Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Seattle This Weekend: Jan 20-22, 2023

Lunar New Year, somesurprises, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
January 20, 2023
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Watch an eye-catching lion dance at Lunar New Year on Pier 62. (Friends of Waterfront Seattle via Facebook)
This weekend presents many opportunities for culture, community, and fun on the cheap, from AZN GLO: Lunar New Year to Lunar New Year on Pier 62 and from somesurprises, Jeffrey Silverstein, Credit Electric, and Simile to Natural Science Art Show and Market. For more ideas, check out our top picks of the week and guide to Lunar New Year.


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


FRIDAY

FOOD & DRINK

Origin Stories: A Brief History of Coffee Add to a List
Brush up on the history of coffee, from Ethiopia to Indonesia to the Americas, with this free primer open to the public.
(Fuel Coffee, Miller Park, free)

LIVE MUSIC

Death Rehearsal No. 2: Meagan Jane Marron, Occult A/V, Scuzz Nun, and Aria Bare Add to a List
Up-and-coming indie label Deathrange Collective will present its second edition of Death Rehearsal, a showcase of electronic, experimental, and DIY music with a focus on PNW talent. This edition will feature performances from Meagan Jane Marron, Occult A/V, and Scuzz Nun after an opening DJ set from Portland-based techno producer Aria Bare.
(Belltown Yacht Club, Belltown, $10-$12)

Glose, Still/Form, and Githyanki Add to a List
Shapeshifting noise rock quartet Glose will be joined by punk heavies Still/Form and metal-grunge trio Githyanki for a hard-hitting evening of energetic sounds in the middle of the rink while you try your best to not crash into the bands.
(Southgate Roller Rink, White Center, $15 cover/$5 skate)

PARTIES & NIGHTLIFE

AZN GLO: Lunar New Year Add to a List
Local drag gem Kylie Mooncakes will host a whimsical dance party for Asian and QTBIPOC folks in celebration of the Lunar New Year. Release your stress with sets from DJs Rowan Ruthless and Pretty Please,appearances from drag legends Gaysha Starr, Aleksa Manila, and Alessandra Hunt, and performances from go-go dancers Aries Moschino, Cruz, Chanel, and RubĂŤ Venus.
(Neumos, Capitol Hill, $8)

Sissy Butch: A Transmasculine Showcase Add to a List
Hosted by Killer Bunny, this transmasculine showcase is a beloved addition to Seattle's growing number of trans-led drag performances. This fierce edition of the show will feature performances by Leo Mane, Boni, D'Mon, and special guests Dizzy Phoria and Tazontheway.
(Kremwerk, Downtown, $12-$15)

The Last...Sorted: Britpop, New Wave, and Indie Dance Party Add to a List
Join DJs Mister Sister, Not So Good, and DJ Paco for the final edition of their recurring Britpop and indie dance party. Party like it's 1995 with the nostalgic music of Blur, Gang of Four, The Smiths, Oasis, and more before the long-running performance space closes its doors for good.
(LoFi, South Lake Union, $10)

READINGS & TALKS

The Moth StorySLAM Add to a List
Let the storytelling continue! This edition of The Moth StorySLAM centers tales of spinning plates, balancing acts, and side gigs. Participants will spill the tea in front of a live audience with five-minute stories on what they've juggled in their personal lives. 
(Fremont Abbey Arts Center, Fremont, $15)

SATURDAY

FILM

Rayos: Cine en MĂ©xico Add to a List
Honoring Mexican filmmaking from the country's golden age of cinema to the present day, this series of screenings and community discussions (in partnership with The Grand Cinema and the Tacoma Film Festival) spotlights everything from feature flicks to archival 16mm treasures. Rayos: Cine en MĂ©xico continues today with a screening of thought-provoking documentary Calle LĂłpez.
(Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, free)

Saturday Secret Matinees 2023 Add to a List
If you're a sucker for old-school cinema with an element of surprise, this recurring series is for you. Grand Illusion will continue its longstanding tradition of screening matinee classics alongside a "weekly cliffhanger episode of a movie serial" every Saturday, all in dreamy 16mm. For the next two weekends, the theme will be “Swashbuckling Generations”—expect swordplay and secret identities.
(Grand Illusion, University District, $5-$11)

Seattle DSA Presents: Pride Labor Movie Night Add to a List
Seattle Democratic Socialists of America members, union members, and labor activists will converge at The Beacon for this screening of 2014 flick Pride, which depicts the onset of the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners campaign. Stick around after the film for a chat at Hill City Tap House with fellow critics of capitalism.
(The Beacon, Columbia City, free)

VHS Ăśber Alles Add to a List
If you've got three dollars to your name, VHS Uber Alles is the place to be on Saturday night—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!) This month's Canadian exploitation screening was deemed "audaciously lowbrow" by canuxploitation.com, which makes sense for a flick about ex-con hotties partying with bayou swamp bros.
(Grand Illusion, University District, $3)

FOOD & DRINK

Canton Bebop Pop-Up Add to a List
Chef Christine Li will serve up her unique take on "soy sauce Western" cuisine, exploring the foods of the Chinese diaspora in Western culture with Cantonese influences. This edition will feature "Chinese alfredo" longevity noodles, radish cakes, prosperity pork, and mochi cakes, plus a special cake from baker Kristi Sue Yamamoto.
(La Dive, Capitol Hill)

LIVE MUSIC

Music of Angelique Poteat Add to a List
Described by the New York Times as "engaging" and "relevant," composer and clarinetist Angelique Poteat will take a breather from her position as Seattle Symphony's Artist in Residence to perform her vibrant, rhythmically-charged compositions inspired by the Pacific Northwest. She will be joined by a slew of all-star musicians from the Seattle Symphony, Seattle Chamber Players, and more. 
(Chapel Performance Space, Wallingford, $5–$20 donation in advance/at door)

The Strings: Mother Goose Add to a List
Return to the nursery with this morning session of classic children's literature paired with musicians from Seattle Symphony’s string section. This concert (recommended for ages 0–5) is intended to introduce children to orchestra instruments, but is open to all.
(Benaroya Hall, Downtown, $12)

LUNAR NEW YEAR

Lunar New Year 2023 Festivities Kick-Off Add to a List
Cofounders Raymond Kwan and Barry Chan named their Ballard craft brewery Lucky Envelope for the colorful red envelopes traditionally stuffed with money and given out on Chinese New Year to bring good fortune. So it only makes sense that it's the perfect place to usher in the Year of the Rabbit. As they've made a welcome habit of doing, they'll release some new beers for the holiday, including the Water Rabbit Yuzu Pilsner (made in collaboration with North Carolina-based Highland Brewing) and White Rabbit Milk Stout (made in collaboration with Ladd & Lass Brewing). Other festivities include red envelope giveaways, merch, and dim sum treats from the food truck Panda Dim Sum.
(Lucky Envelope Brewing, West Woodland)

PARTIES & NIGHTLIFE

Caravan: A Celebration of World Music Add to a List
This dance night aims to "cultivate an intermingling of cultures through the medium of sound" by inviting genre-fluid global beat experts to soundtrack your Saturday night. This week, the turntables will be handed off to world music DJs LacyNew, B.Fly, Black Velveteen, and The Silk Road.
(Cherry Nightclub, Downtown, $15)

READINGS & TALKS

Judas Goat Pre-Release Party Add to a List
Seattle-based poet Gabrielle Bates's new tome Judas Goat is surrounded by buzz—the Tin House-published debut collection earned Bates the description of "wise, tender witness to the parts of ourselves we rarely expose" by Vulture. She'll head to The Royal Room for readings and book-slinging, and diehard fans can snag early copies of Judas Goat from Open Books: A Poem Emporium.
(The Royal Room, Columbia City, $0-$5)

SUNDAY

COMEDY

Genre Box: Improv with Style Add to a List
This fresh improv experience brings new meaning to the term "audience-informed." Attendees will not only provide the story for a team of comedy experts to interpret, but also determine the genre. Basically, you might witness a stranger's life saga told as a TikTok video or a Tarantino gore fest. The possibilities for each show are endless, so turn up with your best suggestions in mind.
(Unexpected Productions' Market Theater, Pike Place Market, $15)

LIVE MUSIC

Corey Harper with Emmanuel Franco Add to a List
In 2019, Mercury writer Jenni Moore wrote: "I first discovered Portland native Corey Harper back in 2016, when he opened for Justin Bieber on the West Coast leg of his “Purpose Tour.” Strapped with a guitar, Harper managed to command and impress an arena full of die-hard beliebers. So when he returned to Portland the following year (he now lives in LA) to play a nearly sold-out show, I decided to slide through and see what his solo concerts were all about. As I stood among a hometown crowd of his loudest fans/friends/family members, I became increasingly smitten with Harper’s understated vocals, blues-affected guitar solos, and the passion he brought to the songs from his On the Run EP, as well as an arsenal of stellar covers." Harper will come through town with tracks from his new album, Future Tense, after an opening set from like-minded singer-songwriter Emmanuel Franco.
(Barboza, Capitol Hill, $12-$15)

somesurprises, Jeffrey Silverstein, Credit Electric, and Simile Add to a List
There is a special place in my heart for Sunday shows. While it may be tempting to stay home and watch whatever prestige drama airs on HBO, I think it's actually best to kick off your week with live music. And this Sunday, Seattle-based band somesurprises is headlining a sweet show at Sunset Tavern. The project of guitarist/vocalist/organist Natasha El-Sergany, somesurprises deals in pure fuzz and wooze, combining shoegazey melodies with a folk sensibility. Songs like "Late July" start small and somber, but El-Sergany's voice and guitar builds the track to reach beyond the sum of its parts to become a sweeping epic. Opening for somesurprises is a smattering of supremely chill performers from up and down the west coast: Portland's Jeffrey Silverstein, Bay Area's Credit Electric, and Seattle's Simile. STRANGER STAFF WRITER JAS KEIMIG
(Sunset Tavern, Ballard, $12)

LUNAR NEW YEAR

Lunar New Year at Pacific Place Add to a List
The Mak Fai Kung Fu Club will head to Pacific Place for a free lion dance and dragon performance. Attendees can invite in the Year of the Rabbit (and some good luck!) with lantern-making and origami activities. 
(Pacific Place, Downtown, free)

Lunar New Year on Pier 62 Add to a List
Invite in the Year of the Rabbit at this waterfront celebration, where attendees can watch Mak Fai Kung Fu Club's lion dance featuring drums, cymbals, and, weather allowing, jongs (balancing poles). Food trucks will offer up bites and hot bevvies on site, and the event also celebrates the opening of public fire pits on Pier 62, so there'll be plenty of ways to stay warm.
(Pier 62, Downtown, free)

SHOPPING

Fremont Bridge Winter Market Add to a List
Duck under the Fremont Bridge for the winter season, where you'll find over 100 booths of handcrafted goods, plus street bites, DJs, and patio heaters to help you stay toasty while you mingle.
(Fremont Sunday Market, Fremont, free)

MULTI-DAY

FILM

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed Add to a List
The complicated, inspiring life of acclaimed photographer and activist Nan Goldin sees new light in this documentary, which compiles rarely seen footage and interviews to illuminate her fight against big-pharma villains the Sackler family. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed won the Golden Lion for best film at the 79th Venice International Film Festival.
(Northwest Film Forum, Capitol Hill, $7-$14, Friday-Sunday)

Skinamarink Add to a List
This eerie directorial debut from Kyle Edward Ball only cost $15,000 to make, but it's been spooking TikTokers since the trailer dropped. The flick borrows a distressed, grainy quality from '70s cinema to tell a bizarre bump-in-the-night tale with a surprisingly experimental edge.
(Grand Illusion, University District, $5-$11, Friday-Sunday)

Utama Add to a List
Photographer-turned-filmmaker Alejandro Loayza Grisi's debut feature film, which features awe-inspiring cinematography by Barbara Alvarez, won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Utama follows an elderly Quechua couple whose tranquil life in the Bolivian highlands is interrupted by a severe drought; the not-so-subtle portrait of global warming was deemed "a gentle and superbly shot film" by The Guardian.
(Northwest Film Forum, Capitol Hill, $7-$14, Friday-Sunday)

VISUAL ART

Ariel Parrow: 1969 Add to a List
Seattle-based artist Ariel Parrow deals in the visual language of capitalism and consumerism—slick fonts, even slicker subjects. You might recognize her sculpture work from XO Seattle which featured "HELLO THERE," an installation that shifted depending on where you stood in the room. Parrow's show at Gallery Ergo will feature a body of new work, featuring both paintings and sculptures. She often paints glimpses of people's bodies that look eerily familiar but in a context you can't quite recall. It's spooky and beautiful all at once. STRANGER STAFF WRITER JAS KEIMIG
(Gallery ERGO, Pike Place Market, free, Friday-Sunday)

Elizabeth Donnally Davidson: The Poetry of Ordinary Things Add to a List
If you haven't caught Elizabeth Donnally Davidson's The Poetry of Ordinary Things, the tactile exhibition is worth a peek before it closes on January 29. Donnally Davidson's unique material approach blends textiles and ceramics that "serve as metaphors for human existence and the internal and external forces that shape our lives," and her hand-stitched Valentines series is the perfect precursor to V-Day.
(Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, Winslow, free, Friday-Sunday)

Gallery Artist Group Exhibition Add to a List
Traver Gallery's first exhibition of 2023 kicks off the new year with a multimedia selection of works from their material-focused roster of artists, including heavy hitters like Marita Dingus, Preston Singletary, Jane Rosen, William Morris, and others.
(Traver Gallery, Downtown, free, Friday-Saturday)

Mel's Hole - PUNCH Projects Add to a List
Seattle-gallery-turned-rural-arts-collective PUNCH Projects presents this eerie investigation into Mel’s Hole, which ranks eighth on thetravel.com’s20 Most Mysterious Places in the USA. So what's going on with this weird hole in Ellensburg, shouting distance from Central Washington University? Well, it might be bottomless. It also might emit "powerful beams of light." Explore the hole's mysteries through this installation, which offers a visual journey deep into the Manastash hills.
(SOIL, Pioneer Square, free, Friday-Sunday)

Monyee Chau and Tu'er Shen: a Lunar New Year installation Add to a List
Queer Taiwanese/Chinese artist Monyee Chau’s site-specific window installation celebrates the Lunar New Year with the curious tale of the Chinese folk deity Tu’er Shen, a rabbit who acts as "patron and protector of same-sex affairs."
(The Grocery Studios, North Beacon Hill, free, Saturday-Sunday)

Natural Science Art Show and Market Add to a List
Calling all nature nerds—Greenwood Art Collective artists and other local creators will share their Gaia-inspired wares at this free natural science art show and market, which will also include artist demonstrations, snacks and sips, and biological specimens on display from the Slater Museum.
(The Greenwood Art Collective, Greenwood, free, Friday-Saturday)

VIM: A Group Invitational Add to a List
Innovative contemporary artists like Sofia Arnold, Markeith Woods, and Genevieve Leavold come together for this invitational group exhibition, a playful response to the archaic word "vim" (not often seen without its counterpoint word, "vigor"). VIM aims to capture the "high spirits and infectious energy" of the term through eye-popping visuals and textures.
(ZINC contemporary, Pioneer Square, free, Friday-Sunday)

WINTER

Village of Lights: Winter Karneval Add to a List
The holidays may be over, but winter's still here—why not pretend you're in a real-deal Bavarian village? Leavenworth's Winter Karneval honors an ancient German tradition called Fasching. The charming town will brighten its streets with twinkle lights and offer performances and demos of ice carving and fire dancing alongside other snowy festivities.
(Leavenworth, Saturday-Sunday)

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