Event Calendar

Things to Do in Portland This Week

The Waterfront Blues Festival is here, the Original Practice Shakespeare Fest takes to Cathedral Park, and queer history is drunkenly dramatized.

By Matthew Trueherz and Margaret Seiler June 29, 2023

Waterfront Blues Fest

THere's Plenty of arty and entertaining fare to keep you busy around Rose City this week, including the Original Practice Shakespeare Fest at Cathedral Park, Buddy Guy and Shemekia Copeland heading up the Waterfront Blues Festival, and Drunk Herstory, the queer history sketch drag series. Here's what we've got our eyes on. (For more things to do around the state, check out our roundup of what to do in Oregon this month.) 

Jump to Your Genre:

Books & Talks | Comedy Film |  Music

Special Events | Theater | Visual Art

Books & Talks

Satya Doyle Byock 

7 p.m. WED, JULY 5 | Powell’s City of Books, Free

Before you have a midlife crisis, you have to make it through “quarterlife.” Local psychotherapist Satya Doyle Byock’s Quarterlife sets out to name the vague discontent most people feel in their 20s or 30s, regardless of whether they’ve checked the societal markers of success—degrees, jobs, families. Through patient accounts, literature, and pop culture, with an eye toward Carl Jung’s ideas, Byock assembles something of a guide for feeling like a grown-up (or so we gather). Byock will be in conversation with fellow Portland author Evan P. Schneider. 

One Page Wednesday 

7–9 p.m. WED, JULY 5 | Literary Arts, Free

Every month, writers from across the city gather at Literary Arts to read aloud a single page of their writing. All experience levels and genres are welcome. Share what you’re working on, or show up to listen, be inspired and find new friends to text when you're supposed to be writing. This month local writer and zine enthusiast Jessica Wadleigh is hosting, and queer writer and managing editor of Moss Lit Alayna Becker is the featured reader.  


Drunk Herstory

7–10 p.m. THU & FRI, JUNE 29 & 30 | Alberta Rose Theatre, $25–30

Like that Funny or Die Presents sketch series where famous actors drunkenly dramatize historical events—except drag queens and queer history. Shandi Evans and Dahlia Hearts host a surprise ensemble cast to retell, among other events, the history of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Wigstock, Barbie, and RuPaul’s Drag Race. ASL interpretation provided. 


Asteroid City

Various dates and times | Living Room Theaters, Fox Tower, Laurelhurst Theater, Hollywood Theatre

It’s time for another Wes Anderson adventure. This go-around, it's Anderson's version of 1955. Everyone’s going to space camp (a “junior stargazer convention”), and the movie is at once a movie, a play, and a TV show about the making of the play. Of the countless A-listers (even Tom Hanks is in it) in a meticulously crafted movie packed with quirky sets and dry wit, Scarlett Johansson is the center. She plays a diva actress staying in the titular one-horse town, who falls for Jason Schwartzman, a widowed war photographer.

Past Lives

Various times and dates | Hollywood Theatre, Laurelhurst Theater, Living Room Theaters, Cinema 21

NPR calls acclaimed playwright Celine Song’s debut film “the most affecting love story in ages.” Na Young (Greta Lee) and Hae Sung (Teo Yoo) were childhood sweethearts in Seoul. A decade after Young’s family immigrates to Canada, separating the pair, they reconnect briefly online. Another decade passes and Sung shows up in New York on a journey to see his long-lost love, thinly veiled as a vacation. Young, now going by Nora, is of course married to an American named Arthur (John Magaro). But her decades-long connection with Sung hasn’t waned. 

Rear Window in 35mm

3 p.m. SAT & SUN, JULY 1 & 2 | Hollywood Theatre, $7

“It Had to Be Murder,” the title of Cornell Woolrich’s short story from which the film was adapted, sets the tone for Hitchcock’s 1954 Technicolor thriller. But then again, it’s Hitchcock, so somebody gets murdered. Jimmy Stewart is a photographer with a broken leg, confined to a wheelchair in his Greenwich Village courtyard apartment. Bored, he spies on his neighbors: cue the murdering.


Waterfront Blues Festival

Various Times SAT–Tue, JULY 1–4 | Tom McCall Waterfront Park, $50–490

Grab a ticket and park your low-profile camp chair (or skip that, since you’re going to spend all your time dancing, anyway) in Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park to catch the likes of Buddy Guy, Shemekia Copeland, the Mavericks, JJ Grey & Mofro, Celisse, Nik West, and Los Lonely Boys over the holiday weekend. Plenty of local talent packs the lineup, too, including Curtis Salgado, the Norman Sylvester Review, LaRhonda & the Steele Family Band, Soul Vaccination, and Ural Thomas. You can also paddle or putter your way to a floating vantage point on the Willamette River, but it might be hard to see, let alone dance, from the water.

Special Events


June–Aug | all over the city

Check the Pedalpalooza calendar for the constantly updated slate of themed rides all summer long, from bookstore crawls to Bowie-soundtracked pedals to buck-naked cycling. The Portland World Naked Bike Ride (Aug 12) is one of several undressed affairs. There are also rides celebrating Schitt’s Creek, Harry Potter, and John Waters, and a recurring Fancy Mondays outing that offers a reason to get dressed up. If you don’t see a ride that calls to you, add one to the calendar yourself. Check the fine print, as some rides are 21-plus or discourage e-bikes, and some might call for advance taco orders. 

Endless Honeymoon Podcast

7 p.m. THU, JUNE 29 | Polaris Hall, SOLD OUT

Spun from their 2018 Netflix special, Endless Honeymoon is married comedians Natasha Leggero and Moshe Kasher’s podcast centered on relationship advice. Leggero has participated in a not-insignificant number of Comedy Central Roasts and was a panelist on Chelsea Lately. Kasher is a stand-up and comedy writer; he published the memoir Kasher in the Rye (apologies to Salinger), cataloging his drug-addled adolescence, in 2012. 


Original Practice Shakespeare Fest

June 22–Aug 27 | Various locations

OPS Fest is bringing the Bard to a park near you, for free (donations welcome). This weekend's action takes to Cathedral Park, with Winter's Tale (June 30), Romeo and Juliet (July 1), and Richard II (July 2). Curtain's at 7 p.m. Looking ahead, those with shorter attention spans can try abridged versions, including Romeo and Juliet Abridged at Pio Pio Park in Beaverton (July 20), or catch gentlethem’s, gentlewomen’s, and gentlemen’s shows like The Tempest, Antonie and Cleopatra, and Macbeth, respectively, at Mt Tabor Amphitheater (Aug 25–27). Check the website for the full schedule.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Thru July 2 | Portland Center Stage at the Armory, $24–93 advance

Portland Center Stage offers that this Shakespeare play may be unsuitable for the under-12 set, as it contains “adult situations and mischievous fairies.” And, uh, two hours of Shakespearean dialogue. We're in. 

Visual Art

Benjamin Ewing's When We Met, on at One Grand Gallery

Benjamin Ewing

Closing reception 8–10 p.m. FRI, JUNE 30 | One Grand Gallery, Free

Portland painter and sculptor Benjamin Ewing’s first show combining his abstract oil paintings and chiseled concrete sculptures When We Met closes Friday. None of Ewing’s works is edible, but Ethereal Reflections, the local pop-up gallery throwing the closing reception, promises an “edible installation” inspired by the show and tunes from DJ Timothy Bee. 

Amy Bay at Nationale

Amy Bay 

NOON–6 P.M. THU–SUN, Thru JULy 9 | Nationale, Free

Portland artist Amy Bay’s current show, They Always Have, and Still Do, uses deeply saturated and heavily populated oil paintings in an attempt to reclaim floral designs. She aims to remove the decorative, unserious connotations attached to repeating flower patterns and instill a rich sense of accumulated time and experience through classical painting techniques and “twin” paintings that, instead of being identical, point to subtle variations on a theme. 

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Jess Ackerman

NOON–6 P.M. WED–SAT, Thru JULy 1 | Chefas Projects, Free

Always Been the Laughing Boy is Portland painter Jess Ackerman’s debut solo show at Chefas Projects. Ackerman engages the “sad clown paradox," reflecting on how, say, a gloriously stacked birthday cake always represents an impossible level of excitement and foreshadows an imminent sugar crash. The brightly colored, joyful acrylic paintings mask deeper anxieties.

Derek Franklin

10:30 A.M.–5:30 P.M. TUE–SAT, thru JULy 29 | Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Free

Grief is on my calendar every day at 2:00 p.m., Derek Franklin’s brilliantly titled show of sculpture and paintings, deals with the performance of everyday life. Coat rack–inspired sculptures mimic people, with stick-figure hands and limbs attached. Layered paintings show dishware as not “interchangeable props,” “but specific objects that bear witness to the lives of their owners.” However, the relationships we develop with these everyday objects, Franklin argues, obscures the fact that they are social constructs.  

Oregon Jewish Museum Reopening

11 a.m.–4 p.m. Wed–Sun | Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, $5–8, members and children under 12 free

The Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education is newly reopened after construction incorporating the adjacent Pearl District space that once housed the Charles Hartman Gallery. Three main shows to catch: But a Dream (thru Aug 13) includes 25 mixed-media works by Salvador Dalí; The Jews of Amsterdam, Rembrandt and Pender (thru Sept 24) explores Rembrandt’s relationship with the city’s Jewish population and is accompanied by the late Henk Pender’s Amsterdam paintings; and Human Rights after the Holocaust (ongoing) looks at fights against racism and genocide in Portland and around the world.