HITTING THE STACKS
Libraries are the biggest cultural bargain around. Not only do they offer books, magazines, CDs, videos, and internet access, but they have lectures, exhibits, classes, and special events for kids.
I take advantage of the system right in my home office. Let’s say I read a review of a novel that sounds interesting: this is usually a psychological mystery written by a woman that takes place in a gloomy English village. I just reserve it online, and my local branch contacts me when the book is available. Easy as pie. (An expression I’ve never really understood: what’s so easy about pie? I think pie is difficult.)
Many of my friends belong to book clubs. This is a great way to combine intellectual stimulation with snacks. It’s not for me, though, because some of the choices are non-fiction, and I have very little interest in the real world.
One day I’m going to organize a Shakespeare book club. I’ve read and seen many of the plays, but always feel that I’m missing a lot of it – especially the jokes: there are too many puns based on unfamiliar words. I need help.
Every museum has one free night a week and many offer free concerts. LACMA has jazz in the atrium on Fridays. You sit outdoors, sip a glass of wine, and snap your fingers to some Dixieland: a pleasant way to end the week.
They also have Latin jazz in the park behind the museum every Saturday at 5. People bring picnics, then work off the calories on the dance floor.
On Sundays there’s classical music at 6 in the Bing theatre. All these wonderful musical events cost zero, nul, nada. For details, go to www.LACMA.org.
Galleries are a great freebie for art-lovers. You can put yourself on a gallery’s mailing list and get invited to openings. If you don’t care for the current exhibit of grotesque fat ladies, there’s always the free wine and cheese - and terrific people-watching; artsy types wear the most interesting jewelry.