Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Portland This Weekend: Feb 23-25, 2024

Turn! Turn! Turn! 10th Anniversary Benefit Bash, Celebrating Bob Moore, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
February 23, 2024
Turn! Turn! Turn! 10th Anniversary Benefit Bash will include performances from Roselit Bone, Stephen Malkmus, and more. (Roselit Bone via Facebook)
It's the weekend—you deserve to take a load off, and your wallet deserves a break, too. Achieve the perfect balance of fun and frugal with events from Turn! Turn! Turn! 10th Anniversary Benefit Bash to a Celebration of Bob Moore's Life and Legacy and from a Agate and Mineral Show at OMSI to PICA's new exhibition Policing Justice.

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Dirty Dancing with Dance Lessons Past Event List
Nobody puts Baby in a corner, y'all! Head to Tomorrow Theater to watch Frances “Baby” Houseman fall in love with a Catskills camp dance instructor, but wear something dance-friendly: Attendees will be encouraged to learn some sick salsa moves pre-show with seasoned instructor Rick Davis of Dance Well Schools. LC
(Tomorrow Theater, Richmond, $15)

Fantasy A Gets a Mattress Past Event List
If you've spent any amount of time in Seattle, you may have spotted the fliers created by Fantasy A, aka Seattle's "Autistic Undisputed King of Hustle," plastered all over the city—he's become something of a local legend there, and his music was covered by The Stranger back in 2015. The creativity continues: Fantasy's major motion picture stars (who other than?) himself, and charts his challenges as he attempts to become a superstar and acquire a mattress. Relatable! Fantasy Gets A Mattress won the Best Narrative Feature award at the Seattle Black Film Festival. LC
(Clinton Street Theater, Hosford-Abernethy, $10)


Indie Sleaze Nite: Dance Till You're Dead Past Event List
Indie sleaze is back, didn't ya hear? Dig the American Apparel items out of your closet and D.A.N.C.E. the night away to a blend of 2000s indie rock, indietronica, and garage rock. Think Crystal Castles, MGMT, the Strokes, Sleigh Bells, and other favorites from your high school iPod. AV
(Polaris Hall, Humboldt, $12)

Snap! Y2K: Star-Crossed Lovers’ Ball Past Event List
Live out your Leo DiCaprio/Claire Danes fantasy with Star-Crossed Lovers, a costume ball inspired by Baz Luhrmann's 1996 film, Romeo + Juliet. Dance to a mix of '90s throwbacks and songs from the soundtrack while dressed as your favorite character. Plus, the evening promises a special drag interpretation of Mercurio's performance in the film. AV
(Holocene, Buckman, $10)


Beautifica 360 Past Event List
Beautifica 360 is a bit difficult to pin down. Promotional materials describe the 360° immersive experience as a "euphoric journey" through "mind-blowing constellations [and] fantastical landscapes." It's pitched as both the perfect date night and a family-friendly affair. Also, it was designed by a guy who looks like this. Our advice? Pop an edible and enjoy the show, whatever it may be. LC
(OMSI, Central Eastside, $12+)

Ruby Rocket, Private Detective Past Event List
If you get a kick out of physical comedy and improvised noir, zany gumshoe Ruby Rocket is great at what she does—until she isn't. This calamity of a comedy stars Stacey Hallal (a "genuine talent," according to the Oregonian) alongside Portland's wackiest improvisers. Ruby's story will blaze to life with multimedia elements and classic noir storytelling, so I'm hoping for smoky alleyways and gals in dark sunglasses. LC
(Curious Comedy Theater, King, $10-$18)



Believe in Ukraine Past Event List
The Ukrainian Foundation gathers in Pioneer Courthouse Square this weekend to mark the 10th anniversary of the Russian occupation of Crimea and the second anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Join together to raise awareness and stand in solidarity with the group, which provides aid to refugees and aims to create a future of "Ukrainian victory, liberation, Ukrainians returning home and rebuilding." SL
(Pioneer Courthouse Square, Downtown, free)


Leave Your Troubles at The Door Past Event List
This interactive comedy show wants to help you feel better about your daily struggles. Aww, thanks, comedy show! Audience members will be prompted to jot down their woes on slips of paper before the performance. Comedians will then draw them from a box, using the audience's unique problems to create an improvised set. Don't worry, they're not really laughing at your expense—it's more like a rare moment of catharsis, where you'll chuckle at the batshittery of your own life alongside a bunch of strangers. If that sounds like your bag, don't miss it. LC
(Integrity Brewing, South Portland, $15)


Celebrating Bob Moore's Life and Legacy Past Event List
If you have even a passing familiarity with whole grains, it's likely you've seen Bob Moore's kindly face beaming up at you in the grocery store. The founder of the ubiquitous artisanal grain empire Bob's Red Mill passed away in his Milwaukie home earlier this month. The business's brick-and-mortar store will commemorate his life with a complimentary oatmeal buffet and live music performances. Share your condolences or favorite memories at a card station. JB
(Bob's Red Mill Whole Grains Store & Vistors Center, Milwaukie, free)

Portland Diary Summit Past Event List
Organized by "daily videomaker" Julie Perini, this day-long summit sounds like any writer's dream: The gathering is "for anyone who considers journaling and daily life documenting to be therapeutic, sacred, liberatory, a path to the unconscious or otherwise of interest." They'd have to pay me not to show up to this thing. It'll kick off with a writing workshop led by lifelong diarist and songwriter Cynthia Nelson, followed by "diary film" screenings at the Hollywood Theatre curated by Perini, Saint Piñero, and Sage Ó Tuama, and a "diary feast" (with Kate Bingaman-Burt's art on display!) at the colorful new-ish cocktail bar Dear Sandy. LC
(Various locations, free)


NIGHT OF 1000… SWAYZES // Point Break with Masks Past Event List
Surf's up! Kathryn Bigelow's SoCal criminal classic was actually shot in Cannon Beach, not Australia. Who knew?! When federal agent Johnny Utah goes undercover to investigate some bizarre bank robberies, he infiltrates a wave-loving crime gang led by the effortlessly tanned Patrick Swayze. Utah (played by Keanu Reeves) finds himself in a pickle when he falls in love with a female friend of the gang. By the way, Tomorrow Theater wants to know whether you're team Swayze or team Keanu—attendees can grab masks with either actor's face to show off their spirit. LC
(Tomorrow Theater, Richmond, $15)

Stop Making Sense Remind List
Calling it now: If you've seen Stop Making Sense, it's probably your favorite concert film. It's jangly and arty and all of the other words one might use to describe Talking Heads's catalog, and David wears the suit. Not feeling the Byrne? Listen, I know watching a concert movie for a band you don't listen to sounds like hell, but this one might be an exception. If you haven't seen it yet, anticipate looking back on the experience with a funny fondness later, like a good birthday party or the first time you smoked weed. Jonathan Demme (yes, the guy who went on to make The Silence of the Lambs) recorded all of the concert footage over the course of three days at Hollywood's Pantages Theatre in 1983, during the height of the Heads' visionary fame. It's screening in a new restoration, so prep for a "once in a lifetime" experience. LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $10-$12)


Jakki and the Pink Smudge Past Event List
Named after frontperson Jakki Wise’s lipstick (that always ends up on her mic), Jakki and the Pink Smudge is an indie fuzz-rock band based in Portland who made their debut in 2020, with eight-track EP GingerBroad. Now gearing up to release a new single called “I Go On Walks,” on January 31, Wise explained the extremely literal song title and some process behind the song in a release that accompanied the announcement. “I take daily long walks to relax and reflect on my thoughts and current events,” she wrote. Wise often draws lyrics from the walks, and with “I Go On Walks,” recorded instrumentals after one such jaunt. When the band played a fashion show the following day, Wise “recorded the models’ footsteps on gravel and crowd clapping,” for the track. Wise also mixed and mastered it, along with making a stop-motion video. On February 24, the band will play a show at Swan Dive, giving fans a chance to come hear 2020 single “Precious,” and 2023 singles “Hold My Bag,” the “Shutup Fuckup,” and “Hugh Glue”—a song about falling in love with the boy who eats glue. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch their wonderful ongoing shtick, Jakki Wise playing guitar and singing lead from atop her bandmates’ shoulders. PORTLAND MERCURY CONTRIBUTOR JENNI MOORE
(Swan Dive, Buckman, $10)



Queer Movie Night Remind List
On the fourth Sunday of each month, Fuse Theatre Ensemble screens a pay-what-you-can film fave from the queer cinema canon, then follows the flick with a trivia session and discussion. (If you're interested in the "evolution of the depiction of LGBTQIA+ characters over the last 50 years," you've found your people!) This time around, they'll screen Pariah, about a young lesbian in Brooklyn's Fort Greene neighborhood. LC
(Back Door Theater, Sunnyside, Pay-what-you-can)

The Night of The Hunter in 35mm Past Event List
Night of the Hunter captures the simmering horror of an old fairy tale with an eerie sense of humor. Director Charles Laughton's psychological masterwork follows a batshit traveling preacher with knuckle tattoos who unleashes hell on a sensitive widow and her children. The expressionist flick, which stars film noir player Robert Mitchum and iconic Hollywood mainstay Lillian Gish, is a must-see for any Letterboxd member—it continued to influence cinema auteurs like the Coen brothers and Spike Lee for decades after its release. This screening will be introduced by film historian Foster Hirsch, author of Hollywood and the Movies of the Fifties. (Attendees can grab signed copies of the book in the lobby.) LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $10-$12)


Poppy Shop Pop-Up Past Event List
My perfect Sunday morning starts with some pastries and coffee—maybe yours does too? If so, scoop up some plant-based treats, including scones, buns, muffins, cake slices, cookies, and more, as well as drip coffee and cold brew, from the pop-up Poppy Shop. JB
(Zuckercreme, Montavilla)


Nunce Siempre Presents: Afro Punk Night Past Event List
Back in the early '70s, three brothers from Detroit were playing speedy, heavy rock music years before "punk" was cemented as a genre. Those brothers called themselves Death, and it took decades for the world to hear their enigmatic sound—thanks to the 2012 documentary, A Band Called Death. In honor of Black History Month, Lollipop Shoppe will pay tribute to punk music's roots in Black culture with a screening of the documentary after an Afro-punk-focused DJ set from DJs Espina Letal and Dissolve. AV
(Lollipop Shoppe, Buckman, free)


Paperback Exchange Past Event List
If you're looking for a new book but want to avoid feeding the capitalist machine, we recommend grabbing a book of yours and heading over to Honeyed Words to swap it for a book well-loved by someone else in the community. You can even leave a little note in the book you’re gifting about what it means to you to share with its new owner. There will be comfy seating and lowkey tunes if you want to read a bit before choosing a book to take home. Daylight saving time is still a few weeks away, so I'm relishing in the early dark to cozy up and do some reading. SL
(Honeyed Words, Kerns, free)



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
(PCC Cascade, free, Friday-Saturday)

Drive-Away Dolls Past Event List
A Margaret Qualley-fronted flick directed by Ethan Coen? Okayyyy, I'm listening. Drive-Away Dolls stars Qualley and Geraldine Viswanathan as two friends aiming to "loosen up" by driving to Tallahassee. (This was their first mistake—trust me, I'm from Florida.) The pair meet up with a bunch of idiot criminals, and things spiral from there. One Letterboxd reviewer deemed the film a "zippy queer joyride," and they weren't kidding—the best thing about Drive-Away Dolls might be its tight 84-minute runtime. Take notes, Christopher Nolan. LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $10-$12, Friday-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)


Agate and Mineral Show Past Event List
Calling all rock enthusiasts! Celebrate 73 years of the Oregon Agate and Mineral Society's fancy rock show at OMSI this weekend with hands-on activities and interactive demos. Watch as trained professionals use the "big saw" to cut slabs, form shapes, and create designs before following up with an intricate polishing process that makes them shine. Dozens of exhibitors from the Northwest will be showcasing a wide array of cabochons, or "cut, shaped, and polished rocks." Proceeds from the show will be donated to OMSI’s Hancock Field Station in the John Day River Valley, a fossil-rich area prime for educating budding geologists. SL
(OMSI, Central Eastside, free, Friday-Sunday)


Turn! Turn! Turn! 10th Anniversary Benefit Bash Past Event List
Neighborhood music venue and community space Turn! Turn! Turn! will celebrate their 10th anniversary with a jam-packed weekend of live music. Friday will kick off with experimental composer Sir Richard Bishop (of Sun City Girls) followed by indie rock god Stephen Malkmus (of Pavement) on Saturday, and jazz ensemble Grand Style Orchestra on Sunday. All proceeds will benefit Turn! Turn! Turn!'s Alive and Insured fund, a campaign to help the venue get on its feet again after nearly shutting down last year. AV
(Turn! Turn! Turn!, Humboldt, Sliding Scale $10-$25, Friday-Sunday)


Lauren Yee Festival Past Event List
Playwright à la mode Lauren Yee, who wove together immigrant narratives and music-led comedy in Young Americans and Cambodian Rock Band, will be celebrated at this three-day festival. I'm a big fan of Yee's dramaturgical sensibility, which often seeks to reclaim forgotten or overlooked histories. (She's also slated to pen the musical adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time, so expect to see her name again!) The fest will include three enhanced staged readings of Lauren’s plays Mother RussiaSamsara, and The Song of Summer, plus a panel discussion and closing night party.
(Imago Theatre, Buckman, $0-$10, Friday-Sunday)

Spotlight: A Family Arts Festival Past Event List
The Northwest Children's Theater (NWCT) waved goodbye to its longtime home on NW Everett Street in 2022 and opened the doors to its new facility, the Judy Kafoury Center for Youth Arts (aka The Judy), on SW Broadway last spring. The new-ish location expands on the organization’s mission with increased performance space, an on-site maker space, and more. If you're living life with kiddos in tow, the Judy is a no-brainer. Drop by this weekend to scope out the improved space, jam along with fam-friendly performers like Kids Junk Orchestra, Mo Phillips, and Corazones Alegres Ballet Folklórico, and connect with local organizations. LC
(The Judy Kafoury Center for Youth Arts, Downtown, $10-$15, Saturday-Sunday)


Black Artists of Oregon Convening Past Event List
Investigating Black arts stewardship, collecting, and caretaking practices in connection with the museum's current exhibition Black Artists of Oregon, this day-and-a-half sliding-scale convening will include panel discussions, lectures, and performances tailored to Black institution-building and nurturing Black art talent. I'm excited about the curatorial talk by Intisar Abioto and the artist panel discussion hosted by the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art. (After the convening, why not check out PICA's new exhibition Policing Justice?) LC
(Portland Art Museum, Southwest Portland, Sliding scale, Saturday-Sunday)

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; 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; closing)

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; closing)

Policing Justice Remind List
Guest curated by University of Oregon associate professor Nina Amstutz and local social design artist Cleo Davis, Policing Justice probes Portland's policing practices and their relationship to "longer local and national histories of oppression." The exhibition centers Portland artists who have seen and documented police brutality, including the George Floyd protests, and includes commissioned installations by Don't Shoot Portland, Michael Bernard Stevenson Jr., Cleo Davis, Kayin Talton Davis, and others. Works on loan by Alfredo Jaar, Sandy Rodriguez, and Carrie Mae Weems lend a wider scope to the exhibition, and Forensic Architecture's video installation details an investigation into PPB's use of tear gas during the 2020 protests. Show up for abolition and take part in one of the exhibition's several accompanying programs, including a community conversation symposium, a series of film screenings at the Clinton Street Theater, and an ethical visual storytelling workshop. LC
(PICA, Eliot, free, Friday-Sunday; opening)

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