Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Portland This Weekend: Feb 17-19, 2023

Isabeau Waia'u Walker with Night Heron, FINEX Chili & Beer Fest, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
February 17, 2023
PICA's multifaceted program Remembering to Remember: Experiments in Sound kicks off tonight. (Johannes Berger/PICA)
This weekend, brave the frigid February weather for worthy cheap and easy events from Remembering to Remember: Experiments in Sound to FINEX Chili & Beer Fest and from Isabeau Waia'u Walker with Night Heron to A Beat Happening. For more ideas, check out our guide to the top events of the week.

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

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Isabeau Waia'u Walker with Night Heron Past Event List
This exceedingly local show features Portland-based singer-songwriter (and touring member of Y La Bamba) Isabeau Waia'u Walker. Originally from Hawaii, the former high school teacher weaves culture, language, and race into her soothing, powerful, and bright—but gloomy—music. As headliner Waia’u Walker will likely perform songs from her 2022 full-length, Body. Portland pop / R&B group Night Heron are also on the bill, still showing off songs from their excellent most recent album, the 2021 Instructions for the Night. Opening the vibey bill is Portland-based Puerto Rican hip-hop producer Luvjones. PORTLAND MERCURY CONTRIBUTOR JENNI MOORE
(Doug Fir Lounge, Buckman, $15)


Melange: A Queer & POC Variety Show Presents Thiccumz
Past Event List 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. Daizelle D'Ho and Destiny Smokez will host this eleganza evening with performances by Lyta Blunt, Shadowkat, Solangerie, and others. 
(Clinton Street Theater, Hosford-Abernethy, $15)


My Perfectly Valid Objections Past Event List
Mikki Gillette, whose play The Queers made waves last year as the first trans ensemble drama by a trans writer to premiere in Portland, returns with My Perfectly Valid Objections. The tart feminist comedy navigates the ups and downs of dating while trans, and Gillette has chosen the site of many first dates as its performance location: Oblique Coffee Roasters in SE Portland.
(Oblique Coffee Roasters, Kerns, Pay-what-you-can, minimum $15)


Daniel Winkler
Past Event List Mushroom hunters and the myco-curious shouldn't miss Fruits of the Forest, a thorough new tome featuring 200 edible wild mushrooms from the Pacific Northwest. Compiled by lifelong mushroom educator and expert Daniel Winkler, the full-color field guide also includes inventive recipes for bolete quiche, saffron milkcaps, and more. Winkler will stop by Powell's to chat about the edible fungi all around us.
(Powell's City of Books, Pearl District, free)


Mind Song, Curated by Angela Saenz Past Event List
Curated by local painter Angela Saenz, this group exhibition features works by bold and colorful up-and-comers Courtney Knight, Grace Stott, Marcelina Gonzales, and Nia Musiba.
(Chefas Projects, Central Eastside, Free)



Printmaking and Community Gathering with Salomée Souag Past Event List
The Holgate Library may be closed for upgrades and renovations, but that doesn't mean the community can't participate in a fresh vision for the space. Local muralist Salomée Souag will lead this free, family-friendly printmaking session, where participants can make their mark on an original artwork to be displayed in the refreshed library.
(CORE, Lents, free)


Black History Festival NW Past Event List
With everything from inspiring drag shows to flash mobs and theater performances planned, Black History Festival NW will celebrate all things Black culture this month. Show up in support of regional Black artists at a heart-pumping roller skating party on February 18, or scope out the calendar for other happenings throughout the month.
(Urbanite, Slabtown)

India Cultural Event—International Festival of Art Past Event List
Celebrate Indian culture with cooking demos, storytelling, and more at the Lloyd Center over the next two Saturdays. The festival will include an artist interview and display by Indian trans mural group The Aravani Project and D.A.M. (Determined Art Movement) of India, plus dancing, an ancient architecture presentation, and youth performances.
(Lloyd Center, Lloyd District, $4-$12)


The Movie Orgy
Past Event List The opportunity to watch four-and-a-half hours of "meticulously fashioned" bloopers, film clips, newsreels, and commercials for free doesn't come around every day, so don't miss The Movie Orgy, a cinema triumph curated by Gremlins director Joe Dante. The found footage "megamix" serves as both a cultural artifact and a trippy, laugh-inducing mash-up of 16mm greatness.
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, free)

Our Bodies Our Doctors Documentary Viewing Fundraiser
Past Event List Hosted by The American College of Nurse-Midwives Abortion Access Committee, this fundraiser screening of 2019 abortion stigma documentary Our Bodies, Our Doctors will include a Q&A session with filmmaker Janice Haaken, plus snacks and sips, in support of The Northwest Abortion Access Fund. Show up to defend the right to choose.
(TaborSpace, Mount Tabor, By donation)

Pigeon Milk Presents: Primer Past Event List
Touted as "Portland's only live film score band," psychedelic synth trio Pigeon Milk will perform their out-of-this-world musical interpretation of the 2004 indie sci-fi film Primer while it plays behind them on a large projector.
(The 4th Wall PDX, Buckman, $5)

Portland EcoFilm Festival
Past Event List The year-round Portland EcoFilm Festival's ongoing mission to showcase the best in environmental cinema continues on February 18. A two-screening program will include the Italian film Dreams of Glass, which tells the story of a blind protagonist who explores the island of Ventotene alongside scientists and explorers, and Namaste Himalaya, a COVID-19-era tale set in the Nepalese mountains.
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $8-$10)


FINEX Chili & Beer Fest Past Event List
Chefs Luna Contreras of Chelo, Melissa McMillian of Sammich, Aaron Barnett of St. Jack and La Moule, and Shannon Feltus of Mason Hill Cattle will each whip up their own version of a hearty chili, while Pfriem Family Brewers, Xicha Brewing, Fracture Brewing, Great Notion Brewing, Happy Mountain Kombucha, and Pelican Brewing will provide refreshing beverages. Plus, you'll get a chance to win a free FINEX seven-quart Dutch oven and 12-inch skillet.
(Finex Cast Iron Cookware, free)


The Night of Love Jones
Past Event List Keep the romantic Valentine's Day vibes going through the weekend with a night of smooth R&B tunes and sultry slow jams performed by local artists including lil ang, Fahari, M-strange, So Fiya, kidd fresh, and DJ Spazz. Don't forget to dress to impress, this might be your lucky night to meet the one
(Kelly's Olympian, Downtown, $10-$15)

TV Star with Maria DeHart and Caragold Past Event List
Seattle-based five-piece TV Star will head down I-5 with their swirling psych-rock melodies that revive the kaleidoscopic sounds of Paisley Underground heavies like Mazzy Star, Brian Jonestown Massacre, and Spiritualized.  They will be joined by local bedroom pop projectMaria DeHart and indie rock troupe Caragold.
(Show Bar, Buckman, $15)

Unsane with Gaytheist and Rhododendron
Past Event List Blossoming out of New York City in 1988, noise rock outfit Unsane are best known for their tenacious DIY sound that pulls from hardcore, punk, and metal genres. They will reunite once again with support from queercore trio Gaytheist and experimental rockers Rhododendron.
(Mississippi Studios, Boise, $15)


Imposter/Switch #2 Past Event List
Curated by Marissa Rae Niederhauser, and Kennedy Verrett, this quarterly showcase spotlights six artists working in randomly assigned disciplines outside of their typical practices. Experimenting for two weeks, each artist's new work is then spotlit in this public exhibition to "celebrate imposter syndrome" and poke fun at the notion of artistic mastery. This time around, participating artists ara oshin, Chaz Van Queen, Linnea Solveig, dee bustos, Nickalus Lindalë, and Kelly Nesbitt will share their new pieces in clay, performance art, clowning, and more.
(Performance Works NorthWest, Foster-Powell, $5-15 donation)



World's Hottest Goss: A Comedy Show Past Event List
Fans of local comedy and movie theater lobbies will be delighted by Portland's newest recurring laugh fest, which features a rotating fleet of the city's "mediumest comedians" with gags and wisecracks that'll help you beat the Sunday night blues.
(Studio One Theaters, Richmond)


Sea all the Snacks Past Event List
Seaweed might just be the ideal superfood: it's nutrient-dense, umami-rich, and good for the planet. The local group Winter Waters, which celebrates the marine plant as a culinary ingredient, will team up with the event space The Mahonian to host a "tiny farmers market for Oregonians making delightful consumables out of seaweed," with plenty of snacks, cocktails, and seafood. Taste free samples from local vendors like Sauvie Island Shrubs and Blue Siren Shellfish, savor ceviche, oysters, and Oregon albacore tuna, and sip cocktails made with Roku gin.
(The Mahonian, Central Eastside, free)


A Beat Happening Past Event List
This recurring showcase will serves a selection of Portland's best rhyme masters and beatsmiths, offering plenty of innovative grooves, breaking beats, winding loops, and mind-bending remixes. This edition will honor Black History Month with performances from DJ Bryson Wallace, Free Tillman, Just Alfa, Sir Nai, Thoto_Leing, and [E]mpress.
(Lolo Pass, Buckman, free)


Joe Biel in Conversation With Kent Ford
Past Event List Joe Biel’s The Enduring Legacy of Portland's Black Panthers, published by revolutionary local press Microcosm Publishing, tells the story of Portland's Black Panther Party chapter, a grassroots neighborhood activism group that offered a free health clinic and more to the community despite attempts to paint them as violent extremists. Biel will be joined by Kent Ford, a renowned Black Panther Party member who co-founded the city's chapter of the '60s-era Black empowerment organization.
(Powell's City of Books, Pearl District, Free)


Miller Family Museum Free Day
Past Event List Stop by the Portland Art Museum for free on Miller Family Free Day to catch up on the current Native-centered exhibitions, including Dakota Modern: The Art of Oscar Howe and Jeffrey Gibson’s They Come From Fire. (It's a good idea to score your ticket online in advance, but a limited number of tickets will be available for walk-ups.) Indigenous educators Karen Kitchen and Sunshine Guzman will lead storytelling and youth art-making sessions alongside presentations and activities by Future Generations Collaborative, a local organization supporting those impacted by fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs).
(Portland Art Museum, South Park Blocks, free)



Feel the Love Discount Days Past Event List
Moshu's furry ears are basically a visual hug, so feel the love at Oregon Zoo this weekend and take advantage of their half-off admission promotion ($12/person). Online reservations are required, so get your paws on tickets in advance—it's what baby Maple would want.
(Oregon Zoo, Washington Park, $12, Saturday-Sunday)


A Long Road to Travel: The Service of Japanese American Soldiers During World War II Past Event List
This collaborative exhibition, created by the Japanese American Museum of Oregon and the History Museum of Hood River County, centers over 400 Japanese American (Nisei) soldiers from Oregon who served in the US military during World War II. While many of their relatives were incarcerated in internment camps, these soldiers served overseas and faced intense prejudices. Make time to learn more about them in observance of the Day of Remembrance.
(Japanese American Museum of Oregon, Old Town-Chinatown, $0-$8, Saturday-Sunday; opening)


Afrofuturist Double Feature
Past Event List Strap on your space helmets! Directed by John Coney, the Sun Ra-penned pioneering Afrofuturist science fiction film Space is the Place will kick off this intergalactic double feature, followed by John Akomfrah's searing '96 cinematic essay The Last Angel of History.
(Fifth Avenue Cinema, Downtown, $0-$7, Friday-Sunday)

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 DRC drama Juwaaand imaginative Kenyan film Baba. Live interviews with filmmakers and community conversations round out the exciting cultural event, with opportunities for virtual and in-person viewing. 
(Every day, through Mar 4, Free)

Live Action Oscar Nominated Short Films
Past Event List These brief but spellbinding stories have made an impression on the Academy. Predict the winners at separate screenings of the nominated films in live action, animation, and documentary categories. Standouts include Ivalu, a meditative, icy tale based on a graphic novel set in Greenland's tundra, and Le Pupille, an inventive tale co-produced by Alfonso Cuarón and set in a Catholic boarding house during World War I.
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $7-$10, Friday-Sunday)

Malcolm X
Past Event List Denzel Washington electrifies the screen in Spike Lee's '92 biopic Malcolm X. The sweeping film, which Roger Ebert deemed "one of the great screen biographies," tells the story of the legendary Black Nationalist leader with nuance and insight, tracing the course of his life from his early experiences of white supremacy to his conversion to Islam and ground-shaking activist work. 
(Clinton Street Theater, Hosford-Abernethy, $8, Saturday-Sunday)


Impossible Science LIVE
Past Event List Jason Latimer blends physics and chemistry with masterful illusions to make STEM fun and keep audiences guessing. The master magician will walk through solid matter, bend light, and create objects from water in this hour-long live performance, so bring your skepticism and you might learn a few new scientific concepts (or just have your mind blown).
(OMSI, Central Eastside, $12-$14, Saturday-Sunday)


Flowers for Black Elders
Past Event List Organized by City of Portland artists-in-residence Onry and Joni Whitworth (founder of Future Prairie), Flowers for Black Elders is a multimedia oral history and financial reparations project that honors those who have mentored Onry, one of the only Black male professional opera singers in the region. The project is comprised of portraits and oral history interview recordings by Whitworth that "challenge the predominantly white and able-bodied art scene...[and] address gentrification in Portland." Participating musicians include Mel Brown, Alonzo Chadwick, Libretto Jackson, Derrick McDuffy, and Saeeda Wright.
(Nationale, Buckman, free, Friday-Sunday)

Laura Burke: Bright Blue His Jacket Is, and His Boots Are Yellow Past Event List
Brooklyn-based artist Laura Burke's first solo show centers the artist's interest in fairy tales, imagined through scenes of household objects and natural elements imbued with "subtle magic." (The show's title, Bright Blue His Jacket Is, and His Boots Are Yellow, is a Tom Bombadil quote from The Fellowship of the Ring.) Get swept up in the enchantment at the opening reception on February 17.
(Chefas Projects, Central Eastside, free, Friday-Saturday; opening)

Remembering to Remember: Experiments in Sound
Past Event List Curated by Roya Amirsoleymani and Felisha Ledesma, Remembering to Remember: Experiments in Sound (named after a Pauline Oliveros quote, natch) includes live performances, workshops, multichannel compositions, and video works at the cutting edge of experimental sound and moving image art. An exhibition with works by contemporary tastemakers like Crystal Quartez, Nyokabi Kariũki, Synth Library Portland, Takashi Makino, and others will set the scene. In February and March, visitors can take part in workshops on multi-channel sound compositions, outdoor "soundwalking", and collaboration, or enjoy live performances by Lucy Liyou, Hiro Kone, Sholeh Asgary, and others.
(PICA, Eliot, Free, Friday-Sunday; opening)

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