Whale Watching Week
One of the best times to see the passing gray whales on their migration to waters off the Baja Peninsula is now through Sunday. There'll be approximately 20,000 of the majestic mammals in transit off the Oregon Coast. The Whale Watching Spoken Here program provides volunteers at 24 locations up and down the Northwest coast, from Ilwaco, Wash., and the Cape Disappointment area to Harris Beach in southern Oregon. They are stationed at the spots from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily.
Family Fun Nights
The city of Portland, Rip City Management and Portland Winterhawks present the first-ever free Family Fun Nights on Friday, Dec. 29, and Saturday, Dec. 30, at Veterans Memorial Coliseum. All you need to bring are your skates. You can enjoy skating or sitting in the stands and watching the movies ("Frozen," "The Mighty Ducks" on Friday) and Winterhawks action (Saturday game at Seattle) on the big screens. Doors open at 5 p.m. each day, and skating lasts from 5:30-9:30 p.m. For more: www.rosequarter.com.
New Year's Eve
There are parties all across Portland on Sunday, Dec. 31, as we ring in 2018, including big ones:
• The Champagne Ball, which features three dance floors, food and several bars, at the Hilton Downtown Portland, 921 S.W. Sixth Ave., starting at 8 p.m. For info: www.champagneball.com.
• The Governor's Ball includes a dinner, wine, live music (Patrick Lamb and Curtis Salgado included), dancing and a champagne toast, at The Sentinel Hotel, 614 S.W. 11th Ave., starting at 7:30 p.m. For info, see the Facebook page or buy tickets at www.tickettomato.com.
• There'll be two Bollywood parties, including New Year's Eve with Anjali, 9 p.m. at the Melody Ballroom, 615 S.E. Alder St., and the New Year's Eve Masquerade Portland dance party, 9 p.m. at the Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 S.E. 39th Ave.
Portland Boat Show
Here's an event to plan for: The Portland Boat Show takes place 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, Jan. 10-12, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13, and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 14, at the Expo Center, 2060 N. Marine Drive. Admission is $10; kids 12 and under are free. Parking is $8. We'll have more later. For now, check out www.otshows.com/shows/pbs.
'A Drag Queen Christmas'
The "Naughty Tour" stops in Portland, starring contestants from RuPaul's "Drag Race" on VH-1, as they perform live on stage and rock the catwalk. There'll be holiday songs and drag performances. All ages are welcome. Get tour info at DragFans.com. Details: 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 28, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 S.W. Broadway, www.portland5.com, $22.25-$159.
Portland's own Matt Braunger will return home for headline shows at Helium Comedy Club, 1510 S.E. Ninth Ave., 7:30 and 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Dec. 29-30, and 8 and 10:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 31. Braunger is the co-founder of the Bridgetown Comedy Festival and creator/host of the popular podcast "Ding-Donger with Matt Braunger." Tickets: $29-$31 for Dec. 29-30, $39-$49 for Dec. 31, www.portland.heliumcomedy.com.
Take in some laughs at the New Year's Eve Extravaganza, as a four-hour show at Curious Comedy is filled with improv, standup, sketch comedy and aerial acts. There'll be hors d'oeuvres, dessert, a champagne toast and a midnight dance party. It starts at 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 31, at Curious Comedy Theater, 5225 N.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. For more: www.curiouscomedy.org.
A heads-up: In February, Triangle Productions will be putting on a play about transgender George/Christine Jorgensen, who, after leaving the military in 1947, stepped on to a ship and headed to Copenhagen, Denmark, to begin the process of transitioning from male to female. There had been other transgenders before, but George transitioned to Christine and famously flew back to America in 1952 and stepped off the plane a woman.
It's the first play to be written and produced about George/Christine. It will be produced in conjunction with "Madness of Lady Bright," the first gay off-Broadway play that impacted the off-Broadway revolution in 1964.
We'll have more later. For now, see www.trianglepro.org.