Labor Day 2020: It's time to have fun
Camping, picnicking, hiking, croquet, volleyball, boating, water sports, wine tasting — a lot of people will be engaging in a lot of activities over the Labor Day weekend.
Anything to get people away from the television and out of the home, right? We've all had way too much inactivity, thanks to COVID-19, government restrictions and even concern about being caught in protest strife.
It'll be a Labor Day weekend like none other — at least in recent memory.
So many events have been canceled. Who doesn't miss an outdoor concert? Who won't miss college football? It was scheduled to start for Oregon, Oregon State, and Portland State and other teams during Labor Day weekend. It's usually a weekend for the Oregon State Fair, but it has produced online content at www.oregonstatefair.org.
How big of a deal is Labor Day weekend, anyway — most kids won't be going to school after the holiday.
But, alas, life does go on. Here are a few ideas for entertainment in the coming days:
• Art in the Pearl has been a Portland tradition for a quarter-century in the North Park Blocks of the Pearl District, but this year it'll be online. artinthepearl.com/virtualshow
Content floods the festival's website, Saturday through Monday, Sept. 5-7. Some 120 juried artists from across the United States and Canada will have their works presented — and, hopefully, purchased. Because it's an educational and nonprofit experience, there'll be videos of artist demonstrations and stay-at-home projects, as well as dance and music performances.
Art in the Pearl organizers began discussing an online festival in the spring, soon after the COVID-19 pandemic started to wreak havoc with everyday life.
It's been ranked as one of the country's top art fairs for the past 10 years.
Ashley Heitzman, a jeweler and publicist for Art in the Pearl, said it's a bittersweet time. She and many others believed the event could have been done in person, such as with the Portland Saturday Market and farmers markets.
"Art in the Pearl went with the wave," Heitzman said. Many of the board members and artists are older and have some concerns about the coronavirus, but "I'm on the younger side, I don't have preexisting health conditions, and at this time of year, I wish we had something. I wish we had a smaller event. I felt we could have pulled it off. But, in the spring, the larger consensus was let's be safe."
Around 70,000 people visit Art in the Pearl over three days. That's part of the issue — it's a high-density public show in a fairly small area in the Pearl District.
Sales won't be the same with an online festival, Heitzman said. "In person, you'll make thousands of dollars," she said. "Virtual, it's just not there." But, she remains optimistic that people will go to the website, buy art and help support artists, adding "it's a nice weekend, but they can hop on the computer when hanging out at home."
David Friedman, another artist, helped Art in the Pearl with its graphic design and website.
"I think it is a total gamble," he said. "We've never done anything like this before, and we have no idea if people will go to the site and participate. We are spending approximately $5,000 to create the new website and are spending $10,000 on marketing for the show. We have no way to recoup money for those expenses as we aren't charging the artists anything, but we will have a donate link on our site and will be offering a commemorative COVID cat pin designed by Kim Murton to anyone donating $10 or more."
It's been tough logistically to organize it all, he said.
"The job of coordinating artists is similar to herding cats," said Friedman, adding that a new form/database helps accommodate artists, and it's been a challenge to develop the website for mobile devices along with desktop computers and "essentially designing two distinct websites."
• Portland Art Museum, 1219 S.W. Park Ave., will host the Venice Biennale's Venice VR Expanded 2020, a virtual reality competition of Venice International Film Festival, Sept. 2-12.
There are still spots available to reserve ($25 tickets), strap on a (clean) headset and select where you want to go — virtually. Tickets are on sale online (portlandartmuseum.org). Hourlong segments are limited to 14 people, which means about 100 people can take part each day.
The museum is open and ready to allow visitors to view in-person exhibits, including the Native American exhibit, "Wokae/Create," from the series of "Takes Care of Them," by artist Dyani White Hawk. In addition, the art museum presents an online exhibition, "Art and Race Matters: The Career of Robert Colescott."
At The Oregon Historical Society, 1200 S.W. Park Ave., exhibits include "We Are the Rose City: A History of Soccer in Portland," which focuses on the city's long soccer tradition and the cultural context of the game (ohs.org).
At the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, 1945 S.E. Water Ave., the "Body Worlds and the Cycle of Life" exhibit continues, as do tours of the USS Blueback submarine. Additionally, OMSI will host its first-ever virtual beer festival. Find out more online (omsi.edu).
• Art galleries have reopened, and there will be some new exhibits in the next month, starting First Thursday, Sept. 3. See September Arts in this section for more information.
• The Oregon Zoo, 4001 S.W. Canyon Road, has extended hours to 8:30 p.m. The zoo's food outlets will stay open later as well, offering takeaway dinners and a selection of local beers and wines. Find out more online (oregonzoo.org).
The Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport also has fully reopened. Find out more online (aquarium.org).
• Portland Center Stage has ramped up its programming with PCS Remix and will launch its Original Works series with the "Renaissance: Technically Live" virtual event, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4.
It brings nine multidisciplinary arts together — poets, musicians, dancers, actors, visual artists — to develop an experimental virtual theater event led by Portland-based playwright and actor Josie Seid.
More information and tickets ($5) can be obtained online (pcs.org).
• The nonprofit arts organization #WomxnCrush Music is putting on a nationwide virtual tour for women, transgender, nonbinary and women of color songwriters. It shines the spotlight on Portland and Seattle songwriters/musicians in a virtual event 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3, on Facebook. It'll feature Kingsley Music, Letty Isabel, A Strange Bird and Shaina Shepherd.
All donations benefit The Old Church.
• A drive-in concert series, "Car Tunes PDX," has been taking place at Portland International Raceway, 1940 N. Victory Blvd.
You park, turn your radio dial to the designated frequency and enjoy.
"Everyone in the live events industry has had a difficult time adjusting in the pandemic. Our livelihoods are on hold — everyone from ticketing companies, event planners, musicians, lighting and stage professionals, gear techs, travel partners, parking lot attendants, food vendors, you name it. Putting on live shows takes a behind-the-scenes village to provide patrons with a fun, collective concert experience. I don't know about you, but I love a fun, drive-in movie experience. With health, safety — and a fun time — as our top priorities, Car Tunes PDX was born," said Amy Maxwell, owner of Ticket Tomato, who is producing these concerts in collaboration with REVEL Events, Nicole DeCosta Media and Wagsworks.
General admission is $50, with tickets available online (tickettomato.com). The weekend's lineup: Sept. 4 — Ty Curtis (blues); Sept. 5 — Steelhorse (Bon Jovi tribute); Sept. 6 — Grand Royale (Beastie Boys tribute). It continues the following weekend, Sept. 11-12.
• Lakewood Center for the Arts, 368 S. State St. in Lake Oswego, will host Too Reel Outdoor Cinema, a haunted drive-in featuring "Night of the Living Dead," with entry to the center's parking at 8:15 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4. As you watch the film, Portland's own performance group Creatures of the Night will slink out of the shadows. Tickets are $35 per car and can be purchased online (lakewood-center.org).
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