Enjoy Burning Man without leaving the SF Bay Area

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It stings when you have to miss out on the Burn.

Yes, the hot, dusty, magical phenom that is Burning Man – the temporary city of massive sculptures, tents, frivolity, art, music and 70,000 crazy people riding around on glowing bikes and cupcake cars – appears in the Nevada desert one week each year, then vanishes like a mere mirage.

And if you can’t get to the playa this time – from Aug. 26 through Sept. 3 – you might be a bit bummed. But have no FOMO. There are ways to get a morsel of the mad, mad, Mad Max mania right here at home, and not just by staking a tent in your backyard, sewing LEDs to your swim trunks and rolling around in dust (a lot of dust), although that works too.

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The Bay Area is the year-round home base for hundreds of Burners, makers and creators galore. And thanks to Burning Man’s own civic arts program and private exhibitions, many of the crazy creative sculptures from past B-Man years abound in public places. We’ll take you on a tour in the list below.

As for events, most of the big walk-up gatherings were held earlier in the year, but there’s still cool local stuff going on. The Crucible, Oakland’s industrial and fine arts center, will hold a Fire & Water Open House Aug. 25. Timed to the Burning Man kickoff, it includes live demos in glass blowing, ceramics, welding, flameworking, foundry and more, plus an art show of works from the Crucible community, many of whom are Burners themselves.

And you …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


Burning Man: How to score that awesome Burner outfit

Whether you can make it to the playa this year or not, you can always dress the Burning Man vibe – you know, the requisite fishnets, tutus and bejeweled goggles to create an otherworldly, steampunky, fantasy-frilled frock that’s distinctly you … or maybe your alter ego.

Here are some ways to score your Burner garb:

Online, of course — There are pages and pages of Etsy sites that offer everything from a psychedelic unitard from Badinka to rhinestone dust goggles from GalacticHalo. Just go to Etsy.com and search “Burning Man.”

The old-fashioned way — make it yourself. If you’re the crafty type, get thee to a fabric store for anything tie-dye, furry, lacy or shiny. Then illuminate it all with EL Wire (battery-operated electroluminescent wire – get it online or at Fry’s Electronics.

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Thrift stores — With stores in Berkeley and San Francisco, Buffalo Exchange has long been a go-to for Burner wear. It’s awesome for gently-used gear you won’t mind getting beat up, sweaty and dirty out in the Nevada desert. Hit up Army surplus stores too. You’ll need some sturdy boots on the playa.

The Haight —San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district is a classic stop …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


Who will be top dog? The Aussie, the Dane, the mixed breed?

In a round that saw several popular breeds fall in the competition, voters have chosen their favorite dogs to move into the elite 8 in our Top Dog competition.

We started last week with 32 of the most popular breeds — 24 pure breeds and 8 mixed breeds — and then narrowed it to the sweet 16. Voting late last week and over the weekend cut the field in half yet again, leaving one mixed breed — the Labradoodle — still standing.

The hottest contest bracket was between the Labrador retriever and the Australian shepherd, with the lead changing paws right as voting closed. In the end, the shepherd rounded up the win over the Lab with 52 percent of the vote.

Other surprises saw the Great Dane stomping the hopes of San Francisco’s most popular entrant, the French bulldog, with 67 percent of the vote. Also soundly defeated — don’t tell Queen Elizabeth or Gov. Jerry Brown — was the Pembroke Welsh corgi in its bracket with the Golden retriever.

Another surprise was how badly the ubiquitous poodle was dispatched by the Siberian husky, losing 27 percent to 73 percent.

The only other mixed breed remaining in the competition, the goldendoodle, was defeated by last round’s Chihuahua slayer, the Yorkshire terrier.

Voting in the next round begins at 4 p.m. today and will close at noon Thursday. Don’t let your favorite breed down — vote early and often.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


Benicia’s Taste of First Street restaurants set for Aug. 21

Downtown Benicia’s best bites will be on parade again this year.

The Taste of First Street event is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 21, and tickets to the tasting are limited to 300 participants.

Participants can stroll along First Street from 6 to 9 p.m. and stop for nibbles at 18 restaurants, including three new ones:

Aroma Indian Cuisine; Bella Siena Restaurant & Bar (new); Camellia Tea Room; Dianna’s Bakery & Café; Elviarita’s Mexican Grill; Farm & Flour (new); First Street Café; Juice House Co.; Lucca Bar & Grill; Nine Zero Seven Grill; One House Bakery (new); Pacifica Pizza; Rookies Bar & Grill; Sailor Jack’s; Sandoval’s Mexican Food; The Loft Wine Bar & Restaurant; The Rellik Tavern; and Venticellos.

Tickets, $30 each or $55 for two adults, also include two glasses of wine and a souvenir glass. Prices go up to $35 and $65, respectively, on the day of the event. Purchase at Benicia Main Street, 90 First St., or online at www.beniciamainstreet.org.

…read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


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