Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Portland This Weekend: Feb 16–18, 2024

Zwickelmania, Threads of Remembrance, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
February 16, 2024
Tour breweries, sample some Zwickels, and more during Zwickelmania. (Crux Portland Pub via Facebook)
There's no reason to stay parked on the couch all weekend when cheap and easy events from Zwickelmania to the 8th Annual Lunar New Year Dragon Dance and Celebration and from Threads of Remembrance: 45 Years of Activism, Community, and Reparations to the 25th Anniversary Reading for the Attic Institute of Arts and Letters are beckoning. For more options, our guide to the top events of the week also has you covered.

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



BLIND DATE NIGHT with Tarot Readings Past Event List
I can think of few better ways to impress your New Agey date than with a free tarot reading (courtesy of local writer Margaret Malone) and a gothic, love-spell-filled secret flick screening. The film follows a glamorous witch who casts seductive spells from her apartment, so you might be able to figure out what it is based on the premise alone, but Tomorrow Theater's Blind Date nights include "clues and instructions" for those who secure tickets. Full details won't be revealed until you enter the theater. LC
(Tomorrow Theater, Richmond, $15)


No-No Boy Past Event List
Indie folk project No-No Boy is the product of Vietnamese and Italian American songwriter and scholar Julian Saporiti, who uses his Ph.D. in Asian American history to discuss race and immigration through song. On his latest Smithsonian Folkways-released album, Empire Electric, Saporiti juxtaposes "true stories of struggle from throughout Asia and its diaspora with [his] own reckoning with intergenerational trauma." Further juxtapositions happen on a sonic level with banjos blended with kotos (a Japanese half-tube zither) and lap-steels played beside guzhengs (a Chinese plucked zither). The result is delightfully listenable with glittering strings and lush natural soundscapes. He will support the album after an opening set from folk-pop soloist Jacob Miller. AV
(Mississippi Studios, Boise, $15)

TV Star, Spiral XP, Myriads, and Conspire Past Event List
Seattle-based five-piece TV Star will pop through town with swirling psych-rock melodies that revive the kaleidoscopic sounds of Paisley Underground heavies like Mazzy Star, Brian Jonestown Massacre, and Spiritualized. They will support their recently released joint EP, TVXP, with collaborators Spiral XP, indie rock project Myriads, and "sewercore" band Conspire. AV
(The Fixin' To, St. Johns, $12)



An Evening with Kent Ford
There's been a long history of solidarity between the Black community and Palestinian people, stretching back to the beginnings of the Black Panther Party. While both groups continue to fight for collective liberation, Portland Black Panther Party co-founder Kent Ford will lead a conversation on how the two movements can organize together on a local level. The event is being presented and hosted by Workers Tap and Erica's Soul Food, two small businesses that are always down for the cause. JW
(Workers Tap, Buckman, $10 suggested donation)


Threads of Remembrance: 45 Years of Activism, Community, and Reparations Past Event List
The Day of Remembrance is an annual observance in mid-February that acknowledges and remembers the incarceration of over 125,000 Japanese Americans during World War II, much of which took place along the West Coast. The Portland JACL and Japanese American Museum of Oregon are co-presenting this year's program on the 45th anniversary of Oregon's first observance of the day with performances from Portland Taiko, Tsubaki Buyo Doukoukai, Joe Kye, and a panel discussion featuring local redress activists. SL
(Lincoln Hall, Southwest Portland, free)


Oppenheimer in 70mm Past Event List
Whether or not you give a damn about the theoretical physicist who helped develop the first nuclear weaponry, Oppenheimer was one of this year's most yapped-about films, starring Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer and Emily Blunt as his wife, Communist biologist and botanist Katherine “Kitty” Oppenheimer. (More info on Kitty, please!!) If you managed to avoid the hubbub, you'll be pleased to learn that the film also features Florence Pugh, A24 darling Benny Safdie, and a bunch of other actors that'll make you whisper "Wait, they're in this?!" to your friend in the theater. Here's your chance to catch up—and in glorious 70mm, no less—before Oscars night. LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $13-$15)

The Wizard of Oz Past Event List
Click your heels, people! If the new trailer for Wicked has you feeling...disappointed (we need gaffers, I can't see shit), I recommend this screening of the original The Wizard of Oz, which was filmed in bright Technicolor and almost killed the Wicked Witch (true story). All proceeds from the screening will be donated to benefit the hardworking artists of Elbow Room, a local arts organization providing material support, mentorship, and studio space to artists experiencing intellectual and developmental disabilities. LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $10-$12)


Zwickelmania 2024 Past Event List
Prime your liver for Zwickelmania, the annual event where breweries open their doors for your drinking pleasure, with free samples, tastings, meet-the-brewer events, pairings, tours, and beer releases. (What's a zwickel, you ask? According to the official website, it's "the valve or sample port mounted at the outside of a cask or tank," which "allows the brewer to take samples for assessing the brew's progress during fermentation." You learn something new every day.) JB
(Various locations, free)


8th Annual Lunar New Year Dragon Dance and Celebration Past Event List
Clanging cymbals will cue the colorfully costumed dancers of local troupes International Lion Dance, White Lotus Dragon and Lion Dance, Portland Lee Association's Dragon And Lion Dance, and the Portland Trail Blazers Rip City Crew at this raucous celebration. The party will take over a block in the heart of Chinatown and Lunar New Year revelers will receive lucky red envelopes before going on the move as Portland Chinatown History Foundation’s 150-foot dragon leads a parade to the Oregon Historical Society’s Park Plaza. JW
(Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, Northwest Portland, free)

Lunar New Year Celebration Past Event List
Pause your shopping to celebrate the Year of the Dragon at Washington Square (or risk having bad luck for the rest of the year, probably)! You can write down your heart's desire and add it to the cherry blossom wishing tree, pick up a craft kit for the kiddos, and enjoy a variety of performances from storytelling to martial arts. The festivities will be capped off with a performance from White Lotus Lion Dance, a group that has nothing to do with the darkly satirical TV show (which I think is a good thing, in this instance). SL
(Washington Square Mall, Metzger, free)


Hawks and Hot Chocolate Past Event List
Topaz Farm and the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife are determined to draw us outside this winter and have collaborated on a day of birding and hot beverages on Sauvie Island. Check in at Topaz Farm and grab a $10 parking permit before embarking on a leisurely day of driving between the island's birding hot spots. The goal: finding the "Fantastic Four of raptors," otherwise known as the northern harrier, red-tailed hawk, American kestrel, and bald eagle. Grab a cup of free hot chocolate or coffee while supplies last, and stock up on farm-baked goods if you need an extra boost for bird watching. SL
(Topaz Farm, Sauvie Island, free)


25th Anniversary Reading for the Attic Institute of Arts and Letters Past Event List
Real literary freaks know that the Attic Institute is the place to head if you want to improve your writing skills—Bustle once deemed it "one of the most amazing writing centers in the United States." The institution will celebrate its 25th anniversary at another bookish Portland mainstay—Mother Foucault's—where founder David Biespiel will read from his 13th tome, A Self-Portrait in the Year of the High Commission on Love. Matthew Dickman, a poet and the Attic's senior fellow, will also read from his most recent book, Husbandry, and the duo will stick around afterward for a Q&A session. LC
(Mother Foucault's, Buckman, free)



Moonage Daydream: A Daytime Party For Dreamers Past Event List
Freakout in a moonage daydream at this daytime pajama dance party that aims to evoke the morning after a slumber party. DJ Queen Amygdala will wake you up with a dreamy mix of Italo disco followed by live drag and burlesque performances from Kit Katastrophic, Sophie DuMal, Jocelyn Knobs, and Blossom Drearie. Plus there will be an aura photographer, a sketch portraiture artist, and a photo booth to memorialize your ensemble forever. AV
(The Fixin' To, St. Johns, $15-20 Sliding Scale)

Sunday Sessions: Bocha & Covi. Past Event List
We recently raved about an installment of Sunday Sessions that headlined neo-soul singer and multi-talented extraordinaire Blossom, but let’s face it, we don’t really need an excuse to attend one of Rontoms’ free weekly shows. During the summer, you’ll find the lounge’s patio packed with music minglers, but the sessions are cozy and charming this time of year too—held inside the dimly lit hipster bar. This week we’re jazzed to see a more rap-happy lineup, showcasing the respective talents of Portland-based emcees Bocha and Covi. Produce Organics-affiliated rapper Bocha will no-doubt be spitting rhymes from his project Everything Must Go, from September, and Covi. also released a new album recently—Just Have Fun!, a fun project that’s fully produced by Drae Slapz. And pssst! Don’t be surprised if either artist brings a special guest for their set, as Bocha has strong connections to Donte Thomas and other Produce Organics artists such as R&B singer Scooty, while Covi. is in a romantic relationship with rising singer/songwriter/DJ extraordinaire Zyah Belle. PORTLAND MERCURY CONTRIBUTOR JENNI MOORE 
(Rontoms, Buckman, free)

The Fourth Wall, Tremor, and Ten Million Lights Past Event List
Let a wave of loud, dreamy shoegaze wash away your stress as the locally based, Oahu-born five-piece the Fourth Wall celebrates their new single. "Darkness Of Heart" starts with a subdued Elliott Smith-esque acoustic sound before exploding into an electric guitar-driven jam suited for an arena-sized venue—although, this band is much too cool to ever sell out like that. Don't miss opening sets from like-minded indie rockers Tremor and Ten Million Lights. AV
(Holocene, Buckman, $10-$12)



Best of Lone Wolves: Solo Sketch Comedy 10-Year Anniversary Show Past Event List
Have you peeped Siren Theater's new-ish location on N Mississippi Ave yet? Lone Wolves is a great excuse: The show's seasoned comics have been howlin' since 2013 with smart, sharp sketch comedy performances. You might've already caught their routines at Portland Center Stage, the CoHo Theater, or the Portland Sketch Comedy Festival. For this 10th anniversary edition of the show, local laughers (Shelley McLendon, Paul Glazier, Lori Ferraro, and others) will share their self-written sketches with help from their fellow wolves. Awooo! LC
(Siren Theater, Boise, $15, Friday-Saturday)


34th Annual Cascade Festival of African Films Past Event List
The "longest-running annual, non-profit, non-commercial, largely volunteer-run African film festival in the United States" features works by African directors, centering non-Western perspectives on African culture with films like Burkinabé award winner Sira. Join in on the Connection, Centerpiece, and Women Filmmakers-themed weekends, or head to a Family Fest matinée screening of the French film Hawa. The after-screening Q&A sessions with directors round out the cultural event, with virtual and in-person viewing opportunities. LC
(Various locations, free, Friday-Saturday)

Cemetery Man Past Event List
This fresh, flesh-eating restoration of Michele Soavi's '94 black comedy follows a cemetery groundskeeper who's forced to kill the dead a second time after they all start rising from their graves. Naturally, the local politicians won't listen to him about this very serious issue, and after he falls for a woman whose husband is recently deceased, things get even more gory and complicated. You'll get a kick out of Cemetery Man if you're into film noir and Italian giallo weirdness. LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $10-$12, Saturday-Sunday)

Live Action Oscar Nominated Short Films Past Event List
If you typically watch the Oscars with a passing interest in the nominated short films, perhaps feeling intrigued but knowing that you'll never get a chance to see them on screen, have I got the opportunity for you. Hollywood Theatre will screen the nominees in the live action, animation, and documentary categories, so you can predict the winners and scope out standouts like Wes Anderson's The Wonderful World of Henry Sugar, which was based on a Roald Dahl story. Pepper that into conversation later, your friends will think you are cool. LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $10-$12, Friday-Sunday)

Perfect Days Past Event List
New German Cinema pioneer Wim Wenders, who directed Wings of Desire and a mysterious terrain of canyons and neon in Paris, Texas, is known for his deliciously "slow" cinema and emphasis on desolation. Interestingly, this film (which was shortlisted for Best International Feature at this year's Oscars) feels a little more lighthearted, but I suspect that I will still come away feeling somehow devastated. Perfect Days follows a Tokyo toilet scrubber, Hirayama, whose days are filled with contentment, cassette tapes, books, and photos of trees. May we all be so blessed. LC
(Cinema 21, Nob Hill, $9-$11, Friday-Sunday)

Studio Ghibli Film Festival Past Event List
Over the last 30 years, Studio Ghibli has become legendary for its lush visuals, emotional and affecting storytelling, and poetic, intelligent approach to nature and the more-than-human world. OMSI's Studio Ghibli Film Festival will return for its ninth presentation of audience faves like My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service, as well as underrated classics like Pom Poko and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. LC
(Empirical Theater at OMSI, Hosford-Abernethy, $8-$20, Friday-Sunday)


AIDS Memorial Quilt Past Event List
Conceived in 1985 by human rights activist Cleve Jones, the AIDS Memorial Quilt aimed to honor those who died of AIDS and document the lives of those living with the devastating impacts of the disease. Today, it's a 54-ton tapestry and a living symbol of a lost generation. "As we have recently experienced, science communication, information sharing, and awareness building are crucial in combating pandemics," says OMSI in this exhibit's promotional materials. Selected panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt will be on display at OMSI; the quilt can also be viewed in its entirety online. (Before you head to OMSI, I suggest reading Duane Puryear's powerful quilt panel.) LC
(OMSI, Central Eastside, Free; museum admission not required, Friday-Sunday)

Craft, Community, and Care: The Art and Legacy of Bob Shimabukuro Past Event List
Although he was a brilliant artist and social justice writer in the Pacific Northwest region, you might not have heard of Bob Shimabukuro. You can change that at Craft, Community, and Care: The Art and Legacy of Bob Shimabukuro, which centers the life of the Okinawan American activist and creative. He designed the beloved, now-shuttered sake bar Tanuki, but when Shimabukuro wasn't woodworking and building furniture, he was serving as an editor and columnist for the Pacific Citizen and the International Examiner in Seattle, and was "instrumental" in the Pacific Northwest’s Japanese American Redress movement. LC
(Japanese American Museum of Oregon, Old Town-Chinatown, $5-$8, Saturday-Sunday; opening)

Kelda Van Patten: If I had a flower for every time I think of you Past Event List
Kelda Van Pattern's still-life photography explores "species loneliness," which the botanist and author Robin Wall Kimmerer describes as "a deep unnamed sadness stemming from estrangement from the rest of creation, from the loss of relationship." In If I had a flower for every time I think of you, Van Patten includes compositions photographed during residencies in diverse landscapes, including the northern plains of Wyoming and San Francisco. The artist's layered collage approach shifts notions of reality, artifice, discord, and dissonance to achieve playful, curious results. LC
(Well Well, Kenton, free, Saturday-Sunday)

Kenji Ide: American Friend Past Event List
If you caught Kenji Ide's first Portland exhibition (A Poem of Perception at the Portland Japanese Garden) back in 2022, you're in luck—the Japanese artist will return to the city to showcase new wood and found object sculptures that "theatrically weave a narrative based on both the artist’s imagined and real-life experiences." American Friend takes its title from the '77 Wim Wenders film, which Ide had heard of growing up in Japan, but never seen, only imagining what the film might be about. Paralleling his experience of creating an alternate storyline for an unseen film, Ide's sculptures create space for the viewer to project their own narratives within the frameworks of puzzles, built environments, and poetic abstractions. The result is a "stylized landscape" that's both meditative and brain-tickling. LC
(Adams and Ollman, Northwest Portland, free, Friday-Saturday; closing)

Modern Folk Past Event List
This group exhibition spotlights eight West Coast artists whose work aims to modernize and complexify folk art traditions, from paintings of everyday objects to "whimsical ceramics," self-portraiture, and mixed-media works. I'm excited to see Portland-based fave Lisa Congdon's snazzy visual language of luminous color and patterning with a folk art twist, as well as Justin Morrison's "raw" sculptures and Godeleine de Rosamel's clay pieces. LC
(Chefas Projects, Central Eastside, free, Friday-Saturday)

Nona Faustine: She was a culmination of all things in Heaven and Earth Past Event List
Brooklyn-based photographer Nona Faustine's She was a culmination of all things in Heaven and Earth encompasses a decade of her explorations into "the perseverance and strength of Black life," including selections from her lauded self-portrait series White Shoes and the new domestic life series Mitochondria. Of the fresh series, Faustine explains: "I wanted to show the quiet, normal moments of this family of African-American women: our everyday life, our happy moments, our down moments. Mitochondria is a family album, a visual diary of our intimate lives." LC
(lumber room, Pearl District, free, Friday-Saturday)

Pace Taylor: Before the Doors Open Past Event List
In Pace Taylor's 2022 Nationale exhibition Breathe when you need to, the painter developed a warm-hued dialogue with the surrealist gender-nonconforming artist Claude Cahun, exploring the mask as an identity-driven self-preservation tool and domestic spaces as sites for unmasking. Now, in Before the Doors Open, Taylor draws from references to Joan Didion(!) and Shirley Jackson(!!!), reckoning with "self-imposed isolation, agoraphobia, and their cyclical impact on the creative process." The series of framed paintings and smaller watercolors is lush and smooth—previous fans of Taylor's work won't be disappointed. LC
(Nationale, Buckman, free, Friday-Sunday; closing)

Ruined Windows: Jessica Jackson Hutchins with Marley Freeman Past Event List
Jessica Jackson Hutchins's tactile works transform everyday objects into art forms that are both intimately familiar and reverently heightened, and her ambitious, raw, playful style, which runs the gamut from massive sculptural installations to clothing pieces, is easily recognizable. The artist often employs castoff household objects to create her earth-toned, figurative, and vessel-like forms. Her process has expanded since 2016 to include collage-like window pieces in fused glass, and in Ruined Windows, Adams and Ollman showcases glass sculptures created in collaboration with painter Marley Freeman. The exhibition's pièce de résistance is Presence, a 2017 sculpture that blends fused glass with ceramics to create a "rich assemblage of texture, color, light and imagery." LC
(Adams and Ollman, Northwest Portland, free, Friday-Saturday; closing)

Scrapbook Past Event List
In last year's Pathways at Seattle's Winston Wächter Fine Art, Joe Rudko focused on "hyper-specific abstraction" through found photo collages that created curious networks of memory. In Scrapbook, the Washington-based artist continues to pull at the threads of collective memory through Bauhaus-influenced photo collages and sculptures that reference textiles, mosaics, and paintings. I'm intrigued by Rudko's use of found photographs collected from shops, which he layers with scraps of his personal ephemera. LC
(PDX CONTEMPORARY ART, Slabtown, free, Friday-Saturday)

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