Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Seattle This Weekend: May 19–21, 2023

U District Street Fair, Bumbershoot Concert in the Park, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
May 19, 2023
Take a stroll through the bustling U District Street Fair this Saturday or Sunday. (U District Street Fair via Facebook)
We're welcoming the weekend with a fresh batch of cheap and easy events, from the U District Street Fair to Bumbershoot Concert in the Park Pop-Up and from the One Seattle Day of Service to ACES: Artists of Color Expo and Symposium. For more ideas, check out our top picks of the week.

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



Malcolm X Day
Past Event List The Northwest African American Museum will offer free admission to guests on Malcolm X Day, which celebrates the would-be 98th birthday of American Muslim minister and radical Black human rights activist El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, aka Malcolm X. This year's family-friendly offerings include an interactive storytime reading of Walter Dean Meyers's Malcolm X: A Fire Burning Brightly, plus civil rights-themed arts and crafts activities, a Knowledge Is Power book giveaway, a to-be-announced documentary film screening, and more. LC
(Northwest African American Museum, Central District, free)


Seattle Beer Week Kickoff Party (w/ Dick's & Live Music) Past Event List
Dick's iconic orange-foil-wrapped, special sauce-soaked burgers are the perfect partner for a crisp beer. The Dicks Drive-In Food Truck will make an appearance to help kick off Seattle Beer Week, along with $6 pints of the official Seattle Beer Week beer and live music from Hayward Sun.
(Ounces, North Delridge, free)


Begonia with Archie
Past Event List Canadian singer-songwriter Begonia's (aka Alexa Dirks) star has been consistently rising since the release of her critically acclaimed 2019 album, Fear, which was shortlisted for a Juno Award and longlisted for the 2020 Polaris Music Prize. Her style blends indie pop, R&B, and gospel for dreamy, emotional ballads that showcase her flawless vocal range and vulnerable lyricism. Bandcamp commenters have even likened her music to Adele and Amy Winehouse. Now on tour supporting her new album, Powder Blue, she will swing through town with support from local pop artist Archie. AV
(Sunset Tavern, Ballard, $12)


RENAISSANCE: All Beyonce, All Night Past Event List
We can all agree that Beyoncé's album, Renaissance, was made for the dance floor. So, don't miss this opportunity to "release your stress" by dancing to the album all night long alongside Queen Bey's older hits, courtesy of the Stas Thee Boss and Kween Kaysh. AV
(Neumos, Capitol Hill, $5-$15)


Jane Wong with Michelle Peñaloza and Jin Ai Huang Past Event List
The New York TimesPublishers Weekly, and Kirkus all love Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City, local poet Jane Wong's memoir about growing up in a Chinese takeout restaurant on the Jersey shore and then hustling to become a writer in a world still dominated by old white men, and you will, too. As other reviewers have noted, a lot of the style that makes Wong such a fun poet to read shines through in the memoir: her humor, her power with images, her love of her mom, her stunning emotional pivots, and her nearly maniacal embrace of the grotesque, dripping, greasy corners of the world—it's all there. As is her incisive critique of the oppressive systems designed to keep her down—systems she's already starting to conquer in her capacity as a creative writing and literature professor at Western Washington University and editor of the Bellingham Review. Jane's mom is going to be there, which is MORE THAN ENOUGH reason to go on its own. STRANGER EDITOR RICH SMITH
(Elliott Bay Book Company, Capitol Hill, free)

Seattle Reads presents Julie Otsuka: The Swimmers Past Event List
Cali-born author Julie Otsuka draws from her own family's experiences to inform her writing, which often focuses on Japanese and Japanese American history—her grandfather was arrested as a suspected Japanese spy after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and her mother, uncle, and grandmother spent three years in a prison camp in Utah. After penning her award-winning Japanese historical novels When the Emperor Was Divine and The Buddha in the Attic, Otsuka took a ten-year break, only to return and blow us all out of the water with the "propulsive and lyrical" (Rebecca Makkai) novel The Swimmers last year. The book follows a group of obsessive swimmers whose routine is rocked by the appearance of a crack in their pool. One of the swimmers is Alice, whose experience of dementia is made more chaotic by stark memories of her childhood in a World War II-era internment camp. LC
(Central Library, Downtown, free)


Whitney Lynn with Till the Teeth: Time Kills Past Event List
Multimedia artist Whitney Lynn, "musical and non-musical" duo Til the Teeth, and Barry Olusegun-Noble Despenza, whose work combines archival footage, AI-generated imagery, and electronic music composition, present this fresh video installation. Time Kills blends visual poetry and sound to reinvent the still life with queries on perception and time. LC
(Jack Straw New Media Gallery, Northeast Seattle, free; closing)



One Seattle Day of Service
Past Event List Roll up your sleeves, folks: the One Seattle Day of Service initiative from Mayor Bruce Harrell envisions cooperative action, beautification, and meaningful city improvement as part of his "One Seattle" vision. Whether or not you're a Harrellhead, volunteering in your community is never a bad idea. This opportunity invites charitable locals to help pick up litter in neighborhoods across the city, with service opportunities led by a "diverse group of public, private, and nonprofit partners and organizations." Thousands of volunteer shifts are available at over 110 events (almost half of the events are open to all ages, and over one-third are open to all abilities), so there's really no reason not to get involved. LC
(Various locations, free)


Beer Can Derby Past Event List
At this quirky Beer Week fan favorite, you can participate in an old-fashioned Cub Scout-style derby race with cars fashioned from beer cans. Build your car on the spot and try your luck.
(The Pine Box, Capitol Hill)


50 Years of Hip-Hop Tribute
Past Event List Back in the summer of 1973, an 18-year-old South Bronx DJ named Kool Herc soundtracked his sister's back-to-school party with turntable experiments that we now know as breaks, scratches, and raps. In honor of the 50th anniversary of what is believed to be the birth of hip-hop, turntablists Vitamin D and Sean Malik with travel through the history of the genre while you participate in dance battles and show off your best headspin. But, as Queen Latifah once said, "Ladies First!"—trailblazing female selector DJ Lady Love will command the decks with her expansive knowledge from 40+ years in the biz. Be sure to dress to impress, costumes inspired by your favorite era of hip-hop are encouraged! Think TLC's oversized silk pajamas, Lil Kim's monochrome ensembles, or Run-DMC's iconic Adidas tracksuits. AV
(The Royal Room, Columbia City, $15)

Bumbershoot Concert in the Park Pop-Up Past Event List
Can't wait for the return of Bumbershoot this September? Good news, you don't have to! Get a sneak peek of what's to come with a free outdoor concert featuring a local sampling of the lineup. Psychedelic rock duo the Black Tones will kick things off, followed by electronic producer Chong the Nomad and alt-rock quartet King Youngblood. DJ Wax Witch will keep you dancing in between sets with girl-powered '90s pop, early aughts dance, and Euro-house bops. There will also be free food and bevs provided by Topo Chico and Mendocino Farms, plus tons of craft and food vendors next door at the South Lake Union Saturday Market. AV
(Denny Park, South Lake Union, free)

Saturday Family Concerts: Ihaw-Ihaw Past Event List
Town Hall's Saturday Family Concert series will come to a close this weekend with a performance from Ihaw-Ihaw. The ensemble specializes in OPM (Original Pilipino Music), which they define as "a sweep of music genres from rock to folk, to pop with a twist of Filipino culture." For this concert, the group will be joined by community activists to share protest songs. The Gabriela Group will open with songs from the Filipina women’s movement. AV
(Town Hall Seattle, First Hill, $5)


Sad Girl Therapy Past Event List
Named after Madame Sad Girl Lana Del Rey, this gloomy dance party will highlight your favorite melancholic pop girlies. Scream along to tear-jerkers like Phoebe Bridgers' "Smoke Signals," Lana's "Summertime Sadness," and Lorde's "Liability." It's okay to cry! AV
(Neumos, Capitol Hill, $5-$10)


House of the Wayward Girls: A Little Opera Past Event List
Before becoming a performance space and art center, the Good Shepherd Center was known as a "Catholic School for wayward girls" which provided shelter, education, and guidance to young women from 1906 to 1973. Directed by Joan Laage and Kogut Butoh, this "little opera" will explore the real and imagined lives of the wayward girls through a modern-day lens that probes conversations around sex education and gender identity. AV
(Good Shepherd Center/Chapel Performance Space, Wallingford, $10-20 donation)


Regula Ysewijn: Dark Rye and Honey Cake Past Event List
There's a lot more to the food culture of Belgium than just waffles. Famed Flemish food writer, historian, and food writer Regula Ysewijn will regale the audience with tales of the culinary traditions and baked goods of Belgium, as outlined in her new book Dark Rye and Honey Cake: Festival Baking from Belgium, the Heart of the Low Countries. Learn about classic Carnival and Renaissance treats, pastries, pies, biscuits, cakes, breads, and more. Regula will join Coyle's Bakeshop owner Rachael Coyle in conversation and sign copies of her book after the talk. JB
(Book Larder, Fremont, $5-$39.99)


Kinda Bookish Zine Fest Past Event List
If you already know what a risograph is, you're likely the target demographic for Capitol Hill art studio Six of Pikes' chill zine fest. Staged at their pop-up gallery space, visitors will be invited to flip through handmade zines and enjoy tunes and refreshments. The free event showcases works by Six of Pikes studio members alongside Stieg Retlin, Photoverge Studios, fantasy illustrator Isiah Bradley, and many others. Drop by and support local creators by picking up some DIY publications to peruse in the sunshine. LC
(Six of Pikes Studios, free)



Unexpected Passions: Improvised Love Takes the Most Unexpected Turns
Remind List Lust! Drama!! SECRETS!!! It's all par for the course at Unexpected Passions, an improvised soap opera modeled after the schlocky '80s- and '90s-era daytime shows you either love or love to hate. A cast of improvisers—starring as "classic soap opera archetypes like the evil twin, the bad boy with a heart of gold, and the manipulative business tycoon"—will create a series of off-the-cuff, but connected story arcs, so audiences can check out a single show or come back for more development of the cheesefest's overarching plot. We hope there's a dreamy ingenue with amnesia. LC
(Unexpected Productions' Market Theater, Pike Place Market, $12-$15)


Puppies vs. Kittens Past Event List
Snuggling baby animals while sipping cold beer—could life get much better? Whether you prefer cats or dogs or reject the canine-feline binary altogether, you'll be sure to enjoy this event, which will have adoptable kittens and puppies from the Motley Zoo & Beloveds Foundation and plenty of Puppies vs. Kittens IPA from E9 Brewing. Proceeds benefit the West Seattle-based nonprofit Beloved Foundation Animal Rescue.
(Ounces, North Delridge)


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. LC
(Queer Bar, Capitol Hill, $5)


We Sailed Book Launch/Float
Past Event List If you shuffle up to Foster Point on Foster Island this Sunday at 5 pm and lay out a blanket on the grass, you'll hear some of the strongest Seattle-area poets reading poems as boats variously motor and sail by. I can't think of a better spot to launch a book called We Sailed on the Lake (BUNNY), the second collection of poems from local poet, writer, and editor Bill Carty. The speaker in these poems comes off like a casually wise, funny friend trudging alongside you with a beer and cut-off shorts as you both navigate the indignities of the last decades. Despite all the bullshit, he finds enough worthy mystery in the world—and in language—to share. Carty's poems embrace jokes and straightforward speech, but rhythm and music drive every line. If you don't believe me, pick up the book in a local bookstore and read the first four poems, which are perfect. STRANGER EDITOR RICH SMITH
(Washington Park Arboretum, Madison Park, free)



U District Street Fair 2023
Past Event List If this year’s traffic snarl around the cherry blossom festival is any indication, there’s never been a better time to take the train (or a worse time to drive) to the annual U District Street Fair. The annual gathering turns 52 beautiful years old this year, bringing together free live music, local art, craft vendors, and cuisine from around the world. Over 40 food trucks will be on hand to feed the 50,000 people expected to attend, stretching ten blocks on Brooklyn Ave NE and University Way NE. Buskers are welcome (in designated areas). Beer gardens will be available for the thirsty (ID required, of course), but most of the activities are family-friendly and accessible. Sounds great! Why don’t we have one of these every weekend? MATT BAUME
(University District, University District, free, Saturday-Sunday)


Hedgebrook Filmmakers Showcase 2023 Remind List
This hybrid showcase spotlights the filmmaker alumnae of Hedgebrook, a nonprofit organization supporting visionary women-identifying writers with retreats, public programs, and more. Check out what the talented folks have been up to at in-person screenings on May 19-20 and June 3, or scope out their forward-thinking flicks from home May 20-June 2. (We're intrigued by Tapping Into Our Future, Tapping Into Our Past: Ayodele Casel, which follows the breakout star choreographer and dancer's work inspired by the history of Black tap dancers.) LC
(Northwest Film Forum, Capitol Hill, $7-$14, Friday-Sunday)

A Pocketful of Posey
Remind List Parker Posey stans, assemble!! Grand Illusion's "A Pocketful of Posey" film series, which pays homage to the indie queen, continues this week with screenings of SubUrbia in glorious 35mm. Linklater's '96 flick follows a gaggle of malaise-sufferin' suburban teens (Giovanni Ribisi, Steve Zahn, and others) as they hang out around the dumpster of a Massachusetts convenience store. Posey plays Erica, a rock band publicist who, in her own weird way, motivates the gang to suss out what they want to do with their lives. The postmodern, Gen X glory continues. LC
(Grand Illusion, University District, Saturday-Sunday)

Sakamoto Tribute – Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence
Past Event List When two gods meet, that is the entire meaning and glory and immortality of this 1983 film. The gods are from the sphere of pop music, David Bowie (who died in 2016) and Ryuichi Sakamoto (who died this year). The movie, which is set during the Second World War, is directed by a key figure of Japan's Silver Age in cinema, roughly between 1960 and 1975, Nagisa Ōshima—the director's next, and penultimate, film will concern the romantic relationship a Western woman has with a chimpanzee. As for David Bowie, his brilliant career goes supernova (Let's Dance) two months after Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence debuts at Cannes Film Festival. As for Ryuichi Sakamoto, he, as a member of the Japanese groundbreaking electro band Yellow Magic Orchestra, releases a huge hit, "Kimi ni Mune Kyun," the same month his film with Bowie becomes public. And so the sexual tension between the two pop gods is nothing but electric. If Siouxsie Sioux sang the lead track for this movie, it would be: "Kiss Him For Me." STRANGER SENIOR WRITER CHARLES MUDEDE
(Northwest Film Forum, Capitol Hill, $7-$14, Saturday-Sunday)

Seattle International Film Festival 2023
Past Event List SIFF returns for its 49th year with the best in international and independent cinema à la mode from across the globe. The hybrid festival, which boasts an impressive 200 films on the docket this year, will present screenings virtually and at SIFF venues citywide. Stranger staffers watched and reviewed 35 of this year’s flicks, so peep their opinions while you craft your viewing plan. (We’re intrigued by Art for Everybody, a surprisingly thoughtful documentary on—insert groan here—Thomas Kinkade. In the words of Stranger senior staff writer Charles Mudede: "What he did for art, Trump did for politics. Do not miss Art for Everybody.")
(Various locations, Friday-Sunday)

Showing Up
Remind List Kelly Reichardt, deft creator of Oregon misfit characters and "master of the non-event," returns with Showing Up, which was partially shot at the tragically shuttered Oregon College of Art and Craft. The unabashedly arty flick, which serves as a quiet ode to Portland's creative community, features work by brilliant sculptor Cynthia Lahti and stars heavy hitters Michelle Williams, Hong Chau, and Andre 3000. LC
(Grand Illusion, University District, Friday-Sunday)


ACES: Artists of Color Expo and Symposium Past Event List
This BIPOC-led, community-curated symposium confronts challenges and imagines new possibilities for artists of color in the Pacific Northwest. The event's exhibits, spoken word performances, workshops, film screenings, artist talks, and info booths aim to cultivate shared resources—attendees can peep a Korean contemporary fusion dance program, hear a talk on Elon Musk's colonist background, and pop by a BIPOC art market all on the same day. On May 21, Northwest Film Forum will present short film series ACES on Screenone standout is Theo Calhoun's NEIGHBORHOOD, which explores aspects of gentrification and settler colonialism in Tacoma's Hilltop community. LC
(Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, Central District, Free/suggested $10 donation per participant, Saturday-Sunday)

Joey Veltkamp
Remind List Queer folk artist Joey Veltkamp gravitates to fiber arts—in recent Bellevue Arts Museum solo exhibition SPIRIT!, he combined images and text from his Bremerton home in cheeky works that referenced everything from roadside signs to retired ferries. This new selection of "soft paintings" maintains his narrative-based, humorous style with imagery of ice cream cones, flowers, and clowns. LC
(Greg Kucera Gallery, Pioneer Square, free, Friday-Saturday)

Leviathan Rising Past Event List
Seattle-based photographic artist and Neddy Award winner Eirik Johnson has created a multimedia installation that imagines a reunification of the historic Georgetown Steam Plant, which once powered Seattle's electrical grid and trolley car system, and the Duwamish River, from which the plant once drew power. Filling the building's gargantuan turbine hall and boiler house, LEVIATHAN RISING includes three "chapters" from Johnson's ongoing Leviathan project: large-scale photographic projections of the river's transoceanic barges, lush and mysterious hydrophone recordings made beneath the Duwamish River surface, and "celestial" daguerreotype photograms of Japanese glass fishing floats, created in collaboration with local photog Daniel Carrillo. Head to the 1906-built National Historic Landmark for your artistic fix. LC
(Georgetown Steam Plant, Georgetown, free, Friday-Sunday; closing)

Living Lineage: Gustavo Martinez, Trenton Quiocho, Fox Spears, and more Past Event List
Putting a contemporary twist on ancestral traditions, Living Lineage features artists Jiyoung Chung, Hai and Thanh Le, Gustavo Martinez, Trenton Quiocho, and others. Each artist draws from their own heritage and research to create curious forms, mythical creatures, and bold compositions.
(ArtXchange, SoDo, free, Friday-Saturday; closing)

Marsden Hartley: An American Nature
Past Event List American modernist artist Marsden Hartley created works that responded to the "Depression-era cultural and commercial desire for all things homegrown," declaring himself an American regionalist and attempting to construct new myths of the landscape through nature-inspired imagery. Inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Hartley dotted his nature paintings with signs of human life, estranging himself from the colonial notion of detachment between man and nature. See for yourself at An American Nature, which presents works from across Hartley's prolific career. LC
(Frye Art Museum, First Hill, free, Friday-Sunday; closing)

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