Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Portland This Weekend: Apr 28–30, 2023

The One Moto Show, Independent Bookstore Day, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
April 28, 2023
Bikes, beer, and bands will be plentiful at The One Motorcycle Show. (The One Motorcycle Show via Facebook)
We've got that Friday feeling, and there's nothing that can take it away. Don't add extra stress or expenses to your weekend, but do check out cheap and easy events from The One Motorcycle Show to Expressions: A Celebration of Drag and Transgender Rights and from The Hold Steady In-Store Performance & Signing to Portland Independent Bookstore Day.

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

Jump to: Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Multi-Day



Broke Gravy & Friends
Past Event List The Broke Gravy dudes (Chris, Leon, and Eric) have forged a unique path in improv comedy, using the off-the-cuff medium to inspire deeper conversations on their perspectives as Black Americans. (They're also funny AF.) Fresh off their sold-out shows at The Turnout and Portland’s Undisputed Geniuses of Comedy, they'll return to the historic Alberta House alongside fellow Genius of Comedy and Willamette Week Funniest Fiver Imani Denae.
(Alberta House, Concordia, $15)

Butter: The Comedy Show
Past Event List The silliness continues! This edition of Butter, a recurring comedy show that churns out open-minded laughs at Funhouse Lounge, features funny fiends David Kildal, Anthony Robinson, Nate Hart, Bernice Ye, and Drew Grizzly. Brett "Breadstick" Sisun will turn up for some groovy tunes, too.
(Funhouse Lounge, Hosford-Abernethy, $10)


Tammy and the T-Rex
Past Event List Part of Mondo Trasho's "trash cinema" programming, Tammy and the T-Rex stars Denise Richards as a glam high school student with a peculiar problem: her dead boyfriend's brain has been implanted in an animatronic T-rex. Couldn't be us!! Grab a ticket to this screening of the film in a fresh 4K restoration if you appreciate mad science, vengeance, and dinosaur rides.
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $8-$10)


Foamboy with Julia Logue and Chibia
Past Event List Portland-based post-disco duo Foamboy, consisting of producer Wil Bakula and vocalist Katy Ohsiek, will play tracks from their debut album My Sober Daydream, which Saint Audio called a "succinct yet satisfying romp overflowing with danceable grooves and dazzlingly saturated soundscapes." Soulful singer-songwriter Julia Logue will start off the night alongside neo-soul singer/violinist Chibia. AUDREY VANN
(Lollipop Shoppe, Buckman, $10-$12)

It Did Happen Here: Book Launch with Mic Crenshaw, Last of a Dying Breed, The Mistons, Swiggle Mandela, and Love in Hell Past Event List
Documenting Portland's resistance to white supremacist violence in the '80s and '90s, locally produced podcast It Did Happen Here will celebrate the release of their first collaboratively written book, It Did Happen Here: An Antifascist People's History, with an evening of hip-hop and punk performances, and an interactive discussion. Keep your ears peeled for performances from spoken word artist/rapper Mic Crenshaw's latest project Last of a Dying Breed, punk trio the Mistons, hip-hop artist Swiggle Mandela, and indie rock outfit Love in Hell. AUDREY VANN
(Dante's, Old Town-Chinatown, $12-$15)



Expressions: A Celebration of Drag and Transgender Rights
Past Event List Here's an opportunity to show up for trans rights amid rampant anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-drag legislation. The Trans and Drag Initiative, in partnership with Mx. Dahlia Belle, Portland Queer Caucus, Demand Drag, and Klip Klop Productions, will present this free community drag show, which will feature over 15 glamazons and speakers. The event will also fundraise for OutMemphis, a Tennessee-based nonprofit providing support to its LGBTQ+ community.
(Pioneer Courthouse Square, Downtown, free)

The Judy Kafoury Center for Youth Arts Grand Opening
Past Event List After waving goodbye to its longtime home on NW Everett Street last year, the Northwest Children's Theater (NWCT) relocated to the Judy Kafoury Center for Youth Arts, aka The Judy, on SW Broadway. The prominent new location expands on the organization’s mission with increased performance space, an on-site maker space, and more. The Judy's first production, Elephant & Piggie's We Are in a Play!, opens this weekend; head to this free grand opening to tour the space and engage with local artists.
(The Judy Kafoury Center for Youth Arts, Downtown, free)


Hungry Hungry Hip Hop: Double Album Release Party
Past Event List Hungry Hungry Hip-Hop is a monthly showcase dedicated to spotlighting the many flavors and styles in Portland's hip-hop community, including live music, spoken word, and audio/visual art. This month, revel in a double release show featuring local beatsmith Ericboderek celebrating his new album, Bloom, alongside MC/producer duo Dusty Fox and Alex Meltzer dropping their collaborative album, ATOTA II: A Dim Light in the Basement. Like-minded artists Mat Randol, Kid Mozes, and Dobleon (who collaborated on Bloom) will join the party. AUDREY VANN
(Mississippi Pizza Pub & Atlantis Lounge, Boise, $10)


A Dance Night Inspired by the Music of Madonna Past Event List
In honor of Madonna's upcoming Celebration tour, unleash your inner material girl at this high-energy dance party celebrating the Queen of Pop. Don't forget to "express yourself" with a cone bra, lace gloves, high ponytail, or pink leotard (à la "Hung Up"my personal favorite era) or other showstopping lewks—costumes are encouraged! AUDREY VANN
(Holocene, Buckman, $0-$15)


Portland Flea
Past Event List Portland Flea’s 2023 season of vintage and maker markets will introduce Saturday offerings at the Ecotrust building in the Pearl District. The market will now run every last weekend of the month from April-October in two locations: the original spot on SE 2nd and Clay, and Ecotrust’s parking lot. Turn up for the same open-air market vibes you love each year; you'll find purveyors of trendy duds, vintage wares, home goods, and more, plus unmatched people- and dog-watching. 
(Various locations, free)

Portland Independent Bookstore Day 2023
Past Event List Each year, Independent Bookstore Day celebrates something we can all rally behind: indie bookstores. Pop by your local shops all day long for special prizes, swag, and meet-cutes with fellow lit lovers—oh, and books, too.
(Various locations, free)



Wyrd War's 8th Annual Walpurgisnacht Film Festival: Kwaidan in 35mm
Past Event List If you are a nerd of a very specific caliber (aka me), you might be familiar with the Greek ethnographer Lafcadio Hearn, who's best known for his research and collections of Japanese cultural legends and folktales. Hearn's 1904 Japanese folk story collection Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things serves as the basis for director Masaki Kobayashi's anthology film Kwaidan, which pulls four weird tales—The Black Hair, The Woman of the Snow, Hoichi the Earless, and In a Cup of Tea—directly from the book. This flick is not for the faint-hearted. First of all, it's nearly three hours long. (Ari Aster must have taken notes.) Secondly, it's freaky as hell. Prep for hallucinatory hauntings, chilly reckonings with dark feminine forces, and a shivering score by Tōru Takemitsu. Kwaidan will screen in lush 35mm in celebration of Walpurgisnacht, an ancient holiday honoring Saint Walpurga that dates back to pagan celebrations of fertility rites and spring. LINDSAY COSTELLO
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $15)


Karyn Ann Past Event List
Local singer-songwriter Karyn Ann will dazzle you with her timeless songwriting and soulful vocal quality that American Songwriter declared a “combination of Patty Griffin grit and Amy Winehouse grace.” Kindred Portland-based artists Colin Trio and Katelyn Convery will get the tunes flowing. AUDREY VANN
(Show Bar, Buckman, $12)

Salo Panto, Mink Shoals, and Phantom Note Past Event List
Portland garage-psych and art-rock outfit Salo Panto will celebrate the release of their new album, Parallel Narratives, which draws on the laidback folk-rock vibes of '70s Laurel Canyon. Don't miss opening sets from soulful shoegaze project Mink Shoals and indie rock trio Phantom Note. AUDREY VANN
(Holocene, Buckman, $10)

The Hold Steady In-Store Performance & Signing Past Event List
In 2019, former Stranger contributor Brian Cook wrote: "The Hold Steady’s boozy, swaggering, late-’70s radio rock has always been a bit of a tough sell for the general public. But their charm stems from Craig Finn’s boisterous storytelling, which manages to address sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll in a capacity that is neither glamorous nor cautionary." The long-running rock sextet will stop by Music Millennium for a free in-store performance and signing just after their sold-out weekend stint in PortlandAUDREY VANN
(Music Millennium, Kerns, free)


Melange Purple Strain
Past Event List As anti-LGBTQIA+ and anti-drag bills continue to circulate throughout the US, let's sashay to the events that make Portland great. After bringing inclusive drag deliciousness to Portland for the last four years, Melange fits right in at the Clinton Street Theater, where they present a recurring blend of melanated drag, sultry burlesque, and circus performance. We recommend showing up in your most loud-and-proud '80s threads (a second-hand raspberry beret, perhaps?) to celebrate the High Priest of Pop at this smokin' queer celebration. Daizelle D’ho and Destiny Smokez will get the rhythm going at the stoner's eleganza with performances by Josie Laveau, Beebee Sanchez, Viper, and Sandria Dore.
(Clinton Street Theater, Hosford-Abernethy, $15)


The Biggest Clothing Swap in the Northwest! Past Event List
For those of us who have been wearing the same loungewear since...say...March 2020, this clothing swap will offer a little sartorial boost. Bring your clean, gently-worn duds (no holes, odors, or previously-worn undergarments—gross) for this exchange, which will include shoes, accessories, plus-sized and non-binary sections, and a bar.
(Crystal Ballroom, West End, $10)



Beau is Afraid
Past Event List The trailer for Ari Aster's new "sweatbox of anxieties" brings up more questions than answers, but perhaps it's better that way. The director of Midsommar and Hereditary, whose style leans more toward existential dread than jump scares, has a gift for the unexpected (and deliciously depraved). From what we can tell, Beau is Afraid follows a paranoid man's voyage home to visit his mother. We suggest taking the journey with him, but bring road snacks—the film is three hours long.
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $8-$10, Friday-Sunday)

Polite Society
Past Event List In this 2023 Sundance favorite, a martial artist-in-training plans an ambitious wedding heist to "save" her older sister from her impending marriage. The action-comedy, written and directed by We Are Lady Parts creator Nida Manzoor, blends South Asian aesthetics with East Asian martial arts—one scene sees the sisters "fight in fully embroidered anarkalis (long, traditional South Asian dresses) along with gold tikka (jewelry worn on the forehead)" (The Guardian). Cool!
(Cinema 21, Nob Hill, $9-$11, Friday-Sunday)

The Super Mario Bros. Movie and Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves Past Event List
We can think of few more effective ways to decompress from your work week than with this double-feature of The Super Mario Bros. Movie and Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves at Newberg's beloved, old-timey drive-in theater. Pull up before sunset, settle in, and switch off your brain for a few blissfully dumb, action-packed hours.
(99W Drive-In, Newberg, $0-$10, Friday-Saturday)


American Girl Past Event List
Trans playwright Mikki Gillette, whose production The Queers sold out at Fuse Theatre Ensemble in 2022, will return with American Girl. Through extensive interviews with those closest to her, the production unveils the harrowing story of trans teen Nikki Kuhnhausen, who was killed in a hate crime in Vancouver, Washington in 2019.
(Back Door Theater, Sunnyside, Pay-what-you-can, Friday-Sunday)

And The Winner Is… An Improvised Broadway Musical! Past Event List
If your invitation to the Tonys was lost in the mail, here's the next best thing—an off-the-cuff musical-slash-award-show where the audience suggests song and show titles. An intrepid cast of Portland's finest improvisers will deliver the ad-libbed Broadway hits with all-new scores for each performance; then, you'll vote on your favorites.
(CoHo Productions, Slabtown, Pay-What-You-Can, Friday-Saturday)


Empower the Words: Poetry Showcase and Workshop
Past Event List Whether National Poetry Month has passed you by or you've been attending open mics and readings all month, don't miss this chance to participate in a poetry workshop and hear local poets share their work before April ends. Focusing on identity, Lan Su has celebrated poetry all month with their latest cultural program, Empower the Words. On April 28, they'll host a roundup of local word lovers for Identity—A Sense of Self, with poetry readings by Jae Nichelle, Julia Gaskill, Ken Yoshikawa, Little Blue, and Sage Lilac. Then, on April 29, local Asian American poet Alex Dang will lead a workshop on poetry as a vehicle for exploring identity, values, and personal stories.
(Lan Su Chinese Garden, Old Town-Chinatown, free with Lan Su admission or membership, Friday-Saturday)


The One Motorcycle Show
Past Event List Get revved up for the 14th annual One Moto Show, which as always will be hosted by the family behind See See Motor Coffee Co. Born in the PNW, a region known for enthusiastic ridership and breathtaking riding opportunities, the show has made a name for itself as one of the world's largest and best-known custom motorcycle/biker culture events. This year's show will take place inside the historic Zidell Barge Building, a rustic structure that was used to build ships in the 1930s and the perfect gritty backdrop to all things moto.
(Zidell Barge Building, South Waterfront, $14-$125, Friday-Sunday)


Arlene Schnitzer Visual Arts Prize Exhibition
Past Event List Awarded every year to three PSU School of Art + Design students, the Arlene Schnitzer Visual Arts Prize is a prestigious honor for up-and-coming artists. This year's winners include sustainable textile designer Johanna Houska, neurodivergent socially engaged artist Shelbie Loomis, and Nia Musuba, whose works respond to negative depictions of BIPOC within art and media. Drop by the exhibition for a creative boost.
(Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, South Park Blocks, free, Friday-Saturday; closing)

Between Spaces Past Event List
Running concurrently on opposite ends of the country, Between Spaces aims to forge bonds across cultural and sociopolitical landscape divides. Raquel Mullins, founder of the Chattanooga-based Wavelength Space, will present a series of works by Southern and Southeastern artists at Carnation Contemporary, while Carnation's member artists will exhibit works at Wavelength curated by PNW creative Rachael Zur. Surprising thematic ties may emerge as artists Ayo Janeen Jackson, Claire Downes Whitehurst, Eleanor Anderson, Carlie Trosclair, and others explore Southern storytelling, stereotypes, identities, and more.
(Carnation Contemporary, Kenton, free, Saturday-Sunday; closing)

Dinh Q. Lê - Cambodia Reamker Past Event List
Dinh Q. Lê continues to work with themes of displacement, war, and history in Cambodia Reamker, a series of photographic weavings depicting Reamker, the national epic of Cambodia, and portraits of incarcerated people in Tuol Sleng, a notorious Khmer Rouge prison. Lê, whose family was forced to flee the Khmer Rouge in 1978, now creates "alternative narratives" that blend references to the country's rich cultural traditions and tragic recent history.
(Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Pearl District, free, Friday-Saturday; closing)

Godeleine De Rosamel: Everything Takes Forever Past Event List
French sculptor Godeleine de Rosamel began her career as a children's book illustrator, and now brings her curious creatures to life in glazed ceramic. The works have a sense of softness, innocence, and childlike wonder; de Rosamel imagines her forms adventuring in a humanless utopia free of "politics, gender, and suffering," but still relates the works to the modern world's devastating impacts on biodiversity. Step into her curious world at this solo exhibition.
(Chefas Projects, Central Eastside, free, Friday-Saturday; opening)

Kristen Joy Emack: Cousins
Past Event List 2022 Guggenheim fellow Kristen Joy Emack, a self-taught photographer and public school teacher, has photographed her daughter and nieces for a decade, capturing their inner worlds in a quiet, yet extraordinary, series of photographs. See the results in Cousins. Says Emack, "There’s something sacred about the lives of girls...their innocent, confident relationships to themselves, their world, and one another are gravitational."
(Blue Sky Gallery, Pearl District, free, Friday-Saturday; closing)

Liliana Guzmán: Critical Mass 2022 Exhibition—Next to Myself
Past Event List Photographers and painting lovers should head to Liliana Guzmán's solo exhibition Next to Myself—the artist's works blend both mediums, using photographic elements to "ground the body in a concrete physical space" and painted forms to "emphasize what the mind perceives." Guzmán, a bicultural Colombian American artist, explores concepts and responses to the Latinx female body in the layered series of works. 
(Blue Sky Gallery, Pearl District, free, Friday-Saturday)

Making Earth Cool Past Event List
Do-good Gaia lovers Making Earth Cool will bring some environmental joie de vivre to Parallax Art Center this spring with two months of earthy activities staged within an "immersive handmade setting." As part of their artist residency program, visitors will be invited to participate in repair workshops, educational storytelling, and calls to action informed by Indigenous and youth-led activist groups. On April 28, artists Salty Xi Jie Ng and Shawn Creeden will lead Unpainted to The Last: Contemplating Human Kinship with Whales, a meditation session and film screening that reflects on our relationship with the mysterious creatures.
(Parallax Art Center, Pearl District, free, Friday-Saturday)

Mark R. Smith - Stress Formations Past Event List
In the solo exhibition Stress Formations, Mark R. Smith's textile paintings and laser engravings expand on his interests in social networks and crowds. Reflecting on the sociopolitical climate of the last few years, Smith noticed an interesting contrast between common pandemic pastimes—knitting, crochet—and the civil unrest unfolding in the wake of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor's murders. Smith's intricate fabric works, including a "big tent," bring up questions: Who is kept safe and sheltered? How do we attempt to "organize the unruly?"
(Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Pearl District, free, Friday-Saturday; closing)

Michael Brophy
Past Event List PNCA graduate and instructor Michael Brophy has exhibited extensively in the Pacific Northwest across his 40-year career. In this solo exhibition, he depicts faceless solo hikers exploring larger-than-life flora and lonely, winding roads in gouache and oils.
(Russo Lee Gallery, Northwest Portland, free, Friday-Saturday; closing)

Nell Warren: Ephemeros Past Event List
Nell Warren's new landscape paintings, inspired by her childhood in the Columbia River Gorge, blend acrylic mediums and molding paste with an emphasis on energetic mark-making to create a surprisingly magical visual language inspired by PNW mythology.
(PDX CONTEMPORARY ART, Slabtown, free, Friday-Saturday; closing)

Oregon Potters Association 40th Annual Ceramic Showcase Past Event List
Over 200 emerging artists and clay veterans will share their wares at this ceramics showcase, which also features demos, a silent auction of work by ceramic master Ellen Currans, a kid's clay exploration area, and more. Moms love well-crafted housewares, so snag a piece for her before Mother's Day sneaks up on you.
(Oregon Convention Center, Lloyd District, free, Friday-Sunday)

Still Life: Sung Eun Park
Past Event List Sung Eun Park's narrative-driven installations in Still Life feel like surreal theater sets, drawing from Japanese creator Akira Kurosawa's magical realist series of short films, Dreams, to explore the complex notion of a “good death.”
(Well Well, Kenton, free, Saturday-Sunday; closing)

Weaving Data
Past Event List Over the last few centuries, the technology of weaving design has made leaps and bounds, advancing from the Jacquard process of the 19th century to today's TC2 loom, which can weave everything from text to photographic imagery. The relationship between weaving and computing is a complex one, and whether or not you dig textile art, this exhibit isn't one to pass up—it includes intricate woven works by local pillars in the contemporary art community like Jovencio de la Paz, Kayla Mattes, and Shelley Socolofsky alongside art stars like Joan Truckenbrod, Faig Ahmed, and others.
(Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, South Park Blocks, free, Friday-Saturday; closing)

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