Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Portland This Weekend: Jan 20-22, 2023

Chinese New Year Cultural Fair, Walk the Walk MLK Day of Service, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
January 20, 2023
Join in community with others at the Walk the Walk MLK Day of Service on the St. Johns Bridge. (Love is King via Facebook)
This weekend presents many opportunities for culture, community, and fun on the cheap, from the Chinese New Year Cultural Fair to Walk the Walk MLK Day of Service and from Hey Love Presents: Dolly Parton’s Birthday Brunch to the 75th Annual Rose City Classic Dog Show. For more ideas, check out our top picks of the week or our guide to Lunar New Year.

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

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Shadowgraphs with Peyote Ugly and Nick Normal Add to a List
Portland's Shadowgraphs will serve up an evening of trippy neo-psych, fresh indie rock, and dreamy shoegaze to celebrate their latest self-titled album which grapples with "the changing world and their place in it." Local synth-psych trio Peyote Ugly will join the party along with post-punk project Nick Normal.
(Lollipop Shoppe, Buckman, $11-$13)

The Flow Show Vol. 17 Add to a List
The Flow Show is a monthly hip-hop showcase and open mic to raise money for Portland's Pantry, a local nonprofit that provides food and resources directly to those in need. This week, local MCs Sayu, Atlas, ThirdEyeGoonies, Jae.Joven, Clarke John, Amakae, and many more will flex their skills.
(Alberta Abbey, King, $10)


Sorry for Party Rocking: 2010-2015 Pop & EDM Bangers Add to a List
We are almost far enough away from the 2010s to where the pop music of the period sounds nostalgic and not like dated radio trash. Almost. Embrace the era that brought us neon skinny jeans, nerd glasses, uncle-nephew duo LMFAO, and galaxy print everything at this themed dance party. Neon attire is encouraged!
(Holocene, Buckman, $0-$15)



Lone Wolves: Solo Sketch Comedy Add to a List
The final show at Siren Theater's current location (they're moving to N Mississippi Ave!) will offer a howl of smart, sharp sketch comedy with the return of Lone Wolves, a seasoned local comedy team directed by Shelley McLendon.
(Siren Theater, Old Town-Chinatown, $12-$15)


Cozy Queer Reading Hours Add to a List
At this stage of the winter game, sometimes the SAD lamp just doesn't cut it. Here's a novel idea: snuggle up with books and new queer pals at Sonny's House of Tattoos & Treasures, where Books with Pictures will facilitate an afternoon of queer-friendly reading. Attendees can choose from a selection of comfy, feel-good queer tales and make new pals for literary chats. The whole event evokes the vibe of a cozy cat purr—if you wax nostalgic about the Scholastic Book Fairs of yore, this one's for you.
(Sonny's House of Tattoos and Treasures, Kerns, free)

Walk the Walk MLK Day of Service Add to a List
Join nonprofit organizations Love is King and Forest Park Conservancy in a powerful act of solidarity—community members are invited to walk/march across the St. Johns Bridge in tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s crossing of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. The spirit, work, and words of MLK will be honored through a short presentation on the civil rights movement, Bloody Sunday, and the Selma to Montgomery marches.
(Cathedral Park, St. Johns, free)


Amarcord Add to a List
Fellini's satirical portrayal of '30s fascist Italy reflects on the director's childhood through fantastical vignettes of social conventions, adolescent fantasies, and comical caricatures. Supported by Nina Rota’s warm, nostalgic score, Giuseppe Rottuno’s radiant cinematography, and Danilo Donati’s luxurious costumes and sets, Amarcord won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1975.
(Clinton Street Theater, Hosford-Abernethy, $8)

Vertigo Add to a List
Film historian Elliot Lavine's screening series of Hitchcock favorites continues with Vertigo, the '58 psych-out thriller that changed the film noir playbook. The tale of acrophobia and obsession was ranked second in Sight and Sound's prestigious 2022 poll of The Greatest Films of All Time.
(Cinema 21, Nob Hill, $9)


Latte Art Throwdown Add to a List
Throw on a flannel or babydoll dress and lace up your Doc Martens for this '90s-grunge-themed night hosted in collaboration with Sisters Coffee. Baristas from all over town will show off their espresso prowess.
(The 4th Wall PDX, Buckman, $5)

Ye Olde BarleyWine Festival Add to a List
Barleywine is a particularly potent style of beer, boasting a whopping 6 to 12 percent alcohol by volume. This festival will feature eight different cellared versions of the full-bodied brew, available by the glass or as flights of four for $15 or all eight for $25.
(Imperial Bottle Shop and Taproom, Richmond, $15-$25)


Cherry Cheeks with Collate & Buddy Wynkoop Add to a List
The Portland-via-Orlando project Cherry Cheeks describes their pop-stained punk sound as "Devo hustled up a little bit" with a tinge of Jay Reatard added to the mix. They will support their self-titled debut album alongside art-punk trio Collate and alt-rock band Buddy Wynkoop.
(The Midnight PDX + The SĂŻx, Sunnyside, $7-$10)

Corey Harper Add to a List
In 2019, Mercury writer Jenni Moore wrote: "I first discovered Portland native Corey Harper back in 2016, when he opened for Justin Bieber on the West Coast leg of his “Purpose Tour.” Strapped with a guitar, Harper managed to command and impress an arena full of die-hard beliebers. So when he returned to Portland the following year (he now lives in LA) to play a nearly sold-out show, I decided to slide through and see what his solo concerts were all about. As I stood among a hometown crowd of his loudest fans/friends/family members, I became increasingly smitten with Harper’s understated vocals, blues-affected guitar solos, and the passion he brought to the songs from his On the Run EP, as well as an arsenal of stellar covers." Harper will return to town with tracks from his new album, Future Tense, after an opening set from like-minded singer-songwriter Emmanuel Franco.
(Doug Fir Lounge, Buckman, $14)


Chinese New Year Cultural Fair Add to a List
2023 is here! This year's Chinese New Year Cultural Fair calls in the Year of the Rabbit with a traditional lion dance, Chinese instrumental tunes, elegant calligraphy sessions, martial arts demos, and more.
(Oregon Convention Center, Lloyd District, $8)


Epic Shorts: Sea Change Add to a List
Pacific Northwest playwrights Valerie Asbell, Nancy Campbell, Tim Krause, John McDonald, Raven Thornton, Scott Stolnack, and Mia Tierney will debut juried 10-minute plays for this showcase, performed by the Sea Change ensemble. Each work responds to the theme of “sea change,” so prepare to explore the roiling waters of displaced mermen, lost ships, and more. 
(CoHo Theater, Northwest Portland, $15)


Surviving Japanese American Incarceration Add to a List
Joni Kimoto, a World War II Japanese internment camp survivor, will share her story alongside her granddaughter Lauren Yoshiko Terry. After the talk, they'll facilitate a discussion on Everybody Reads 2023 Add to a List featured novel A Tale for the Time Being, penned by author and Zen Buddhist priest Ruth Ozeki.
(Japanese American Museum of Oregon, Old Town-Chinatown, free)


POWER UP: They Come From Fire Add to a List
Middle school, high school, and college-aged folks are invited to this free LGBTQ2SIA+ program inspired by Mississippi Choctaw-Cherokee artist Jeffrey Gibson's latest exhibition, They Come From Fire Add to a List . Queer youth and allies can view artworks, share their truth at an open mic, join a drag workshop with Portland's premier glamour clown Carla Rossi, and build community alongside other art lovers.
(Portland Art Museum, South Park Blocks, free)



Free Sundays at World Forestry Center's Discovery Museum Add to a List
Thanks to a generous grant, the Discovery Museum is throwing open the doors to its wood-filled space for free through the end of January. Learn about the Northwest's forests and their role "as a habitat, a place for recreation and reflection, a critical resource, and more" through an engaging variety of exhibits and documentaries. 
(World Forestry Center & Discovery Museum, Washington Park, free)


Church of Film: Litan Add to a List
Church of Film returns to its regular haunt this week with Litan, Jean-Pierre Mocky's sinister '82 horror. The delightfully campy film is a uniquely French blend of freaky nightmares, nonsensical plot twists, zombies, mad scientists, glow worms, and surreal cemeteries.
(The Red Fox, Humboldt, free)

Mothra in 35mm Add to a List
Mothra is irrefutably the cutest monster, and no, we won't be taking questions at this time. Peep the divine moth kaiju in all her giant larval glory in this 35mm print of the '61 classic Mothra, which follows our troubled heroine as she metamorphoses into a giant female moth and goes after her missing egg.
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $8-$10)

Only in Theaters Add to a List
Beloved LA-based art house cinema chain Laemmle Theatres takes center stage in this documentary by Raphael Sbarge, which digs into its business challenges and survivalist spirit with commentary from Hollywood thinkers like Ava DuVernay, Cameron Crowe, Nicole Holofcener, and others.
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $7)


Hey Love Presents: Dolly Parton’s Birthday Brunch Add to a List
This event hosted by Marty Marton will celebrate the national treasure and country icon Dolly Parton with special performances and DJ sets by Silver Triplets Family Band, Onry, DJ Action Slacks, and more, plus a menu of playful themed food and drink specials, like the "Islands in the Stream" (a take on roast pork and grits) and "It Costs a Lot of Money to Look This Cheap!" (a vanilla black sweet tea slushy with peach, glitter, and a sidecar of your choice, available with or without alcohol).
(Hey Love, Buckman, $15)


Bug Seance, Present, and Amulet Add to a List
With tracks titled "Trash Bandicoot" and "Mario Speedwagon," you know Bug Seance is probably not all that interested in taking things too seriously, so why not enjoy this sextet's style of jazz-inflected indie-rock? They will take the stage after neo-grunge quartet Present and DIY electronic artist Amulet.
(Holocene, Buckman, $10 - $15)

Plug N' Play - Aaron Nigel Smith & Jubba White Add to a List
Grammy-nominated kid-centric reggae artist Aaron Nigel Smith, best known for his work on the Emmy Award-winning PBS show Between the Lions, will be joined by local producer Jubba White for their collaborative project Plug N' Play. 
(Alberta Abbey, King, $7)

Rockwood Market Hall Music Series: Irina Myachkin Add to a List
Rockwood Market Hall is a gathering space filled with locally owned restaurants and retail shops that bridges together Portland and Gresham. This week, they’ll host the first edition of their monthly music series with a performance from Russian singer-songwriter Irina Myachkin, who takes inspiration from John Lennon, Lana Del Rey, Johnny Cash, and Frank Sinatra to create timeless bilingual pop songs.
(Rockwood Market Hall, Rockwood, free)


Lunar New Year Party Add to a List
Ring in the year of the cat with with Jenny Nguyen's women's sports bar, which will host a celebration with food and drink specials and a performance by White Lotus Lion Dance. Be sure to bring cash to tip performers and to help raise funds for Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon.
(The Sports Bra, Sullivan's Gulch)



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, Saturday-Sunday)


75th Annual Rose City Classic Dog Show Add to a List
A single-day pass to the Rose City Classic Dog Show is only 15 bones, so head to one of the nation's largest historic dog events for a pawful of crowd-pleasing purebred pooches. (We're team Daniel.) Just don't do what this guy did, unless you prefer to scope out canines while hallucinating.
(Portland Expo Center, North Portland, $15-$40, Friday-Sunday)


Skinamarink Add to a List
This eerie directorial debut by Kyle Edward Ball only cost $15,000 to make, but it's been spooking TikTokers since the trailer dropped. The flick borrows a distressed, grainy quality from '70s cinema to tell a bizarre bump-in-the-night tale with a surprisingly experimental edge.
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $8-$10, Friday-Sunday)

Tár Add to a List
Some have described the journey Tár takes us on as one about cancel culture: a phrase that can mean whatever one wants it to mean at this point, though this easy categorization feels far too neat and Internet-brained. A more apt comparison would be to 2014’s Whiplash, a film that explores ambition and power—though Tár contains more humor and a willingness to poke fun at its central subject. Without tipping off exactly what happens, those who stick out the two and a half hour film are treated to a final, fraught, and unexpected punchline. It cements. Field's tragicomedy uncovers the full picture of a unique figure in all her grim glory. PORTLAND MERCURY WRITER CHASE HUTCHINSON
(Cinema 21, Nob Hill, $8-$11, Friday-Sunday)

Women Talking Add to a List
Miriam Toews's bestselling 2018 novel Women Talking unraveled the tense tale of a group of women clawing to escape from an isolated Mennonite colony. This film adaptation boasts an all-star cast including Claire Foy, Frances McDormand, Jessie Buckley, and Rooney Mara; The Los Angeles Times described director Sarah Polley's approach as "an artful, incisive distillation of Toews’ arguments."
(Cinema 21, Nob Hill, $8-$11, Friday-Sunday)


Navajo Skies Add to a List
Navajo folklore comes to the domed Kendall Planetarium this month, with awe-inspiring celestial stories told in Navajo and English, plus brilliant imagery set to traditional songs and Native American flute music.
(OMSI, Central Eastside, $7.50, Friday-Sunday)


Flowstone Add to a List
WAVE Contemporary co-founder Hannah Newman and widely exhibited artist Susan Murrell "explore the end of day as it relates to the end of days" in Flowstone, a collaborative project. Through familiar lenses of landscape painting and figurative sculpture, Newman and Murrell delve into complicated territories of body and land, untold futures, and ecological dread.
(Carnation Contemporary, Kenton, free, Saturday-Sunday)

Harley Gaber’s DIE PLAGE Add to a List
American Jewish minimalist composer and visual artist Harley Gaber's DIE PLAGE represents a decade of on-site research in European concentration camps, where the artist photocopied hundreds of archival images from the Weimar era and the Holocaust. Gaber's collaged arrangements of these images invite his audience to consider the individual and collective aftershocks of "the plagues of our times."
(Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, Pearl District, $0-$8, Friday-Sunday)

InterACT! The Art of Creating Together Add to a List
JAMO's month of interactive art-making will include zine and printmaking workshops, guided conversations, and ample opportunities for collaboration, plus a performance and book talk by national performing artists Nobuko Miyamoto and traci kato-kiriyama. InterACT! The Art of Creating Together offers an intentional way to move forward from the isolating years of the pandemic toward a renewed sense of unity, so head to their weekend programming throughout the month to create in community.
(Japanese American Museum of Oregon, Old Town-Chinatown, free, Saturday-Sunday)

Lisa Congdon: The Opposite of Sorrow Add to a List
Portland-based favorite Lisa Congdon shares more of her snazzy visual language of luminous color, patterning, and folk art influence in The Opposite of Sorrow, which hints at her personal creative journey and struggles with depression through themes of growth, perseverance, and transmutation. Turns out there are many layers of meaning embedded in Congdon's joyful compositions—take a closer look at this solo exhibition.
(Chefas Projects, Central Eastside, free, Friday-Saturday)

Rick Bartow: Frog Talk Seriously Add to a List
Rick Bartow, an enrolled member of the Mad River Band of Wiyot Indians, Vietnam War veteran, and leading voice in the contemporary Native American art movement, passed in 2016. Those unfamiliar with his work shouldn't miss this multimedia solo show—Bartow's expressive, gestural style comes to life in brilliant mark-making and naturalistic storytelling.
(Froelick Gallery, Pearl District, free, Friday-Saturday)

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