6 live entertainments that you can attend for free

Finding quality live entertainment doesn't have to mean draining your bank account. If you want to be entertained and still have money for popcorn, start with these ideas.

6 live entertainments that you can attend for free

1. Art openings

  • Art openings are the best entertainment bargain on the planet.
  • They often have free admission, free wine, free hors d'oeuvres, free people-watching and free mingling with the artist, who is obligated to be nice to you.
  • You might even like the paintings or other art.

2. Free concerts in the park

  • Next time you see a concert happening in the park, plop yourself down on the grass as close to the musicians as possible and get into the sounds.
  • The players are usually pretty good, or the city wouldn't let them be there.
  • If the music's not your thing and you get bored, watch the drummer if there is one. See if you can follow what he or she is doing.

3. Community theatre

  • Human beings will travel thousands of miles and spend hundreds of dollars to see a Broadway play.
  • Why not try walking a few blocks to see amateurs or semi-pros do basically the same thing — but from closer up?
  • Ask about being a volunteer usher. Free admission is your pay.

4. Open-mike night

  • Small venues have open-mike on off nights, where anybody can get up there and sing or play or do a comedy routine.
  • A lot of artists started their careers this way — performers that people now pay $500 to see from half a field away in a football stadium.
  • And if some poor deluded wannabe is really awful, that, too, can be entertaining.

5. Author readings

  • You read the book, now hear the writer. Or the other way around.
  • Big-time and semi-big-time writers often make the rounds to local bookstores to read from their work, sign books and schmooze with readers.
  • Check the bulletin boards at your area's bookstore or those piles of flyers at the checkout counter.
  • Contrary to common stereotypes, authors are usually not boring.

6. (Very) small-time sports

  • Sports fans can watch sports for free if they're willing to grab a free bleacher spot at a mini-league, high school or even Little League game.
  • Pick a team to root for (or allow one to pick you).
  • Return a few times, and you'll find yourself experiencing the same thrills and emotions that would cost you two days' salary at the pro stadiums.
  • It ain't the New York Yankees, but as Shakespeare should have said, "The game's the thing."

There's a good reason live entertainment seems so outrageously expensive these days: it is. But if you can accept the radical notion that there's solid entertainment to be had without megabuck superstars, you can live it up for free.

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