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Cheap Thrills

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WOW JAM FESTIVAL This family-oriented event was spearheaded by Stephen Tavani and his wife Linda, a former "Peaches" of Peaches and Herb fame. Communities in need are provided with different services including free haircuts, bicycle repair, groceries, career and health counseling. Volunteers are especially needed in this effort to give back. Aug. 2-5, 4pm at Boulevard Homes and Little Rock Apts; Optimist Park, Belmont and Villa Heights; Double Oaks and Druid Hills; Briar Creek, Commonwealth and Central Ave. For details go to www.wowjamcharlotte.com.

SUMMER RETRO FILM SERIES Check out film classics all summer long at the Ballantyne Village Theatre, 14815 John J. Delaney Dr. Get the complete schedule at www.ballantynevillage.com and order tickets online or by calling 704-369-5101. Aug. 4-6: Billy Madison. Friday-Saturday, 10pm and midnight; Sunday, 1pm. $5.

CHARLOTTE COMEDY THEATRE Have ya been moping around, feeling a little blue? Then here's the thing for you! Check out Sunday's Open Mic Jam, a combo of comedy, spoken word, music, you name it. Show at 7pm; $3. The location is 1308 D the Plaza. Call for reservations 1-866-467-7681. Web: www.charlottecomedy.com.

FROM BUSBY TO BOLLYWOOD: CLASSIC MUSICALS The Main Library's Summer Film Series will present its latest season at its new viewing venue in ImaginOn's Wachovia Theatre. Films throughout the summer will be shown at 2pm Sundays. Remaining title: Devdas (August 6). Admission is free. For further info, call 704-336-6217 or go to www.plcmc.org.

SHINDIG ON THE GREEN Put on your dancing ... clogs and hike on up to Asheville for the 40th season of music and dance, Appalachian-style. Shindig on the Green celebrates the rich heritage of this great region with showcases featuring folk musicians and dancers, old-time string bands, ballad singers (reminiscent of O Brother Where Art Thou), storytellers and, of course, cloggers! Bring a lawn chair or blanket and cuddle up to the sounds of the mountain. The show will be held this year at Martin Luther King Jr. Park in downtown Asheville. Runs Saturdays: Aug. 12, 19, 26; and Sept. 2. Reserve your tickets at 828-258-6101 ext. 345. Web: www.folkheritage.org.

SALSA NIGHTS Be Shakira for a night and prove that your "Hips Don't Lie" at the free Latin-style dance lessons offered at the Loft, 1526 Elizabeth Ave. Learn salsa, merengue, bachata and more. Touting "celebrity instructors," this joint gets hips swiveling every Wednesday night at 8pm. Hit www.hispanos-usa.com or call 704-333-5898.

TANGO & TAPAS Patou and the Charlotte Tango Society host this free informal lesson on the Argentinian tango, perfect for making friends. Learn this sensual dance and improve existing skills with instructor Daniel Arredondo. Monday nights at 7pm. Patou, A French Bistro, 1315 East Blvd. Call 704-376-2233 or visit www.patoubistro.com or www.passionfortango.com.

SPORTS CONNECTION The ultimate cheap thrill is, of course, sports! Among the conventional sports offered at this complex are unconventional (and cheap) games like laser tag and skating. For $5, future Tony Hawks can skate all day -- and Star Wars fans can play laser tag. Go online www.SportsConnectionNC.com or call 704-583-1444.

LEARN TO MEDITATE Take it from loyal practitioners of meditation: There's nothing like it to take the stress of your workday off your shoulders. That's why the Pain & Rehab Institute is offering a free class in the breathing techniques and imagery used in ancient qi gong meditation (betcha didn't know there was more than one kind). The office is located at 128 E. Plaza Drive in Mooresville. Classes are Thursdays at 7:30pm. Call 704-649-1629 to get started on the path to serenity.

SUMMER SHOOTOUT SERIES Here's something to do this summer the kids will love. Kids: imagine, if you will, watching a school bus, that big yellow monstrosity that takes you to the worst place on earth, hurtling towards another one on a one-way collision course. Sounds good, huh? The rundown: 10 races over nine weeks (June 16-Aug. 8) with a fireworks doubleheader, character-themed race cars called CRASHcars, Legends Car, Thunder Roadster and Bandolero racing. Grab the kids and race to Lowe's Motor Speedway. Hit 'em up at 1-800-455-3267 or www.lowesmotorspeedway.com. $5 adults/$3 children (ages 6-12).

=FREE!

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