Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Portland This Weekend: Sept 23–25, 2022

Oktoberfests, Queer Mall, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
September 22, 2022
For a free, all-ages Oktoberfest option, check out the Widmer Brothers' 18th Annual Oktoberfest. (Widmer Brothers via Facebook)
The first weekend of fall calls for celebration, but that doesn't have to require much money or advance planning. We've rounded up the best affordable events below, from Queer Mall to A Beat Happening to Moonage Daydream. Still lookin' for more ideas? Peep our guide to the top events of the week.


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Dirty Angel All Stars: Virgo Night Add to a List
This celebration of Virgo funny folks is curiously planned for the first day of Libra season, but we love Virgos, so we'll allow it. Virgo Night includes critical comedy from Brandon Wayne Little, Jamoudi Webb, Kris Cox, Jake Quanbeck, Esau Hamadanyan, and Mx. Dahlia Belle—we hope they joke about their high standards and analytical prowess.
(Kelly's Olympian, Downtown Portland, $10)

Minority Retort presents: Marcella Arguello! Add to a List
Latinx stand-up queen Marcella Arguello will share more experiences navigating race, gender, and life as a very tall person at this edition of Minority Retort, Portland's leading stand-up comedy showcase for Black and brown comedians. She'll be joined by funny folks Lee H. Tillman, Juan Duran, and Howie Echo-Hawk.(Curious Comedy Theater, King, $15–$20)


DOC-O-RAMA Add to a List
PAM/CUT will screen five bold documentaries for this series, centering stories of radical change told through personal growth, social justice, and more. DOC-O-RAMA continues this weekend with Aggie, which shares the story of Agnes Gund, a philanthropist and art collector who sells "blue chip art" for millions in support of criminal justice reform.
(Whitsell Auditorium, Downtown Portland, $12+)


Johnny Franco, Closet Goth, and Daisyleaf Add to a List
Portland-via-São Paulo troubadour Johnny Franco, who was recently featured on the Jam In The Van YouTube series, will bring his timeless Brazilian-inspired folk tunes to the underground venue alongside Arizona dance-punk outfit Closet Goth and shoegaze project Daisyleaf.
(The Sïx, Sunnyside, $10)

Maro Add to a List
Portuguese musician Mariana Brito da Cruz Forjaz Secca (AKA MARO) combines elements of reggaeton, pop, R&B, EDM, and folk into a genre-defying sound that has garnered praise from the likes of Quincy Jones, Justin Timberlake, Jessie J, Tracy Chapman, and more. She will support her latest album, Can You See Me?, alongside Spanish singer-songwriter Nuria Graham.
(Doug Fir Lounge, Buckman, $15)

Plastic Picnic Add to a List
Four Pacific Northwest residents moved separately to Brooklyn, where they all met and formed a band. The band in question, Plastic Picnic, makes indie party rock inspired by '80s synth lines and tropical rhythms. They will play tunes off of their highly anticipated debut album, As Long As You Need, with support from local singer-songwriter Dakota Theim and husband/wife indie rock duoWhite Bike.
(Polaris Hall, Humboldt, $15)


Elizabeth Haidle Book Signing and Art Exhibition Add to a List
Portland-based artist Elizabeth Haidle will share her gestural watercolor figures at this release of her new Fantagraphics Underground art book, Party of One. (The book blends painted figures with quippy commentary for a thoughtful, funny reading experience). If that doesn't sound cool enough, head to Lloyd Center early to take part in a life drawing session at the ice skating rink with Haidle herself.
(Floating World Comics, Lloyd District, free)

Randall Munroe & Sarah Andersen Add to a List
Randall Munroe, who created the simplistic, sarcastic, and hugely popular webcomic xkcd, will hit Portland to discuss his new book What If? 2: Additional Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions with Eisner Award-nominated and Ringo Award-winning author Sarah Andersen. You might learn the answers to questions you didn't even know you had, like whether humans can eat clouds, or how much saliva it'd take to fill a swimming pool.
(Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing, Central Beaverton, free)


fore x four Add to a List
The current exhibition, fore x four, showcases work by recognized artists like Etel Adnan, Lonnie Holley, and Bill Traylor, and was pulled from the Miller Meigs collection that was curated in conversation with Diedrick Brackens, D’Angelo Lovell Williams, and Ashley Stull Meyers. ASHLEY GIFFORD
(lumber room, Pearl District, free)



Secret Aardvark Add to a List
Thirty of Portland's best improvisers gather again for this who's who of Rose City comedy. Named after the organizers' favorite local hot sauce, each Secret Aardvark event features an extra-special mystery guest (past guests include David Lynch and random high school theater students). 
(Honey Latte Cafe, Buckman, $10 suggested donation)


Family Forest Day Add to a List
This free, family-focused day in the trees offers fresh opportunities to learn all about urban forests. Pop by participant booths for the Portland Parks and Recreation Tree Heritage and Leave No Trace programs, Trees for Life, and The Nature Atelier, where you'll find green-friendly crafts, activities, and guided walks.
(Hoyt Arboretum, Sylvan - Highlands, free)

Oregon Rail Heritage Center is Turning 10! Add to a List
Choo choo, y'all! The Oregon Rail Heritage Center is the coolest railway museum you may never have heard of (unless you're a train stan, in which case you won't wanna miss this event). They'll celebrate their 10-year anniversary with $10 train rides (grab a reservation early!), plus a Lego model train layout, a raffle, snacks, and bevvies.
(Oregon Rail Heritage Center, Hosford-Abernethy, free)

Past Lives Grand Opening Add to a List
Created by formerly incarcerated creative Brandon Morlock, Past Lives posits that "no one is irredeemable, and all humans have the right to earn a living wage." Hell yeah! The brand-new maker space/woodworking shop, which aims to hire folks who have experienced incarceration, will throw open the doors of its 26,000-square-foot space this Saturday. Drop by to scope out the warehouse, enjoy live music, and learn more about Past Lives mission.
(Past Lives, Hosford-Abernethy, free)


Metropolis Add to a List
Fritz Lang's '27 sci-fi masterwork of German Expressionism will come to life in this screening, which will feature an original score by Dean Lemire performed on the Hollywood's Mighty Wurlitzer theatre pipe organ. If you haven't seen the dystopic film, you're in for an eerie treat—Roger Ebert referred to Metropolis as "one of the great achievements of the silent era."
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $10–$12)


Widmer Brothers' 18th Annual Oktoberfest Add to a List
For a free, all-ages Oktoberfest option, check out this party from Widmer Brothers Brewing, which will offer special beers, food vendors, live music, dancing, and even special guest appearances from llamas and alpacas.
(Widmer Brothers Brewing, North Portland, free)


Donald Glaude Add to a List
Make the most of your Saturday night with acclaimed Tacoma-based musician, DJ, and house music pioneer Donald Glaude, who will spin all the house, techno, and nu-disco jams that your heart desires.
(Star Theater, Old Town-Chinatown, $15)

Willcox & Meagher Play Coltrane & Burrell Add to a List
Local musicians Tim Willcox and Ryan Meagher will join forces in honor of what would have been jazz giant John Coltrane's 96th birthday, with hard bop tunes from his and guitarist Kenny Burrell’s iconic eponymous 1963 album.
(The 1905, Boise, $15)


Vintage Future Dance Party Add to a List
Dance your worries away at this recurring dance party featuring feel-good sets from local selectors DJ FROSÉ (of synth-pop band DMN) and DJ Place.
(No Fun, Buckman, $8)


2022 Oktoberfest Marketplace Add to a List
Peruse wares from Portland businesses at a free, all-ages marketplace and enjoy a local brew or two inside a beer garden, with food and drinks available for purchase.
(Central Catholic High School, Buckman, free)

Queer Mall Add to a List
Show up for queer artists at this diverse, intersectionally-focused "mall" of too-cool art, handpainted clothes, live music, good grub, and more. A sliding scale entrance fee aims to make the event accessible to all; attendees can shop trendy wares from 20 vendors including Bare Frass, Hotel Ceramics, and Plant Haus.
(Company, Sunnyside, $5-15 sliding scale, no one turned away for lack of funds)


Portland Art Picnic Add to a List
At this Peninsula Park gathering, Portlanders can do what they do best—hang around outside and show some love for the local art scene. Pack a blanket for the event, where you'll find cupcakes, interactive art displays, and over five dozen local artists sharing paintings, wearables, stickers, and more. (Bring some cash along to support their work!) There'll probably be some great dog watching, too.
(Peninsula Park, Piedmont, free)



Clownin' Add to a List
The clown comes back to bite in this comedy romp featuring Debbie Wooten, Sir Lance Edward, Scott II, Imani, and special guest comedian Lee H Tillman. Produced and hosted by Portland entertainer Shrista, Clownin' also includes a hip-hop performance from Mighty and musical vibes from 94prynce.
(Kelly's Olympian, Downtown Portland, $15–$20)


A*P*E in 35mm Add to a List
Don't miss this screening of A*P*E, a flick that conspicuously cashed in on King Kong's fame by releasing only two months after the much more famous film. The schlocky eyeroll of a movie also manages to be a lot of fun, with random kung fu, atrocious acting, and a big ol' ape on a rampage in South Korea. This 35mm print of the film is appropriately low quality, but that'll just heighten the laughable viewing experience. 
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $8–$10)


The Barter x Oma's Hideaway Add to a List
Gado Gado line cook Ryan Cartier will sling grass-fed beef burgers on the patio at this pop-up at Oma's Hideaway.
(Oma's Hideaway, Richmond, free)


A Beat Happening: One Trak, Lawrence OneThree, VNPRT, A’Revolution, Zaysims, and Slurgeon Add to a List
Free, all-ages, producer-focused concert series A Beat Happening is back—after celebrating its five-year anniversary last month—with another killer lineup. Hosted by Luv Jones and Free Tillman, the hip-hop showcase brings audiences to Produce Row’s back patio for a DJ set from producer One Trak, rap from lyricist A’Revolution, and beat sets from Lawrence One Three. Stalwart DJ/producer VNPRT is slated to play—for the first time— a set of all original production, and Slurgeon (of Thirsty City) shows off the release of his 14-track instrumental project, Television Sky. JENNI MOORE
(Produce Row Cafe, Buckman, free)

The Barbaras with Silver Triplets of the Rio Hondo Add to a List
IRL sister duo The Barbaras are keeping classic country alive with their melodic croons and tender doo-wop harmonies. They will light up the stage after opening sets from cosmic country trio Silver Triplets of the Rio Hondo and Americana outfit Small Paul (featuring members of Moondoggies, Chris King and the Gutterballs, and All-Star Opera). 
(Mississippi Studios, Boise, $12)


Heartbeat Silent Disco Sundance Sundays Add to a List
Tune into rotating live DJ channels on provided (and sanitized) noise-canceling headphones while dancing silently under the sunset. Bringyour own blankets, snacks, props, or whatever helps you get into the groove.
(Laurelhurst Park, $10)


Videodrone Tape Swap, Volume One Add to a List
Vintage media mavens will scuttle over to Movie Madness this weekend for hard-to-find VHS from Black VVideo, Skull Curse Productions, VCArchives, Video Hoarder, and others. Drop by the mainstay video rental shop to grab a craft beer and peruse the flicks; afterward, you'll wanna check out the 35mm screening of '76 schlockfest A*P*E Add to a List at the Hollywood.
(Movie Madness, Sunnyside, free)



Chapman Swift Watch Add to a List
Every September, thousands of Portlanders flock to Chapman Elementary School to witness the phenomenon of Vaux's swifts funneling into the school's chimney to roost. Arrive early to snag a prime birding spot, settle in, and enjoy the early fall evening while you wait for the sun to descend. Close to sunset, the birds begin their sky show before tucking in for the night. Plus, Portland Audubon will be on hand most nights of the week with info about the swifts.
(Chapman Elementary School, Northwest Portland, free, Friday–Sunday)


The MAiZE at the Pumpkin Patch Add to a List
Have a corntastic day navigating immaculately cut pathways through corn stalks at Portland's eight-acre corn maze. This year's theme is "Cinnamon and Sugar"—warm up with the "easy" section of the maze before tackling the more challenging section, and don't forget your boots! 
(The Pumpkin Patch, $8, Friday–Sunday)


Moonage Daydream Add to a List
Brett Morgen's technicolor odyssey stays true to the tour de force that was David Bowie. Centering his experimental, forward-thinking vision, Moonage Daydream, the first "officially sanctioned film" about the artist, includes rare and never-before-seen footage guided by narration from Bowie himself.
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $8–$10, Friday–Sunday)

Pearl Add to a List
If you dug indie horror ace Ti West's southern-fried slasher X earlier this year, you won't wanna miss Pearl, which delves into the sordid past of X's elderly villain. Set during the Spanish Flu pandemic, West pulled from an unusual source of inspiration for the flick—classic Disney movies. He describes Pearl as having a "naiveté that matches a Disney movie...except it’s much darker and more demented." Sign us up!
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $8–$10, Friday–Sunday)


Afrotopia Pop-Up Add to a List
Presented by Albina Vision Trust and Portland Playhouse, this pop-up activates the future home of Albina One, a "94-unit family-focused project designed to counter the intentional displacement of Black people from the neighborhood due to urban renewal, freeway siting, and long-term gentrification." Artists and musicians will hit the porch with unique performances that celebrate the Albina neighborhood and honor the porch space as integral to the Black community.
(Albina, Saturday–Sunday, free)

CoHo Clown Festival 2022 Add to a 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 this fringe festival of 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.
(CoHo Productions, Slabtown, Pay-what-you-can, Friday–Sunday)

Shroom Show: A Foraging Tour Add to a List
Mycology nerds, we know you're out there. You're probably identifying Boletus edulis right this second. Well, take a breather to check this out—inspired by fungal ecology, Shroom Show: A Foraging Tour blends educational elements with opera, treasure hunting, and more for an organic take on the hero's journey. The show will take place at Tryon Life Community Farm, with ADA-accessible performances also planned at Back Door Theater. Wear your boots, dress for the weather, and bring a basket for the farm performance.
(Tryon Life Community Farm, Pay-what-you-can, Friday–Sunday)


Collective Rage Add to a List
If you're furious about the recent SCOTUS decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade, try channeling that righteous rage into something positive—this group benefit print show prices each piece at $125, and all proceeds will be donated to the National Network of Abortion Funds. Prints can be purchased online and viewed in person at Strange Paradise Gallery, housed within Oregon Contemporary.
(Oregon Contemporary, Kenton, free, Saturday–Sunday)

Laura Berger: Chrysalis Add to a List
Laura Berger's dreamy minimalism feels subtly spiritual, and that's no mistake—the painter started her practice as a therapeutic exploration of existence and human connection. Viewing her radiant color choices as "combined energies," Berger develops open-ended narratives that reference the fluid nature of memory in Chrysalis.
(Stephanie Chefas Projects, Central Eastside, free, Friday–Saturday)

Learn but the letters forme(d) by heart, Then soon you'l gain this noble art Add to a List
Contemporary gallery Adams and Ollman brought together over 20 artists for this exhibition on the theme of fraktur, a decorative form of record-keeping practiced by Pennsylvania Dutch communities between 1740 and 1860. Reflecting rural traditions while incorporating a stylish flourish, the art form was used to record important life events. Local fave Jeffry Mitchell will share conceptually and formally related works alongside Polly Apfelbaum, Joy Feasley, Ryan McLaughlin, Katherine Bernhardt, and other buzzy names.
(Adams and Ollman, Northwest Portland, free, Friday–Saturday)

Motown: The Sound of Young America Add to a List
The Beatles and their British Invasion ilk weren't the only musicians occupying the airwaves in the late '50s. Starting out in Detroit, Motown was an infectious blend of gospel, blues, and pop that reshaped American sound. Led by former prizefighter Berry Gordy, Jr., Motown hit the mainstream with acts like the Supremes, the Temptations, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, and others—learn more about it at this exhibition, where you'll find stage costumes, instruments, and interactive displays. (If Motown is your thing, you might dig this doo wop-themed variety show Add to a List , too.)
(Oregon Historical Society, Southwest Portland, $0–$10, Friday–Sunday)

Nā́rī - Threads of Identity: Spandita Malik Add to a List
Spandita Malik's embroidered portrait project, Nā́rī, was made in collaboration with women in India to illuminate the gendered violence and fight for women's rights in the country. Malik explains that the Sanskrit word Nā́rī’ translates to "woman, wife, female, or an object regarded as feminine, but it can also mean sacrifice." Interested in the power of embroidery as both a visual language and a traditionally feminine handcraft, Malik traveled to regions in India known for their distinct embroidery styles, meeting with women to discuss their experiences of oppression and photographing them to share their stories.
(Blue Sky Gallery, Pearl District, free, Friday–Saturday)

Nene Sin Patria (Our mother's hands became our homes): Amarise Carreras Add to a List
Amarise Carreras, a "photo-based performance artist," draws on photography to facilitate performative conversations that reference the artist's connection to Boricua womxn. Currently investigating Santeria practices, Carreras considers the densely embedded histories found within symbolic objects and altars.
(Blue Sky Gallery, Pearl District, free, Friday–Saturday)

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