Oh hey there, fellow perpetually scrappy humans of the Bay Area. How was your Thanksgiving? Feeling a little drained?
Whether you spent a good chunk of your hard-earned dough on turkey for 12 or you're just saving your pennies in anticipation of spending $100 at the movie theater to see the new Star Wars on opening night, this season can be tough on the wallet -- and you'll note I haven't even mentioned holiday shopping yet. (My strategy is sheer avoidance until the very last possible minute. I'll let you know how it pans out!)
Never fear. Here are six events to reinvigorate your holiday spirit -- or help you hide from those who have it in excess -- for $20 or under. Here's this week's Cheap Date.
Friday, Dec. 4: 'Janis: Little Girl Blue' Premiere w/ Ben Fong-Torres and David Getz at the Roxie Theater, San Francisco. Janis Joplin is one of those stars whose life and death still feels personal to music-lovers the world over -- but you'll forgive us if we here in SF have more than a tinge of extra-special regional pride about the singer, who came up in the Haight-Ashbury scene of the '60s. This screening features a discussion with Big Brother & the Holding Company drummer David Getz and celebrated local rock journo Ben Fong-Torres (Rolling Stone, the San Francisco Chronicle), to boot. $10; details here.
Saturday, Dec. 5: Sister Souljah at Marcus Books, Oakland. This author, activist, and hip-hop artist may be best known for trading controversial barbs with Bill Clinton during his 1992 presidential run, but her legacy stretches far beyond the soundbytes. In recent years, she's gained a whole new audience as a novelist; A Moment of Silence, her third installment in the series Midnight: A Gangster Love Story, was published last month to overwhelmingly positive reviews. We'd advise showing up early -- Marcus Books is pretty small. $5; details here.
Saturday, Dec. 5: 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' TV Club w/ Sarah Hotchkiss at the Royal NoneSuch Gallery, Oakland. Join KQED Arts' own visual arts editor for a viewing of a classic TNG episode and discussion of the escapades contained therein -- trust me, she's thought about this, and she's prepared to tell you exactly why this one in particular is worthy of obsession. Earl Grey tea, whiskey, and other refreshments inspired by the series will be provided. Free; details here.
Sunday, Dec. 6: Jonathan Richman at Slims, SF. The man, the voice, the enigma: For a guy many consider to be a godfather of punk rock, Jonathan Richman sure isn't showy. These past few years, the sometime-San Francisco dweller has seemed plenty content with doing modest shows -- just him and his inimitably kooky, heartfelt lyrics, a guitar, and drummer Tommy Larkins keeping time. Here's a challenge for the cynics: Just try to leave without a smile on your face. $17; details here.
Sunday, Dec. 6: 'Gremlins' and 'Silent Night Deadly Night' at El Rio, SF. Q: What's better than a summertime movie screening on the patio of one of the best bars in the city? A: The trade-off that moving indoors means said screening can run later: yep, it's double-feature time. This pairing brings together two of the least cloying Christmas movies in existence, both from 1984. Get good and freaked by the (surprisingly violent) Gremlins so you're all ready to go for the straight-up slasher Silent Night Deadly Night. Christmas-themed drink specials, popcorn, and more -- all for free. Details here.
Monday, Dec. 7: Never Young at the Rickshaw Stop, SF. Anyone who tells you the Bay Area can't breed good bands anymore obviously hasn't been to a Never Young show. These (actually currently rather young) Oakland art-punks have taken off considerably in the past year, thanks to angular, distortion-heavy riffs paired with anthemic, shout-along pop choruses. This is one very good reason to be out late past your bedtime on a Monday. $10 - $12; details here.