Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Portland This Weekend: Feb 9–11, 2024

Lunar New Year at Kolectivo, Birds for Gaza Portland, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
February 9, 2024
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Snag a gift for your sweetheart at the Valentine's Day edition of the Portland Night Market. (Portland Night Market via Facebook)
This weekend, your only problem will be deciding which of these thrifty-and-nifty events to spend your time at. Read on for all of your options, from Lunar New Year at Kolectivo to the Birds for Gaza Portland art installation and from the Portland Winter Light Festival to the Valentine's Day edition of the Portland Night Market. For more ways to spend your weekend, check out our guide to the top events of the week and our Super Bowl watch party calendar

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


FRIDAY

COMEDY

Slumber Party Remind List
Throw on your bunny slippers and beg your mom to give you a ride to Kickstand's Slumber Party, a jumbo bag of gummy bears in the form of improvised sleepover scenes. Kickstand CVLT members Jones Pitsker, Lauren Sigler, Steven Marocco, Jerilyn Armstrong, and others will team up for the hormone-raging nostalgia fest—expect prank calls, Truth or Dare sessions, and Phish Food binges. I'm bringing my e-Kara. LC
(Kickstand Comedy, Ladd's Addition, $15 or Pay-What-You-Can)

COMMUNITY

POWER UP! Past Event List
Youth of all ages are invited to this free LGBTQ2SIA+ program inspired by the Portland Art Museum's current exhibitions Africa Fashion and Black Artists of Oregon. Queer youth and allies can view the artworks, "manifest their unique superhero" with comic artist Rupert Kinnard, join a drag workshop with Portland's premier glamour clown Carla Rossi, speak their truth at an open mic, and build community alongside other art lovers. LC
(Portland Art Museum, Southwest Portland, free)

LIVE MUSIC

Lizzie No Past Event List
Rising folk singer, songwriter, harpist, and podcaster Lizzie No will have you saying "Lizzie YES" with tracks from her new album Halfsies. The album echoes its title with tales of paradoxes, compromises, and grey areas. The album is half-folk, half-indie rock; half-personal, half-universal; half-contemporary, half-traditional. She finds life's glorious midpoints and lingers there, reminding us that we can have everything all at once. She will be joined by local alt-country singer-songwriter Kasey Anderson. AV
(Polaris Hall, Humboldt, $15)

Yuma Abe Past Event List
Tokyo-based singer-songwriter Yuma Abe is regularly compared to Mac Demarco, which I think is odd, given that Demarco is so clearly derivative of proto-punk legend Jonathan Richman. I'd rather cut to the chase and give credit where it's due; Abe and Richman share the knack of breezy, sincere, unpretentious pop songwriting (no shade to you, Mr. Demarco). Abe's new mini-album, Surprisingly Alright, welcomes '60s-’70s Wamono-style grooves and Brazilian rhythms for fifteen minutes of pure pop bliss. If you're looking for a feel-good album to get you through the final days of winter, this is it! AV
(Mississippi Studios, Boise, $15)

LUNAR NEW YEAR

Enthea Teahouse Celebrates Lunar New Year Past Event List
The Brooklyn tea destination Enthea will host a "speakteasy" and plant-based potluck. Bring your signature show-stopping vegan dish, be it peanut stew or Tex-Mex casserole, for a gathering from 6-7, then enjoy some tea and a contemplative discussion of what the year of the Wood Dragon has in store from 7-10 pm. JB
(Enthea Teahouse, Brooklyn, $10)

READINGS & TALKS

American Artist Lecture Past Event List
American Artist, who legally changed their name back in 2013, will visit PNCA for a talk on their body of work and the "conceptual ties that inform their practice as an interdisciplinary artist." Artist, who's currently a core faculty member at Yale, creates wide-reaching work in sculptural, software, and video forms, investigating race, technological histories, and knowledge production. I'm hoping that this talk, co-presented with the Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies, digs into Artist's eerie recent piece Security Theater. LC
(PNCA, Pearl District, free)

VALENTINE'S DAY

Galentine's Party Past Event List
For me, the best part of February is showering all my girlfriends and gal pals with love. Get your group chat together IRL for a night of dancing, craft cocktails, and throwback board games. Tickets include a pair of heart sunglasses and a DIY friendship bracelet bar (gotta start preparing for another T Swift tour after her album announcement). I'm realizing I might need to unpack some of the things I absorbed playing Girl Talk and Mall Madness growing up (no wonder "sale at the shoe store" gets my heart pumping), but one night of nostalgia can't hurt, right? SL
(Punch Bowl Social, Downtown, $15)

SATURDAY

ACTIVISM & SOCIAL JUSTICE

Birds for Gaza Portland Past Event List
As the siege on Gaza continues, many are feeling the heaviness of the ongoing fight for Palestinian liberation. This community grief event, organized in solidarity with Palestinians, invites participants to craft birds in honor of the children (8,000 and counting) who have been killed in Gaza. This weekend's art installation will display the flock of paper birds created by local participants at workshops over the last month. The event will also feature student speakers, poets, and a Palestinian documentary screening. LC
(Alder Commons, Beaumont-Wilshire, free)

COMEDY

Kickstand Comedy Presents: Power Hour Improv featuring XXY Past Event List
Thirst murderers Liquid Death will serve up free cans of H2O all night for Kickstand Comedy's Power Hour Improv, in which the audience and the on-stage improvisers will be required to take a sip every minute, on the minute, for the entire show. (2024 got ya dehydrated? This one's for you.) The lineup includes a stacked lineup of ten local comics and some "secret, out-of-town special guests," and local drag boy band superstars XXXY will deliver a halftime show for the gods. LC
(Kickstand Comedy, Ladd's Addition, $15)

FILM

Memphis with Yawa Performance Past Event List
Tim Sutton's 2013 drama Memphis tells the story of an eccentric singer (played by IRL musician Willis Earl Beal) who floats through the titular city seeking self-discovery. The film has been hailed for its quiet intensity, with Variety calling it "digressive" and "daringly experimental." The film will be accompanied by a live performance from Memphis-born artist Yawa, whose genre-bending sound ranges from jazz to hip-hop to electronic. AV
(Tomorrow Theater, Richmond, $15)

Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song Past Event List
In the 1980s, my film professor assigned us Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, auteur Melvin Van Peebles’s low-budget, avant-garde, proto-Blaxploitation film. My main memory is of Van Peebles running away from the “pigs” to the extraordinary, kinetic funk of pre-hit-making Earth, Wind & Fire while wearing gold velvet trousers. It’s a motif that sticks with you. The plot—wherein Sweetback (MVP), a brothel sex show performer who gets trapped in a convoluted scheme involving a Black Panther, tries to escape US authorities by crossing into Mexico—is less important than the fantastic soundtrack, the sex and fight scenes, and the sensation of Black men beating the system while looking fly. STRANGER CONTRIBUTOR DAVE SEGAL
(Clinton Street Theater, Hosford-Abernethy, $10)

LIVE MUSIC

PSU Orchestra: A Valentine Celebration Past Event List
Show your loved one how much you adore them with a date to the PSU Orchestra's annual Valentine concert. Conducted by the accomplished Ken Selden, the ensemble will perform an adventurous program of lovestruck tunes from Ravel, Takemitsu, Clara Schumann, and the Mamas and the Papas. Go on, dedicate it to the one you love! AV
(Mission Theater, Northwest Portland, $10 - $15)

LUNAR NEW YEAR

Lunar New Year at Kolectivo Past Event List
The event space Kolectivo will present a community fundraiser with a collaborative food and drink menu provided by some of Portland's favorites, including Heyday, Matta, Sunrice, and Portland Cà Phê. Plus, look forward to AAPI vendors and games for kids and adults. Proceeds from sliding scale donations will go towards future community-centric programming from Kolectivo. JB
(Kolectivo, Hosford-Abernethy, free)

Lunar New Year Celebration Past Event List
Since the Year of the Dragon represents strength and progress, it seems appropriate that the Sports Bra, the nation's first bar dedicated to celebrating women's achievements in athletics, will go all out for the holiday. Enjoy themed food and drink specials, mooncakes from HeyDay, and a lion dance performance from White Lotus. JB
(The Sports Bra, Sullivan's Gulch)

PARTIES & NIGHTLIFE

Tropitaal Desi Latino Soundclash with DJ Anjali, The Incredible Kid, and Loco Boyz Club Past Event List
Latin American tropical sounds blend (or as the hosts describe, "clash") with rhythms from India to create a distinctive sound that perfectly soundtracks this recurring dance party. This time around, resident selectors Anjali & The Incredible Kid will spin genre-blending sets that focus on Latin, Caribbean, and South Asian music alongside Latin EDM DJ duo Loco Boyz Club. AV
(Goodfoot, Kerns, $12)

READINGS & TALKS

Love And Biology Past Event List
Why are asses sort of heart-shaped? How do animals decide on their hook-up partners? And why are you still, despite your best judgment, attracted to fill-in-their-name-here?! University of Portland's biology professors will answer your most puzzling sex- and reproduction-related questions at this pre-Valentine's Day shindig, which should appeal to the nerdiest and horniest among us. Your $10 donation will support University of Portland students, and attendees can grab a free mocktail before they learn about the birds and the bees. LC
(University of Portland, North Portland, free)

SHOPPING

Spectrum Winter Art Market Past Event List
Add some sparkle to these wintry days at the Spectrum Art Market—after all, Mardi Gras is on Tuesday! Support local LGBTQ2SIA+ artists and vendors by purchasing creations like ceramics, home decor, accessories, and retro-reflective wear, all of which should help add some oomph to your home and person in these dreary winter months. Art demos will be happening throughout the day, giving a behind-the-scenes look at how different crafts are made. SL
(Lloyd Center, Lloyd District, free)

SUNDAY

FESTIVALS

Fastelavn: Nordic Kids Carnival Past Event List
With the recent weather, we're not sure if it's false spring or real spring, but we're always looking for a reason to celebrate emerging from the winter darkness. In Danish culture, this transition is marked by a celebration called Fastelavn, and Nordic Northwest is marking the occasion with an afternoon of traditional crafts, games, snacks, and a costume contest! Festivities include decorating birch twigs (fastelavnsris), whacking a barrel full of candy, and singing the Fastelavn song about delicious cream-filled pastries (fastelavnsboller), which will also be available to try. SL
(Nordic Northwest, Metzger, $5-$10)

FILM

Mambar Pierrette with Habiba Addo Performance Past Event List
Presented in partnership with the Cascade Festival of African Films, this screening of Rosine Mbakam's 2023 docudrama Mambar Pierrette (which follows a seamstress and single mother in Douala) will include a performance piece by teaching artist Habiba Addo, whose work serves as a "window to ancient and contemporary African artistry and culture." Following the film, Botswana-born visiting filmmaker Mmakgosi Anita Tau, who directed For Them That Prey, will offer a 30-minute discussion. "Mbakam’s instincts as a documentarian are put to good use in this unique character study," says Tomorrow Theater, which "foregrounds common struggles and bonds among women in Africa, too often overlooked in mainstream cinema." LC
(Tomorrow Theater, Richmond, free)

Sundance Shorts Past Event List
No need to head to Park City to experience the independent magic of Sundance—this curated collection of seven short films from the 2023 festival (including two festival award-winning flicks) feels like the real thing. Sundance's short film program often foretells later success, with past featured directors including Jay and Mark Duplass, Damien Chazelle, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Todd Haynes, Lynne Ramsay, and Taika Waititi, so who knows—you might bear witness to future greatness. LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $9)

FOOD & DRINK

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)

PERFORMANCE

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+)

MULTI-DAY

FESTIVALS

Portland Winter Light Festival: What Glows Under Pressure Past Event List
The Portland Winter Light Festival is an after-holiday reminder that the best lights of the year aren’t illuminated until February. Brighten up from the winter blues with the ninth edition of the fully lit fest, which includes various free art installations on either side of the Willamette on a deep sea, bioluminescent theme this year. (You'll find art pieces inspired by coral, jellyfish, and more.) The "Glowing Under Pressure" theme encourages attendees to "explore the wonders and dangers of the deep," which "reminds us of our own insignificance in the face of nature's forces." Sound, like, kinda scary? Never fear. Just head to the disco fungus, or Tomorrow Theater's celebratory screening of TRON, which will include an electro-luminescent performance of Rainbow Dance Theatre's iLUMiDance. LC
(Various locations, free, Friday-Saturday)

FILM

34th Annual Cascade Festival of African Films Remind 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-Sunday)

Paprika Past Event List
Anime Expo Cinema Nights will present this flick by psychotropic anime and manga auteur Satoshi Kon. In Paprika (screened here in Japanese with English subtitles), a wacky new piece of technology allows therapists to observe the dreams of their patients. The gadget's creator, Dr. Atsuko Chiba, also moonlights as a "dream detective" named Paprika—cool job alert—but when the device is stolen by a "dream terrorist," nightmares and reality begin to merge. Paprika has been widely acknowledged as one of cinema's best animated films, and the flick reportedly inspired Christopher Nolan's Inception. LC
(Cinema 21, Nob Hill, $9-$11, Friday-Saturday)

Poor Things Past Event List
Real Lanthimos heads know that he doesn't direct anything without dystopic, black comedy underpinnings and plotlines that make audiences ponder why they're on the planet at all. He is weird, as directors should be, and you're either in or you're out. This time around, he's adapted a '92 Scottish novel for the screen, painting the picture of a young woman (played by Emma Stone, who is raven-haired and looks charmingly bananas) brought back to life by an unorthodox scientist (played by my famous dad, Willem Dafoe). Best part? Poor Things "saved" my other dad, Mark Ruffalo, from "depressed dad typecasting." Praise be. LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $10-$12, Friday-Sunday)

Studio Ghibli Film Festival Remind 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)

The Zone of Interest Past Event List
If you've been keeping up with A24's films by international directors lately, including solid entries like After Yang and Dream Scenario, you're probably already jazzed for The Zone of Interest, which is a co-production between the US, the UK, and Poland. Filmmaker Jonathan Glazer (who directed the Scarlett Johansson-as-an-extraterrestrial flick Under the Skin) tells the story of a Nazi commandant and his family, who attempt to build a happy life near the Auschwitz concentration camp. Call me presumptuous, but uh, I'm not rooting for them. The film has been shortlisted for Best International Feature at this year's Oscars. LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $10-$12, Friday-Sunday)

FOOD & DRINK

SAVØR: Rose City's Zero Proof Week Past Event List
The app BuzzCutt aims to make it easy to pursue a "sober-curious" lifestyle by displaying nearby bars, restaurants, markets, and grocery stores serving non-alcoholic options. On the heels of Dry January, they're throwing a week-long zero-proof extravaganza in partnership with the Portland Mercury, Dhōs Spirits, and The Sports Bra, with non-alcoholic craft cocktails for $8 at all participating locations.
(Various locations, $8, Friday-Saturday)

SHOPPING

Indigenous Marketplace of Love Past Event List
Struggling with what to buy your loved ones for Valentine's Day? Find the perfect gift while supporting Indigenous- and Black-owned businesses this weekend at Bar Carlo! Native chef Alexa Sital Numkena-Anderson from Javelina will serve Native American comfort food like frybread and wild game, with some surprise dishes in store. On Saturday, find another dozen vendors, plus community tables, snacks, and more at the Southeast Family YMCA. SL
(Bar Carlo, Foster-Powell, free, Friday-Saturday)

Portland Night Market Remind List
The Valentine's Day edition of this quarterly market will feature baby goats (!), blind date with a book, flowers from Wildly Kind, an All the Single Ladies party, and Valentine making along with the usual array of local vendors and food purveyors. JW
(100 SE Alder, Buckman, free, Friday-Saturday)

VISUAL ART

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)

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)

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)

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)

Scrapbook Remind 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)

What Was Lost and What Remains: Marcus Fischer Past Event List
Marcus Fischer's What Was Lost and What Remains closes on February 11, so now's the time to catch it. The Portland-based artist, musician, and 2019 Whitney Biennial contributor collects and transforms sound through layering, site-specific installations, tape loops, and restrained melodies, and he explores generational loss in this exhibition, which has issued a trigger warning for mass shootings and spent bullet shells. The show marks a continuation of Oregon Contemporary's Siteprogram, an exhibition series originally conceived to replace the Portland2021 Biennial during the pandemic. Having successfully hosted solo exhibitions by Natalie Ball, Rick Silva, and Willie Little, Oregon Contemporary opted to establish Site as one of its core ongoing programs. LC
(Oregon Contemporary, Kenton, free, Friday-Sunday; closing)

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