Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Seattle This Weekend: Feb 16–18, 2024

BE Great Celebration, Black & Brew Imperial Stout Festival, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
February 16, 2024
Young musicians will leave "heart, guts, and glory" on the Sky Church stage at MoPOP’s 2024 Sound Off! Showcase. (MoPOP via Facebook)
There's no reason to stay parked on the couch all weekend when cheap and easy events from the BE Great Celebration: Black Excellence Festival to MoPOP’s 2024 Sound Off! Showcase and from the 10th Annual Black & Brew Imperial Stout Festival to YEAH! - '90s/2000s R&B and Hip-Hop Jams are beckoning. For more options, our guide to the top events of the week also has you covered.

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Bandit Theater Presents: 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, and a team of New Age-approved improvisers will interpret their meanings. Hang on to your crystals. LC
(Rendezvous, Belltown, $15)


Invisible Composers Lab Past Event List
The Invisible Composers Lab brings together composers and musicians across generations and genres to collaborate, experiment, and improvise. For this installment, neo-classical pianists BC Campbell, Paul Matthew Moore, and Krystal Barghelame have teamed up with cellist Maria Scherer Wilson to push the boundaries of their respective instruments. I know that experimental music can be chaotic and stressful to some, but given Campbell's reputation for blissful cinematic soundscapes, this performance will likely be ambient-leaning (i.e. calming and gentle on your brain!) AV
(Good Shepherd Center/Chapel Performance Space, Wallingford, $10 suggested donation at the door)

Sam Cobra Live at Easy Street Records Past Event List
The local guitar-driven psych-rock band Sam Cobra will celebrate the release of their new album, Bitter Sun, with a free, all-ages show at Easy Street. The band defies the dude-rock trappings of the genre thanks to the powerful vocals of frontwoman Stephanie Ward. The ethereal quality of her voice is complimented by the band's melodic guitar riffs and resounding strings, bringing to mind '70s psych-folk bands like Fairport Convention or Jefferson Airplane. AV
(Easy Street Records, Junction, free)


YEAH! - '90s/2000s R&B and Hip-Hop Jams Past Event List
Did all that gyrating on Sunday night leave you wanting more? If your answer is "Yeah!" then perhaps an evening of throwback R&B and hip-hop jams is what you need. DJs Kemyst, Razberry Beretta, and Pia B will spin sultry tunes from Usher, OutKast, Missy Elliott, T-Pain, Destiny's Child, and more. Just please, for the love of god, don't make love in this club. AV
(Nectar, Fremont, $15)


Winter 2024 Public Exhibitions Opening Past Event List
If you haven't dropped by the Frye in a while, now's an excellent time: On February 16, they'll celebrate the recent openings of Jessica Jackson Hutchins: Wrecked and Righteous, which surveys the last 30-ish years of Jackson Hutchins's career in a nonchronological presentation of furniture pieces, relief paintings, and more, and Sky Hopinka: Subterranean Ceremonies, which layers elements of poetry, prose, and image to think carefully about language as a strong cultural force. As usual, the museum entry will be free of charge, but this after-hours affair will include a no-host bar. LC
(Frye Art Museum, First Hill, free)



Black History Month Soirée Past Event List
BIMA is celebrating Black History Month with a soirée that will bring the community together and highlight Black music, art, and entrepreneurs. Vendors from Renton's Black Love Market—a series that will recur every first Friday through November—will pop up with their wares, and a variety of local musicians and performers will take the stage throughout the night. SL
(Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, Winslow, $0-$10)


SAM Body + Mind Past Event List
LED lamps be damned, because you can try beating SAD with SAM this year. The art museum will offer free, first-come, first-serve wellness activities on the first and third Saturday of each month through March 16 to help you battle the drab winter doldrums. Drag yourself out of bed and head to Olympic Sculpture Park for a rotating menu of offerings like live music, sound baths, yoga and art therapy sessions, and silent reading breaks. LC
(Olympic Sculpture Park, Belltown, free)


Saturday Secret Matinees 2024 Past Event List
If you're a sucker for old-school cinema with an element of surprise, this recurring series has your name written allll over it. Grand Illusion will continue a longstanding tradition with its 16th season of matinee classics screened alongside a secret feature film every Saturday, all in dreamy 16mm. The series continues this weekend with "Revenge Westerns," in which two undisclosed actors will "redefine the genre." LC
(Grand Illusion, University District, $8-$11 tickets, $66 series pass)

VHS Uber Alles Past Event List
Oh, to be a member of the Skirts, a girl group destined for stardom as they traverse the lonesome desert to sing at a Las Vegas television competition. At least, that part sounds fun—the story makes a sharp right turn from there, as the Skirts's ride breaks down and they wind up hobnobbing with a gang of drug-dealing bikers. Unfortunately, the Skirts do not know how to shoot guns, but they do wear undies and tease their hair a lot. (Pro tip: You can spritz rattlesnakes with hairspray to scare them off.) 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)


MoPOP’s 2024 Sound Off! Showcase Past Event List
Now in its 23rd year, MoPOP's Sound Off! will give local under-21 talent the chance to show off their original tunes at the snazzy Sky Church. Considering that Sound Off! alumni include Parisalexa, Naked Giants, and Travis Thompson, this is a perfect opportunity to catch homegrown talent at the very start of their careers. AV
(MoPOP, Uptown, $12-$45)

Steph Fest 2024 Past Event List
In honor of Zookraught bassist Stephanie Jones's birthday, eight PNW bands are taking over the Vera Project's two stages for a celebratory music festival. Highlights from the lineup include glitchy noise punk duo Flesh Produce, Portland-based no-wavers Yuvees, art-punk band Bad Optics, and of course, self-proclaimed "dance-punk" trio Zookraught. The dress code is: "Dress like Steph." I don't know her (I don't mean this in a Mariah/JLo way) but upon a brief internet search, I'm seeing curly orange hair and colorful squiggly makeup. AV
(Vera Project, Uptown, $15-$20)


57th Annual Lunar New Year Gala Past Event List
The UW Chinese Student Association is ushering in the Year of the Dragon with a night of Chinese cultural performances, activities, and food. Refreshments include BBQ pork buns, bubble waffles, custard buns, and a variety of teas to sustain you as you explore activities like calligraphy, red envelope decorating, and a scavenger hunt. There will also be a small marketplace to browse, but make sure you're in your seat by 7 pm for the main presentation featuring wushu, taiko, lion dance, and other music and dance performances. SL
(UW Kane Hall, University District, free)


Paint the Town Red Past Event List
I can't think of a worse day for Valentine's Day to land on than Wednesday—it is truly the least sexy day of the week. That's why Supernova (and moi) are postponing this year's day of love to Saturday. Celebrate the holiday the way it's meant to be celebrated: staying out late and dancing to disco jams. Don't forget your scarlet garb! The dress code for this party is head-to-toe red. AV
(Supernova Seattle, SoDo, $0-$15)


Sky Hopinka: Artist Talk and Screening Past Event List
Artist and Ho-Chunk Nation member Sky Hopinka will celebrate his solo exhibition Subterranean Ceremonieswhich includes four recent films and new photographs that reckon with personal and political concepts of Indigenous homeland, at this afternoon of screenings and conversation. Head to the Frye to catch Sunflower Siege Engine and Just a Soul Responding, which "continue Hopinka’s ruminations on place, ancestral and chosen homes, moments of resistance, and the stories of spiritual and terrestrial voyages." Hopinka will be on site to answer questions about the films and his work. LC
(Frye Art Museum, First Hill, free)



Black Ice: An American Sitcom Improvised Past Event List
Devised in the style of Norman Lear's '70s-era American sitcoms (think All in the Family, Maude, The Jeffersons, and Good Times), Unexpected Productions's Black Ice will channel the elements that made these shows pretty damn great—they often grappled with political and social themes while maintaining an approachable, disarming vibe. Audience members will offer suggestions to the comedian cast and provide the laugh track, so get your weirdest guffaw ready. LC
(Unexpected Productions' Market Theater, Pike Place Market, $8-$20)


Bacurau: CDX Movie Night Past Event List
When the matriarch of a Brazilian village dies, its inhabitants notice that their village has vanished from most maps and that a UFO-shaped drone is constantly buzzing overhead. This wild Brazilian western won the Jury Prize at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, but suffered remarkably poor timing (it was released in March 2020 and barely saw in-person screenings). Check it out in support of the Latine/a/o-led mutual aid organization and Fremont cultural center Casa del Xolo. The property that houses CDX was sold to developers in 2022 and now risks demolition; most of this screening's proceeds will be donated to help them fight it. LC
(Grand Illusion, University District, $8 - $11)


Lunar New Year Celebration Past Event List
We could all use more good fortune for the coming year, so it certainly doesn't hurt to keep celebrating Lunar New Year—in fact, Chinese New Year is a 15-day celebration! Head to Westlake Park to take in a lion dance by the Mak Fai Dragon & Lion Dance Association, enjoy tangerine lattes from Bloom Coffee, collect red envelopes, and enter to win a variety of prizes. The Asean Streat Food Hall is right there if you're craving Southeast Asian delicacies. SL
(Westlake Park, Downtown, free)


Pier 62 Fire Pit Past Event List
We know the waterfront hardly sounds appealing in winter weather, but the Friends of Waterfront Seattle are lighting a fire right before dusk on every Sunday for the next couple of weeks for folks to gather ‘round. Go for a nice little walk and enjoy sunset views of Rainier and the Olympics (on a clear day) or simply soak up the cozy campfire vibes. The fires are weather-dependent, so if it's pouring rain or (god forbid) snowing, they might skip that weekend. SL
(Pier 62, Downtown, free)



Solidarity Now! 1968 Poor People’s Campaign Remind List
An often-overlooked 1968 social justice movement confronted poverty head-on and reimagined American activism, but you've probably never heard of it. The Smithsonian's traveling exhibition Solidarity Now! 1968 Poor People’s Campaign looks closely at the nearly six-week-long protest, which took place in a constructed "Resurrection City" in DC and drew attention to the impact of poverty on Americans. Everyone from rural Appalachians to residents of Puerto Rico and Native communities showed up for demonstrations and demands for jobs, living wages, access to health care, and more. Organized by Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph Abernathy, the Poor People's Campaign was the "first large-scale, nationally organized demonstration to take place after King’s death." Head to this exhibition to learn more about it through photographs, oral histories, and political ephemera. LC
(Washington State History Museum, Tacoma, $0-$14, Friday-Sunday)


BE Great Celebration: Black Excellence Festival Past Event List
Head to Occidental Square to support Black excellence at this free two-day festival planned in observance of Black History Month. You'll find local performers like Free Agent SEA, the Jewel Tones, Stephcynie, and PHER on deck, plus BIPOC vendors like Chop Chop West African Cuisine, Hot Jawn, Ola Wyola, and many others. LC
(Occidental Square, Pioneer Square, free, Friday-Saturday)

Northwest Flower & Garden Festival Past Event List
Love is in the air—or is that plant fragrance? If topiaries tickle your fancy and flowers float your boat (so to speak), head on over to a weekend full of blooming displays at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival. You can check out over 20 display gardens built around the theme "I Heart Spring," and browse the marketplace for a new plant baby (or a dozen) to take home. With over 90 seminars and talks from gardening specialists, I'm hoping to finally learn how not to kill every living thing I bring into my place. SL
(Seattle Convention Center, Downtown, $13-$40, Friday-Sunday)


American Fiction Past Event List
If the words "incisive literary satire" perk up your ears, then boy, does director Cord Jefferson have the film for you!! In his new dramedy (an adaptation of Percival Everett’s Erasure), Jeffrey Wright stars as Monk, a novelist who's understandably aggravated by the establishment that profits from "Black" entertainment and its exhausting tropes. When Monk writes a book under a pen name, he finds himself paddling in the same phony waters he admonished in the first place. LC
(SIFF Cinema Uptown, Uptown, $13-$14, Friday-Sunday)

Dad & Step-Dad Past Event List
Today's entry in "movies that sound weird as hell" is Dad & Step-Dad, which was filmed for a mere $18,000 and features more goatees, pleated pants, air mattresses, and condescending tones than you ever thought you needed. (The Beacon claims that the film "plays like Frederick Wiseman directing an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm," which sounds perfect for those of us into a very particular brand of stressful comedy. If your dream man is a mash-up of Nathan Fielder and John Wilson, that's probably you.) Anyway, two aggressively dorky men head to a cabin upstate in a feeble, tension-ridden attempt at bonding, which devolves into guys being dudes. Bring it on. Actors and co-writers Colin Burgess and Anthony Oberbeck will chat about their characters (an "uptight paper plate designer dad" and "freewheeling gym-part replacement salesman step-dad," respectively) during a live Q&A after the screenings on February 16 and 17. LC
(The Beacon, Columbia City, $12.50, Friday-Sunday)

Ganja and Hess Past Event List
This experimental horror from visionary director Bill Gunn, which will be screened in the Museum of Modern Art's fresh restoration, reconstructs the vampire mythos in '70s Hudson Valley and flirts with Blaxploitation elements. When Dr. Hess Jones, a wealthy anthropologist, is stabbed with an ancient ceremonial dagger by his crazed assistant, he acquires a piggish lust for blood. (Note to self: Avoid ancient ceremonial daggers.) Variety described the landmark indie film as "an ingenious metaphor for Black assimilation, white cultural imperialism, and the hypocrisies of organized religion." LC
(Central Cinema, Central District, $12, Friday-Sunday)

Oscar Shorts 2024: Live Action Past Event List
If you typically watch the Oscars with a passing interest in the nominated short films, perhaps feeling intrigued but knowing that you'll never get a chance to see them on screen, have I got the opportunity for you. SIFF Cinema Uptown will screen the nominees in the live action, animation, and documentary categories, so you can predict the winners and scope out standouts like Wes Anderson's The Wonderful World of Henry Sugar, which was based on a Roald Dahl story. Pepper that into conversation later, your friends will think you are cool. LC
(SIFF Cinema Uptown, Uptown, $14.50-$15.50, Friday-Sunday)

Perfect Days Past Event List
New German Cinema pioneer Wim Wenders, who directed Wings of Desire and a mysterious terrain of canyons and neon in Paris, Texas, is known for his deliciously "slow" cinema and emphasis on desolation. Interestingly, this film (which was shortlisted for Best International Feature at this year's Oscars) feels a little more lighthearted, but I suspect that I will still come away feeling somehow devastated. Perfect Days follows a Tokyo toilet scrubber, Hirayama, whose days are filled with contentment, cassette tapes, books, and photos of trees. May we all be so blessed. LC
(SIFF Cinema Uptown, Uptown, $13-$14, Friday-Sunday)

She Is Conann Past Event List
There have been plenty of cinematic incarnations of the Conan mythos, but never has there been one quite like French filmmaker Bertrand Mandico’s She Is Conann. Telling the story of Conann through six different incarnations across time, it is a visually gorgeous journey worth taking in on the big screen. Dancing with death at every turn before launching into each new rebirth with plenty of flair, it is all guided by a Cerberus of sorts bearing a camera with almost magical properties. With each demise, a new world is discovered with plenty of pleasures and perils to be uncovered. It’s a scrappy fantasy vision inflected with sci-fi elements that, while not for everyone, may also get your head spinning. Put simply, this isn't your grandfather's Conan. Like peering into an increasingly hellish world that, much like its titular character, is constantly shifting before you, it is a bold film best experienced by letting its visceral visions wash over you. STRANGER CONTRIBUTOR CHASE HUTCHINSON
(Grand Illusion, University District, $8-$11, Saturday-Sunday)

The Sweet East Past Event List
The Sweet East is the directorial debut of an artist, Sean Price Williams, who has made his mark as a cinematographer. Williams has worked closely with the Safdie brothers (watch Good Time), Alex Ross Perry (watch Listen Up Philip), and Abel Ferrara (watch Zeros and Ones). He also lensed Nathan Silver's Between the TemplesThe Sweet East, which he shot and directed (no small feat), is a road movie that travels across post-pandemic and post-BLM America. It stars Talia Ryder and Ayo Edebiri (Bottoms). Its world premiere occurred at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. It should not be missed. See you at Columbia City's the Beacon. (And, yes, I recently enjoyed drinking with Williams at one of my favorite Manhattan bars, The Library.) STRANGER SENIOR WRITER CHARLES MUDEDE
(The Beacon, Columbia City, $12.50, Friday-Sunday)


10th Annual Black & Brew Imperial Stout Festival Past Event List
Dark, wintry days call for dark beers. In honor of Stout Month, Watershed has hoarded a wealth of "the most indulgent, tantalizing and eclectic" imperial stouts they could find and is ready to unleash 15 of them at this event to propel you into dark beer nirvana. JB
(Watershed Pub & Kitchen, Northgate, free, Friday-Sunday)


Annual Gallery Artist Group Exhibition Past Event List
Contemporary mainstay Traver Gallery's first exhibition of 2024 kicks off the new year with its annual multimedia selection of works from its material-focused roster of artists, including heavy hitters like Granite Calimpong, Andrea Dezso, Naoko Morisawa, Bronson Shonk, Preston Singletary, Curtis Steiner, April Surgent, Dick Weiss, and more. Expect to feast your eyes on works from the realms of blown glass, watercolor, ceramics, and engraving. LC
(Traver Gallery, Downtown, free, Friday-Saturday)

Black & Boujee Past Event List
Aiming to redefine stereotypes and notions of luxury in Black culture, the group exhibition Black & Boujee challenges the Eurocentric conception of opulence, centers Afrocentric aesthetics, and will likely expand your perceptions on all things expensive. The show is a great reason to visit Bainbridge Island—it'll showcase works by Black artists and designers working in painting, sculpture, and other mediums to investigate the "complexity of navigating luxury in a society shaped by racial inequalities." LC
(Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, Winslow, free, Friday-Sunday)

Enter the Forest Past Event List
You'll find plenty of weekend-worthy exhibitions at Seattle Art Museum right now, like Remember the Rain, a collection of 20th-century Haitian paintings, and Elizabeth Malaska: All Be Your Mirror. (Pro tip for you Cheap and Easy readers: You can snag free museum passes from the Seattle Public Library and the King County Library.) Don't forget to duck into SAM Gallery, though, where you'll find Enter the Forest, a collection of works by local artists Linda Davidson, Chris Sheridan, and Sheryl Westergreen that feel as though they were pulled straight from the forest floor. LC
(SAM Gallery, Downtown, free, Friday-Sunday)

Sky Hopinka: Subterranean Ceremonies Remind 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, Saturday-Sunday; opening)

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