The good news about a new Star Wars in theaters is that you're guaranteed some fun times with glowsticks and pew pews. The bad news is that usually opening weekend is kind of a madhouse (but the entertaining kind!) But the other good news is: if you missed out on the screening you wanted to catch, there's a whole bunch of other stuff to get into, like the Siren Theater's BRAND NEW Best Christmas Ever, or XRAY.fm's Holiday Glam & Goth Ball, or local cowpunk hero Jenny Don't headlining a foot-stompin' holiday fundraiser. That's only a taste of how busy this weekend is gonna get; hit the links below and load your plate accordingly.
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Friday, Dec 15
The Siren Theater's BRAND NEW Best Christmas Ever
Somebody has to say it: Holiday spectaculars are reliably unspectacular. But not when they star the gut-busting geniuses at the Siren Theater. That’s right! Charming goofballs Jed Arkley, Janet Scanlon, and my boss, Wm. Steven Humphrey (to name just a few!) are back with an all-new sketch comedy holiday treat. Turn off Netflix’s Yule Log and get out there! MEGAN BURBANK
8 pm, Siren Theater, $10-18
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Nostalgia can only get you so far, even when wookiees are involved. While 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens succeeded in its designated task of rescuing the venerable franchise from the doldrums of its prequels, it also practiced a frustrating form of risk aversion, putting the next generation of characters through some very familiar paces. (Now coming up on your left: another Death Star!) Thankfully, The Force Awakens’ thunderously hyped sequel, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, takes a much more proactive tack, fully honoring the touchstones of the series while zigging and zagging in satisfying, provocative ways. If the previous entry presented a respectably staid melding of old and new, this one wires everything up, cranks the juice, and lets her rip. It’s escapism on a grand scale—the kind of experience that reminds you why you fell in love with movies in the first place. Believe the hype, and then some. ANDREW WRIGHT
Various Theaters, see Movie Times for showtimes and locations.
The Barr Brothers, Angelo de Augustine
Canadian/American group the Barr Brothers use elements of folk and rock as jumping-off points for immersive, atmospheric songs that don’t quite sound like anything else. The inventiveness of the brothers—who also boast a non-brother, harpist Sarah Pagé, among their ranks—is evidenced on the Barrs’ impressive third album, Queens of the Breakers, and as a live act, they’re practically peerless. NED LANNAMANN
9 pm, Wonder Ballroom, $17-20
BadBadNotGood, 1939 Ensemble
Badbadnotgood is technically a jazz group, but the Toronto outfit’s music leans more toward post-bop, trip-hop, and instrumental hip-hop. With cool confidence and mellow precision, the foursome builds off of each other’s energy in wild live shows—it’s no wonder they've collaborated with hip-hop giants like Kendrick Lamar, Ghostface Killah, and Danny Brown. Also unsurprising? Their Portland show is completely sold out. CERVANTE POPE
8pm, Revolution Hall, $25
With the Broadway run of his Oh, Hello show with Nick Kroll in the rearview, writer and comedian John Mulaney has wasted no time in getting back to his stand-up roots. There are few greater joys in life than watching Mulaney’s childlike sense of wonder fuel his vivid storytelling and absurd observational comedy, and if his first three specials are any indication, the “Kid Gorgeous” tour could be the funniest thing you’ll see all year. CHIPP TERWILLIGER
7 pm, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, $25-35, all ages
I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House, The Angry Lisas, Chris Margolian, Bomf
It’s strange to think it’s been 15 years since the release of I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House’s Creepy Little Noises, but, as Stephen King writes, time is a face on the water, and we’re all tumbling toward our mortal coils one way or another. Creepy Little Noises was the Portland juggernaut’s ferocious country-punk debut, anointing frontman Michael Dean Damron as one of the city’s most fearless outlaw songwriters. The group practically lives at Dante’s when they’re in town, and even released a live album recorded at the venue in 2006, so it’s a fitting setting to celebrate the anniversary of their debut. The band’s last studio album, 2013’s Mayberry, was perhaps their finest yet, merging Mike D’s matter-of-fact political screeds with nostalgia for America of yesteryear. Expect a raucous sing-along with plenty of raised tallboys. RYAN J. PRADO
9 pm, Dante's, $10
The Toads, Fire Nuns, Cry Babe
An EP release party for the Toads' latest, It's For You, full of sunshiny-yet-somehow-still-grungy hooks you know and love from '90s alternative radio.
8 pm, Clinton Street Theater, $7
La Noche Latin Party
Star Theater hosts this Latin dance party featuring live music from local salsa and tropical music ensemble Pura Vida, along with DJ sets from DJ CJ and DJ Blas.
8 pm, Star Theater, $10
Cabaret with a Q: Holiday Edition
The annual holiday cabaret-styled celebration benefitting Q Center—a showtune-focused party built around the joys of the sing-a-long, with a holiday twist. David's on piano, Jason's holding down the emcee duties.
7 pm, Q Center, $5-10
The Grotto's Christmas Festival of Lights
The Grotto's annual Festival of Lights celebration returns for its 30th year, transforming the serene grounds into one of the largest Christmas choral festivals in the world. Walk a one-quarter mile long light trail, enjoy outdoor caroling, puppet shows, and a live petting zoo, and then take in one of over 170 concerts taking place in the Grotto's chapel.
5 pm, The Grotto (the National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother), $6-11, all ages
Saturday, Dec 16
XRAY.fm Holiday Glam & Goth Ball
Join the great non-profit radio station for a non-lame holiday party in this season full of incredibly lame holiday parties. It’s time to get creative, too, as you’re encouraged to head to the Spare Room with some combination of, you guessed it, both colorful and non-gender-conforming glam and all-black goth styles. Think you can pull off Ziggy Stardust and Siouxsie Sioux, at the same time? DDDJJJ666 will be spinning records and Bowie cover band Boys Keep Swinging will be rocking out. It should be fun.
8:30 pm, The Spare Room, $10
Red Fang, Pushy, Acid Wash
Scene stalwart Jake Cheeto has been undergoing successful cancer treatment, and tonight some of his musical buds are teaming up to raise money to help him pay for all that hospital stuff. When your buds include the heavy maestros of Red Fang, that’s more than enough reason to leave the house. Throw in Pushy and Acid Wash, and you’ve got enough pure rock power to kick cancer right in the ass. NED LANNAMANN
9 pm, Dante's, $15
Pedro the Lion, Advance Base
Pedro the Lion only released four albums, but boy did people connect with them deeply: sad kids (and adults) who didn’t dig the aggression of emo. Folks with a taste for melancholy melodies. Pacific Northwest indie scenesters. Christians looking for an alternative to mainstream Christian music. Fans of top-shelf storytelling. From 1995 to 2006, David Bazan was the creative force behind this faith-curious indie-rock band, by all accounts a modestly successful venture with a passionate, medium-sized fan base. But since Bazan shuttered the project to focus on his solo work, interest in Pedro the Lion has grown, and now a whole bunch of people are stoked for reunion shows and new recordings. That’s why the band’s three-night Portland stand is totally sold out. BEN SALMON
Dec 16-18, 8 pm, MIssissippi Studios,
$20 good luck on the resale market!
The Shape of Water
Guillermo del Toro's latest is strange, sweet, and wonderful, and easily the greatest film ever made about a mute cleaning lady who falls in love with an amphibious fish man. ERIK HENRIKSEN Also see "Guillermo del Toro Discusses the Tragedy and Delight of The Shape of Water," Film, Dec 13.
Various Theaters, see Movie Times for showtimes and locations
Cam, Logan Mize
The singer/songwriter known simply as Cam has managed to carve a comfortable path between the two extremes of country music success. Her sound is neither solidly nostalgic, à la Margo Price and Kacey Musgraves, nor does it turn down the twang and stomp used by crossover hitmakers like Lady Antebellum. ROBERT HAM
8 pm, Hawthorne Theatre, $19.50-23, all ages
Violence Creeps, Toyota, Vog, Negative Option
Many contemporary punk bands journey into darkness and despair by drafting behind the behemoths of ’80s post-punk, and too often the results are wan reflections of cold terror, familiar ghosts that comfort instead of spook. Oakland’s Violence Creeps also scout the past for sounds charged with malice and dread, but they’re more likely to end up in the primal zone described by the Germs’ “Shut Down” and Flipper’s “Sex Bomb.” With the right tour guides, this can still be legitimately scary territory, and Violence Creeps knows exactly where the gnarliest pockets of slime and grime still thrive. The band is at its best when it gives itself over to mid-tempo meltdowns, viciously simple songs that throb with baleful promises of mutant shapes and startling new versions of death. It isn’t pretty at all. But have you noticed the world lately? This is the soundtrack it deserves. CHRIS STAMM
8 pm, The Know
Samwise Gamgee and Thanos ask Short Round, a chubby exhibitionist, and a bad Michael Jackson impersonator to join them on a treasure hunt on the Oregon coast, where Joey Pants and the FBI dickhead from Die Hard are illegally detaining an ex-football player with encephalitis. Will this motley gang of misfits find Captain Dick Joke’s secret stash of gold coins? Will everyone speak solely in perforated shrieks and yelps? Will you start to wish you were just playing the old NES game again instead of sitting through your 50th viewing of this tired nostalgia exercise that constitutes roughly 17 percent of Astoria’s economy? Hah! C’mon. Goonies never say die, right? It’s our time down here! BOBBY ROBERTS
2 pm, NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium, $5-9
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Whatever your take on Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, you’ve got to give the band props for sticking to neo-swing revivalism two decades after the fad passed. Back when men called each other “money” and wore porkpie hats without a trace of irony, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy were the among the biggest rock stars of the retro swing craze, with multi-platinum record sales, TV and film appearances, a Grammy nomination, and a live performance at the 1999 Super Bowl alongside Stevie Wonder and Gloria Estefan. But that brief period is now like an embarrassing high school yearbook photo—better not mentioned at all. And yet Big Bad Voodoo Daddy continues to carry the torch for swing revival (or is it now swing revival revival?), with their latest album, Louie Louie Louie, a collection of songs by the great purveyors of swing: Louis Armstrong, Louis Jordan, and Louis Prima. The band has also released three Christmas albums, so it’s a fair bet that this show will feature plenty of swinging carols to get you dancing and prancing and jingling around the clock. SANTI ELIJAH HOLLEY
7:30 pm, Arlene Schnitzer Concewrt Hall, $25-75, all ages
There’s something so satisfying about hardcore’s ability to express extreme emotions, and that even the least aggressive listeners can find catharsis in its energy. The music of Frontflip features all of the genre’s typical trappings: abrasive vocals, driving power chords, and violent yet tightly controlled percussion. Despite its somewhat stereotypical sound, the band stands out with lyrics discussing identity politics—unusual subject matter for hardcore. Maybe if more bands were able to drop the hypermasculine act, the genre as a whole would be less of a toxic wasteland. This show is a benefit for No! to Rape Culture, a local organization that “aims to dismantle patriarchal structures within the punk/hardcore/metal scene.”
7 pm, Anarres Infoshop
Twist Your Dickens
Portland Center Stage presents the Second City's Christmas spoof Twist Your Dickens, directed by Ron West and featuring some of the city's finest stage performers, including former Santaland Diaries Crumpet Darius Pierce, and Craig Cackowski as Scrooge.
7:30 pm, Portland Center Stage, $25-82
Sunday, Dec 17
Jenny Don't & The Spurs, Joey Briggs, Ryan Sollee, Ike Fonseca
Portland’s own Jenny Don’t and the Spurs are headlining this foot-stompin’ feel-good holiday show filled with punky Western-style get downs, and it’s for a good cause to boot! This fifth annual toy drive (titled Rock for Reason) will benefit Portland’s Ronald McDonald House, and will also feature the Builders and the Butchers’ Ryan Sollee, LA’s Joey Briggs, and local singer/songwriter Ike Fonseca—and all you have to do is bring a new, unwrapped toy, and a thirst for a good-time, downhome night of C&W fun. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY
8 pm, Doug Fir, $10
Pwrhaus, Body Academics, Pregnant, Schaus
Portland songwriter Tonality Star and his band PWRHAUS bring their bright and shapeshifting indie rock and soulful pop sounds out to the Hawthorne Theatre Lounge for a hometown headlining show.
7:30 pm, Hawthorne Theatre Lounge, $6-8
Dim Wit, The Breathing Effect, Ackerman, Skelevision
The local duo spearheaded by singer/songwriter Jeff Tuyay and drummer Tyler Verigin bring their playful and shapeshifting blend of rock, pop, and post-punk to the Know for a hometown headlining show supporting their 2017 debut.
8 pm, The Know, $8
Portugal. The Man, Hustle & Drone
One of the strangest musical stories of 2017 must be the mainstream breakthrough of Portugal. the Man. For those in the dark, here’s a quick catch-up: A couple of high school friends from Wasilla, Alaska, formed a band in the early 2000s and eventually moved to Portland, where they started building a following that dug their vibrant, proggy psych-rock. Over the past decade they’ve released eight studio albums, signed to Atlantic Records, worked with stars like Danger Mouse and Mike D, and, earlier this year, scored a #1 hit on a couple of Billboard’s alternative charts. The song is called “Feel It Still,” and it’s a snappy little faux-soul number that you might’ve heard in an iPad or Vitamin Water commercial. It’s now nominated for a Grammy and the band is bigtime, so this show at the Crystal has been sold out for a while. BEN SALMON
8 pm, Crystal Ballroom, $50
A Christmas thought experiment: On one side of you sits an incontinent Cousin Fuller, guzzling Pepsi and shooting you a deranged look that strongly suggests—if not outright promises—he plans to purposefully urinate on you in your sleep. On the other side, a pair of dangerous burglars threatening their own brand of sadistic and unnecessary wetness. How to avoid that hot urine? How to dodge that felonious drenching? And how to do it all while discovering some real shit about Christmas? This is young Kevin McAllister’s burden. Come, marvel as he shoulders it. (Involves shooting a guy in the dick.) DIRK VANDERHART
4:20 pm, 9:30 pm, Laurelhurst Theater, $3-4, all ages
Holidays with the Trail Band
As part of a long-running annual tradition, The Trail Band bring their blend of traditional and modern holiday music to the Aladdin Theater for a run of shows to benefit the Portland chapter of Friends of the Children.
3 pm, 7 pm, Aladdin Theater, $20-39, all ages
Class War for Christmas
If the tax bill that Congress passed left you feeling like the Grinch, considering joining the Portland DSA for “some good old fashion holiday class war” at Pioneer Square. Wear red and dress in your best holiday digs as you chant and carol in this public demonstration that festively flexes your first amendment right. EMILLY PRADO
3 pm, Pioneer Courthouse Square, free
Rare Monk, Small Million, Tents
Experimental indie rockers Rare Monk round out an evening of local pop-leaning acts at the latest Rontoms Sunday Session.
8 pm, Rontoms, free
Collie Buddz, Jesse Royal
New Orleans-born and Bermuda-raised singer/songwriter brings his blend of dancehall reggae back to the Wonder Ballroom stage to the Portland stop on a headlining tour supporting his latest full-length, Good Life.
8:30 pm, Wonder Ballroom, $25, all ages
Nice Boys: Trivia and Comedy Showcase
Portland loves itself a pub quiz, and Portland also loves its comedy scene. The Bronze Broads loves the combination of the two, and presents this trivia night (Golden Girls-themed, even) followed up by comedy from Corina Lucas, Lydia Manning, Kat Buckley, and Amanda Lynn Deal.
7:30 pm, Funhouse Lounge, $5
Don't forget to check out our Things To Do calendar for even more things to do!