Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Seattle This Weekend: Nov 17–19, 2023

Julefest, Gobble Up Seattle, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
November 17, 2023
Snack on æbleskivers and peruse a Nordic Christmas market at Julefest. (National Nordic Museum via Facebook)
This weekend marks the calm before the Thanksgiving storm—enjoy it with cheap and cheerful events from Julefest: A Nordic Christmas Celebration to Gobble Up Seattle and from Smokey Brights, Night Heron, and mega cat to Charles Mudede's latest film Thin Skin. For more ideas, check out our guide to this week's top events.

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Magnuson Park Live! - Ollella and Divorce Care Past Event List
Magnuson Park's low-power FM radio station SPACE 101.1 invites local musicians and listeners into their studio for a series of small, cozy, "mostly acoustic" sessions. The series will kick off this week with folk-pop artist (and classically trained cellist) Ollella and indie rock band Divorce Care. AV
(Magnuson Park: Building 30 Officers Club, Sand Point, free)


Legendary Children 2023 Past Event List
Peep drag royalty of all genders and groove along to DJ sets at this buzzy celebration of the artistry of queer and trans BIPOC communities. Stay for the slay on a public runway and get an education from glamazons Pixie Mattel, Ariyah Albert, "shapeshifting transsexual" D'Mon, "evil" Virgo Viper Fengz, and others because reading is fundamental. Can't make it IRL? Special guests will strut their stuff on Instagram Live. LC
(Olympic Sculpture Park, Belltown, free)


Dylan Carlson (Earth) and Greg Anderson (Sunn O)))) In Conversation Past Event List
Experimental metal wizards Dylan Carlson (of Earth) and Greg Anderson (of Sunn O)))) will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the landmark drone metal album Earth 2 with an in-depth conversation about the album's formation and legacy. Released in 1993, the album was highly influential in the development of the drone music and drone metal genres (later coined "ambient metal" by Carlson ). In addition to two musical geniuses talking about their work, there will also be chances for fans to win vinyl copies of the album and tickets to the SunnO))) and Earth concert later in the week. AV
(Sonic Boom Records, Ballard, free)



NaNoWriMo Saturdays Past Event List
National Novel Writing Month—aka NaNoWriMo—invites participants to finally jam out their masterwork by committing to finishing a 50,000-word manuscript during the month of November. Sound hard? Sound, like, almost impossible? You're not wrong!! But NaNoWriMo is well-known for the supportive environment it provides. So go ahead—I dare you to finish that sci-fi soap opera of a novel about robot squids that you've had on the back burner. On Saturday afternoons this month, you can head to Folio for writing support and company. You may win a rubber duck. LC
(Folio: The Seattle Athenaeum, Pike Place Market, free)

Salmon Celebration Day Past Event List
It's salmon spawning season! Witness the magic of the natural world at Seattle Park and Rec's Salmon Celebration Day, held annually at Carkeek Park the Saturday before Thanksgiving. There will be activity booths, music, a salmon-themed scavenger hunt for the kiddos, and an appearance from Bert the Salmon, a costumed mascot originally developed to teach about the importance of natural lawn care (anyone seen him at a Mariners game?). This is one of Seattle’s most viewer-friendly salmon runs, so don't miss out! SL
(Carkeek Park, Broadview, free)


Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution: Screening and Director Q&A Past Event List
The second Netflix original documentary executive-produced by the Obamas spotlights a Catskills summer camp tied to '70s-era American disability rights activism. Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution follows a group of teen campers who were inspired to join the fight for disability civil rights on the heels of Woodstock's enterprising spirit. The documentary won the Audience Award at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, and it'll be followed by a Q&A with its co-director, James LeBrecht, at this free, accessible screening. (Live captioning, ASL interpretation, and open audio descriptions will be provided.) LC
(Town Hall Seattle, First Hill, free)

Six Films by Six Iranian Filmmakers: An Anthology of Iranian Short Films by Women and Gender Minorities Past Event List
Curated by Sadaf Sadri and Iranian filmmaker Pegah Pasalar in collaboration with Cryptofiction, an "international nonprofit art platform dedicated to international independent cinema," this program pulls together short flicks by Iranian women creatives. The collected films reckon with patriarchal norms and power dynamics, vulnerability, and the experiences of women and children in Iran. I'm particularly intrigued by Nafiseh Zare's The Zoo, a festival favorite in which a child learns difficult news following a strange dream about a deer. LC
(Grand Illusion, University District, $5-$11)

VHS Uber Alles Past Event List
When a pair of police sergeants are tasked with trekking the jungle alongside a team of newbie soldiers, they're discovered by Russian scouts, and, predictably, all hell breaks loose. This kind of 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)


Gobble Up Seattle Past Event List
Just in time for Thanksgiving (and the subsequent holidays), Urban Craft Uprising will host this specialty food show for the seventh year in a row, promising over 100 local vendors hawking everything from caramels to small-batch pickles to nut butters (and yes, there are free samples). If you work up an appetite while shopping, seven food trucks, including the Jewish bakery Zylberschtein's and the Himalayan dumpling purveyor Kathmandu Momocha, will be on site to fuel your browsing journey. JB
(Magnuson Park Hangar 30, Sand Point, free)


No-No Boy Past Event List
Indie folk project No-No Boy is the product of Vietnamese and Italian American songwriter and scholar Julian Saporiti who uses his Ph.D. in Asian American history to discuss race and immigration through song. On his latest Smithsonian Folkways-released album, Empire Electric, Saporiti juxtaposes "true stories of struggle from throughout Asia and its diaspora with [his] own reckoning with intergenerational trauma." Further juxtapositions happen on a sonic level with banjos blended with kotos (a Japanese half-tube zither) and lap-steels played beside guzhengs (a Chinese plucked zither). The result is delightfully listenable with glittering strings and lush natural soundscapes. AV
(The Rabbit Box Theatre, Pike Place Market, $18-$20)


Enchanted Ball Past Event List
Relive the iconic Speak Now era at this sparkling Swiftie affair that will include plenty of singing, crying, and hexing of John Mayer. Don't forget to dress in your most enchanting garb! My ideas for you: Taylor's iconic purple tour dress, a glittering ball gown, or perhaps this pre-Folklore cottagecore moment). AV
(Nectar, Fremont, $15-$20)


Holiday Bookfest Past Event List
You're sure to score a thoughtful gift for your bookish besties (and maybe a tome or two for yourself) at the Phinney Neighborhood Association's 14th annual Holiday Bookfest, where 26 regional authors (including heavy hitters like Timothy Egan, Sonora Jha, and Claire Dederer, famed chef J. Kenji López-Alt, and Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings) will hawk signed copies of their books. Attendees can listen in on short readings, visit an interactive “Bookmaker’s Space” for kiddos, and donate used books to Books to Prisoners. LC
(Phinney Center Blue Building, Phinney Ridge, free)

Holiday Marketplace & Vintage Pop-Up Shop Past Event List
If you haven't yet visited Wa Na Wari, the immersive space for Black art and culture located in Seattle's historically Black Central District, you're missing out. Pop by for their holiday marketplace and vintage pop-up, where you can get your gift list handled with hard-to-find art and jewelry, old-school treasures, tea blends (including Caribbean-style cocoa tea), and more. While you're there, you can also catch Wa Na Wari's new, oral history-inspired exhibition Honored to Tell. LC
(Wa Na Wari, Central District, free)

Lake City Record Show Past Event List
Refresh (or finally get started on) your record collection at Lake City's 33rd annual vinyl market. Browse from a wide range of formats, genres, eras, and price points while elbow-to-elbow with fellow music nerds. Last year, I got great deals on an eclectic mix of Taylor Swift and John Fahey LPs. Plus, admission is free…you have nothing to lose! AV
(Shoreline Elks Hall, Ridgecrest, free)

Native Makers Holiday Market Past Event List
This holiday market centers the Native entrepreneurs who have taken part in the Seattle Restored program, which activates vacant storefronts and windows to "revitalize" the downtown area. This time around, they'll activate the old LOFT store on 5th and Pike Street with handmade jewelry, artwork, paintings, beadwork, baskets, and more by 18 local Indigenous creatives. Best part? The market is just around the corner from the light rail station at Westlake Mall, so you won't have to stress over parking. LC
(Seattle Restored Downtown, Downtown, free)

Winter Fest Market Past Event List
Get in a festive state of mind with the Stonehouse Cafe's second annual WinterFest Market, which will feature dessert pop-ups, local retail vendors, and live DJ sets. You'll get to browse wares from over a dozen small businesses and pick up a treat or two for yourself while you shop. JB
(The Stonehouse Cafe, Rainier Beach, free)


Trailhead Trot Happy Fun Run Past Event List
The Thanksgiving-related fun runs are just getting started! Warm up with this turkey-themed 5K route along the Burke-Gilman trail, finishing with hot coffee, donuts, and raffles back at the Brooks Trailhead store. The event is free, but participants are asked to bring non-perishable food items, which will be donated to the FamilyWorks Wallingford Food Bank. SL
(Brooks Trailhead, Wallingford, free)


Julefest: A Nordic Christmas Celebration Past Event List
The National Nordic Museum is once again hosting its annual weekend of holiday celebrations with music, dancing, and winter fare from Northern Europe. Modeled after a traditional Christmas market, Julefest includes photos with Santa, wares from over 30 local artisan vendors, and a Scandinavian bar for when you need to warm up your insides. SL
(National Nordic Museum, Ballard, $0-$10)



War Pony Past Event List
Riley Keough's directorial debut (and the winner of the 2022 Caméra d'Or) follows two Oglala Lakota men coming of age on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Created in collaboration with current inhabitants of the reservation, War Pony features first-time performances by Jojo Bapteise Whiting and LaDainian Crazy Thunder. The free screening in celebration of Native American Heritage Month will be introduced by Johnny Arnoux, a member of the Blackfoot Confederacy from the Blackfeet Indian Reservation; Grand Illusion suggests offering a donation to Mother Nation, a Native women's nonprofit (and co-presenter of the screening). LC
(Grand Illusion, University District, free)


Woodland Park GP Past Event List
Cyclocross is described by USA Cycling as "a cross between road cycling, mountain biking and steeplechase." That last one is where runners navigate an obstacle course with things like hurdles and water ditches, so imagine that, but on bikes. Woodland Park’s course features slip-and-slides, runups (where riders have to carry their bikes), and more. It's free to watch, and there's a ton of fun crowd engagement like hand-ups, when onlookers hand cyclists various items like beer and donuts. The Woodland Park GP was the biggest cyclocross race in the country last year, with fierce rivalries and the biggest non-binary division race in the US. They've added unicycle and tandem categories to this year’s event, so it should be bigger and better than ever. SL
(Woodland Park, Green Lake, free)



Honored to Tell Remind List
The first cohort to graduate from the Seattle Black Spatial Histories Institute will share their oral history and "Black memory work" in this culminating exhibition, which was inspired by interviews with Black longshore workers, barbers, dancers, educators, and beauticians. I'm stoked to see Ricky Reyes, Eboni Wyatt, and Sierra Parsons's Making.Wavs zine and immersive reading room, Ariel Paine's barbershop installation, and Brenetta Ward's quilted scrolls. LC
(Wa Na Wari, Central District, free, Friday-Sunday)

Maples Of The Seattle Japanese Garden Remind List
Fall colors have officially unfolded among the Seattle Japanese Garden's collection of maple trees, making it the perfect time to visit and feel thankful that you live in a place with seasons. (Plus, the photo ops can't be beat.) This year, the garden is supplementing the autumnal atmosphere with an exhibition of photographs of maple tree specimens, each collected and documented by volunteers from the Arboretum Foundation and volunteers and staff from the Hyde Herbarium at the Center for Urban Horticulture. The exhibit presents an updated historical record of the garden's maples, and it should appeal to the nature nerd in (almost) all of us. LC
(Seattle Japanese Garden, Capitol Hill, $0-$10, Friday-Sunday)


50 Years of SIFF Remind List
SIFF Cinema Egyptian's latest series offers a rare opportunity to catch 21 Seattle International Film Festival faves and Audience Award winners. Over the last five decades, the festival has screened over 10,000 films from all over the world, so seeing them all would be pretty much impossible. These screenings will help fill the gaps on your Letterboxd lists, though. The series continues with Facing Windows and Run Lola Run this weekend. I'm jazzed that they'll screen the eerie Australian flick Picnic at Hanging Rock, a favorite of SIFF festivalgoers in 1979, later this month. LC
(SIFF Cinema Egyptian, Capitol Hill, Friday-Sunday)

Seattle Turkish Film Festival Past Event List
Celebrating its 11th anniversary this year, the Turkish American Cultural Association of Washington's annual juried film festival will offer up a fresh collection of sought-after Turkish flicks. This year's program includes the Seattle premiere of Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Cannes award-winning film About Dry Grasses, plus an array of short flicks and "two classic fantastik films from the vaults of '70s-80s Turkish cult cinema," Şeytan (aka Turkish The Exorcist) and The Man Who Saved the World (aka Turkish Star Wars). LC
(SIFF Cinema Uptown, Uptown, $9-$14 for an individual ticket, $55-$80 for a festival pass, Friday-Sunday)

Thin Skin Past Event List
This has been a long time coming. Thin Skin, the locally produced film directed by The Stranger's own Charles Mudede, co-written by former Stranger writer and Shrill producer Lindy West, and co-written by and starring Seattle musician Ahamefule Oluo is finally being released in Seattle, Los Angeles, and New York theaters. The story is loosely based on Ahamefule's episode of This American Life as well as a piece he wrote for The Stranger in 2011 and it's portrayed with stunning cinematography—if you follow Mudede on Instagram, you already know he has a knack for bending light to show surprising beauty in Seattle's dark, damp industrial corners. Do not miss this opportunity to see it on the big screen. Thin Skin opens at Ark Lodge on Thursday, with multiple screenings through Sunday, but Saturday's 7 pm show is the one to catch, as it will be followed by a Q&A session with two of the film's stars, Ijeoma Oluo, Ahamefule's IRL sister who plays herself, and Annette Toutonghi, who plays his mother. Unable to make it to the theater this week? Thin Skin will be available for streaming via Amazon and iTunes on November 28. STRANGER ARTS EDITOR MEGAN SELING
(Ark Lodge Cinemas, Columbia City, $12-$14, Friday-Sunday)

Twilight 15th Anniversary Screening Past Event List
You better hold on tight, spider monkey! Ah, Twilight—the sparkly first entry in a saga that no one asked for. The vampiric flick that started it all will screen in celebration of its 15th anniversary, just in case you want to revisit the green glamour of Forks, Washington and the roles that likely left poor Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart mortified as they became big ol' movie stars. Director Catherine Hardwicke is scheduled to attend the sold-out November 17 screening. LC
(SIFF Cinema Egyptian, Capitol Hill, $13-$14, Friday-Saturday)


Smokey Brights, Night Heron, and mega cat Past Event List
On their new album, Levitator, Seattle-based rock band Smokey Brights gives more of a punch than ever before with wailing vocals and '70s arena-rock instrumentation. They will take over the Sunset Tavern for a two-night stint with support from "sleepcore" band Night Heron and fellow rockers mega cat. AV
(Sunset Tavern, Ballard, $15-$20, Friday-Saturday)


Eirik Johnson: The Light That Gets Lost Remind List
Seattle-based artist Eirik Johnson's The Light That Gets Lost pairs tranquil, hushed diptychs with a sound installation, inviting the viewer to respond to the subtle differences in imagery within a larger thematic framework of natural transformation and climate change. The images depict hunting cabins "built by the Iñupiat inhabitants of Utqiaġvik (formerly known as Barrow), Alaska as seen through the extremes of the Arctic summer and winter." There's something deeply satisfying about observing the shifting appearance of the cabins as the seasons change—in summer, they have a bare, weathered, and makeshift appearance, but blanketed in snow, they become pristine, almost magical. LC
(Koplin Del Rio Gallery, Georgetown, free, Friday-Saturday)

Emily Counts: So Familiar Remind List
Emily Counts' ceramic style is always a little (okay, more than a little) mystical, reflecting on nature and the fragility of life through surreal sculptural busts and curious wall pieces that are sometimes lit from within. In her new exhibition So Familiar, Counts's coven of life-sized ceramic figures "stand in ceremony," each paired with a folkloric animal familiar. The exhibition expands upon her previous exhibition, Sea of Vapors, at the now-shuttered Museum of Museums, so expect more themes of growth, decomposition, aging, and transformation, plus sensory oddities and nostalgic features. LC
(studio e, Georgetown, free, Friday-Saturday)

Mary Josephson: Plenty Remind List
Just look at Mary Josephson's beaded tapestries. They are incredible. Don't you want to see them in person?! Seriously, this blurb almost writes itself. The lush foliage and color-drenched compositions of Josephson's visual world as supplemented by her generous material usage, and each piece seems to scream and shout in celebration of life, animals, and texture. Although her multicolored works are forces to be reckoned with, I'm equally intrigued by Jacobson's quieter etched glass pieces, which fill the frame with confident gestures. LC
(Traver Gallery, Downtown, free, Friday-Saturday)

Sunshady Days: A 50 year Retrospective of Bumbershoot Remind List
As a Seattle native, I grew up attending Bumbershoot before I knew what the word itself meant (it’s a synonym for umbrella if you still aren’t in the know). I have countless memories of the festival; running around the grounds with my big sister to see acts like Bob Dylan, Paramore, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Black Eyed Peas, Katy Perry, and many more. That's why, when I attended Bumbershoot's 50th-anniversary festival this summer, I wandered into the A/NT Gallery's photo retrospective and was nearly brought to tears. The exhibit included not only artist photos, but images of the audience that capture the spirit of the festival and its evolution over the past decade. Now, the exhibit has moved over to Photographic Center Northwest so that you can view it all month long. AV
(Photographic Center Northwest, Capitol Hill, free, Friday-Sunday)

Well Well Projects: Companions Remind List
This cross-city pollination invites eight artists from the Portland collective Well Well Projects to showcase work in Seattle, while Vestibule artists will install an exhibition in Portland. Guest curated by prolific creator Alyson Provax, Well Well's exhibition, Companions, displays works by more than half of the member-run gallery collective's members. The show "operates as a forest," meaning that the multimedia work presented helps "create an environment of unique species that have come together in ways both interdependent and at odds." Expect a wide range of mediums, including paper-cutting, collage, ceramics, and more. LC
(The Vestibule, Ballard, free, Friday-Saturday)

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