Best Things To Do

The Top 57 Events in Portland This Week: Jan 30-Feb 5, 2023

Portland Winter Light Festival, Stuff You Should Know, and More Top Picks
January 30, 2023
The week-long Portland Winter Light Festival kicks off this Friday. (Remaining Light Photography/Portland Winter Light Festival)
As we round the corner from January into February, there are plenty of events to check out this week, from the Portland Winter Light Festival to Oregon 2023 Lunar New Year Celebration and from Nina Totenberg to Stuff You Should Know.

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

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Edward II Add to a List
New Queer Cinema legend Derek Jarman's dreamlike Edward II adapts Christopher Marlowe's Elizabethan play to tell the tale of a scandalous gay Plantagenet king, his lover, and a scorned French queen (played by Jarman's muse, Tilda Swinton). His postmodern take on the spicy drama includes a rare film appearance by pop-rocker Annie Lennox.
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District)

Unknown Passage: The Dead Moon Story Add to a List
Northwest DIY legends Dead Moon take center stage in the 2006 documentary Unknown Passage: The Dead Mood Story, which you can watch at this screening that's part of Portland Music Month Add to a List  programming. The flick deftly chronicles the lives of the reclusive, genre-bending, capitalism-be-damned rockers Andrew Loomis and Fred and Toody Cole, following the band on tour and at home as they “keep one gig ahead of a day job." 
(Clinton Street Theater, Hosford-Abernethy)


Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony and Violinist Vadim Gluzman Add to a List
"One of today's top violinists" (Washington Post) Vadim Gluzman will perform a Nordic-centric program of Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony, Sibelius' Finlandia, and the US premiere of Erkki-Sven Tüür's latest violin concerto.
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, South Park Blocks)


Stephen Markley in Conversation With Omar El Akkad Add to a List
Bestselling author Stephen Markley will stop by Portland in celebration of his latest book, The Deluge, a densely researched environmental tome that was described as a "prophetic, terrifying, [and] uplifting...modern classic" by Stephen King. (Not a bad endorsement!) Markley will be joined in conversation by Omar El Akkad, whose debut novel American War won an Oregon Book Award for fiction.
(Powell's City of Books, Pearl District)



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)


Judge John Hodgman Add to a List
Smarty-pants humorist John Hodgman will hit the stage alongside bailiff Jesse Thorn for this live edition of Judge John Hodgman, a Webby Award-winning podcast of fake legal wisdom and comedic close calls.
(Revolution Hall, Buckman)


Morgan Thomas in Conversation With Genevieve Hudson Add to a List
Morgan Thomas's queer characters are entrenched in the American south, navigating processes of self-discovery while grappling with violent, ruthless historical legacies. Manywhere's tales are "breathlessly imaginative" (New York Times) and "delightfully, compellingly queer" (Roxane Gay); they'll chat about the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize long-listed book with Genevieve Hudson, author of Boys of Alabama.
(Powell's City of Books, Pearl District)



Star Trek III: The Search for Spock in 35mm Add to a List
Journey where no man has gone before under the command of James T. Kirk at this 35mm screening of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, which sees the USS Enterprise crew on a frantic quest to rescue their Vulcan comrade. The first Star Trek film directed by Leonard Nimoy, this installment in the sci-fi universe also features Christopher Lloyd as a detestable Klingon. (True Trekkies can also catch USS Improvise: Star Trek Musical Improv Add to a List this week.)
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District)


Bang on a Can All-Stars Add to a List
Six-piece ensemble Bang on a Can All-Stars will serve up their signature blend of classical, jazz, rock, experimental, and world sounds for their "Dance Party" program, featuring cutting-edge music performed live alongside newly commissioned dance pieces projected on a giant screen.
(Patricia Reser Center for the Arts, Beaverton)

Lizzie No with Kasey Anderson Add to a List
Rising folk singer-songwriter, harpist, and podcaster Lizzie No, who was recently called a "magnetic performer" by NPR, will serve up an evening of tender acoustic tunes alongside local alt-country artist Kasey Anderson.
(The Old Church, Downtown)


Amor Towles Add to a List
Bestselling wordsmith Amor Towles, whose books Rules of Civility and A Gentleman in Moscow have flown off the shelves for the past decade, will drop by the Schnitz to discuss his elegant approach to historical fiction and his new novel, The Lincoln Highway, which follows an off-kilter '50s-era road trip.
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, South Park Blocks)

High Desert Speaker Series Add to a List
Oregon Natural Desert Association's curiosity-sparking talks are a nature lovers' dream. Their new series, which focuses on the flora and fauna of Oregon’s high desert, kicks off on February 1 with a free online chat about the desert birds of Lake Albert led by marine biologist Ron Larson, Audubon Society volunteer John Reuland, and ONDA wildlands coordinator Anne White.

Miriam Toews in Conversation With Chelsea Bieker Add to a List
Miriam Toews will celebrate the paperback launch of her critically acclaimed novel Fight Night, which NPR described as "an ardent, hilarious, and moving addition" to her body of work. Toews (who also penned Women Talking, which was recently adapted for film) will chat with Chelsea Bieker, the Portland-based author of Heartbroke and Godshot.
(Powell's City of Books, Pearl District)

VOICES Lecture Series Add to a List
In celebration of their 30th anniversary, VOICES Lectures will share the stories of fascinating women this fall and winter. The series continues on February 1 with a talk from awe-inspiring National Geographic photojournalist, documentarian, and Nikon ambassador Ami Vitale.
(Revolution Hall, Buckman)



International Guitar Night Add to a List
The 23rd anniversary tour of International Guitar Night, an annual showcase of global guitar luminaries, will feature Canadian jazz guitarist and vocalist Jocelyn Gould, Flamenco master Jesus Guerrero, classical guitarist Stephanie Jones, and Finnish jazz expert Olli Soikkeli.
(Patricia Reser Center for the Arts, Beaverton)


Vroom Vroom: A Charli XCX Dance Night Add to a List
It's Charli baby! Praise the future of pop by dancing (and scream-singing) along to bangers by Charli XCX, SOPHIE, Kim Petras, Rina Sawayama, and more from the whole PC Music crew. Let's ride.
(Holocene, Buckman)


Stuff You Should Know Add to a List
Certified info nerds Josh Clark and Charles “Chuck” Bryant will take their popular podcast Stuff You Should Know to the stage for a night of fun-lovin' research-sharing on topics you never knew you were fascinated by (think ayahuasca, the Satanic Panic, and pizza).
(Revolution Hall, Buckman)


Nina Totenberg Add to a List
Nina Totenberg, who has covered American legal affairs at NPR for over 40 years, brings her extensive knowledge of the Supreme Court to the stage for this lecture on "the inner workings of the nation’s highest court." The award-winning journalist is still chasing leads today—Totenberg's reports are regularly featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Weekend Edition.
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, South Park Blocks)


InterACT! The Art of Creating Together Add to a List
JAMO's month of interactive art-making will include zine and printmaking workshops, guided conversations, and ample opportunities for collaboration, plus a performance and book talk by national performing artists Nobuko Miyamoto and traci kato-kiriyama. InterACT! The Art of Creating Together offers an intentional way to move forward from the isolating years of the pandemic toward a renewed sense of unity, so head to their programming throughout the month to create in community.
(Japanese American Museum of Oregon, Old Town-Chinatown)



Adore Delano Add to a List
Spend the evening with the California-hailing drag queen and singer-songwriter Adore Delano who appeared both as a contestant on American Idol and RuPaul's Drag Race. The pop-punk-inspired tunes from her latest EP, Dirty Laundry, will be backed by a live band.
(Bossanova Ballroom, Buckman)


BOOKLOVER'S BURLESQUE: Erotica Edition Add to a List
Any lit lover will tell you that reading can be a truly titillating experience. Booklover's Burlesque agrees, so they're blending on-stage readings by local writers and actors with sexy, empowering performances inspired by each written piece. This erotica edition of the showcase should be even more salacious than usual, complete with tantalizing burlesque, boylesque, and draglesque.
(Alberta Rose Theatre, Concordia)


Ariel Gore Presents the Wayward Writer Add to a List
Journalist, writer, and educator Ariel Gore aims to inspire wordsmiths with her revolutionary new tome, The Wayward Writer: Summon Your Power to Take Back Your Story, Liberate Yourself from Capitalism, and Publish Like a Superstar, which includes interviews with Ursula K. LeGuin, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, and other literary greats. She'll meet in conversation with fellow storytellers Laura Stanfill, Vanessa Veselka, and Leni Zumas.
(Powell's City of Books, Pearl District)



Nigerian Cultural Festival | International Art Festival Add to a List
This two-weekend celebration of all things Yoruban culture will include an art display by prolific painter O. Yemi Tubi and a youth toy-crafting workshop, plus a puppet show, dance performances, and lectures on Orisha-Ifá spiritual practices and Yoruban folklore.
(Lloyd Center, Lloyd District)

Oregon 2023 Lunar New Year Celebration Add to a List
This multicultural Lunar New Year celebration pulls out all the stops, with calligraphy exhibits and performances by magician Eric Qiu (aka "Mr. Magic of Shanghai,") singer Sofyia Xue, and international Wushu champions. Visual artists will also offer craft workshops, so attendees can join in on the cultural fun.
(Keller Auditorium, Downtown)


34th Annual Winterfolk – A Benefit For Transition Projects Add to a List
An array of talented folk singer-songwriters, including Tracy Grammer, Tom May & Friends, Michael Henchman, Kate Power and Steve Einhorn, Jim Page, the Prairie Blossoms, Doug & Judy Koch Smith, and Hanz Araki & Colleen Raney, are making their way to the Alberta Rose stage to celebrate the Portland community. This event will raise money for Transition Projects and their ongoing effort to assist folks in finding and maintaining housing in the Portland area.
(Alberta Rose Theatre, Concordia)

Alisa Weilerstein: The Complete Bach Cello Suites Add to a List
Deemed "technically flawless and deeply expressive" by the New York Times, cellist Alisa Weilerstein will perform all six of Bach's passionate Cello Suites for a marathon concert with just one intermission.
(The Old Church, Downtown)

Larkin Poe Add to a List
Roots-rock duo Larkin Poe, which consists of sisters Rebecca and Megan Lovell, will support their new album, Blood Harmony, which was described by Forbes as "42 minutes of pounding driving guitar and slide guitar virtuosity – a deep funk that conjures bands as disparate as The James Gang, ZZ Top, The Allman Brothers and CSN&Y-era Neil Young (well, not so disparate)." Soul- and jazz-infused rock band Vista Kicks will get things started.
(Wonder Ballroom, Eliot)


Best Night Ever Presents: Best of Both Words Add to a List
Are you more of a Hannah or a Miley? This nostalgia-riddled dance party will give you the best of both worlds with music from both Disney and Nickelodeon stars. Make sure to practice your Hoedown Throwdown in advance!
(Hawthorne Theatre, Hawthorne District)



Clownin' Add to a List
The clown comes back to bite in this comedy romp featuring G Wade, Delaney Malone, Mama Fi, and Sir Lance Edward (Helium Comedy Club’s Portland’s Funniest Person Finalist 2019). Produced and hosted by Portland entertainer Shrista, Clownin' also includes a hip-hop performance from Swiggle Mandela and DJ vibes from 94prynce.
(Kelly's Olympian, Downtown)

Eric D'Alessandro Add to a List
New York native, Karen impersonator, and TikTok hit Eric D’Alessandro will head to the West Coast with his viral brand of sarcastic impersonations. Hopefully he'll drag us; it's what he does best.
(Helium Comedy Club, Hosford-Abernethy)


Winter Waters x Veganizer x Feral: When I Seaweed, I Smoke It Add to a List
As part of Blue Evolution and Oregon Seaweed's Winter Waters regenerative seafare series, Feral chefs Ryan Koger and August Winningham will dish up a dinner showcasing the versatility of seaweed, in preparations such as seaweed bagna cauda, dashi, masa dumplings and squash, charred cabbage with beurre blanc, and braised apples with custard and crumble. Nan Chaison of Mestizo will provide beverages, and 10% of proceeds will benefit Oregon Kelp Alliance.
(Mestizo, Richmond)


Eric Bellinger Add to a List
R&B singer-songwriter Eric Bellinger is known for his unbelievably smooth vocals and knack for writing soul hits. Over the past couple of years, he has become a go-to songwriter for big names like Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, and Usher. Bellinger will be joined by fellow neo-soul heavies Trevor Jackson, Kyle Banks, and June Poole.
(Hawthorne Theatre, Hawthorne District)

TOC Moon Series: Full Snow Moon Sound Bath with Moss Wand, Casual Decay, and Ann Annie Add to a List
The TOC Moon Series celebrates healing through music, ritual, poetry, and art as sound artists and healers work to create an enchanting experience that’s intentionally scheduled on the full or new moon. This edition will feature ethereal sounds from synth and drone-based sound healers Moss Wand and ambient project Casual Decay, and atmospheric electronic artist Ann Annie.
(The Old Church, Downtown)


Spend The Night Presents: Hessle Audio Add to a List
Influential British dance label Hessle Audio will soundtrack another edition of this recurring dance party with underground dance and electronic beats from DJ trio Ben UFO, Pearson Sound, and Pangaea.
(Holocene, Buckman)



Sam Morril: The Class Act Tour Add to a List
Meteoric NYC funnyman Sam Morril will visit Portland on his Class Act tour, where he's sure to encounter some skinny jean-wearin’ disciplinarians.
(Revolution Hall, Buckman, Saturday-Sunday)

USS Improvise: Star Trek Musical Improv Add to a List
Live long and prosper at this fan-favorite Funhouse Lounge show, which will return with more off-the-cuff "unscripted" episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Expect a melodious twist on the sci-fi phenomenon; each performance will include fully improvised songs that send audiences where no man has gone before.
(Funhouse Lounge, Hosford-Abernethy, Thursday-Saturday)


Flowers for Black Elders Add to a List
Organized by City of Portland artists-in-residence Onry and Joni Whitworth (founder of Future Prairie), Flowers for Black Elders is a multimedia oral history and financial reparations project that honors those who have mentored Onry, one of the only Black male professional opera singers in the region. The project is comprised of portraits and oral history interview recordings by Whitworth that "challenge the predominantly white and able-bodied art scene...[and] address gentrification in Portland." Participating musicians include Mel Brown, Alonzo Chadwick, Libretto Jackson, Derrick McDuffy, and Saeeda Wright.
(Nationale, Buckman, Thursday-Sunday)

Symbiosis Add to a List
Inspired by ecofeminist scholar Donna Haraway’s Staying with the Trouble, Symbiosis is quite possibly the most immersive—and coolest—art experience to hit Portland in a long time. The "performative, multiuser, and multisensory installation" outfits visitors in specially designed, soft robotic suits, transforming both physical and sensory perceptions with VR sensors. The experience engages all five senses, and even includes vegetarian snacks designed by master chefs. Created by Dutch collective Polymorf and deemed "one of the first fully sensory Extended Reality (XR) storytelling experiences," Symbiosis imagines a futuristic biosphere of human-animal hybrids.
(PAM CUT, Downtown, Wednesday-Sunday)


Lunar New Year Add to a List
Lan Su becomes even more colorful for their traditional 16-day Lunar New Year programming, which will celebrate the Year of the Rabbit for 2023. Drop by for cultural performances, festival decorations, craft activities, audio tours, and scavenger hunts, or head to the garden on select evenings Add to a List for shadowy, meditative lantern viewings.
(Lan Su Chinese Garden, Old Town-Chinatown, Monday-Sunday)

Lunar New Year Lantern Viewing Evenings Add to a List
Welcome the Year of the Rabbit at this Chinese New Year celebration, which will include several evenings of cultural programming, red lantern viewings, and more. Inspired by the Lantern Festival, or Yuan Xian Jie, the nights of festivities will include a glowy dragon procession throughout the garden, a chopstick challenge, and tea and bites at the garden's teahouse.
(Lan Su Chinese Garden, Old Town-Chinatown, Thursday-Sunday)

Portland Winter Light Festival Add to a List
The Portland Winter Light Festival is an after-holiday reminder that the best lights of the year don't illuminate until February. Brighten up from the winter blues with dozens of free art installations and interactive spaces on either side of the Willamette; don't miss the "fire-based sculptures," illuminated bike ride, and 16-foot-tall robot!
(Various locations, Friday-Sunday)


Cascade Festival of African Films Add to a 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 Neptune Frost and Juwaa. Live interviews with filmmakers and community conversations round out the exciting cultural event, with opportunities for virtual and in-person viewing. 
(Various locations and virtual, Friday-Saturday)

Infinity Pool Add to a List
Not all nepo babies spend their lives hanging poolside—Brandon Cronenberg, son of body horror master David Cronenberg, has begun to follow in his cool dad's footsteps, directing visceral, gross-out horror flicks like 2020's Possessor. Fans of The White Lotus will dig his new direction; Infinity Pool soaks up the sun at a pristine beach resort, where two guests encounter a mysterious seductress (played by new fave Mia Goth) and become entwined in a hedonistic puzzle. 
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, Monday-Thursday)

Tár Add to a List
Some have described the journey Tár takes us on as one about cancel culture: a phrase that can mean whatever one wants it to mean at this point, though this easy categorization feels far too neat and Internet-brained. A more apt comparison would be to 2014’s Whiplash, a film that explores ambition and power—though Tár contains more humor and a willingness to poke fun at its central subject. Without tipping off exactly what happens, those who stick out the two and a half hour film are treated to a final, fraught, and unexpected punchline. It cements. Field's tragicomedy uncovers the full picture of a unique figure in all her grim glory. PORTLAND MERCURY WRITER CHASE HUTCHINSON
(Cinema 21, Nob Hill, Monday-Thursday)

Women Talking Add to a List
Miriam Toews's bestselling 2018 novel Women Talking unraveled the tense tale of a group of women clawing to escape from an isolated Mennonite colony. This film adaptation boasts an all-star cast including Claire Foy, Frances McDormand, Jessie Buckley, and Rooney Mara; The Los Angeles Times described director Sarah Polley's approach as "an artful, incisive distillation of Toews’ arguments."
(Cinema 21, Nob Hill, Monday-Thursday)


Oregon Truffle Festival Add to a List
The 18th edition of the Oregon Truffle Festival presents a series of events dedicated to the prized delicacy, including truffle dog championships, fancy dinners, a truffle market, and more.
(Various locations, Friday-Saturday)


5 Lesbians Eating A Quiche Add to a List
As members of the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein are busy enjoying their quiche, they hear atomic bomb sirens. You'll have to taste the award-winning recipe of 5 Lesbians Eating A Quiche yourself to find out what happens next—the production was a hit at the 2012 NYC International Fringe Festival, and this interpretation doesn't shy away from its hysterical tone and sexual innuendoes.
(Twilight Theater Company, Kenton, Friday-Saturday)

The Americans Add to a List
Since 2020, Miles—co-artistic director of Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble (PETE)—had been dreaming up a theatrical presentation that would capture the way she felt when she first encountered Swiss photographer Robert Frank’s 1959 series The Americans, via an episode of The Daily, which noted their thematic overlap with that year's unstable summer. The high-contrast black-and-white images, taken by Frank in an attempt to untangle the “real” America from its manicured image, inspired her to draw a link between the respective powers of photography and the body as instruments of social critique. In her own words, she “started to see dance.” CONNER REED
(Alberta House, Concordia, Wednesday-Saturday)

Cabaret Add to a List
Former Stranger editor Christopher Frizzelle once wrote: "Cabaret is the best musical of all time, because Kander and Ebb were geniuses and because it neatly solves the problem inherent in musicals (why are these people breaking into song?). Its bawdy, funny, hedonistic songs aren't indulgent for indulgence's sake. What goes on inside the Kit Kat Klub, in Berlin in 1931, is ignorant bliss on amphetamines, a carnival of humanity not aware what's coming their way." This version of the Weimar Germany-set musical will be presented by the nonprofit musical theater company Stumptown Stages, which delivered a killer interpretation of Little Shop of Horrors last year.
(Winningstad Theatre, South Park Blocks, Thursday-Sunday)

Dragons Love Tacos Add to a List
Based on the #1 New York Times bestselling phenomenon by Adam Rubin, this dance-infused interpretation of Dragons Love Tacos is a wiggle-in-your-seat story of hungry dragons who—if you can believe it—really, really love tacos. PDX Parent described the show as "fun, silly, and everything a little kid could ask for in a production."
(Newmark Theatre, South Park Blocks, Saturday-Sunday)

Ms. Holmes & Ms. Watson – Apt. 2B Add to a List
Penned by playwright Kate Hamill and adapted from the stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, this tongue-in-cheek feminist farce sees two female roommates stumble across mysteries and villains they never expected. Oregon Artswatch described Ms. Holmes & Ms. Watson – Apt. 2B as a "buddy comedy," so expect more laughs and less Jack the Ripper-esque horror.
(Portland Center Stage, Pearl District, Wednesday-Sunday)

Serious Cupcakes Add to a List
BodyVox's oven-fresh batch of Serious Cupcakes blends company dancers' premieres with explorations from newly inspired choreographers. The company's signature spice incorporates athleticism, humor, and theater; this showcase will include choreography by Bo Brinton, Mr. Bobby Fouther, Jenelle Gaerlan, and other talents.
(BodyVox Dance Center, Northwest Portland, Thursday-Saturday)

Snapshots: A Musical Scrapbook Add to a List
Blending musical revue and original musical elements, Snapshots: A Musical Scrapbook features a "treasure trove" of beloved hits by composer Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin, Godspell). The performance follows a pair of empty-nesters whose yellowing photographs help them revisit fond memories and uncover unexpected secrets.
(Broadway Rose New Stage Theatre, Tigard, Thursday-Sunday)


Benjamin Mefford: Materia Add to a List
Emerging artist Benjamin Mefford's extensive material explorations make this solo exhibition a tactile treat. The multimedia works featured in Materia include a sculpture made of Scotch tape, pencils, pencil shavings, and Elmer's glue.
(Blackfish Gallery, Pearl District, Tuesday-Saturday; opening)

Lisa Congdon: The Opposite of Sorrow Add to a List
Portland-based favorite Lisa Congdon shares more of her snazzy visual language of luminous color, patterning, and folk art influence in The Opposite of Sorrow, which hints at her personal creative journey and struggles with depression through themes of growth, perseverance, and transmutation. Turns out there are many layers of meaning embedded in Congdon's joyful compositions—take a closer look at this solo exhibition.
(Chefas Projects, Central Eastside, Wednesday-Saturday)

Winter Group Exhibition Add to a List
Froelick's group exhibition of works by the gallery's represented artists starts 2023 on a colorful foot, with multimedia offerings by local faves like Emma Gerigscott, Holly Osborne, Rick Bartow, Laurie Danial, Benny Fountain, and others. 
(Froelick Gallery, Pearl District, Wednesday-Saturday; opening)

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