Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Portland This Weekend: Feb 3-5, 2023

Downtown Block Party, Hollywood at PDX Showcase, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
February 3, 2023
At the Hollywood at PDX Showcase, the Movie Madness miniplex will screen a short film program that can usually only be seen at the airport. (Movie Madness)
There's nothing better to welcome the weekend with than cheap and cheerful events, and we've got plenty of suggestions, from Downtown Block Party to the Portland Winter Light Festival and from Hollywood at PDX Showcase to Black History Festival NW. For more ideas, check out our top picks 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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Hollywood at PDX Showcase Add to a List
For those who prefer their movie-going sans TSA pat-downs, this special "airport open house" screening should do the trick. Typically, you'd have to head to the Hollywood Theatre's PDX microcinema to catch their rotating selection of local shorts, but this one-night-only screening of their current program will take place at the Movie Madness Miniplex. The spellbinding hour-long selection of Oregon-made films, which includes an experimental doc on Japanese internment in World War II and a heartwarming glimpse of a puppy training program at Coffee Creek Correctional facility, will run on loop, so arrive anytime between 6 and 10 pm.
(Movie Madness, Sunnyside, free)

The Story of a Three-Day Pass Add to a List
Scorched-earth Blaxploitation master Melvin Van Peebles (Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song) made his directorial debut with the '67 film The Story of a Three-Day Pass, based on his own French language novel La Permission. Van Peebles was forced to shoot the film in France due to rampant racism and segregation in Hollywood, but the locale shines on screen as the trailblazing director channels the "brash exuberance" of the French New Wave to explore the intricate dynamics of an interracial relationship.
(Clinton Street Theater, Hosford-Abernethy, $8)


Meet the Winemaker: Kate Norris of Division Winemaking Co. & Gamine Add to a List
Kate Norris of the urban winery Division Winemaking Co. and the Rhone-inspired winemaking project Gamine will pour flights of her signature "delicious wines made for good times," paired with ricotta and marmalade crostini from Sebastiano's Deli.
(Helioterra Winery, Hosford-Abernethy)


Bottom Feeder Fest: Chipped Nail Polish, Gondos, Candy Picnic, Worry Wart, and Katy and the Nullsets Add to a List
Indie pop project Chipped Nail Polish, led by Portland-based singer-songwriter/ukelele player Jill Sullivan, will celebrate the release of their sophomore EP Bottom Feeder alongside local bands including punk trio Gondos, alt-rock outfit Candy Picnic, indie folk soloist Worry Wart, and synth wizard Katy and The Null Sets.
(Alberta Abbey, King, $10-$13)

Male Tears, The Final Sound, and We Are Parasols Add to a List
Exploring themes of morbidity, sexuality, and self-destruction, LA-based duo Male Tears takes inspiration from '80s new wave for their dark and moody synth-pop. They'll play tracks off their 2021 album, Trauma Club, with support from NYC post-punk band The Final Sound, and experimental electro-pop trio We Are Parasols.
(Coffin Club, Buckman, $12-$15)


Ariel Gore Presents the Wayward Writer Add to a List
Journalist, writer, and educator Ariel Gore aims to inspire wordsmiths with her revolutionary new tome, The Wayward Writer: Summon Your Power to Take Back Your Story, Liberate Yourself from Capitalism, and Publish Like a Superstar, which includes interviews with Ursula K. LeGuin, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, and other literary greats. She'll meet in conversation with fellow storytellers Laura Stanfill, Vanessa Veselka, and Leni Zumas.
(Powell's City of Books, Pearl District, Free)

Portfolio Program Reading Series Add to a List
Current participants in IPRC's innovative portfolio program, a yearlong course that centers studies in creative writing, print processes, and more, will read excerpts of their works in progress.
(IPRC, Buckman, free)



National Ice Cream for Breakfast Day Add to a List
National Ice Cream for Breakfast Day might just be the best holiday you're not celebrating—yet. Kate's Ice Cream will sling warm mochi waffles from HeyDay (including buttery maple syrup waffles and chocolate chip whipped cream waffles) alongside ice cream, toppings, and peanut butter and vanilla affogatos, plus free drip coffee from Deadstock.
(Kate's Ice Cream, Boise)


Global Based Presents: Quiero Cumbia ft. Royal Highness, Sonido Dead Steady, Espina Letal, and Backyardmango Add to a List
Quiero Cumbia returns with a night of Latin American grooves and electro-Cumbia beats brought to you by Texas-based DJ duo Royal Highness. Don't miss support from like-minded selectors Sonido Deadsteady, Espina Letal, and Backyardmango.
(Holocene, Buckman, $15)

Jacob Weldon with Aaron McDonnell, Alison Self, and DJ Lowlife Add to a List
This showcase promises to "keep Portland country" with a good old-fashioned honkey-tonk featuring heart-worn tunes from local cowboy Aaron McDonnell, outlaw country-inspired tunes from singer-songwriter Alison Self, and Americana-minded DJ Lowlife.
(The Midnight PDX + The Sïx, Sunnyside, $7-$10)

Yuvees with Blesst Chest and Zookraught Add to a List
Just before they join veteran indie-rock band Quasi on tour, absurdist art-punk outfit Yuvees will play a hometown show alongside experimental project Blesst Chest and "femme-powered" noise rock band Zookraught.
(The Fixin' To, St. Johns, $12)


Dance Craze: Electric Light Outta-Sight Add to a List
Taking inspiration from the Portland Winter Light Festival Add to a List , beloved all-vinyl DJ Action Slacks will deck out the club in light-based decorations for a luminous dance party featuring a trippy mix of futuristic rock, R&B, and electronic tunes from the '60s, '70s, and beyond. Don't show up in a low-wattage get-up; on-theme electrically charged or reflective garb is encouraged (think glitter, chrome, sequins, and battery-powered ensembles).
(The World Famous Kenton Club, Kenton, $10-$20 sliding scale)


Love & Deth V-Day Market Add to a List
Loveable small businesses will pop up with custom Valentine's Day cards, handmade jewelry, baked treats, romantically inclined tarot readings, and other goodies at this Cupid-struck market, so stop by if you're ISO something unexpected for your sweetie.
(Rose City Book Pub, Sabin, free)



World's Hottest Goss: A Comedy Show Add to a 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)


POPS: Portland Oregon Paper Shapers Add to a List
Returning from a three-year pandemic hiatus, the Portland Oregon Paper Shapers (aka POPS) will head to the IPRC for recurring meetups. Bend and crease with the best at the community event, which invites paper-folding experts and the origami-curious to join in for free.
(IPRC, Buckman, free)


Midwinter Chill Add to a List
Music director Greg Homza will be joined by cellist Betsy Goy and pianist Susan McDaniel for an inspiring program of works from Thad Fiscella, Betty Jackson King, Keith Jarrett, Arvo Pärt, John Rutter, and more, designed to lift you out of your mid-winter slump.
(First Presbyterian Church, Southwest Portland, free)



Black History Festival NW Add to a List
With everything from inspiring drag shows to flash mobs, theater, and hip-hop skating planned, Black History Festival NW will celebrate all things Black culture this month. Show up in support of regional Black artists at a free voiceover acting workshop led by Adrienne Livingston on February 4, or scope out the calendar for other happenings throughout the month.
(Various locations, Prices vary, Friday-Sunday)

Portland Winter Light Festival Add to a List
The Portland Winter Light Festival is an after-holiday reminder that the best lights of the year don't illuminate until February. Brighten up from the winter blues with dozens of free art installations and interactive spaces on either side of the Willamette; don't miss the "fire-based sculptures," illuminated bike ride, and 16-foot-tall robot!
(Various locations, free, Friday-Sunday)


Assault on Precinct 13 Add to a List
This fresh restoration of thrill master John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13 brings new life to the cult film, which follows members of a South Central LA gang as they exact revenge on the LAPD for a series of murders. Unexpected alliances form among cops and prisoners at a soon-to-be-shuttered precinct. 
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $8-$10, Friday-Sunday)

Cascade Festival of African Films Add to a 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 likeThe Blue Caftan and You’re My Favourite Place. Live interviews with filmmakers and community conversations round out the exciting cultural event, with opportunities for virtual and in-person viewing. 
(Various locations and virtual, free, Friday-Saturday)

Eraserhead in 35mm Add to a List
In heaven, everything is fine. David Lynch's debut feature cemented the director as an unmatched force in enigmatic, haunting cinema, inspiring endless contemplation over the last 45 years. This 35mm screening will only enhance the gloomy beauty of Eraserhead's black-and-white photography.
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $8-$10, Saturday-Sunday)

Everything Everywhere All at Once Add to a List
If you somehow haven't caught the explosive film that just earned 11 Academy Award nominations, here's your chance. From directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, aka "The Daniels," Everything Everywhere All at Once is a boggling blend of action, sci-fi, and comedy that begins with an unlikely hero: an overworked laundromat owner struggling with her taxes. Michelle Yeoh stars as Evelyn, multiverse explorer, martial arts aficionado, and world saver.
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $8-$10, Friday-Sunday)

Infinity Pool Add to a List
Not all nepo babies spend their lives hanging poolside—Brandon Cronenberg, son of body horror master David Cronenberg, has begun to follow in his cool dad's footsteps, directing visceral, gross-out horror flicks like 2020's Possessor. Fans of The White Lotus will dig his new direction; Infinity Pool soaks up the sun at a pristine beach resort, where two guests encounter a mysterious seductress (played by new fave Mia Goth) and become entwined in a hedonistic puzzle. 
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $7-$10, Friday-Sunday)


Downtown Block Party Add to a List
Kelly's Olympian will host this Sound West Portland block party to celebrate and support downtown businesses while displaying the "rich diversity that beats within our city." The three-day bash will feature Latin DJ duo Dreckig, power-pop trio Shaylee, along with plenty of others.
(Kelly's Olympian, Downtown, $10 per day, Friday-Saturday)


Lunar New Year Add to a List
Lan Su becomes even more colorful for their traditional 16-day Lunar New Year programming, which will celebrate the Year of the Rabbit for 2023. Drop by for cultural performances, festival decorations, craft activities, audio tours, and scavenger hunts, or head to the garden on select evenings Add to a List for shadowy, meditative lantern viewings.
(Lan Su Chinese Garden, Old Town-Chinatown, $0-$14, Friday-Sunday)


Impossible Science LIVE Add to a 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)


Diego Moreno: In My Mind There is Never Silence Add to a List
Staged within domestic spaces, Diego Moreno's work is often imbued with a slightly uneasy calm; the photographer looks closely at how monster protagonists, or panzudos mercedarios, might exist within everyday scenes. Moreno calls upon these characters (pulled from the folklore of La Merced, in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas) to wonder about a "different corporeality" and his own childhood fixation on anomalous figures.
(Blue Sky Gallery, Pearl District, free, Friday-Saturday)

Flowers for Black Elders Add to a 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)

GLEAN 2022 Artist-in-Residence Exhibition Add to a List
As part of the yearly GLEAN program (a partnership between Metro, waste management company Recology, and nonprofit Cracked Pots), artists-in-residence are challenged to create with materials gathered at the Metro Central Transfer Station, aka the dump. This year's participating artists Val Britton, Maddy Dubin, Joshua Sin, Ahuva S. Zaslavsky, and Oregon Poet Laureate Anis Mojgani will share their new works inspired by ecology, memory, consumerism, and more.
(Parallax Art Center, Pearl District, free, Friday-Saturday)

Kevin Bennett Moore: George Add to a List
Inspired by his experience of queerness, Kevin Bennett Moore's George draws from mid-century masculine ideals, enigmatic Americana, and performative gender norms to question how culture has—and hasn't—changed over the decades. Aiming to "create a safe space for the narrative to unfold," the photographer's works in this solo exhibition create subtle subversions with a voyeuristic edge.
(Blue Sky Gallery, Pearl District, free, Friday-Saturday)

Winter Group Exhibition Add to a List
Froelick's group exhibition of works by the gallery's represented artists starts 2023 on a colorful foot, with multimedia offerings by local faves like Emma Gerigscott, Holly Osborne, Rick Bartow, Laurie Danial, Benny Fountain, and others. 
(Froelick Gallery, Pearl District, free, Friday-Saturday)

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