No matter your earlier intentions, it’s almost impossible not to feel the urge December 31st to pull on your coat, grab a bottle of champagne, and head out into the night for the last party of the year. Whether you like to pretend you're Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, take in the once-a-year concept concerts, or dance until dawn patrol, we’ve rounded up our top picks to ring in 2014.
No-Holds-Barred Dance PARTIES
InspireTruth New Year’s Eve Party
Where: Portland Art Museum Mark Building
Time: 9 pm through 4:30 am
Entertainment: DJs Tripper, Eskmo, Random Rab, Manoj, along with a bevvy of live electronica acts
Why: One year in, and this party's unlikely collision still blows our mind. Imagine Burning Man at the Portland Art Museum. A sea of DJs, revelers in costume (and a couple of confused art museum patrons in suits and gowns), light shows, aerialists, and New Age rituals transform the 'do-not-touch' marbled halls and ballrooms of the Mark Building into a cosmic temple for the Goddess Rave.
Hilton's Champagne Ball
Where: Hilton Portland
Time: 8 pm
Entertainment: Radical Revolution and Gentlemen's Club, 80's and 90's cover bands respectively, and DJs
Why: This is the mirror opposite party of Inspire|Truth. If words like 'intention' and 'ritual' freak you out but you still like it big, decadent, and over the top; if you like balloon drops, glowsticks, drunk strangers, and PDX's best approximation of Vegas, then join 1200 partiers spread over three dance floors and 17 bars at the Champagne Ball.
PICA’s New Year’s Eve Art Drop
Time: 9 pm
Entertainment:The Brooklyn–based minimalist synth–punk duo, Light Asylum; soul-shaking singer Chanticleer Trü; and the entire crew of Magic Mouth spinning high octane, punk–soul infused tracks all night long
Why: PICA's first annual New Year's Eve Art Drop showcases high energy party tunes from boundary pushing musicans combined with the theatrics and vocals of performance artist Chanticleer Trü. The added bonus? All the proceeds go to PICA, so you can supppor this art scene staple while shaking it on the dance floor.
New Year's Eve at Dig A Pony
Where: Dig a Pony
Time: 8 pm
Entertainment: the soulful Reva DeVito, Kirk and Ryan of Hustle & Drone (former members of Portugual the Man), Dig A Pony regular Montel Spinozza, and Prince and R. Kelly tribute night MCs, Holla ‘N Oates.
Why: Dance the night away at this landmark hipster bar with local funk, electro-pop, and Latin disco musicians and DJs.
DJ Anjali and the Kid at the Bossanova Ballroom
Where: The Bossanova Ballroom
Time: 9 pm
Entertainment: DJ Anjali and the Incredible Kid
Why: Nightlife pillars DJ Anjali and the Kid put on their biggest New Year's throw down to date. Try out your Bollywood moves to their South Asian–inspired dance beats and Bhangra rhythms.
New Year’s Eve Barfly Bus Tour
Where: The mobile Barfly Bus
Time: 7 pm
Entertainment: It's a surprise!
Why: Bored with the idea of picking one party (and waiting in line)? Jump aboard the party bus, armed with silly hats and noisemakers, to stop at eight to ten pre-determined bars, lounges, clubs, and dives. At the end of the night, the bus delivers you home safely, although it can't save your dignity—that's up to you.
The Goodfoot's NYE Bash
Where: The Goodfoot
Time: 9 pm
Entertainment: South Stew DJ’s Aquaman, Soul Mechanic, Brad Vachal, and Scott Pemberton Trio
Why: Pick from two parties, with South Stew DJ’s Aquaman, the Soul Mechanic, and Brad Vachal spinning funky, disco beats upstairs, and the soulful, thoughtful lyrics of the Scott Pemberton Trio downstairs. Good fun and music without breaking the bank.
Concerts to Dance to (or at least nod your head)
New Years Eve Dance Spectacular with Pink Martini and Chervona
Where: Crystal Ballroom
Time: 7:30 pm
Entertainment: Pink Martini and gypsy folk band Chervona
Why: Pink Martini shirks its traditional NYE shows at the Schnitz (well, sort of—Thomas, China, and Storm will appeare earlier at the Symphony's concert below) to return to the parties Thomas used to throw at the Crystal in the 90's: big, dress-up, dancing balls. This New Year's, transport yourself back to 1914 Paris with a carnival themed backdrop of fortune telling, a photo booth, and a prize wheel. If you like dressing fancy and dancing with a partner (sadly retro these days), this is your soiree.
Salsa and Afrobeat Dance Party Benefit for Mercy Corps’ Global Initiative
Where: Red Rose Ballroom, 1829 NE Alberta
Time: 8:30 pm
Entertainment: Nigerian Afrobeat and Afro Cuban Salsa bands Pa’lante and Jujuba
Why: Salsa your way into the the New Year with a fiery hot, Latin dance party complete with dance lessons, food from La Calaca Comelona, and a champagne toast. The proceeds from the nightlong gala will benefit Mercy Corps’ disaster relief efforts in the Philippines.
Weinland’s NYE Supergroup
Where: Doug Fir Lounge
Time: 8 pm
Entertainment: The members of Weinland invite over 25 musicians to play heroic dance rock. The lineup is a surprise, but past supergroups have included members of the Fruit Bats, the Minus 5, Portland Cello Project, Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside, and Loch Lomond.
Why: In it's fifth incarnation, where else can you see your favorite local indie rocker belt out Beastie Boys and Madonna hits alongside your new favorite karaoke crooner—all while dancing your heart out on a sweaty, subterannean dance floor?
Three-Night New Year's Celebration with Built To Spill
Where: The Mission Theater
Time: December 29–31 at 8 pm
Entertainment: Built To Spill, Slam Dunk, and the Apostrophes
Why: You have not one, but three nights to swoon over Doug Martsch's catchy guitar hooks like it was 1999, along with Canadian's brash indie pop wailers, Slam Dunk, and lo-fi rock duo the Apostrophes. Why not celebrate the future by indulging in indie rock nostalgia?
Surfer Blood with Wild Ones and Agesandages
Where: Mississippi Studios
Time: 9 pm
Entertainment: Surfer Blood, Wild Ones, and Agesandages
Why: Issue in the New Year with some dreamy surf tunes from these melodic rockers and their indie pop compatriots at one of Portland's best live music venues. Agesandages has a fab new record due out next spring, so perhaps we'll get a live preview.
New Year's Eve Soul Stomp with the Satin Chaps and Brownish Black
Where: The Secret Society
Time: 9 pm
Entertainment: The Euro-style gogo octet, Satin Chaps, and Motown–inspired Brownish Black
Why: For those who want to say goodbye to 2013 shaking their booty to soulful, retro tunes complete with a three-piece horn section and a Hammond organ, this is the ticket you won’t want to miss.
Classy Sit Down Concerts
Oregon Symphony's Ode To Joy Holiday Spectacular
Where: Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
Time: 7 pm
Entertainment: Carlos Kalmar and the Oregon Symphony, along with special guests Thomas Lauderdale, China Forbes, Storm Large, the von Trapps, Gus Van Sant, and Cantor Ida Rae Cahana
Why: If Beethoven's 9th Symphony wasn't epic enough for you, throw in a half dozen of Portland's favorite musicians and celebrities for an unforgettable night of symphonic revelry. And you'll be done in time to hit another event. (Hop on the Lauderdale bandwagon over to the Crystal for a two-fer).
The David Grisman Folk Jazz Trio with Darol Anger, Scott Law & Tony Furtado
Where: The Alberta Rose Theatre
Time: 7 pm & 10 pm
Entertainment: Mandolinist and composer David Grisman collaborates with bluegrass guitarist Jim Hurst and bassist Sam Grisman. Also on the bill, fiddler Darol Anger; guitarist, songwriter Scott Long; and slide guitar rocker Tony Furtado.
Why: Enjoy the last night of 2013 with lush, instrumentantation in an intimate concert setting.
All That Jazz and More, A New Year's Eve Concert
Where: The Old Church
Time: 7:30 pm
Entertainment: Jazz vocalist Rebecca Kilgore, pianist Randy Porter, and bassist John Wiitala
Why: Herald in the new year with the chamber music elite in a three-part evening centered around jazz music and fine dining. As a part of the Friends of the Chamber Orchestra's Dinner with Friends series, enjoy an intimate dinner at one of six private homes before attending an hour-long concert with this celebrated trio belting out jazz standards of the 30's and 40's, followed by a dessert and champagne reception.
Tickets: $30 general admission (inclues the concert and reception only), $100 reserved seating (includes dinner, concert, and reception)
New Years Eve with Nick Thune
Where: Helium Comedy Club
Time: 8 & 10:30 pm
Entertainment: Comedian Nick Thune, magician Hart Keene, and jazz quartet Babette
Why: Because laughing is less exhausting than dancing, but still a workout. Upright Citizen's Brigade alum Nick Thune will host an evening with jokes, jazz interludes, and, if that's not enough—a magic show!
New Years Eve Extravaganza
Where: Curious Comedy Club
Time: 8 pm
Entertainment: The best of 2013's Curious Comedy's comedians
Why: With standup, sketch, improv, and aerial arts, followed by a dance party, h'or deouvers, and champagne toast, it’s like five parties in one!
New Years at Noon
Where: Portland Children’s Museum
Time: 10 am–1pm
Entertainment: DJ 'Greasy Kid Stuff'
Why: Let the children have some New Year’s fun with a kid-friendly DJ, homemade noisemakers, and New Year’s countdowns in several time zones (who cares about punctuality when you’re a toddler?). You might recognize Greasy Kid Stuff from his Sunday morning 94/7 show that finds kid fun in indie rock songs (there's more than you would think).
Tickets: $10 (PCM admission)
Where: Scottish Rite Center
Time: January 26, 11 am–4 pm
Entertainment: Traditional music and dance performances by Portland Taiko, Japanese American Citizens League, Oregon Nikkei Endowment, Portland Kondo Church, and more.
Why: Usher in the Year of the Horse with this traditional Japanese New Year celebration. Experience traditional Japanese drumming and classical dance, participate in calligraphy, origami and traditional craft, or sample from Japanese food and spirits.
Tickets: $4 per child, $10 per adult
New Year’s Day Grindhouse Secret Movie Marathon
Where: Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd
Time: January 1st, 3 pm
Entertainment: A triple feature movie screening with a top secret line up of 70’s film on rare, 35mm prints (from Hollywood Theatre programmer Dan Halsted’s personal film collection).
Why: What better way to calm your post party headache than by a day of psychedelic film? Resolve to kick back, relax with some hair of the dog (Hollywood Theatre serves beer and wine), and partake in a day of curated film.
Tickets: $10 for all three films