Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Seattle This Weekend: Apr 28–30, 2023

Seattle Independent Bookstore Day, May Day, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
April 28, 2023
We won't tell your TBR pile that you're about to stock up at Seattle Independent Bookstore Day. (Elliott Bay Book Company via Facebook)
We've got that Friday feeling, and there's nothing that can take it away. Don't add extra stress or expenses to your weekend, but do check out cheap and easy events from Seattle Independent Bookstore Day to May Day and from Queer/Bar's drag competition The Final Girls to Christopher Nolan Film Festival.

Venues may have health guidelines in place—we advise directly checking the specific protocols for an event before heading out.

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



Funky Forest: The First Contact
Past Event List If you thought Mudede's Book Nook was cool, you're gonna love Mudede at the Movies, a new series in which Stranger senior staff writer Charles Mudede talks up some of the films he's most excited to see at the Beacon, one of his favorite theaters in town. Hear his thoughts on '05 flick Funky Forest, an "off the register, off the rails, mind-bending" Japanese film, here. (According to Mudede, "You do not need a psychoactive substance while watching this film." Noted.)
(The Beacon, Columbia City, $12.50)


Frog Rave
Past Event List These days, there seems a rave for everything, but I can say with confidence that this is the first amphibian-themed one I've come across. Local DJ, dance, and art collective Peer Pressure will host a hoppin' dance party featuring house and techno bops from ZE, Kimere, Dirty J, Bing, and Lucky Light, a "sensory corner" of games, and a costume contest (think: Kermit the Frog, Frog and Toad, Frogger, or Keroppi). My fingers are crossed that they will play Crazy Frog’s iconic Eurodance hit "Axel F." AUDREY VANN
(Orient Express, SoDo, $5-$10)


Hugo Lit Series—Second Chances: Danez Smith, Rachel Khong, Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello, Zan Fiskum
Past Event List After the last few years, the idea of "rebirth" sounds pretty appealing. This season's Hugo Literary Series draws on rebirth as a conceptual theme, inviting writers of all stripes to reflect on revival and resurgence through prose, poetry, and songs. In this session, writers Danez Smith, Rachel Khong, Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello, and Zan Fiskum will encourage audiences to try again with new works based on the juicy sub-theme of "second chances."
(Hugo House, Capitol Hill, $5-$15)


Genesis Past Event List
This is not your grandmother's antique mall. Fulfill the late-night urge to online shop IRL with Capitol Hill's Late Night Vintage Market. This Friday, local record label Nightsinnersclub will turn the market into a part-dance club with DJ sets from Rain, Jaicee, and Saint Deon while you peruse a large selection of vintage clothing, decor, and furniture. AUDREY VANN
(Late Night Vintage Market, Capitol Hill, $8-$10)



Gram Worthy
Past Event List Many of our social media profiles may be public, but it still sounds pretty perilous to have our online presences picked apart by comics in front of a live audience. Gram Worthy does just that, but this time around, they're focusing on famous influencers—they'll put your faves on the chopping block to razz their music festival duds and brunch pics. For this performance, influencers will head to the stage to explain their "brands" while improv comics riff off their interviews.
(Rendezvous, Belltown, $15)

The Reader Past Event List
You might get "read" in more ways than one at this night of improv with a mystical twist. The mysterious Reader will pull tarot cards for you, then a team of improvisers will interpret their meanings. Hang on to your crystals.
(Rendezvous, Belltown, $15)


Northwest Green Home Tour
Past Event List Kermit says it's not easy being green, but this eco-friendly home tour might change his mind. Bop around the Puget Sound area to take a peek at the latest remodels and energy retrofits found in sustainable, "green" new homes. Maybe it'll be inspiring, or maybe you'll just get to look inside some fancy houses you can't afford. It sounds fun either way.
(Various locations, free)

SAM Body & Mind
Past Event List What better way to beat SAD than with SAM? The art museum will present free, first-come, first-serve wellness activities on the fourth Saturday of each month this winter to help you combat the tedious post-holiday doldrums. Head to Olympic Sculpture Park for a 60-minute Vinyasa flow led by Take Care Yoga (BYO mat), followed by a vibrationally chill sound bowl session by Biom and a self-reflective art activity by The Feels Foundation.
(Olympic Sculpture Park, Belltown, free)


Nightclubbing: The Beacon Guide to Grace Jones Past Event List
Otherworldly singer, model, actress, and counterculture icon Grace Jones arrived on earth to construct a brand-new, androgynous blend of disco, reggae, industrial, and post-punk worlds, resisting genre classification for her entire career. (What, like it's hard?) Nightclubbing, the Beacon's original video mixtape, compiles concert footage, interviews, and other ephemera from across Jones' cosmic career—whether you're a die-hard fan or new to her oeuvre, prepare to bow down.
(The Beacon, Columbia City, $12.50)

Scarecrow Academy Presents Women in Trouble: Great Melodrama in Film Past Event List
Take a closer look at so-called "women's pictures" for Women's History Month with National Society of Film Critics member and Scarecrow Video "historian-programmer in residence" Robert Horton. He'll lead the series of free Zoom sessions, exploring how directors have "put women at the center of their hothouse creative universes." (Never fear, the series doesn't center the male gaze—while Women in Trouble: Great Melodrama in Film does analyze Hitchcock and Lynch films, participants can also expect deep dives into Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir and Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman.)
(Scarecrow Video, University District, free)

Scarecrow Video Zeitgeist ‘23! – Nine Things I Learned Watching Every Movie Ever Made in the Pacific Northwest Past Event List
In celebration of the release of FILMLANDIA! A Movie Lover’s Guide to the Films and Television of Seattle, Portland, and the Great Northwest, author and former Stranger staff writer David Schmader will offer up a special edition of Scarecrow Video Zeitgeist, an online discussion series hosted by the physical media advocates. Schmader will focus on nine things he learned while watching every film ever made in the Pacific Northwest, ranging in quality from Twin Peaks to Twilight. Tune in on Saturday afternoon with a damn fine cup of coffee.
(Scarecrow Video, University District, free)


Young Scientist, Marc Barreca, and Monster Planet Past Event List
Yeah, I know, Seattle is known for '90s grunge...but where’s the love for our city's '70s-'80s electronic movement? Formed back in the '70s, synth trio Young Scientists crafted mind-bending modular-based sounds influenced by leading experimentalists like Cluster, Harmonia, and Tangerine Dream. Their albums (originally released on cassette) are extremely rare, but luckily for you, their minimalist debut Results Not Answers was reissued on vinyl in recent years. Catch the pioneering project after an opening set from fellow Seattle-based innovator Marc Barreca and cinematic electronica project Monster Planet. AUDREY VANN
(Chapel Performance Space, Wallingford, $5-20 donation)


Babe Night Past Event List
The Babe Night concept seems so obvious and ripe for success, but nobody's really capitalized on it like Garcia has. She and a rotating cast of the area's savviest women selectors (including La Mala Noche, Kween Kaysh, and Gold Chisme) play female-centric tracks geared to get hands in the air and butts in gear. Garcia describes the ethos as “essentially 'Barbie Girl' by Aqua. It's a popular song that kind of fell out of favor because it was found to be too goofy. So it perfectly encompasses that silly, carefree, feminine energy that I want to reclaim. DAVE SEGAL
(Gold Bar, Capitol Hill, free)

Dial Up: Chong The Nomad, Demonslayer, Cancer Tears, T-Reverie, and Calico Past Event List
Only those above a certain age will understand the name of this throwback dance party. Seattle-based producer Chong The Nomad, who notably contributed to Marvel’s Shang-Chi soundtrack, will be joined by DJs Demonslayer, Cancer Tears, T-Reverie, and Calico for a night of '90s and early aughts-driven sets that will help you recall your AOL screen name. AUDREY VANN
(Madame Lou's at the Crocodile, Belltown, $10)


African-American Writers' Alliance 2023: An Evening of Poetry and Prose Past Event List
Wordsmiths from the PNW's African American community will reunite for this group reading organized by the African American Writers' Alliance, which promotes emerging and seasoned writers and publishes anthologies. This time around, the robust roundup of readers includes Margaret S. Barrie, Melany Bell, Noni Ervin, Miz Floes, Monique Franklin, James Macon, and many others.
(Town Hall Seattle, First Hill, $5)


Lake City Record Show Past Event List
Did you miss the Record Store Day festivities last week? Good news! There are still plenty of opportunities to nudge elbows with fellow record collectors, including Lake City's annual vinyl market. Refresh your collection with a wide range of formats, genres, eras, and price points. Last year, I got great deals on an eclectic mix of Taylor Swift and John Fahey LPs. Plus, admission is free…you have nothing to lose! AUDREY VANN
(Shoreline Elks Hall, Ridgecrest, free)

Seattle Independent Bookstore Day 2023
Past Event List The only way Seattle can possibly keep enjoying a wide variety of excellent, engaged, helpful independent bookstores is to support them, love them, and buy as many books as we possibly can from them—and not Jeff Bezos, even if his company offers convenient delivery. Seattle Independent Bookstore Day gives you a perfect excuse to visit your favorite shops, stock up on new releases and old classics, and maybe even meet some local authors and/or get some sweet swag. For the book nerdiest among you, don't miss the beloved Bookstore Day Passport Challenge: If you visit all 27 participating bookstores between April 29 and May 8, you'll get a Bookstore Day Champion Stamp Card, good for a one-time 25% discount at each participating store for the next year, not to mention serious booklovers' street cred. Alternatively, visit just five stores during that period to earn a single 25% off coupon.
(Various locations, free)



Astounding Tales: Improvised Science Fiction
Past Event List Old-school sci-fi lovers will dig this play on the pulpy space fiction magazines of yesterday, with imaginative blast-off tales interpreted by a cast of out-of-this-world improvisers. 
(Unexpected Productions' Market Theater, Pike Place Market, $15)


The Girl Who Didn’t Take a Shower Since Kurt Cobain Died: Three 90s Teen Docs Past Event List
Covert cigarettes, choker necklaces, blow-up furniture, dELiA*s catalogs, and a firm sense of nihilism—if you weren't a teen girl in the '90s, there's probably a secret part of you that wishes you had been. Good news, though: You can live vicariously through this series of three documentary shorts, each of which follows a different group of moody girls ensnared in the kinds of American towns that feel like prisons when you're 14. Dirty Girls is a testament to the riot grrrl ethos, featuring the (allegedly) unshowered and pissed-off eighth graders Amber and Harper; Girls at the Carnival is a midwestern romp revealed on a random VHS tape, and the Jersey Shore Super 8 film Wildwood, NJ is apparently one of Lana Del Rey's favorites.
(The Beacon, Columbia City, $12.50)


Driveway BBQ Past Event List
In Phinney Ridge, Oliver's Twist chef and owner Karuna Long has at last found a home for his innovative new Cambodian restaurant, Sophon—but he needs your help! On Sunday, stop by the driveway just south of the restaurant and help Karuna and his crew raise $$$ to fund the move via a Cambodian-style barbecue. They'll be cranking out kroeung curry smashburgers, grilled loc lac parmesan noodles, barbecued wings, tofu-mushroom skewers, and lots of other marvelous Khmer and Khmer-inspired snacks. This event will be running entirely on donations, vegetarian food will be available, and kids and well-behaved dogs are welcome! The cocktail bar inside Oliver's Twist will also be open for walk-up service with normal menu prices; I can't get enough of their Dark & Stormy made with molasses-y blackstrap rum. So get that. MEG VAN HUYGEN
(Oliver's Twist, Southeast Magnolia)


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.
(Queer Bar, Capitol Hill, $5)


May Day
Past Event List Flower crowns and ribbon dancing can only mean one thing—it's time to get a lil' weird in celebration of May Day and the coming of spring. Join in on the pagan merriment at this free outdoor celebration, which will include games, a potluck picnic, live music, and a real-deal maypole dance.
(Meridian Park, Wallingford, free)


Last Day of Current Exhibitions
Past Event List If you haven't yet caught Museum of Museum's current exhibitions on view, April 30 is your last chance. The contemporary art center will offer half-price admission (only $10!), so you can pop by to see Tariqa Waters's GUM BABY, a technicolor "temporary memorial to the assured." While you're there, take your time scoping out works by over 25 other artists, including Kerstin Graudins' Crystal Cave and China Faith Star's Chromesthesia. Textile exhibition SOFT TOUCH doesn't close until August 30, but it's still a must-see.
(Museum of Museums, First Hill, $10)

SAM Talks: Marilyn Romatka Past Event List
Those who can't get enough of the tactile-yet-technical textiles in Ikat: A World of Compelling Cloth should head to this free multimedia presentation by folk art instructor and expert Marilyn Romatka, who will share her knowledge of Central Asian ikat production processes, from silkworm to fancy-schmancy finished garment.
(Seattle Art Museum, Downtown, free)



Christopher Nolan Film Festival
Past Event List Forget your troubles (and get amped for the upcoming Oppenheimer) at this weekend-long festival of Christopher Nolan's cerebral, nonlinear films, which just make sense on a gigantic IMAX screen. Pacific Science Center's lineup includes Tenet, Inception, Interstellar, and The Dark Knight, so you might have a few opinions to share on Letterboxd afterward, but we can guarantee you won't be bored.
(Pacific Science Center IMAX Theaters, Uptown, $0-$15, Friday-Sunday)

Past Event List Saim Sadiq’s 2022 Joyland is more than a beautiful piece of cinema, it is a cultural trailblazer. Based in Pakistan, the melodrama explores gender and sexual identity in a country that criminalizes both. The film follows the life of a young married man, Haider (Ali Junejo), who becomes a backup dancer for a trans performer named Biba (Alina Khan). Out of fear, Haider keeps his new job and relationship a secret from his conservative family. Joyland has received international support for questioning tradition and defying gender norms. Unsurprisingly, it has been banned in Pakistan's heavily populated Punjab province on behalf of “un-Islamic” material. To make it even more upsettingly queer, the film stars Pakistan’s first-ever trans lead, Alina Khan! If art is an act of resistance, Joyland is a fucking force. Also! Joyland recently won Best International Film at the 2023 Independent Spirit Awards! It’s not easily streamable so don’t miss it! BRITTNE LUNNISS
(SIFF Cinema Uptown, Uptown, $13-$14, Friday-Sunday)

Polite Society Past Event List
In this 2023 Sundance favorite, a martial artist-in-training plans an ambitious wedding heist to "save" her older sister from her impending marriage. The action-comedy, written and directed by We Are Lady Parts creator Nida Manzoor, blends South Asian aesthetics with East Asian martial arts—one scene sees the sisters "fight in fully embroidered anarkalis (long, traditional South Asian dresses) along with gold tikka (jewelry worn on the forehead)" (The Guardian). Cool!
(SIFF Cinema Egyptian, Capitol Hill, $13-$14, Friday-Sunday)

Sam Now
Past Event List Blending Super 8, home video, and modern-day digital footage,Sam Now follows Seattle documentarian Reed Harkness, his half-brother Sam, and their family over the course of 20 years as they grapple with Sam's mother's sudden disappearance.
(Grand Illusion, University District, $5-$11, Saturday-Sunday)


Daniel Alexander Jones: I Choose To Remember Us Whole Past Event List
Performance artist and playwright Daniel Alexander Jones will activate multiple venues at the University of Washington, Meany Center, and across Seattle this spring, offering conversations, workshops, and rituals that will culminate in the installation of temporary altars across UW and a one-day processional performance on May 20. The project's three core components include altars co-created by Valerie Curtis-Newton, Leon Finley, Afroditi Psarra, Althea Rao, and Timothy White Eagle, an altar installation at Henry Art Gallery, and a participatory element. (Fill out a "memory card," available at the Henry's front desk, to contribute to the installation.)
(Various locations, free, Saturday-Sunday)

Springshot 2023 Past Event List
Celebrating a "diverse garden" of performance artists, Springshot serves as a launch pad for brand-new dance, theater, burlesque, and comedy shorts over three weekends. Each performance is named after a spring bloom (aster, tulip, peony, and more), and the series features over 20 creatives.
(18th & Union: An Arts Space, Choose-your-own-price, Friday-Sunday)

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Past Event List Seattle Children's Theatre will transform its stage from a dusty Kansas farmstead to the glittery land of Oz in this adaptation of L. Frank Baum's dreamy classic. Flying monkeys ages five and up will approve.
(Seattle Children's Theatre, Uptown, $15-$20, Friday-Sunday)


Tulip Town 2023
Past Event List Kaleidoscopic rows of vibrant tulips have sprung forth in the fields of Skagit Valley every year since 1984. Tulip Town's old-school trolley rides, local ice cream, and epic selfie opportunities will return again with a new "anytime plus" ticket option, which includes reservation-free access to the fields, a fresh bouquet, and a "barn experience."
(Mount Vernon, $15-$50, Friday-Sunday)


Elizabeth Donnally Davidson: Embodied Past Event List
Blackfish Gallery director Elizabeth Donnally Davidson's sculptures and tactile "drawings" were recently on display at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art; this follow-up exhibition centers her bodily ceramic vessels. The forms in Embodied are subtly distorted, manipulated, and skewed with ripples, bumps, and ragged edges, highlighting the artist's preoccupation with beauty in individuality and the "embodiment of abstract human experiences."
(Davidson Galleries, Pioneer Square, free, Friday-Saturday; closing)

Expert of Denial: Jasmine Fetterman Past Event List
Multidisciplinary, research-based artist and SOIL member Jasmine Fetterman presents their first solo exhibition, Expert of Denial, which returns to the roots of their "obsession with art-making" and aims to cultivate space for queer, trans, and femme bodies and identities in art.
(SOIL, Pioneer Square, free, Friday-Saturday; closing)

Michèle Landsaat: The Alchemy of Love Past Event List
Seattle-based writer and illustrator Michèle Landsaat shares new drypoint etchings and papier-mâché sculptures in The Alchemy of Love, a delicate, whimsical exhibition that speaks to the artist's interest in alchemical processes, storytelling, and the "transformative potential of loss."
(Davidson Galleries, Pioneer Square, free, Friday-Saturday; closing)

Sam Gallery Presents: Reedify
Past Event List In Reedify, artists Enid Smith Becker and Anna Macrae create layers and textures that reinterpret their surroundings in semi-abstracted landscapes and process-driven, "messy imperfections." Pop by SAM Gallery to spend some time with their complex wall works before checking out recently installed museum exhibitions Howard L. GATO Mitchell: Forgive Us Our Debts and Ikat: A World of Compelling Cloth.
(SAM Gallery, Downtown, free, Friday-Sunday; closing)

The things that stayed: alejandro t. acierto and Dan Paz Past Event List
Artist, musician, and curator alejandro t. acierto and artist and educator Dan Paz share the fruits of their ongoing dialogue in The things that stayed, which points to the slippery intersections between showers and archives. (Who knew?) Acierto and Paz approach both as "multivalent sites of access and foreclosure," investigating them through porcelain and video works.
(SOIL, Pioneer Square, free, Friday-Saturday; closing)

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