Yes, it's almost holiday shopping season.
No, we don't have to talk about that yet.
If you do happen to be the sort of person who revels in crossing people off your list the moment the excess Halloween candy is cleared from the special drugstore seasonal aisle (where does it all go?), you won't be disappointed in the Bay Area's excellent independent craft markets and holiday fairs, many of which start popping up around Thanksgiving.
If you'd prefer to stick your fingers in your ears about it until New Year's? That's fine too, and there's plenty to be done this week that has nothing to do with expressing your love for family and friends via buying stuff. After all, this is a non-judgmental space, this little corner of the Internet where nothing costs more than $20. Come one, come all, come on down to this week's Cheap Date.
Thursday, Nov. 19: Book party for Women Street Artists of Latin America: Art Without Fear at Alley Cat Books, SF. Local authors Rachel Cassandra and Lauren Gucik will present a bilingual book project four years in the making, profiling more than 20 women working in contemporary street art, from Colombia, Peru, Panama, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Oaxaca, Mexico. Includes a gallery show, plus tamales! Free; details here.
Thursday, Nov. 19: Marcus Shelby at Cafe Stritch, San Jose. One of the Bay Area's best-loved bassists is also a composer, bandleader, activist and educator -- his ongoing work in the civil rights sphere and the prison reform movement have kept him busy these past few years when his near-constant playing wasn't enough. Catch this evening's intimate performance, or tune in: He'll be broadcast live on KCSM. Details here.
Friday, Nov. 20: Notorious at the Paramount Theatre, Oakland. There's nothing like Classic Movie Night at the Paramount. Take in some top-notch Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant banter against the backdrop of one of Hitchcock's true masterpieces, surrounded by the beauty of this refurbished Art Deco theater in downtown Oakland -- all for $5. Details here.
Saturday, Nov. 21: Open Mike Eagle at Thee Parkside, SF. Live hip-hop shows can be a mixed bag, but when the MC in question is Mike Eagle, you can bet on being entertained. The lyricist has one foot in the comedy world and one in that of unabashed art- and nerd-rap (see: lightning-quick references to Dave Brubeck and Words With Friends within the first 60 seconds of last year's single "Respect My Qualifiers"), and the combination is compelling to say the least. $10 - $15; details here.
Saturday, Nov. 21: San Francisco Center for the Book Holiday Arts & Crafts Fair, SF. If there are lit-lovers in your life, this is a one-stop shop for zines, paper arts, calendars, textiles, original prints, book-making supplies and other crafts. Free; details here.
Sunday, Nov. 22: Peanut Butter Wolf at Social Hall, SF. The San Jose-born DJ and producer, known for his versatility (he has rabid fans in hip-hop, house, disco and more), hits one of the city's newest venues for a hometown show that's likely to include a few other local surprises. $20; details here.