Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Portland This Weekend: May 19–21, 2023

AANHPI Heritage Month Free Day, Vanport Mosaic Festival, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
May 19, 2023
AANHPI Heritage Month Free Day will include a performance by the Polynesian dance troupe Paradise of Samoa. (Paradise of Samoa)
The heatwave is forecasted to let up a little bit this weekend, but these cheap and easy events should burn a hole in your pocket. Read on for options from the Oregon Historical Society's AANHPI Heritage Month Free Day to The 8th Vanport Mosaic Festival and from Chasten Buttigieg in Conversation With Carrie Brownstein to Joseph's In-Store Performance & Signing at Music Millennium. For more ideas, check out our top picks of the week.

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Joey Ramone Birthday Bash
Past Event List Celebrate your favorite mama's boy, Joey Ramone, at this Ramones tribute night on what would have been his 72nd birthday. Old school punks Monty Vega & The Sittin’ Shivas will get things started, followed by cover bands Lobotomen, the Beat-On-Brats, and the Fauxs performing the quartet's classic hits. All proceeds will be donated to the Lymphoma Research Foundation. AV
(Twilight Cafe & Bar, Brooklyn, $10)

Kate Clover Past Event List
LA-raised rocker Kate Clover follows in the footsteps of her idols Patti Smith and Iggy Pop for her carefree glam-punk tunes that take inspiration from the history and lore of Los Angeles. She will support her debut album, Bleed Your Heart Out, alongside garage rock purveyors Sleeping Beauties and punk wizard Black Shelton. AV
(Mississippi Studios, Boise, $15)


Boots! '60s Dance Party
Past Event List Seattle's '60s-themed DJ night Boots will head down I-5 for a far-out polka dot party featuring go-go dancers, mod decor, and groovy tunes straight from the space age. Costumes are encouraged, so be sure to wear as many polka dots as possible (à la Yayoi Kusama). Best of all, admission is free! AV
(Lollipop Shoppe, Buckman, free)

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! AV
(Holocene, Buckman, $0-$15)


Angela Anh Nguyen: How We Hegemony Past Event List
LA-based textile artist Angela Anh Nguyen will showcase her graphic tufted rugs in How We Hegemony, the artist's first solo exhibition. Book an appointment to scope out the subtly comical works, which "document the reaching effects of authority" with bold, head-on sincerity.
(One Grand Gallery, Buckman, free; closing) Past Event List
Fanciers of monsters, cyborgs, dystopias, and glitchy madness may already be lurking at the Lloyd Center Hot Topic, but they should make their way next door, where chimæ, a "creative community space," has activated an empty storefront. Organized by Daelyn Lambi, a current MA/MFA candidate at the Pacific Northwest College of Art, the temporary space will host an art exhibition, market, public workshops, and music, drag, and dance performances. Geared toward those considering "chimeric qualities of hybridity and (im)possibility" (who isn't?!), chimæ closes out with a rural trans youth art show and fundraiser on Friday evening. Bonus: you can hit the ice rink afterward. LC
(Lloyd Center, Lloyd District, free; closing)



AANHPI Heritage Month Free Day
Past Event List The Oregon Historical Society will celebrate AANHPI Heritage Month with all-day free admission on Saturday. Organized in collaboration with AANHPI community group Oregon Rises Above Hate, the fam-friendly day will include poetic melodies of Rajasthan folk music by traditional Indian classical vocalist and dancer Shivani Joshi. She'll play the harmonium (Indian piano accordion) alongside accompaniment from tabla (Indian drums) and bansuri (Indian flute). Stick around afterward for Polynesian dance troupe Paradise of Samoa; they'll perform dances from Hawaii, Samoa, Tahiti, and New Zealand in colorful handmade costumes. LC
(Oregon Historical Society, South Park Blocks, free)

Miller Family Free Day
Past Event List Stop by the Portland Art Museum for free on Saturday to catch up on their current exhibitions, including David Rosenak's quiet, Portland-inspired untitled (Plaid Pantry) and Nature Vive: Paul Missal, which celebrates the PNCA professor and Blackfish Gallery cofounder's fifty-plus-year career. While you're there, scope out Hito Steyerl's augmented reality "garden" and a real Botticelli, too. (It's a good idea to score your ticket online in advance, but a limited number of tickets will be available for walk-ups.) Planned in celebration of AANHPI Heritage Month, the event is presented in collaboration with AANHPI community group Oregon Rises Above Hate. LC
(Portland Art Museum, South Park Blocks, free)


Remind 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 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)

School of the Holy Beast
Past Event List It's all topless nuns, lesbianism, whip-cracking, and acid vats in School of the Holy Beast, a '74 Japanese cult cinema classic that went largely unseen by English-speaking audiences until its DVD release in 2005. The transgressive “nunspolitation” pink film, directed by legendary Toei filmmaker Norifumi Suzuki, leads initiate Maya on a hellish Catholic trip as she takes her vows at a convent in which her mother once lived. Things get really weird when Maya uncovers the lecherous secrets and masochistic rituals taking place within the convent's walls. LC
(Clinton Street Theater, Hosford-Abernethy, $8)


Joseph: In-Store Performance & Signing Past Event List
I am obsessed with sister-led bands. Maybe it's because I have two sisters myself, but when I hear a trio of sisters harmonizing together (Haim, the Pointer Sisters, Sister Sledge, the Roaches, the Shaggs, the list goes on!), I usually well up with tears. For that reason, I am so grateful that the PNW has Joseph to claim as our own. And luckily for us, the Portland-based indie-folk group will stop Music Millennium for a free in-store performance and signing in support of their new album, The Sun. The aptly titled album evokes the warm rays of golden hour with picked guitars, bright, unrestrained harmonies, and deeply personal lyricism. AV
(Music Millennium, Kerns, free)

Tow'rs with A Boy and His Kite
Past Event List On their sixth album, Joy Alchemy, husband-and-wife duo Kyle and Gretta Miller reflect on the "role of choice in the waters of change." The peaceful indie folk ballads meditate on releasing old patterns, relinquishing control, and embracing disappointment as keys to unlocking happiness. Colorado singer-songwriter A Boy and His Kite (aka Dave Wilton) will open with songs from his latest output The Path Became A Ghost. AV
(Doug Fir Lounge, Buckman, $15)


Bigfoot Regional Poetry Showcase and Raffle Past Event List
Bigfoot spends a lot of time in nature, so I think his poetry would probably mimic Mary Oliver or Gary Snyder's earthy style. Sadly, he won't be reading at this poetry showcase (or will he?!), but the Portland Poetry Slam team, the Slamlandia team, and the Verselandia team will head to the stage to strut their lyrical stuff. There's a bonus perk, too—tickets to the showcase will earn you three entries into a raffle for hotel stays, editing services, gift cards, a "poetry basket," and more. LC
(Honey Latte Cafe, Buckman, $10-$15)

Chasten Buttigieg in Conversation With Carrie Brownstein
Past Event List Chasten Buttigieg, bespectacled teacher, LGBTQ+ activist, and hubby to US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, will shimmy into Portland in celebration of I Have Something to Tell You — For Young Adults, a YA adaptation of his bestselling memoir. The tome details his upbringing as a closeted gay youth in a rural Midwestern town in the aughts, which, as a fellow millennial, I can predict was a total pain in the ass. In a delightfully oddball pairing, Buttigieg will chat with riot grrrl icon Carrie Brownstein, founding member of Sleater-Kinney and author of Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl. LC
(Powell's City of Books, Pearl District, free)



AniMayhem OVA Festival
Past Event List Do the words "deep-cut anime" make your ears perk up? Keep reading. The first OVA, or Original Video Animation, was created by legendary director Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in The Shell), and the format's spirit of experimentation has inspired anime auteurs ever since. (OVA films and miniseries are direct-to-home video releases, granting writers and directors a unique level of creative freedom to deepen plots and character development.) So, a key aspect of OVAs is that they're never screened in theaters...but the AniMayhem OVA Festival changes that. This is perhaps your one chance to catch a curated marathon of four of the "best, most cult classic OVA titles to be released throughout the '80s and '90s" on a big screen. Go forth with your nerdy selves—and don't miss the pre-screening "mini anime convention" with merch by local artists and vendors. LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $8-$10)


Depressed Cake Shop Portland Pop-Up Past Event List
This one-day pop-up bakery sells gray-colored cakes, cookies, and other goods (all donated by local bakers) to raise awareness and encourage conversation about mental health issues. The goodies, though dismal looking on the outside, are bright and colorful on the inside to symbolize hope. Proceeds benefit Baby Blues Connection, which provides free support for parents and families dealing with perinatal mood disorders.
(Opal 28, Kerns, $0-$15)



Talk of the Town
Remind List Look, Portland is great, 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 hits the stage every third weekend of the month with rotating guests sharing what makes Portland great—good art, great food, and hilarious, off-the-cuff conversation. Each guest 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
(Curious Comedy Theater, King, $15, Friday-Saturday)


The 8th Vanport Mosaic Festival
Remind List Vanport, the largest World War II federal housing project in the United States and once Oregon's second-largest city, was destroyed by a flood in 1948 that left 18,000 people homeless and forced Portland’s white residents to reckon with their racist housing practices. In observance of the 75th anniversary of the flood, this 11-day festival of "memory activism" will commemorate the disaster with community-minded presentations, a "reunion/celebration of former Vanport residents," documentary screenings, oral history recordings, tours, and more. This weekend, ethnomusicologist Kelly Bosworth will share archival tunes from Vanport and the nearby Kaiser shipyards and Flood Safe Columbia River will offer a walking tour. That's not all, though—check out this year's program for a full rundown. LC
(Alberta House, Concordia, free, Friday-Sunday)


Master Gardener Past Event List
Say what you will about Paul Schrader (and there's, uh, a lot to say—I'm a diehard fan of this Twitter account that tracks the cinema auteur's unhinged Facebook posts), but the dude knows how to tell a story in a clear, precise, and maybe even transcendental style. If you saw First Reformed, you're already familiar with Schrader's austere brand of spiritualism. Hopefully, Master Gardener continues the thread; the flick follows Joel Edgerton as a horticulturist at a historic estate, where his wealthy employer demands he take on a troubled new apprentice, triggering chaos and potentially violent reveals. LC
(Laurelhurst Theater, Buckman, Friday-Sunday)


The Life and Art of Bue Jack Kee: From Obscurity to Acclaim
Remind List Developed in partnership with the Bue Kee family, the Hallie Ford Museum, and private collectors, The Life and Art of Bue Jack Kee: From Obscurity to Acclaim weaves the little-known tale of Bue Kee, a Portland-born Chinese American artist who studied at the Museum Art School (now known as PNCA) and whose work "captures an intimate view of Portland Chinatown and the beauty of the Pacific Northwest." Kee was awarded the school's inaugural Carey Award in 1929 and produced ceramic centerpieces for Timberline Lodge and Tongue Point Naval Air Station as part of the WPA's Federal Art Project. Dig further into Kee's uniquely Oregonian career at this exhibition, which includes "a dazzling array of watercolors, paintings, lithographs, drawings, and ceramics." LC
(Portland Chinatown Museum, Old Town-Chinatown, $0-$8, Friday-Sunday)

Making Earth Cool Remind List
Do-good Gaia lovers Making Earth Cool will bring some environmental joie de vivre to Parallax Art Center this spring with two months of earthy activities staged within an "immersive handmade setting." As part of their artist residency program, visitors will be invited to participate in repair workshops, educational storytelling, and calls to action informed by Indigenous and youth-led activist groups.
(Parallax Art Center, Pearl District, free, Friday-Saturday)

Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Presents Protection: Adaptation & Resistance
Remind 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, Friday-Saturday; opening)

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