Top Things to Do This Weekend: Aug 14–17
MFNW 2.0 takes over the waterfront, Dew Tour shreds down Broadway, and the Adult Soapbox Derby barrels down Mount Tabor.
Saturday–Sunday, Tom McCall Waterfront Park
Yes, Portland's nearly weeklong, citywide music extravaganza has been paired down to a more traditional, weekend Waterfront Park event, like an indie take on the Blues Fest. And yes, headliner Girl Talk just played MFNW 2012. But the lineup still boasts plenty of variety and quality: LA pop upstarts Haim, Baltimore art-pop outfit Future Islands, Canadian hard-core band Fucked Up, and Portland's national up-and-comers Shy Girls (read our story about them and four other local bands you need to know).
Friday, Mississippi Studios
Darlings of Isaac Brock's Glacial Pace Records, Mimicking Birds finally return home to Portland after weeks on the road supporting Modest Mouse. Spring saw the release of their sophomore album, Eons, which uses just a tinge of electronica to enhance the acoustic backbone of Mimicking Birds' sound. Read our preview of the show.
Saturday, Oregon Zoo
This young virtuoso—bet you can't guess his instrument—brings the funk, jazz, and hip-hop concoction of his band Orleans Avenue to town in support of last year's Say This to Say That, produced by and featuring Raphael Saadiq.
Montavilla Jazz Festival
Saturday–Sunday, Post5 Theatre
There's a new music fest pitching its tent this summer: the Montavilla Jazz Festival at Post5 Theatre. It will celebrate the most adventurous musicians in Portland's jazz circles, with genre-bending improvisors Blue Cranes headlining on Saturday, and bass master David Friesen headlining with his trio on Sunday.
Saturday–Sunday, Broadway along SW Park Blocks
After a two-year break from the Portland stop, Dew Tour comes back to the Rose City for its 10th anniversary, and they're making up for the absence by making the event free to the public. Introducing a new competition, "Streetstyle," bikers and skaters will barrel down a transformed section of SW Broadway. We caught up with top-tier BMX rider Drew Bezanson to talk about the sport and the course. Also, videos of four of the top athletes doing tricks that shouldn't be possible according to the laws of physics.
PICA Rooftop Party
Saturday, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art
The Portland Institute for Contemporary Art is bringing their beach party topside with a rooftop bash. Catering will be provided by Chris Israel, the food and beverage expert behind downtown hotspots like Gruner and Kask. Other entertainment includes surf movies, limbo, live music, and a muscle beach contest.
Adult Soapbox Derby
Saturday, Mount Tabor
Basically just what it sounds like—each year, the brave and the reckless ascend Mount Tabor to test homemade creations in the ultimate DIY racing gauntlet. If you're not up to the challenge yourself, it's still arguably the best spectator event of the summer.
Hawthorne Street Fair
Sunday, Hawthorne Blvd
Stages, beer gardens, and booths... Must be time for another street fair! This weekend the party will be down on Hawthorne. With 31 years under its belt, this is the longest running street fair in Portland, but this year it offers something new: the fair will close Hawthorne to cars from 30th to Cesar Chavez, making it all about the peds.
Books & Talks
Thursday at Holocene
First devised in Tokyo in 2003 as a way for young designers to showcase their work, PechaKucka (which roughly means "chit chat" in Japanese) has since spread to over 750 cities worldwide. All PechaKucha talks have the exact same structure: 20 images, each displayed for 20 seconds, adding up to a total time of 6 minutes and 40 seconds. This month's theme: How does summer, Portland's favorite but most ephemeral season, influence their work? Guests include Salt & Straw co-founder Tyler Malek, Clyde Common bar guru Jeffrey Morgenthaler, What the Festival organizer Keely Montgomery, and many more.
Back Fence PDX
Friday at Hollywood Theater and Saturday at Disjecta Contemporary Art Center
Portland's live storytelling specialists host another double header. The theme for Friday night's true, unscripted tales is "Blindsided." Saturday sees the return of "Russian Roulette," in which each storyteller spins the wheel to receive a prompt for which they must either accept or pass (organizers like to call it "Truth AND Dare"). The Long Winters' hilarious John Roderick headlines, along with Cole Kazdin (Emmy-award winning TV producer, writer, performer), Andy Lindberg (host of Kick Ass Oregon History and played David 'Lard Ass' Hogan in the movie Stand By Me), and more.
A-Wol: Art in the Dark
Thursday–Friday, Mary S Young Park
The aerial collective A-WOL Dance dangles from the trees in West Linn's Mary S. Young Park at its 10th annual outdoor, nighttime performance series.
PETE: Three Sisters
Thursday–Sunday, Reed College
"This is not your high school English teacher's The Three Sisters. Lewis & Clark theater professor Stepan Simek's new translation is fast, blunt, and at times quite funny. But what really sets this performance apart from the staid productions that have turned off a century of audiences is the Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble's dynamic set and staging, under Simek's direction..." Read our full review.
Friday–Saturday, Imago Theatre
With live cameras, video projections, theater performance, and a six-piece chamber ensemble, Wayfinders simultaneously searches for the meaning behind wanderlust and a genre definition. The performance is the latest project of Portland-based musician Holcombe Waller. While he started out using his soft voice to croon over warm, folk-pop instrumentation, he has since transformed into an interdisciplinary artist. Read our profile on Waller to learn more about this shift in his career.
Anonymous Theater: The Crucible
Monday, The Armory
We recommend staying in the weekend mindset a day longer for the annual Anonymous Theater event, which magnifies the risk of live performance while also staging a tried-and-true play in an experiment that fills the Gerding Theater every year. The director, Andrés Alcalá, rehearses with each actor individually. The night of the show, the actors, unknown to each other, take their seats with the audience, revealing themselves and stepping on stage with their first line. This year’s production will be The Crucible, Arthur Miller's classic play about the Salem witchcraft trials of 1692. Should be dangerous...
Top Down: Rooftop Cinema: Vanishing Point
Thursday, Hotel deLuxe
In Vanishing Point, when antihero Kowalski (Barry Newman) makes a bet that he can deliver a car from Colorado to San Francisco in 10 days (they must have driven slower back then...), it's up to his ride, a steady diet of uppers, and a DJ named Soul rooting him on to make the delivery in time. Pre-show music by the band Strange Babes.
Thursday–Saturday, Shaking the Tree Studio
From the mind of Sean McGrath (writer of Weekend at Bernie's: The Play and the web series Hundredaires, in addition to being a long-standing writer and actor for Live Wire) comes a fast-paced, off-the-wall sketch show. Performers include Scott Engdahl, who performed in Bob Odenkirk's A Load of Hooey; Brooke Totman, a former cast member on MADtv; Andrew Harris, a fellow Sweat alum and Live Wire writer; and HuffPo columnist Lori Ferraro. McGrath shared with us the difficulties of naming a sketch show—and five of the names he discarded before arriving at Bath Night. (Angel Tit? Serious?)