$15 or less: Weekend listings for the budget-conscious culture lover

Luis Negron at Elliott Bay, Animation4Adults at SIFF's Shortfest, guided beachcombing and more - for ($15) or less
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Luis Negron at Elliott Bay, Animation4Adults at SIFF's Shortfest, guided beachcombing and more - for ($15) or less

Welcome to $15 or Less, our eclectic, weekly events calendar for cash-strapped devotees of arts and culture.

Luis Negron
Elliott Bay Book Company, Thurs. 5/23 at 7 p.m., FREE
Spanish language author and queer activist Luis Negron reads from Mundo Negron, his debut collection of short stories. With humanity and humor, Negron grapples with the question of identity in his homeland of Puerto Rico.

We Are Wisconsin
Capitol Hill Public Library Branch, Thursday 5/23 at 6 p.m., FREE
This film, part of MayWorks (an annual month-long celebration of workers' culture and history), tells the story of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s 2011 overhaul of the state budget — and the teacher protests and new-fangled revolution that ensued. As a former Wisconsinite, I’m super excited about this film. But for anyone who cares about education and how Wisconsin's story fits into the greater political narrative, We Are Wisconsin is beyond exciting — it’s powerful, and downright vital.

Shortsfest Opening Night
SIFF Cinema Uptown, Thurs. 5/23 at 7 p.m., $10 SIFF members, $12 non-members
SIFF is in full swing and this week brims with shorts, which happen to be my favorite, and thus the focus of this week’s $15 or Less calendar recs. Shortsfest kicks off tonight with six films from around the world that celebrate the art of short storytelling. For tonight, embrace that short attention span under the guise of art appreciation!

SIFF Cinema Uptown, Fri. 5/24 at 10 p.m., $10 SIFF members, $12 non-members
At this super marathon fun night, you’ll see eight different short films, each with a twist ending. Festival organizers say the inspiration for WTF! was totally worthy films that wouldn’t fit into any other category. Last year, WTF!'s lineup was uproarious. This year… sheep! Sexual Mermaid fantasies! Something called “Honk If You’re Horny!” Expect to have a great time AND vote on your favorite WTF! film at the end.

Seattle Center, Friday 5/24 to Monday 5/27, FREE
Touted as the nation’s largest free community arts festival, Folklife is now in its 42nd year. Each day and night will feature an array of music performances and interactive events, from Friday night's Bollywood Show to Saturday’s Balkan Misfits (with energizing brass bands like the Bucharest Drinking Team!) to Sunday's Vamos!: A Latin Dance Party.

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Credit: Flickr user stevevoght

Beach Naturalist Program
Carkeek, Golden Gardens, Lincoln Park, South Alki, Sculpture Park Pocket Beach
Saturday, 5/25 from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Sunday from 10:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., FREE
Funded by Seattle Aquarium, this is the opening weekend of one of my favorite Seattle programs. Local volunteers, equipped with a range of interests, expertise and signature red hats will be stationed on area beaches to help curious citizens notice, understand and appreciate Puget Sound marine life (like that purple starfish up there) during this weekend's low tide.

Hot Cakes Birthday
Hot Cakes (Ballard), Sat. 5/25 from 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.
For a few years now, Autumn Martin has made many delicious creations under the name Hotcakes. This weekend marks Hot Cakes one year anniversary at its brick-and-mortar shop in Ballard. Celebrate with half-price, ooey-gooey (allergen-friendly!) hotcakes, $5 milkshakes and a special, boozy birthday cake shake for six bucks.

Chop Suey, Sat. 5/25, Doors at 9 p.m., $5
It’s soul night — again! Slip around Chop Suey’s talcum-sprinkled floor to rare 45s for several glorious hours. Always a great time and you’re never the most awkward dancer in the room.

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SIFF Cinema Uptown, Sun. 5/26 at 9 p.m., $10 SIFF members, $12 non-members
Just as it sounds, a night of animated shorts from around the world, running the gamut of adult topics and utilizing several mediums. Expect to be totally wowed by these filmmakers. Their creations are way more inventive than anything you've seen from Pixar or on those cartoon Saturday mornings of yesteryear.

Seattle Supersonic Shorts
SIFF Cinema Uptown, Mon. 5/27 at 11 a.m., $10 SIFF members, $12 non-members
It’s Memorial Day and hopefully you’re camping, or at least planning to eat outside. But this is also the last day of the SIFF shorts festival and you know how I feel about short films! At 11am on Memorial Day, SIFF’ll be showing a slate that captures the "past and future, awkward and poignant” essence of Seattle.

Matthew Simmons’ Happy Rock Book Launch Party
Richard Hugo House, Tues. 5/28 at 7 p.m., FREE
Seattle author Matthew Simmons celebrates the release of Happy Rock, his new short story collection, with a reading and party at Hugo House. Simmons’ stories, set in the perplexing and oft-ignored Upper Peninsula of Michigan, dissect human quirkiness with wit, depth and empathy, creating what author Victoria LaValle calls “a beautiful book of alternate universes.”

What are you doing this weekend? Let us know in the comments area below. And if you hear of any interesting – under $15 - events in or around our grand city, please email editor@crosscut.com.



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