Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Portland This MLK Day Weekend: Jan 13-16, 2023

Portland EcoFilm Festival, Tango Alpha Tango, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
January 13, 2023
Local blues rockers Tango Alpha Tango return to the Mississippi Studios stage this weekend. (Tango Alpha Tango via Facebook)
There's plenty to watch, see, and do this long weekend—and better yet—there's plenty of things to do under $15. Read on for all of your options, from Reclaim Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day to the Portland EcoFilm Festival and from Tango Alpha Tango with The Macks to ETHEREAL REFLECTIONS Opening.

Venues may have health guidelines in place—we advise directly checking the specific protocols for an event before heading out.

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New Nordic Cuisine Opening Add to a List
In the last 15 years, the Nordic food movement, defined by its emphasis on local, natural and seasonal produce, has inspired world-famous chefs and home cooks alike. Nordia House will kick off their New Nordic Cuisine Add to a List exhibit, which examines the Nordic value-driven food system, with appetizers and a lecture from Thor Erikson.
(Nordia House, Metzger, free)


Friday the 13th Night Add to a List
Watch out for black cats and avoid sidewalk cracks on your path to Viking-inspired beer hall Wyrd Leather and Mead, where visitors on Friday the 13th will find costumed horror cosplayers, creepy tunes, and Jason Rising filmmaker Karl Whinnery slinging merch. 
(Wyrd Leather and Mead, Woodstock, free)


Barna Howard with Portland Country Underground Add to a List
In 2018, former Mercury writer Ryan J. Prado wrote: "There was a time when country balladeers like Barna Howard were a dime a dozen. The scope of Howard’s Midwestern missives extends well beyond its regional boundaries, finding a home wherever the acoustics resonate best. But in this day and age, his real-deal sentimentalism is a treat, and a throwback to the storytelling of songwriters like John Prine and Townes Van Zandt." He will be joined by the local roots ensemble Portland Country Underground.
(Lollipop Shoppe, Buckman, $11-$13)

Hip-Hop Family Reunion Add to a List
Portland-based rap legends Bad Habitat, The Chicharones, Eminent, Raise The Bridges, Julius Powell, Antelope Fishermen, D-Blaze, Third Eye Goonies, and Northern Lights, will join forces for a celebration of the vibrant local hip-hop scene.
(Kelly's Olympian, Downtown, $6-$9)


Táşżt 2023: Celebrating Vietnamese Year of the Cat Add to a List
Start the Year of the Cat with a purr at Gregory Heights library, where families can take part in bilingual (English/Vietnamese) reading activities, crafts, and fact-sharing about the Vietnamese New Year.
(Gregory Heights Library, Roseway, free)


Love, Shakespeare Add to a List
If Shakespeare's theatrical works are feeling a little "played" out—hey, he did write them over 400 years ago—don thy feathered cap and head to this fully improvised take on an Elizabethan comedy. The off-the-cuff version will skew the Bard's themes and imagery for a fresh production with a rotating cast. 
(Curious Comedy Theater, King, $15)


Lauren Fleshman in Conversation With Robin Romm Add to a List
When decorated pro runner Lauren Fleshman shook up the athletic industry with Oiselle, a running brand grounded in feminist ideals, she made a conscious move to empower women in an environment that unfairly caters to men's performance. In Good for a Girl, Fleshman digs into her own journey of falling in love with running. She'll be joined by Robin Romm, author of The Mercy Papers and editor of Double Bind: Women on Ambition, for this conversation.
(Powell's City of Books, Pearl District, Free)

Ruby Mcconnell and Char Miller Add to a List
Char Miller, the W.M. Keck Professor of Environmental Analysis and History at Pomona College, and geologist and outdoor adventurer Ruby McConnell will come together for this celebration of their respective books, Natural Consequences: Intimate Essays for a Planet in Peril and Ground Truth: A Geological Survey of Life. The two authors look closely at our rapidly changing planet, but use different approaches to illuminate harsh facts. McConnell's Ground Truth takes the form of a eulogy for Earth, while Miller's Natural Consequences compiles "site-specific essays" with insightful historical context for today's environmental quandaries.
(Literary Arts, Southwest Portland, free)


Set within the walls of the always-chic Ace Hotel, a pop-up concept gallery will stage events and installations "centering introspective, individualized experiences" through February. Celebrate the opening of ETHEREAL REFLECTIONS at this jazzy gathering with music, bites, and a special cocktail mixed by Pépé le Moko (heads up, the basement bar plans to reopen its doors later this year).
(Ace Hotel, West End, free)



Monarch Presents: Gary V, Dining Dead, Willernie, and Tommy Jack Pieper Add to a List
South Africa-born musician Gary V crafts futuristic glam rock that has led him to share stages with indie rock royalty like Guided By Voices and Nada Surf. He will support his latest release, Gary'z Place II, after opening sets from Seattle-based moody rock quartet Dining Dead and local alt-rockers Willernie.
(Kelly's Olympian, Downtown, $12)

Mr. Vale's Math Class with Jay Si Proof Add to a List
Funk musician/math teacher Jordan Vale and his six-piece ensemble will get you on your feet with their blaring brass section and percussion-driven grooves. The party will get started with "earth jazz alchemists" (Vortex Magazine) Jay Si Proof, who blend together smooth classic-rock riffs with the old-school sound of Motown, and fresh beats of neo-soul.
(Doug Fir Lounge, Buckman, $15)

Tango Alpha Tango with The Macks Add to a List
Since the founding of Portland blues-rock band Tango Alpha Tango by married couple Nathan Trueb and Mirabai Carter, they've gained fans all over the world from both music festivals and their KEXP in-studio performance. They will be taking the stage after an opening set from fellow local rock 'n' roll band The Macks.
(Mississippi Studios, Boise, $15)


Portland Art Picnic Add to a List
The forecast predicts rain clouds this weekend, but hey, Portland weather isn't known for its consistency. Grab some snacks and weather-appropriate gear for this recurring picnic event, where visitors will find an outdoor gallery and sale featuring over five dozen local artists slinging paintings, wearables, stickers, and more. If that's not convincing enough, there'll probably be some great dog-watching.
(Alberta Park, Concordia, free)

Spectrum Winter Art Market Add to a List
Show off your pride with some fresh duds and housewares at this LGBTQ2SIA+ pop-up market. The recurring Spectrum Art Market keeps things rainbow-hued and sparkly, and you're sure to find something that suits your aesthetic, with artisans hawking ceramics, art, textiles, apparel, jewelry, and accessories.
(ADX, Buckman, free)

Vacancy Speakeasy Add to a List
Step up in style to this speakeasy-inspired pop-up, which will feature over 25 vendors, food, cocktails, beer, spirit-free drinks, games, prizes, art, and DJ tunes from P33P and NEW BOOTZ.
(Vacancy PDX, Kerns, $0-$20)



Free Sundays at World Forestry Center's Discovery Museum Add to a List
Thanks to a generous grant, the Discovery Museum is throwing open the doors to its wood-filled space for free through the end of January. Learn about the Northwest's forests and their role "as a habitat, a place for recreation and reflection, a critical resource, and more" through an engaging variety of exhibits and documentaries. 
(World Forestry Center & Discovery Museum, Washington Park, free)


Rontoms Sunday Sessions: Rad Max with nonbinary girlfriend Add to a List
Mercury contributor Jenni Moore wrote: "While Rontoms’ patio shows are absolutely lovely in the summer, the actual best time to go to Sunday Sessions (in this critic’s opinion) is in the cooler months. Take advantage of Rontoms’ big, cozy interior room and the chill, intimate sets that unfold in full view of East Burnside. Concertgoers can cuddle up on couches by the fireplace, order grilled cheese sandwiches, and clutch mugs of mulled wine." This week, the series will continue with local dance-rock group Rad Max, who will perform retro-inspired tunes fit for an '80s B-movie. They will be joined by the indie punk band nonbinary girlfriend.
(Rontoms, Buckman, free)


Emme Lund in Conversation With Vanessa Friedman Add to a List
Portland-based novelist Emme Lund, whose 2022 coming-of-age tale The Boy with a Bird in His Chest was hailed as “poignantly rendered and illuminating” by The Washington Post, will be joined in conversation by Vanessa Friedman, writer, teacher, and community editor at Autostraddle, for this celebration of the book's paperback release.
(Powell's City of Books, Pearl District, free)



Reclaim Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Add to a List
Turn up in solidarity to take part in a march organized in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Social justice champions Don't Shoot PDX will facilitate the peaceful demonstration for human rights and dignity.
(Peninsula Park, Piedmont, free)

SOLVE MLK Day Cleanup 2023 Add to a List
If you're off work in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, consider spending the morning giving back to the community. Nonprofit environmental champions SOLVE will facilitate this volunteer event at Irving Park; participants will be given litter-collecting assignments in areas surrounding MLK Boulevard.
(Irving Park, King, free)



Navajo Skies Add to a List
Navajo folklore comes to the domed Kendall Planetarium this month, with awe-inspiring celestial stories told in Navajo and English, plus brilliant imagery set to traditional songs and Native American flute music.
(OMSI, Central Eastside, $7.50, Friday-Sunday)

Our Unfinished Past: The Oregon Historical Society at 125 Add to a List
The Oregon Historical Society is a history-maker in itself—founded in 1898, OHS has become a vital source of perspective on our region's story, sharing critical context with visitors for 125 years. Featuring over 100 objects and archival materials from its museum and library collections, Our Unfinished Past: The Oregon Historical Society at125 examines the institution's complex history and its unique mission to "advance knowledge and inspire curiosity" about Oregon history.
(Oregon Historical Society, South Park Blocks, Friday-Monday; opening)


Portland EcoFilm Festival Add to a List
The year-round Portland EcoFilm Festival will offer three screenings at the Hollywood this month in support of their ongoing mission to showcase the best in environmental cinema. On January 14, the Trees and the People Who Love Them program will include three short films centering tree-huggers from Madagascar to California; later that evening, the New Ecological Short Films program will share stories from the Canadian Arctic, the Albanian Alps, and elsewhere. Head back to the theater on January 15 for Beans, a feature-length flick starring Reservation Dogs cast members, inspired by the 1990 Indigenous uprising known as the Oka Crisis.
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $7-$10, Saturday-Sunday)

Skinamarink Add to a List
This eerie directorial debut by Kyle Edward Ball only cost $15,000 to make, but it's been spooking TikTokers since the trailer dropped. The flick borrows a distressed, grainy quality from '70s cinema to tell a bizarre bump-in-the-night tale with a surprisingly experimental edge.
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $8-$10, Friday-Sunday)


Double Mountain Brewery Rare Barrel Aged Beers Showcase Add to a List
Seize the opportunity to taste eight hard-to-find beers from the local favorite Double Mountain Brewery, in addition to four of their standard offerings.
(Loyal Legion, Buckman, Friday-Monday)


Nutcracker Cracked Family Puppet Show Add to a List
Set to the music of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, the Portland Puppet Museum will present its idiosyncratic rendition of the magical Christmas tale again this year using over 84 "transforming rod puppets." The 38-minute show is short enough to keep even the wiggliest kid enchanted.
(Portland Puppet Museum, Sellwood-Moreland, $15, Saturday-Sunday)


Charlie Salas-Humara: Carts Behind the Jewel Osco Add to a List
Self-taught painter and musician Charlie Salas-Humara channels liminal spaces in Carts Behind the Jewel Osco, a solo exhibition of thickly impastoed works. With titles like Hidden Alleyway and In the Denny’s Parking Lot, Salas-Humara reflects on washed-out, forgotten, and ignored spaces, creating densely layered surfaces that evoke a landlord's hasty paint job in a new rental. (In a good way.) The show prompts an engaging question—just what is happening under the surface? 
(Nationale, Buckman, free, Friday-Sunday; closing)

Harley Gaber’s DIE PLAGE Add to a List
American Jewish minimalist composer and visual artist Harley Gaber's DIE PLAGE represents a decade of on-site research in European concentration camps, where the artist photocopied hundreds of archival images from the Weimar era and the Holocaust. Gaber's collaged arrangements of these images invite his audience to consider the individual and collective aftershocks of "the plagues of our times."
(Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, Pearl District, $0-$8, Friday-Sunday)

InterACT! The Art of Creating Together Add to a List
JAMO's month of interactive art-making will include zine and printmaking workshops, guided conversations, and ample opportunities for collaboration, plus a performance and book talk by national performing artists Nobuko Miyamoto and traci kato-kiriyama. InterACT! The Art of Creating Together offers an intentional way to move forward from the isolating years of the pandemic toward a renewed sense of unity, so head to their weekend programming throughout the month to create in community.
(Japanese American Museum of Oregon, Old Town-Chinatown, free, Saturday-Sunday)

The Nexus of Here Add to a List
Portland art collective WAVE Contemporary presents this fresh exhibition featuring work by the group's members. The Nexus of Here explores "shifting horizons" in times of upheaval, technological shifts, urban development, and the "outrage economy." Local faves like Hannah Newman, Morgan Rosskopf, Katherine Spinella, and John Whitten will show new pieces alongside artists working in painting, sculpture, and more.
(WAVE Contemporary, Portland Downtown, free, Saturday-Sunday; closing)

Vince Skelly and Lynne Woods Turner Add to a List
Sculptor Vince Skelly and two-dimensional artist Lynne Woods Turner join heads for this two-person exhibition at contemporary mainstay Adams and Ollman. The duo explores opportunities for playful skewing of scale and form through oil paintings on cheesecloth, chainsaw-sculpted furniture, and other unexpected mediums and tools.
(Adams and Ollman, Northwest Portland, free, Friday-Saturday; closing)

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