Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Portland This Weekend: Mar 3-5, 2023

Studio Ghibli Film Festival, 72nd Agate and Mineral Show, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
March 3, 2023
The month-long Studio Ghibli Film Festival opens tonight with 2013 historical biography The Wind Rises.
The weekend is here, which means it's time to take a load off. In that spirit, we've rounded up these budget-friendly and low-to-no-stress events, from the Studio Ghibli Film Festival to the 72nd Agate and Mineral Show and from Remembering to Remember: Experiments in Sound to The Portland Mercury's Highball 2023. For more ideas, check out our guide to the top events of the week or our complete guide to March events.

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

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Feminist March 2023 Add to a List
Returning from a pandemic-related hiatus, Hollywood Theatre's Feminist March program will once again offer up a full month of screenings celebrating women in film. Presented in partnership with Portland State University's Center for Women's Leadership, Synth Library Portland, and Quest Center, this year's lineup includes 12 films directed by women, including multiple flicks by Black, Indigenous, and queer directors. Swing by tonight for the post-apocalyptic flick Tank Girl, screened in 35mm.
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, Pricing varies)

The Invitation Add to a List
This screening of psych thriller The Invitation is the definition of a cheap date. (It's free.) Directed by Karyn Kusama, who made Jennifer's Body (a chef's kiss of a horror film—if you know, you know), The Invitation follows the proceedings of a bad-vibes dinner party in the Hollywood Hills. Since you saved a few bucks on tickets, you can head across the street to Bar Norman afterward to discuss what it all meant over natural wine and nibbles.
(Clinton Street Theater, Hosford-Abernethy, free)


Best $15 Red Blind Wine Tasting Add to a List
Test your senses and channel your inner sommelier with a bargain-priced blind wine tasting. You'll get to choose from over a dozen brown-bagged wines and vote for your top three favorites.
(Woodstock Wine and Deli, Woodstock, $15)


10th Letter Meets Omari Jazz Add to a List
Expand your mind with an evening of "outside beats, heavyweight bass, and Afrofuturist sonics" with back-to-back sets from Atlanta’s immersive hip-hop, jazz, and soul ensemble 10th Letter and Portland’s own experimental electronic wizard Omari Jazz. Don't miss opening sets from local beatmaker Northern Draw, multimedia artist Icon Sleepy Tut, electronic musician Ice Pink, producer Saltfeend, and DJ EmVKush.
(The Midnight PDX + The SĂŻx, Sunnyside, $10-$15)

Coral Grief with Night Heron and CHAD Add to a List
Seattle-based indie rock trio Coral Grief will head down I-5 with dreamy, ethereal, and harmony-driven tunes reminiscent '90s indietronica bands like Broadcast and Stereolab. They will support their newly-released EP, Daydrops, alongside local synth-pop group Night Heron and indie pop outfit CHAD.
(Lollipop Shoppe, Buckman, $10-$12)


Mary Szybist and Laurel Nakanishi Add to a List
National Book Award-winning poet Mary Szybist and Fulbright grant recipient and poet Laurel Nakanishi will come together for this generative evening of poetry, where they'll share their own work, lead a discussion on place-based poetry, and invite the audience to respond to prompts. (Poets seem like an introverted bunch, so this event should offer the perfect amount of interactivity and introspection.)
(Literary Arts, Southwest Portland, free)



Free Coffee Cuppings! Add to a 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)


Kingsley with Phone Home Add to a List
Portland-via-Chicago artist Kingsley will perform captivating R&B- and electronic-influenced pop tunes from her most recent album Crying On Holidays, which, as the album suggests, is a perfect soundtrack for dancing the pain away. She will be joined by local indie pop duo Camp Crush.
(Mississippi Studios, Boise, $15)

My Dream Band, TNDRGRL, and Chandler Trey Johnson Add to a List
Local indie rock artists My Dream Band, TNDRGRL, and Chandler Trey Johnson will join forces for an evening of '90s-inspired rhythms, shimmering guitars, and lyrics about crushes, angst, and being lonely.
(No Fun, Buckman, $8)

Small Million, Les Gold, and New Body Electric Add to a List
Local indie-pop duo Small Million found themselves evolving into a four-piece over the pandemic, swirling their energetic pop sound with cinematic moods and darkly romantic lyricism inspired by their experience in isolation. They will be joined by the local indie rock quartet Les Gold and electropop project New Body Electric.
(Polaris Hall, Humboldt, $13)

Wacken Metal Battle: Portland Preliminary Add to a List
Bands across the country lay waste to the stage for the chance to represent their country in the Wacken Metal Battle USA, which claims the title of "world’s largest outdoor metal festival." This preliminary round will include performances from contenders Chemical Annihilation, Iron Circus, Deadfeather, Innocents Torn, Set in Stone, and more to determine who goes on to the Pacific Northwest final.
(Dante's, Old Town-Chinatown, $12-$15)


Dance Craze: Respected Ladyland Dance Party Add to a List
Beloved all-vinyl DJ Action Slacks will kick off Women's History Month with a vintage mix of multi-genre tunes from female voices (ranging from 1965 to 1980) with a mission of celebrating the "endurance, perseverance, talents, creativity, and humanity" of women.
(The World Famous Kenton Club, Kenton, Sliding scale $10-20)


Cenicienta: A Bilingual Cinderella Story Add to a List
This family-friendly bilingual (Spanish/English) performance shares the adventure of an innovative 10-year-old storyteller who constructs her own vision of the classic Cinderella tale with everyday objects, poetry, puppets, and a newfound sense of confidence. 
(Patricia Reser Center for the Arts, Beaverton, $10-$15)


Moving Forward from Community Secrets Add to a List
Led by scholar Linda Tamura and hosted by the Japanese American Museum of Oregon (JAMO), this presentation will center the Nisei soldiers whose names were vindictively erased from the Hood River honor roll in 1944. In the wake of a recent apology issued by the local American Legion and the donation of hundreds of historical letters protesting the removal of the names, Tamura will discuss the shrouded history of Hood River's Japanese American community alongside Post commander Carl Casey and vice commander Dennis Leonard of the American Legion Post 22. (A selection of the letters can be viewed at JAMO as part of their exhibition A Long Road to Travel: The Service of Japanese Americans During World War II.)
(Old NW Natural Building, Old Town-Chinatown, free)

Portfolio Program Reading Series Add to a List
Current participants in IPRC's innovative portfolio program, a yearlong course that centers studies in creative writing, print processes, and more, will read excerpts of their works in progress.
(IPRC, Buckman, free)



World's Hottest Goss: A Comedy Show Add to a List
Fans of local comedy and movie theater lobbies will be delighted by Portland's newest recurring laugh fest, which features a rotating fleet of the city's "mediumest comedians" with gags and wisecracks that'll help you beat the Sunday night blues.
(Studio One Theaters, Richmond)


Views of an Urban Volcano: A discussion on Mt. Tabor Park Add to a List
The first in a series of events leading up to new jazz premieres by the Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble at the 10th Annual Montavilla Jazz Festival, this discussion will center Mt. Tabor Park's importance in relationship to marginalized communities. Exploring the history of the park from 1896 to present day, panelists will take a close look at the extinct volcano's significance to Portland’s Chinese, Black, and Indigenous residents. Attendees will hear from Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde member David Harrelson, PSU professor emeritus Darrell Millner, Friends of Mt. Tabor Park board member Hap Pritchard, and Seattle University professor emerita Dr. Marie Wong.
(Oregon Historical Society, South Park Blocks, free)


Church of Film: The Millennial Bee Add to a List
It's all fire, ice, and magical realism in this psychedelic portrait of a Slovakian village across generations. Set at the turn of the 20th century, the '83 Juraj Jakubisko drama The Millennial Bee is often hailed as the greatest entry in the Czechoslovakian New Wave canon. The flick will screen on the Red Fox's heated patio, so grab a hot toddy and settle in for a wintry epic.
(The Red Fox, Humboldt, free)


Kristine Leschper Add to a List
Through sound, text, images, and performance, interdisciplinary artist Kristine Leschper explores concepts like "meaning-making, womanhood, socio-ecological systems, and the wielding of power." She will support her electronic, folk, and baroque album, The Opening, Or Closing Of A Door, alongside dreamy singer-songwriter Nina Ryser (of indie rock band Palberta) and folk-infused rock band Babytooth.
(Mississippi Studios, Boise, $15)


Sadie Dupuis in Conversation With Jessica Boudreaux Add to a List
Sadie Dupuis, guitarist and singer of acclaimed indie-rock outfit Speedy Ortiz, penned Cry Perfume over a four-year period while touring and struggling with the loss of loved ones to overdoses. Channeling her grief into advocacy work, Dupuis fundraised for overdose prevention resources and compiled the slick poems found in the new tome, drawing from her passion for justice work to reflect on "the virtues and evils that emerge when arts and tech collide." (Stephen Malkmus described the poems as "musical meters and flows cut with DIY realness"—we dig it.) Portland-based music producer and Summer Cannibals frontwoman Jessica Boudreaux will join Dupuis for this conversation.
(Powell's City of Books, Pearl District, free)



72nd Agate and Mineral Show Add to a List
Celebrate 72 years of all that glitters and gleams with the Oregon Agate and Mineral Society at their annual fancy rock show. The event includes live demonstrations with "a big saw," a dig pit, handcrafted jewelry, a display featuring the glamorous Oregon state gem, and, perhaps most importantly, a table of "rocks that look like food." Proceeds from the show will be donated to OMSI’s Hancock Field Station in the John Day River Valley, a geologist's dream spot rife with fossil-rich rock formations. 
(OMSI, Central Eastside, free, Friday-Sunday)


A Long Road to Travel: The Service of Japanese American Soldiers During World War II Add to a List
This collaborative exhibition, created by the Japanese American Museum of Oregon and the History Museum of Hood River County, centers over 400 Japanese American (Nisei) soldiers from Oregon who served in the US military during World War II. While many of their relatives were incarcerated in internment camps, these soldiers served overseas and faced intense prejudices. 
(Japanese American Museum of Oregon, Old Town-Chinatown, $0-$8, Friday-Sunday)


Cascade Festival of African Films Add to a List
The "longest-running annual, non-profit, non-commercial, largely volunteer-run African film festival in the United States" features works by African directors, centering non-Western perspectives on African culture with films like Egyptian coming-of-age tale Souad. Live interviews with filmmakers and community conversations round out the exciting cultural event, with opportunities for virtual and in-person viewing. 
(PCC Cascade and Virtual, free, Friday-Saturday)

Cocaine Bear Add to a 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)

Live Action Oscar Nominated Short Films Add to a List
These brief but spellbinding stories have made an impression on the Academy. Predict the winners at separate screenings of the nominated films in live action, animation, and documentary categories. Standouts include 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, Friday-Sunday)

One Fine Morning Add to a List
LĂ©a Seydoux and her chic new pixie cut grace the screen in this thoroughly French romantic drama about a single mother embroiled in an affair. But what's it really about, you ask? Rolling Stone describes the story as grappling with "problems of the soul versus the body," so don't go if you're not into moody interpersonal relations reminiscent of Eric Rohmer.
(Cinema 21, Nob Hill, $8-$11, Friday-Sunday)

Studio Ghibli Film Festival Add to a 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)

Videodrome—Director's Cut Add to a List
If you dug Brandon Cronenberg's gruesome freakout Infinity Pool, you probably already know that his brain-gouging style is in the genes—Brandon's dad is body horror master David Cronenberg, who IMDB claims is "also known as the King of Venereal Horror or the Baron of Blood." Couldn't be us!! Anyway, if you haven't seen it, now's as good a time as any to catch Videodrome, daddy Cronenberg's '83 classic. This director's cut brings new life to the shocker flick, which follows a torture TV show with a side of sadomasochism and conspiracy theories. Bonus: Debbie Harry is in it.
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $8-$10, Saturday-Sunday)


The Portland Mercury's Highball 2023 Add to a List
BEHOLD! It's the triumphant return of the Portland Mercury's HIGHBALL! That's correct: Get ready for an ENTIRE WEEK (February 20-26) of specially crafted, original cocktails mixed by the best bartenders in town… and get this, they're only $8 each! We've teamed up with the finest bars and restaurants in Portland—along with our cocktail-lovin' pals at Jim Beam—to bring you this one-of-a-kind booze-tacular! At each of Highball's locations, you'll find $8 specially crafted cocktails, and even better? They'll be available ALL DAY (not just during happy hour)!
(Various locations, Friday-Sunday)


a community is a small town Add to a List
Head to the Reser to peep their latest exhibition, which compiles works from four regional neurodivergent art studios. Artists working across mediums at Elbow Room, North Pole, Living Studios, and Oregon Supportive Living Programs Arts & Culture Center will share their unique talents and expressive points of view, with everything from paintings and sculptures to book arts on display. It's a great opportunity to check out Beaverton's new-ish state-of-the-art performance center if you haven't yet visited.
(Patricia Reser Center for the Arts, Beaverton, free, Friday-Saturday; closing)

Chrysalis (Generativity): Fernanda D’Agostino Add to a List
As part of Site, Oregon Contemporary's ongoing series of "site-specific large-scale solo exhibitions by artists of the Pacific Northwest," this solo exhibition by Fernanda D’Agostino draws from an unusual inspiration—the nests of tent caterpillars. D'Agostino's curious installation of sculptural works blends materials like netting and found branches with creative coding and MadMapper to think carefully about sacredness, merging, and emerging with a childlike sense of marvel.
(Oregon Contemporary, Kenton, free, Friday-Sunday; closing)

Dinh Q. LĂŞ - Cambodia Reamker Add to a List
Dinh Q. LĂŞ continues to work with themes of displacement, war, and history in Cambodia Reamker, a series of photographic weavings depicting Reamker, the national epic of Cambodia, and portraits of incarcerated people in Tuol Sleng, a notorious Khmer Rouge prison. LĂŞ, whose family was forced to flee the Khmer Rouge in 1978, now creates "alternative narratives" that blend references to the country's rich cultural traditions and tragic recent history.
(Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Pearl District, free, Friday-Saturday)

Frank Frances: Remember the South Add to a List
Artist Frank Frances's Remember the South reimagines colonialism through a contemporary eye, creating a fictitious environment within which racism, blackface, Confederate symbols, and crops from the American South are referenced in "meticulous" collages and unsettling, yet visually stunning photographs. 
(Blue Sky Gallery, Pearl District, free, Friday-Sunday)

Mark R. Smith - Stress Formations Add to a List
In the solo exhibition Stress Formations, Mark R. Smith's textile paintings and laser engravings expand on his interests in social networks and crowds. Reflecting on the sociopolitical climate of the last few years, Smith noticed an interesting contrast between common pandemic pastimes—knitting, crochet—and the civil unrest unfolding in the wake of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor's murders. Smith's intricate fabric works, including a "big tent," bring up questions: Who is kept safe and sheltered? How do we attempt to "organize the unruly?"
(Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Pearl District, free, Friday-Saturday)

Remembering to Remember: Experiments in Sound Add to a 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. This weekend, enjoy live performances by Lucy Liyou, Crystal Quartez, Nyokabi Kariũki, and others.
(PICA, Eliot, free, Friday-Sunday)

Sam Geballe: Self-untitled Add to a List
Bay Area-based trans genderqueer artist Sam Geballe explains that they created the photographs in Self-Untitled to "help alleviate shame I had for my body, build connection, and humanize myself to others." The exhibition's black-and-white self-portraits grapple with the aftermath of Geballe's gastric bypass surgery, in which they lost a "drastic" amount of weight and felt a defensive sense of depersonalization as a result.
(Blue Sky Gallery, Pearl District, free, Friday-Sunday)

Takahiko Hayashi Add to a List
A quarter century of works by lauded Japanese artist Takahiko Hayashi are on display in Shi Han Seiki: Trace the Drawn Lines, a retrospective of swirling, abstracted copperplate prints and collages.
(Froelick Gallery, Pearl District, free, Friday-Saturday)

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