Saturday, February 7, 2009

One Idea in Detail: One Event per Day for a Quarter

One of the ideas on my first dozen list is to spend a HarvilleQuarter attending some sort of event in my home town (in my case, Madison, Wisconsin) every day, focusing primarily on those I most likely would not have attended without this incentive. In other words, besides the opportunities for learning, growth and playfulness, there could be some riskiness as well - not physical risk, but the risk that I won't enjoy them, or understand them, or may be surrounded by people who don't seem very much like me. Which means - it ought to make for a great HarvilleQuarter.

To visualize what this might be like, I’ve taken the last three Madison weekly newspapers (the Isthmus) and sketched out three weeks of daily events that I might actually enjoy. These particular events are listed in order, one per day, starting Thursday, January 22, 2009.

  1. Lululemonade, deep relaxation class
  2. Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra
  3. Duck Soup Cinema
  4. Cook for the homeless at Lutheran Campus Center
  5. Russian National Ballet
  6. University of Wisconsin Men's Tennis against Marquette
  7. Wild Ones Wildflower Photo Tour at Sequoya Branch Library (just 3 blocks from my house)
  8. Stand-up Comedy at the Comedy Club
  9. Madison Rep production of "Bus Stop"
  10. Sexy Ester and the Pretty Mama Sisters at Frequency
  11. Madison Gay Hockey Association
  12. Michael Hanson Jazz Group at the Samba
  13. Lunch lecture "Milton House and the Underground Railroad," Wisconsin Historical Society
  14. Bruce Bengtson organ concert, Luther Memorial
  15. Javier Calderon, guitarist
  16. Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, talk by exhibit curator
  17. Live simulcast of "Lucia di Lammermoor" by the Metropolitan Opera
  18. Ben Taylor, Schuyler Fisk at the High Noon Saloon
  19. Master class with Karen Caballero, soprano, and David Collins, pianist
  20. Lecture by Chrystia Freeland, Financial Times U.S. managing editor
  21. Lecture by Biddy Martin, UW chancellor
  22. UW Women's Basketball vs. Penn State

About half of these events are free or have no cover charge. I figured out that, buying the cheapest ticket when there are multiple prices, the three weeks would run me $137, or about $6.50 per day or less than a movie, which doesn't seem too bad for 22 days of entertainment.

I'm also struck by whole categories of events that I could have included, such as meetings of government organizations (and in a state capital, there are plenty of those), judicial bodies (a morning listening to arguments at the state supreme court, for example), religious ceremonies, high school athletics and musical or dramatic productions, poetry readings, volunteer opportunities and more. Over the course of three months, I can be exposed to an amazing array of new experiences.

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