You know that longstanding piece of advice, “Always say yes”? It gets applied to everything from career opportunities to dating, and I’m here to tell you that it’s a good life policy for life in New York. Look, I’m not saying go crazy – I’ll say no to drinks or other evening outings if I need to be up early for work the next morning, or if it just doesn’t sound that interesting to me. But if something sounds moderately interesting – and it’s free or inexpensive – I say yes. I’ve gotten to see shows for free, seen advance screenings of movies, gone to a taping of a panel TV show, heard Renee Fleming speak about her career, gone on an after-hours visit to the Natural History Museum…

Some of these opportunities have come through friends, ones with tickets they couldn’t use or needed to share – or through work, like most movie screenings I’ve been to. But others are just from paying attention, and, when presented with a chance to do something, saying, “Sure, why not”. When I went to that Harry Potter event a few years ago and saw Daniel Radcliffe, it was because of a posting I’d come across on Twitter. I got a free ticket to Pitch Perfect because I was a fan of the Varsity Vocals Facebook page (the group that runs the real-life competition, ICCA, that Pitch Perfect was based on) and I noticed when they posted about an advance screening. I heard about the Renee Fleming talk because I’m a Facebook fan of Thirteen, the local PBS channel. The call for extras for “Love is Strange” was posted on my college choir’s Facebook page.
Time Out magazine is of course a great resource – I’ve been receiving it for free for years without knowing why, but I suspect it’s because I signed up for HIPTIX a while back. HIPTIX is a program for people ages 18 to 35 who want discount tickets to theater productions put on by the Roundabout Theatre Company. I’ve only used it once, to see The Importance of Being Earnest, but I hope to go see Cabaret in the fall – and to pay only $25 for it. Apparently signing up nets you a TimeOut subscription, so if you don’t already get the magazine every week, consider putting your name down for HIPTIX.
Local blogs that are bit more timely than mine (I mostly post about outings that aren’t tootime-sensitive, with a few exceptions) can clue you into upcoming events. I learned about the singles night at Brooklyn Game Lab through F’ed in Park Slope (and then wrote about it for them). If you live in Brooklyn, consider putting yourself on the Brooklyn Brainery mailing list. They have inexpensive courses and some free events. I haven’t gone to one yet but am planning to soon, and all of their listings sound interesting!
What’s the best thing you’ve said yes to doing, and where do you hear about random-but-awesome opportunities?