Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Portland This Weekend: Apr 19–21, 2024

Making Earth Cool: Earth Day Celebration, Record Store Day, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
April 19, 2024
The environmentally conscious art collective Making Art Cool is celebrating mother with an Earth Day Celebration. (Making Earth Cool)
Celebrate Portland's favorite holiday, 4/20, by blazing up and heading to one or more of the ultra-chill events we've rounded up here, from Making Earth Cool: Earth Day Celebration to Record Store Day 2024 and from an Oregon Spring Cleanup to The Portland Mercury's Pizza Week 2024! For more ideas, check out our Record Store Day roundup and our guide to the top events of the week.

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Roman Norfleet & Be Present Art Group Past Event List
I’ll admit it; jazz can feel very intimidating! There are so many subgenres to learn, names to remember, and history that feels gatekept by Boomers with hi-fi equipment. However, nothing compares to hearing a skilled jazz ensemble play live. It's truly transcendental. If you haven't had the pleasure, Portland-based cosmic jazz troupe Roman Norfleet and Be Present Art Group is a wonderful place to start. The trio employs ethereal vocals and free-flowing percussion to boost their instruments (saxophone, drums, and organ) to an otherworldly plane. The group will support their Mississippi Records-released, self-titled album alongside the Seattle-based psychedelic neo-soul/jazz groupDay Soul Exquisite. AV
(Show Bar, Buckman, $12)



Troll Cardboard Costume Making Past Event List
Thomas Dambo is the artist behind the troll at Nordic Northwest and many others across the globe, and after seeing him give a talk, I reevaluated the way I see "trash" and have put considerately more effort into reusing materials I no longer need or finding others who might have a use for them. Seems like a fitting endeavor for Earth Day. Start passing these lessons on to your kiddos at this family-friendly workshop where the little ones can create their own troll costumes out of recycled cardboard. I can't wait for all the cute photos with Ole Bolle! SL
(Nordic Northwest, Metzger, $5-$15)


420 Toke-Tacular 2: Electric Bongaloo in 16mm Past Event List
If I'm being completely honest, I think celebrating 4/20 in a state where recreational consumption is legal is kind of corny. I remember when half the thrill of smoking was that I was kinda getting away with something. (Thanks again, bodega dude who sold 15-year-old me a bong back in the aughts.) That said, even I can appreciate the dedication of an event titled "420 Toke-Tacular 2: Electric Bongaloo." Cool, spacey flicks will be pulled from the legendary Nyback collection, and Portland animator Dan Ackerman's visuals will be featured. Plus, Astral Projections will have tie-dyed duds and stickers for sale in the lobby! Radical. LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $10-$12)


Classical Up Close Past Event List
Classical Up Close is the Oregon Symphony's spring concert series that shares the tradition of chamber music with new audiences through free, casual pop-up performances. This weekend, the series will kick off at Powell's iconic Burnside location with the string quartet of Emily Cole, Shin-young Kwon, Maia Hoffman, and Seth Biagini. AV
(Various locations, free)


'Cardi B's Invasion of Privacy' 33 1/3 Book Launch with Ma'Chell M. Duma Past Event List
Peruse the list of 33 1/3 book titles and you'll find that most of the albums in the long-running series of "short books about popular music" have had several years (sometimes several decades) to establish a place in music history before being featured. Miles Davis's Bitches Brew, Joni Mitchell's Court and Spark, The Pogues's Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash, Fugazi's In on the Kill Taker... there are nearly 180 books total, so I won't name them all, and there is some excellent work among them. But this month, 33 1/3 released their youngest addition yet, Cardi B's Invasion of Privacy, written by PNW music journalist (and occasional Stranger contributor) Ma'Chell Duma. The book is not only full of observations about Cardi B and her history-making record, but it also explores some of the discourse that has followed Cardi's success, including the wage gap in pop music (Chapter 9: Money Bag) and the history and mainstreaming of pussy rap (Chapter 3: Bickenhead). (I did an unofficial count and the word "pussy" appears in the book at least 70 times. Cardi would be proud.) STRANGER CULTURE EDITOR MEGAN SELING
(Revolutions Bookshop, St. Johns, free)


Record Store Day 2024 Past Event List
Whether you're looking forspecial RSD releases or just want to support your local record store, drag yourself out of bed bright and early this Record Store Day as shops around town fill up with vinyl-hungry shoppers. Participation varies from store to store, but expect sales and exclusive merch, extended hours, in-store performances, and other special events. There are several special releases from PNW-born bands this year, including Death Cab For Cutie's Live at the Showbox, Fleet Foxes's Live on Boston HarborMudhoney's Suck You Dry: The Reprise Years, Pearl Jam's Dark Matter, and Sleater-Kinney's This Time/Here Today. Check out the RSD website for a full list of participating stores. AV
(Various locations, free)


Free Entrance Days in the National Parks Remind List
This Saturday is 4/20, and the national parks are encouraging you to get high on the outdoors with an entrance fee free day (it's also the first day of National Parks Week). Pack up the car and head to the one-and-only Crater Lake, Lewis and Clark National Historical Park in adorable Astoria, or Fort Vancouver just across the Washington border. SL
(Various locations, free)

Making Earth Cool: Earth Day Celebration Past Event List
Extinction Rebellion Portland, Portland Youth Climate Strike, and do-good Gaia lovers Making Earth Cool will bring some environmental joie de vivre to Sunnyside on April 20. Their Earth Day celebration "serves as a poignant reminder that we are mere specks within the grandeur of the greatest masterpiece ever created." Couldn't have said it better myself! Although you are but a small speck on our majestic planet, you're invited to dress up as your fave flora or fauna for a parade through the Sunnyside neighborhood, followed by "Earth Church" at Sunnyside Community Center. LC
(Sunnyside Environmental School, Sunnyside, free)



Indigenous Voices: New Salmon Movies Past Event List
This engaging crossover between the Hollywood Theatre's EcoFilm Festival and its Indigenous Voices series presents Covenant of the Salmon People, an hour-long documentary about the Nez Perce Tribe and their ongoing struggle to protect wild Chinook salmon that once thrived within their lands. It's shown with a ten-minute documentary short, To Heal a Forest, which introduces the Nuchatlaht Tribe's movement to save an untouched salmon stream from environmental destruction caused by logging in British Columbia. PORTLAND MERCURY ARTS EDITOR SUZETTE SMITH
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $9)

Princess Mononoke // EARTH DAY FAM JAM Past Event List
When a young warrior suffers a curse, he heads west to find a cure but finds himself enmeshed in a struggle between a wolf-raised princess and the encroachment of mechanization. Hayao Miyazaki's award-winning Studio Ghibli adventure includes voice acting by Gillian Anderson, Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Billy Bob Thornton in this dubbed screening, which feels perfect for Earth Day. LC
(Tomorrow Theater, Richmond, $5)


Anjali and The Kid Dance Party Past Event List
If you love dance parties but hate being out late, perhaps Anjali and The Kid's annual Global Bass extravaganza will suit you well. Kicking off at 5 pm (that's right, the sun will still be out!) the world music duo will dig into their expansive crates for an evening of hard-hitting music that combines "local music traditions with window-rattling production." AV
(Polaris Hall, Humboldt, $12)


The Flip Side - Vegan Market Past Event List
The consumption of animals and animal products is one of the leading causes of climate change. How 'bout we do Mother Earth a little kindness this weekend and support vegan vendors at the Flip Side market? (Monday is Earth Day, after all.) Grab a tasty "cinnasnail" from Hail Snail, check out adult beverages from Arbor Beer Lodge, and maybe even make your love for the earth permanent with a tattoo from Liv of Awoken Woke Tattoo. Green Acres Farm Sanctuary will be there sharing info about their Saturday work parties, raising funds for the animals in their care, and selling merch. SL
(Hail Snail, free)



Oregon Spring Cleanup Past Event List
In honor of Earth Day, environmental nonprofit SOLVE puts on its biggest annual event with numerous volunteer opportunities that invite you and your friends and family to help make our planet cleaner and greener. From beach cleanups to mulching projects, there's something for all kinds of volunteers (green thumb or not). The statewide effort kicked off on April 13, with a majority of the events scheduled for Saturday, April 20, and the cleanup concludes on Earth Day, April 22. SL
(Various locations, free, Friday-Sunday)

The One Motorcycle Show Past Event List
The family behind See See Motor Coffee Co. gears up for the 15th installment of their celebration of unconventional bikes and the unconventional humans who ride them. Check out over 300 custom motorcycles, a helmet art exhibit, freestyle stunt shows, and even "motorcycle drill teams." The show returns to the historic Zidell Yards, a fittingly gritty backdrop for all things moto. New this year: an indoor flat track race at the Expo Center on Friday night. SL
(Zidell Barge Building, South Waterfront, $15-$65, Friday-Sunday)


Sauna is Life: Sauna Culture in Finland Past Event List
Sauna: It's more than just getting really hot in a towel next to some strangers. The practice is actually on UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage List, an inventory I never knew existed until this moment. Makes sense, though—the earliest versions of sauna date back to 7000 BCE, and the traditional Finnish practice embodies sacred connection, peace, and a shame-free, natural "bareness" that's rarely permitted in daily life. This exhibition will be presented in collaboration with the Finlandia Foundation National for Sauna is Life. (Interested in Finnish culture and chilling out? Treat yourself to a Löyly trip.) LC
(Nordic Northwest, Metzger, free, Friday-Sunday)


Civil War Past Event List
Alex Garland's latest, Civil War, is A24's most expensive in-house production to date, following a group of military-embedded journos headed to DC "before rebel factions descend upon the White House." Honestly, I'm wary of how he'll handle this one, although Garland's work does tend to thrive in dystopian settings. But Kristen Dunst stars as a photojournalist, which is reason enough to watch. Also, Garland may or may not be retiring from directing ("I’m going to take a break for the foreseeable future," he clarified recently), so if you're a fan of the filmmaker behind Annihilation and Men, you should plan to let his new one marinate. LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $10-$12, Friday-Sunday)

Sasquatch Sunset Past Event List
If you aren't riveted by the prospect of this film, well, we're two very different people. David and Nathan Zellner's Sasquatch Sunset follows a family of Bigfoots (Bigfeet?) over the course of one year, as they wander, grunt, and munch mushrooms in North America's foggy forests. Riley Keough and Jesse Eisenberg star, and they look like this. We owe it to them to go see this film as payment for the zillion hours they spent having prosthetics applied. LC
(Cinema 21, Nob Hill, Friday-Sunday)

Sci-Fi Film Festival 2024 Past Event List
OMSI's Sci-Fi Film Festival seems like a solid opportunity to watch science fiction flicks in the way god intended: on the Empirical Theater's gigantic four-story screen. The museum will screen over 40 spacey greats, with genre classics (E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and personal fave The Thing) and more recent entries (Blade Runner 2049, Annihilation) represented. The fest's closing night celebration on May 24 will feature a screening of George Miller's latest madhouse, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga. LC
(OMSI, Central Eastside, Passes $65-$95, individual tickets $6.50-$8, Friday-Sunday)


The Portland Mercury's Pizza Week 2024! Past Event List
The Portland Mercury's Pizza Week is back, giving pizza lovers the chance to get special slices from some of Portland's finest purveyors of pizza pies... for a mere three dollars each! That's right: Each slice is just THREE MEASLY DOLLARS or, at participating venues, a WHOLE PIE for $24. (You heard correctly: Once again this year certain Pizza Week participants may also be offering $24 whole pies along with slices—or whole pies alone!) Work up an appetite for all those slices with our friends at Mule Extracts! Then wash it all down with a shot of Jim Beam!
(Various locations, Friday-Sunday)


Atrás Do Pensamento (Behind Thought): Quinha Faria Past Event List
Far be it from me to pass up an opportunity to talk about Clarice Lispector, which means Quinha Faria and I have something in common. Faria's newest work, presented in Atrás Do Pensamento (Behind Thought), reflects on the Brazilian writer's unconventional, stream-of-consciousness 1973 book Agua Viva, which was originally titled Behind Thought. Faria's compositions contemplate Lispector's totally singular style with layers of thin paint and curious textures. The artist also "encourages viewers to consider the unseen elements of a space" with contributions by scent-focused bodyworker Tatiana Godoy-Betancur and sound artist Ryan Windus. LC
(Carnation Contemporary, Kenton, free, Saturday-Sunday)

Elements and Objects: Anna Von Mertens Past Event List
Anna Von Mertens's meticulous colored-pencil drawings on black paper arrange illustrative icons of our everyday life. In the series Objects (100 Emojis), her placement of items like a feather, plunger, toothbrush, safety pin, etc. mimics quilting patterns. In Remnants, UV-sensitive paper and tangled jewelry form the backdrop of drawings that, according to the reception notes, "[reference] the generative life cycles of stars." Also on view at Elizabeth Leach, is a collection from the estate of Lee Kelly, Bennington Suite & Color Studies, which presents sculpture and watercolor pieces from different points in the artist's long career. Paired together, the 2D paintings and 3D geometric sandstone structural forms illustrate Kelly's mastery over either realm of expression. PORTLAND MERCURY CONTRIBUTOR ASHLEY GIFFORD PETERSON 
(Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Pearl District, free, Friday-Saturday)

The 2024 HeART of Portland: A Portland Public Schools K-12 Arts Showcase Visual Art Exhibition Past Event List
Here's one way to celebrate paying your art tax. Showcasing visual art, dance, theater, and musical talents from across Portland Public Schools, The HeART of Portland includes "over 100 works that highlight [the school system's] diversity." Cool! The free show will also feature the collaborative art project Artistic Alchemy: Transformative Art Making, which pulled inspiration from the current Portland Art Museum exhibition Throughlines: Connections in the CollectionLC
(Portland Art Museum, Southwest Portland, free, Friday-Sunday)

Intergalactic/ Planetary/ Planetary/ Intergalactic Past Event List
My fourth-grade self spotted the Beastie Boys reference in this exhibition's title and wanted to stop right there—say no more, I thought. I'm on board. But since it's my job to write about art events, I'll dig further. Intergalactic/ Planetary/ Planetary/ Intergalactic showcases work by Brian Knowles and Andrea Alonge, who explore portals, wormholes, and inner worlds with insulation foam, used Xacto blades, and a whole host of other materials, emphasizing a handmade quality. Hop in their kaleidoscopic rocket ship, we're going to the center of the universe. LC
(Well Well, Kenton, free, Saturday-Sunday)

Kristen Diederich: They Said No Dancing Past Event List
Artist-poet Kristen Diederich will present new paintings in her first solo exhibition with after/time, They Said No Dancing, which emphasizes "time passing in bright color and impasto forms." If you're a fan (like me!) of Diederich's complex visual compositions, you're in luck: A concurrent exhibition at The Old Church will showcase another suite of her paintings, plus a public poetry reading with Surprise, Surprise: A Grab Bag of Portland Poets on April 24. LC
(after/time Gallery, free, Saturday-Sunday)

Labor of Love Past Event List
Shining a spotlight on labor practices that have been "historically and systematically concealed from the public sphere," Labor of Love curates multimedia works by artists Tania Candiani, Tannaz Farsi, Jay Lynn Gomez, Midori Hirose, Charlene Liu, Alberto Lule, Narsiso Martinez, and Patrick Martinez. Show up to learn something about invisible, poorly paid, and emotional labor, much of which is done by marginalized people. Each artist finds a personal connection to this labor and uses their work to contend with systemic racism, immigration, class inequality, and gender discrimination. LC
(Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Southwest Portland, free, Friday-Sunday)

Lee Kelly - Bennington Suite & Color Studies Past Event List
Elizabeth Leach Gallery has showcased revered Pacific Northwest artist Lee Kelly's sculptures, paintings, and works on paper periodically since 1986, but this curated selection of the artist's watercolors and angular sculptures has never been exhibited before. Spanning thirty years of Kelly's career, Bennington Suite & Color Studies includes bright maquettes and Mayan architecture-influenced compositions created while he was at Bennington College in Vermont. LC
(Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Pearl District, free, Friday-Saturday)

Yamamoto Masao: Animal Spirit Past Event List
I'm a simple person: When I see a silver gelatin print of a kitty, I think everyone else should see it, too. Japanese artist Yamamoto Masao's Animal Spirit is your opportunity; the show includes "small-scale, poetic, and intimate" images of animals by the painter-turned-photographer. You'll also see goats, garden-dwelling pups, and fancy horses rendered in high-contrast, yet still delicate compositions. PDX Contemporary Art describes Masao as "one of Japan’s most important living photographers," too. LC
(PDX CONTEMPORARY ART, Slabtown, free, Friday-Saturday)

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