Broke-Ass of the Week

Broke-Ass of the Week – Kelly Malone

Updated: Aug 14, 2009 08:44
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Every week we feature a different person from the community shedding a little light on their life of brokeitude. Who knows, maybe you’ll learn something about the human spirit'probably not.

Wanna be a Broke-Ass of the Week? Holler at us here and we’ll send you the questionnaire.

Name: Kelly Malone aka Smelly Cologne if we were in third grade

Age: 26 (plus nine)

Occupation: Let me list them all:  Indie Mart girl.  Designer of stuff – stores, displays and interiors.  Timbuk2 bag maker.

What neighborhood do you live in?: Western addition (woot woot) and previously the Mission.

Best money saving tip: Be nice.  I love hugging people and just being nice.  Tipping well.  Helping people out how I can.  In the end it always gets me so much free stuff in return…or cheap drinks, dinners, etc.  I never ask for it or expect it, but when you give,  people give back sometimes.  Other than that, I always buy vintage, find $1 PBR nights and shop on craigslist before I go new.

What do you refuse to spend money on?: Jeans.  I don’t get the $200 jeans thing.  I have yet to find jeans that make my ass look so good that I will spend 200 bucks on them.  I am shamefully wearing $20 Old Navy jeans that I’ve had for 2 years, with holes in the thighs.  They make my ass look better than the $200 ones and I have money in my pocket.

Most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?: A 200 year old Chinese hand carved 6 ft by 6 ft wardrobe.  It sits in my mom’s living room in Philly and someday I will ship it out here.  It was $3500 and I got it on sale for $1800.  I had just gotten my first high paying job and said “why the hell not”.

How’d that feel?: Like I was Crystal Carrington from Dynasty.  Or Ricky Schroder on Silver Spoons, riding around on my own personal train.  Amongst all my hand me down and thrift store furniture, I felt like a million bucks.  That shit had history behind it and probably 12 other people have owned it.  Imagine all the weird stuff thats been in that thing.  I would bet at some point a Chinese acrobat sat in it.

Favorite cheap eat: Outdoors – a Zeitgeist burger.  Oh my god.  It’s like my dad cooked it on the grill, only layer in some serious attitude and someone screaming your name, when the order is ready, in the most undecipherable mumble you could ever hear.  Indoors – Fly Bar on Divisadero has the best happy hour ever.  Half price pizzas, sangria and beer.  The pizza is goooood.  For 8 bucks I get a pizza and a nice size beer.  Hello!

Favorite dive bar: This city is a gold mine for these, so I have to go by my own fucked up rating system. Dive bar to make-out in the bathroom – Pops.  Dive bar worth driving to when you actually have a car for a night – The Broken Record.  Dive bar to hang with your friends & dance – The Attic.  Dive bar where you won’t see anyone you know – the Geary Club.  And the crowning glory for me, the best dive bar to get drunk as hell for under $12, listen to old soul music, make out in, get free popcorn AND have the company of straights, gays, thugs, old Mexican guys and the awesome neighborhood tranny that showed me her new lady parts once – the Phone Booth.  I have more lack of memories than actual memories of this place.  But the stories are great the next day from your friends.

Best deal you’ve ever gotten: I was driving by this mound of sidewalk trash and stopped to pick through the furniture.  The folks saw me and invited me in, where I proceeded to get an entire garbage bag of about 200 vintage slips from thier grandma.  I collect slips and wear them everyday, so this was the mother load.  Not to mention the stack of 50s decorating magazines, the lamps and all the dresses I got too.  They asked for $20.  I gave them $40 and a tearful thanks.

Favorite free thing to do: Sit in Dolores Park on a warm night and swing on the swings.  Best view in the city and a magical place.  Movie night there is pretty good too.

If you woke up a millionaire, what’s the first thing you’d buy?: An old Firebird.

Despite not having money, do you still love your life?: Hell yes!  I had a moment, though brief, where I made killer money and you know what? I wasn’t nearly as creative and driven as I am when I’m broke.  The Indie Mart came out of being broke and made me love it.  Money does not equal happiness.

Do you own my book?: Um, no.  I own the zine.  Old school.  Got it my first week here and loved your ass ever since.  You helped make my broke-ass social life.

Best hangover cure: Ashamed to admit it, but a McDonald’s double cheeseburger, a Revive Vitamin Water, 2 Flintstones vitamins and a ton of aspirin.

Are you a hipster?: I quote The Guardian, 'œ…Kelly Malone, a tattooed hipster chic…' kinda funny.  I am a 35 year old geek who wears gramma panties and size 16 old navy jeans, an old dead lady’s slips, rides an old squeaky Schwinn, listens to Fugazi when I make-out and watches Blade Runner almost weekly.  I really dont know when that shifted from me getting beat up to being cool.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.


  1. April 10, 2009 at 11:08 am

    […] Macaroni headbands and free beer. Pulling these fine things together has earned her the title of Broke Ass of the Week. You should see what she can do with a whole Indie Mart (next one is Apr […]

  2. Dan Roberts
    April 27, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    I found your blog and read a few of the posts. Keep up the good work. I am looking forward to checking out more from you in the future.

  3. […] our fave lady Kelly Malone, proprietor of the Indie Mart and all things amazing, is setting up a spiked lemonade fort in […]

  4. December 18, 2009 at 7:35 am

    A pal urged me to check out this site, nice post, fascinating read… keep up the nice work!

  5. […] Kelly Malone, founder of The Indie Mart and founder of Workshop, has been a staple of the DIY scene in San Francisco for the last five years. Through her creation and devotion towards The Indie Mart, a local design street fair that she began in her back yard in the Mission and now regularly attracts an audience of three thousand, giving first time Bay Area designers an opportunity to take a part-time DIY hobby into full-fledged businesses and San Francisco consumers a chance to shop new, underground, local & handmade. She worked aggressively to grow Workshop to a schedule of over 40 DIY classes a month, from just a year ago when we had about 12 classes a month. She has worked these past two years with little to no salary from Workshop, purposefully sacrificing income to keep Workshop class prices low and guarantee access to anyone whom is interested. In the last year, she has taken Workshop to the Treasure Island Music Festival, designed several spaces/ stores in the city such as Shotwell, started writing DIY pieces for the Bold Italic, and won a top 10 spot in the ReadyMade 100. Through all of this, Kelly still found time to teach at Workshop, and ended many of her nights there making rad stuff over a cold beer (hey, after all that is what she made Workshop all about!) […]