Sunday, July 12, 2009

Viva La Revolución

"You're not going to have a revolution if most people feel they're making out pretty well." [Quinn, My Ishmael, 1997]

Last week, I suggested that being forced to give up some luxuries may actually make us happier, healthier (and dare I say...well-adjusted and popular) people. Up til now, though the economy was based on projection - not reality - it worked out reasonably well for most of us. Now the tide has changed, the revolution of healthy frugality has begun, and we are able to demand more of ourselves and world - and find ways to enjoy life and connect with one another in places not punctuated by money and possessions.

Yesterday, I visited Liberty Market in Gilbert - home of a $2 plate of the best roasted sweet potato and curry salad this side of my kitchen. The relaxed, urban atmosphere of the market, restaurant, and bar (JP should add this place to her list of "slashy" local businesses) boasts of delicious eats - most of which are under $8 - and a healthy selection of espresso beverages and a beer and wine list that could reek of pretentiousness but surprisingly does not.

It is places like this and events like CreateLive AZ (hosted here - sorry I missed it!) that exemplify the connection we are hungering for. Inexpensive, unique experiences that feed our stomachs and souls -

Thankfully, if you are willing to look, these opportunities do exist in our community and are growing daily: From Twitter @PhoenixNewTimes: What Laura Says (local band featured on NPR last year!) And Free Ice Cream At Heard Museum Friday. See? Art, Music, and Food - what more do you need?

Along with AZ Central and The New Times, there are lots of great sites featuring free and inexpensive events. A few standouts I found:

- Free Breakfast Weekend at Ikea July 18, 19. Swedish pancakes, anyone?
- A personal favorite from my go-to expert on good music, EastonAshe performs Friday at O'Donoghue's Irish Pub in honor of St. Practice Day: a not-so-dry run of the pub's St. Paddy's festivities.
- Check out the Michael Easterday Band at San Tan Flat, where the opportunity to roast marshmallows under the stars is almost worth the drive itself. Almost.
- For celebrity sightings, Trader Vic's in Scottsdale is celebrating their anniversary this month - and guess what? It's free to get in.
- July has a jazz jamboree, and a cribbage tournament and way too many other options to mention here. Just mouse-around: maybe you'll find a new favorite cheap and easy Bingo-and-Open Mic-and-Wine Tasting- Night Hike. Or something.

The Roommate and I recently investigated the how-to's of The Culture Pass, the Piper Trust's gift of art and culture to Valley residents. A fact I didn't know: picking up one pass at the library does not grant access to all participating venues for two weeks. Instead, after visiting two separate area libraries we were able to scrape the bottom of the barrel (which turned out not to be the bottom after all!) for a one-time use pass to Mesa Contemporary Arts. We also learned of the venues offering discounts at various times throughout the summer without a pass. All frustrations with the lack of selection at our chosen libraries aside - we had lots of fun!

A few other of my favorite cheap dates include seeing not-yet-on-dvd movies at the Tempe Cinemas, First Friday Art Walk in Phoenix, Fourth Friday Art Walk in Mesa and taking the light rail to meet friends for one of the many happy hours and freebies featured here, here, and here.

Use your imagination, and let the revolution begin.

P.S. For my non-AZ readers: I encourage you to seek out your community's own free gifts. Try local and alternative newspapers... and know that you might have to go outside your city limits for an adventure; take Sedalia, Missouri and the Wheel Inn, home of the $3.50 Guberburger meal for example (Thanks Adam - I'll never forget my first Guberburger).


Brent said...

EastonAshe and What Laura Says...good Arizona musica. Good call.

lizzie said...

we do need a revolution on every aspect...!!!
e adhar

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