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Let Your Friends Pay Your Rent

By Stuart Schultz

A friend of mine just lost his job and is very concerned about making his December rent payment. So what can he do to raise some cash? Throw a houseparty! (We can easily figure out where this road can take us from watching any of the college moves we've come to love.) Surprisingly enough, there's actually a history behind this concept, AND an official name: "Rent Party."

In Harlem in the 1920s, tenants who didn't have enough money to cover their monthly rent would hire musicians, invite friends, and then pass around a hat and ask for donations. And it worked. In fact, these rent parties are considered by some to be a driving force in the birth of Jazz.

I have no idea how this hair-brained scheme could work in 2008, but I guess it's worth a shot. If nothing else, maybe the art form of tomorrow will emerge in the apartments of today's unemployed grads. Or maybe everyone can just play Guitar Hero.

Who said the recession was a bad thing? Party on.

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