Okay, let's get this out of the way: The most important thing to do today costs absolutely nothing, and is really, really vital if you're a San Francisco resident. Vote! Many polling places are open until 8 p.m., so you really don't have an excuse.
Now that you've done that, here's a hefty handful of events all over the Bay at which you can celebrate your civic duty -- or just have a good time -- for $20 or under. Without further ado, here's this week's Cheap Date.
Thursday, Nov. 5: Hippy Mobb: A-Plus & Knowbody (Grow Theory), Equipto & Otayo Dubb at the New Parish, Oakland. SF rapper Equipto made headlines recently for approaching Mayor Ed Lee in a diner with some none-too-sugarcoated opinions about the politician's track record with working- and middle-class folks over the past few years. But his crew, Hippy Mobb, has been on the lips of those in the know for more than two decades. A-Plus brings cred from a different beloved crew, the Souls of Mischief/Hieroglyphics family of East Bay MCs and beat-makers. This is a low-key hometown hip-hop celebration. $8 - $12; details here.
Thursday, Nov. 5: Vetiver at Sweetwater Music Hall, Mill Valley. The brainchild and ever-evolving musical output of singer-songwriter-musician-producer Andy Cabic, Vetiver's one of those San Francisco bands that will never put on the same show twice, so you can plan on not being bored, to say the least. Complete Strangers, Cabic's latest record, skips from melancholy indie-folk to tropicalia to power pop. As he wrote when announcing the album: "It feels like someone I’ve just met yet known for a long time." $20; details here.
Friday, Nov. 6: First Friday at the New Parkway, Oakland. "In the same year, Oakland was rated one of the top five destinations in the world and one of the top five most dangerous cities in the country. On Feb. 1, 2013 those two realities met with the fatal shooting of a teenager during First Friday, a monthly arts festival that has become the symbol of the city's economic and cultural revival. First Friday follows a diverse group of residents as they work to preserve the event that represents a city's attempt to transform itself." A Q&A with filmmakers N'Jeri Eaton and Mario Furloni will follow. $10; details here.
Saturday, Nov. 7: Real Future Fair, SF. This weekend-long festival brings together some of the most visionary minds in science and technology, talking about where the next century is poised to take us. Tickets to many sessions are on the pricey-end, but this day-long event is free, family-friendly and open to the public. Featured events include drone demonstrations by the Aerial Sports League, a robot petting zoo, the Oddball Failed Futures Film Festival, and presentations by Dorkbot, the Bay Area Video Coalition and The Long Now. Details here.
Saturday, Nov. 7: Dirty Ghosts, Useless Eaters and Kelley Stoltz at Brick and Mortar Music Hall, SF. It's been a while since we've seen Allyson Baker, the magnetic frontwoman at the helm of SF's Dirty Ghosts, take over a stage -- but it's usually worth the wait. This is a solid night of rusty punk-tinged indie rock in an intimate venue, celebrating the release of new records before the Ghosts and SF mainstay Stoltz head to Europe to tour. $10 - $14; details here.
Tuesday, Nov. 10: Adrian Tomine in conversation with Vendela Vida at Booksmith, SF. The Bay Area-bred graphic novelist who's been compared to short story master Raymond Carver is back with a typically emotionally loaded new book, Killing and Dying, full of the dark humor and quiet moments he's known so well for capturing in comic book form. Catch him in conversation with SF superstar novelist Vendela Vida. Free; details here.
Are you throwing a thing that's $20 or under? Should I know about it? Email me at email@example.com.