Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Portland This Weekend: Sept 15–17, 2023

El Grito, Oregon Science Festival Extravaganza, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
September 15, 2023
Rising from the ashes of the defunct Portland Mini Maker Faire, the inaugural Oregon Science Festival promises all sorts of scientific curiosities.
Summer weather is having one last hurrah before the first day of fall next week, so be sure to take advantage at easy, breezy events from El Grito to the Oregon Science Festival Extravaganza and from the Portland Polish Festival to Little Beast's Fresh Hop & Friends.

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Summer Film Screenings Past Event List
Whether you're in Oslo or the Pacific Northwest, no summer is complete without catching an outdoor movie screening (or four). Nordic Northwest agrees, and their hygge film programming offers a little something for everyone's cinema tastes, from historical dramas to cutesy folktales. On September 15, the series will conclude with the Nordic folktale-inspired flick Hilda and the Mountain King. Attendees can sip on a range of Oregon wines, beers, and non-alcoholic options during the film, and resident troll expert (yes, that's a thing!!) Britte Rasmussen Marsh will chat trolls beforehand, offering a wide context of "discord and history" pulled from her ample troll research. LC
(Nordic Northwest, Metzger, $5-$15)


2023 CoHo Clown Festival Remind List
Whether you're a literal clown or a simple clown appreciator, you'll want to honk your horn and slap on a gigantic pair of shoes for the second annual edition of this four-week fringe festival celebrating all things clownery. CoHo Clown Festival includes an absurdist mix of physical comedy, workshops, and movement performances, building community between artists and audiences with a wide range of jolly performances. It transforms CoHo's little black box theater into a central hub for circus artists across the country to engage in "playful whimsy," which sounds good for the soul. Go forth and get your clown on. LC
(CoHo Productions, Slabtown, Pay-What-You-Can)



Bridge City Improv: NINE Past Event List
Bridge City Improv will return with ad-libbed performances by nine uber-funny local comics split into three trios. Think of it as a comedic version of Macbeth's three weird sisters around the cauldron, or an evening with the Bee Gees brothers, but funny. (Not sure what it says about me that those were the only trios I could think of, but I digress.) This edition's line-up includes "unscripted and unpredictable stylings" by Kyle Stebbins, Kristen Schier, Craig McCarthy, Rachel Rosenthal, Adrienne Flagg, Matt Tabora-Roberts, Stephanie Wichmann, Scott Engdahl, and Brad Fortier. You've got nine opportunities to laugh, which sound like pretty good odds to me. LC
(Chapel Theater, Hector Campbell, $15)

Lone Wolves: Solo Sketch Comedy Past Event List
Have you peeped Siren Theater's new-ish location on N Mississippi Ave yet? Lone Wolves is a great excuse: The show's seasoned comics have been howlin' since 2013 with smart, sharp sketch comedy performances. You might've already caught their routines at Portland Center Stage, the CoHo Theater, or the Portland Sketch Comedy Festival. For this edition of the show, seven local laughers (Shelley McLendon, Nicholas Kessler, Brett Sisun, and others) will share their self-written sketches with help from their fellow wolves. Awooo! LC
(Siren Theater, Boise, $12-$15)

Something Weird: A Comedy Show Past Event List
Those who prefer their comedy with a side of bizarre, alternative, and "experiential" antics should show up for Something Weird, which showcases local comedy performers at their peculiar best. Hosted by quirk fanatics Annabelle Wright (off with her head!) and Haley Klarfeld, this month's round-up will include weird-out laughs from Kelly Thomas, Logan Loughmiller, Colin Ryono, Emily Newton, and Jaren George, aka Scrooge McDuck on the streets of Brooklyn. LC
(Curious Comedy Annex, King, $10-$15)


Portland Polish Festival Past Event List
Expect polka and pierogies this weekend at the longest-running Polish festival in the US, right here in Overlook! Learn about Polish history, grab plates of traditional cuisine, and wash it all down with Polish beers. After watching this too-cute video of volunteers preparing bigos (hunter's stew), we can't wait to dig in while enjoying performances from traditional folk dancers and musicians. SL
(Polish Hall, Overlook, free)


Free Coffee Cuppings! Remind 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. JB
(Nossa Familia Coffee, Pearl District, free)

Fresh Hop & Friends Past Event List
Little Beast Brewing, which takes its name from the tiny little creatures that magically alchemize water, barley, and hops into beer, will maximize fresh hop season with a selection of freshies, with their own brews alongside offerings from Wayfinder, Ruse, Stombreaker, Block 15, Living Haüs, and Via. Kick back in the beer garden while enjoying live jazz from the David Barber Trio and inhaling succulent smoked meats from Lawless BBQ. JB
(Little Beast Beer Garden, Richmond)


Fuego Fuego! A Latine Artist Showcase Past Event List
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Winningstad Theatre will take a break from staging theater productions to host Latin DJs Karma Rivera, Papi Fimbres, Luvjonez, Julimar, and El Nene Gaby. This all-ages celebration will get the audience on their feet with a blend of Latin, hip-hop, lo-fi house, and more. AV
(Winningstad Theatre, South Park Blocks, $15)


Laffy Taffy: Twerk, Trap, Dancehall, and Reggaeton Party with DJs Bnick, Jack, and Freez’em Past Event List
Resident DJ BNick will be joined by fellow emcees Jack and Freez’em for an evening of booty-busting R&B, hip-hop, and reggaeton to get you twerking all night long in "all ass-sorted flavors." Think of-the-moment favorites like Megan Thee Stallion, Doja Cat, Bad Bunny, Cardi B, and Beyoncé along with deep cuts of trap and dancehall. AV
(Holocene, Buckman, $12)



Kitten Cuddles: Oktoberfest Edition Past Event List
Two of our favorite things unite this Sunday: kittens and beer! A $5 donation to Northwest Animal Companions gets you five minutes of kitten cuddle time, and Loyal Legion will also be donating $1 from each Oktoberfest beer sold to NWAC. The kitties may not be dressed in lederhosen, but they'll do wonders to ward off your Sunday scaries. SL
(Loyal Legion, Buckman, $5)


Grand Opening Party Past Event List
The drinking destination of the summer is here: Mariah and Thomas Pisha-Duffly, the dynamic duo who brought you Gado Gadoand Oma's Hideawayopened the Houston Blacklight, a cheeky vintage-inspired bar with "a mashup of Atomic Era fantasy and rough-edged elegance," in the former Night Light Loungespace on at the end of July, serving inspired menu items like French onion instant ramen, shrimp cocktail with sambal terasi, and Jell-O shot bundt cakes (!). Help them celebrate their official grand opening with DJ tunes, dancing, drink specials, fabulous drag performances, and even an ice luge. JB
(The Houston Blacklight, Hosford-Abernethy)


Artiste Entertainment Presents: Indie As They Come Part 2 Past Event List
This showcase of Portland-based independent artists will fill your Sunday night with smooth tunes, impressive rhymes, and belly laughs, with a myriad of performances from R&B singer-songwriter/rapper Jeronimo, comedian James Hartenfeld, singer-songwriter Myende, and plenty of others. AV
(Kelly's Olympian, Downtown, $15)

Dream Wife Past Event List
On their third album, Social Lubrication, British trio Dream Wife merges the political with the playful. Spoken-word-leaning tracks like "Leech" call out the lack of empathy in our patriarchal world, but the band takes time to poke fun at themselves in "Hot (Don't Date A Musician)." Their sound, which mixes rock, pop, and elements of country, is reminiscent of 2010s rock like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs or Metric, and I'm here for it! They will support the album alongside punk powerhouses the Fauxs. AV
(Mississippi Studios, Boise, $15)


The Biggest Clothing Swap in the Northwest Past Event List
For those of us who have been wearing the same loungewear since...say...March 2020, this clothing swap will offer a little sartorial boost. Bring your clean, gently worn duds (no holes, odors, or previously worn undergarments—gross) for this exchange, which will include shoes, accessories, plus-sized and non-binary sections, and a bar. Ten dollars and a bag of clothes get you a whole new wardrobe, so there's really no reason to hang onto garb that doesn't spark joy. LC
(Crystal Ballroom, West End, $10)



Chapman Swift Watch Remind List
Because you live in Portland, you are surrounded by folks whose idea of a good time is gazing at Vaux's swifts—a species of dark, tiny-bodied aerialists that like to roost in hollow spaces—as they gracefully funnel into an elementary school chimney each sunset in September. Their numbers vary; sometimes you'll see 5,000, and in mid-September, up to 15,000, as they migrate to Mexico and Central America. Their evening ritual is nothing short of poetic, a visual display that would make Mary Oliver weep. Therefore, arrive early and anticipate fighting for parking. (If you're as lucky as I was last week, you might also witness a Cooper's hawk tucked to one side of the chimney, awaiting a teensy swift snack.) LC
(Chapman Elementary School, Northwest Portland, free, Friday-Sunday)

El Grito Past Event List
El Grito has plenty planned for its annual two-day celebration: folkloric and Aztec dance performances, mariachi and salsa tunes, traditional food offerings from Latinx businesses, educational booths, health screenings, and more. The Friday festivities will begin by honoring the many Latin American countries that celebrate their national independence during Hispanic Heritage Month and end with a ceremonial homage to “El Grito de Dolores,” symbolizing the revolt for independence in Mexico. El Grito invites Portlanders to join in and celebrate the traditions passed from generation to generation in the Latinx community and their indigenous roots. SL
(Rose Quarter Commons, North Portland, free, Saturday-Sunday)


Dahlia Festival Remind List
Grab your camera and your allergy meds and get ready to experience 40 acres of dahlias and a stunning indoor display of over 370 varieties. Floral novices and aficionados alike can sign up for flower arranging and crafts classes, listen to flower care lectures, take a bunch of flowers home, and more. Check out the farmers market every Sunday, listen to local bands perform on weekends, or grab a bite to eat from a rotating selection of food carts. SL
(Swan Island Dahlias, Canby, free, Friday-Sunday)

Oregon Science Festival Extravaganza Past Event List
The former Portland Mini Maker Fair transformed into the Oregon Science Festival this year, filling OMSI to the brim with STEAM-smart workshops, tours, lectures, and events that celebrated our region's scientists, engineers, and innovators. The fest will conclude this weekend with a two-day scientific "extravaganza," a fam-friendly event with workshops on electronic music, stop-motion animation, and special effects makeup, plus astrophotography-inspired dance performances, shark, mushroom, and dinosaur presentations, and a science circus. There'll be plenty of brain-teasing to go around. LC
(OMSI, Central Eastside, $0-$18, Saturday-Sunday)


Contempt Past Event List
After exploding onto the cinema scene in 1960 with the jazzy, freeform Breathless, Jean-Luc Godard returned with Contempt, which follows a producer and art film philistine, Jeremy Prokosch, who hires Fritz Lang (starring as himself) to direct an adaptation of The Odyssey. When Lang's picture seems destined for box office failure, a new screenwriter is hired, and his kowtowing to Prokosch creates conflict with his wife, played by Brigitte Bardot at the height of her cat-eyed allure. The colorful flick, set in Capri, will screen in a fresh 4K restoration. LC
(Cinema 21, Nob Hill, $9-$11, Friday-Sunday)

Godzillathon Past Event List
Godzilla, as far as I know, has never battled a giant centaur, but I also wouldn’t put it past the dude. Plus “sag season” sounds like what would happen to the suspension bridges of Tokyo during a Godzilla attack. The Hollywood Theater’s Godzillathon triumphantly returns in September after a few years on hiatus. It’s a great opportunity to see some golden-age kaiju fisticuffs on the big screen, and this time round the focus is on his swinging ‘60s oeuvre, including his battle with the much-maligned—yet still iconic—smog monster Hedorah. MERCURY CONTRIBUTOR BEN COLEMAN
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $9-$12, Saturday-Sunday)

Mutt Remind List
Vuk Lungulov-Klotz's Sundance standout Mutt follows a transgender teen as he navigates laundromats, subway turnstiles, and airport transfers on one hectic day in New York City. The director's debut film, which stars trans actor Lío Mehiel, "draws on his own background as a child of Chilean and Serbian parents and his own experience of transition" (the Hollywood Reporter). Mutt should grab your attention: According to IndieWire, the flick's sensual edge and concentration on detail signals "an exciting evolution for contemporary trans cinema." LC
(Cinema 21, Nob Hill, $9-$11, Friday-Sunday)

Oppenheimer Past Event List
Whether or not you give a damn about the theoretical physicist who helped develop the first nuclear weaponry, Oppenheimer is kind of a must-see—people are going to be yapping about this flick all summer long. You don't want to miss out on the Twitter discourse, do you?! Christopher Nolan's latest stars Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer and Emily Blunt as his wife, Communist biologist and botanist Katherine “Kitty” Oppenheimer. (More info on Kitty, please!!) The film also features Florence Pugh, A24 darling Benny Safdie, and a bunch of other actors that'll make you whisper "Wait, they're in this?!" to your friend in the theater. LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $13-$15, Friday-Sunday)

The Cramps and The Mutants: The Napa State Tapes Past Event List
If you told me that legendary janglers The Cramps and The Mutants had once played a show in a Napa psychiatric hospital, rousing the patients with Carter-era art punk while a Bay Area collective captured the whole thing on one of the first video cameras available to the public, well...I'd believe you, and I'd be desperate to see the footage. Luckily, I'm telling you this, and you can see the footage while everyone else chooses teams between Barbie and Oppenheimer. The Cramps and The Mutants: The Napa State Tapes will screen at the Hollywood in an unedited, fully remastered edition. Let's get fucked up! LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $8-$10, Friday-Sunday)


Snack Fest Past Event List
The people who brought you the Portland Night Market have turned their eyes towards the very serious business of snacking, and Snack Fest is the result: a weekend's worth of local vendors dedicating their time and energy to sharing bite-sized deliciousness in a wide variety of forms and flavors. This year, you can look forward to an "urban asado" party with Tournant, a fried chicken throwdown curated by Gary the Foodie, a kaiseki tasting menu from acclaimed Los Angeles chef Nan Yimcharoen, and other festivities. JB
(100 SE Alder, Buckman, free; prices vary for add-on events, Friday-Sunday)


Converge 45 Contemporary Arts Biennial Remind List
The free, citywide art exhibition Converge 45 is in full swing, with artists showcased across over 15 venues in Portland, including college campuses, the Portland Japanese Garden, and Pioneer Square. The biennial's theme, Social Forms: Art as Global Citizenship, takes on topics of Amazon deforestation, indigeneity, citizenship, and immigration, and aims to amplify the voices and experiences of people of color, so you're bound to find a cause you can get behind. I'm looking forward to local textile legend and Seneca Nation member Marie Watt's Chords to Other Chords (Relative) and Yishai Jusidman's history-driven cyanotypes in Prussian Blue. LC
(Various locations, free, Friday-Sunday)

Pat Boas: Idiom Remind List
Pat Boas, professor emerita of Art Practice in the School of Art + Design at Portland State University, will share new paintings in this solo exhibition that "push[es] the boundaries" of her signature abstract style. Frequently using letter forms and the written word as a conceptual starting point, Boas has built a word-as-image aesthetic that develops further in Idiom with layered paintings "akin to Cubist still-lifes." The geometric, yet atmospheric paintings bring together fragments of shape and color in pursuit of new meanings. LC
(Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Pearl District, free, Friday-Saturday)

Time-Released Remind List
PICA's Time-Released, a new series of performance artworks for 2023, reimagines the institution's iconique Time-Based Art Festival. The series will expand on TBA's typical 10-consecutive-day runtime with a more spread-out format, offering "space to artists and audiences to make deeper connections with each program.” Basically, we're getting TBA programming over a longer period of time—we'll take it! Local and international artists like Allie Hankins, Hannah Krafcik, Anthony Hudson/Carla Rossi, and Pepper Pepper will share their experiments from August to November; I'm digging Indigenous Mapuche artist Seba Calfuqueo's video installation and performative work Alka domo, which opened on August 24. LC
(PICA, Eliot, Friday-Sunday)

Volver a ver / To see again Remind List
Mexico City-born, Santa Monica-based artist Georgina Reskala's silver gelatin prints on linen and silk have an ethereal, moody quality, depicting abstracted nature imagery and silhouetted figures in long exposures. In Volver a ver / To see again, each photograph is altered through physical manipulation—Reskala unthreads the weft of the linen or layers multiple images over each other. The results feel like eerie reflections on past memories and the mind's tendency to twist them at will. LC
(PDX CONTEMPORARY ART, Slabtown, free, Friday-Saturday)

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