Despite high ticket prices for many shows, it’s possible to get quality arts and entertainment on a budget in Charlotte. You just have to know where to look. Here are 10 suggestions:
North Carolina has long been known as a musical hotbed – from Nina Simone and Doc Watson to Charlotte’s own Anthony Hamilton. Lesser-known musicians perform for $10 or less almost every day. Catch Rock Hill Americana act Elonzo’s free Wednesday night residency through January at Plaza Midwood’s Snug Harbor, for instance, as well as jazz-funk fusion ensemble Groove 8 at the Double Door on Jan. 19. Even veterans play for cheap. Antiseen returns to Tremont for a mere $10 Feb. 23.
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The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art’s monthly jazz series offers live jazz from the Ziad Quartet on the first Friday monthly. In February guest vocalist Toni Tupponce joins the group during its “Jazz For Lovers” program. The events are free to museum members, $12 for nonmembers. 6 p.m. www.bechtler.org.
The Yacht Rock Revue, at Visulite Jan. 25, and Meow Meow at Blumenthal Performing Arts’ Stage Door Theatre Feb. 4-7 are those rare hip anomalies (like performance art duo Die Roten Punkte or hair rock vocal orchestra Bang Camaro) that you’ll wish you’d caught when you hear your friends talking about them later. Yacht celebrates the 1970s and ’80s AM sounds of Christopher Cross, Boz Scaggs, and Hall & Oates. Meow Meow is a satire-soaked cabaret that hits on French pop, Shanghai show tunes and other exotic musical locales. Yacht, $10, www.blumenthalarts.org; $15, www.visulite.com.
The Back Alley Film Series features independent, foreign, student and grindhouse films you won’t see at any other Charlotte theater. Up next are Mark Hamill and “Candyman’s” Tony Todd in “Sushi Girl” Jan. 24, and “John Dies at the End” from “Bubba Ho-Tep/Phantasm” director Don Coscarelli Feb. 14. Admission is $7, or $5 for Charlotte Film Society members (annual membership is $10). 7:30 p.m. Crownpoint Theatre, 9630 Monroe Road. 704-847-2024; www.facebook.com/backalleyfilmseries.
The Evening Muse is the city’s most economical and intimate venue for national songwriters. In January and February the venue boasts Lucy Kaplansky (Jan. 11), Shannon Whitworth (Jan. 26), Indigo Girl Amy Ray solo (Jan. 29), hot roots music songwriters Carrie Rodriguez (Feb. 1) and Lindi Ortega (Feb. 5) for $15 or less. www.eveningmuse.com.
The Bechtler’s Music and Museum series features two chamber music concerts on the first Tuesday of each month, as well as a monthly Sunday concert. Tuesday concerts at noon are free to members, $5 for nonmembers. The 5 p.m. version is $15 for members, $20 for nonmembers. January features Schubertiade. Art to Poetry to Music – Jan. 20’s Sunday concert at 4 and 7 p.m. – explores Chinese cultural arts, featuring guest Chinese bass-baritone Sun Yu among other guests. Tickets are $20, $5 for children 10 and under. www.bechtler.org.
The Fillmore offers the occasional deal. Buzz band A Silent Film plays Feb. 1. Tickets are $10.50 after service fees ( http://fillmorecharlottenc.com/event/0E00499294056C48). The Double Door hosts up-and-coming New Orleans’ soul singer Ryan Montbleau Jan. 23 ($10) and the Dirty Bourbon River Show Jan. 30 ($8). Songwriter Joe Pug (Feb. 14) and legendary funk outfit Fishbone (Feb. 21) play the Visulite. Triangle-area buzz band Delta Rae and Z.Z. Ward play March 9 and Apache Relay plays March 30. All shows are $15 or less. ( www.visulite.com).
Actor’s Theatre Charlotte offers discounted $17 tickets on preview nights for its new productions as well as a Pay What You Can Night. Preview nights for “The Whipping Man” are Feb. 15 and 16. Pay What You Can is Feb. 27. www.actorstheatrecharlotte.org. Blumenthal Performing Arts, Charlotte Symphony, N.C. Dance Theatre and Opera Carolina each offer a variety of discounts to students, seniors and others.
In addition to Snug Harbor’s monthly Wednesday residencies, Knocturnal each Monday begins with B-Boys breakdancing and DJs spinning hip-hop and electronic music and ends with freestyling emcees. It’s a taste of local hip-hop culture. www.snugrock.com.
The Comedy Zone has plenty of seats for $15 or less: For monthly live tapings of “Crazy Late with Johnny Millwater” – a Conanesque variety talk show (8 p.m.) – or for national touring stand-up comedians like “Last Comic Standing’s” Jeff Lehr (Jan. 23-26), South African comedian Trevor Noah (Feb. 6-9) or “That Metal Show’s” Don Jamieson and Jim Florentine (Feb. 20-23). www.cltcomedyzone.com. The Chuckleheads’ improv performances are $10 in advance and $15 at the door: Dilworth Neighborhood Grille Jan. 19. www.planetimprov.com.