Pressed for cash but still looking for a good time out on the town? Look no further than your local weeklies; free papers that will clue you in to free and cheap ways to rock the weekend. Saving money no longer means staying home.
By Kenyon Boltz
Forward we trudge in the jungle mist of transition; afloat in murky financial resources; and leering at a brooding horizon of career paths, our recreation has become not just a privilege, but essential. Escapism is not just regulated to the multi-plex showing the next tent-pole blockbuster; we need more and there is. You can discover excellent retreats in one unique, local place around the country. And it's not just a magazine; it also houses potential opportunity depending on your interests and curiosity, especially if you need a date. I am speaking of the city's weekly entertainment guide.
This free collection of investigative reporting, letters, reviews, listings, and openings contains a plethora of invites and unique events to satisfy even the most cautious. Over the years, I have lived in various cities across the states and have utilized this publication as a magnificent way to meet, network, and enjoy off-beat, small-budgeted, fledgling entertainment productions. You never know what is coming.
With politics taking on a macro-sensibility in regards to our future, look no further than within your own city limits, there are many choices and people to select and rendezvous. If you need an idea for a first date or a new twist to a night out with your partner, take a minute and peruse. As with any large city compared to more rural areas, there are significant differences but the paradigm of entertainment options does change to the more eclectic and vaudeville. You just need to read on.
The editors of these magazines take diligent care in approaching their topics with levity, away from the political agendas of their publication houses. The freedom in their words and blunt angles give a better perspective toward the current underexposed stories buried amongst the dribble redundancy on news stations and corporate radio. And it is refreshing. Each reporter offers their email address and, in my experience, has returned emails if there was confusion, a disagreement, or a compliment. The realm of ground-level conversation is basic, but undeserving as the logical point I want stressed: it is their accessibility. The participants are not buried in some amalgamation of ego, agents, and image as national productions are.
Here is a quick list of some events I have attended in the past. The great thing to keep in mind is the range of whimsical to the conventional missing within: book readings and signings, installation exhibits with the artist present, (and, yes, they were willing to talk and not in some post-modern beat-nick, sprocket lingo) meet and greet with local/city businesses, fund raisers, charity reverse raffles, art house film Q & A with producers/directors/actors, experimental bands from Iceland, script readings (which you may be lucky enough to participate in, depends), poetry readings (and beer), restaurant openings, album release parties, one-act theater productions, improv comedy or drama, and so forth.
It is all within reach of your city, and the more you frequent, the larger pool of faces you will see over and over. It is a great network out there to complement your work friends. Maybe your work buddies don't share the same tastes and interests as you do. I was involved with an independent film I produced and had a great time, and ease, finding a large pool of willing candidates that wanted the exposure and had the time, unpaid too! Some have become great friends over the months.
I have a network of friends and acquaintances that rely on these publications to generate the buzz or hype which can lead them to their big “chance.” A small few have even been picked up by top agents and are now on Broadway or in Hollywood based on these “box” shows that had started with attendances of thirty people a night. It was surreal to be within the audience to see the raw technical, artistic talents honing their skills.
Accompanying the routine weeklies, each publication will conduct a poll of the best of the city. These particular issues should actually be kept for a long time since they can delve even deeper into your city, like best record store for imports, best place for gyros, best place for late night menus, and so on. I know these magazines are not anything new but I will go out on a limb and say most of the information is passed to the side for their usual film screenings or concert listings. If I'm wrong, wonderful; however, if I'm right, next time you pass a street box, take one.
Budgets are important, not just right now, but whatever range of recreation you are looking for, pick up your city's free weekly. Most of the cities magazines usually come out on Wednesday or Thursday. And another small bonus, if you find a business that regularly advertises in the magazine, you know, a small unique store, you can tell them you saw their ad and the managers/owners will most definitely show some gratitude in a good buy or even a great discount for a future return. It's all about taking care of those within your city and theirs, too!