Welcome back to another weekend of the worldwide rainy-day-recess that is self-quarantining, sheltering in place, staying home, and staying safe. We have a hefty list of awesome Things to Do this weekend, from the comfort of your couch, sprawled out in your living room, or dancing in your kitchen! Hit the links below and entertain yourself accordingly!
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Friday, March 26
Spliff: Online Film Festival
The creators of the world-famous, world-changing, (and financially responsible-for-keeping-some-alt-weeklies-afloat-cough-ahem) juggernaut HUMP! have turned their sex-drenched gaze to pursuits of a more laid-back and leisurely type: STONER MOVIES. The Spliff Film Festival got off to a strong start in 2019, and as a remedy for the Stay At Home blues millions are feeling right now, the Spliff Film Festival is now online! Even better, its lineup of weed-infused short films are available on a pay-what-you-will basis. Cough up as much (or as little) as you wish in order to check out works that will make you laugh, make you think, and make you ask "what the fuck was that?"
Star Trek: Picard
We know—we just recommended the hell out of this a couple weeks ago, with our Film Editor Erik Henriksen saying "Star Trek: Picard is great—anchored by a fantastic performance from Patrick Stewart, the show, overseen by Michael Chabon, ticks off all the sci-fi boxes (spaceships! laser guns! acid-spewing aliens!) while also weighing in on current events and reflecting on personal frailty and societal obligation. (In other words... pretty much like the best Star Trek, then.)" So why are we recommending the hell out of it again? Because Picard himself told people on Tuesday that you can get a month of CBS All Access free, and Picard's season finale was last night. So if you wanted to binge it in one weekend—say, this weekend, for example—all you have to do is make it so.
(Now Streaming, CBS All Access, free trial here, use promo code GIFT for 30-day-trial)
Live Wire! Radio House Party
The only way this could be even more perfect is if Kid 'n' Play were actually hosting Portland's world-famous live 'n' local public radio variety show. That might still happen, who knows, but today, the tried and true (and charming-as-hell) team of Luke Burbank on hosting duties and Elena Passarello doing the announcing will host a special "socially distanced" edition of Live Wire! from their homes, with special guests Cheryl Strayed of Dear Sugar giving advice, author Jon Mooallem discussing his new novel This is Chance, and more!
(Fri, March 27, noon, Live Wire! Radio's podcast page, free, all ages)
DJ Action Slacks
Club Nitty Gritty, hosted by the always down for a good time DJ Action Slacks (Shannon Wiberg), has been pounding the turntables, heating up speakers, and tearing up Portland dancefloors for years with righteous choices in down-home dirty soul. And while livestreaming entertainment has been... well, "hit or miss" is often putting it kindly, good DJs have been killing it while we're all sheltered in place, and Action Slacks is no exception. Check out her specially-made "Dance in Place" mix below, but make sure to click through to her page for helpful YouTube tutorials on how to pull off the vintage dance steps that go with these old-school grooves.
Run The Jewels
Run the Jewels 4 cannot get here soon enough, especially now that their tour with Rage Against the Machine got postponed. Mike and El agree, and that's why they seem to be basically releasing the album one track at a time. Last Monday they dropped the opening salvo "Yankee and the Brave" on Instagram, and then on Wednesday they put it on YouTube, along with the second track, "Ooh, Lala," a bonafide banger, built on a sample from all-time hip-hop classic "DWYCK" by Gang Starr, featuring DJ Premier and Greg Nice.
Earlier this week, Reese Witherspoon got some love for her starring role in Election and her producing and starring in the adaptation of Celeste Ng's Little Fires Everywhere. But the Hollywood Theatre, whose Feminist March series was unfairly derailed by COVID-19, made sure to include this dark flipside to Ms. Witherspoon's '90s output. Yes, Election showed a lot of people what she could do with the right role, but four years prior, Witherspoon shocked the living shit out of people who only knew her from Man in the Moon by starring in this straight-to-HBO, Oliver Stone-produced trash epic. It's an adaptation of Little Red Riding Hood, where Red is a "trickbaby" on her way to gramma's house, stalked by a serial killer shitbag named Bob (Kiefer Sutherland) as her "big bad wolf." Co-starring Bokeem Woodbine, Brooke Shields, and Brittany Murphy, who steals the whole film in about two minutes. She did that a lot in the '90s.
(Now Streaming, Tubi, free w/ ads)
These guys didn't come by their band name by accident—check out Sonic Citadel, the latest LP from this Providence-hailing noise rock institution, starring drummer/vocalist Brian Chippendale and bassist Brian Gibson. They were going to be in town this weekend, but you can still turn them up nice and loud in your own living room right now.
(Now available to stream for free on Bandcamp, digital and physical versions avail. from $9-21)
Saturday, March 28
The co-star, co-writer, and co-genius behind Broad City was bringing laughs and political activism across the country with her comedic "Horny 4 Tha Polls" tour. But even though the 'rona stopped her from coming through, now you can hang out in your living room with this queen: Her Amazon Original special The Planet is Burning is streaming right now. And if you want to make it an extra- authentic Ilana experience: shut your phones down, put em in a bag, enjoy a delicious gummy or smoky treat, and really be there as Ms. Glazer goes all in.
(Now Streaming, Amazon Prime Video)
Radiohead Public Library
When the social distancing began happening for real here in Portland, one of the first things we told you to do was GO TO THE LIBRARY (virtually, not physically), and we still stand by that: Multnomah County Library is one of the best libraries in the country, and getting a library card there is a legitimate act of self-improvement. But there is another library you should visit, too: The Radiohead Public Library. When you Google it, the description under the link reads "An official online resource containing everything we, Radiohead, have ever done, more or less." If you missed their 2017 Best Kept Secret concert on Tuesday, make up for it by getting lost in their voluminous archives. And you will get lost, too, because the layout is... a lot. OH! And maybe the best part? The Radiohead Public Library also issues you a downloadable, printable library card. Go sign up.
(Now streaming, go stream it, be fitter, happier, more productive)
When the world is in turmoil, it can be soothing to look back at equally wackadoodle moments in history, if only to be reminded that this horror show isn’t new. But actual history texts can feel like dry homework. The Dollop podcast never does. Each week, charming hosts Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds explore strange, discomfiting moments from our deeply flawed history. They were supposed to do a live show here tonight—instead, visit their site and just pick any historical event they have available at random, and settle in for the ride: it’s just what we need.
(Now Streaming, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, etc. free) MEGAN BURBANK
The Magnificent DJ Jazzy Jeff
Last week, hip-hop vet D-Nice (best known for his all-timer of a jam, "Call Me D-Nice") did a DJ set on instagram that became the (sheltered-in) place to be. His song selection was choice, but at some point over the course of the night, the story was less about how much he was crushing it, and more about the verified accounts the comments were collecting like celebrity flypaper. If you're looking to get your living room dance on, but you're not trying to get sidetracked by all that fame-tripping, might we suggest a classic set from one of the best DJs who ever lived, The magnificent DJ Jazzy Jeff? Specifically, put on this 2018 banger of a live set recorded in Kenya. You really can't go wrong just searching "Jazzy Jeff" on YouTube and clicking ANYTHING that comes up, but this is a solid 42-minutes worth of priceless vibe from a bonafide grandmaster.
Vundabar, from Boston, skillfully walks the line between catchy and chaotic, sugarcoating its jagged art-rock with irrepressible melodies. The group’s 2018 album, Smell Smoke, explores the lessons learned by frontman Brandon Hagen while he spent years caring for a loved one in mental and physical decline.
(Now Available, Apple Music, Spotify, Bandcamp, free to stream, $8-10 to purchase) BEN SALMON
You Suck at Cooking
Cooking shows are pretty popular here on lockdown. You Suck at Cooking is one of the most popular cooking shows on YouTube, and for good reason: It doesn't put on airs. It knows you're probably not that good at any of this, but it also knows that doesn't matter so long as what you make ends up tasting good, and with that in mind, "You Suck at Cooking" packs a lot of cool ideas into a cleverly-produced lo-fi package. For instance, take this trip through the myriad ways one can funk out a single package of ramen!
(Now Streaming, YouTube, free, all ages)
Soul knows no boundaries, and pretty convincing proof of that is someone as damn good as Allen Stone came out of Chewelah, Washington. He was set to deliver a show that would definitely have the Crystal Ballroom's floor bouncing before COVID-19 said otherwise, but now's a good time to bust out the headphones (or turn up your speakers if the neighbors don't mind) and give some run to Stone's latest LP, Building Balance.
The Rockford Files
People are definitely on the lookout for televisual comfort food in these trying times, and the good stuff comes in a multitude of flavors. One of the very best is very plaid, very laid back, and very, very good at driving. It's also got an all-time top-five TV theme song. There are a lot of landmark things The Rockford Files did in its six-season run, but the most impactful is how thoroughly it redefined what a detective show could be. James Garner wasn't a hardboiled gumshoe, or a deadly-serious flatfoot. He was a schlub. A sneaky, smartassed schlub with a killer grin, but a schlub all the same; one who lived in a trailer, hung out with his retired dad, got beat up all the time, and never answered his phone. But most importantly, he's an extremely rewatchable schlub, and the more you watch, the more you might find yourself drawing a line from Jim Rockford's shambling method of solving mysteries to...
(Now Streaming, IMDb TV, free w/ ads)
The Big Lebowski
Okay, maybe the line from Jim Rockford to Jeff Lebowski isn't that straight, but it's there, man. And yes, this initially-unsuccessful and widely-misunderstood entry in the Coens canon became an almost omnipresent "cult" classic in the meantime, with annual festivals and conventions and everything that goes along with that. But this weekend offers an opportunity to revisit the movie as a movie, not a cultural phenomenon, not a source of zen philosophies, but a meandering riff on Raymond Chandler-esque noir stories. Set aside the mountainous pile of memes its become, and just... watch the Dude's adventures, because the reason this movie became a cult classic is often lost in its celebration as a cult classic. Also: RIP to Kenny Rogers, whose voice is the one you're hearing leading The First Edition as they perform "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)".
(Now Streaming, Starz, avail through Prime Video and Hulu, free trial here, you've probably got this on DVD somewhere though.)
Sunday, March 28
Go to the Portland Art Museum
It's a weekend tradition in Portland for many, many people: get up, have a delicious breakfast, wait for it to settle, and then spend a lovely mid-afternoon strolling through the Portland Art Museum just drinking in all the enlightenment and illumination their exhibitions can provide. The Museum is closed, but only physically: They've made sure to upload walkthroughs of their current exhibitions, panel discussions, and how-to videos helping you navigate their collection (which includes the Hokusai painting shown above) online! Some Portland traditions don't need to stop for the virus—they just need to modify themselves a little. Plus, now you can shuffle through the museum in your grungies 'n' boxers clutching an oversize bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch! (did you know CTC is a coffee creamer now? It is. It's delicious too.)
(Now Streaming, Portland Art Museum's YouTube, free, all ages)
Portland Thorns Win the Championship
Today would have normally been the day our Thorns kicked off a preseason tournament (Hah! Kicked off! Ugh.) but instead of gathering at Providence Park to cheer them on, hit play on the documentary below, condensing their 2017 championship run into a glorious Sunday morning uplift session.
Ori and the Blind Forest
Games are an absolute sanity-saver in our new sheltered-in-place reality—but they're also kind of expensive? At least the new ones are. Some retailers are being smart about this and offering deep discounts on older games, and some gamers are digging into their backlogs instead of buying something new. But if you're looking for a cheap-yet-deep dive into gaming goodness, you can't go wrong with Ori and the Blind Forest, a breathtakingly beautiful platforming game that is one of the best of its kind ever made. It can get hard as hell, but that's what difficulty sliders are for, and there ain't a damn thing wrong with setting those suckers as low as they can go and just vibing with the gorgeous and wistful atmosphere this game provides. And if you end up falling in love with Ori (you probably will, it's pretty hard not to) you might decide it's worth digging back in the wallet to download its brand-new sequel, Ori and the Will of the Wisps.
(Ori and the Blind Forest on Xbox One, Steam, and Nintendo Switch, $19.99; Ori and the Will of the Wisps on Xbox One and Steam, $29.99)
Do that Yoga
Having a healthy routine is more important than ever during the COVID-19 crisis. It's all too easy to sink deeply into one's couch and binge watch Tiger King on Netflix (which is truly amazing, but don't distract me), instead of taking positive action to stay mentally and physically healthy. One way to keep fit and practice good mental habits is to take an online yoga class, and—LUCKY YOU—Portland yoga studios have a lot to choose from. Look through our (ever-growing) list of local studios offering livestreams (some of them free!) and do as Janelle Monae did before you! (NOTE: Almost none of these classes will actually look, move, or feel like the following Janelle Monae video, we just thought it'd be cool to add it, because Janelle Monae is the best)
Make Some Noise
Once upon a time in Vancouver, British Columbia, there was a global pandemic that hit (sound familiar) and it forced millions of people indoors, and threatened to overwhelm people essential to keeping society functioning, people like health care providers, first responders, grocery workers, service station employees, truckers, and more. The ones indoors wanted to show appreciation somehow to those still on the job, and they settled on going to a window, a balcony, their front yard, and cheering. As loud as they can. For 30 straight seconds. This worked, so well that the practice has made its way down to Portland. So at 6pm tonight, if you start to hear whistling, stomping, clapping, and yelling? That's what it's for. Join in.
(Sunday, March 29, 6 pm, Your House, free, all ages)
Solo: A Star Wars Story
One of the more interesting online phenomena during our communal self-quarantine occurred earlier this week when people came together to fight passionately over... Marvel movies. Specifically, whether Iron Man 3 was worse than Thor: The Dark World. This conversation was useful in a couple ways; it exposed literally thousands of self-proclaimed Marvel fans as tasteless nippleheads (Iron Man 3 is easily one of the best films Marvel Studios has produced you gormless dorks), but it also introduced the notion of giving internet-demonized films a fair reappraisal since we're all cooped up and have tons of time to kill. And in that spirit, I'd like to suggest that while you're on Disney+, slide over to that Star Wars tag and spend a Lazy Sunday with Solo: A Star Wars Story, the second-lowest grossing Star War ever, a film that isn't particularly great at anything, but is much better than its box-office and weirdly weaponized word-of-mouth would suggest. If you love The Mandalorian, Solo is the Star War that feels the most like it. As our review stated: "Solo, a film about a charming dipshit who succeeds despite his dumbassery, is a very entertaining movie! Much like its plot, Solo shouldn’t work. It doesn’t work. It wins anyway." (Read our full review here)
(Now Streaming, Disney+, $6.99 per month, free trial here)
Speaking of troubled movies that didn't work quite right but found their audience anyway, David Fincher's Alien3 was so fundamentally busted that he still can't stand talking about it, and has yet to revisit it. It's reputation was rehabbed by the Assembly Cut made available on home video, and many viewers have come to recognize it as a troubled-yet-satisfying end to Ellen Ripley's tragic story. But Alien3 will always be best known for the story of its making more than for its actual story. It was in development forever, with something like three-thousand different concepts and scripts created for it. One of the most famous roads-not-traveled was laid down by sci-fi great William Gibson, featuring new beasties that were loosely incorporated into later Alien movies anyway. Audible took his unproduced screenplay, gave it to director Dirk Maggs, and adapted it as a radio drama, starring Michael Biehn as Hicks (he lives in this version!) and Lance Henriksen as Bishop. We're all sitting around wishing there was some alternate universe where things didn't go this way—now you can actually visit one!
(Now available, Audible, $8.95, 30-day-free trial here)
Royal Ocean Film Society
It's weird that one day YouTube was where you went to see bootleg Saturday Night Live sketches, and the next day it basically became the economy; it's how a lot of people maintain solvency through self-employment in the 21st century. This can be bad (see: every grifting hate-monger you've ever heard of in your life making literal millions there like the worst evolution of Rupert Pupkin come true), but it can also be really cool. For example: Literally millions of youths now love essays. This was not always a normal thing, youths voluntarily watching filmed essays, and practicing in their free time to become better essay makers. But there are now a wealth of very insightful, well-produced, good-and-good-for-you channels dedicated to the video essay, and one of the best of these channels is Royal Ocean Film Society. His essays are very insightful, artistically produced, critically fair, and typically less than 10 minutes long, 20 at the most; a far cry from the two-hour-long spittle-flecked iPhone'd bile-dumps that jump off the screen like facehuggers the second you type the words "The Last Jedi" into any search bar anywhere. Try out the Royal Ocean's ten-years-later retrospective on Fantastic Mr. Fox below, and if/when you love it - hit subscribe, and then start going through that backlog. (His look at Tartakovsky's Primal is very, very good, too)
(Now Streaming, YouTube, free)
Don't forget to check out our Things To Do calendar for even more things to do!