Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Seattle This Memorial Day Weekend: May 26–29, 2023

Northwest Folklife, Spring Market, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
May 26, 2023
The theme of this year's Northwest Folklife festival is "lagom," a Swedish word meaning not too much or too little, but just right. (Northwest Folklife via Facebook)
Long weekends always call for fun activities, and we've got a sweet lineup from which you can build your schedule. Read on for details on Northwest Folklife, Wing Luke Museum's Spring Market, the grand finale of The Final Girls, and more. For more ideas, check out our top pick events of the week.

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Kassa Overall In-Store Performance Past Event List
Brooklyn-based jazz/hip-hop artist (and UW graduate) Kassa Overall will return to Seattle for an all-day celebration of his new album, ANIMALS. Drop into Easy Street throughout the day for album-listening sessions and DJ sets (set times TBA). Those who purchase the album will be treated to a live in-store performance at 7 pm. Considering that the album features appearances from artists like Danny Brown, Lil B, and Shabazz Palaces, you never know who might show up! AV
(Easy Street Records, Junction, Free with purchase of the album)


Cry Now Cry Later Past Event List
Birthed by "two Chicano friends looking to have a consistent dark dance night on Capitol Hill," Cry Now Cry Later is your one-stop shop for darkwave, classic goth, industrial, and dark EDM dance cuts from both forgotten and classic artists. Resident DJs Pavor Nocturnus and DJ Coffin Birth will leave you with no tears left to cry. AV
(Kremwerk, Downtown, $11.33)



S.U.B.E. Children's Book Day: Spring into New Literature Past Event List
This storytelling celebration should manage to entice even the most reading-averse kiddos. In partnership with Seattle Urban Book Expo, which bolsters the BIPOC self-publishing community with writing and promotional services, Town Hall Seattle will spotlight the importance of representation in children's literature with the second edition of Children's Book Day. There'll be a face painter on site, plus double Dutch, BIPOC author meet-and-greets, and an appearance by the Seahawks’ giant avian mascot, Blitz. Visitors can also walk away with handmade bookmarks, books, and school supplies. LC
(Town Hall Seattle, First Hill, Free with registration)


3-Way Release Party Past Event List
Each year, Astoria-based Fort George Brewing adheres to their annual summer tradition of greeting the season with their "3-Way IPA," their most popular summer seasonal offering and the result of a months-long collaboration with two other breweries they really, really like. This year, they've teamed up with San Francisco-based CellarMaker and Anchorage-based Anchorage Brewing to form a far-flung trifecta of beer goodness. The 2023 brew is "delightfully hazy" with "bright white foam" and notes of "guava, berry, citrus zest, and cotton candy," featuring a mildly sweet, slightly bitter, fruity flavor profile with "a soft finishing spice." This release party will feature a tap list of special beers, plus another three-way collaboration: a tapas-style menu created by chefs Brian Mar, Jesus de Lara, and Jeremy Weizenbaum. JB
(Latona Pub, Green Lake)


Karl Blau with The Transmissionary Six Past Event List
Karl Blau's 2022 release Love & Harm is the perfect record for these not-quite-summer days. It's warm, nostalgic, and beaming with Jon Hyde's pedal steel, which sounds simultaneously bittersweet and hopeful, like a setting sun. Songs are layered with bells, horns, harmonica, a harpsichord—it's all so lush and orchestral, like summer itself, but Blau's candid vocal delivery still feels intimate, like he's telling you and only you a secret he's been keeping for years. Opening the early all-ages show is the Transmissionary Six, aka Terri Moeller and Paul Austin of the Walkabouts. Like Blau, Transmissionary Six were a mainstay in Seattle's '00s indie rock scene. But this isn't just a one-off performance with an old friend—last month they released Often Sometimes Rarely Never, their first album in nearly 10 years. It's a sparkling and star-studded return, featuring contributions from former Walkabouts bandmates Michael Wells and Chris Eckman, as well as Deni Bonet (who's performed with R.E.M. and Robyn Hitchcock) and Chris Cacavas (the Dream Syndicate). STRANGER CULTURE EDITOR MEGAN SELING
(The Rabbit Box Theatre, Pike Place Market, $12)


Spring Market Past Event List
Wing Luke Museum will close out AANHPI Heritage Month with a buzzy spring market, bringing together AANHPI small businesses and artists to share their wares and build community. Drop by to support them while scoping out intricate beaded jewelry by Element by Artchestra, too-cute graphic goodies by Noodle & Co (it me), and luxe paper goods by Yardia. Attendees can also peep the museum's current exhibit Nobody Lives Here: The People in the Path of Progress, which centers the story of Seattle’s Chinatown-International District and the irreparable effects of I-5’s construction on the surrounding neighborhood. LC
(Wing Luke Museum, Chinatown-International District, free)



Unexpected Passions: Improvised Love Takes the Most Unexpected Turns Past Event List
Lust! Drama!! SECRETS!!! It's all par for the course at Unexpected Passions, an improvised soap opera modeled after the schlocky '80s- and '90s-era daytime shows you either love or love to hate. A cast of improvisers—starring as "classic soap opera archetypes like the evil twin, the bad boy with a heart of gold, and the manipulative business tycoon"—will create a series of off-the-cuff, but connected story arcs, so audiences can check out a single show or come back for more development of the cheesefest's overarching plot. We hope there's a dreamy ingenue with amnesia. LC (Unexpected Productions' Market Theater, Pike Place Market, $12-$15)


Frankie Rose with SRSQ Past Event List
You may think that you've never heard of Frankie Rose, but perhaps you were an indie rock-obsessed teenager in the 2010s (like myself) with a Vivian Girls poster taped above your bed. Or, maybe you're more familiar with the Sub Pop-signed band the Dum Dum Girls. Rose is a founding member of both bands, as well as post-punk outfit Crystal Slits and indie pop project Beverly. As of late, she has traded the fuzzy guitars for shimmering synths on her first solo album in five years, Love As Projection. The album takes influence from cherished soprano Kate Bush as well as lesser-known DIY '80s bands like Strawberry Switchblade and the Cleaners From Venus. Don't miss her as she supports the new album alongside Dallas-based dream pop artist SRSQ. AV
(Madame Lou's at the Crocodile, Belltown, $15)

Thavoron, Cherry Ferrari, and Teather Past Event List
Following the path of his heroes Frank Ocean, Faye Webster, and Bon Iver, Thavoron uniquely utilizes his voice with atmospheric layering, ethereal harmonies, and intimate lyricism. Help celebrate his brand new album, Tommy Loves You, with support from soul duo Cherry Ferarri and electropop artist Teather. AV
(Belltown Yacht Club/Screwdriver Bar, Belltown, $10-$12)

Wimps with Soft Boiled and Catch Rabbit Past Event List
The beloved Seattle trio Wimps will bring their infectious blend of self-deprecating slacker rock and Ramones-style punk to the Tractor with songs like "Procrastination" and "Quitter," which may hit a little too close to home for some of us. They will be joined by similarly humorous rock bands Soft Boiled and Catch Rabbit. AV
(Tractor Tavern, Ballard, $11)


The Final Girls Past Event List
Prepare your gag reflexes, ladies and theydies—this new drag competition hosted by Seattle drag mother Kaleena Markos promises to be a blood bath eleganza. Local faves Diamond Lil, Glenn Coco, Killer Bunny, Rylee Raw, Whispurr Water Shadow, and others will be picked off one by one until a survivor prevails, staggering away with a $4,000 grand prize. LC
(Queer Bar, Capitol Hill, $5)


2023 University of Washington MFA + MDes Thesis Exhibition Past Event List
Check out what UW's ultra-talented Master of Fine Arts and Master of Design candidates have been up to in this joint exhibition at the Henry. (It seems circumstances have improved since I was in art school, installing sculptures in the bathroom for kicks.) The show will feature works by large-scale painter Dana Blume, multimedia artist Kayla Cochran, field lover Ruby Henrickson, and many others; we suggest popping by the public opening on June 2 for snacks and contextual remarks from the students. LC
(Henry Art Gallery, University District, free; opening)



Free Burger Day at Lil Woody's Past Event List
Whoever said there's no such thing as a free lunch must not have heard of Li'l Woody's annual Memorial Day deal. The local fast food favorite 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
(Various locations, free)



Hood Canal Fjordfest 2023 Past Event List
As Meg van Huygen wrote last year, "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." This year, the festival has changed its name from the Brinnon ShrimpFest to the more expansive Hood Canal Fjord Fest, reflecting the fact that they also offer rides, crafts, and a beer and wine garden.
(Hood Canal, Saturday-Sunday)

Northwest Folklife 2023 Past Event List
For those who aren’t hep to Folklife, it’s a huge open-air music/art festival at Seattle Center, and there are buskers and actual concerts and impromptu jam seshes, plus tons of stalls selling gorgeous food from around the world, along with ethnic arts and cultures being showcased. Oh, and there are a bunch of cool workshops and lectures, too. It’s all real crunchy and wholesome. If you haven’t been, you should totally go. STRANGER CONTRIBUTOR MEG VAN HUYGEN
(Seattle Center, Uptown, free, Friday-Monday)


Hedgebrook Filmmakers Showcase 2023 Past Event List
This hybrid showcase spotlights the filmmaker alumnae of Hedgebrook, a nonprofit organization supporting visionary women-identifying writers with retreats, public programs, and more. Check out what the talented folks have been up to at in-person screenings on May 19-20 and June 3, or scope out their forward-thinking flicks from home May 20-June 2. (We're intrigued by Tapping Into Our Future, Tapping Into Our Past: Ayodele Casel, which follows the breakout star choreographer and dancer's work inspired by the history of Black tap dancers.) LC
(Northwest Film Forum, Capitol Hill, $7-$14, Friday-Monday)

Nam June Paik: Moon Is the Oldest TV Past Event List
The father of video art, Nam June Paik, said many great things during his career, which first received recognition in New York City. One is this: "[Video] imitates not nature but time.” But my favorite is this: "Someday everybody will have his own TV channel." How right he was. Even I have several TV channels on the web devoted to just me. But long before social media, Nam June Paik was making art with a new technology developed primarily in Japan, the portable video recorder. The documentary Nam June Paik: Moon Is the Oldest TV provides an excellent introduction to a Korean American artist whose work entered the future in the late 1960s. STRANGER SENIOR WRITER CHARLES MUDEDE
(Northwest Film Forum, Capitol Hill, $7-$14, Friday-Sunday)

Paprika Past Event List
"Ani-may" will conclude at Central Cinema with another entry by psychotropic anime and manga auteur Satoshi Kon. In Paprika (screened here in Japanese with English subtitles), a wacky new piece of technology allows therapists to observe the dreams of their patients. The gadget's creator, Dr. Atsuko Chiba, also moonlights as a "dream detective" named Paprika—cool job alert!—but when the device is stolen by a "dream terrorist," nightmares and reality begin to merge. Paprika has been widely acknowledged as one of cinema's best animated films, and the flick reportedly inspired Christopher Nolan's Inception. LC
(Central Cinema, Central District, $12, Friday-Monday)

Sakamoto Tribute – Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda Past Event List
Ryuichi Sakamoto, Oscar-winning composer, unparalleled style icon, and one of the three melodic geniuses behind the Tokyo electronic outfit Yellow Magic Orchestra, passed away in April after a battle with cancer. (Chances are good that you've heard YMO's arty electro-pop tunes, but if not, throw this on before continuing.) Directed by Stephen Nomura Schible (whose taste is solid—he co-produced Lost in Translation), Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda traces Sakamoto's prolific career, but digs deeper into his social activism in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster. As he navigates his cancer diagnosis, Sakamoto's understanding of the precarity of life leads to an "ambient-as-restorative" solo album. LC
(Northwest Film Forum, Capitol Hill, $7-$14, Friday-Saturday)

Seattle International Film Festival 2023 Past Event List
SIFF returns for its 49th year with the best in international and independent cinema à la mode from across the globe. The hybrid festival, which boasts an impressive 200 films on the docket this year, will present screenings virtually and at SIFF venues citywide. Stranger staffers watched and reviewed 35 of this year’s flicks, so peep their opinions while you craft your viewing plan. (We’re intrigued by Art for Everybody, a surprisingly thoughtful documentary on—insert groan here—Thomas Kinkade. In the words of Stranger senior staff writer Charles Mudede: "What he did for art, Trump did for politics. Do not miss Art for Everybody.")
(Virtual, prices vary, Friday-Sunday)

Showing Up Past Event List
Kelly Reichardt, deft creator of Oregon misfit characters and "master of the non-event," returns with Showing Up, which was partially shot at the tragically shuttered Oregon College of Art and Craft. The unabashedly arty flick, which serves as a quiet ode to Portland's creative community, features work by brilliant sculptor Cynthia Lahti and stars heavy hitters Michelle Williams, Hong Chau, and Andre 3000. LC (Multiple dates through May 31, Grand Illusion, University District)

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me Past Event List
“Through the darkness of future past, the magician longs to see, one chance out between two worlds, fire walk with me!” It's been 31 years since David Lynch's batshit brilliance shone in his soapy nod to film noir. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me hit the big screen and immediately launched a polarizing critics' war—in the words of one New York Times writer, "It's not the worst movie ever made, it just feels like it." Luckily, we all came to our senses and the flick is now a cult classic of the murder mystery genre. Anyway, it's almost summertime, and the misty, autumnal gloom of Twin Peaks feels far away; what better time to reimmerse yourself in the town's murky underbelly? LC
(The Beacon, Columbia City, $12.50, Saturday-Sunday)


Celebrate Memorial Day at Elysian's Taproom Past Event List
Last year, AAA ranked Seattle as the nation's second most popular Memorial Day destination, second only to Orlando. In honor of this fact, Elysian Taproom, conveniently located near Sea-Tac, is offering $1 pints and 25% off merch for anyone who displays a mobile or printed travel ticket to Seattle (bus, trains, and planes all count) all Memorial Day weekend long. If you're staycationing in Seattle, make a day of it by exploring the Georgetown neighborhood—might we suggest the Trailer Park Mall? JB
(Elysian Taproom, Industrial District, free, Friday-Sunday)


More Than Friends: a Triptych on Queer Love Through the Ages Past Event List
If Pride month isn't the perfect time for one-act chamber operas by contemporary LGBTQIA+ composers and librettists, when is?! Kick-start the queer vibes with More Than Friends: a Triptych on Queer Love Through the Ages, which will include Thirst, a 10-minute production with a femme-centric, magical realist lens, Emily & Sue, an acapella Emily Dickenson pop opera, and Achilles & Patroclus, an ancient tragedy told through flashes of intimate memory. (We suggest copping a cool pair of these beforehand.) LC
(18th & Union: An Arts Space, Choose your own price, Friday-Sunday)


Pop-up Plant Vendor Weekends Past Event List
Throughout spring, pop by for special vendor weekends promoting local nurseries, boutiques, and wholesale plant companies. You'll find a rare range of plants, perennials, natives, houseplants, trees, and more to spruce up your space and impress your green-thumbed house guests.
(Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden, Federal Way, free, Saturday-Sunday)

Punk Rock Flea Market Past Event List
What's punk rock without a dash of consumerism? Grab your mohawked buddies for this metal-studded Memorial Day weekend flea, where hundreds of alt vendors from across the region will peddle skateboards, vegan soap, bike parts, and prosthetic limbs alongside DJs and a bottom-shelf bar. A portion of the market's proceeds will be donated to the Low Income Housing Institute, which "develops, owns and operates housing for the benefit of low-income, homeless and formerly homeless people in Washington," so you can feel good about your ripped and chained purchases. Plus, entry is one dollar. You've got nothin' to lose. LC
(ALMA Tacoma, Tacoma, $1, Saturday-Sunday)


Dana Claxton: Monsen Photography Lecture Exhibition Past Event List
Hunkpapa Lakota photographer, filmmaker, and performance artist Dana Claxton, who will deliver the Henry's annual Monsen Photography Lecture, will also present a series of powerful works spanning her 35-year career. Reckoning with Native representation and the colonial histories of the United States and Canada, Claxton's varied art practice aims to amplify Indigenous perspectives, responding to harmful Native stereotypes with humor and contrast. (We're fans of Headdress, a series featuring figures swathed in beadwork to "extol Indigenous cultural abundance.") LC
(Henry Art Gallery, University District, By donation, Saturday-Sunday; opening)

Eunice Kim: Currents & Tides Past Event List
Korean-born artist Eunice Kim shares a new series of work from her Nature Stories series in Currents & Tides, which draws inspiration from reclaimed wood. Emphasizing grains, knots, cracks, and imperfections, Kim's prints (pulled from actual weathered timber specimens) straddle abstraction and realism to meditate on life in the Cascade Mountain foothills.
(Davidson Galleries, Pioneer Square, free, Friday-Saturday; closing)

Karen Kunc: Wanting/Waiting Past Event List
Lauded book artist and printmaker Karen Kunc is well-known for the textured terrain of her colorful woodblock prints, which explore the pandemic era of vulnerability and transition in her solo exhibition Wanting/Waiting.
(Davidson Galleries, Pioneer Square, free, Friday-Saturday)

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