Look Ahead

Your Guide to COVID-Safe Things to Do in Portland This May 2021

Yaa Gyasi, Ansel Adams at the Portland Art Museum, and More
April 28, 2021
The photography exhibit Ansel Adams: In Our Time makes its only West Coast stop at the Portland Art Museum starting May 5. (Courtesy Portland Art Museum)

To help you soak up the last and loveliest month of spring, we've compiled the most noteworthy events taking place in a COVID-safe capacity this May, both online and in person. Read on to plan ahead for the Filmed By Bike Festival, book talks with Yaa Gyasi and Oprah, Lauren Yee's play The Great Leap, a roller-skating pop-up at the waterfront, and more. For even more options, check out our complete streaming and in-person calendars. 

Events are online unless otherwise noted.


Jump to: Seasonal Events | Food & Drink | Film | Readings & Talks | Theater & Performance | Visual Art | Music


SEASONAL EVENTS

Kentucky Derby Party
A livestream of the most exciting two minutes in sports will be met with lawn games, mint juleps galore, and fancy snacks, not to mention contests for Best (read: flip-floppiest) Hat, Most Dapper, and Most Dashing Couple.
Abbey Road Farm, Carlton (Sat May 1)

Kodomo no Hi, Children’s Day
The garden will celebrate this Japanese children's festival with a display of koinobori (streamers in the likeness of colorful carp) to symbolize courage and strength.
Portland Japanese Garden, Southwest (through May 5)

Lilac Days
Take in the lovely scent of lavender-hued lilacs while they're in peak bloom. Heads up: the gift shop is closed.
Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens, Woodland (through Mau 9)

One Moto Show
The open-air Zidell Barge Building will once again play host to over 200 custom, racing, and cruising motorcycles. Admire them while you drink beer and hear vroom vroom vroom sounds in your head.
Zidell Yards, Southwest (May 1-2)

Skatemobile at the Waterfront!
The Rose City Rollers are bringing their skating pop-up to the waterfront, a decidedly more scenic location than Lloyd Center. Reserve a spot online for any weekend in May (tickets are limited to 75 spots per session) and know that their skatemobile will be onsite if you forget your gear.
Hampton Opera Center, Southeast (May 1-30)

Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival
Gazing at 40 acres of tulips lined up in orderly rows against the majestic backdrop of Mount Hood never gets old. In previous years at least, the traffic tends to be pretty bad on weekends, but it’s worth the wait if your eyes are starved for color. 
Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm, Woodburn (through May 2)

FOOD & DRINK

Fizz Pop-Up
Tap into your effervescent side with this pop-up from Imperial Bottle Shop & Taproom, which will offer bubbly low-proof cocktails made with sparkling wines, hard ciders, sour beers, and other local ingredients.
Imperial Bottle Shop & Taproom, Northeast (ongoing)

Pour Oregon: A Cellar 503 Wine Festival
Meet winemakers from Oregon's 21 wine regions without leaving home at this four-day virtual conference, where you'll get bottles and other wine-related treats shipped to your door. 
(Through May 2)

Sip & Shop + Smash Burgers
At this new monthly pop-up, chef Will Preisch (formerly of Holdfast) will sling crispy smash burgers at the idyllic Abbey Road Farm.
Abbey Road Farm, Carlton (Sun May 2)

WTF Is Orange Wine?
Thanks to the natural wine movement, orange wine is currently de rigueur. Learn all about the style at this online class with Mallory Smith of 1856 Beer Wine Cider and wine writer Martin Skegg.
(Sun May 2)

FILM

Filmed By Bike Festival
This local festival highlights "the world’s best independent bicycle movies." Check out the 19th annual event's films on YouTube, plus free Q&A sessions with filmmakers. 
(May 20-23)

HUMP! Greatest Hits - Volume 3
The HUMP! team is bringing back some fan-favorite amateur porn shorts from 2015-2018 in the third volume of streamable compilations. 
(April 30-May 29)

Music + Movies at the Lot at Zidell Yards
Hollywood Theatre has partnered with the Lot at Zidell Yards for a summer filled with socially distanced outdoor live music and film pairings. 
The Lot at Zidell Yards, Southeast (May 28-June 28)

READINGS & TALKS

Jon Meacham: 2021 Hatfield Lecture
Presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham draws on decades of wide-ranging interviews with the late Congressman John Lewis in His Truth is Marching On. He'll join the Oregon Historical Society for an online lecture on his research. 
(Tues May 11)

Kristin Hersh in Conversation With John Doe
Kristin Hersh reflects on her days in the '90s indie-rock band Throwing Muses all the way up to her current days as a mother in her new memoir, Seeing Sideways: A Memoir of Music and Motherhood. Join her for an online talk with X founder John Doe.
(Tues May 4)

Oprah Winfrey and Bruce D. Perry, MD, PhD in Conversation With Arianna Davis
Oprah Winfrey and the well-known brain and trauma expert Bruce D. Perry explore the impact of childhood events on our adult lives, both internally and externally, in What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing. Join the co-authors for a conversation with Powell's and Oprah Daily Senior Director Arianna Davis.
(Mon May 3)

Stacey Abrams in Conversation With Katie Couric
Between her work as an anti-voter suppression activist and the Southern Economic Advancement Project, which is currently focused on addressing pandemic recovery in the Deep South, Stacey Abrams has penned a new book, While Justice Sleeps, which steers away from her previous genre (did you know she's a prolific romance novelist?) and tells the story of a brilliant young law clerk for the legendary Justice Howard Wynn, who slips into an untimely coma and turns the woman's life upside-down. Abrams will join Powell's and journalist Katie Couric for an online reading.
(Fri May 14)

Yaa Gyasi
The Ghana-born, Alabama-raised author of the epic Homegoing will discuss her forthcoming novel, Transcendent Kingdom, with Literary Arts.
(Tues May 18)

THEATER & PERFORMANCE

Drag Dangerzone
Enter the danger zone with local drag star Valerie DeVille as she fires up the Local Lounge patio with special guests like Stefhannie DuPont Shade, Tula Petals, LaLa Benet, Baba Jan, and others.
Local Lounge, Northeast (Tues May 20)

The Great Leap
Desdemona Chiang directs this online Portland Chinatown Museum production of Lauren Yee's The Great Leap, which centers the star of the sidewalk basketball courts in San Francisco's Chinatown who strong-arms his way onto an American college team traveling to Beijing for a "friendship" game in 1989.
(May 1-9)

The Last Five Years
Jason Robert Brown's musical love story with music and lyrics by Tony Award-winner Jason Robert Brown, pre-recorded on the Broadway Rose stage, The Last Five Years is a non-linear story about the brief marriage between two artists. 
(Through May 6)

A THOUSAND WAYS (Part Two): An Encounter
In the long-awaited second installment of 600 Highwaymen's interactive virtual performance A Thousand Ways, you and a stranger meet on opposite ends of a table, separated by a pane of glass. Using a script and props, you'll connect with the other person through simple gestures.
Portland Center Stage, Northwest (May 14-23)

VISUAL ART

Ansel Adams in Our Time
Making its only West Coast stop, this traveling exhibit brings over 100 photographs spanning the acclaimed American landscape photographer Ansel Adams's five-decade career to the Portland Art Museum. 
Portland Art Museum, Southwest (May 5-Aug 1)

Japanese American Museum of Oregon Grand Opening
Formerly known as the Nikkei Legacy Center, the Japanese American Museum of Oregon will take up residence in a bigger and brighter space in Old Town. While they're not open to the public just yet, they'll celebrate their move with a virtual event unveiling various exhibits and featuring singer-songwriter Kishi Bashi, as well as Portland Taiko.
(Thurs May 6)

Johnnie Chatman
Black history and the landscape of the American West intersect in this series of self portraits from New York-based photographer Johnnie Chatman.  
Blue Sky Gallery, Northwest (through May 29)

MUSIC

Journeys To Justice
Portland Opera presents compositions about love, justice, and the Black American experience, including Jasmine Barnes's "Songs for the African Violet" and Carlos Simon's Night Trip.
(Through May 31)

Kenari Quartet: Transforming Perceptions of the Sax
The Oregon-based all-saxophone Kenari Quartet will give you a new appreciation for the bronze woodwind instrument. This performance will feature both modern and contemporary pieces, as well as some improvisational jamming for good measure.
(Sat May 15)

Parker Quartet: Inventive & Inspired - Chamber Music Northwest
The Grammy-winning Parker Quartet will apply their virtuosity to Thomas Adès's magical Arcadiana and Beethoven’s reflective Opus 132 string quartet.
(Sat May 1)