Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Portland This Weekend: Sept 22–24, 2023

Celebrating 75 Years of Forest Park, Fresh Hop Pop-Up Beer Fest, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
September 22, 2023
Join other community members in Celebrating 75 Years of Forest Park. (Portland Parks & Recreation via Facebook)
Fall officially starts tomorrow, and we'll be ushering in the season with cheap and cheerful events from Fresh Hop Pop-Up Beer Fest to KBOO Community Radio's 55th Birthday and from Celebrating 75 Years of Forest Park to Free Entrance Days in the National Parks. For more ideas, check out our guide to the top events of the week.

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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)


Club Nowhere x Opal Underground Presents: Jeffrey Sfire, Sappho, and DJ Orso Past Event List
Named symbolically after the multi-faceted gemstone, Opal is a tribute to Portland's queer underground nightlife. This weekend, they’re teaming up with the newly debuted Club Nowhere for an evening of dance-forward house music and queer clubbing, soundtracked by world-renowned selector Jeffrey Sfire. Perhaps best known for his collaborative Italo-disco project Sfire with longtime friend SOPHIE, he will keep you dancing with a high-energy blend of '80s Italo, Hi-NRG, and Chicago house bangers. Be sure to arrive in time for opening sets from local DJs Sappho and Orso. AV
(Holocene, Buckman, $15)


2023 CoHo Clown Festival Past Event 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)


Chords to Other Chords (Relative) Past Event List
Marie Watts, a Portland contemporary artist and member of the Seneca Nation of Indians, unveiled the new neon sculpture Chords to Other Chords (Relative) for Converge 45. Pulling from Seneca oral history traditions, Watts's brightly blazing piece "is first and foremost an affirmation of the land and the Indigenous people who are ephemeral monuments to this territory." Its title is pulled from 23rd United States Poet Laureate Joy Harjo's poem Bird, which states "We are chords/to other chords to other chords, if we’re lucky, to melody." If you haven't already, the piece is a great reason to stop by the new-ish Center for Native Arts and Cultures. LC
(Center for Native Arts and Cultures, Central Eastside, free)



Coping Mechanism Past Event List
Professional joy bringer Mike Bennett is hosting the first-ever miniature skate deck art show and block party. Fingerboard enthusiasts will be stoked about the over 200 artists showcasing their mini decks, but there'll also be art vendors, a DJ takeover from PDX-based underground label Thirsty City, and an all-day block party. The event is donation-based until 5 pm, and ticketed after. Don't miss the "biggest little skate deck show in town"! SL
(Mike Bennett Studios, Kerns, $12-$15)

KBOO Community Radio's 55th Birthday Past Event List
Community radio station KBOO is celebrating 55 years on the air with a free and family-friendly block party! Tune in IRL for performances from local musicians, DJ sets, food and beverage options, station tours, and more. KBOO will hold its annual meeting at 1 pm if you're interested in the nitty-gritty of running a radio station; we think their goal of "facilitating a space for resistance" is pretty cool. SL
(KBOO Radio 90.7 FM, Buckman, free)

Celebrating 75 Years of Forest Park Past Event List
Portland Parks & Rec is inviting the community to celebrate 75 years of Forest Park while honoring the Indigenous people who stewarded the land long before its founding. All are welcome to join, though some activities are uniquely tailored to specific communities or affinity groups as they work to ensure the park is inclusive and welcoming for generations to come. Register in advance for a volunteer clean up, birding walk, basket weaving, group hike, or dialogue on uplifting Indigenous voices. Everyone will come together for an afterparty at the trailhead with lunch provided by Salsas Locas. SL
(Forest Park, Northwest Portland, free)


OMSI Star Party Past Event List
Light pollution be damned—you can scope out your fair share of planets and stars, the moon, and other celestial sights from the darkness of Rooster Rock State Park and L.L. Stub Stewart State Park, where OMSI will host special lunar viewings on Saturday night in celebration of the autumn equinox. Rose City Astronomers and reps from Oregon Parks and Recreation will be on site, and astronomy nerds of all ages can gaze their nerdy little hearts out through "telescopes and binoculars of all sizes." LC
(Various locations, free, $5 parking)

OrenKoFest Past Event List
Hillsboro’s annual family-friendly Oktoberfest-style bash offers live music, kids' activities, local food carts, an open-air market, and more outside of Orenco Station. Feeling competitive? Grab some friends and play corn hole or enter the Masskrugstemmen beer stein holding contest at 3:30 pm. SL
(Jerry Willey Plaza, Hillsboro, free)


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. JB
(Nossa Familia Coffee, Pearl District, free)


Ancient Pools Past Event List
On their new album, Casio Casual, Portland-based duo Anna Jeter and Kevin Christopher (aka Ancient Pools) evoke dream-pop heavies like Beach House, Melody's Echo Chamber, and Broadcast with crystalline vocals, kaleidoscopic synths, and hypnotic guitar work. They will celebrate the release album alongside synthy trio Wet Dream and indie-folk artist Palm Sunday. AV
(Doug Fir Lounge, Buckman, $12)

Jack Symes & The River House Band: Prom Tour Past Event List
If you, like me, are overcome with humiliating memories at the mention of high school prom, this is your chance for redemption. Brooklyn-based songsmith Jack Symes will swap out tired school dance tunes (like the dreaded "Cha-Cha Slide") for songs from his latest album, Jack Symes & the River House. The album, which includes on-theme tracks like "Prom Song Pt. 2" and "A Little Love," is a perfect little corsage of contemporary indie rock, folk, and 1950s rock 'n' roll. Portland-based indie rock artists White Bike, Love Dean, and Presidio will open the show. Be sure to bring a date and don't forget to dress in your snazziest formal attire! AV
(Mississippi Studios, Boise, $15)


North Portland Indigenous Marketplace Past Event List
Portland Indigenous Marketplace will return with another edition of its recurring market, which features handcrafted goodies created by Indigenous and Black vendors. Each Indigenous Marketplace seems to get bigger and better—this time around, they'll post up on the same block as the St. Johns Farmers Market, so you can snag locally made art, apparel, jewelry, and ceramics along with your veggies and kombucha. LC
(St Johns Farmers Market, St. Johns, free)


Free Entrance Days in the National Parks Past Event List
We're still clinging on to summer with warm temps this weekend, so we recommend heading to the lake—with no entrance fee! Saturday, September 23 is an entrance fee-free day for all national parks. This includes the one-and-only Crater Lake, Lewis and Clark National Historical Park in adorable Astoria, and Fort Vancouver just across the Washington border. There are only five of these days a year (the next is November 11), so make it count. SL
(Various locations, free)



Final Girls Berlin: Best of 2023 Past Event List
Spotlighting terrifying international flicks directed by women, queer, and non-binary filmmakers, Germany's Final Girls Berlin Film Festival is committed to the monstrous and messy. This "Best Of" collection compiles seven dreadful short flicks from the eighth edition of the festival. Anticipate tales of family dysfunction, medical chills, creatures, possessions, and "themes of bodily autonomy"—now that's scary stuff. LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $10-$12)


The Body, Troller, and Dead Times Past Event List
I don't listen to much metal because fast, abrasive music tends to stress me out (and I don't like it when men yell at me). I do, however, listen to the Body on occasion. Which makes sense, considering their defiance of the genre. Drummer Lee Buford and beat wizard Chip King craft slow, sludgy, unholy tunes with glimmers of trad-folk, medieval chorus music, '90s grunge, and industrial sounds. I would even go as far as to say that their newest album, I Shall Die Here / Earth Triumphant sounds more like Throbbing Gristle than it does Metallica. They will support the album alongside kindred experimental metal bands Troller and Deadtimes. AV
(Doug Fir Lounge, Buckman, $15)




Bella Organic Pumpkin Patch & Corn Maze Past Event List
Every fall, Bella Organic Farms makes a statement with their corn maze, and this year they're targeting gun violence with "a simple message of love from a simple farmer.” Enjoy a hot cup of apple cider over a game of trivia about the maze, and compete with your family and friends inside the maze to win a Clue-inspired game. Starting October 1, you can hitch a free hayride over to the pumpkin patch to pick out your own gourd for carving, painting, or simply placing on your porch for max autumnal vibes. If you're a thrill seeker, stop by after dark on Fridays and Saturdays to experience their haunted corn maze. SL
(Bella Organic Pumpkin Patch & Winery, Sauvie Island, $0-$12, Friday-Sunday)

Chapman Swift Watch Past Event 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)

Dahlia Festival Past Event 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)

The MAiZE at the Pumpkin Patch Past Event List
Join us in shouting "It's corn!!!" while exploring almost two miles of pathways through the famous MAiZE on Sauvie Island. This premier destination for fall enthusiasts pays homage to its 25th year in business with this year's design. The maze has two parts: warm up with the "easy" section before tackling the more difficult part, and don't forget your boots, it can get muddy out there. SL
(The Pumpkin Patch, Sauvie Island, $0-$10, Friday-Sunday)


Hausu in 35mm Past Event List
Nobuhiko Obayashi's Hausu is a film that utterly defies description, but here goes: the 1977 cult classic is a psychedelic romp akin to Scooby-Doo on hallucinogens. It's also one of my all-time favorites, and the perfect apéritif for creepy season. When a squad of teenage girls travels to a creaky, cobwebby country manor, they discover that evil spirits have overtaken the house. (This is why I don't travel to creaky, cobwebby country manors!!) Antics ensue with a possessed piano, floating heads, and the film's unsung hero: a bigass, fluffy house cat named Blanche. LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $10-$12, Friday-Sunday)

Scooby-Doo with Haunted Mansion Past Event List
I can think of few more effective ways to decompress from your work week than with this double-feature of 2002's Scooby-Doo the Movie and this year's Haunted Mansion, which was overshadowed by some pink-hued and explosive summer flicks, and is also rumored to be pretty goddamn terrible. (I'm of the opinion that bad movies can be so bad, they're good.) They'll screen back-to-back at Newberg's beloved, old-timey drive-in theater. Pull up before sunset, settle in, and switch off your brain for a few blissfully dumb, scary-season-approved hours. LC
(99W Drive-In, Newberg, $5-$10, Friday-Sunday)

Sextember Past Event List
If I asked you to describe September in one adjective, would you say "sexy?" If not, you'd be WRONG. September is EROTIC. Apparently, no one knows this better than the Hollywood. They're showcasing a heat wave of seductive flicks all month long; it's the perfect way to celebrate the final scantily clad days of the year before fall and winter come along to ruin the 'fit. The series will continue to advise viewer discretion this weekend with Magic Mike XXL. LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, Friday-Sunday)


Fresh Hop Pop-Up Beer Fest Past Event List
Just can't get enough fresh hops? This 17-day-long pop-up hop extravaganza will showcase the hyper-seasonal specialty in all its glory with special tappings every day from "some of the best and brightest breweries and regions." The programming includes "Freshtoberfest" from September 22-24, and a spotlight on hops from Yakima (the hop capital of the world!) on September 28, among lots of other events. Scoop up some nosh from the Prost! Marketplace's 10 resident food trucks while you're at it. JB
(Prost! Marketplace, North Portland, Friday-Sunday)


Portland Flea Past Event List
Portland Flea’s 2023 season of vintage and maker markets introduces Saturday offerings at the Ecotrust building in the Pearl District. The market now runs every last weekend of the month from April-October in two locations: the original spot on SE 2nd and Clay, and Ecotrust’s parking lot. Turn up for the same open-air market vibes you love each year; you'll find purveyors of trendy duds, vintage wares, home goods, and more, plus unmatched people- and dog-watching. LC
(Various locations, free, Saturday-Sunday)


Holding Fire: Fuel Ladder Past Event List
It's getting warm in here: Eugene-based research collective Fuel Ladder pulls together artists, designers, and thinkers whose work explores climate crisis through wildfire. The collective's current exhibition at Well Well Projects, Holding Fire, digs into wildfire's "cycles of both destruction and renewal" through a diverse range of perspectives. William Bonner uses installation pieces to "highlight and communicate the importance and beauty of living processes," while David Buckley Borden’s place-based projects "use humorous combinations of visual art and landscape design to center environmental issues within everyday phenomena." I'm particularly intrigued by Sasha Michelle White’s practice, which centers fire-adapted plants, and Nancy Silvers' work, which explores identity and ecology at "scales that range from a single thread to acres of landscape" through textiles and other mediums. LC
(Well Well, Kenton, free, Saturday-Sunday)

Pat Boas: Idiom Past Event 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)

Rembrandt and The Jews Past Event List
This exhibition of 22 etchings by Dutch Golden Age master Rembrandt reveals the artist's unique relationship with Amsterdam-based Jews of the era, who were mostly Sephardic refugees fleeing the Inquisition. Rembrandt consulted with Jewish theologians to interpret Old Testament narratives, and even depicted these scholars in etchings and painted portraits. LC
(Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, Pearl District, $0-$8, Friday-Sunday; closing)

Richard Mosse: Broken Spectre Remind List
Have you been adequately blown away by Richard Mosse's Occidental? (If not, make time to see it—the current Blue Sky Gallery show displays Mosse's photo documentation of oil spills from an abandoned pipeline in northwest Peru's Indigenous Kichwa territory.) Fans of Mosse can head to another installation of his work at Lewis & Clark College's Hoffman Gallery. The lauded artist's film Broken Spectre "seeks to overcome the inherent challenges of representing climate change" with three years' worth of footage from the heart of the Brazilian Amazon. LC
(Hoffman Gallery of Contemporary Art at Lewis & Clark College, Southwest Portland, free, Friday-Sunday)

Volver a ver / To see again Past Event 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)

Will Rawls: [siccer] Past Event List
You might've seen Will Rawls's work recently—the New York-based artist has popped up with installations and exhibitions at Adams and Ollman and the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle over the last few years. As a choreographer, performance artist, curator, and writer, Rawls's work is wide-reaching, and [siccer] is no exception. It's part-live performance, part-stop-motion animation, and its title references the Latin adverb sic (you typically see it used in brackets to denote an “error” when quoting someone, underscoring the perceived inaccuracy of their speech). To Rawls, "[sic] is a useful metaphor for how the language and gestures of Black bodies are captured, quoted or misquoted, and circulated to appear strange in various media;" as a writer, I'm excited to see how Rawls interrogates the limits of citation. LC
(PICA, Eliot, $0-$10, Saturday-Sunday; opening)

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