Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Portland This Weekend: Jan 5–7, 2024

Black History 101 Mobile Museum, Booze-Free Beverage Fest, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
January 5, 2024
Learn something new at the Black History 101 Mobile Museum. (Black History 101 Mobile Museum)
If the holiday season left you strapped for cash, not to worry. There's plenty of fun to be had on the cheap this weekend, with events from the Black History 101 Mobile Museum to the Pokémon Regional Championships and from a Booze-Free Beverage Fest to Topaz Farm's Free Christmas Tree Drop. For more ideas, check out our guide to the top events of the week.

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Swiped Out! Past Event List
If your love life could use a new year's kick-start, why not do something utterly terrifying and allow a pack of "professionally trained dating experts" (aka comedy improvisers) analyze your dating profile on stage? Kickstand's CVLT members (Rachel Rosenthal, Kristen Schier, Sky Mcleod, Natalie Haddad, and others) will perform improv sets "inspired by Portland's dating scene" (gulp) and potentially help you send the perfect message to your app matches. What could go wrong? LC
(Kickstand Comedy, Ladd's Addition, $15-$20)


SOCIAL CINEMA // Polite Society with DJ Anjali Set Past Event List
This 2023 Sundance favorite follows a martial artist-in-training who plans an ambitious wedding heist to "save" her older sister from her impending marriage. Written and directed by We Are Lady Parts creator Nida Manzoor, the action-comedy blends South Asian aesthetics with East Asian martial arts—one scene sees the sisters "fight in fully embroidered anarkalis (long, traditional South Asian dresses) along with gold tikka (jewelry worn on the forehead)" (The Guardian). DJ Anjali, who's "concerned with creating a collective memory through songs, dance, and imagery while pushing forward a working-class, immigrant feminist agenda on the dance floor," will spin tunes after the screening. Cool! LC
(Tomorrow Theater, Richmond, $15)


Molly Parden Past Event List
Molly Parden's new album, Sacramented, is a true hidden gem. The Nashville-based singer-songwriter employs delicate guitars and crystalline vocals for contemplative indie-folk tracks like "Where Do All of Our Passing Days Go?" and "Maybe It Will Stay, Maybe It Will Grow." If you're a regular listener of Angel Olsen, Faye Webster, or Laura Marling, then I bet you'll love Parden, too. AV
(Alberta Street Pub, King, $15)

The Space Lady Past Event List
Performing in a winged Viking helmet since the early '80s, Colorado-born outsider artist the Space Lady (aka Susan Dietrich) is known for her reverb-heavy, Casio-forward covers of classic rock hits like Steppenwolf’s “Born to Be Wild” and Steve Miller Band's "Fly Like An Eagle." I am personally obsessed with the Space Lady and her live sets never disappoint! For this performance, her spellbinding, out-of-this-world tunes will be accompanied by "cosmic projections" on the Hollywood Theatre's big screen. AV
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $12)



Lez Stand Up: Intimates Past Event List
Gather 'round, ladies and theydies: Your fave queer comedy show will say yoohoo to 2024 with a special installment. Super-funny guests Kirsten Kuppenbender, Joe John Sanchez III, and Two Evils co-host Arlo Weierhauser will hit the stage with extended sets, helping you step back from the ledge after a long, long holiday season. On top of being a barrel full of queer chuckles, the show is a great excuse to check out the new-ish Siren Theater space on Mississippi. LC
(Siren Theater, Boise, $15)


Koyaanisqatsi Past Event List
If time is a flat circle, Koyaanisqatsi is a set of interlinked rings in a magician's grab bag. The rollercoaster tone poem collages the cyclical nature of humanity with soul-stirring time-lapse photography and a hypnotic score by Philip Glass. A quick sensation upon its 1983 release, the cosmic flick became the first entry in the Qatsi trilogy; in case you were curious, the title is drawn from a Hopi word meaning “life out of balance.” LC
(Clinton Street Theater, Hosford-Abernethy, $10)

The Thing in 35mm Past Event List
When a plucky bunch of puffer coat-wearing research scientists helps shelter a strange sled dog in remote Antarctica, they slowly learn that the pooch isn't all that he seems. John Carpenter's icy classic horror stars a young Kurt Russell battling it out against—ya guessed it—a cold-hearted, shape-shifting alien. (What better way to say howdy to 2024 than by staring into a frosty abyss?) You can revel in The Thing's bone-chilling special effects while toasty and warm in your theater seat. LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $10 - $12)


Booze-Free Beverage Fest Past Event List
As trends like the "sober-curious" movement and Damp/Dry January sweep the nation, there's never been a better time to be a connoisseur of fun little non-alcoholic drinks. John's Marketplace invites you to broaden your fancy zero-proof sip horizons with this fun craft beverage festival, which will feature products from vendors like the alcohol-free spirit brand Wilderton, CBD seltzer maker APRCH, Saint Agrestis (makers of the "Phony Negroni"), sparkling hop water producer HOP WTR, and more. Taste samples, chat with the producers, and pick up some nosh from the food cart pod The Original next door. JB
(John's Marketplace)

Korean Food and Dance Social Past Event List
Clark College's Korean Culture Club is throwing a lively social with nosh from local Korean comfort food heavyweights Frybaby and Kim Jong Grillin, who will both be vending in Vancouver for the first time. Take in a dance performance from Victorious Performing Arts, bust some moves of your own, and browse wares from local AAPI sellers. A portion of proceeds will go to a fund to help the Korean Culture Club members embark on a trip to Korea. JB
(Clark College-Geiser Hall, Central Park)


Pokémon Regional Championships Past Event List
I recently discovered a first edition Pikachu Pokémon card in my childhood bedroom to great excitement, only to quickly learn it's worth less than $5. If you're looking for memorabilia that's a little more valuable, as well as intense battles, head over to the convention center for the Pokémon regional championships. The stakes are high, with $50,000 in scholarships and prizes up for grabs, as well as the title of Pokémon Regional Champion and the opportunity to earn points toward an invite to the 2024 Pokémon World Championships. Go in with a game plan, literally—the convention hall typically gets packed with Poké-fans and spectators as competitors play the card game, video game, and Go versions of Pokémon. SL (Grand Portland Ballroom at the Oregon Convention Center, Lloyd District, $15)


Common Tones: A Tribute to McCoy Tyner Past Event List
Philip Emilio Baker (of Pink Martini) will lead a group of talented musicians for an evening that pays tribute to the iconic jazz pianist McCoy Tyner. Known for his work with John Coltrane and his decades-long solo career, Tyner has influenced generations of musicians (including the Grateful Dead's Bob Weir) with his genre-melding style. AV
(The Old Church, Downtown, $10)


First Saturday Past Event List
Creative mainstay Oregon Contemporary will throw another open house on Saturday evening, celebrating their current show Marcus Fischer: What Was Lost and What Remains among other exhibitions and displays of art on loan. "Veteran improvisers" and electronic musicians David Chandler and Paul Dickow will collaborate on an interpretive performance based on Fischer's graphic scores, and visitors can peep the new exhibitions at Well Well and the time-based arts alliance Outer Voice, too. Drop by before grabbing drinks in the quaint Kenton neighborhood—the wood-paneled Kenton Club is just a block away. LC
(Oregon Contemporary, Kenton, free)


Free Christmas Tree Drop & Visit the Farm Animals Past Event List
Got a Christmas tree that's shedding pine needles everywhere? Drop it off at Topaz Farm for free, and they'll turn it into biochar to improve water and nutrient retention in the soil! Prolong the season of holiday cheer by sipping complimentary hot chocolate and visiting mini donkeys and mini goats. This is your last chance to purchase stuff from the farm market until Easter, so stock up on local farm goods like strawberry jam, Sauvie Island grass-fed beef, and dried pumpkin dog treats. SL
(Topaz Farm, free)



SOCIAL CINEMA // Valley of the Dolls Past Event List
In this '67 thriller-musical, gullible New Englander Anne Welles takes a bite out of the Big Apple, where she lands a secretarial gig, falls in love with an attorney, and meets three gal pals of varying talents (including a chorus girl played by the incomparable Sharon Tate). Unfortunately, they all struggle with addiction to "dolls," aka downers, so shit's about to get complicated. Pop on your flowiest Three's Company caftan, because this screening of Valley of the Dolls is the first in Tomorrow Theater's Mrs. Roper Romp-inspired event series, hosted by local camp icon Donatella Nobody. LC
(Tomorrow Theater, Richmond, $15)



Black History 101 Mobile Museum Past Event List
In advance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the Historic Alberta House and Vanport Mosaic are hosting a free, interactive exhibit exploring the impact of Black music on social justice movements. Portland educator and scholar Dr. Khalid el-Hakim returns with his Black History 101 Mobile Museum and a new exhibit entitled, “The Music Of The Movement.” Attendees can explore thousands of original artifacts spanning eras from the transatlantic slave trade to modern-day hip-hop. The event closes Saturday evening with a talk from Dr. el-Hakim in conversation with Zachary Stocks, Oregon Black Pioneers’ executive director. SL
(Alberta House, Concordia, free, Friday-Saturday)


American Fiction Past Event List
If the words "incisive literary satire" perk up your ears, then boy, does director Cord Jefferson have the film for you!! In his new dramedy (an adaptation of Percival Everett’s Erasure), Jeffrey Wright stars as Monk, a novelist who's understandably aggravated by the establishment that profits from "Black" entertainment and its exhausting tropes. When Monk writes a book under a pen name, he finds himself paddling in the same phony waters he admonished in the first place. LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $10-$12, Friday-Sunday)

Delicatessen Past Event List
In post-apocalyptic France, a butcher with a troublesome habit of filleting the local handymen is perturbed when his daughter falls for the new shop employee. Also, the new shop employee is a former circus clown. I promise it gets weirder from there, too. This cult classic black comedy, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro (Amélie, The City of Lost Children), will be screened in a fresh 4K restoration; you'll dig it if you're into Luis Buñuel's satirical films. LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, Saturday-Sunday)

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)


Nutcracker Cracked Family Show Past Event List
Set to the music of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, the Portland Puppet Museum will present its idiosyncratic rendition of the magical Christmas tale again this year using over 84 "transforming rod puppets." The 45-minute show is short enough to keep even the wiggliest kid enchanted, and afterward, they can scope out the hundreds of puppets on site. LC
(Portland Puppet Museum, Sellwood-Moreland, $15, Saturday-Sunday)

Your Tomorrow Past Event List
Following two celebrated Edinburgh Festival Fringe runs, Éowyn Emerald and Dancers will present this "intimate" jazz performance set to breezy tunes by Dave Brubeck, Count Basie, and Ella Fitzgerald. If you've always dreamed of going to the Fringe, this should scratch your performance art itch; the Scotsman described the show as “pure unadulterated dance,” and Emerald’s troupe as a "real Fringe find.” LC
(Imago Theatre, Buckman, free, Friday-Saturday)


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, Friday-Sunday; opening)

Chris Chandler: Elemental Forms Past Event List
Drawing from the bold compositional style of the Bauhaus and Constructivist movements, Chris Chandler's Elemental Forms features geometric, monotype relief prints created on a rare Vandercook proofing press. The results include letters, words, and shapes layered in "abstracted assemblies of laminated prints," so expect to get lost in each work for a while. My suggestion? Elizabeth Leach Gallery is mere steps away from lumber room, so make it a particularly artful day and check out Nona Faustine: She was a culmination of all things in Heaven and Earth, too. LC
(Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Pearl District, free, Friday-Saturday)

Turn Me Over: Molly Lecko Herro and Alim Ringgold Past Event List
Life sucks, then you die—or perhaps it's more complicated than that. Enter Molly Lecko Herro and Alim Ringgold, whose plasmatic ceramic-framed illustrations, glowy sequential imagery, dreamy sculptural vessels, and ceramic burial objects think carefully about dying, the body as a vessel, and "immaterial substances" that make both animate and inanimate bodies interesting. Consider holes, cavities, and containers—the human body kind of is one, right?—then ponder your impermanence at this show. LC
(Well Well, Kenton, free, Saturday-Sunday; opening)


Woodsy Winter Village and Ice Rink Past Event List
A new ice skating rink and marketplace is popping up at the west end of the Morrison Bridge this holiday season! Ice skating will be open every day through January 28, costing $20 for adults and $12 for kids under 12, including skate rental. Pro tip: spend at least $20 at a central city business (peep the map to see what qualifies), bring your receipt, and get a $5 discount on your skate ticket. If you need a little help on the ice, you can pay an extra $10 for an unreasonably cute skate aid named Bobby the Seal. The marketplace will feature local vendors, food trucks, warm beverages, and a "cozy lounge" with board games and warming pods. SL
(Morrison Bridgehead, Downtown, Friday-Sunday)

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