Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Portland This Weekend: Mar 17-19, 2023

Irish Festival, St. Patrick's Day Party with Pfriem, and More Cheap & Easy Under $15
March 17, 2023
Irish dancing and lots more merriment awaits at this year's Irish Festival—just don't forget to wear green! (Kells Irish Restaurant & Pub via Facebook)
Lucky for you, there are plenty of cheap and easy events this St. Patrick's Day weekend that won't cost you a pot o'gold. Check them all out below, from Irish Festival 2023 to St. Patrick's Day Party with Pfriem and from This Ain't No Disco: A Drag and Burlesque tribute to Talking Heads to Palestinian Art and Cultural Festival.

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

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Adam Melchor: Free Pizza Lunch, In-Store Performance, and Signing Past Event List
Indie-folk singer-songwriter Adam Melchor will stop by Music Millennium for a free in-store performance, signing, and pizza party in support of his sophomore album, Here Goes Nothing!, which features an appearance from PNW favorites Fleet Foxes.
(Music Millennium, Kerns, free)

Christian Mistress with Spirit Possession and Stainless Past Event List
After a six-year hiatus, the Olympia-based heavy-metal outfit Christian Mistress will return to the stage with powerful vocals from frontwoman Christine Davis (reminiscent of Mia Zapata or Patti Smith), Their classic rock-infused sound has been praised by publications like Pitchfork and the New York Times. They haven’t released new music since 2015, so expect to hear songs from their acclaimed albums To Your Death, Possession, and Agony & Opium. Heavy metal band Spirit Possession and hard rock quartet Stainless will open.
(Mississippi Studios, Boise, $15)

Hearts of the Dulcimer: Film Showing and Concert Past Event List
Learn about folk music's most underrated instrument during a rare screening of Hearts of the Dulcimer, a 2013 documentary that explores the explosion of the mountain dulcimer in popular music in the 1970s through performances and commentary by Joni Mitchell, Jean Ritchie, Neal Hellman, and many others. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with filmmakers Patricia Delich and Wayne Jiang and a performance from pioneering mountain dulcimer player Joellen Lapidus. All proceeds will benefit the KCC Center for Buddhist Meditation.
(KCC Center for Buddhist Meditation, Cully, $10)


Sorry for Party Rocking: 2010-2015 Pop & EDM Bangers Past Event 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)


This Ain't No Disco: A Drag and Burlesque tribute to Talking Heads Past Event List
Slap on your oversized suits and stop making sense for this drag and burlesque celebration of artsy avant-garde rockers Talking Heads, whose funky, anxious style is somehow still en vogue nearly 50 years after the band formed. Fifteen artists will feel the Byrne on stage—we hope someone is dressed as queen Tina Weymouth.
(Clinton Street Theater, Hosford-Abernethy, $15)


Peter Olney in Conversation With Lorene Scheer and Brian Denning
Past Event List Rhodes Scholar and labor historian John Womack Jr. chats about media monopolies, exploitative health care, and the evils of Amazon in Labor Power and Strategy, offering radical perspectives for building solidarity and mobilizing the working class against pillars of power. The pocket-sized dose of organizing inspiration includes further thoughts from 10 activists and educators. For this talk, Labor Power and Strategy editor Peter Olney will be joined in conversation by Brian Denning, a former Amazon fulfillment center worker and elected chair of the PDX Amazon Workers Solidarity Campaign, and Teamster reformer Lorene Scheer.
(Powell's City of Books, Pearl District, free)


7DS-Pants On Fire: The St Patricks Day Party!
Past Event List You may not find a four-leaf clover at Pants on Fire!, but you'll hear a range of storytellers and comics swap their wildest tales, with one secret liar among the bunch. If you sniff out the truth, you might win a stay at Edgefield Hotel, concert tickets, or other chill prizes. Emmett Montgomery (Last Comic Standing), Jon Bennett (Fire in the Meth Lab), and other knee-slappers will put on their best poker face. After the show, stick around for more laughs at Euphoria: A Comedy Show, hosted by Bob Ross lookalike Jeremiah Coughlan.
(McMenamins White Eagle Saloon, Eliot, $12)

St. Paddy's Day Thrash with Long Knife, Weekend Kids, and Here's Your Warning
Past Event List What says "happy St. Patrick's Day" more than an evening of hardcore punk? Ignite your inner Leprechaun (we're talking about the scary one from the film franchise, obviously) while thrashing around to dark, noisy, hard-hitting jams from local five-piece Long Knife. They will be joined by kindred spirits Weekend Kids and Here’s Your Warning, along with DJs Queen Amygdala and Smooth Hopperator.
(The Midnight PDX + The Sïx, Sunnyside, $13)

St. Patrick's Day Party with Pfriem Past Event List
The laidback bar and music venue White Owl Social Club is joining forces with the Hood River craft brewery pFriem to throw a casual St. Pat's bash, complete with a special pFriem lager release, live DJs, giveaways, and food and drink specials.
(White Owl Social Club, Buckman, free)


Welcome to My Happy Place Past Event List
Curators Rose, a fifth grader at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School, and Dr. Kiara “Kiki” Hill, a professor in the School of Art + Design at Portland State University, present this exhibition on the quirky magic of KSMoCA. What is KSMoCA, you ask? The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School Museum of Contemporary Art (KSMoCA) is a "museum-as-artwork project within the walls of a functioning Pre K-5th Grade public school located in the historically rich Alberta Arts district in NE Portland." It's a collaborative art project that deserves your attention—founded by artist-professors Lisa Jarrett and Harrell Fletcher, KSMoCA is one of the most exciting catalysts for social change in the city. Learn more about it at Welcome to My Happy Place, an exhibition of student work from KSMoCA's permanent collection.
(Littman Gallery, Downtown, free; closing)



Palestinian Art and Cultural Festival Past Event List
As Palestine continues its fight for freedom against violent colonist occupation, show your support at the second weekend of this cultural festival, where visitors can learn to make hummus, listen to a talk by West Bank-based artist Bashar Alhroub, and watch powerful short films by Palestinian directors.
(Lloyd Center, Lloyd District, $4-$12)


The Earth’s Own Tongue: Indigenous Mapuche Art, Culture, and Language Revitalization in Southern Chile
Past Event List Learn more about the indigenous Mapuche people, the largest ethnic group in Chile, at this free showcase of documentary shorts. The screening will be followed by an open forum on land justice and autonomy with Mapuche educator and weaver Silvia Calfuqueo, Chilean professor and researcher Carolina Kürrüf, and filmmaker/community organizer Kelly Baur. 
(IPRC, Buckman, free)

Paris is Burning
Past Event List Jennie Livingston's landmark 1990 documentary shone a light on New York City’s African American and Latinx Harlem drag ball scene, creating a rarely-seen portrait of fashion "houses," warlike contests, and valiant house mothers. It should be noted, though, that some participants felt exploited by the film, and feminist scholar bell hooks wondered about its voyeuristic aspects. Amid times of intense homophobia, transphobia, racism, poverty, and HIV/AIDS, there were voguers, drag queens, and trans women who forged community despite near-insurmountable odds—and despite valid criticisms of Paris is Burning, it does celebrate these pioneer figures. Check it out at this fundraiser screening in support of Quest Center, a "community healthcare facility primarily serving folks who are LGBTQIA+, low-income or living with HIV."
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $8-$10)


Free Coffee Cuppings! Past Event List
If you're looking to expand your java knowledge, look no further than this complimentary coffee cupping. Sip a few different brews, savor their tastes and aromas, and participate in a discussion.
(Nossa Familia Coffee, Pearl District, free)

World Foods' Ninth Birthday Party Past Event List
The Pearl District's family-owned specialty grocer World Foods is throwing a bash to mark its ninth trip around the sun. They'll go all out with appearances from brewers, vendors, and winemakers, plus sidewalk grilling, cocktail specials, and other festivities.
(World Foods, Pearl District, free)


UwU & Friends Spring Equinox with DJ Wawa Past Event List
UwU & Friends is a multidisciplinary event series that showcases underground dance music created by, and for, Portland’s queer and BIPOC community. For this edition, nearly two dozen DJs and visual artists will take over two rooms at the Jupiter NEXT hotel with immersive art, dancing, sound baths, and nourishments provided by Mad Man, Mariquita Medicinals herbal teas, and Guayakí Yerba Mate.
(Jupiter NEXT, Buckman, Free)


This is She: Joyce Chung Past Event List
At this free talk, Joyce Chung, the founder and self-proclaimed "shopkeep" of the multicultural snack emporium Goodies Snack Shop, will share her story of moving to Portland in 2021 and how she ultimately found her community.
(Lan Su Chinese Garden, Old Town-Chinatown, free with $14 garden admission)


Portland Art Picnic
Past Event List What better time for an art picnic than the beginning of spring, as clocks hop forward, daffodils reveal their bell-shaped heads, SAD lamps flick off, and you no longer leave work in pitch darkness?! It's time to celebrate, people! Grab some snacks and weather-appropriate garb (it's still kind of cold and cloudy, but whatever) to celebrate the spring equinox at this recurring picnic, where visitors will find an outdoor gallery and sale featuring over five dozen local creatives slinging paintings, wearables, stickers, and more. If that's not convincing enough, there'll probably be some great dog-watching, and you can snag brunch from Toast beforehand.
(Woodstock Park, Woodstock, free)



Past Event List Having recently won an Oscar for Best Original Song, RRR will return to the big screen for a "one-night-only #encoRRRe" of the Indian Telugu-language thrill ride. Set in the '20s, the "epic bromance" (NPR) mythologizes two real-life freedom fighters who led the way during India’s fight for independence from the British Raj.
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $8-$10)


Kelli Schaefer with Mt. Fog and Long Drive Theater
Past Event List For more than 10 years, Portland artist Kelli Schaefer has tapped into the emotional pulses of an ever-changing pop culture landscape. On 2013’s experimental EP 601, Schaefer shed the skin of her folky muses, inviting electronic flourishes to glaze her avant-garde pop gems. Her evolution continues on her follow-up, No Identity, produced by Modern Kin’s Drew Grow on local label Amigo/Amiga. Schaefer leaked the wholly appropriate track “Underground” on November 9, 2016, that confounding day after Donald Trump was elected president. The song’s art-pop mechanics bore deep amid that disorienting haze as Schaefer coos, “We are all waterfalls slipping through the cracks downtown/I will meet you underground.” The song unfurls steadily, building urgency until the four-minute mark, which is full-on revolutionary revelry. It’s another reminder of why Schaefer is one of Portland’s best and most inventive artists. RYAN J. PRADO
(Lollipop Shoppe, Buckman, $10-$12)

You Said Strange
Past Event List The Portland-via-Giverny, France rock quartet You Said Strange will take the stage ahead of their new album, Thousand Shadows Vol. 2 (out April 28), which blends together psychedelic pop, proto-grunge, and shoegaze. They will be joined by post-punk outfitHollow Sidewalks and "space grunge" rockers Ghost Frog.
(Show Bar, Buckman, $12)



Irish Festival 2023
Past Event List The bagpipes are honking, the beer is flowing, and Portland is getting greener for this year's Irish Festival, which will continue this weekend. Shamrock Run Portland and Kells Irish Pub & Brewery teamed up to organize a “bigger and better” event this year—tipsy emerald-hued festivities will resume at both Kells locations on March 17 and 18. 
(Kells Irish Restaurant & Pub and Kells Brewery, Friday-Saturday)


All Quiet on the Western Front
Past Event List It's been streaming on Netflix for months, but All Quiet on the Western Front—the other Oscar sweeper this year—is really best viewed on a big screen. Based on the novel by Erich Maria Remarque, the "anti-war epic" (Screen Daily) follows a young German soldier's experiences of initial euphoria and transition into desperation and terror in the trenches of the Western Front. Be warned, it gets brutal.
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $8-$10, Friday-Sunday)

Cocaine Bear Past Event List
Lots of cocaine!!! One bear!!!!!! A movie about a bear who consumed a buttload of cocaine. It's based, if you do not know, on a real bear. But cocaine, which fell from the sky, killed the real bear—a black bear who is spending eternity in a Kentucky mall. The movie bear does not die from an overdose but becomes larger than life and death. He goes on a rampage. He destroys this and that. Humans scream and die. And this is a comedy! How can we miss this movie? It sounds like top-notch trash. I hope it doesn't suffer the fate of Snakes on a Plane. STRANGER SENIOR STAFF WRITER CHARLES MUDEDE
(Cinema 21, Nob Hill, $8 -$11, Friday-Sunday)

Past Event List I hadn't planned to add Inside to my weekend picks, but then I watched the trailer, which raised my blood pressure immediately. The thriller follows daddy Willem as he acts his gravelly little heart out, playing an art thief trapped in an NYC penthouse during a failed heist. If you're anything like me, that doesn't sound so bad. Maybe there's a fancy bathroom. A few problems, though: there's no food, no clean water, the temperature in the space is slowly increasing, and our dude might be forced to eat the tropical fish out of a fish tank. Torturous? Yeah. But since seeing The Lighthouse, I've learned that there's no one I'd rather lose my mind with than Dafoe. LINDSAY COSTELLO
(Cinema 21, Nob Hill, $9-$11, Friday-Sunday)

Live Action Oscar Nominated Short Films
Past Event List These brief but spellbinding stories have made an impression on the Academy. Pick your favorites at separate screenings of the nominated films in live action and animation categories. You'll be able to watch this year's winners, An Irish Goodbye and The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse; we also dug Ivalu, a meditative, icy tale based on a graphic novel set in Greenland's tundra, and Le Pupille, an inventive tale co-produced by Alfonso Cuarón and set in a Catholic boarding house during World War I.
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $7-$10, Saturday-Sunday)

Studio Ghibli Film Festival Past Event 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 eighth (almost) annual 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.
(OMSI, Central Eastside, $6.50-$7.50, Friday-Sunday)


home school: The shape of memory Past Event List
Victoria Anne Reis and manuel arturo abreu of home school will present the second exhibition of their curatorial residency at Oregon Contemporary. The shape of memory includes sculptural and installation works by "decolonial experimental archaeologist" Star Feliz, Athens Biennale-exhibited artist Deborah-Joyce Holman, Johannesburg-based artist Nkhensani Mkhari, and others, each of whom shares conceptual interpretations of symbols and sigils.
(Oregon Contemporary, Kenton, free, Friday-Sunday; closing)

Laura Burke: Bright Blue His Jacket Is, and His Boots Are Yellow Past Event List
Brooklyn-based artist Laura Burke's first solo show centers the artist's interest in fairy tales, imagined through scenes of household objects and natural elements imbued with "subtle magic." (The show's title, Bright Blue His Jacket Is, and His Boots Are Yellow, is a Tom Bombadil quote from The Fellowship of the Ring.) 
(Chefas Projects, Central Eastside, free, Friday-Saturday; closing)

Remembering to Remember: Experiments in Sound
Past Event List Curated by Roya Amirsoleymani and Felisha Ledesma, Remembering to Remember: Experiments in Sound (named after a Pauline Oliveros quote, natch) includes live performances, workshops, multichannel compositions, and video works at the cutting edge of experimental sound and moving image art. An exhibition with works by contemporary tastemakers like Synth Library Portland, Takashi Makino, and others will set the scene.
(PICA, Eliot, free, Friday-Sunday)

Sou'wester Arts Week 2023
Past Event List Each year, the historic Sou'wester Lodge invites artists to experiment with materials, works-in-progress, and the environment for a week-long residency that culminates in a weekend of studio tours, installations, and performances. Celebrate a shift toward brighter spring days with a day trip to Seaview and engage with new works by over 30 diverse artists—all events will be open to the public.
(Sou'wester, Seaview, free, Friday-Saturday)

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