Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Seattle This Weekend: Mar 22–24, 2024

Seattle's French Fest, Polish Spring Bazaar, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
March 22, 2024
Seattle's French Fest is one of the largest Francophone festivals on the West Coast. (Seattle's French Fest via Facebook)
The first weekend of spring is bringing spring showers and a spate of events from Seattle's French Fest: A Celebration of French-Speaking Cultures to the Polish Spring Bazaar and from the U District Cherry Blossom Festival to Skål Five Year Anniversary Party. For more ideas, check out our guide to the top events of the week.

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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)

Old AF Past Event List
Are you cool? No?!?! Me neither. Okay, so neither of us is cool, and the endless march of time suggests we're all slogging slowly toward our eventual demise. What could be funnier than that? One possibility is this fully improvised comedy show, in which local comics cling desperately to cultural relevance by learning trends, slang, and goss from the audience. Hopefully the terminally online will show up to explain things; the rest of us can just nod along. LC
(18th & Union: An Arts Space, $15)


The Sweet East in 35mm 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
(Grand Illusion, University District, $8-$11)


NonSeq: Julie Slick Past Event List
Philadelphia-born bassist Julie Slick shares her musical gifts with several bands, including prog-rock legend Adrian Belew's Power Trio, bass duo EchoTest, and Talking Heads tribute, the Remain in Light Project. This Friday, she will join the experimental concert series Nonsequitur for a solo set of improvised bass music. AV
(Good Shepherd Center/Chapel Performance Space, Wallingford, $5–$20 donation)

Tomo Nakayama, Lerin Herzer, and Moon Baillie Past Event List
In case you didn't hear, the long-running Conor Byrne pub is closing at the end of the month—but not without a closing week of excellent programming. Perhaps the most exciting edition is a headlining set by Seattle artist Tomo Nakayama. Frequently labeled as a "fixture in Seattle music" (KEXP), Nakayama crafts electronic indie pop that exudes the emotions and passion of an opera aria. Expect to hear some of his latest works, such as "Contigo" and "Our House" (from Netflix's House of Ninjas). Singer-songwriter Lerin Herzer and Latin-pop artist Moon Baillie will open. AV
(Conor Byrne, Ballard, $12-$15)



The Human Library at Folio Past Event List
Established in Copenhagen in 2000, The Human Library has expanded worldwide to challenge prejudices and stereotypes through a dialogue-based practice. To participate in the free "unjudging" experiment, you'll hold a conversation with one of the library's "books," aka a human volunteer who helps participants question their biases by sharing their personal experiences. Go forth and have your perspectives gently challenged—it's good for ya. LC
(Folio: The Seattle Athenaeum, Pike Place Market, free)

Polish Spring Bazaar Past Event List
Koło Pań, the long-running Polish Women's Club, shares Polish traditions and culture during their annual spring bazaar. Homemade Polish dishes (it's more than just pierogi—think sausage, fish, hearty stews, potato pancakes, and more) will be served all day, and if you can’t get enough, take-home dinners, sweets, and frozen dumplings will be available for purchase. After sampling Polish cuisine, check out imported crafts from local vendors and a display of amber (which is often known as the gold of the north) and Bolesławiec pottery. SL
(Polish Home Association, Miller Park, 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 "Kookoo for Kaiju," so strap in for Japanese monster classics. LC
(Grand Illusion, University District, $8-$11 tickets, $66 series pass)

Scarecrow Academy Presents Election Year: Politics on Film Remind List
I am choosing not to think about the fact that it's an election year, but if you're jazzed for a showdown between two geriatrics, Scarecrow Academy has the online film conversation series for you! National Society of Film Critics member and Scarecrow Video "historian-programmer in residence" Robert Horton leads this series of free Zoom sessions, exploring "various approaches that great filmmakers take to the political process...from comedy to tragedy, from satire to fable, with directors ranging from Frank Capra to Spike Lee." LC
(Scarecrow Video, University District, free)


Lana Del Tay Past Event List
Did you shriek at the sight of Taylor Swift and Lana Del Rey on the Grammys red carpet together? Connect with your fellow Swifties and Lanatics at this dance party dedicated to the beloved sad girls. Expect to whirl and twirl to a blend of their hits along with the tunes of their collaborators and contemporaries (think: Bleachers, HAIM, Lorde, etc.), and of course, their own collab "Snow On The Beach." AV
(Nectar, Fremont, $15)


Anida Yoeu Ali: The Buddhist Bug Past Event List
In my recent interview with Tacoma-based performance artist-activist Anida Yoeu Ali, the artist described her performance installation The Buddhist Bug as "an entity that is trying to figure out why and how their body fits into the space...The bug makes a realistic image surreal—another paradox I’m setting up. What is going on in this picture? What is it that the bug is trying to mediate at this moment? What am I looking at, and why?" As part of her debut solo exhibition at the Seattle Asian Art Museum, Hybrid Skin, Mythical Presence, Ali will bring the bug to life in two performances at 11:30 am and 1 pm. The event will open with Khmer Language Arts & Culture Academy dancers alongside Wat Changtarangsey pagoda monks, who will perform a sacred Cambodian blessing ceremony. Visitors can participate in a drop-in art-making activity with teaching artist Nina Vichayapai, and browse fam-friendly reads from the Asian American bookstore mam's books. LC
(Seattle Asian Art Museum, Capitol Hill, $0-$14.99)



Nowruz 2024 Past Event List
Persian New Year, or Nowruz, is celebrated each year around the spring equinox, which was this past Tuesday. Join the Seattle Isfahan Sister City Advocacy (SISCA) at their fourth annual celebration featuring haft sin (the seven symbols of the new year), live music and dance performances, kids' activities, and hands-on demos. SL
(Seattle City Hall, Pioneer Square, free)

Seattle's French Fest: A Celebration of French-Speaking Cultures Past Event List
If you're feeling ennui, head over to Seattle Center to learn the art of joie de vivre from French-speaking cultures around the world. Ceci n’est pas stereotypical Amélie French culture—this fest includes music, dancing, cooking demos, film screenings, and more from countries like Tahiti, Senegal, the Ivory Coast, and of course, Canada. There will be wine tasting and a baguette competition, educational seminars, and children's activities. Impress someone with my favorite fact I retained from French class: the word for wand is baguette magique. SL
(Seattle Center, Uptown, free)


Skål Five Year Anniversary Party Past Event List
Name a more iconic duo than Vikings and drag queens—we'll wait. The Nordic-inspired beer hall Skål will celebrate a half-decade of business with a show from their in-house performers Queens of the Hall, plus $5 kitchen and bar items, past menu favorites, and discounts on their "shot sword" challenge. JB
(Skål Beer Hall, Ballard, free)


All Girl Summer Fun Band, Kids on a Crime Spree, and Artsick Past Event List
Portland-based musicians Kim Baxter, Kathy Foster, and Jen Sbragia formed their twee pop outfit All Girl Summer Fun Band at a Softies concert in the late '90s, which tells you almost everything you need to know about them. With three studio albums, the band is known for their candy-sweet anthems about girlhood like "Canadian Boyfriend," "Car Trouble" and "Cutie Pie." They will reunite with support from Oakland-based indie rockers Kids on a Crime Spree and Artsick. AV
(Clock-Out Lounge, Beacon Hill, $15)

Gretchen Yanover: Holding / Movement Past Event List
Local experimental cellist Gretchen Yanover will celebrate the release of her fifth album, Holding / Movement, by pairing each of its 16 compositions with a different Seattle poet (including Ally Ang, Jourdan Imani Keith, Abi Pollokoff, Karin de Weille, Luther Hughes, and more). She will bring the songs to life with an immersive multimedia performance with live dancers and poetry readings. AV
(Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, Central District, Pay-what-you-can)


Seattle Kraken Pregame at the Armory Past Event List
If you don't have tickets to the Seattle Kraken game at Climate Pledge, don't fret, the Seattle Center Armory will be showing it on a big screen next door. To get hyped before the puck drops, the Armory will open two hours before each weekend match so you can join fellow Kraken fans in activities like sign making, cornhole, floor hockey, special activations, and more. Plus, snag a photo with Kraken mascot Buoy and enjoy tunes from Red Alert, the Kraken marching band. SL (Seattle Center Armory, Uptown, free)



Seattle Secrets Past Event List
Drawing from radically honest projects like PostSecret, Mortified, and Found Magazine, this mysterious—and hilarious—show compiles anonymously submitted secrets from Seattleites and uses the city's dirty laundry to create improvised scenes. Expect a mix of lighthearted laughs, tea-sipping, and catharsis. LC
(Unexpected Productions' Market Theater, Pike Place Market, $15, Friday-Saturday)


DREAM TEMPLE (for Octavia) Remind List
Artists Mia Imani and Mayola Tikaka call upon the extraordinary visions of Octavia Butler for this installation, which features a low-lit resting space, an altar, and imagery of Black rest. Head to King Street Station to contemplate Butler's visionary worlds, which counteract intergenerational trauma and stress often experienced by Black people with a "portal of healing and imagining." By the way, Butler prophesized an eerily accurate, destabilized world in 2024, so Imani and Tikaka's rest space has arrived just in time. Throughout the exhibition, visitors can engage with rest rituals, hear interviews, and watch performances by the artists. LC
(King Street Station, SoDo, free, Friday-Saturday)

Shine On Seattle Remind List
Light lovers LUSIO and the Downtown Seattle Association have lit up Pioneer Square for Shine On Seattle, a luminous public art installation. From March 1 to April 30, visitors can take a walking tour of “dazzling exhibits that will illuminate window storefronts, parks, and other outdoor spaces” in the area. LC
(Pioneer Square, Pioneer Square, free, Friday-Sunday)


U District Cherry Blossom Festival Past Event List
It's spring, which can only mean one thing: It's time once again to admire gently wafting pink cherry blossoms in full bloom at the University of Washington Quad. To celebrate, over 80 U District businesses have come together to offer cherry blossom-themed food and drink specials and discounts on retail items. Before or after your petal-gazing excursion, stop by and enjoy treats like cherry blossom lattes from Cafe Canuc, cherry glazed ring doughnuts from Donut Factory, sakura ice cream from Sweet Alchemy, and pink custard croissant taiyaki at Oh Bear Cafe & Teahouse. JB
(Various locations, University District, Friday-Sunday)


Asteroid City Past Event List
You've likely already seen your fair share of cheeky, smartly costumed Wes Anderson ensemble comedies. If you didn't catch it last year, you probably still want to see this one, too. Sure, Anderson's style is becoming a little more than formulaic, but it's because the formula works—a formalist approach, careful aesthetics, and a pop of color in the form of Jeff Goldblum always make sense. In Asteroid City, the itinerary of a space cadet convention ("organized to bring together students and parents from across the country for fellowship and scholarly competition") takes a nose dive when world-changing events rock a '50s-era desert town. (Is it aliens?) LC
(Central Cinema, Central District, $12, Friday-Sunday)

Dune: Part Two Remind List
A sweeping sci-fi film with origins right here in the Pacific NorthwestDune: Part Two is a sequel that surpasses the first by leaps and bounds as it transports us back to the world first created by the late local author Frank Herbert. Picking up where its predecessor left off, it follows the young Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) as he aligns himself with Chani (Zendaya) and the rest of the Fremen who have found a way to survive in the harsh desert climate of Arrakis. As they battle against the forces of the galaxy looking to mine the valuable resources that the planet holds, there is soon a growing sense that the greatest dangers are only just beginning. The film also digs into fears Herbert explored about the hazards of giving power to leaders who talk a big game even as they may be the villains of their own stories. Readers of said books know how this ends, but the film offers just as much to those who are going in blissfully unaware, and its stunning visuals deserve to be seen on the big screen. In all of 2024, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a film as immense and well-crafted as Dune: Part TwoSTRANGER CONTRIBUTOR CHASE HUTCHINSON
(SIFF Cinema Downtown, Belltown, $14.50-$19.50, Friday-Sunday)

Make Believe Seattle Film Festival Past Event List
The second annual Make Believe Seattle Film Festival aims to "shine a dark light on the energy that courses through the PNW’s veins"—in other words, they bring horror, sci-fi, and animated movie magic to our fantastical region. The genre film festival, which includes queer, Black, and Native film programming, will offer up a diverse range of flicks for newbies and film buffs alike. I'm stoked for the playful '80s zombie film homage All You Need Is Blood and the "millennial coming-of-rage" flick American Meltdown. LC
(Various locations, Friday-Sunday)

March Monster Madness Past Event List
SIFF Cinema Egyptian's latest film series channels a very valid fear: that something gigantic and creepy and slimy will come along and gobble you up whole. (Hey, stranger things have happened.) March Monster Madness spotlights some of cinema history's scariest, most iconic, and most obscure creatures, from Godzilla and King Kong (duh) to Jeff Goldblum's hideous fly and that elegant, squid-like alien in Nope. Kaiju enthusiasts can also vote to select the final film in the lineup. LC
(SIFF Cinema Egyptian, Capitol Hill, Friday-Sunday)

Nine-Tenths of The Law: Squatters’ Cinema Past Event List
Squatters are not a group of folks that I'd previously associated with cinema, but I'm not afraid to admit that I was wrong. "In 2019, a radical group calling itself the Cinéma La Clef Revival Collective forced their way into the derelict building which housed La Clef (The Key), a '70s-era cinema," The Beacon explains. The French collective revitalized the space, which had shuttered in 2015 because the owners wanted to sell the property for redevelopment. Booo! La Clef Revival has fostered a community-programmed space for "squatter's cinema" ever since, shouting a gargantuan "fuck you" at exclusionary rental practices and vampiric landlords and developers. Show up to this screening series throughout March for a selection of squat-centric flicks like Occupied Cinema, Winstanley, and one of my personal faves, Robinson's Garden—it's a clear-cut punk statement offering up a rare glimpse of a multicultural Tokyo sans city pop and financial prosperity. Not to gush too much, but the film draws from underground No Wave aesthetics (think Jim Jarmusch) to tell an anticapitalist story of a bohemian drug dealer who discovers an abandoned building lush with vegetation. Promise you'll dig it. LC
(The Beacon, Columbia City, Friday-Sunday)


Alexis Trice: UNDERCURRENT Past Event List
Alexis Trice's mysterious paintings conjure beauty amid brutality—gossamer-haired creatures shed tears, sip from pearlescent streams, swim among seaweed, and float above vast expanses of ocean. The artist's diaphanous blend of realism and fantasy captures something rare: A real emotional undercurrent, something full of ecstasy and sadness, weaves throughout her compositions. Roq La Rue's first solo exhibition with Trice "touches on themes of grief and redemption" and includes sepia-toned oil paintings on antique shells. LC
(Roq La Rue, Madison Valley, free, Friday-Saturday)

Generous Portions: Collaborative Platters by Joe Max Emminger, Elizabeth Sandvig and Dick Weiss Past Event List
If you haven't been enraptured by a ceramic platter lately, first of all: Same. But consider my previously platter-less perspective irrevocably changed by Generous Portions, the result of local artists Joe Max Emminger, Elizabeth Sandvig, and Dick Weiss's collaborative painting sessions. The trio gathers on Sandvig's sunny porch each week to gossip and paint ceramic plates with colorful enamels. (Hi guys, are you looking for a fourth friend?) The resulting pieces are layered, diary-like, and contain an element of spontaneity that only a hangout with a bestie can provide. LC
(Traver Gallery, Downtown, free, Tuesday–Saturday)

quinn mcnichol: or was it all some kind of dream? Past Event List
I was intrigued by quinn mcnichol's work in last year's Hudson River School-inspired group exhibition Of A Place, so I'm stoked to see or was it all some kind of dream?, mcnichol's solo exhibition at SOIL. The artist calls upon tarot readings, weather shifts, and medicinal herb gardens as "narratives" in a "visual adventure," inviting viewers into a dream space of cozy cushions, quiet music, and ethereal artworks. Drop in and take a breath. LC
(SOIL, Pioneer Square, free, Friday–Sunday)

Sleepless Nights Past Event List
Curator Hannah Newman's Sleepless Nights explores the horrors that would've kept Edgar Allan Poe twisting and turning at night, had he been born in the last 50 years or so: Doomscrolling, mental health struggles, grind culture, inflation, all that very scary stuff. Describing busyness as a survival tactic ("The moment we slow down, our worries catch up," the promotional materials explain), Sleepless Nights posits that artists distract themselves by creating beauty. The exhibition, which features works by Marcelo Fontana, Pamela Hadley, Nicholas Moler-Gallardo, Jessie Rose Vala, Morgan Rosskopf, Katherine Spinella, and Newman, will unfold in a "dark room via blacklights, nightlights, phone screens, and projectors...infused with a continuous stream of audio, a background score of current events, news updates, podcasts, and other data." Nothing we're not accustomed to, right? LC
(SOIL, Pioneer Square, free, Friday–Sunday)

Spring, Time Past Event List
Spring is a great season and all, but it's also kind of weird. Newly hatched nestlings emerge with pinkish, bald heads, and crocuses expand from the grass next to the muddied slush that's still plopped in the gutters. As we emerge from the darkness of winter, it takes a moment for the season to feel real. Spring, Time conjures some of the surreality I'm describing—the artists involved, including Anneka Wilder, Sharon Servilio, Yeon Jin Kim, and others, are thinking about mechanically grown grass, plastic flowers, and misbehaving creatures. I'm intrigued by Colton Sampson's barbed-wire flora. LC
(The Vestibule, Ballard, free, Friday-Saturday)

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