Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Seattle This Weekend: Sept 22–24, 2023

Luminata, Italian Festival, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
September 22, 2023
Grab your lanterns: Luminata will be lit. (Fremont Arts Council)
Fall officially starts tomorrow, and we'll be ushering in the season with cheap and cheerful events from Luminata to the 2023 Italian Festival, and from 26.2 To Life to Free Entrance Days in the National Parks. For more ideas, check out our guide to the top events of the week.

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



Jack Symes & The River House Band Past Event List
If you, like me, are overcome with humiliating memories at the mention of high school prom, this is your chance for redemption. Brooklyn-based songsmith Jack Symes will swap out typical school dance tunes (like the dreaded "Cha-Cha Slide") for songs from his latest album, Jack Symes & the River House. The album, which includes on-theme tracks like "Prom Song Pt. 2" and "A Little Love," is a perfect little corsage of contemporary indie rock, folk, and 1950s rock 'n' roll. Be sure to bring a date and don't forget to dress in your snazziest formal attire! AV
(Tractor Tavern, Ballard, $15)

Who Is She? Record Release Past Event List
Girlboss energy is out, and Goddess energy is very in. Just ask the musicians behind Who Is She?, the Seattle supergroup comprised of members of other local music scene favorites including Chastity Belt, Tacocat, and Lisa Prank. Their new album Goddess Energy is absolutely brimming with it. The band came together in 2017 when Julia Shapiro, Bree McKenna, and Robin Edwards started to write buoyant and breezy songs about Myspace Top 8s, romantic comedies, and crushing on people while riding the 44 bus. After releasing their debut album Seattle Gossip that same year, the group kept a pretty low profile while the trio focused on their original bands. Almost six years and a whole pandemic later, Who Is She? are finally back to keep the Seattle scene from taking itself too seriously. STRANGER CONTRIBUTOR KURT SUCHMAN
(Southgate Roller Rink, White Center, $15 cover/$5 skate)



Luminata Past Event List
Bring your own lanterns or buy one on-site at Fremont Arts Council's annual autumnal equinox celebration, which will help ease you into the less-sunny season. The evening will kick off with an opening ceremony, followed by a parade around Green Lake, and a dazzling display of illuminated art. The community always shows up for this truly magical evening—bring your date, bring your kids, bring your dog, and throw on any and all glow-in-the-dark and light-up items you own. SL (Green Lake Park, Green Lake, free)

Salmon Homecoming 2023 Past Event List
Join local Indigenous tribes as they celebrate salmon returning to their spawning grounds—you’ll learn about the importance of protecting the species and our environment at large. There will be live music performances, a powwow dance contest, canoe landing, and a delicious salmon bake. Shop from a variety of arts and crafts vendors while enjoying one of our last rain-free and relatively warm Saturdays. SL
(Pier 62, Downtown, free)


entr’acte Past Event List
Experimental duo entr’acte was formed by violinist Luke Fitzpatrick and pianist Laure Struber with the goal of "expanding the sonic possibilities" of their instruments. Their latest composition, Zombies, uses exploratory techniques (such as playing the interior of the piano) to emphasize the dualities of the violin and piano. They will debut the piece after a performance from Fitzpatrick, who will perform solo works for viola and using intoning voice. AV
(Good Shepherd Center/Chapel Performance Space, Wallingford, $5–20 donation)

The Body Past Event List
I don't listen to much metal because fast, abrasive music tends to stress me out (and I don't like it when men yell at me). I do, however, listen to the Body on occasion. Which makes sense, considering their defiance of the genre. Drummer Lee Buford and beat wizard Chip King craft slow, sludgy, unholy tunes with glimmers of trad-folk, medieval chorus music, '90s grunge, and industrial sounds. I would even go as far as to say that their newest album, I Shall Die Here / Earth Triumphant sounds more like Throbbing Gristle than it does Metallica. They will support the album alongside kindred experimental metal bands Troller and Deadtimes. AV
(Substation, Fremont, $15)


Monkey Loft 10 Year Anniversary Party Past Event List
For 10 years, Monkey Loft has brought thousands of regional, national, and international DJs to the SoDo district for copious amounts of booming beats and memorable late-night bashes. This weekend will be no different with nearly two dozen selectors (yeah, you read that right!) spread out across three stages for a dance party that will go to the wee hours of the morning. Plus, admission is only $10—that's like a quarter per performer! AV
(Monkey Loft, SoDo, $10)


Open House at the Opera Center Past Event List
Get ready to exercise your lungs at Opera Center's free open house, where you can explore the costume shop and props department, peep performances by Seattle Opera artists, and sing along with operatic greats. Kiddos can try on costumes and make crafts while adults attend a Q&A session with Anthony Davis, the composer of X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X, tour the Classical King FM studios, and more. Ave Maria! LC
(Opera Center, Uptown, free)


Hangar 30 Flea - Vintage Bonanza Past Event List
Calling all thrifters: Seattle's largest indoor vintage show returns this weekend for its fall edition! The event is dog-friendly and all-ages, and boasts over 100 booths selling clothes and collectibles, plus a beer garden, DJ sets, and 10 on-site food trucks. If you're itching to get the goods, an early bird ticket will land you access to the first two hours of the show; $10 general admission starts at 2 pm, and it's only $5 to get in after 4 pm. Kids under 12 are free! SL
(Magnuson Park Hangar 30, Sand Point, $5-$20)


Free Entrance Days in the National Parks Past Event List
Though we know Seattleites are perfectly happy to hike in the rain, we can all agree it's better when it's not raining, right? Saturday, September 23 is an entrance fee-free day for all national parks, and the skies are looking clear. You can visit the majestic Mount Rainier; Olympic National Park, which is only a scenic ferry ride away; or Lewis and Clark National Historical Park and Fort Vancouver down by the Oregon border. There are only five of these days a year (the final one in 2023 is November 11), so make it count. SL
(Various locations, free)


Brennan Cavanaugh: Slow Apocalypse Past Event List
Sure, I take my fair share of selfies, but it's the number of iPhone photos I have of my cat that plops me firmly in "crazy" territory. Bard graduate and New York-based artist Brennan Cavanaugh digs into our practice of self-documentation and obsessive image-making in Slow Apocalypse, which is comprised of images shot on film in the early aughts and processed by consumer photo lab equipment. (Remember that?!) Cavanaugh places machine-made prints side-by-side with "contemporary artist-produced, chromogenic prints" and large-scale commercial banners. It's bound to redirect you toward the "do not perceive me" camp, or at least prompt questions about self-perception and hierarchies of image quality. LC
(Solas Gallery, Pioneer Square, free)



Decibel 20th Anniversary of Flammable Past Event List
Decibel's Flammable dance party is a local staple (it even claims to be the West Coast's longest-running house music night). In honor of its 20th anniversary, prepare to get a little sweaty with an infectious blend of techno, house, and hip-hop beats from DJs Nordic Soul and Brian Lyons. AV
(Chop Suey, Capitol Hill, $13)



2023 Italian Festival Past Event List
Festa Italiana has been celebrating the cultural roots of PNW Italians since 1988. This year's Italian fest features a grape stomp, bocce tournament, chef demonstrations, children's activities, and more, all set to live musical performances from the likes of the Space Noodles and a three-time world champion accordion player. Check out the classic car show on Saturday and an Italian breed dog show on Sunday, and take time to enjoy delicious food, wine, and beer between festivities. SL (Seattle Center, Uptown, free, Saturday-Sunday)


26.2 To Life Past Event List
If you read the recent New Yorker essay "Listening to Taylor Swift in Prison," you may have learned that life in San Quentin State Prison—and many penitentiaries like it—looks a little different from what outsiders expect. For instance, San Quentin holds an annual marathon, the 1000 Miles Club, where incarcerees become marathoners and race 105 times around the prison yard. 26.2 to Life won the Seattle International Film Festival 2023 Golden Space Needle Audience Award for Best Documentary, and for good reason; filmmaker Christine Yoo's glimpse inside California’s oldest state prison is "less of a running movie and more about three very different stories of regret, crime, violence, and hope" (Sam Machkovech). LC
(SIFF Cinema Uptown, Uptown, $11-$14, Friday-Sunday)

Bottoms Past Event List
Considering the glut of raunchy high school sex comedies that revolved around hetero teen boys attempting to pop their cherries in the '90s and early-aughts, it's about time we had a horny romp about queer girls trying to get laid. In this madcap dark comedy helmed by Emma Seligman (director of the nail-biter Shiva Baby), two hapless losers (played by Rachel Sennott and Ayo Edebiri) scheme to start a self-defense club for women in order to hook up with their cheerleader crushes (Havana Rose Liu and Kaia Gerber). Naturally, hilarity ensues. It's Book Smart meets Fight Club with acerbic shades of Heathers, and I for one can't wait to see Seligman's sapphic Gen-Z take on this campy genre, especially with the two leads' deadpan delivery. JB
(SIFF Cinema Uptown, Uptown, Friday-Sunday)

Carpet Cowboys Past Event List
Right about now you may be asking yourself, "What movie should I go see this weekend?" If your answer is "a documentary about carpets," well, you're one step ahead of this blurb. For those who have no idea what I'm talking about, read on: Dalton, Georgia, the "carpet capital of the world," is the main source of the funky rugs lining our hotel hallways, casinos, and convention centers, and the city functions as a stronghold of American manufacturing. Among our nation's mighty carpet makers is Roderick James, a Scottish expat and freelance textile designer who "lives his life as a modern-day cowboy." Roderick, are you single?! Anyway, if you're into HBO’s How To with John Wilson, you'll probably dig this film—Wilson executive produced it. LC
(Grand Illusion, University District, $5-$11, Saturday-Sunday)

Mutt Past Event List
Vuk Lungulov-Klotz's Sundance standout Mutt follows a transgender teen as he navigates laundromats, subway turnstiles, and airport transfers on one hectic day in New York City. The director's debut film, which stars trans actor Lío Mehiel, "draws on his own background as a child of Chilean and Serbian parents and his own experience of transition" (the Hollywood Reporter). Mutt should grab your attention: According to IndieWire, the flick's sensual edge and concentration on detail signals "an exciting evolution for contemporary trans cinema." LC
(SIFF Cinema Uptown, Uptown, $13-$14, Friday-Sunday)


Cathy McClure and John Kiley Past Event List
If you're still feeling bitter that you didn't receive a Furby for Christmas in '98, I recommend Cathy McClure's exhibition Unearth for some strange catharsis. Using discarded battery-operated stuffed toys, the artist contemplates consumption, nostalgia, and instant gratification by creating freakish, Frankensteinian "bots." The figures are recast and reassembled with precious metal armatures that reportedly exude "wisdom and contemplation." I guess you'll have to decide for yourself what they exude, but any way you look at 'em, they are awesome. Unearth is perfectly paired with John Kiley's Studio Sessions, which is comprised of sculptural glass works with "contrasting colors [and] intricate carved optic passageways." LC
(Traver Gallery, Downtown, free, Friday-Saturday)

Femme Noire Past Event List
This outdoor public art exhibition, a collaboration between the Seattle Art Museum, the Chicago-based arts organization blackpuffin, and the Central District's immersive community art project Wa Na Wari, takes its name from a poem of the same name by former Senegalese president Léopold Sédar Senghor, an ode to the power of Black women written while he was imprisoned in Germany during World War II. Wander through the Central District to admire work from female artists from Africa and the African diaspora, installed on lamp poles and at Black-owned businesses and art organizations throughout the neighborhood. JB
(Various locations, Central District, free, Friday-Sunday)

Of a Place Past Event List
Presented as a "portrait of Washington State’s diverse landscapes, topography, ecosystems, and climates," Of a Place also functions as a round-up of some of contemporary art's most exciting nature-loving players. Inspired by the mid-19th-century American art movement the Hudson River School, which "presented America as a new Eden and equated American landscape with American identity," the show meditates on place, identity, and art practice in Washington State through drawings, paintings, ceramics, textiles, and more. I'm especially moved by Philippe Hyojung Kim's Immigration Series: "deICEd", and I'm excited to see works by quinn mcnichol and Rena Priest. LC
(SOIL, Pioneer Square, free, Friday-Sunday)

Satpreet Kahlon: the inscrutable shape of longing Remind List
After winning the 2021 BAM Biennial: Architecture & Urban Design Award of Excellence, Satpreet Kahlon was granted the opportunity to present a solo exhibition at the museum, and the inscrutable shape of longing began to take shape. The Indian-born, US-raised artist explores how cultural and ancestral histories intermingle to inform the "messiness, contradictions, and nuances" of embodied life. Kahlon drew from her experiences of displacement and colonization's aftermath to create a "multisensory constellation of video, image, and sound" in a web-like installation. I'm especially intrigued by Kahlon's use of mirrored acrylic, which splinters and refracts archival footage of Panjabi folk rituals into "hundreds of tiny fragments reflected across the gallery." LC
(Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, $0-$15, Saturday-Sunday; opening)

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