Friday, Dec. 1
Holiday Ale Fest
The only thing more festive than robust beers with a high alcohol content is getting to drink them around Pioneer Square's giant-ass Christmas tree. Pioneer Courthouse Square, 701 SW 6th Ave., holidayale.com. 11:30 am-9:30 pm. Through Dec. 3. $35.
Remember when questioning the boundary between self and technology seemed like uncharted territory? Four years after it was released, the movie starring Scarlett Johansson as a cell phone now feels like a cultural touchstone instead of just a mind-bending oddity. 5th Avenue Cinema, 510 SW Hall St., 5thavenuecinema.com. 7 pm. $5.
The Grouch, Del the Funky Homosapien, DJ Fresh, DJ Abilities
The rap game could use more traditions, but thankfully there are a few legends still around to give us something to look forward to every year—such as founding Living Legends member the Grouch's How The Grouch Stole Christmas tour, now in its 11th year. Tagging along is yet another hip-hop idol, Del the Funky Homosapien, representing Oakland at its finest. Though this show won't include sets from the rest of the Living Legends or Hieroglyphics crew tour dates, there's no denying that both Grouch and Del can hold it down on their own. Star Theater, 13 NW 6th Ave., 503-248-4700. 9 pm. $22. 21+.
Saturday, Dec. 2
A Perfect Circle
Maynard James Keenan uses A Perfect Circle as a clearinghouse for ideas most Tool fans would deem too tender for his main gig's oeuvre. New single "The Doomed" sounds like an unholy hybrid of both Metallica and Mannheim Steamroller and suggests this might be the most grandiose version of the band yet. Veteran's Memorial Coliseum, 300 N Winning Way, 503-235-7881. 8 pm. $39-$186. All ages.
Portland Podcast Festival
Proof that Portland has a booming podcast scene, the lineup for the first annual festival is packed. There'll be two stages and live recordings of 13 local podcasts, including everything from standup showcases like Minority Retort to Harry Potter fan theories and self-care podcasts. Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE Cesar E Chavez Blvd., pdxpodfestival.com. 6 pm to midnight. $14.50. 21+.
Dr. Amir Whitaker
In the Knucklehead's Guide to Escaping the Trap, Amir Whitaker tells the story of how he went from being from an imprisoned drug dealer expelled from school to a world traveler and holder of five college degrees. Not just a reading or speech, Mother Foucault's will apparently be rocking a full multimedia production. Live music, hip-hop, dance, poetry, video, photos and the music of Kendrick Lamar are promised. Mother Foucault's, 523 SE Morrison St., motherfoucaultsbookshop.com. 7-9 pm.
Bell Witch, Monarch, Usnea
Albums, especially those in the increasingly stagnant doom metal genre, don't get much more ambitious than Bell Witch's recent Mirror Reaper. The entire album, one 83-minute-long song, moves from one glacially paced movement to another, reaching dynamic peaks and valleys but taking its sweet time en route. The album was composed after the death of founding drummer-vocalist Adrian Guerra, and between the two current members' growls, guest vocalist Erik Moggridge's mournful tenor, and even some posthumous vocals from Guerra, the album manages to convey the full human range of sorrow. Since releasing their debut five years ago, the Seattle band have found a new niche in an old genre, and imbued every note with a passion that's rare in any school of music. Bell Witch were already one of the most promising doom bands in recent memory, but Mirror Reaper has elevated them to leaders in their class. Support comes from crushing French veterans Monarch and local sci-fi doom favorites Usnea. An extremely loud and incredibly slow show by all accounts. Tonic Lounge, 3100 NE Sandy Blvd., 971-271-8464. 9 pm Saturday, December 2. $10 advance, $13 day of show. 21+.
Pere Ubu, Diminished Men, Lithics
In 1975, Cleveland's Pere Ubu basically created post-punk when punk itself was still in the prototype stage. Hitching ideas drawn from surrealist theater and avant-garde art to the chug of garage rock, early albums like The Modern Dance, Dub Housing and New Picnic Time contort song structures with an intensity that swings from riveting to absurd to downright frightening, hinging on singer Dave Thomas' jowly, helium-infused squeal. Fortified by an unwavering set of internal guidelines, the group has continued through the years with a rotating lineup, unmoved by shifts in the culture at large. This year's 20 Years in a Montana Missile Silo continues in that tradition, with songs that sound like they were broken apart then glued back together in the dark, yet still manage to rock as much as they confound. Star Theater, 13 NW 6th Ave., 503-248-4700. 9 pm. $23. 21+.
Sunday, Dec. 3
Cloud of Petals
New York artist Sarah Meyohas' exhibit is overwhelmingly ethereal: a mosaic of rose petals, six different virtual reality programs, hallways made of mirrors and electrical wires, video installations and prints. It opens in Portland following an acclaimed run in New York. Disjecta Contemporary Art Center, 8371 N Interstate Ave., 503-286-9449, disjecta.org. Noon-5 pm. Through Jan. 13. Free.
Stand Up for Pits
Pitbulls are one of the most adorable things society has ever decided to vilify. Touring organization Stand Up For Pits raises awareness and money for pit-friendly rescues, and features stand-up by Washington native Rebecca Corry (whose comedy career and love of pitbulls long predates the recent media storm she's recently experienced as one of the women to accuse Louis C.K. of sexual misconduct). There will also be a silent auction to benefit Eugene-based rescue NW Dog Project, who are bringing some of their doggos that you can apply to adopt. Helium Comedy Club, 1510 SE 9th Ave., portland.heliumcomedy.com. Donation drive and dog meet-and-greet 4-7 pm, 7:30 pm comedy show. Sunday, Dec. 3. $40.
Aquavit Week has expanded into a monster stretching across tens of Portland bars and around the country. Broder Nord hosts the opening party with the city's biggest selection of aquavit, aquavit cocktails and a "true Nordic toast" with aquavit makers from across the globe. Broder Nord, 2240 N Interstate Ave., 503-282-5555, aquavitweek.com. 6-9 pm. $30.
André Watts Plays Grieg
This program highlights works by Scandinavians, beginning with a series of three Symphonic Sketches from the subconscious of Finnish composer Joonas Kokkonen. After that, renowned pianist André Watts takes the stage to deliver Grieg's second-most-famous work, the Piano Concerto in A Minor. Watts has been graced with honors worldwide, including a 2011 National Medal of Arts, and his virtuoso handling of this Danish masterpiece should be worth the price of admission alone. After the intermission, Sibelius' Valde triste swoops in on frigid Finnish winds, before the evening concludes with work by another Dane, Carl Nielsen, whose Symphony No 5 features an overpowering snare-drum improvisation. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, 503-248-4335. 7:30 pm. $25-$120. All ages.
Laurel Halo, Golden Retriever, Strategy
After charting several Best of 2012 lists with Quarantine and its successor Chance of Rain, Berlin-based electronic artist Laurel Halo dropped her new LP, Dust, in June. Juxtaposing several filtered vocal lines through a web of glittery synths, Halo constructs an erratic chaos of clicks and blurred hisses that rests somewhere between Jenny Hval and Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith. Meanwhile, Golden Retriever, Portland's own neo-classical ambient outfit, makes the bass clarinet cool for perhaps the first time ever with their tranquil, Terry Riley-indebted tones. Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison St., 503-239-7639. 8:30 pm-12 am. $15. 21+.