Crafts for the Progressive Shopper

KPFA Crafts & Music Fair has everything you won't find in other retail outlets.

Shoppers in the 21st century have nothing but options, even when
faced with — dare I say it — a recession. We could go to a
big-box retailer and prowl the shelves for snow globes, plastic
ornaments, or stocking stuffers with a pretty patina and no intrinsic
value. We could visit an online storefront and give our shopping
experience the same sense of predestination that a kid has opening an
advent calendar (i.e., it’s a box of chocolates, and you know exactly
what you’re gonna get). Or we could go to a craft fair and treat the
holiday season as an exercise in conscious-raising: Buy everything
locally, make sure it’s handmade, and source all the raw materials.
That might sound like an old-school way of doing things, but for
progressive, ecologically minded shoppers, it’s probably the best way
to go. Organizers of the KPFA Crafts & Music Fair understand
the social dimensions of holiday shopping. It’s an experience we want
to share with other people but also savor individually. Moreover, we
like the convenience of having everything in one place but want the
uncertainty of not knowing exactly what we’ll find. There’s something
to be said for not having all your heart’s desires just a mouse click
away, after all.

Now in its 39th year, the KPFA Fair features 220 artisans selling
affordable handmade goods in a variety of media including ceramics,
textiles, toys, paintings, furniture, glassware, jewelry, leather
goods, bath products, gourmet goodie baskets, and apparel.
Historically, this huge, juried, two-day bazaar has provided local
craftophiles with an opportunity to find exotic body oils, papyrus
notebooks, soaps with weird vegetable scents, or marionette puppets
with as much intricate detail as a Japanese woodblock. But it’s also a
great party, even if you plan to spend nothing beyond the cost of
admission. This year, KPFA has an all-star music lineup planned for
both days, with gospel, blues, funk, world music, jazz standards,
hip-hop, and contemporary soul. Saturday’s highlights include the
California Honeydrops, the Jaz Sawyer 3IO, Hot Club of San Francisco,
and vocalist Valerie Troutt. Sunday skews folk, with performances by
Loretta Lynch, Knuckle Knockers, and Blushin Roulettes, along with the
Latin combo Carne Cruda. Add to that the list of KPFA radio
personalities on hand: Greg Bridges of the jazz and roots show
Transitions on Traditions, Weyland Southon of Hard Knock Radio, Avotcja
of Music of the World. It’s perhaps the only holiday party that would
use the adjective “pluralistic” in its press materials, but judging
from the content, that’s no overstatement. KPFA Crafts & Music Fair
happens Saturday, Dec. 12, and Sunday, Dec. 13, at the Concourse
Exhibition Center
(635 8th St. at Brannan St., San Francisco). 10
a.m.-6 p.m., $7-$10. KPFA.org/craftsfair

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