My fellow cheapskates! Did you somehow blow $30 on brunch this past Sunday? Round out last week with a lovely $75 parking ticket? Currently sitting at your desk thinking about how you're going to atone for it all with a week of monk-like sparseness, scrambled eggs and PB&Js? You're not alone. No, really. Those are my options for dinner tonight.
As discussed last week, these here are tough times to be a broke person in the Bay Area, and if you're among those who can still afford to live here -- i.e., your rent hasn't recently been jacked up more than 100 percent overnight -- you're likely in severe need of entertainment options that won't eat up 100 percent of your paycheck.
Hence: Cheap Date, our event roundup featuring a strict cap of $20, with a special emphasis on parties, shows, and screenings that are actually — gasp — free of charge. Here are this week's picks.
Thursday, Oct. 1: Milo Greene at the Swedish American Hall. In this intimate show at the newly refurbished SF venue -- part of a collaboration between promoter/bookers Noise Pop and the annual music festival/magazine launch party/industry meetup called Culture Collide -- the cinematic, electro-skewing indie pop band will strip down to its roots. Which, despite the band's self-deprecating self-promotion, promises to be something special.
Expect soul-soothing vocals over incongruously urgent beats; expect to dance. Details here.
Thursday, Oct. 1: Free Admission Day at the Pez Museum, Burlingame. When is a Pez dispenser not just a Pez dispenser? When it's a Mr. Potato Head Pez dispenser worth $5000, because it was taken off the market in 1973, because small pieces in it were a choking hazard. See this dangerous character and over 500 more at this quirky three-in-one museum (the Classic Toy Museum and the Banned Toy Museum are onsite as well). The first Thursday of every month admission is free as can be. Details here.
Friday, Oct. 2 - Sunday, Oct. 4: Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. Take it away, KQED contributor Max Savage Levenson: "The fact that the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, now in its 15th year, is free lends itself to so much more than saving money. It means that entering the festival grounds at Golden Gate Park, which during other events has the air of a military base on lockdown, is genuinely welcoming: you can enter and exit at will, find solitude traipsing through the eucalyptus-lined trails when you need a break from the music and take full advantage of the park. It means that the performers, many of whom return year after year, are conscious of being part of a shared experience and a San Francisco tradition – they aren’t just there for the paycheck. It means that the crowd is representative of a Bay Area greater than those who can drop (a minimum) of $300 on a music festival. Hardly Strictly Bluegrass is not to be missed; not merely because it’s free, but because it represents the best of San Francisco." For recommendations about which bands to see, check out Gabe Meline on KQED Arts. Details here.
Friday, Oct. 2: First Friday Follies Burlesque at the Stork Club. As Oakland's monthly Art Murmur has grown and changed over the years, one thing's remained constant: I'm always a little too excited to get to this afterparty. The First Friday Follies are some of the most beloved burlesque dancers in the Bay, for good reason. The rotating cast of players includes dancers of all shapes and sizes, taking it off to the tunes of everything from old-school hip-hop to ska, as well as more traditional gypsy jazz and big-band numbers. And if you've already dropped some dollars on local artists this evening (good on ya!), this one won't hurt your wallet any further: It's free. Details here.
Saturday, Oct. 3: Cynic Cave Comedy Showcase. KQED's Kevin Jones says: "Seeing a performer before they reach their prime in a small room will inevitably become a cherished memory. And that’s why Cynic Cave is so awesome: it’s hosted every Saturday in a tiny room in the basement of a San Francisco video store. But the size of the space doesn’t mean the headliners that come in aren’t funny enough to attract huge crowds; past headliners have included Natasha Leggero, Myq Kaplan and David Huntsberger. Even the hosts are worth noting, including local phenom George Chen, Allison Mick (of The Tabernacle), former Totally Biased writer Nato Green, and Natasha Muse, who was voted by the SF Weekly as the Best Trans comedienne of 2012. This Saturday's guests include Max Rosenblum (DC), Duat Mai, Torio Van Grol, Courtney Karwal, Alexa Loftus, and Lexie Mountain (Baltimore)." Details here.