Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Seattle This Memorial Day Weekend: May 24–27, 2024

Northwest Folklife Festival, Big Ass Boombox, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
May 24, 2024
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The theme of this year's Northwest Folklife Festival is "meraki," a friendly reminder to carry ourselves with soulful and joyous purpose. (Northwest Folklife via Facebook)
If there's anything we love more than the weekend, it's a looong weekend. Fill your time with fun events that won't break the bank, from the Northwest Folklife Festival to the Crocodile's Big Ass Boombox festival and from Honoring Our Black Wall Streets to the Kinda Bookish Zine Festival. For more ideas, check out our guide to the top events of the week and our roundup of restaurants and bars to make the most of your staycation

Jump to: Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Monday | Multi-Day


FRIDAY

FOOD & DRINK

Seattle Beer Week 2024 Past Event List
Seattle’s craft-beer scene is always alive and bubbling with activity, but during Beer Week, that geeky enthusiasm gets kicked into high gear, with a stacked lineup of beer dinners, festivals, socials, pub crawls, and releases galore. Don't miss the event's closing night party at Queen Anne Beerhall where festivities will carry-on 'til 2 am. JB
(Various locations)

LIVE MUSIC

Girl and Girl Live at Easy Street Records Past Event List
Rising Aussie rock band Girl and Girl will celebrate the release of their Sub Pop debut, Call a Doctor, with a free in-store performance at beloved West Seattle record shop East Street. If you're still listening to 2010s indie rock phenoms like Bright Eyes, Phoenix, and the Strokes, then Girl and Girl will be a new favorite—their sound is reminiscent of the aforementioned rockers while maintaining a fresh, urgent, and emotive edge. To guarantee your entry to the show, preorder a copy of the record. AV
(Easy Street Records, Junction, free)

PARTIES & NIGHTLIFE

Scene Queens: Sapphic Emo Party Past Event List
Presented by Sapphic Events, this dance party will help you relive your Myspace glory days with a high-energy emo- and pop-punk-themed soundtrack. LA-based indie rock duo Mermaid, singer-songwriter Danielle Lande, and DJ Baby Van Beezly will summon that inner scene queen who still loves gauged ears, Manic Panic hair dye, and Hayley Williams. There will also be titillating entertainment from drag performers Maxwell Edgelord, Lavender, Sierra, and Lina. AV
(Nectar, Fremont, $16-$20)

SPORTS & RECREATION

Ballard FC 2024 Home Games Remind List
USL League Two champions Ballard FC return for their first home match this Friday vs Midlakes United. It doesn't get much more local than being sponsored by Reuben's Brews and having your main chant be "Up the bridges!"—Plus, the first 150 fans in attendance get a (very cool) home opener poster with the Space Needle on it, Austin Harley will be giving out free (permanent) Ballard FC tattoos, and the Ballard Food Bank will be collecting donations of (unopened) peanut butter. Plenty of local food vendors will be on-site if you're looking to do dinner at the game, from Nepalese food stand Kathmandu MoMoCha to baguette sandwiches from Uptown's upscale café Bake Shop. SL
(Memorial Stadium, Uptown, $15-$40)

SATURDAY

COMEDY

Dee's Nuts: A Comedy Show with Comedian Dewa Dorje Past Event List
For further evidence of local laugher Dewa Dorje's persistent hilarity, head to the last-ever edition of her talk show-style comedy night, where she gathers up some of her favorite fellow funny people to discuss everything from current events to beef jerky. Dorje's a "working-class-first-gen-Tibetan-single-mom-with-C-PTSD and Restless Coochie Syndrome," if you weren't already familiar. She'll be celebrating AANHPI Heritage Month this time with a roundup of AANHPI comedians on stage. LC
(Clock-Out Lounge, Beacon Hill, $15)

FESTIVALS

Kinda Bookish Zine Festival Past Event List
If you already know what a risograph is, you're likely the target demographic for Capitol Hill art studio Six of Pikes' chill zine fest. Staged at their pop-up gallery space, visitors will be invited to flip through handmade zines and enjoy tunes and refreshments. The free event showcases works by Six of Pikes studio members alongside guest artists. Drop by and support local creators by picking up some DIY publications to peruse in the sunny weather. LC
(Six of Pikes Studios, Capitol Hill, free)

FILM

VHS Uber Alles Past Event List
Roger's hot aerobics teachers are getting snatched up by an enemy health club, and his downtrodden gym is in dire straits. What's a meathead to do? Pivot to a singles-only, "sexy" gym model, which sounds like several lawsuits waiting to happen. Expect to walk away from this flick a little sweaty: There will be hunks. There will be people getting weird on weight machines. And yes, there will be a co-ed basement jacuzzi. What's the actual plot of this film? Doesn't matter!! This kind of direct-to-VHS mayhem is par for the course at VHS Uber Alles, where three bucks will land you a ticket to a hush-hush flick that you've probably never heard of, anyway. The screening series is always offered at an ultra-low price aligned with the so-bad-it's-good quality of its programming. (That's what makes it fun.) LC
(Grand Illusion, University District, $3)

LIVE MUSIC

Lobby Sessions, Track 9: Sundae Crush Past Event List
Did you know that there is a boutique hotel above the Crocodile (cue Lana Del Rey's "Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd")? The Hotel Crocodile will return with its intimate music series spotlighting local bands. This week, indie pop trio Sundae Crush will fill the lobby with the dreamy, psychedelic tunes from their debut album, A Real Sensation. AV
(Hotel Crocodile, Belltown, $15-$17)

PARTIES & NIGHTLIFE

Kings ~ A Drag King Show ~ Queer Prom Past Event List
As anti-LGBTQIA+ and anti-drag bills throughout the US continue to remind us that conservatives are garbage, why not start Pride month a little early by supporting Seattle’s only ongoing drag king show? Ceasar Hart will host this "queer prom" edition, which comes complete with an alternative drag show and competition for kings, queens, and nonbinary competitors. Those crowned will cop all-access tickets to Kremwerk's Pride weekend festivities, so show up for gender-bending fun and you might have even more gender-bending fun a few weeks from now. Win-win. LC
(Kremwerk, Downtown, $10-$20)

SHOPPING

2024 Spring Market Past Event List
Wing Luke Museum will close out AANHPI Heritage Month with a vibrant spring market, bringing together AANHPI small businesses and artists to share their wares and build community. Drop by to support them while browsing ceramic jewelry by Melted Porcelain, Heliaki Co's effortlessly cool duds, and works by queer CHamoru artist Roldy Aguero Ablao. Attendees can also peep the museum's current exhibit Hello Auntie, Hello Uncle, which "explores the many roles elders play in our communities, celebrates their lives and achievements, and honors the wisdom gained with time." LC
(Wing Luke Museum, Chinatown-International District, free)

SPORTS & RECREATION

Tour De Pints 2024 Past Event List
It's not too often in life that you can embark on an adventure where you don't know where you're going, which is why you might want to seize the opportunity to participate in the Tour de Pints. This boozy bike ride tour will commence at Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery and will then pedal around to four more mystery brewery stops, which will be revealed as the approximately 20-mile-long route progresses—the event promises "some old favorites and a few new stops as well" and that each stop will last around 45 minutes. You can also check out a Discord server to mingle with your fellow riders, volunteer to act as a support rider, or join the planning committee for next year. Donations are welcome but not required. JB
(Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery, Greenwood, free)

SUNDAY

FILM

Akira Kurosawa's Dreams Past Event List
I first saw Akira Kurosawa's Dreams in a freshman film survey class—it was projected onto a giant screen, where I watched alongside hundreds of other students in the same lecture hall. At the risk of sounding corny, it was a moment in which I realized what film could really do, and it cut through the noise of aughts-era schlock and twee. The 1990 film unfolds in eight vignettes woven together with nods to Japanese folktales; there are fox weddings, warrior ghosts, radioactive landscapes, and even a Martin Scorsese cameo (he plays Vincent van Gogh). It's also one of Kurosawa's last, and most naturalistic, films. LC
(Northwest Film Forum, Capitol Hill, $7-$14)

Moving History Archival Screening Night 2024 Past Event List
As a lover of all things analog—seriously, I spend far too much time sifting through 8mm reels and home movies at estate sales—I'd be remiss not to recommend this screening of rare artifacts from our region's archivists. The selection of archival film and video recordings "follows the theme of the Northwest Archivists 2024 annual meeting, 'Seeking Balance: Sustainability and Adaptation,'" which also celebrates the 50th anniversary of Expo '74, Spokane's World's Fair. With help from the archivists at Moving Image Preservation of Puget Sound (MIPoPS), the screening will spotlight environmental and sustainability issues with a blend of oral histories, news footage, music, experimental films, documentaries, B-roll, and other cultural oddities. Head to this screening and let your eyes do the crate-digging. LC
(Northwest Film Forum, Capitol Hill, $7-$14)

MONDAY

COMMUNITY

Honoring Our Black Wall Streets 2024 Past Event List
Use the day off on Monday (if you have it) to spend your money where it matters at Africatown Community Land Trust's annual Honoring Our Black Wall Streets event. Head down to 23rd and Jackson for a street fair featuring over 100 Black-owned businesses, live music, guest speakers, food vendors, and more in recognition of the vibrant history of Black commercial centers across the country. Lillian Rambus will be dishing up Southern comfort food with her family-run restaurant Simply Soulful, and I'm looking forward to shopping vintage clothing and handmade jewelry. This is the first event in the Summer of Soul series; check out their website and make plans to celebrate all season long. SL
(23rd and Jackson, Squire Park, free)

FOOD & DRINK

Free Burger Day Past Event List
Who doesn't love a freebie—particularly when that freebie is a juicy burger? As they do each year on Memorial Day, the local fast food favorite Li'l Woodys will distribute free burgers at their Ballard, Capitol Hill, and White Center locations from 2-5 pm. Now for the fine print: no other sandwiches are eligible for the deal, customers are limited to one free burger each, and add-ons cost extra. This bargain is certain to attract hordes of other frugal burger lovers, so you may want to show up early or be prepared for a long line. JB
(Li'l Woody's, free)

MULTI-DAY

FESTIVALS

Northwest Folklife Festival 2024 Past Event List
Folklife started in the ’70s and you can still tell, in large part because it has somehow escaped the jaws of capitalism to remain a free community festival that’s open and welcoming to all. It's also full of buskers, drum circles, impromptu jam seshes, barefoot dancing, and faded tie-dye. You can explore dozens of stalls selling foods and crafts from around the world, check out workshops and lectures, or just hang out and soak up the vibes. It's very PNW granola, and I love it. SL
(Seattle Center, Uptown, free, Friday-Monday)

FILM

Babes Past Event List
Quick, sardonic script-flipper Michelle Buteau holds her own amid the current pack of aging dude comics bickering over whether human rights are funny, and Ilana Glazer is rapidly becoming a legendary millennial freak. (Yes, the batshit angel from Broad City still exists, she's still hilarious, and she's spoken up about the genocide in Gaza. Try to keep up!) It's only natural that the two should join forces in Babes, the one-night-stand comedy and directorial debut from Pamela Adlon, aka the voice of Bobby on King of the Hill. Women rock. LC
(SIFF Cinema Uptown, Uptown, $14.50-$16.50, Friday-Monday)

Evil Does Not Exist Past Event List
Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s follow-up to the Murakami-inspired Oscar winner Drive My Car follows a father and daughter who spend their days gathering wild foods for a local udon restaurant. Their livelihood might be threatened when a city agency plans to create a bougie "glamping" site not far from their rustic hamlet. (Fuck glampers, am I right?) Evil Does Not Exist won the 2023 Venice Silver Lion; I'm intrigued by the film's quiet, snowy cinematography and its naturalistic approach. LC
(SIFF Cinema Egyptian, Capitol Hill, $14.50-$15.50, Friday-Monday)

I Saw the TV Glow Past Event List
Nonbinary filmmaker Jane Schoenbrun's first feature-length flick, We're All Going to the World's Fair, was a creepy foray into the world of online horror gaming, following one teenager's descent into an increasingly unsettling fantasy. It stirred up positive reviews at Sundance, and solidified Schoenbrun as a director to watch. Lo and behold, Schoenbrun landed an A24 flick with I Saw the TV Glow, which documents a teen's investigations into an eerie, supernatural TV show. Fans of online wormholes and creepypasta shouldn't miss it. LC
(SIFF Cinema Uptown, Uptown, $14.50-$15.50, Friday-Monday)

Seattle International Film Festival 2024 Past Event List
SIFF will return for its 50th year with the best in international and independent cinema à la mode from across the globe, and you know the drill—the city's most well-recognized hybrid festival, which boasts hundreds of films from 84 countries and regions this year, will present screenings virtually and at SIFF venues citywide. Some standouts from this year's lineup include the June Squibb-fronted Thelma, the buzzy A24 drama Sing Sing, Ilana Glazer’s Babes, Jane Schoenbrun’s I Saw the TV Glow, and Harmony Korine’s infrared vaporwave nightmare Aggro Dr1ft.Stranger staffers watched and reviewed dozens of the festival's films here, if you want some help deciding what should make it on your to-watch list. LC
(Various locations, Friday-Monday)

Travessias Brazilian Film Festival 2024 Past Event List
Several University of Washington departments and curators Emanuella de Moraes, Livia Lima, and Calac Nogueira co-present this mini-festival, which returns each year with a fierce lineup of contemporary filmmakers from the largest South American country. This year, the three film programs (with feature and short films, documentary, fiction, and animation entries) "remind us to stay tuned to different forms of solidarity." Expect depictions of rural rebellion, Yanomami life, and Maxakali mythology. LC
(Northwest Film Forum, Capitol Hill, $0-$14, Friday-Saturday)

FOOD & DRINK

Hood Canal Fjord Fest Past Event List
There’s a narrow annual window when sweet, delicate spot shrimp is in season, six to eight weeks max, and good news: Memorial Day weekend falls within it. Sure, you can get them at the upscale supermarkets in Seattle, but it’s so much better to find them at the source. The seaside hamlet of Brinnon, on the west coast of Hood Canal between Hama Hama and Quilcene, has a little food fest to celebrate the spot shrimp’s arrival each year–there are also bands and “other seafood,” and you can harvest clams and oysters with a license from the Department of Fish & Wildlife (only $17.40 online). STRANGER CONTRIBUTOR MEGAN VAN HUYGEN
(Hood Canal, $10, Saturday-Sunday)

LIVE MUSIC

Big Ass Boombox Past Event List
This weekend, the Crocodile will crank up the volume for their annual Big Ass Boombox free mini-festival. The two-day affair will feature a raucous lineup of PNW talent with highlights like Portland post-punks Forty Feet Tall, garage rock quartet Linda From Work, self-identified "gunk-pop" band Black Ends, and country-tinged rockers Smoker Dad. AV
(Sunset Tavern, Ballard, free, Friday-Saturday)

VISUAL ART

Alterations Past Event List
I confess that, even though it is a 20-minute walk from my home, I had never been to Photographic Center Northwest until their last exhibit featuring the works of Jon Henry. It humbled me, and inspired me to return. I typically have a hard time understanding "art," and gravitate toward photography where I expect things to be more real. The latest PCNW exhibit, Alterations, challenges that idea, as it features six Pacific Northwest artists who burn, tear, and paste various ephemera into their photographs. The works use collage to enhance, challenge, or twist the image, providing commentary on various aspects of our reality from gender stereotypes to environmental destruction. SL
(Photographic Center Northwest, Capitol Hill, free, Friday-Monday)

Intertwined Realities: Sunny Moxin Chen, jade wong, Nanxi Jin, Rulin Ma, Jia Jia Past Event List
SOIL's latest group show distills the "very essence of human existence" in an immersive collection of works that think about the "changing body, experiences of loss, and the deep-seated longing propelling us forward." That's no small feat, but I think the artists exhibiting are up to the task: Intertwined Realities features multisensory works by Moscow-born Chinese immigrant Sunny Moxin Chen, cooking-inspired filmmaker jade wong, Chinese ceramicist Nanxi Jin, abstract painter Rulin Ma, and multimedia maker Jia Jia, who encourage gallery visitors to "deeply process and internalize their experiences, fostering personal growth." Think you're up for it? LC
(SOIL, Pioneer Square, free, Friday–Sunday)

Maria Phillips: at what point... Past Event List
Artist-educator Maria Phillips investigates collective responsibility, environmental consciousness, and depollution in her multimedia works, which stress the importance of "deceleration and the rejection of frenetic consumerism and production." Agreed, Maria! In at what point..., Phillips salvages reclaimed material and found objects to document time, change, and the cyclical nature underlying all things. She calls these transformed objects "pick-up portraits," prompting questions about climate disruption, reliance on plastics, and the insidious norms underlying production and consumption. LC
(Gallery 4Culture, Pioneer Square, free, Friday-Monday)

Sky Hopinka: Subterranean Ceremonies Past Event List
Sky Hopinka, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, descendant of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño people, and 2022 MacArthur Foundation grant awardee, blends English and "Indigenous dialects such as Chinuk Wawa, a revived Chinookan creole of the Pacific Northwest" in his ground-quaking works, which often layer elements of poetry, prose, and image to think carefully about language as a strong cultural force. I was honored to write about Hopinka's work back in 2019, so this solo exhibition—the artist's first in the Pacific Northwest—feels especially exciting. Subterranean Ceremonies includes four recent films and new photographs that "focus on personal and political notions of Indigenous homeland," inspired by transitory landscapes and Hopinka's own wanderings. LC
(Frye Art Museum, First Hill, free, Friday-Sunday; closing)

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