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Fall Arts Guide 2021: In or Out?

With COVID still hanging around, Portland arts groups are playing it safe, planning indoor, outdoor and remote experiences.

“In or Out?” seems like the question on everyone’s minds when thinking about theater, music—even art shows—this season. Are you inside? Are you outside? Whatever your comfort level, Portland’s ever-conscious scene has shows moving at your speed.

There are plenty of options.

With vaccinations and masks, an indoor arts world seems doable again. Around the city, cultural institutions require vaccine documentation at the door—some even offering onsite rapid testing to attendees.

Converge 45 limits admittance to its sculpture show Prototypes—just 24 visitors in the sizable room at a time—which gave the opening a lively feeling, like a line outside a nightclub. Among the show’s artworks is a spectral drawing by formerly anonymous artist Todd McGrain, who created the controversial York bust that briefly topped Mount Tabor before it was destroyed by vandals.

Many institutions are also offering remote viewing, in addition to in-person performances. You’ll find our picks for those, with notes about how to view them.

Outside, we suggest everything from the Comedy in the Park series that Kickstand puts on in Laurelhurst to a dynamic calligraphic mural—the product of an arts exchange with Qatar—where Arabic writing swirls into a rumination on endlessness.

In the virtual world, the minds behind Pickathon have created a new streaming app that transmits applause from fans to performers. And you can trace the history of North Portland’s soul and jazz clubs via the Albina Soul Walk audio tour. It guides your steps with GPS and chimes in as you approach the sites of historic music venues.

We also take a deep dive into the vinyl record world. As more people seek art and entertainment in their homes the world of vinyl has exploded—a boom that record manufacturers are struggling to keep up with.

Whatever your comfort level, there’s something here for you to enjoy—and interact with—as we move forward into fall.

—Suzette Smith, Arts & Culture Editor

Kickstand Comedy’s Itinerant Standup and Improv Became a Secret Weapon During the COVID-19 Lockdown

Record Manufacturing Is Backed Up—and Not Just Because of Those Pesky Fleetwood Mac Reissues

FRQNCY, a New App From the Founders of Pickathon, Reconnects Performers With Applause

“Prototypes” Contains Both Physical Monuments and Proposals for Monuments

GPS Walking Tour Explores Long Gone Jazz, R&B and Funk Venues in the Historically Black Albina Neighborhood

Qatari Calligrapher Fatima Al-Sharshani Collaborated With Portland Street Art Alliance on a Mural of Evocative Arabic Writing