Most stylish San Franciscans want unique, gorgeous objects decorating their apartments and bodies, but few of us have the big bucks to shop regularly in the precious boutiques that offer such items. With the "Feria Urbana" in full swing, though, the fashionably faddish no longer have to take out a second mortgage to procure delicious clothing, jewelry, and home accessories. Each month "Feria" organizer Darcy Shapiro pulls together a kind of high-end swap meet, inviting 20 to 24 local artists and designers to rent tables and spread their goods out for the public's delectation. The only stipulation is that everything for sale has to be $250 or less, reducing the risk of sticker shock for non-well-heeled shoppers.
This month's outing features bold Japanese animationinspired fashions from designer KAYO's Anime Street Gear; cut-and-sewn, vintage-inspired "collagewear" clothing and accessories from Red Threds; and sexy, witty purses from My Handbag Heaven. Fans of the retro-charming wool hats, purses, shoes, and attire on the Miss Fitt & Co. label should be happy to see designer Wendy Allen's wares there, too. The shopping starts at 5 p.m. at the Canvas Gallery, 1200 Ninth Ave. (at Lincoln), S.F. Admission is free; call 504-0070 or visit www.thecanvasgallery.com.
-- Joyce Slaton
Area photographer documents silly people
Say what you want about crop circles -- the folks who study them tend to wear crystals, they're obviously a giant hoax, whatever -- but the phenomenon continues. Without too much controversy, we can confirm that they are giant patterns swirled into fields of plants, usually over the course of a single night. Viewed from the air, they show a definite artistic sensibility, and the fact remains that no one seems to know what they really are or who makes them.
Recent reports of such a disturbance in Solano County prompted the usual types of responses: Pilgrimages were made, dowsers came out of the woodwork, and phrases like "plasma-gravitational theory," "energy field," and "higher intelligence" got thrown around. Photographer Ben Ailes was there, and tonight he leads "The Lighter Side of Crop Circles," a casual discussion and exhibition of the pictures he took at the scene. See for yourself at 7:30 at the Berkeley Public Library, 2090 Kittredge (at Shattuck), Berkeley. Admission is free; call (510) 981-6100 or visit www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/bpl.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Seeing a Shrink
Throwing art into the oven
Shrinky Dinks, once the province of kids at birthday parties circa 1974, are sheets of plastic that, when baked, become smaller versions of themselves and whatever has been printed on them. In the oven, they go through an alarming phase: They seem to be writhing in pain, and the person whose drawing is at risk may have similar contortions.
Imagine the potential stress level of Andrew Romanoff, a grown-up artist who has chosen the fickle stuff as his medium. His subjects are varied -- memories, political commentaries, cultural observations -- but his art is all shrink. Through Aug. 31 at Gallery 16, 1616 16th St., S.F. Admission is free; call 626-7495 or visit www.urbandigitalcolor.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
The color pink was once associated with traditional femininity, but it's since been hijacked by such worthies as pink triangles, the singer Pink, and the Lusty Lady's work slowdown, "No Pink Day." Similarly, Code Pink Women's Activist Training Camp isn't geared toward the frilly or weak. The retreat features how-to presentations on anti-war activism from experts like Medea Benjamin and Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Anthony Chabot Regional Park, Redwood (near Castro Valley), Oakland. Admission is $20-50; call 575-5555 or visit www.codepinkbayarea.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser