Feeling nervous about Monday night's first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump? It's OK, you're not alone. And you don't have to watch it alone, either.
The 90-minute debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., will air at 8 p.m. on the broadcast networks and several cable channels. It's moderated by Lester Holt of NBC News and features only the two major-party candidates, Democrat Clinton and Republican Trump.
Given that the contest seems to be tightening, and the general sense of unpredictability that Trump in particular has brought to the race, viewership is likely to be high. Turns out there's all kinds of opportunities around the Twin Cities to take it in with a big group — some free, some not.
Some of these debate-watching parties require tickets or preregistration. In most cases, further details can be found on Facebook or elsewhere online.
• The Theater of Public Policy, a political improv troupe, is hosting its debate event at Bryant Lake Bowl in Minneapolis. With a preshow featuring four Minnesota politicos who host the "Wrong About Everything" podcast, they promise "colorful commentary" during the Clinton-Trump throwdown ala "Mystery Science Theater 3000." Tickets cost $10.
• New Hope Cinema Grill will show all three presidential debates, plus the vice presidential debate. Sponsored by the Fifth Congressional District Republican Party, attendees at all four gatherings can enroll to win a 55-inch TV (actually, VP debate attendees only win a 50-inch TV — no joke). Tickets are $3 in advance and $5 at the door.
• The Riverview Theater in south Minneapolis is showing it free, sponsored by the Senate District 62 and 63 DFL.
• Minneapolis gay bar Lush is hosting a debate party coordinated with Clinton's Minnesota campaign. Several speakers will opine "on the importance of this historic election." No apparent charge.
• The Young Leadership Council of the right-leaning, Minneapolis-based think tank Center for the American Experiment is holding a debate party at the Pourhouse in Minneapolis. They are hyping a game of "debate bingo" as part of the festivities. It costs $15.
• University of Minnesota students can gather and watch the debate for free in the theater at Coffman Memorial Union.
• A couple local radio stations are hosting debate parties. Minnesota Public Radio's free event is at Nomad World Pub in Minneapolis and features "political trivia, presidential bingo, one free drink, and more." WCCO-AM's event, featuring representatives from the Trump and Clinton campaigns in Minnesota at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul, is also free.
• Du Nord Craft Spirits in Minneapolis is throwing a "Presidential Debate with Booze" event in its south Minneapolis cocktail room. These liquor makers suggest they know the best way to watch the proceedings: "with a drink in hand."