Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Seattle This Weekend: May 17–19, 2024

U District Street Fair, Norwegian Constitution Day Celebration & Parade, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
May 17, 2024
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The Norwegian Constitution Day Celebration & Parade is celebrating 50 years. (17th of May Seattle via Facebook)
The weekend is calling with low-key, high-fun events from the U District Street Fair to the Norwegian Constitution Day Celebration & Parade and from Thunderpussy Live at Easy Street Records to a Book Signing with Kat Lieu at Lucky Envelope Brewing. For more ideas, check out our guide to the top events of the week.

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


FRIDAY

COMMUNITY

Norwegian Constitution Day Celebration & Parade Past Event List
Known as Syttende Mai (literally "17th of May"), Norwegian Constitution Day celebrations will take over Seattle's own Scandinavian-influenced neighborhood on Friday. The National Nordic Museum is hosting a luncheon gala and free family activities like "Fjord Horses" and a Nordic express train in the parking lot all day long. Check out an all-star lineup of Nordic talent at Bergen Place in the afternoon before securing your spot along the parade route. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the parade will start at NW 62nd and 24th Ave NW, then head south past the Leif Erikson Lodge and Bergen Place before coming to an end near The Walrus and the Carpenter. Pro tip: the colors of the Norwegian flag are mostly red, some blue, and a little bit of white. Sound familiar? SL
(Ballard, free)

PARTIES & NIGHTLIFE

Club MTV Past Event List
Twirl like America is watching at this dance party inspired by the MTV dance program that aired from 1987 to 1992. DJ X2 will spin an infectious mix of saucy house music featuring '90s powerhouse divas like CeCe Peniston, Robin S, and Black Box. AV
(Timbre Room, Downtown, $10)

SATURDAY

COMEDY

SketchFest Seattle Presents: Fund Fight Past Event List
If you dug Netflix's I Think You Should Leave, you're likely already a fan of SketchFest Seattle, which will raise some moolah through this event so they can continue presenting gaggles of the strongest sketch comics in the country. Expect to hear nonstop laughs echoing from West of Lenin: The festival fundraiser will feature eight sketch troupes (with great names like Honey Roasted Hams, The "Responsible" Adults, The Maple Daddies, and Drop the Root Beer and Run) battling it out over who's funniest. LC
(West of Lenin, Fremont, $15)

COMMUNITY

Paint Jam Past Event List
Whether you're the next Picasso or more into paint-by-numbers, you can enjoy painting demonstrations by local artists or add your own flair to a community painting wall this Saturday at Cal Anderson. There will be live performances from cinematic hip-hop crew Depth175, young artists from nonprofit record label Totem Star, and tunes from DJs throughout the day. Plus, delicious eats from Po’Boy & Tings and Vandalz Taqueria will keep you fed. Is this a thinly veiled attempt by the city to seem cool after we learned they're experimenting with drones to paint over graffiti? Maybe, but there are enough community organizations onboard that I'll give it a shot. SL
(Cal Anderson Park, Capitol Hill, free)

FESTIVALS

A Glimpse of China - Seattle Chinese Culture & Arts Festival Past Event List
Discover 5,000-year-old Chinese cultural traditions through folk dances, art workshops, and more at Seattle Center Festál's A Glimpse of China, which features a packed lineup of traditional performances, plus slurpable Qin Xi'an noodles and Himalayan dumplings from Nepal. Mmmm. Visitors can snag Chinese traditional clothing and gifts from the community marketplace, check out visual arts exhibitions, and hear from Chinese Radio Seattle on site. LC
(Seattle Center, Uptown, free)

FOOD & DRINK

MAY-rry Christmas! Past Event List
You've heard of Christmas in July, but how about Christmas in May? In celebration of Seattle Beer Week, Ounces is hosting this seven-months-early Yuletide celebration with a towering 20-foot inflatable Santa, kids' craft activities, and a free keepsake pint glass with any beer purchase, plus a specially brewed peppermint-infused saison on tap from Urban Family Brewing. JB
(Ounces, North Delridge, free)

LIVE MUSIC

Blitzen Trapper Live at Sonic Boom Records Past Event List
Ahead of their sold-out show at the Tractor Tavern, Portland-based quintet Blitzen Trapper will play a free in-store performance at Sonic Boom to support their new album, 100's of 1000's, Millions of Billions. The album is an abstract exploration that makes peace with the world's unknowns with exquisite storytelling, sharp imagery, and the band's signature eclectic country-folk-rock sound. After playing a few songs from the album, the band will stick around to sign records and meet fans. AV
(Sonic Boom Records, Ballard, free)

King Sheim, The Departures, Femmes Eat Fruit, and Dining Dead Past Event List
Local pop-punk trio King Sheim will celebrate the release of their new single "Amends" alongside fellow rockers the Departures, Femmes Eat Fruit, and Dining Dead. King Sheim is known for their unabashedly girly brand of indie rock that evokes the seething wrath of '90s riot grrrl while maintaining a pop-centric, radio-friendly sound. I also hear some inspiration from '70s post-punk icons Young Marble Giants in their melodic electric guitars and jazzy, stripped-down percussion (listen to their 2022 single "1-877-HEARTBREAK" to see what I mean). AV
(Cafe Racer, Capitol Hill, $10-$15)

Thunderpussy Live at Easy Street Records Past Event List
Stanger contributor Nathalie Graham writes: "Thunderpussy almost didn’t make it. The future looked bright for the band when they released their debut full-length Thunderpussy in 2018. They earned critical acclaim for their riff-filled brand of ’70s-inspired rock, got featured in Rolling Stone as Mike McCready’s 'favorite new band,' and ended the year signing to a major label, Republic Records’s subsidiary Stardog. In the years that followed, though, things took a turn. It wasn’t clear whether the band would ever release a second record, let alone exist. But, after years full of heartbreak, loss, and uncomfortable but necessary metamorphosis, Thunderpussy are back, and they’re stronger than ever." In honor of their long-awaited album, West, the band will treat fans to a free (with album purchase) acoustic performance and signing. AV
(Easy Street Records, Junction, Free with purchase of album)

PERFORMANCE

Humility : Drift Past Event List
Supported by a King County 4Culture Art Project grant, dance artist Nicole Loeffler-Gladstone's Humility : Drift brings a site-responsive exploration of "embodied ecology" to the shores of Richmond Beach Saltwater Park. Performers will lead the audience on a walk, followed by an experimental beach performance centering "sensation-based empathy." (The performance's title finds connections between "humility" and "humus," or soil.) If you attend, you'll leave with local scientific illustrator Madison Mayfield's "embodied ecology cards," which challenge Western naturalist hierarchies with gentle movement suggestions. LC
(Richmond Beach Saltwater Park, Richmond Beach, free)

READINGS & TALKS

Book Signing with Kat Lieu Past Event List
Seattleite Kat Lieu, also known as the founder of the wildly popular Facebook group Subtle Asian Baking and the author of Modern Asian Baking at Home, is back with her second cookbook, Modern Asian Kitchen. The book aims to empower home cooks to create myriad meals from a variety of Asian cultures, including air fryer Taiwanese popcorn chicken, Sichuan-style fish-fragrant eggplant, homemade pho, weeknight bibimbap bowls, and much more. Lucky Envelope will release a special Gochujang Chocolate Cream Stout brewed in collaboration with Kat (inspired by her gochujang chocolate mochi cake recipe), and she'll be at the brewery to sign copies of the book. Plus, Octopus Knitting will sling knitted and cross-stitched goods, and JD Duong will sell baked goods. JB
(Lucky Envelope Brewing, West Woodland, free)

VISUAL ART

Enchanted Past Event List
New-ish Beacon Hill gallery Fresh Mochi was named in honor of the handmade mochi made by artist-founder Elizabeth Jameson's mom. The buzzy art space will throw open its doors on May 18 for a new group exhibition featuring magical works by Mary Anne Carter, Deborah Baker, Brandon Vosika, Crystal Barbre, and others. Bop across the street to the Grocery Studios afterward, where you'll find a showcase of Stefan Gruber's animated paintings and soundscapes. LC
(The Grocery Studios, North Beacon Hill, free)

SUNDAY

READINGS & TALKS

AANHPI Family Book Event Past Event List
In celebration of AANHPI Heritage Month, local children's book authors Annie Cheng, Lori Matsukawa, Suma Subramaniam, and Cindy Wong (whose stories "explore themes of identity, culture, and a sense of belonging") will come together for a panel discussion, readings, and kid-centered activities. Attendees can participate in craft sessions and grab book copies; literature-loving princesses will also be on-site for photo opportunities. LC
(Filipino Community Center, Rainier Valley, free)

MULTI-DAY

COMMUNITY

U District Street Fair 2024 Past Event List
The U District Street Fair claims to kick off Seattle's summer event season, which rang true last year when I accidentally wore way too many layers in the warm, sunny weather. Time will tell if they hit that mark this year, but I plan on returning to this community arts and crafts fair that spans nearly a dozen blocks and draws tens of thousands of visitors. Stroll the Ave as you enjoy live music from local bands, food trucks, restaurant specials, beer gardens, activity booths, and more. The best part? The U District light rail station deposits you right in the heart of the action so no one has to deal with parking. SL
(University District, free, Saturday-Sunday)

FILM

Daisies Past Event List
Once banned in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, the gleeful, surrealist '66 flick Daisies is chock-full of hedonistic splendor, revolving around two young women who shrug off stereotypes in pursuit of debauchery and pleasure. Who says anti-patriarchal antics can't be fun?! LC
(The Beacon, Columbia City, $12.50, Friday-Saturday)

Paprika Past Event List
Psychotropic anime and manga auteur Satoshi Kon's Paprika imagines a wacky new piece of technology that 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-Sunday)

Seattle International Film Festival 2024 Past Event List
SIFF will return for its 50th year with the best in international and independent cinema à la mode from across the globe, and you know the drill—the city's most well-recognized hybrid festival, which boasts hundreds of films from 84 countries and regions this year, will present screenings virtually and at SIFF venues citywide. Some standouts from this year's lineup include the June Squibb-fronted Thelma, the buzzy A24 drama Sing Sing, Ilana Glazer’s Babes, Jane Schoenbrun’s I Saw the TV Glow, and Harmony Korine’s infrared vaporwave nightmare Aggro Dr1ft.Stranger staffers watched and reviewed dozens of the festival's films here, if you want some help deciding what should make it on your to-watch list. LC
(Various locations, Friday-Sunday)

Staff Picks: Barking Dogs Never Bite Past Event List
If you dug Bong Joon-ho's incisive black comedy style in Parasite, you should give the film that started it all a spin. Barking Dogs Never Bite was Bong's 2000 directorial debut, following a down-on-his-luck dude whose life is made exponentially worse by a constantly barking dog in his apartment complex. (Deeply relatable.) The film will screen as part of Northwest Film Forum's ongoing staff pick series, so you know it's solid. LC
(Northwest Film Forum, Capitol Hill, $7-$14, Friday-Sunday)

The Old Oak Past Event List
This screening of The Old Oak will be presented in partnership with Red May, a "month-long spree of red arts, red theory, and red politics based in Seattle...to share in discussion and plot ways toward a world beyond capitalism."Likely the final film of Ken Loach's oeuvre, The Old Oak stays true to his observational social realist style with forthright anger and a hint of idealism. The film follows the happenings at a pub in a declining mining town, where owner TJ Ballantyne must reckon with the impact of newly arriving Syrian refugees. When TJ becomes friends with a Syrian photographer, the pair search for ways to relate to both communities. Proceeds from the May 15 screeningwill be donated to Long Haul Mutual Aid, which offers 120 meals to "unsheltered folks in Georgetown and SoDo, along with other essential supplies such as water, harm reduction, clothes, hygiene products, batteries, etc." LC
(The Beacon, Columbia City, $12.50, Friday-Sunday)

SHOPPING

Fisherman's Village Night Market Past Event List
This free, all-ages market will feature over 40 local vendors slinging everything from spicy gummies to hot sauce and skateboards to beeswax candles. Seven food trucks will also supply food to fuel your shopping experience, including sushi burritos, cheesesteaks, açaí bowls, chicken and waffles, and malasadas. Live musicians will serenade you as you browse. JB
(Everett Farmers Market, Everett, free, Friday-Saturday)

SPORTS & RECREATION

Bike Everywhere Month 2024 Past Event List
As someone who lived in SF and was told if I rode a bike in the city I "would get hit by a car at least once, that's just how it is," I feel comfortable saying that Seattle has an impressive biking infrastructure. The Cascade Bicycle Club and League of American Bicyclists encourages you to put that to the test as you ride your faithful two-wheeler across the city, ideally foregoing all other forms of transportation for the entire month. Meet up with fellow cycling enthusiasts for the Emerald City Ride over the West Seattle Bridge on May 5, Bike Everywhere Day on May 17, and even Mighty-O's Tour de Donut on May 25. That last one is technically unaffiliated, but we think it captures the spirit of the month perfectly (with the added bonus of tasty vegan treats). SL
(Various locations, Friday-Sunday)

VISUAL ART

DREAM TEMPLE (for Octavia) Past Event 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)

Embodiment Exhibition Remind List
For better or worse, none of us can escape the experience of living in a body. AMcE digs into it in their latest group exhibition, which thinks carefully about embodiment through a series of pensive, dreamy works. Artists Alfred Harris, Rachel Maxi, Vander McClain, Megan Prince, Cara Tomlinson, and others all share their unique perspectives in Embodiment—I'm especially responsive to Orlovski's earth-toned body part collages and Brooks Shane Salzwedel's tiny box paintings. LC
(AMcE Creative Arts, free, Saturday-Sunday; opening)

Intertwined Realities: Sunny Moxin Chen, jade wong, Nanxi Jin, Rulin Ma, Jia Jia Past Event List
SOIL's latest group show distills the "very essence of human existence" in an immersive collection of works that think about the "changing body, experiences of loss, and the deep-seated longing propelling us forward." That's no small feat, but I think the artists exhibiting are up to the task: Intertwined Realities features multisensory works by Moscow-born Chinese immigrant Sunny Moxin Chen, cooking-inspired filmmaker jade wong, Chinese ceramicist Nanxi Jin, abstract painter Rulin Ma, and multimedia maker Jia Jia, who encourage gallery visitors to "deeply process and internalize their experiences, fostering personal growth." Think you're up for it? LC
(SOIL, Pioneer Square, free, Friday–Sunday)

Manifestations by June Sekiguchi Past Event List
June Sekiguchi's scroll-cut woodworking method makes her pattern-based sculptures and large-scale installations a very loopy experience. Addressing "cultural identity, cross-cultural exchange, and personal narratives through an interplay of surface pattern and structural form," Sekiguchi's latest show emphasizes her metaphorical approach and honors her source materials. (I'm stoked for her big, glowy hanging bug, Silkpunk Grasshopper Leg Transport.) LC
(King Street Station, SoDo, free, Friday-Saturday)

Sky Hopinka: Subterranean Ceremonies Past Event 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, Friday-Sunday)

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