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Cheap Thrills

Comicon, Movies in the Park, Shindig on the Green

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CHARLOTTE COMICON Can you rival Unbreakable's Elijah Price's knowledge of superhero origins and weaknesses? If you answered YES to that question, then totally ignore this blurb because you already have your ticket. For everyone else, welcome to every comic lover's dream (which, by the way, is no longer relegated to geeky teenage boys with no social lives), the largest one day comic book convention in the Carolinas. Sun., Aug. 13, 10am at the Best Western Uptown, 201 S. McDowell St. www.davescomicsonline.com. $2; 12 and under free.

MOVIES IN THE PARK Not quite Breakfast at Tiffany's in Central Park, but still a great local substitution. This free event for the whole family is sponsored by Watershed in conjunction with the Parks and Recreation Department. Movies begin at dusk at the Amphitheatre in Freedom Park, 1900 East Blvd., with free popcorn and drawings. Bring your own blanket or chairs for the final showing: Friday, August 11. Info at www.watershedcharlotte.com.

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.

SCHOOL TOOLS CAMPAIGN Wanna find a cheap thrill that's really worthwhile? Look no further. Give a needy kid a good start at success this year and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing summer's that much closer to being over and the little darlings will be back to work and out of your hair! Drop-offs at: Classroom Central, 2116 Wilkinson Blvd; "Mint After Five" -- Fri., Aug. 18 at the Mint Museum of Craft & Design, 220 N. Tryon St.; Baseball Games: Aug. 4 -- Gastonia Grizzlies; Aug. 11 -- Charlotte Knights; Aug. 19 -- Hickory Crawdads; Aug. 25 -- Kannapolis Intimidators; Tue., Aug. 15 -- Golden Corral, 2507 W. Roosevelt Blvd., Monroe, NC; Wed., Aug. 23 -- Food Lion, 5624 N. Graham St; Last Day Push -- Thu., Aug. 31 at WSOC-TV, 1901 N. Tryon St. Go to www.cischarlotte.org for more info.

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.

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.

LIVING WITH FAITH This special screening with filmmaker Diedre Thomas takes the place of the cancelled July 9th premiere as part of the Soul Cinema series. Faith stars Blackgirl magazine publisher Kenya James and ATL radio personality Sasha the Diva as the 15-year-old and her drug-using parent. The screening takes place Sat., Aug. 12 at 4pm. Tickets are $5/$10 for families. Location: Afro-American Cultural Center, 401 N. Myers St. Call 704-374-1565 for details.

= FREE!

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