Arts and CultureDIYSan Francisco

DIY Mania All Month Long

The Bay's best newsletter for underground events & news

Screenprinting, fermenting, hot-gluing, oh my! This month is like a DIY lover’s entry to Oz, a land where everything is more colorful because of spraypaint, mosaic tiles, and vintage fabric. Did you read that NY Times article about how we can’t grow up and get “real” jobs? Well, I don’t know if it’s the crappy job market that makes us want to do arts and crafts all day like we did in kindergarten, or if the fumes from the glue and spraypaint are rendering our brains incompetent for even entry-level positions, but either way it’s fine with me. Regardless of what makes us love to do-it-ourselves, this month offers a plethora of DIY-inspired events.

Photo via Shotwell 50 Studio

DIY BARBIES: My sister used to take lighters and burn the legs and arms off of her Barbies. And mine. That’s pretty Do-It-Yourself, if what you are trying to “Do” is worry your parents that you’re disturbed, be a pyromaniac, and traumatize your little sister. Shotwell 50 Studio in the Mission is having the artist reception for the 8th Annual Altered Barbie Exhibit. Who doesn’t want to dress up as their favorite Barbie or Ken, watch Barbie movies and performances, and see an exhibit filled with dominatrix Barbies mounting each other, Barbies and Kens reenacting Botticelli paintings, and Barbie and Ken as Barack and Michelle? (By the way, you should definitely read the fascinating Wikipedia entry for Barbie, where the invention of a series of African American Barbies is listed under “Controversies.” Typical. Check out the first one, offensively named “Colored Francie.” Holy shit!)

8th Annual Altered Barbie Exhibit
Thursday, September 16th, 5-11pm
Shotwell 50 Studio
50 Shotwell St. @ 14th St. [Mission]


DIY HEAVEN: The newest installment of Indie Mart arrives on Sunday, September 19th. This is the undisputed mecca of DIY radness. Head over to Thee Parkside for an all-day celebration of everything handmade, handbaked, handbuilt, handpressed, handpainted, and handjobbed. Not really the last one. Well, maybe if you’re lucky. Bands, DJs, BBQ, photobooth, booze, designers and vendors for miles. Or at least for a few blocks.

Indie Mart Street Fair
Sunday, September 19, 12-6pm
(Afterparty, 6-8pm)
Thee Parkside
17th St. & Wisconsin'¨St. [Mission]
$3 donation


DIY COOKING: The DIY movement is spreading its tentacles over everyone we know. For those of us who are not the types to go live in a shack and forage for berries, the DIY movement allows us another way of “returning to simpler times,” when we used to walk uphill in the snow to school, churn our own soymilk, and make our own, well, everything. So DIY is the best, except for those for whom the acronym comes closer to Destroy-It-Yourself than Do-It-Yourself. This is especially true when it comes to cooking. Lucky for you cuisine neophytes, Vanessa Barrington is coming to Omnivore Books to teach you a few simple lessons. Her new book D.I.Y. Delicious: Recipes and Ideas for Simple Foods from Scratch will allow you to go from your daily PB&J to fermenting, pickling, preserving, brewing, and culturing. Plus there are lots of step-by-step photos (don’t you hate those cookbooks with no photos?!). Double plus, the book emphasizes how to make more with fewer ingredients, saving you tons of much-needed cash!

Vanessa Barrington: D.I.Y. Delicious
Thursday, September 23, 6-7pm
Omnivore Books on Food
3885a Cesar Chavez Street [Mission]

DIY DIY: The folks over at Rock Paper Scissors Collective in Oakland are teaching you how to make things all day every day. This month’s calendar promises the following classes and events: Silkscreening Basics, Church of Craft, Craft Night, How to Sew a Bolero or Jacket, Hand-Bound Books for Beginners, and my favorite title, Beginning & Intertermediate Sewing: Stuff Your Animal (and face with some tasty snacks). Not only can you learn how to make pretty much anything for super cheap, you can also become a teacher and share your skills with the rest of us.

RPS Collective
2278 Telegraph Ave [Oakland]
Wed-Sun, 12-7pm

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Chloe - Pennywise Reporter

Chloe - Pennywise Reporter

Chloe's youth was split between California and Kauai, frolicking on a macadamia nut farm in the tropics and landing finally in the Bay Area. Raised by super-Jew hippies, and the youngest of three sisters, Chloe learned early the virtues of thrift, economy, and green living. To the chagrin of her parents (who hoped, of course, for a Jewish doctor or lawyer), Chloe has put her degree from UC Berkeley to great use by becoming a folk singer. As "Chloe Makes Music" she plays shows throughout SF and beyond, donning vintage frocks, selling handmade merch, and pinching pennies as she sings for her supper. Calling Berkeley home for the last six years, you can think of Chloe as the website's East Bay Correspondent, opening your eyes to the hippie-filled, tree-hugging, organic-loving, vegan-eating, but way-overlooked and awesome assets of Berkeley, Oakland, and beyond.


  1. September 14, 2010 at 9:17 pm — Reply

    Chloe, thanks so much for the plug about the event at Omnivore and my book! Hope to see lots of people there. I’m bringing snacks!!

  2. September 15, 2010 at 9:15 am — Reply

    Don’t forget WorkshopSF, they offer all sorts of cool stuff from screenprinting on Friday nights to making your own ginger beer and sewing. I love the store’s concept.
    Thanks for a great compilation of events.

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