For A-List Living on D-List Dimes......

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass - The ONLY Place To Be This Weekend.....

There is truly NOTHING better to do in the city this weekend than go visit the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park.
What is it??  Celebrating its' TENTH anniversary this year, the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival has been Mr Warren Hellman's most generous gift to the city of San Francisco and attracts music lovers from all over the globe.  Whoever thought it was even possible to view up to ninety different music acts at six stages over three days??!  Well this weekend only folks - it is!
Some of my favorites are the wonderful Steve Earle, Emmy Lou Harris, Exene and Patti Smith.  Check out the line-up here!
C'mon folks - it's a FREE show.  And of course, let me know what you think of it!

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Free For All.....

Ask any of my exes and there is one thing they will all surely agree upon – I have a very suspicious mind. I’m one who bases my opinions on people not on what they tell me but on what they hold back. I’m a great girl for reading between the lines and I’ll never accept anything just on face value. I’m also a fervent believer in the fact that there’s no such thing as a free lunch – let’s face it, a man never buys you a drink in a bar just to be ‘nice’. Even if my bank balance is hurtling towards overdraft status I will always pay my own way. I just don’t like being beholden to others. So when I started hearing all the rumblings about these great ‘free’ movie nights in parks all over San Francisco my spidey senses were piqued – there had to be a catch. I wasn’t going to be conned into this one so easily. Despite the valiant efforts of many of my friends to lure me to Dolores Park with promises of bottles of wine and their boyfriend’s cute friends I resisted for many months. It just didn’t really make sense to me. I guess I’m a sucker for the unattainable. If you put a price tag on it that I can’t afford I will base my entire existence on how I can procure it. Make it free and therefore within reach of the masses and I’m just not so sure that I’m interested. Nonetheless, with pay day being a pipe dream right now and no plans on a Saturday night I somehow found myself making my way to movie night at Washington Square in North Beach. And yes – it managed to seduce me.

I suppose another reason why I was a fervent disbeliever is that of course I’d already seen the films that are shown at these movie nights so I couldn’t quite get on board with the hype. However, I realize after my experience on Saturday night that it is all about the ambience….the mood…..the feeling…..and the movie is in essence just the thing that facilitates all this. I was quite clearly a novice to the scene. I minced down there in my new tank dress (I’m OBSESSED with eBay at the moment btw!) only to find it a solid minus 20 degrees cooler than my previous destination and getting colder by the second. Were it not for the fact that my friends car was loaded with clothes she was giving to Goodwill I probably would have only lasted about forty minutes. Another reason why I love her. The thing about movie night is it’s all about the spread. We were clearly a lot less organized than our fellow movie goers who had come equipped with tables, glassware and crock pots of food but we managed to pull together a sizeable feast within minutes - multiple blankets, layers of clothes, a couple of bottles of wine from Trader Joes (thank you once again to the lady in the yellow hat who seemed to be the only ingĂ©nue who thought to bring a wine key and therefore somehow became responsible for opening all the vino for the entire park), some delicious chocolate covered caramelized pecan delights and a phenomenal pizza from Tony’s. Seriously – I could have sat in the park all night just eating and drinking and laughing with friends. The movie, Amelie, was so cute and with the Cathedral of St Peter and Paul (the church where Marilyn Monroe married Joe DiMaggio) as our backdrop I just couldn’t help thinking to myself – life’s not too shabby right now.

As I steamed myself in a piping hot bath after the fact (note to self – bring lots of layers!) I just couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I had such an incredibly lovely evening. And what’s more – I spent literally no money. Love it! The girls got the vino and I splurged an entire twenty bucks on the pizza. Had I spent my night in a bar I’d have bid adieu to at least four times this much money. Had I spent my night at home I’d have felt sorry for myself. And probably given that much money to the Chinese delivery guy. I also started thinking about what an incredible city San Francisco is and how much it facilitates the recessionista lifestyle. There are so many free activities available to us in this city. Just last week I was meandering through Golden Gate Park when I stumbled upon a free concert by the Golden Gate Park Brass band. It was so cool. It was something that I would have neither paid nor planned to go to see but randomly finding it was so special. Of course, probably the most phenomenal free event in the city is coming up in the next couple of weeks – the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival (October 1-3). Yes, yes, for those of you that know me you will realize there is an element of shameless self-promotion going on here (I am lucky enough to work for the company that produces this festival and will be out in Golden Gate Park from September 27th onwards working on set-up) but regardless, this is an undeniably amazing gift that Mr. Warren Hellman gives to the city. The festival takes place over three days and with six stages features over 90 incredible acts including Patti Smith, Emmylou Harris, Joan Baez, Mike Patton and Steve Earle (these are some of my favorites). Seriously, even though I work on this event when I take a step back I sometimes can’t believe that this level of talent is available to us for zero dollars. So pack a picnic and get yourselves out to the park for a frugalista-friendly few days of fantastic music.

Being serious doesn’t really suit me but let’s face it – the last few years have not necessarily been kind to most of us financially. We need to forget about keeping up with the Joneses. Look outside the box. Check out the free street fairs and festivals that your city has to offer and you can still live that fun, diverse city lifestyle and stay out of the red. I’d love for you guys to share with me what other fun, free events you know about. Leave a comment here or on the LoveBidBuy Facebook page. We gotta help each other out, sistas!

So I guess I need to start eating my words cos after my experience last night I reckon there probably is such thing as a free lunch in this city……..

WHERE TO GO??   Film Night In The Park

                                 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival

When I wasn't looking at the screen this was my view!

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