Sunday, August 7, 2016

Finding Frugal Ways to Enjoy Culture in the Desert

We had a wonderful vacation last week that along with camping included cultural things that we had never done before: watching Mary Poppins, a production of the Utah Shakespeare Festival, and visiting the new Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA). The kids are still singing Mary Poppins tunes, and I think we'll try to make it a tradition to see a play each year.

I was so impressed with SUMA. It's free, which was nice because the play tickets were kind of pricey. The exhibitions are focused on the Utah national parks in honor of the National Park Service Centennial. Some works of art are for sale. One exhibit really caught my eye, by Kevin Kehoe, called Western Therapy. The works of art showed great Utah scenery, along with people experiencing that scenery. It was magical for me, and one of the reasons I enjoy art so much. I felt reinvigorated seeing those paintings, inspired to go out and enjoy the beautiful scenery around us and be part of it. His exhibit totally worked for me.

When we got home, the Olympics were starting, and I wanted to see them. The problem is that our antenna rarely pulls in NBC. We don't have a cable TV subscription, which is necessary to watch the Olympics on NBC's website. So I did some Internet searching and found an article on about how to watch the Olympic Games without cable. Basically, we have installed Tunnel Bear, a little program that disguises where our computer is. Then we can get on CBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and choose what Olympic event to view. Last night we saw some of the archery on replay (which is kind of handy when you want to skip ahead to see my husband's second cousin compete), swimming, and air pistol this morning (talk about an interesting event I didn't even know was in the Olympics!). So far it's been free, but soon we'll reach our bandwidth limit, and I think we'll be happy to fork over $7.99 to watch the rest of the Olympics. Watching it from a Canadian viewpoint is culturally intriguing--their commercials are better, more intelligent, than those in the U.S. And their announcers are much more fair and even-handed than the U.S. ones. The Canadian swimmers got a bronze medal in the 4 x 100 m freestyle relay, and the announcers were focused on the Australians, who won and broke the World Record.

While I was catching up on blogs, I found one on Money Saving Mom about audiobooks. We've had a subscription to for a few months (after 3 months free we decided to continue because we really like the audiobooks for our frequent long drives). MSM blogged about ways to get free audiobooks, including using Overdrive, a program available at many libraries. I had looked into that briefly a year or two ago but couldn't get it to work on my computer. I decided to try again, this time on my smartphone. Success! All I needed was to download the app and put in my library card number, and I suddenly had access to all sorts of ebooks and audiobooks for free! Most are available for a 7-day checkout. And many are recent, like Janet Evanovich's books and Jenny Lawson's Furiously Happy. Yeehaw, I am a happy camper. Suddenly I have access to so many more books, which is nice when I live in a really remote place. And there are no overdue charges. :)

One other cultural event to mention on this photoless blog post (I know, how weird!). Saturday night, August 13, 2016, at 8 p.m. there's a free concert at the Great Basin Visitor Center in Baker, Nevada, by Hal Cannon and others.

Hurray for some culture out in the desert!

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