Portland Area Theatre Alliance Fertile Ground Portland Oregon

Weekly previews: Assid Queens at Hoan Kiem

A return to “regular” programming at below-the-radar Southeast venue.


You won’t find posters advertising shows at Hoan Kiem stapled to telephone poles around the city, nor will you see thoughtfully-designed ads taking up column inches in the city’s alt-weekly. In fact, unless you have a teenager clued into Portland’s underground music scene in your life–or, like me, do a potentially inadvisable amount of digging around online–this is probably the first you’re hearing of a DIY all-ages venue on SE 101st and Division. 

This isn’t by design. It’s simply the way things are done in this world of below-the-radar gigs held in shared houses, basements, and other uncommon locales that have been the proving ground for generations of punk, metal, experimental, and hip-hop artists.

Spaces like Hoan Kiem are a far cry from the tightly-controlled, OLCC-anointed clubs like Mississippi Studios and Doug Fir Lounge, but they are often the most exciting places to see music in the city. And the community being cultivated at these homegrown venues is, like the artists that haunt them, inclusive, politically-charged, and compassionate. 

“The bands are the first people, if there’s a creep or something, to be like, ‘Get the creep out,’” says Kiid, one member of the team that books events at Hoan Kiem. “They give back to the community. When the strikes were happening at Kroger, I got contacted about doing something to stand in solidarity with the workers. We’ve been able to get a good show out simply for the fact that we like to show up for everyone else.” 

That level of solidarity was really the catalyst behind the start of Hoan Kiem. The venue — really just a large open air space protected by a roof structure, but with a sturdy stage and an array of colorful lights — belonged to family friends who invited Kiid to come perform for them after he returned to Portland from Los Angeles. Already inspired by the sounds he was hearing from his friends like electronic artist H3artdrive and metal band Yuki, he decided to do them one better. “I was like, ‘Why just me when there’s so many talented people out there?’ Kiid says.

Hoan Kiem on Southeast Division in Portland.
Hoan Kiem on Southeast Division in Portland.

Since that initial show last September, word spread fast about what was happening at Hoan Kiem, mostly through social media. Subsequent shows have brought over 300 people, some driving in from Southern Oregon, and touring bands from far-flung parts of the U.S. The venue halted its momentum last month only because they felt they had to: they canceled all shows to minimize the community’s exposure to omicron. 

Anticipation is high for Hoan Kiem’s return to action this Saturday. On tap is Assid Queens, a regular event that features sets by bands and performances by drag artists. On the bill this time around: melodic rockers Rawt and emo/punk ensemble Swiss Army Wife, as well as drag performers Lucy Lavey and Kurrency Banks.


Metropolitan Youth Symphony Music Concert Rooted Newmark Theatre Portland Oregon

What is always impressive about DIY venues is that they continue to operate even though they are often surrounded by neighbors and businesses. Surprisingly for Hoan Kiem, the space has run into few issues. It helps that they’re right next to a fairly busy stretch of SE Division and they wrap up shows at a reasonable hour. 

As for the folks who complained about the noise and bustle, forcing a couple of gigs to wrap up even sooner than planned, Kiid suspects there’s some ulterior motives at play. “I don’t know how much those complaints are about noise,” he says, “or the fact that they see people that they’re not used to seeing in skirts.” 

Assid Queens, with performances by Father’s Milk, Rawt, Lunatik Hex, and Darylin Monstone, is at Hoan Kiem (10140 SE Division, Portland) on Saturday February 12 at 7pm. All ages. Masks and proof of vaccination required for entry. 

Want to read more music news in Oregon? Support Oregon ArtsWatch!

Be part of our
growing success

Join our Stronger Together Campaign and help ensure a thriving creative community. Your support powers our mission to enhance accessibility, expand content, and unify arts groups across the region.

Together we can make a difference. Give today, knowing a donation that supports our work also benefits countless other organizations. When we are stronger, our entire cultural community is stronger.

Donate Today

Photo Joe Cantrell

Robert Ham is a critic and journalist living in Portland, Oregon’s outer reaches. During his time in the Rose City, he has contributed to The OregonianWillamette WeekPortland Mercury, and Portland Monthly, while also amassing a healthy amount of clips for print and online publications including PitchforkDownBeatBandcamp, and Village Voice. In 2019, he was the recipient of the SPJ Award for Best Sports Feature. In addition, Robert produces and hosts Double Bummer, a radio show focusing on new and newly reissued experimental music from around the world that airs every Tuesday night at 11pm PT on XRAY-FM. To read more of his work, visit his portfolio site or follow him on Twitter at @roberthamwriter.

Portland Chamber Orchestra Young Artist Competition University of Portland Free Event Portland Oregon
Portland Area Theatre Alliance Fertile Ground Portland Oregon
Portland Art Museum Virtual Sneakers to Cutting Edge Kicks Portland Oregon
Tilikum Chamber Orchestra Lake Oswego High School Fairy Tales and Folk Songs Lake Oswego Oregon
Portland Center Stage at the Armory Quixote Nuevo Portland Oregon
Portland Columbia Symphony Realm of Nature Beaverton and Gresham Oregon
Portland Opera The Snowy Day Newmark Theatre Portland Oregon
White Bird Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Keller Auditorium Portland Oregon
Northwest Dance Project Sarah Slipper Newmark Theatre Portland Oregon
City of Hillsboro Parks and Recreation Performance Series Hillsboro OregonWalters Cultural Arts Center
Corrib Theatre Contemporary Irish Theatre Portland Oregon
Seattle Opera The Life and Times of MalcolmX McCaw Hall Seattle Washington
Metropolitan Youth Symphony Music Concert Rooted Newmark Theatre Portland Oregon
White Bird Dance Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall Newmark Theater Portland Oregon
Newport Visual and Performing Arts Newport Oregon Coast
High Desert Museum Sensing Sasquatch Indigenous Art & Knowledge Bend Oregon
Profile Theatre Lauren Yee Festival at Imago Theatre Portland Oregon
Portland State University College of the Arts
Oregon Cultural Trust donate
We do this work for you.

Give to our GROW FUND.