On Knowing What's Going On

January 10 2014

There are two ways that people tend to describe me to their friends. First is "He wins everything!" I tend to argue against that one, though having just won the listserve lottery I guess I won't bother this time. Second: "He knows everything that's going on!" This one, I'm ok with. I love going out and finding new things to do, and making other people come with. Life can get boring when you never leave your living room. Anyway, friends moving to new cities have asked for advice on how to find new places and events. Here are some tips:

1) Alt News Weeklies
Most midsize-to-large cities will have an Alt Newsweekly or two, those hip newspapers you see in boxes all over the place. They tend to have giant event calendars on their websites. Check them out! The bigger the city, the more silly stuff you'll have to sort through, but it's a good way to see what's going on! Plus, newspapers are great! Read 'em sometimes. [Also, they totally have a ton of contests.]

2) Indiscriminate Facebook Liking
Those same Alt Newsweeklies probably have Facebook pages. Like them! Music venues in town? Like them! Cool clubs, art spaces, restaurants, blogs, like 'em all! Yeah, you'll have to sort through a lot of junk, but if you get good at using lists you can keep your newsfeed from getting too unwieldy. You'll get some spammy posts, but also find out when the bar downtown is having a free scotch tasting, or about that secret movie screening behind the warehouse, or the new restaurant's soft opening, or the rickshaw company's birthday blowout. See also: Twitter, Email Lists, Blogs. [Note: indiscriminate facebook liking is also a great way to win contests. Just saying.]

3) ...Ask other people? Friends? Strangers? Whatever you're comfortable with I guess.

4) Make your own events!
Sometimes everything sounds boring. So... start something that's not. You can even borrow other people's ideas. My friend didn't want to have to go all the way to Maine for competitive Wife Carrying (look it up!) so he helped get it started in Wyoming (as the Cowgirl Olympics). My favorite community story-telling event stopped here, but someone picked it back up in another city an hour away. Maybe start a Kinetic Sculpture Race (look that one up too). There's an annual scavenger hunt at UVA inspired/adapted from the much bigger one in Chicago. And PLEASE check out the Collective of Lady Arm Wrestlers. CLAW started in Charlottesville, but now has spread all across the country. They would love to help you start your own league!

These things seem a little too intense? Just have a dinner party. Or a board game night. Or a Sustained Silent Reading group at a local bar. Whatever's your thing.

So yeah! Go check stuff out! Email me and let me know what cool events you've found or started! Also, easy recipes. I could always use more recipes.

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Charlottesville, VA

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