25 things to watch for in October

From the ghoulish to the stylish, ArtsWatch's picks of shows to stuff in your trick-or-treat bag

It’s the Fall of the Seasons. And the Rise of the House of Usher (actually, the Masque of the Red Death). It’s October in Portland arts & culture, and that means, among other things, a rise in references to Halloween and the Day of the Dead. Plus, of course, less ghoulish enterprises. ArtsWatch has been scouring the autumnal calendar, which is chock full of artistic activity, and come up with 25 things for you to get on your docket. It’s far from complete, of course. But it gives you a start. Opening dates on several shows are for first preview performances.

George Johanson, "Blue Apron," 2014, oil and acrylic on canvas, 40 x 60 inches. At Augen Gallery through Nov. 1.

George Johanson, “Blue Apron,” 2014, oil and acrylic on canvas, 40 x 60 inches. At Augen Gallery through Nov. 1.

The Typographer’s Dream

Oct. 4-Nov. 16

Portland Center Stage, 128 NW 11th Ave.

So, a typographer, a geographer, and a stenographer enter a panel discussion together. That’s the set-up to Center Stage fave Adam Bock’s slice of American life in which your job and your personality somehow start to fuse together, and fixing one is impossible without fixing the other. Rose Riordan directs Sharonlee McLean, Laura Faye Smith, and Kelsey Tyler. In the intimate Ellen Bye Studio theater downstairs at the Armory.

Paraprosdokians and Rubber Chickens

Oct. 5-Dec. 5

The Art Gym, 17600 Pacific Hwy., Marylhurst University

Bruce Conkle, Jamie Isenstein, Ralph Pugay, Patrick Rock, and seven others kick off The Art Gym’s fall programming with a group show organized around ideas of humor and wry wit.


Oct. 9-11

White Bird, Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway

White Bird kicks gets off and running on its newest season with this highly visual, circus-influenced Los Angeles troupe’s first Portland shows in a decade. The contemporary Brit Michael Clark Company will follow closely on Diavolo’s heels, making its Portland debut Oct. 16-18, also in the Newmark.

Diavolo: re-entering the space/time continuum at White Bird.

Diavolo: re-entering the space/time continuum at White Bird. 


Ionesco’s The Lesson

Oct. 10-11

Readers Theatre Rep, at Blackfish Gallery, 420 NW Ninth Ave.

Readers Theatre goes absurd with this short but potent tale of a seemingly harmless professor (Todd Van Voris, in his first RTR appearance) whose behavior takes a turn toward Gothic horror. Why, yes, it IS October.

 In the Forest, She Grew Fangs

Oct. 10-Nov. 15

Defunkt Theatre, 4319 SE Hawthorne Blvd.

Defunkt stages the West Coast premiere of Stephen Spotswood’s modern American take on Little Red Riding Hood: a small-town girl with a troubled past, a glamorous new girl in town, and the sudden appearance of savaged deer carcasses in the woods. It’s a Halloween season tale with, well, teeth.

George Johanson

Through Nov. 1

Augen Gallery, 716 NW Davis St.

If anyone has a call to the title Dean of Portland Artists, Johanson’s deep in the running. Consider this: In 2007, the Hallie Ford Museum presented a 60-year retrospective of his work . In 2010, the Pacific Northwest College of Art presented a show of his paintings titled Seven Decades. He’s exhibiting recent paintings and prints in his new Augen exhibit (recent being a relative thing; the show covers work from 1980, when he retired from a long teaching career at the old Museum Art School, to now). He’ll give an artist’s talk at noon Saturday, Oct. 11, at Augen.

Jason Vieaux

October 10

St. Anne’s Chapel, Marylhurst University, 17600 Pacific Hwy.

In this Portland Classic Guitar solo recital, Vieaux, one of the world’s finest guitarists, might play anything from Bach to Pat Metheny.

Oregon Repertory Singers

Oct. 11 & 12

Vancouver Symphony, First United Methodist Church, 1838 SW Jefferson St.

Everyone knows the Ninth, but in this relatively rare performance, the city’s finest large choir sings Beethoven’s other massive masterpiece, the Missa Solemnis (Solemn Mass).

The Ensemble

Oct. 12

Reed College Chapel, 3203 SE Woodstock Blvd.

The superb mid-sized vocal quintet (plus piano), drawn from the city’s finest choirs, sings a splendid program of relatively rarely heard French and Flemish a cappella music by Renaissance composers Josquin des Prez and Clement Janequin, plus solo works by 19th and 20th century masters Faure, Ravel, and Francis Poulenc.

 The Homecoming

Oct. 10-Nov. 9

Imago Theatre, 17 S.E. Eighth Ave.

Imago continues its recent fascination with the dark and quizzical plays of Harold Pinter, following crackerjack productions of The Lover and The Caretaker with this creepily entertaining family reunion.

 Portland Open Studios

Oct. 11-12, 18-19

Artists’ studios across the metro area

The annual studio crawl includes 96 artists’ working spaces this year and covers two weekends. It can be an eye-opener to visit the actual studios, which span the metro area, and see how the work’s done. In several, you can see the artists at work.

Beth Yazhari, "Homage to Needlework" Trompe l'oiel 1," mixed media on wood panel, 24 x 24 inches. Yazhari is part of Portland Open Studios.

Beth Yazhari, “Homage to Needlework” Trompe l’oiel 1,” mixed media on wood panel, 24 x 24 inches. Yazhari is part of Portland Open Studios.

 OBT 25

Oct. 11-18

Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St.

Oregon Ballet Theatre is pulling out all the stops for the kickoff to its 25th season, with Balanchine’s seminal Agon, company artistic founder James Canfield’s pas de deux from Romeo and Juliet, a duet from former resident choreographer Trey McIntyre’s Robust American Love, the pas de deux from ex-artistic director Christopher Stowell’s Carmen, and the world premiere of Nicolo Fonte’s Never Stop Falling (In Love), accompanied by those globetrotting Portlanders, Pink Martini. Keller Auditorium. Oct. 11-18.

 !O Romeo! Día de los Muertos

Oct. 16-Nov. 9

Milagro Theatre, 525 SE Stark St.

The world premiere of artistic director Olga Sanchez’ Day of the Dead play, in which Shakespeare is “alive, but not well at all.” Milagro explains the situation: “His time draws near and friends from ‘the other side’ have begun to visit!  But are these friends real or simply the creations of his imagination?  Hamlet, Ophelia, Titania and more circle his deathbed while he fights to write his last play!  Has he gone mad?  Is he reading too many stories of the New World?” In Spanish and English.

110 in the Shade

Oct. 16-Nov. 9

Stumptown Stages at Brunish Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway

Roger Welch directs the musical version of The Rainmaker, with Kirk Mouser as the electrifying Starbuck. It’s a revival for the age of Western drought and global warming. Some don’t like it hot: they thirst for a little rain.

All Jane, No Dick

Oct. 17-20

Curious Comedy Theatre, 5225 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Some of the best female comedians in the biz get together at this festival to do their shticks with no guys onstage. Mo Welch, Kelsie Huff, JoAnn Schinderle, many more.

Bob: A Life in Five Acts

Oct. 17-Nov. 15

Theatre Vertigo at Shoe Box Theatre, 2110 SE 10th Ave.

Matt Zrebski directs Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s sort-of-comedy about a guy who’s born and abandoned in the bathroom of a White Castle burger joint, and his rise from his lowly beginnings. How Dickensian! Sort of.

In Passionate Pursuit

Oct. 18-Jan. 11

Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park Ave.

Two major forces in Portland art meet in this exhibition: the collecting team of Arlene and the late Harold Schnitzer, and curator Bruce Guenther, who retires as the museum’s chief curator after this show opens. Patrons of culture through and through, the Schnitzers have assembled a dizzying array of work from Han Dynasty artwork to Native American beadwork to a sizable selection of Northwest and West Coast modern and contemporary art. Guest lectures and an intensive catalog will accompany the exhibition.

New Now Wow!

October 23-25

Northwest Dance Project, Lincoln Performance Hall, Portland State University, 1620 SW Park Ave.

This invigorating Portland contemporary & ballet company, which specializes in world premieres, will animate new dances by Minh Tran, Jirí Pokorný, and Yin Yue.


October 23-November 1

BodyVox, 1201 NW 17th Ave.

BodyVox has been getting all Halloween-y on Portland’s head for several seasons now, and it’s usually a bloody good time. This evening of dance promises to be a great big boo with wit and style.

BloodyVox: dark deeds at BodyVox.

BloodyVox: dark deeds at BodyVox.

Frida: A Rare Evening of Women in Circus

Oct. 24-25

Pendulum Aerial Arts, 8500 NW Johnson St.

Pendulum gets airborne with performances by high-flying French acrobatic artist Fred Deb’, Paula Kenney, and Laura Stokes of the contemporary circus duo Ricochet.

 It’s a Bird … It’s a Plane … It’s Superman

Oct. 24-25

Lakewood Theatre, Side Door Stage, 368 S. State St., Lake Oswego

Lakewood’s always intriguing series The Lost Treasures Collection, which brings back musical-theater works largely lost in the annals of time, focuses this month on the short-lived 1966 musical, with score by Charles Strouse (Bey Bye Birdie, Applause, Annie) and directed by Harold Prince, about a nefarious attempt to knock off the Man of Steel and steal Lois Lane’s heart away from Supe. Presented cabaret style, with book in hand, and directed by Ron Daum; three performances only.

The Masque of the Red Death

Oct. 24-Nov. 22

Shaking the Tree Theatre, 1407 SE Stark St. OR S the T’s new space at 823 SE Grant St.; check in advance

Samantha Van Der Merwe directs Nicole Accuardi, Andy Lee-Hillstrom, Matthew Kerrigan, Annabel Cantor and others in a stage version of Edgar Allan Poe’s macabre classic. Ages 14 and up. This could shake up the whole darned orchard.

Cappella Romana

October 25

St. Mary’s Cathedral, 1716 NW Davis St.

Just back from their invited performance at the most prestigious of all early music festivals in Utrecht, the Netherlands, the choir again broadens its horizons beyond its Byzantine base by performing Orthodox music from Serbia (after earlier exploring the sacred Orthodox sounds of Russia and Finland), under the direction of one of the world’s experts in this rarely heard repertoire, musicologist and conductor Bogdan Đaković.

 Ivy+ Bean: The Musical

Oct. 25-Nov. 23

Oregon Childrens Theatre at Dolores Winningstad Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway

Seven-year-old Bean runs Pancake Court with an irresistible wild streak and a vivid imagination. New kid Ivy’s nice nice nice, with just a streak of latent witch in her. What could go wrong? What could go right? Humorous song, dance, and story for ages 4 and up.

Salzburg Marionette Theater with Orion Weiss

Oct. 26

Lincoln Performance Hall, Portland State University, 1620 SW Park Ave.

In this unusual Friends of Chamber Music concert, the New York-based Chamber Music Northwest regular plays music by Robert Schumann and Debussy’s enchanting piano suite, The Toy Box — with help from the renowned Austrian puppeteers.



2 Responses.

  1. tahni holt says:

    Where are the independent Choreographers?
    Missed two October highlights.

    Oct. 23rd-26th: Linda Austin, Linda Hutchins and Pat Boa’s The Word Hand //PWNW

    Oct.24th-26th: Allie Hankin’s LIKE A SUN THAT POURS FORTH LIGHT BUT NEVER WARMTH // Conduit

  2. Oregon ArtsWatch says:

    Thanks, Tahni. Both well worth checking out!

    Our list by its nature leaves out a lot of good possibilities. Anyone who wants to, feel free to add your own tips in the comments.

Comments are closed.

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