Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Portland This Weekend: July 28–30, 2023

Depave's Block Party, Barbie & Mean Girls: Pinkout at the Drive-In, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
July 28, 2023
Depave's 2nd Annual Block Party will take to the streets with art installations, musical performances, skating, and more. (Depave via Facebook)
Believe it or not, we've reached the last weekend of July. The month is closing out strong, with affordable and amusing events from Big Break: Depave's 2nd Annual Block Party to this summer's final edition of Paseo and from Summer Movies at Oregon State Parks to Barbie & Mean Girls: Pinkout at the Drive-In!

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Kickstand Comedy In The Park Past Event List
Kickstand Comedy's hugely popular Comedy in the Park series in Laurelhurst Park returns again this week, so grab your pals with a sense of humor and spread out your blankets early—the event has been known to draw crowds of 2,000 or more. (The plus side of the crowd is the unmatched dog-watching; I'm a fan of Laurelhurst duck-watching, too.) This Friday, laugh along with familiar funnybones and visiting talents like #FreeBritney activist Babs Gray, ball-Earther Nariko Ott, and woman supporter Imani Denae, among others. Local laughers Jaren George and Julia Corral will get the crowd going. There'll also be some "SURPRISE heavy hitters" that Kickstand "can’t contractually list on the bill"—oOoOo!—so if you've been meaning to check out the event, this Friday is the time. LC
(Laurelhurst Park, Laurelhurst, free)


Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Presents Protection: Adaptation & Resistance Past Event List
The Native Arts & Cultures Foundation (NACF), whose Center for Native Arts and Cultures now occupies the former Yale Union Laundry building, will present the nationally touring exhibition Protection: Adaptation and Resistance. If you haven't yet seen the historic space, now's the time–NACF celebrates Indigenous artistry and culture with ceremonies, workshops, exhibitions, and more, and the new exhibition's opening night will include a curatorial tour of the Center. Protection: Adaptation and Resistance examines how Indigenous Alaskan artists have fortified their communities in the face of the pandemic, the climate crisis, and assaults on human rights. The show "centers Indigenous ways of knowing," spotlighting traditional stories and collaborative art forms through three themes: Land and Culture Protectors, Activists for Justice, and Sovereignty and Resilient Futures. LC
(Center for Native Arts and Cultures, Central Eastside, free)


The Black Tones Past Event List
KEXP’s Audioasis DJ Eva Walker and her brother Cedric know how to punkify the blues and blues-ify the punk. If you’ve ever witnessed their high-octane rock and roll shows and the band’s avalanche-like force, then you know the drill. They will be joined by punk project Black Shelton and the American Dream (nope, not Gwen Stefani's hubby) and glam rockers Billy and the Kidz. AV
(Polaris Hall, Humboldt, $15)

Milwaukie Porchfest Past Event List
Milwaukie locals have offered up their front yards and porches for a full day of live performances in the neighborhood, block party style. Discover the hidden talents within your neighborhood with everything from singers, dancers, bagpipers, guitar players, actors, magicians, and more! AV
(Various locations, Milwaukie, free)


SNAP! Y2K: Super Sweet 16 Past Event List
There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about MTV's My Super Sweet 16. Between the iconic theme song (bless you, Hilary Duff), the unhinged temper tantrums, and the famous musical guests (most of which are now rightfully disgraced), this show was high camp. Now, at this nostalgia dance party, it's your turn to finally live your truth as a bratty teenager who drives a pink Hummer. Dress in the Betsey Johnson tea party dress of your dreams and bop along to aughts classics like "Crank That (Soulja Boy)." It's your chance to shine.
(Holocene, Buckman, $10)



Portlandia Mermaid Parade and Festival 2023
If you're a fan of Portlandia, the larger-than-life river goddess sculpture that looms above downtown's Portland Building, you'll probably dig this fin-flapping celebration of Portland's rivers and port history. The Portlandia Mermaid Parade and Festival is a body-positive, fam-friendly event that encourages all of the city's fantastical creatures to splash around together, and this year's drag theme celebrates the memory of the dearly departed Queen Darcelle XV with a free-to-enter merfolk drag race. Throw on your most colorful aquatic attire (shells, bobbles, sequins, pearls, and eco-friendly glitter encouraged) in her honor. LC
(Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Southwest Portland, free)

Rose City Sneakerfest Past Event List
Calling all sneakerheads! RCSF is the premier sneaker event in Portland for you to buy, sell, trade, or just plain admire. The organizers noticed a distinct lack of sneaker community events given the enthusiasm we all know is out there, so they put together a fest where you can browse from over 30 vendors, check out streetwear brands, and hear from sneaker influencers. SL
(The Leftbank Annex, Lloyd District, $15-$20)


Nam June Paik: Global Groove Past Event List
Complimenting the Hollywood's recent screening of the documentary Nam June Paik: Moon is the Oldest TV, which Stranger senior staff writer Charles Mudede described as "an excellent introduction to a Korean American artist whose work entered the future in the late 1960s," Movie Madness will screen one of Paik's most famous works, Global Groove, in its cozy Miniplex. The video art flick's surreal, neo-Dada sensibility "glimpse[s at] the video landscape of tomorrow," forging a radical manifesto of futuristic communication and possibilities for television. You'll peep Japanese Pepsi commercials alongside a collage of performances by John Cage, Merce Cunningham, and Allen Ginsberg, plus Paik's "Participation TV" experiment, in the postmodern, trippy romp. The film will screen on a loop every half hour from 6 to 10 pm. LC
(Movie Madness, Sunnyside, free)

Summer Movies at Oregon State Parks Past Event List
We live in Oregon, dammit, and if there's one thing Oregonians love more than watching movies, it's being in nature. ¿Por qué no los dos?!Hollywood Theater has teamed up with the Oregon State Parks Department to do just that, offering up a series of screenings in scenic state parks throughout the summer. The series will continue with E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial at Milo McIver State Park in Estacada on July 29. This might be your one and only chance to fulfill your dream of watching baby Drew Barrymore on a big screen in the middle of the woods! LC
(Milo McIver State Park, Estacada, free)


Hapa Barkada Island Block Party Past Event List
The Hawaiian food truck Hapa Howie's and the Filipino pop-up BarkadaPDX are throwing a party to celebrate the upcoming debut of their highly anticipated brick-and-mortar restaurant Hapa Barkada (which, adorably, means "a mix of best friends") this weekend, and if you're a fan of island comfort food and old-school hip-hop and R&B, it's not to be missed. Stuff your face with staples like lumpia, musubi, and "Da Ultimate Hapa Barkada Pork mix plate" (featuring twice-cooked pork belly adobo and smoky kalua pork) and groove to vinyl jams from DJs Wicked, Chaos, and Ozroc. Plus, browse handmade crafts, fashion accessories, artwork, and more from Kapili Krafts and The North Shore Creative and enter raffles for a chance to win fabulous prizes, like a Kamayan dinner for four. JB
(Slabtown Food Carts, Slabtown)


OMSI Star Party Past Event List
Light pollution be damned—you can scope out your fair share of planets, moon, stars, and other celestial sights from the darkness of Rooster Rock State Park and L.L. Stub Stewart State Park, where OMSI will host star parties on Saturday night. Rose City Astronomers and reps from Oregon Parks and Recreation will be on site, and astronomy nerds of all ages can gaze their nerdy little hearts out through "telescopes and binoculars of all sizes." LC
(Various locations, free)



Paseo Past Event List
Find some ease at this festival and community gathering inspired by the Spanish tradition of paseo, which translates to "leisurely evening stroll." Sounds nice to us! Created by BIPOC justice and arts leaders, the three-day event (planned every Sunday, July 16-30) includes a presentation by local civil rights activist and art curator Taishona Carpenter, a "park jazz experiment" curated by DJ Ambush, director of The Numberz, and Indigenous programming led by Choctaw community organizer Amanda Stubits. Attendees can also join in on stretchy yoga sessions, get their life with music and spoken word performances, and grab snow cones. LC
(Shemanski Park, South Park Blocks, free)


Drowse with Ragana Past Event List
Drowse is the experimental recording project of local artist Kyle Bates, who mixes elements of slowcore, ambient, folk, noise pop, and black metal into his distinctive, foggy sound. He will play a hometown show in support of his latest album, Wane into It, which was informed by grief, childhood memories on the Oregon Coast, and driving on West Coast highways. Don't miss an opening set from the Olympia-based doom metal duo Ragana. AV
(Mississippi Studios, Boise, $12)

Rontoms Sunday Sessions: Federale Past Event List
There’s never a bad time to attend Rontoms’ Sunday Sessions—after all, it is a weekly free show offered in a stylish, desirable location—but this one is of particular interest, featuring Portland-based psychedelic band Federale as its headliner. Headed by bassist Collin Hegna (Brian Jonestown Massacre), the six-piece rock band is known for its dark and moody, Spaghetti-Western-inspired sound. Expect an array of dramatic, cinematic songs similar in sampling to their 2021 live album recorded at PDX Pop Now!, but with newer tracks from their 2022 EP Our Side of the Story and releases like the excellent “Blood Moon.” Maybe they’ll even whip out “Tribe” from 2012's The Blood Flowed Like Wine, which hit international ears in the trailer for The Banshees of Inisherin. PORTLAND MERCURY CONTRIBUTOR JENNI MOORE
(Rontoms, Buckman, free)

Singing With Pride: Queeraoke for a Cause Past Event List
If you've been looking for an opportunity to show off your karaoke chops, look no further. Belt your little heart out while raising money for Q Center's Community Health Program, an initiative which supports the trans and queer community in accessing safe and affirming care. Plus, there will be free food, raffle prizes (including tickets to Janelle Monáe's Age of Pleasure tour!), and an endless supply of queer joy.  AV
(Q Center, Boise, $5-$10 suggested donation)


Melange Presents Oh Daddy 6!! Past Event List
As anti-LGBTQIA+ and anti-drag bills continue to circulate throughout the US, let's sashay to the events that make Portland great, shall we? After bringing inclusive drag deliciousness to Portland for the last four years, Melange fits right in at the Clinton Street Theater, where they present a recurring blend of melanated drag, sultry burlesque, and circus performance. (If you followed along with the Merc's recent live coverage of the record-breaking Drag-A-Thon, Melange is the place to be to stave off the Sunday scaries.) Hosts Destiny Smokez and Dahlia Kash will hear it for the boys at this drag king-themed eleganza, which will feature performances by Clarence Rack, Mr. E Smokez, and dapper out-of-towners Pretty Rik E, Manuel Palma Del Rey, and Passa Flora. LC
(Clinton Street Theater, Hosford-Abernethy, $15)


PDX Black Collective Cultural Market Past Event List
PDX Black Collective, a group of Portland-based BIPOC business owners and service providers, will present a free cultural market with vendors slinging books, skincare, haircare, candles, and more. Seven food and drink vendors will be on site—I'm already drooling over Koa Roots's smoked brown butters and Black Star Grill's kelewele (spicy plantains). After retail therapy and fried food at Oregon Contemporary, pop next door to catch the last install day of exhibits Friend of a Friend and ~;*devoted*;~ at neighbor galleries Carnation Contemporary and Well Well Projects. LC
(Oregon Contemporary, Kenton, free)



Big Break: Depave's 2nd Annual Block Party Past Event List
This event is much more than a hootenanny for skaters. Held outdoors, Depave's second annual block party raises awareness for urban environmental justice and presents a vision for creating an alternative to cars. According to its website, Depave “transforms over-paved places, creates resilient community green spaces, promotes workforce development and education, and advocates for policy change to undo manifestations of systemic racism.” The block party will be bustling with local vendors; live music from Brown Calculus, Lapaushi, Mo, and more; plant life; site-specific art installations; and tasty treats. Plus, bring your wheels—there will be skating of all kinds. AV
(SE 7th Avenue Between SE Stark & Washington, Buckman, free, Friday-Saturday)


Barbie Past Event List
Brought forth from the primordial depths of the mid-'90s, where Barbie remains in perpetuity because that is the last time I played with her, a shiny pink convertible rolls noiselessly into our modern times. It is Barbie's car, and somehow, Barbie is in it. She has roller skates in her purse and she's on a mission. She is played by Margot Robbie, and she's journeying to the human world, or something. Listen, the specifics don't matter. It's the Barbie movie. I will be seated, surrounded by popcorn and Nerds rope, and you will be, too. LC
(Empirical Theater at OMSI, Hosford-Abernethy, $6.50-$7.50, Friday-Sunday)

Barbie & Mean Girls: Pinkout at the Drive-In! Past Event List
"On Wednesdays, we wear pink." (And also every other day if the Barbie movie is showing.) Get ready for a "pinkout" at the 99W Drive-In with a double feature of Barbie and Mean Girls. Tickets are just $10 for adults and $5 for the kiddos. It's rare for this drive-in to show the same movie two weekends in a row, but we guess they decided Barbie was "Kenough." SL
(99W Drive-In, Newberg, $5-$10, Friday-Sunday)

Oppenheimer in 70mm Past Event List
Whether or not you give a damn about the theoretical physicist who helped develop the first nuclear weaponry, Oppenheimer is kind of a must-see—people are going to be yapping about this flick all summer long. You don't want to miss out on the Twitter discourse, do you?! Christopher Nolan's latest stars Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer and Emily Blunt as his wife, Communist biologist and botanist Katherine “Kitty” Oppenheimer. (More info on Kitty, please!!) The film also features Florence Pugh, A24 darling Benny Safdie, and a bunch of other actors that'll make you whisper "Wait, they're in this?!" to your friend in the theater. This 70mm screening will boost the cinematic experience with a greater aspect ratio and higher resolution, and lucky you—the Hollywood is currently the only film venue in Oregon with the capability to screen 70mm. Should make that nuke scene extra nuke-y. LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $13-$15, Friday-Sunday)

Talk To Me Past Event List
The latest addition to A24's horror arsenal follows a group of bored teens who—what else?—decide to fuck around with an embalmed hand. Turns out the embalmed hand is SCARY. (I could have told them this, but no one asked me.) If you dug Bodies Bodies Bodies, this should fit the bill as another Gen Z-approved freak fest—it also has a 3.7 score on Letterboxd right now, which is a pretty high rating for a horror film. (One reviewer reports that the film "will gnaw at your soul and consume your spirit." Do your worst, Talk To Me.) LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $8-$10, Friday-Sunday)


Portland Mercury's Summer of Slushies 2023 Past Event List
Get ready for the coolest, most delicious event of the summer! The Merc and Jim Beam present Summer of Slushies, which brings boozy, frozen, custom-made treats to the frugal and thirsty denizens of Portland at just $8 a pop, all July long.
(Various locations, $8, Friday-Sunday)


Wizarding Weekend Past Event List
Regardless of the author's controversial personal beliefs, Harry Potter has made (and continues to make) a huge impact on the lives of a lot of different people. If you're looking to escape into the Wizarding World (and celebrate Harry's birthday on the 31st), fly your broom over to the Kennedy School this weekend, which has been transformed by the folks at PDXpelliarmus into the Great Hall, Diagon Alley, Knockturn Alley, and Hogsmeade. This event is free to attend and boasts a variety of magical activities: grab a cold butterbeer, take your Hogwarts student portrait, set off on the Horcrux Hunt, or test your knowledge at trivia. If you need a refresh, they will also be screening all eight movies and donating a portion of ticket sales to Basic Rights Oregon. SL
(McMenamins Kennedy School, Concordia, Friday-Sunday)


Portland Flea Past Event List
Portland Flea’s 2023 season of vintage and maker markets introduces Saturday offerings at the Ecotrust building in the Pearl District. The market now runs every last weekend of the month from April-October in two locations: the original spot on SE 2nd and Clay, and Ecotrust’s parking lot. Turn up for the same open-air market vibes you love each year; you'll find purveyors of trendy duds, vintage wares, home goods, and more, plus unmatched people- and dog-watching. LC
(Various locations, free, Saturday-Sunday)


And down below the earth shown bright Past Event List
Portland's newest forward-thinkin' art venue, which has lived past lives as a support hotline and a "glamour shots" pop-up, has settled down in its permanent home in PDX Contemporary's former Flanders Street space. ILY2's inaugural summer show features buzzy names like sidony o'neal, Paige Powell, Ido Radon, and six others; And down below the earth shown bright is a great chance to drop by the ultra-ultra-contemporary space (seriously, check out their website if you don't believe us) and learn more about the works, which are "delimited by their palette: monochrome, black and white, metallics and shades of gray." LC
(ILY2, Pearl District, free, Friday-Saturday)

Andrew Alba Past Event List
Self-taught painter and Mexican migrant worker descendant Andrew Alba will share more of his textured, larger-than-life compositions (we love Tamalitos and At the 7/11) in this solo exhibition, which spotlights pieces that borrow from neo-expressionist abstraction to think carefully about "our wildly complex sociopolitical present." Preach, Alba. For a deeper sense of his style, we recommend checking out this curious video of his staged "worker" sculptures, which were created in response to COVID-era conversations around "essential" work. ("Though many workers like myself are not deemed essential, we are still expected to leave our home every day and work for the upper class,” says Alba.) LC
(Froelick Gallery, Pearl District, free, Tuesday-Saturday; closing)

Laura Camila Medina: Mi Reflejo Past Event List
Laura Camila Medina's debut solo exhibition at Nationale explores her own reflection, which intertwines with the artist's dreamlike, pastel, world-building aesthetic—which is totally infectious, if you haven't seen it—to expand on everything from childhood memories to cultural identity. As with all people, Medina's internal world is a bit of a complicated archive, layered with possibilities for recontextualization. (Have you ever reframed a memory within the context of who you are now? Medina's magic transpires there.) Blending painting, sculpture, textiles, and video, Medina's limbo-like world addresses "the real complexities of immigrant culture, “the American Dream," gender, and familial lineage." I'm especially drawn to her painterly pillow forms. LC
(Nationale, Buckman, free, Friday-Sunday)

Orlando Almanza Past Event List
Drawing from ethereal memories and myths, Froelick Gallery's newly signed painter Orlando Almanza constructs natural worlds in his works, with embedded narratives that feel pulled from his own mysterious folklore. Lately, his studio walls have been covered with one behemoth of a painting, a 14' work commissioned "in honor of Kwaebibiremhene (king of the dark lush forest) Nana Ofori Atta Okyenhene, (1912 to 1943) the late Okyenhene, or King of the Akyem people, and of Akyem Abuakwa people of Ghana." View the massive piece alongside lithographs printed in Havana, Cuba at this exhibition, which paves the way for Almanza's first official solo show in November. LC
(Froelick Gallery, Pearl District, free, Tuesday-Saturday; closing)

Una Palabra de Lucha Past Event List
Inspired by the longstanding East Coast-based Neo-Latino Collective, this group exhibition compiles works by the collective's artist organizers alongside Portland-based creatives, each of whom explores "the unattainable oneness of Latinity." Installed at Stelo's Park Blocks location, Una Palabra de Lucha (which translates to "a fighting word"—the fighting word, in this case, being "identity") will also include additional programming at Oregon Contemporary. Peep the exhibition on opening weekend for fresh artistic insights from Havana-born painter Nelson Alvarez, Colombian American sculptor Olga Mercedes Bautista, hyperreal floral artist Manu Torres, and many others. LC
(Stelo, Pearl District, free, Friday-Sunday; closing)

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