser Center for the Arts, Beaverton)



The Wild Bunch Past Event List
If you're one of the many people who has become enamored of natural, low-intervention wines over the last several years, I have good news for you: this annual fair founded by Bar Norman owner Dana Frank will offer over 400 natural wines from over 60 winemakers all over the world. Besides vino, the festival also offers food and drink from Sebastiano's, Lupine, Duality Brewing, and Prince Coffee; DJ tunes; and a retail shop with goods from Bar Norman and Vivienne Culinary Books. JB
(The Factor Building, Central Eastside)


Dungeons and Drag Queens Past Event List
Hear ye, hear ye, theydies and gentlethem: Described as "fantasy and hilarity on a magical journey" by the South Seattle Emerald, drag queens of the bard, druid, and paladin variety will play the legendary tabletop game of monsters and mayhem in this recurring show. Dungeons and Drag Queens has been making waves from the West Coast to NYC, and it's what the high-fantasy fashion queens deserve. Mysterious Dungeon Master Paul Curry will lead the way through the "rollicking, frolicking" improvisational fantasy drag comedy show. LC
(Mission Theater, Northwest Portland)



Mississippi Masala Past Event List
Mira Nair's 1991 film Mississippi Masala featured two extremely beautiful people on a big screen, but more importantly, it paved the way for important cultural conversations by depicting a romance between an Indian-Ugandan woman (Sarita Choudhury) and a Black Southerner (Denzel Washington). Roger Ebert described the film as "surprisingly funny and cheerful...generat[ing] a full-blown romanticism." Go lift your spirits. LC
(Clinton Street Theater, Hosford-Abernethy)


Grace Potter Past Event List
Vermont-hailing singer-songwriter Grace Potter (formerly of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals) has opened for legends like the Rolling Stones, Willie Nelson, Robert Plant, the Allman Brothers, and Mavis Staples. Now on a headlining tour, Potter will play tracks from her new blues-tinged album, Mother Road. The album takes inspiration from a drive she took across the United States with road trip-themed song titles like "Vagabond Lady" and "Truck Stop Angels. Don't miss an opening set from country singer-songwriter Brittney Spencer. AV
(Roseland Theater, Old Town-Chinatown)

MarchFourth's 21st Anniversary Extravaganza Past Event List
Portland’s own MarchFourth consists of over 15 performers who integrate New Orleans-inspired marching band tunes with vaudeville theatrics, stilt-walkers, circus acrobatics, vibrant costumes, and more performance antics. The band will celebrate its 21st anniversary with a family-friendly performance on Sunday and a 21+ spectacular on Monday. AV
(Crystal Ballroom, West End)



David Nihill: Shelf Help Tour Past Event List
Irish-born comic Dave Nihill draws from his vast international experiences—he's been to 70 countries, and lived in 12—to reflect on cultural norms, drinking sessions, and his life as a slightly confused US immigrant. Nihill's unconventional rise to comedy fame began when he crashed festivals and comedy clubs, pretending to be a successful comic named "Irish Dave." I'm hoping to see more of Nihill's enterprising spirit, and hear that cool accent, in this performance. LC
(Helium Comedy Club, Hosford-Abernethy, Thursday-Saturday)

Jim Gaffigan Past Event List
Despite being nominated for seven Grammys, Jim Gaffigan still feels like an everyman—like, I think I could talk to him about my landlord's refusal to replace my broken dishwasher, and he'd at least attempt to understand it. I'm probably completely wrong, but you know what I mean, right? Anyway, the relatively family-friendly dude will crack some jokes about his impressive food consumption and the trials and tribulations of daily life on this tour. (Promotional materials report that he lives in Manhattan with his wife and five "loud and expensive" children, so prepare for anecdotes about their antics.) LC
(Keller Auditorium, Downtown, Thursday-Sunday)


34th Annual Cascade Festival of African Films Past Event List
The "longest-running annual, non-profit, non-commercial, largely volunteer-run African film festival in the United States" features works by African directors, centering non-Western perspectives on African culture with films like Burkinabé award winner Sira. Join in on the Connection, Centerpiece, and Women Filmmakers-themed weekends, or head to a Family Fest matinée screening of the French film Hawa. The after-screening Q&A sessions with directors round out the cultural event, with virtual and in-person viewing opportunities. LC
(PCC Cascade, Humboldt, Thursday-Saturday)

Drive-Away Dolls Past Event List
A Margaret Qualley-fronted flick directed by Ethan Coen? Okayyyy, I'm listening. Drive-Away Dolls stars Qualley and Geraldine Viswanathan as two friends aiming to "loosen up" by driving to Tallahassee. (This was their first mistake—trust me, I'm from Florida.) The pair meet up with a bunch of idiot criminals, and things spiral from there. One Letterboxd reviewer deemed the film a "zippy queer joyride," and they weren't kidding—the best thing about Drive-Away Dolls might be its tight 84-minute runtime. Take notes, Christopher Nolan. LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, 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 kicks off with Crossroads, which hits different now that Britney is finally free, followed by Jumana Manna's A Magical Substance Flows Into Me, which "explores the diverse musical traditions of Palestine via the archives of Robert Lachmann, a gay German-Jewish ethnomusicologist." Grey Gardens, Bring It On, and the Lily Gladstone-fronted film Certain Women will follow later in the month. LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, Friday-Sunday)

2024 HUMP! Film Festival Past Event List
Dan Savage's pioneering erotic film fest will premiere an all-new lineup of sexy films featuring all genders and orientations at Revolution Hall this year. Since 2005, HUMP! has brought inclusive, creative, and kinky films to the big screen—scope out the sex-positive fest in person for a tantalizing treat. This year's fest features not one but two feature-length lineups—part one includes a feast of "24 brand-spanking-new films" for your eyeballs. It's worth a venture outside of your sex dungeon, but you can still wear the latex catsuit. LC
(Revolution Hall, Buckman, Friday-Saturday)

Palestinian Film Festival Past Event List
From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free! This Palestinian film festival was co-programmed by 5th Avenue Cinema, La Casa Latina Student Center, Disarm PSU, and several other local organizations. If you haven't stopped by the state's only student-run cinema, now's the time. Among the four screenings planned is 5 Broken Cameras, which was shot almost exclusively by the Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat and tracks nonviolent resistance efforts in Bil'in, a West Bank village threatened by Israeli military occupation and encroaching settlements. LC
(Fifth Avenue Cinema, Downtown, Friday-Sunday)

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)

Studio Ghibli Film Festival Past Event List
Over the last 30 years, Studio Ghibli has become legendary for its lush visuals, emotional and affecting storytelling, and poetic, intelligent approach to nature and the more-than-human world. OMSI's Studio Ghibli Film Festival will return for its ninth presentation of audience faves like My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service, as well as underrated classics like Pom Poko and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. LC
(Empirical Theater at OMSI, Hosford-Abernethy, Tuesday & Thursday)


18th Annual Portland Seafood & Wine Festival Past Event List
It's time once again to gorge yourself on fruits de mer and glug lots of vino at this annual culinary extravaganza, which just so happens to fall during peak Dungeness crab season. Look forward to attractions like over 40 wineries, live music, and an appearance from Deadliest Catch star Capt. Keith Colburn. Plus, the festival will showcase wines deemed the best from a state-wide competition. JB
(Portland Expo Center, North Portland, Friday-Sunday)


2024 Biamp Portland Jazz Festival Past Event List
Biamp PDX Jazz Festival is back for its 21st annual celebration of jazz music. The stacked lineup features a jaw-dropping mix of award-winning masters and a new wave of musicians who are innovating the genre, including improvisational guitarist Mary Halvorson, neo-soul gem Sudan Archives, and Detroit-born jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves. AV
(Various locations, Monday-Saturday)


Lunar New Year Lantern Viewing Evenings Past Event List
Hello, Year of the Dragon! Lan Su's Lunar New Year celebration (inspired by the Lantern Festival, or Yuan Xian Jie) pulls out all the stops with its glowy hanging red lanterns—the garden's sweeping rooflines cast warm shadows, and floating lanterns glide across Lake Zither, including "four never-before-seen installations of the Four Gentlemen Floral Lanterns from China." This year, Lan Su is offering two ways to celebrate; visitors can take part in the Chinese dragon dance procession, or be among the first to explore the newly reopened Lan Su teahouse, which will serve a special tasting menu on select evenings. LC
(Lan Su Chinese Garden, Old Town-Chinatown, Monday-Wednesday/Friday-Saturday)


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, Saturday-Sunday)

Sanctuary City Past Event List
The newest production by Polish-born playwright Martyna Majok, whose play Cost of Living received the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, was a New York Times critic's pick. Sanctuary City is staged in post-9/11 Newark, where two pre-DACA "Dreamers" meet up on a fire escape to share their worries and hopes as undocumented teens. They plan to marry, but time shifts their relationship and brings up questions about sacrifice, love, and belonging. LC
(CoHo Theater, Northwest Portland, Friday-Sunday)


Black Artists of Oregon Past Event List
The first of its kind to "consider the work of Black artists collectively in Oregon," PAM's fresh exhibition will showcase Black artists in and outside its collection, with special attention paid to underrepresented regional artists. Black Artists of Oregon thinks carefully about the African American experience in the Pacific Northwest, with pieces spanning the last 100 years by heavy hitters like Carrie Mae Weems and professional puppeteer Ralph Chessé. I'm particularly stoked for the exhibition because it was guest curated by Portland-based artist Intisar Abioto, whose own practice fills gaps in our region's history with critical context on lived Black experience. LC
(Portland Art Museum, South Park Blocks, Wednesday–Sunday)

Chris Chandler: Elemental Forms Past Event List
Drawing from the bold compositional style of the Bauhaus and Constructivist movements, Chris Chandler's Elemental Forms features geometric, monotype relief prints created on a rare Vandercook proofing press. The results include letters, words, and shapes layered in "abstracted assemblies of laminated prints," so expect to get lost in each work for a while. LC
(Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Pearl District, Tuesday–Saturday; closing)

Georgie Friedman: BREATHING- LIGHT Past Event List
Boston-based artist Georgie Friedman creates videos, sculptural installations, and site-specific projects that "focus on our personal and societal relationships to severe environmental circumstances," and BREATHING– LIGHT is no exception—the video and sound installation (Friedman's first solo exhibition in the Pacific Northwest) ponders "tiny and immense things that connect us all" with NASA imagery of the sun and an immersive soundscape. LC
(Oregon Contemporary, Kenton, Friday–Sunday)

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, Saturday-Sunday; opening)

Masterpieces in Miniature: The Art of Netsuke Sculptures Past Event List
The days are short, the nights are cold, and you're probably trying all sorts of anti-depression strategies. I suggest this one: Head to the Portland Japanese Garden to look at tiny carvings of critters and gods. During the Edo period, netsuke were killer fashion accessories worn on the sash of a man's kimonoThe "never-before-seen" selections featured in Masterpieces in Miniature: The Art of Netsuke Sculptures are small enough to fit in your palm, and super detailed, too. LC
(Portland Japanese Garden, Washington Park, Monday/Wednesday-Sunday)

Policing Justice Remind List
Guest curated by University of Oregon associate professor Nina Amstutz and local social design artist Cleo Davis, Policing Justice probes Portland's policing practices and their relationship to "longer local and national histories of oppression." The exhibition centers Portland artists who have seen and documented police brutality, including the George Floyd protests, and includes commissioned installations by Don't Shoot Portland, Michael Bernard Stevenson Jr., Cleo Davis, Kayin Talton Davis, and others. Works on loan by Alfredo Jaar, Sandy Rodriguez, and Carrie Mae Weems lend a wider scope to the exhibition, and Forensic Architecture's video installation details an investigation into PPB's use of tear gas during the 2020 protests. Show up for abolition and take part in one of the exhibition's several accompanying programs, including a community conversation symposium, a series of film screenings at the Clinton Street Theater, and an ethical visual storytelling workshop. LC
(PICA, Eliot, Thursday–Sunday)

Scrapbook Past Event List
In last year's Pathways at Seattle's Winston Wächter Fine Art, Joe Rudko focused on "hyper-specific abstraction" through found photo collages that created curious networks of memory. In Scrapbook, the Washington-based artist continues to pull at the threads of collective memory through Bauhaus-influenced photo collages and sculptures that reference textiles, mosaics, and paintings. I'm intrigued by Rudko's use of found photographs collected from shops, which he layers with scraps of his personal ephemera. LC
(PDX CONTEMPORARY ART, Slabtown, Tuesday–Saturday; closing)

Terra Fondriest: Ozark Life Past Event List
If you've got any roots in the rural South, Terra Fondriest's Ozark Life will feel heartbreakingly familiar—the documentary photographer's compositions reveal the steady cadence of life in the Arkansas Ozark region, full of summer rain, mud puddles, butchering chickens, and backyard weddings. "This project has been a way for me to embrace the slow and quiet beauty that I’ve always been drawn to," says Fondriest of the series; she has a familial connection to the community she documents in the series, and says that it "already feels as though the trees around our home know our children’s names." LC
(Blue Sky Gallery, Pearl District, Wednesday-Saturday; closing)

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