It's the last weekend before Halloween 100% consumes us all in a spicy, orangey, sexy-costumes-for-things-that-shouldn't-in-any-way-be-sexy fireball of candied debauchery. You could take that as an opportunity to rest up and prep yourself for the holiday onslaught to come—or you could look at it as a practice run for all the crazy shit you're going to get up to next weekend. And it's not as if there isn't a plethora of great stuff to partake in, like the Retro Gaming Expo, a gaggle of Pugs bumping into things and snurfling adorably, the spooky charm of Goosebumps coming to life on stage, a couple of beer festivals, a snow festival, some live and local pro wrestling, a chance to fight breast cancer while simultaneously getting sloshed, and a chance to help Rockwood youth while rocking out. All this, and Homoween, too. It's like starting trick-or-treat a week early, with your pillowcase already full of candy! Hit the menu below, and plan your route accordingly.
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Friday, October 21
W. Kamau Bell
Last time socio-political comedian W. Kamau Bell was in town was for his smart CNN travel show United Shades of America. He discussed gentrification—the good and the bad—on N Mississippi, asked a bearded local whether "hipster" was a dirty word, and even met with Black Portlanders' Intisar Abioto. Known for using his comedic curiosity to get through an interview with a KKK leader, expect Bell's stand-up show to be illuminating, approachable, and funny because it's accurate. JENNI MOORE
Aladdin Theater, 7:30pm, 10:30pm, $25
Portland Retro Gaming Expo
Since 2006, the Portland Retro Gaming expo—a weekend-long celebration of old-school video games—has been one of the funnest, geekiest events in town. Things to keep an eye out for this year include the Antiques Roadshow-inspired Retrogame Roadshow, the annual cosplay contest, tons of hard-to-find games, and panels featuring everyone from Atari programmers to RPG designers. Once you throw in the Classic Tetris World Championship, workshops, live music, and the sprawling Retrocade—which boasts a jaw-dropping number of cabinets, consoles, and pinball tables—you've got a great weekend. But because 2016 is a never-ending nightmare that will allow nothing good and pure to exist, all this comes with a condition: Avoid the events featuring one of the Expo's special guests, James Rolfe—better known to gamers as the obnoxious YouTuber "The Angry Video Game Nerd," and better known to everyone else as one of the jackasses behind last spring's misogynist anti-Ghostbusters campaign. Make no mistake: The Portland Retro Gaming Expo is still totally worth going to. But Rolfe typifies the kind of outdated, exclusionary thinking that gives gamers a bad name. The otherwise excellent Portland Retro Gaming Expo—not to mention Portland's gamers—deserve better. ERIK HENRIKSEN
Oct 21-23, Oregon Convention Center, Fri 3pm, Sat-Sun 10am, $10-35, all ages
Death From Above 1979, Black Rebel Motorcycle club, Deap Vally
This is a great chance to see two badass bands on the same bill, as they co-headline a national tour. I still believe that Black Rebel Motorcycle Club—from California and particularly popular in Europe—is one the best rock bands of the past 20 years, and their 2005 record Howl is one of my favorite albums of all time. Now I’m pumped BRMC is teaming up with Toronto-based DFA 1979, and I’ll be seeing them both live for the first time. It will be a great show, and if you like rock music you should go. DOUG BROWN
Roseland, 9pm, $28, all ages
Great Northwest Beer and Wine Fest
A two-day celebration of not just the Northwest's bountiful fall season, but the beers and wines that come with them, paired with local food, live entertainment, and a whole lot of vendors and exhibitors.
Portland Expo Center, 4pm, $10
Fall Used Book Sale
Oregon's largest used-book sale features over 100,000 items at vastly reduced prices, including hardcovers, trade paperbacks, CDs, DVDs, audiobooks, LPs, and more. Proceeds benefit the Multnomah County Library, the second most-used library system in the country.
Doubletree Hotel (Lloyd Center), 6pm, all ages
The always-hilarious Natasha Leggero is a slam dunk for comedy lovers. Armed with arm-length gloves and a faux sophisticated style, Natasha brilliantly skewers the narcissism of the upper class, and her crowd work is first rate. Miss her at your own peril! WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY
Helium Comedy Club, 7:30pm, 10pm, $15-20
Anthrax, Death Angel
In 1991 my extremely patient dad took my best friend and me to an unbelievably curated show called Clash of the Titans. This event featured Slayer, Megadeth, and, most importantly, Anthrax, who visually separated themselves from the other apocalyptic acts by performing on a safety yellow and red op-art stage with the gigantic head of Not Man, their Alfred E. Neumanesque mascot, as its centerpiece. Anthrax didn’t possess the typical death-and-skulls presentation, and instead proudly flaunted the cartoonish garb of East Coast skate-punk culture. This spoke to us in a way that other “serious” metal bands didn’t, while hip-hop forays like “I’m the Man” only solidified our love for guitarist Scott Ian. Since then I’ve always maintained to defiant purists that this influentially playful take on New York nihilism earned Anthrax their thrash-metal elder statesmen badges, if not a permanent place in the genre’s hall of fame. CHRIS SUTTON
Hawthorne Theatre, 8pm, $27.50-30, all ages
Of Montreal, Teen
The first time I saw Of Montreal live kind of felt like puberty—I was 15, sweaty, nervous, and surrounded by a support system of glittery friends and strangers. At that age, the walls of my childhood bedroom were plastered with the Southern experimental pop group’s posters, but even as a veteran listener, I felt out of place as I stood waiting for Kevin Barnes to explode onstage like a pink, swirling bath bomb. Though at first I felt far too square, young, and sober to access Of Montreal’s psychedelic, free love, my teen insecurities soon melted away and I became one of them—a self-assured disco sweetheart rising from the crowd in a cloud of sparkles as “Wraith Pinned to the Mist” blared before me. I watched as Barnes strutted across the stage and tossed his scarf with nonchalance, surrounded by dancers dressed as farm animals with human genitalia. Right then I realized just how holistic an artistic lifestyle the band’s members lead, and that there was no way this would be the last time I’d witness them living it. Of Montreal works in the business of identity definition, and their über-glam indie rock is deeply entrenched in overt sexuality and gender play. Pleasure as protest isn’t new, but their ever-growing catalog continues to present dance fare with purpose and freshness. MORGAN TROPER
Wonder Ballroom, 9pm, $16-18, all ages
Ingrid Michaelson, AJR
The multiplatinum, award-winning singer-songwriter headlines 105.1 The Buzz's 4th annual Party for Pink, supporting Breast Friends.
Crystal Ballroom, 8pm, $39.50-104.50, all ages
Emma Donoghue is the Dublin-born and Canada-based writer behind the critically acclaimed novel Room. Tonight Donoghue reads from her latest book, The Wonder, which tells the story of an English nurse brought to a small Irish village to observe what appears to be a miracle, a girl rumored to have survived without food for months.
Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing, 7:30pm
Mt Hood Skibowl, Timberline, Mt Hood Meadows, and Mt Bachelor are coming together (having a summit, if you will, eh? EH??) to throw this weekend-long celebration of all the things that make winter fun, including a film festival dedicated to skiing and snowboarding films, a beer festival dedicated to some of the Northwest's finest brewers of winter ales, and vendors selling some of the best winter apparel and sporting gear. With musical performances from the Dandy Warhols, the Federal Empire, Michelle DeCourcy & the Rocktarts, and Robert Wynia.
Rose Quarter Memorial Coliseum, 3pm, $5-8
Disenchanter, Crimson Altar, The Sun Giants, Swamp
It takes a lot to stand out in this world, and Disenchanter does just that. The Portland trio echo the '70s without sounding like a retro rip-off, and are devastatingly heavy without getting bogged down like so many doom bands. Plus, frontwoman Sabine Stangenberg is a powerful vocal force that few of Disenchanter's contemporaries can match. Put simply, Disenchanter rips. BEN SALMON
(The World Famous) Kenton Club, 9pm, free
New Move, Iska Dhaaf, Mordecai
New Move doesn't do anything by the book, and that includes not just their sound, but their showmanship. Pop music typically doesn't do what New Move makes it do. Catch them tonight when they premier their brand new video at Bunk Bar.
Bunk Bar, 9:30pm, $5
Saturday, October 22
Blowpony already knows how to throw an excellent party—but when this highly beloved queer event has a Halloween bash? Get ready to get real! Blowpony's Homoween features all kinds of spooky, sexy shenanigans including RuPaul's Drag Race alumna Kim Chi, along with drag-tastic guests Tammie Brown and Wolfgang X, rump-shaking DJs Airick X, G-Luve, and San Fran's Chris C, as well as g o-go performers, photobooths, and an all-around helluva good time. WM STEVEN HUMPHREY
Bossanova Ballroom, 9pm, $18
Rejoice! Nerdy folk hero Brian Posehn is headed to town tonight for a live comedy taping. Posehn's one of those rare stand-ups with a gift for exuding positive vibes while being a tried-and-true grump. His bit about retiring material about baby-punching since he now has progeny of his own brings new meaning to the phrase "dad jokes." MEGAN BURBANK
Revolution Hall, 7pm, 10pm, $20
American political activist, author, lecturer, and attorney Ralph Nader comes to Portland to read from his new book, Breaking Through Power, which draws from his lifetime of waging and winning David vs. Goliath battles against big corporations and the United States government.
Powell's City of Books, 12pm
DOA Pro Wrestling: Halloween Hysteria
DOA Pro Wrestling returns to the Wattles Boys & Girls Club with a special event capped off by "The 1st Annual Dr. Luther Tricks and Treats Halloween Rumble."
Wattles Boys & Girls club, 6pm, $8-15, all ages
He may be universally regarded as the godfather of shock rock, but Alice Cooper is comparatively underrated as a composer and musician. Though best known for classic rock staples like “School’s Out” and “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” Cooper is far from a singles act: 1972’s School’s Out and the 1973 follow-up Billion Dollar Babies swaggered across the chasm that separates glam and metal, and remain some of the catchiest and most concise pre-punk rock records ever released. Cooper has also transformed the narrative of sardonic, apolitical anthem “Elected”—off Billion Dollar Babies, and originally written about Richard Nixon—into a reality, announcing his own bid for the presidency earlier this year. A counter on aliceforpresident.com estimates 2.1K votes in the bag—look out, Gary Johnson, he’s gaining on you! MORGAN TROPER
Keller Auditorium, 8pm, $39.95-70, all ages
Billy Bragg & Joe Henry
After a long and surreal presidential election, British songwriter Billy Bragg—with his leftist politics and mug-of-ale accent—is just what you need. Born of the same post-punk era that produced the Smiths, Bragg has lately fancied himself a sort of neo-WPA troubadour, killing New World Order fascists with his acoustic guitar and baritone. With this year’s release, Shine a Light: Field Recordings from the Great American Railroad, Bragg and American songwriter Joe Henry cover classic folk tunes from the age of New Deal politics, particularly songs like “Rock Island Line” and “Hobo’s Lullaby.” It just goes to show that anyone can help make America great again, even a socialist singer/songwriter from the UK. WILLIAM KENNEDY
Aladdin Theater, 8pm, $39.50-42
Colin Currie, Oregon Symphony
This weekend, Portland’s biggest band offers up an exquisite set list featuring a pair of 21st-century American composers, and will kick off each concert with music for brass, harp, and strings by Pulitzer Prize winner Christopher Rouse. Following this sublime appetizer for the ears, our hometown symphony welcomes back percussionist Colin Currie to the Schnitz to perform Switch—a frenetic composition created by 36-year-old Andrew Norman, whose queer musical sensibility is influenced equally by the centuries-old tradition of classical sound, video games, world travel, and remote controls. This piece requires the soloist’s mastery of drums, cymbals, bongos, gongs, tin cans, and a slew of other things to hit—dear god, go if you are able. BRIAN HORAY
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 7:30pm, $23-105, all ages
Tommy Stinson's Cowboys in the Campire, Rachel Dean & Tim Grey
What’s the first band that comes to mind when you hear the name Tommy Stinson? If you answered Guns N’ Roses, go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200. The Replacements’ guitarist recently announced a new album from Bash and Pop, the band he formed after the ’Mats’ breakup in 1991, which will be out on Fat Possum in 2017—a fitting follow-up to the recent ’Mats reunion. To tide us over in the meantime, Stinson is now on a tour that he’s dubbed “Cowboys in the Campfire,” playing stripped-down, twangy renditions of tunes from his unjustly overlooked solo career and beyond, accompanied by guitarist Chip Roberts. NED LANNAMANN
Bunk Bar, 9pm, $15-18
Sleep, Helen Money
Sleep were a fairly retro band on their debut album Volume One and the stoner/doom metal classic Holy Mountain, worshiping at the altar of Sabbath (Black), Cheer (Blue), and vintage amps (Orange). But they pushed into new territory on what would ultimately become their swansong, 2003's Dopesmoker. The strain of trying to put out an hour-long doom metal song about Weed-Priests, a Marijuanaut, Hasheeshians, and the Weedian proved more than Sleep could handle, and strife with a record label that didn't want to put out an hour-long song led to the band parting ways in the late '90s. Members went on to form High on Fire and Om, but after a few years of sporadic reunion gigs, Sleep is once again an ongoing concern. MATTHEW W. SULLIVAN
Roseland, 9pm, $25-40, all ages
Third Orbit Anniversary Party
Ecliptic Brewing celebrates their third anniversary with a full day of fun. Indulge in tasty food, rare beer on tap, and get your hands on the brewery's Third Orbit Anniversary Ale, an Imperial Porter brewed with cherries. Wash it all down with an evening of live music, featuring a set of Tex-Mex, psych-folk, and garage-rock from local legend Fernando Viciconte.
Ecliptic Brewing, 11am, all ages
Hungers, Atriarch, Shrine of the Serpent, Sol
Everyone’s got a dark side—that suppressed madness confined to the deepest corner of the psyche that’s only allowed to express its morbid thoughts and feelings internally. No matter how soft-souled someone’s mask may look, every so often some bad things go through their head. Local trio Hungers give their unhinged and haunted internal voices a platform on their latest, Ascesis—an angry, confrontational beast that demands your full attention for seven tracks. Vocalist and guitarist A.M. sounds grimy, harsh, and confident, like a troll under a bridge delivering a speech fit for a dictator. A.M. and fellow guitarist K.L. join forces to create a thick swamp of measured, lumbering punishment, with the gentle lily of an occasional bleak melody floating across. Meanwhile, drummer N.H. drops jarring, trampling tom- and kick-heavy rhythms down your spine. Each song is more gargantuan than the next, and by the time you’re done traversing the muck Hungers has created on Ascesis, the only thing you can do is hit rewind and play it again. ARIS HUNTER WALES
The Raven, 9pm, $8
American Cancer Society's Brewers for Boobs
The seventh annual family-friendly fundraiser for the ACS features a battle of the brews, performances from the city's best bellydancers, a raffle, live music, salsa dancing, and more.
East Burn, 4pm, free
Blesst Chest, Dragging an Ox Thru Water
Blesst Chest makes bizarro, acid-washed, fuzzed-out, groovy tunes that sound like Ratatat's cool prog-rock parent, lacking the sophisticated production of today's young 'uns but wailing hard like it's 1977. CIARA DOLAN
Turn! Turn! Turn!, 8pm
King Black Acid, The Quick & Easy Boys
Since the mid-'90s, King Black Acid has earned a devoted following in the Portland underground rock scene. Founder and frontman Daniel Riddle has a vision that keeps unfolding, giving a glimpse into a poetic mind that shines in the emotional depth of their sound. Recently released track "I'm Rolling Under" is a good taste of the epic spirit of the band's songwriting—it's musical escapism at its finest, kissed by a love of psychedelic space rock. CHRISTINA BROUSSARD
Mississippi Studios, 9pm, $10-12
Moved By Words
A weekend's worth of readings and discussion with some of the Northwest's best essayists, poets, and storytellers, including Erica J. Mitchell, Illima Considine, Dena Rash Guzman, Robert Lashley, and more.
TaborSpace, 1pm, $10
Sunday, October 23
3rd Annual Pug-O-Ween
Halloween is a time of terror, when shambling monstrosities lurch out of our nightmares and into reality. Which brings us to Pug-O-Ween—the annual benefit for Pacific Pug Rescue, and an event that will be full of pugs, which, as we all know, are abominable, unholy crimes against nature. Many of them will be dressed up—perhaps taking inspiration from this year's "Zombie Apugalypse" theme. There will also be Halloween-themed photo ops, custom pug drawings, and a silent auction. Silent, that is... except for your screams. ERIK HENRIKSEN
Oaks Park Dance Pavilion, 4pm, $15-20, all ages
Rock for Rockwood
Tonight Revolution Hall hosts Rock for Rockwood, a one-night music festival featuring M. Ward, the Thermals, the Helio Sequence, and Emily Wells. Proceeds will benefit the recently founded Rockwood Boys & Girls Club, which provides kids in one of the city's poorest neighborhoods a place to go after school. CIARA DOLAN
Revolution Hall, 7pm, $35-40, all ages
Jacuzzi Boys, Stallion, Dogheart
Miami’s Jacuzzi Boys found a sound and latched onto it like the sticky heat of South Florida. This month the three-piece is releasing their fourth full-length, Ping Pong, on their own Mag Mag label. While the pace of singles “Lucky Blade” and “Boys Like Blood” is slowed down compared to the two-minute lo-fi punk sprints of older songs like “Glazin’,” “Cool Vapors,” or “Happy Damage,” the band’s signature fuzzy tone and pulsating bass lines remain. Jacuzzi Boys certainly won’t reinvent the wheel with any of their releases, but they also won’t let their wheel wear down to tattered rubber—each new release feels like the Michelin Man stepped in to polish and tweak things just enough to ensure that the ride continues. CAMERON CROWELL
Mississippi Studios, 9pm, $12-14
Karma Rivera, Donte Thomas, Mat Randol
Chicago-born and Portland-based rapper Karma Rivera brings her relentless and heavy hitting flow to the headlining slot at this week's Rontoms Sunday Session.
Rontoms, 8pm, free
Nightfell, Serpentent, Rohit
Nightfell has garnered quite a buzz in the local metal scene for their inky-dark thicket of death, doom, and black metals that leaves a resounding stain in the ears. NED LANNAMANN
The Know, 8pm
Portland Brewing Fall Fest
Portland Brewing's third annual celebration of not just the season, but their own fall offerings, including the return of Blackwatch Cream Porter and MacTarnahan's Fresh Hop Amber Ale, alongside a homebrewers competition where attendees get to taste and judge 20 unique beers from 16 brewers. With live music from the Hops & Honey String Band.
Portland Brewing Company, 1pm
PAPA, Reptaliens, Gold Casio
PAPA's Darren Weiss and Danny Presant have been playing music together since the age of 11. Catch the Los Angeles-based duo tonight when bring their dancey blend of indie rock and pop to the Holocene stage.
Holocene, 8:30pm, $13-15
Goosebumps the Musical: Phantom of the Auditorium
Oregon Children's Theatre presents this musical adaptation of the beloved series of scary books for kids, a more-than-a-little-meta story about kids putting on a haunted play.
Newmark Theatre, 2pm, 5pm, $18-32, all ages
Silent Reading Party
Shhhhhhhhh! Bring a book (or an e-reader) but leave your conversation at home at the Silent Reading Party. Sit down with a cocktail for two hours of gloriously uninterrupted reading time in the company of other quiet readers. It’s like being at the library, but with beer and ambient music. SHELBY R. KING
Beech St. Parlor, 3pm, free