Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Portland This Weekend: June 9–11, 2023

Grand Floral Parade, Dragon Boat Races, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
June 9, 2023
Watch the colorful and speedy Dragon Boat Races cut through the Willamette. (Portland Rose Festival)
There's no better way to end the week than to start thinking about all the fun things you'll get up to during the weekend. Here are the best, budget-friendly events Portland has to offer, from the Grand Floral Parade to the Portland Rose Festival Dragon Boat Race and from a Cultural Festival Street Party to the Second Annual LDEI Culinary Rummage Sale & Bake Sale.

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Violet Hex Presents: But I’m A Cheerleader! Past Event List
Hosted by "trans femme drag enigma" Violet Hex, this screening of the campy '99 flick But I'm a Cheerleader (which Movie Guide: Movie Reviews for Christians deems "vulgar," oop!) will include glittery pre-screening drag performances. Expect spunky cheerleading eleganza: The film follows an all-American teen who's sent to a wackjob conversion therapy camp to "cure her lesbianism." There, she meets someone special and learns more about herself than she anticipated—Natasha Lyonne and Clea Duvalle deliver the sapphic goods. Happy Pride! LC
(Clinton Street Theater, Hosford-Abernethy, $15)


Resonance Ensemble: Earth’s Protection Past Event List
The Resonance Ensemble will bring its 2022/23 season to a close with a free festival of music, art, dance, and food. Don't miss performances from Fear No Music (performing Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Mass for the Endangered), composer Nancy Ives with poet Ed Edmo, and tabla player Shrikant Naware. Before the concert, nosh on picnic food while watching an energetic drum and dance demonstration from the Nez Perce ensemble Four Directions. AV
(Lewis & Clark College, Southwest Portland, free)


Club Liminal: A Queer/Trans Forward Rave Past Event List
This Friday, the self-proclaimed rock 'n' roll cocktail bar and music venue will transform into a queer/trans-forward dance club that highlights underground music from marginalized voices. Move and groove to a mix of deep techno, ambient, dub house, and anything else "deep and mystical to make bodies move." AV
(The Midnight PDX + The Sïx, Sunnyside, $10-$15)


Héctor Tobar Past Event List
Héctor Tobar, who contributed to the Los Angeles Times' Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the '92 LA riots, rebukes racism toward Latino people by pulling together personal experiences as the son of Guatemalan immigrants and stories told to him by his Latino students. In Our Migrant Souls: A Meditation on Race and the Meanings and Myths of "Latino," Tobar explores topics ranging from Frida Kahlo to the cartel genre in TV and film, giving voice to the "angst and anger" experienced by Latinos who are rightfully sick to death of economic exploitation, border walls, and tropes about "illegals." At this talk, Tobar will dig into the prescient book and further explore the Latino experience in the 21st century. LC
(Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing, Beaverton, free)

Matt Baume and Mary O'Hara Past Event List
Cultural critic, pop culture YouTuber, and former Stranger staff writer Matt Baume will head to Portland in celebration of the release of his new book, Honey, I'm Homo! Sitcoms, Specials, and the Queering of American Culture, a deep dive into the "subversive" queer comedy storylines that transformed the American sitcom and continue to shape cultural attitudes toward LGBTQ+ folks today. Baume will be joined in conversation by Mary O'Hara, LGBTQ+ journalist and Powell’s PR and communications manager. LC
(Powell's City of Books, Pearl District, free)



Grand Floral Parade Past Event List
One of my hobbies is collecting 8mm home movies, and whenever I find one from a local estate sale, chances are good that the fuzzy footage will depict one of the city's Grand Floral Parades from a long-gone era. Beloved for over a century, the procession celebrates more than just flowers—it's a colorful testament to the beauty in local, regional, and international communities, with floats and "mini-floats" decked out in dazzling blooms. Also, it's just fun. Alongside the parade of floats, you'll find musicians, equestrians, marching groups, drill teams, vintage automobiles, dancers, llamas, and more. That's a lot to celebrate. LC
(Starting point: Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Lloyd District, $0-$15)


Carioca Bowls 8th Anniversary Party Past Event List
Portland's açaí bowl destination Carioca Bowls is marking its eighth anniversary with an all-day party with DJ tunes, kids' activities, specialty mocktails from, and "outrageous giveaways." Swig free kombucha, yerba maté, and coconut water while grooving to live music from "mustachioed Brazilian spaghetti western rock and roll troubadour" Johnny Franco. You just might win a "Bomba party bowl" (a gigantic açai bowl big enough for four or five people to share) or free Carioca bowls for an entire year. JB
(Carioca Bowls, King, free)

Shop Halo Halo Brick & Mortar Fundraiser Past Event List
The Filipino bakery pop-up Shop Halo Halo and the houseplant boutique Daphne's Botanicals are teaming up to raise funds for a kitchen buildout for their upcoming Botanical Bakeshop, which is set to open this July, and they're celebrating with a plethora of plants and pastries. This party has everything: a DIY terrarium station, cupcake decorating, food, drinks, treats, and raffle prizes from small local businesses. JB
(Shop Halo Halo, Woodstock)


Olivia Jean Past Event List
Sure, goth queen Olivia Jean is married to Jack White of the White Stripes, but that's hardly the most interesting thing about her! Along with her three solo albums, she is also the frontwoman of the all-female goth-garage band the Black Belles. She has also played on countless Third Man Records projects, including Wanda Jackson's 2010 album, The Party Isn't Over. Plus, she wrote her debut solo album, Bathtub Love Killings, and played nearly every instrument herself. Jean will hit the road to support her new album, Raving Ghost, alongside local punk quartet the Faux. AV
(Mississippi Studios, Boise, $13)


Tropitaal Desi Latina Soundclash with DJ Anjali, The Incredible Kid, and Espina Letal Past Event List
Resident DJs Anjali and The Incredible Kid will party extra hard in honor of Anjali's 50th birthday, thumping out their signature blend of Latin American tropical sounds and rhythms from India. Plus, a special occasion means a special guest! DJ Espina Letal will spin a set of cumbia jams, specially chosen for the dance floor. AV (Goodfoot, Kerns, $12)



Cultural Festival Street Party Past Event List
The Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education (aka OJMCHE) will celebrate its reopening (complete with new exhibitions of mixed media Dalí works and Rembrandt etchings!) at this "street-wide cultural exchange" in Old Town, which will kick off with a land acknowledgment and roar to life with a Chinese lion performance, taiko drumming, and klezmer and Sephardic sounds by "global folk magic" outfit Michelle Alany and the Mystics. LC
(Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, Pearl District, free)


Second Annual LDEI Culinary Rummage Sale & Bake Sale Past Event List
Sift through a selection of steeply discounted kitchen gadgets, small appliances, cookware, cookbooks, glassware, bar tools, vintage linens, dishes, and more at this rummage sale from the Portland chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier. If you have any kitchen-related items kicking around that are no longer sparking joy, bring them along to make a tax-deductible donation. Baked goods, beer, wine, and mimosas will also be available for purchase. All proceeds will go to Black Futures Farms, Rahab’s Sisters and the Maria Stuart Scholarship for Wine Studies. Each $10 purchase gets you a raffle ticket for food and drink-related prizes—tote along a donation of five nonperishable food items for Oregon Food Bank for an extra ticket.
(Pix Pâtisserie/Bar Vivant, Kerns, free)


Barbie Girl: An Aqua Drag Tribute Show Past Event List
Embrace your inner Barbie Girl for this drag tribute to the weirdo Europop group Aqua and their 1997 debut album Aquarium. Drag stars like Harlow Quinzel and Destiny Smokez will show off their best plastic fantastic lewks alongside hosts PhanTom X and DJ Aurora. Come on Barbie, let's go party! AV
(Mississippi Pizza Pub & Atlantis Lounge, Boise, $15)


TREAT Podcast, Nine Simple Patterns for Complicated Women Happy Hour, and Dance Party Past Event List
Sit down to readings from TREAT, a podcast with bite-size episodes, and the short story collection Nine Simple Patterns for Complicated Women. There will be actual treats to eat, a cash bar, and music from everynightdaily. JW
(Turn! Turn! Turn!, Humboldt, free)


And But A Dream Past Event List
Presented in observance of Israel’s 75th birthday, And But a Dream compiles a series of mixed media works, titled “Aliyah, the Rebirth of Israel,” created by Salvador Dalí on the theme of Jewish renewal.
(Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, Pearl District, $0-$8; opening)

Rembrandt and The Jews Past Event List
This exhibition of 22 etchings by Dutch Golden Age master Rembrandt reveals the artist's unique relationship with Amsterdam-based Jews of the era, who were mostly Sephardic refugees fleeing the Inquisition. Rembrandt consulted with Jewish theologians to interpret Old Testament narratives, and even depicted these scholars in etchings and painted portraits. LC
(Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, Pearl District, $0-$8; opening)



Portland Rose Festival Dragon Boat Race Past Event List
Dragons get the zoomies, too: Since 1989, the Portland Rose Festival Dragon Boat Races have brought a thrilling Chinese tradition to Tom McCall Waterfront Park, where 45 teams will get set to compete again this year with ferocious, colorful boats provided by the longstanding Portland-Kaohsiung Sister City Association. (The Dragon Boat Festival has its roots in ancient China—think 278 BCE—and began when the virtuous advisor and "people's poet" Qu Yuan drowned, becoming a water spirit that needed to be appeased by divine, energetic dragons.) Catch the indisputably cool component of the Rose Festival from viewing spots on the shoreline. LC
(Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Downtown, free, Saturday-Sunday)


Discovering del Toro Film Series Past Event List
Presented in conjunction with Guillermo del Toro: Crafting Pinocchio, an 8,000-square-foot show centering the cinema nonconformist's stop-motion process, del Toro's rarely seen flicks and crowd favorites will screen in 35mm. The Guadalajara-born Academy Award winner's distinctive style will be on full display across three weekends; the series starts on June 10 with screenings of Pinocchio. (If anything can be said of del Toro, it's that he knows his way around a weird puppet, so his interpretation of the old-school tale just makes sense.) Check it out to get pumped for del Toro's next stop-motion project, which is based on Nobel Prize-winning author Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel The Buried Giant. LC
(Whitsell Auditorium, South Park Blocks, $10-$12, Saturday-Sunday)

Handmade Cinema & Dog Star Man on 16mm: Double Feature Past Event List
Stan Brakhage, a 20th-century film master who referred to his fascinating collaged experiments as "pure cinema," truly showed off his avant-garde prowess in Dog Star Man. Released in installments between 1961 and 1964, the 16mm "cosmological epic" fuses footage of Brakhage and his dog ascending a snowy mountain (aww) with handmade alterations—he painted and scratched the film's surface, creating an organic effect that echoes his belief in "subconsciously" experiencing cinema. (Go in with an open mind.) Before the film, Fifth Avenue Cinema will also screen a program of short handmade 16mm works made by the Portland State University community. LC
(Fifth Avenue Cinema, Downtown, $0-$7, Friday-Sunday)


The Pursuit of Happiness (or the Wacky Lesbian Adventures of Brillo Pad and Hula Hoop) Past Event List
Fuse Theatre Ensemble, a national leader in trans theater representation, will present a new meta-musical featuring characters across gender and sexuality spectrums. (Hint: if you loved American Girl or anything by local playwright Mikki Gillette, you'll dig this.) The Pursuit of Happiness (or the Wacky Lesbian Adventures of Brillo Pad and Hula Hoop) offers up an "absurd vortex" of nuclear bombs, transitioning pressures, and gender dysphoria, all set to a soundtrack of original earworms. The pay-what-ya-can performance was penned by Ernie Lijoi, winner of the Portland Drammy's Best Original Music Award in 2016, so sit back and enjoy the whirlwind of gender fuckery—you're in good hands. LC
(Reed College, Eastmoreland, Pay-what-you-can, Friday-Sunday)


At This Time: 2023 MFA/BFA Showcase Past Event List
With curated works by this year's graduates of Portland State University's BFA in Art Practice and MFA in Contemporary Art Practices programs, At This Time features dozens of local artists to keep your eye on. We're particularly intrigued by Agnès Varda Forever co-creator Laura Glazer's works, which are always socially engaged; Mohabbat Khatibnia-Mansouri's thoughtful memorial installation is another standout. LC
(Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, South Park Blocks, free, Friday-Saturday; closing)

home school: Omens of Capacity Past Event List
Victoria Anne Reis and manuel arturo abreu of home school will present the final exhibition of their curatorial residency at Oregon Contemporary. Omens of Capacity features Jackie Abhulimen's Hellenic-inspired contemplative space, Bridgette Hickey's floating prayer sculpture, Ariana Nuala's video on quilombo leader Malunguinho, and more to reflect on "omens of capacity that were latent, unrealized, within the clash of cultures and movements of peoples.” LC
(Oregon Contemporary, Kenton, free, Friday-Sunday; closing)

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