Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Portland This Weekend: Mar 22–24, 2024

Smallpresspalooza, Waterfront Park Cherry Blossoms, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
March 22, 2024
The Waterfront Park Cherry Blossoms pictured last weekend. (Janey Wong)
The first weekend of spring is bringing some scattered spring showers and a spate of events from Smallpresspalooza to Thriftapalooza and from the Waterfront Park Cherry Blossoms to Bricks Cascade 2024. For more ideas, check out our guide to the top events of the week.

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Ruby Rocket, Private Detective Remind List
If you get a kick out of physical comedy and improvised noir, zany gumshoe Ruby Rocket is great at what she does—until she isn't. This calamity of a comedy stars Stacey Hallal (a "genuine talent," according to the Oregonian) alongside Portland's wackiest improvisers. Ruby's story will blaze to life with multimedia elements and classic noir storytelling, so I'm hoping for smoky alleyways and gals in dark sunglasses. LC
(Curious Comedy Theater, King, $12-$18)


All Girl Summer Fun Band, Kids on a Crime Spree, and Artsick Past Event List
Portland-based musicians Kim Baxter, Kathy Foster, and Jen Sbragia formed their twee pop outfit All Girl Summer Fun Band at a Softies concert in the late '90s, which tells you almost everything you need to know about them. With three studio albums, the band is known for their candy-sweet anthems about girlhood like "Canadian Boyfriend," "Car Trouble" and "Cutie Pie." They will reunite with support from Oakland-based indie rockers Kids on a Crime Spree and Artsick. AV
(The Fixin' To, St. Johns, $15)

Maya De Vitry Past Event List
Nashville singer-songwriter Maya de Vitry will swing through Portland to support her new EP Infinite. Created with the intent to capture the "musical chemistry, emotional immediacy, and joyful spontaneity" of her live band, the album soars on harmonies and narrative storytelling. De Vitry's voice is warm, rich, and emotive, bringing to mind folk legends like Eva Cassidy, Odetta, and Tracy Chapman. AV
(Show Bar, Buckman, $15)



Feminist March 2024 Past Event List
Happy Women's History Month! Hollywood Theatre's Feminist March program will once again offer up a full month of screenings celebrating women in film. Programmed by Hollywood Theatre community programmer Anthony Hudson and Hollywood staff members Destynee Norwood and Cable Wells, this year's lineup "delves unflinchingly into the dark and seedy depths of female experience" (oOoO!) with 19 films. The wide-reaching festival continues this week with Bring It On and 7th Heaven. LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District)

Edgy Hollywood punk Nicolas Cage plays edgy Hollywood punk Randy in this hot-pink carnival of '80s-era superficiality and consumerism in the San Fernando Valley. Martha Coolidge's '83 cult classic Valley Girl follows a teen queen bee who falls for the aforementioned edgelord and risks a fallout with her superficial friends. And apparently, we have Valley Girl to thank for all of the Nicolas Cageiness that is Nicolas Cage: "I think Valley Girl was really the time that I found my voice," he once said. "And I have to give [director] Martha Coolidge credit. Without her, Nicolas Cage would not exist." LC
(Tomorrow Theater, Richmond, $15)


Owen Broder Quintet: Hodges Front and Center Past Event List
Join local saxophonist Owen Broder and his quintet (Noah Simpson, Carmen Staaf, Emiliano Lasansky, and John Sturino) as they pay tribute to alto saxophone icon Johnny Hodges. Hodges is best known for his work with Duke Ellington's big band, but Broder aims to widen appreciation for Hodges as a musician in his own right by highlighting his often-overlooked solo albums. AV
(Jack London Revue, Downtown, $15)


Interrogation: True Crime Stories Past Event List
If you binged Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story back in 2022 and are now experiencing a shortage of sick-freak programming, let this storytelling journey tide you over. "Veterans of the force" Korey David and Daniel Van Kirk will lead the way as comics share their own true crime stories, then get interrogated on stage. You can play out your criminal and detective fantasies: Audience members will be invited to "submit their own crimes" to be read live on stage, and they'll also help the improvisers get to the bottom of each case. LC
(Siren Theater, Boise, $15)


Smallpresspalooza Past Event List
Returning for its 13th year to reaffirm that any event can be a -palooza if the mood is right, Smallpresspalooza will offer up a marathon reading by a dozen small press-published authors. Hosted by Future Tense Books publisher (and Powell's small press champion) Kevin Sampsell, the event will include words by Cee Chávez, Shilo Niziolek, Juleen Eun Sun Johnson, Hope Amico, Libby Rice, Jessica Wadleigh, and others. LC
(Powell's City of Books, Pearl District, free)

Thriftapalooza Past Event List
As someone who treats thrift stores as cultural landmarks wherever I travel, the idea of the expo center filled with vintage finds is both thrilling and overwhelming. If you're trying to boycott fast fashion or want to refresh your spring wardrobe, it's just $5 to $12 to access this mecca of sustainable shopping. For first dibs, early bird entry on Saturday costs $22. Don't forget your reusable bags! This event is all about conscious consumption (and great deals, of course). SL
(Portland Expo Center, North Portland, $5-$22)



Talk of the Town Past Event List
Look, Portland is great and all, but there are more than enough reasons that living in the City of Roses might also have you feeling a little glum. Talk of the Town has your back, though. The recurring improv show will hit the stage on March 24 with a roster of guests sharing what makes Portland great—good art, great food, and hilarious, off-the-cuff conversation. (Previous guests have included folks from Portland Center Stage, Trans Voices Cabaret, ShadyPines Radio, Rose City Rollers, Girls on the Run, Masala Lab, and more.) Each Portlander will inspire a ragtag team of improv experts to create fresh scenes and characters on the spot. Just don't bring your umbrella—it's gauche. LC
(Siren Theater, Boise, $12)


GAME-O-RAMA // Heathers Bingo hosted by Violet Hex Past Event List
Cult cinema drag starlet Violet Hex will venture out from her typical stompin' grounds at the Clinton Street Theater to host this screening of Heathers, the best film that ever threatened to blow up a high school. (Hey, it was the '80s, I guess. Plus, Winona Ryder is in it, which could redeem almost anything.) This Tomorrow Theater screening will up the ante in everyone's favorite way: through a game of bingo. Bring your daubers and your dead gay son. LC
(Tomorrow Theater, Richmond, $15)

Queer Movie Night Remind List
On the fourth Sunday of each month, Fuse Theatre Ensemble screens a pay-what-you-can film fave from the queer cinema canon, then follows the flick with a trivia session and discussion. (If you're interested in the "evolution of the depiction of LGBTQIA+ characters over the last 50 years," you've found your people!) This time around, they'll screen But I'm a Cheerleader. You probably already know the plot, but if not: When a spunky cheerleading teen is sent to a wackjob conversion therapy camp to "cure her lesbianism," she meets someone special (spoiler: it's a girl) and learns more about herself than she anticipated. Natasha Lyonne and Clea DuVall deliver the sapphic goods in the campy '99 flick, which Movie Guide: Movie Reviews for Christians deems "vulgar." That's a shining endorsement, if you ask me. LC
(Back Door Theater, Sunnyside, Pay-what-you-can)


sunking with Bathlete Past Event List
Signed to the respected ANTI- label like their mothership band, High Pulp, sunking conjure a similar strain of melodious, jazz-funk magic, as drummer Bobby Granfelt and keyboardist/guitarist Antoine Martel work overtime to bring you sonic joy. Though they're highly skilled instrumentalists, sunking never flaunt virtuosity for its own sake. They're more interested in creating lubricious grooves and seductive moods to get you flexing your most romantic moves. These young cats are reviving the head-nodding beatitudes of top-tier trip-hop from the Mo Wax and Ninja Tune labels and the suavest veins of '70s fusion, while sprinkling some shoegaze-rock fairy dust over everything, resulting in songs that invite obsessive replays. Most sunking tracks clock in at under two minutes, optimizing their sly impact and leaving you gasping for more. Their latest LP, Smug, is their prettiest and punchiest yet. STRANGER CONTRIBUTOR DAVE SEGAL
(Lollipop Shoppe, Buckman, $12-$15)


Portland Black Vendors Market Past Event List
Creating space and access for the city's burgeoning (and flourishing) Black businesses, the Portland Black Vendors Market will pop up in downtown's Cart Blocks for this Sunday market, which comes complete with live music and food vendors. Drop by to support Black biz and grab bites from some of the buzziest food carts in the city. LC
(Cart Blocks, Downtown, free)


Alan Ostrow Memorial Talk: Black Photographers in Portland Past Event List
As Portland Art Museum's Black Artists of Oregon exhibition nears its end (it closes on March 31), the museum will host a moderated panel on local Black photographic practices. The exhibition pays special attention to underrepresented regional artists and thinks carefully about the African American experience in the Pacific Northwest, and this discussion will continue that trend—panelists include artists Richard Brown, mia charnelle, Kelly Ruthe Johnson, and AnAkA Morris. Curator and photographer Intisar Abioto will moderate. LC
(Portland Art Museum, South Park Blocks, free)



Love Lies Bleeding Past Event List
In sophomore director Rose Glass’s queer melodrama Love Lies Bleeding, Kristen Stewart plays Lou, a chain-smoking dirtbag dyke and gym manager who splits her time between unclogging toilets, fending off the unwanted advances of her overzealous admirer Daisy (Anna Baryshnikov), worrying about her sister Beth (Jena Malone), reheating frozen dinners in a drab apartment, and masturbating on a faded couch in full view of her cat. When she meets ambitious muscle mommy Jackie (Katy O’Brian), who’s passing through town on her way to a bodybuilding competition in Las Vegas, the star-crossed sapphic lovers immediately fall into a spiral of toxic U-haul infatuation. Glass, who directed the 2019 psychological horror flick Saint Maud, brings a startlingly singular and stylish vision to life. She’s cited David Cronenberg’s Crash and Paul Verhoeven’s Showgirls as influences for Love Lies Bleeding, and the carnal obsession of those films shines through in her work. The result is a seedy, sexy, high-octane ride that holds its own amongst the erotic thriller canon. JB
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $10-$12, Friday-Sunday)

Thelma & Louise Past Event List
Is there a more quintessential road trip movie than the sun-soaked Ridley Scott classic Thelma & Louise? Two best friends, the bored housewife Thelma (a luminous Geena Davis) and pragmatic waitress Louise (Susan Sarandon), set off on a three-day fishing trip that goes awry and turns into a full-fledged escape from the authorities across the country, in which our doomed heroines gradually begin to throw caution to the wind. (See: the famous scene where they lure a misogynistic trucker with nude mud-flap girls off road and set fire to his rig.) As critic Karina Longworth details in her podcast You Must Remember This, the film marked a watershed moment for depictions of female rage onscreen, tackling issues like date rape and sexual harassment, and it's this crackling ferocity that makes it feel just as fresh and timely today. Keep an eye out for Brad Pitt in a star-making turn as a charismatic grifter. JB
(Fifth Avenue Cinema, Downtown, $0-$7, Friday-Sunday)


Bricks Cascade 2024 Past Event List
Earlier this week, the New York Times crossword included the clue, "Toy brand documented on the website Brickipedia." The answer, of course, is LEGO, which will also be the main event at Bricks Cascade this weekend. From impressive creations to opportunities to build and play, there's something for every LEGO enthusiast. If you feel inspired to make something of your own at home, a marketplace of specialty vendors offering kits and tips can set you up with a solid foundation. SL
(Oregon Convention Center, Lloyd District, $15-$16, Saturday-Sunday)


NAYA’s Native Made Spring Marketplace Past Event List
Just like the sun, NAYA’s Native Made Marketplace returns for a spring event featuring over 50 Native vendors offering tons of unique creations. This is just one of the many ways the nonprofit works to build community and prosperity within Portland's Native community. Don't miss out! SL
(Lloyd Center, Lloyd District, free, Saturday-Sunday)


Waterfront Park Cherry Blossoms Past Event List
Each spring, 100 cherry blossom trees pop pink blooms at the Japanese American Historical Plaza up at the north end of Waterfront Park. Tourists and locals alike stroll the tree-lined stretch to partake in stunning photo-ops, bask in the delicate falling petals, and reflect on the history of Japanese Portlanders. The cherry blossoms have hit peak bloom, but hurry, this weekend's weather threatens to rain on their parade. JW
(Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Downtown, free, Friday-Sunday)


California: Ido Radon Past Event List
Modern technology collides with the natural realm, all across Ido Radon’s solo exhibition. Using materials such as solar panels, recycled PC cases, and cabinets, Radon forged sculptures intertwined with organic substances like rabbit fur. There's a sculpture dangling from the gallery ceiling above a mirror, like an inverted city of Kandor or a miniature Castle Said to Hold Eternity. Is the mirror the way to view "Server," stuck starkly above? An installation of nylon ropes, wires, and bamboo beads intermingle and dangle suspiciously on the wall nearby as if you're invited to climb up there for a closer look. PORTLAND MERCURY CONTRIBUTOR ASHLEY GIFFORD
(ILY2, Pearl District, free, Friday-Saturday)

Fazilat Soukhakian: Queer in Utah Past Event List
In Fazilat Soukhakian's native Iran, same-sex sexual activity is still punishable by death. Before moving to the US, Soukhakian witnessed this discrimination and the fear it induced in the LGBTQ+ community, but after moving to Utah, she found a remarkably similar atmosphere. Her Queer in Utah project, begun in 2019, includes intimate portraits of a new generation of LGBTQ+ Mormons and residents of Utah who are challenging the constraints of their religious beliefs and the conservative heterosexual image. LC
(Blue Sky Gallery, Pearl District, free, Friday-Saturday)

The Fullness of the Seeming Void Past Event List
What is art for if not to explore the unknown? Frankly, I'm always seeking a little bit of spiritual enlightenment when I duck into a gallery. Adams and Ollman gets it—this cross-generational group exhibition manifests the mystical through a "lineage of personal and sensory investigations" from the '60s to the present. We're talking cosmologies, voids, and world-building, people! We're diving into the magic of the mundane and the enormity of everyday minutiae. Get into it. The Fullness of the Seeming Void (which pulls its title from a Helena Blavatsky quote—sick) includes works by supernova-conjuring art pioneer Lee Bontecou, iconoclastic painter Cynthia Carlson, Heidi Lau, whose work pulls from ancient Taoist mythologies, and Bettina, who lived at the Chelsea Hotel from the '70s until her death, among several others. LC
(Adams and Ollman, Northwest Portland, free, Friday-Saturday; closing)

Heidi Schwegler: Existential Action Thriller Remind List
I've followed Heidi Schwegler's art practice for years, and it's not just because I used to be her catsitter. Schwegler alters and re-casts everyday objects to create eerie integrations and uncanny hybrid forms, prompting an endless barrage of questions. In Existential Action Thriller, the inquiries continue—a hand-braided cotton rug purchased on eBay melds with a strand of hair, a cat’s claw, remnants of a corn chip, and a splash of wine. It all sounds pretty typical within a domestic sphere, but don't be fooled. "Our domestic objects absorb memory as the events that make up our lives are forever crystalized in their materiality," says Schwegler. LC
(PCC Sylvania Campus, Southwest Portland, free)

Hours After Winter Past Event List
Rachael Zur calls her sculptural works "expanded paintings"—they merge physicality with traditional painting techniques, and the pieces have been previously featured in New American Paintings. In Hours After Winter, Zur's latest solo exhibition, the artist ponders life cycles, renewal, and the "curious capacity domestic spaces have for holding the echoes of lives lived." If your interest in art about domestic spaces is piqued, I recommend heading to Blue Sky Gallery afterward for Sarah Malakoff's Personal History. LC
(Carnation Contemporary, Kenton, free, Saturday-Sunday)

Joseph Past Event List
Curated by Jeroen Smeets of The Jaunt, this group exhibition spotlights five artists who took part in the organization's "summer camp" program: painters Tim Biskup, Jillian Evelyn, and William LaChance, multimedia artist Macarena Luzi, and folk art-inspired artist Stevie Shao. The artists converged in Joseph, Oregon, a small town at the base of the Wallowa Mountains, to create amid the scenic atmosphere. Joseph showcases the "collective fruits of their creativity" and includes a limited edition silkscreen print. LC
(Chefas Projects, Central Eastside, free, Friday-Saturday)

Lee Materazzi: ¢a$h&¢arry Past Event List
Lee Materazzi's inaugural show at Nationale is also a traveling exhibition—it was previously presented at San Francisco's 1599fdT, and will be shown at San Diego's Quint Contemporary in the future. ¢a$h&¢arry compiles 250 archival images that chronicle the last five years of Materazzi's practice, including portraiture and reflections on the precarity of the human body. Materazzi shares her studio space and practice with her children, Mia and Brook, so the works on view in this show were "completed between the ages of 37 and 41 and 3 and 11, respectively." LC
(Nationale, Buckman, free, Friday-Sunday)

MÉLANGE curated by Jeremy Okai Davis Past Event List
You might have seen Jeremy Okai Davis's work in his 2022 solo exhibition A Good Sport, which saw the painter investigate the experiences of Black Americans in traditional sportsmanship roles within the rigid confines of athleticism and academia. This time around, Davis has taken on a curatorial role—Mélange pulls together an "array of voices and creative expressions" from printmaker Rebecca Boraz, North Carolina-based artist Maria Britton (who uses used bedsheets, dry permanent markers, and newspapers as artistic material), Bronx-born collage artist Anthony R. Grant, and Chris Lael Larson, who "culls riches from the everyday absurd." LC
(Nationale, Buckman, free, Friday-Sunday)

Meteorite Mama: Jessie Rosa Vala Past Event List
Jessie Rose Vala's latest installation pulls from mythic storytelling to erect a stoneware and neon "effigy" to hybridity and connectivity across the ages. The work includes glass pomegranates and is surrounded by sound and video elements that amplify Vala's focus on ancient histories and "future ways of being." Meteorite Mama also offers an opportunity to make your own talisman on March 9—effigies, beads, and string will be provided. The exhibition will conclude with a ritual event on March 30, which will include an acapella performance by devotional artist Willow Gibbons and a natural arrangement workshop led by floral designer Hilary Horvath. LC
(Well Well, Kenton, free, Saturday-Sunday)

OuterVoice: Kinds of Time Past Event List
Founded in 2023 by Portland video artist and writer Sarah Rushford, the time-based arts alliance Outer Voice aims to provide "space, community, support, and opportunity to local time-based artists" and to "foster community dialogue around time-based art." For this group exhibition, the 2023-24 season of Outer Voice participants (Claire Barrera, Roland Dahwen, Erin Boberg Doughton, Rubén García Marrufo, Sarah Rushford, Ash Stone, and Qi You) will present multidisciplinary works. On April 6 at 6 pm, the artists will also share a program of performances and video works. LC
(Oregon Contemporary, Kenton, free, Friday–Sunday)

Sarah Malakoff: Personal History Past Event List
Large-scale color photographer Sarah Malakoff has been preoccupied by domestic interiors for as long as she can recall. Her long-term documentation project Personal History looks closely at how we arrange our spaces and how décor communicates our "tastes, personalities, quirks, and culture." (What would Malakoff think about the dishes in my sink?) This exhibition highlights objects arranged in American homes, including teapots, pinball machines, Obama pillows, Egyptian pseudo-artifacts, and lots of other odds and ends that might surprise you. Malakoff wonders how these objects "underscore the privilege and power implicit in the act of collecting." LC
(Blue Sky Gallery, Pearl District, free, Friday-Saturday)

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