Cheap dates

Places to ring in the New Year for less than $25

See if this late-December dilemma sounds familiar: The presents you agonized over for eons have just barely been pushed to the back of the closet, where they will wait, untouched, until regifted. Suddenly, your significant other swivels toward you to say, “What are we doing for New Year’s Eve?” If you’re like me, your first instinct would be to hide at home with Netflix until all the drunks are off the roads. But if you are more interested in a romantic ending to this holiday season, I suggest getting out of the house with your honey and hitting one of Orlando’s of New Year’s entertainments.

You could drop some serious dough ringing in 2011 at one of the Disney parks, or pay to party at CityWalk with Bret “Rock of Love” Michaels (no word if he’s contracted to have an aneurism live on stage at the stroke of midnight). Or if you’re eager to see the inside of the multi-purpose performance and meeting space that Florida Theatrical Association is opening at the Sanctuary in Thornton Park, check out Artful Events’ “Midnight at the MEZZ,” featuring entertainment by Nitesol, food by chef Jamie McFadden and 
$125 tickets.

A more unexpected (and affordable) option might be one of the following events being offered by some of our area’s arts institutions and culture contributors. Each has a cover charge of $25 or less, so you’ll have cash left over for celebratory libations. Or, if you really want to impress that special someone, hit them all, and turn your farewell to Yuletime into a full-on artsy bar-crawl. You might discover there’s more to having an artful finale to 2010 than just getting blitzed and watching a ball drop.

Beautiful Music Trio 
at the Morse Museum

Winter Park’s tony tribute to Tiffany’s decorative glass art probably isn’t the first place you’d think of for a rocking end-of-the-year bash. But if you’re looking for a serene and civilized way to start your night’s festivities, the Morse Museum’s regular Friday Night live music festival – which happens to fall on New Year’s Eve this year – might make for a perfect appetizer. From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., the Beautiful Music Jazz Trio will serenade you with flute, bass and guitar as you stare sagely at the museum’s exquisitely sculpted silica. Best of all, admission to the museum is normally $5, but on Friday night it’s free. So your date will think you’re sophisticated and classy when you’re really just being cheap. (Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, 445 
N. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-645-5311, , free)

Dress to Kill at the Enzian

Let’s face it, espionage in the age of Julian Assange just ain’t what it used to be. What once conjured images of suave assassins in slick suits is now hopelessly smeared with decidedly unglamorous Wikileaks. Even Daniel Craig was only able to reinvigorate James Bond’s box office by turning him into a grim, gadgetless Bourne-alike. If you long for the days when secret agents knew how to shake (not stir) things up, then don your Don Draper best and steer the Aston Martin to the Enzian. The art-house cinema is celebrating its second annual James Bond “Dress to Kill” New Year’s Eve party with a screening of the 1965 Sean 
Connery classic Thunderball, starting at 8 p.m. For your $25-per-person cover you can also dance to DJ-spun tunes until 2 a.m., or just marinate in the modness while ordering hors d’ oeuvres or 007-themed cocktails from the Eden Bar. Just don’t go firing your Walther PPK into the sky at midnight – people might get hurt (and not just evil SPECTRE henchmen). (Enzian Theater, 1300 S. 
Orlando Ave., Maitland, 407-629-0054, , $25)

New Year’s Eve Bakesale 
at Peacock Room

The big hour is rapidly approaching, so before it’s time to sing “Auld Lang Syne,” consider swinging by the Peacock Room for the vaguest celebration on our New Year’s Eve circuit. Peacock is an odd inter-dimensional intersection: one-half bar, one-third stage, two-sevenths art gallery and (more often than not) filled with freaks. Starting at 9 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, artist Andrew Spear, along with DJs MOT and Ken Sherry, are taking over the joint for a “bakesale” – wink wink, nudge nudge, we presume? Nobody knows what shenanigans these “legendary fools” will get up to; all we can say for sure is that $10 gets you free champagne at midnight and that “LOTS of BOOZE, GROPING, DANCING, YELLING [and] SCREAMING” are promised. (Peacock Room, 
1321 N. Mills Ave., 407-228-0048, , $10)

Peek-a-Boo Burlesque

By now you’ve spent the evening imbibing intoxicants around town. It’s time to seal the deal and see if your intended is open to any erotic intentions. For a sensual (but not overly smutty) icebreaker, climax your celebrations with a chaser at downtown’s Stardust Lounge, site of the Peek-a-Boo Burlesque show. Beginning at 10 p.m., BabyBlue – the choreographer behind the Fringe Festival’s blockbuster VarieTease shows – will present a bounty of barely clad beauties in an artistically exotic experience that’s the opposite of your average skeevy strip club. Admission is $7, which includes the obligatory champagne toast at midnight, and VIP tables with bottle service are available. If you 
can’t get lucky after taking your lady (or lad) to this party, there’s just no hope for you. Might as well give up, and give it a go again next year. (Stardust Lounge, 
431 E. Central Ave., 407-839-0080, , $7)

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