If you're looking to enjoy cultural events that are free—or practically free, compared the price of gas—college campuses, filled as they are with the spirit of Cup Ramen-eating, food-mooching students, are a good place to start. Beyond that are the inexpensive offerings at museums, parks and elsewhere that seem to bloom every summer, a testament to the sun's power to boost spirits and generosity.
- Raleigh's Carmike Cinema 15 on Atlantic Springs Road offers a series of late morning "Family Flicks" for free. Call 878-8977.
- N.C. State shows free movies all summer long in the Witherspoon Campus Cinema, including The Great Debaters and Juno.
- Duke Screen Society presents a "Birth of the Cool" film series in conjunction with the Nasher Museum of Art's Barkley Hendricks exhibit. Movies are Thursdays May 29, June 5, June 12, June 19 and July 10. Admission is free and movies begin at 7 p.m. in the auditorium. The titles include Wattstax, Killer of Sheep and Shaft.
- The bimonthly short film festival Flicker presents Attack of the 50 Ft. Reels sometime in June at Cat's Cradle. Check the Web site for updates.
- UNC's Ackland Art Museum will have three exhibits on display throughout the summer, including Art of Love. The museum also offers several free or inexpensive events, including Art after Dark, Yoga in the Galleries, and Music in the Galleries.
- Duke University will have two exhibits on view as well. Mightier Than the Sword: The Satirical Pen of KAL is on display in Rubenstein Hall. ?Pai, Estou Espearando/ Father, I am Waiting?, which documents families of Brazilian sugarcane workers, is on display in the Sanford Building. Both exhibits are open Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Visit calendar.duke.edu for more info. Also, Duke's Nasher Museum of Art is free to those at Duke and in Durham and is cheap for everyone else. Nasher's Barkley Hendricks exhibit Birth of the Cool is on display through July 13.
- Other places to check for exhibits are: NCSU Libraries, featuring a look at Snøhetta's building design; N.C. Museum of Art, featuring Far From Home; the N.C. Museum of Natural History, with an exhibit featuring a recreated 1920s drugstore; N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, with an exhibit on the Dead Sea Scrolls; Historic Oak View County Park, presenting Seeing the Light: How Electricity Changed Rural North Carolina; and N.C. State's Gregg Museum of Art and Design.
- Morehead Planetarium presents Current Science Forum, on the first Thursday of every month, as an outlet for adults to ponder and discuss pressing scientific debates. On June 5 at 7 p.m. will be The Beautiful Mind: Journey Through the Pathways of the Brain. Morehead also holds regular sky watching sessions.
- Carrboro's Weaver Street Market has free jazz concerts on the lawn every Sunday morning. Also, After Hours at Weaver Street features music on the lawn on Thursdays from 6-8 p.m.
- Chapel Hill's Carolina Inn presents Fridays on the Front Porch, every Friday from 5-7 p.m., free of charge.
- Southern Village in Chapel Hill holds its outdoor free Sunday Night Music Series.
- Duke Performances at Duke University has a relatively inexpensive summer series in Duke Gardens.
- In Durham, the Tobacco Road Concert Series will take place outdoors at CCB Plaza and is free.
- The Streets at Southpoint in Durham sponsors a free summer music series, which lasts until the end of June and runs 7-10 p.m. each concert.
- Every Saturday morning from 9-10:30 a.m. there is free yoga in the outdoors of Durham's Central Park (at Hunt Street and Foster Street). Participants should bring a towel and water to drink. Call 682-2800 for more info.
- Counter Culture Coffee in Durham offers Coffee Cuppings on Fridays at 10 a.m., which give people the chance to taste coffees and get a tour of the roastery and headquarters. Counter Culture also offers labs, classes and seminars taught by coffee specialists—pre-registration is required, but there's no cost (361-5282).
- Preservation Durham offers free walking tours on Saturdays from April through November. Meet at 10 a.m. at the Preservation Durham sign at the Durham Farmers' Market. Tours take 1-2 hours (682-3036).