Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cheap Chick Weekend Picks

Welcome to my inaugural Cheap Chick Weekend Pick list!
Friday January 30, 2009
Star-gazing at Columbia University
“Eavesdropping on Black Holes” by Taka Tanaka
7 p.m.
I attended one of these lectures before, and tho I tuned out a bit when equations were drawn on the blackboard, the view from the telescopes on the roof is so amazing it looks fake.
Cheap Chick Info: Free! Includes lecture and star viewing.
Location: Columbia University, Pupin Physics Laboratory
Subway: 1.9 116th Street

Saturday January 31st, 2009
Gotham City Improv
Off the Top our Heads Comedy Show
7 p.m.
Come heckle (suggest) ideas for this comedy show!
Cheap Chick Info: $7
Location: Gotham City Improv, 48 W. 21st St, between Fifth and Sixth Aves.
Subway: F, V to 23rd Street

Sunday February 1, 2009
Harlem Walking Tour
Big Onion Historic Harlem Walking Tour
1 p.m.
This tour may cover sites such as Abyssinian Baptist Church, Striver's Row, the Big Apple Night Club, and sites associated with the Harlem Renaissance, W.E.B. Du Bois, Madame C.J. Walker, Marcus Garvey, and Malcolm X.
Cheap Chick Info: $15, no reservations needed, just show up!
Location: Northwest corner of 135th Street & Lenox (Malcolm X) Avenue in front of the Schomburg Center.
Subway: 2,3 to 135th Street
(source: Big Onion website.)

Bonus Housing Works Shout-out:
Saturday Jan. 31, 2009
Spelling Bee
8 p.m.
Come show off those vocabulary skills or just watch others try and spell words like sarsparilla.
Cheap Chick Info: $10, includes popcorn, cash bar
Location: Housing Works Bookstore, 126 Crosby Street near Lafayette
Subway: B,D,F,V to Broadway-Lafayette, Downtown 6 to Bleecker

Saturday Jan. 31, 2009 to February 1, 2009
Geektacular Basement Sale
12 p.m. to 7 p.m. each day
Take a break from watching Battlestar Galatica or Dr. Who this weekend and check out this sale of records, comics, and vintage paperbacks.
Cheap Chick Info: Five for $1
Location and Subway Info: Same as above!

Editor's Note

Just a quick note to let my faithful readers (my friends and family) that starting on January 30, 2009 I will start posting Cheap Chick Weekend Picks every Friday. I hope to follow this by posting a Cheap Chick Daily Pick every day, but will start with the weekend Cheap Chick Picks.

Stay cheap and free in 2009!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A few Laughs for Less!

The last thing I expected to be doing on a recent Saturday afternoon in New York City was reliving my high school and college theater days, but against my better judgment, my friends had talked me into attending a free improv class at the Sage Theater in midtown.

I love theater and have enjoyed my forays into acting, but improv has always been my least favorite acting exercise, I think because I've always felt this pressure to be witty, and not only to be witty, but to do so at the spur of the moment. I always much preferred acting out scenes because what you were supposed to say (witty or otherwise) was written right out in front of you. I was put at ease however, when Tim, the enthusiastic young man who was leading the class told us that the more boring, the more obvious we were, the more successful we would be. Whew!

I think any lingering nerves any of us may have felt about performing in front of strangers were dispelled after we played a rhyming game that ended with the phrase, "in my butt." Like most schoolday pursuits most of the improv exercises were done in a circle and involved us saying zany phrases like "Zip, Zap, Zop," and "Yah" and "Nien." At one point we moved from person-to-person around the circle and quickly answered whatever question was posed to us; one of mine was,"If you were a boy, what would your name be?" to which I quickly replied "Blake" without exactly knowing why.

Later we experimented with the physical aspects of improv after being assigned the role of being either high-or low-class. Low-class individuals were instructed to avoid eye contact and touch with others, while the high-class was to be friendly and interact with everyone. After spending time either shuffling around and looking at the floor or throwing out manic smiles, this was a great way to learn how we express ourselves using body language rather than words alone.

Other exercises I participated in with a partner and the group somehow involved me hiding behind cavemen at the Museum of Natural History and a hamburger eating a hot dog vendor in Central Park.

Cheap Chick Info: For the rest of January free classes are being given every Saturday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and every Monday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Just email to reserve a spot in the class.

Location Info: Sage Theater, 711 Seventh Avenue, 2nd floor, Between 47th & 48th St.
New York, NY 10036 (Near the Sbarro's, be sure to look for it, I had walked past a million times without realizing it was there!)

Subway Info:
N/R/W to 49th St., 1/9 to 50th St., F/V or B/D to 47th-50th St.