Cheap & Easy

Cheap & Easy Things To Do in Portland This Weekend: Sept 17-19, 2021

Minority Retort, the Mid-Autumn Festival, and More Last-Minute Events Under $15
September 17, 2021
This weekend, celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival at a lantern-bedecked Lan Su Chinese Garden. (Lan Su Chinese Garden)

If the weather report is to be trusted, much needed showers are falling upon the Rose City Saturday and Sunday, although hardy Portlanders won’t let that stop them from taking in the best (and cheapest!) events the weekend has to offer. Rejoice in the return of the comedy showcase Minority Retort or let the comedy show Wild Wild Christian take you on a wild ride. Plus, don’t miss the Mid-Autumn Festival at Lan Su Chinese Garden, which will give you the chance to make festive lanterns and try some mooncakes.

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Minority Retort presents Dino Archie
Minority Retort is the NW's premier stand-up comedy showcase featuring Black and brown comedians. This week, they'll be showcasing Dino Archie, winner of the 2015 Seattle International Comedy Competition, along with comedians AC O’Neal, Rissa Riss, Richie Aflleje and Ken Hamlett. The Mercury’s editor-in-chief caught up with producer (and occasional co-host) Jason Lamb about the future of the show.
Siren Theater, Old Town-Chinatown ($15)



Joy (Comes) in the Mourning
Curated by Portland Playhouse's community programs and associate artistic director Ramona Lisa Alexander, this hybrid festival presents interactive experiences that will explore the themes of loss and grief. After a trying year, this community gathering seeks to create a sacred space to mourn and heal with the help of artists, healers, dancers, faith-based leaders, singers, musicians, and community groups.
Portland Playhouse, King (free)


Portraits of Them
After a year of documenting their experience with low-dose testosterone through monthly portraits, artist Ursa Nüffer-Rodriguez presents this multimedia exhibition which includes video, photos, audio experiences and sculptures, offering a different narrative of (trans)gender becoming than the idealistic, linear portrayal that is often fed to us.
Tips on Failing, Boise (suggested donation)

Part of Converge 45's Portland's Memorials and Monuments Project (PMMP), this exhibition starts a discourse on the intersection of artistry and civic engagement, imploring the public to ask not just who gets memorialized but by whom, when, why, and how? Explore a collection of artwork, projects, and proposals from over 30 artists who examine the past and future of public monuments.
Skanska USA Building, Pearl District (free)

Mia Farrington | Place
This new collection from painter Mia Farrington draws inspiration from Oregon’s vibrant natural wonder the Painted Hills in her visual exploration of place.
Stephanie Chefas Projects, Buckman (free)



Dinh Q. Lê - Monuments and Memorials
Monuments and Memorials is a fascinating series of large-scale photo weavings by Dinh Q. Lê. Meant to reflect "on collective memory and architectural commemoration" the photographic artworks grapple with the past as well as our present.
Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Pearl District (free)

Lonnie Holley - The Influence of Images
Take in this multimedia art exhibit that showcases Lonnie Holley's shadowy painted works on paper that she created last year during her residency at the Elaine de Kooning House in East Hampton, New York.
Elizabeth Leach Gallery (free)



The series revolves around one of the most revolutionary directors of his generation, Werner Herzog, and comes to a close this week. Don't worry though, the festival ends on a high note with Nosferatu The Vampyre.
Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood ($8-$10)


Giving you the chance to support the arts world, which obviously took a big hit in the past year, this event will feature over 25 organizations across a variety of mediums who will gather to celebrate and build community. Expect performances from Metropolitan Performing Arts, Vancouver Ballet Folklórico, and others, poetry readings under a gazebo, and kids’ activities stations.
Public Service Center Plaza, Vancouver (free)

Summer Forever!
This sidewalk dance party will feature music from Portland staples Anjali and The Incredible Kid, with food and drink by Bar Carlo and an art opening by fellow occupants Glasshaus Gardens. They’re taking the theme of the event seriously, committing to dancing in the alley if it rains.
Bar Carlo, Foster-Powell (free)

El Grito Community Festival
Co-presented by Centro Cultural and the City of Hillsboro, this festive celebration will feature a traditional El Grito de la Independencia (the cry of independence by Father Miguel Hidalgo) ceremony. Stick around for live music, kids' activities, food and other vendors, interactive community booths, and a vaccine clinic by Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center.
Shute Park, Hillsboro (free)

Rosewood Saturday Celebrations
Described as a "multicultural market meets social fair," this family-friendly event has a variety of vendors, food, community resources, and a COVID-19 vaccine clinic.
The Rosewood Initiative, Rockwood (free)


Portland Indigenous Marketplace
Support Indigenous makers at this culturally respectful event where you'll find woven jewelry using ancestral techniques, herbal remedies and botanicals, traditional art, and more.
432 NE 74th Ave, Montavilla (free)


Wild Wild Christian
Fans of the 2018 Netflix docuseries Wild Wild Country, this one’s for you. This comedy show takes you through comedian Simone McAlonen’s journey through puberty, spiritual evolution, and sexual frustration....all while living at a Christian summer camp. Written with material from McAlonen’s middle school journals, get a glimpse of what happened to the sprawling property that infamously used to be known as Rajneeshpuram.
Siren Theater, Old Town-Chinatown ($10-$15)


Mid-Autumn Festival / Zhong Qiu Jie (中秋節)
Zhong Qiu Jie (中秋節), a.k.a. the Mid-Autumn Festival, is one of the most important holidays in Chinese culture. Following the lunar calendar, the celebration takes place on or close to the "harvest moon" during the autumnal equinox. Stroll through the tranquil Chinese Garden, which will be adorned with festive hanging lanterns. You'll also be able to get hands-on at a lantern making station, view a calligraphy demonstration, and try some mooncakes, the festival's signature treat.
Lan Su Chinese Garden, Old Town-Chinatown ($9.95-$12.95)



Reptaliens is a group that proves true to their name with their combination of musical styles. They say they’re all about "creating low fidelity chameleon dreamscapes somewhere between abstract expressionism and surrealism both sonically and visually."
Mississippi Studios, Boise ($12)


Home Base: Art Show by TK
An art exhibition for those interested in baseball as well as history, this show commemorates the "50th anniversary of the first Negro inducted into baseball’s Hall Of Fame." The event will be rounded out with food by Everybody Eats plus music by DJ Danny Merkury.
T.E.A.M. Center, Buckman (free)