For the past 10 years, the Luggage Store Gallery has been the kind of little community art space that's easy to overlook, nestled as it is amongst discount stores and adult video and movie houses on the seedy stretch of Market Street. It's difficult to make out the words "Luggage Store" on the marble facade -- engraved half a century ago when one actually could purchase luggage there -- but the Store has long been a haven for Tenderloin artists, many of whom had their first shows there in the gallery and installation space, jazzheads who've crammed the space every Thursday night for the past several years to listen to experimental creative music, and young artists who've visited after school for the youth arts program. Bill T. Jones once danced on the floor there, and the versatile venue has also hosted theater, comedy, spoken word, and community forums and recovery groups.
In an effort to ensure these folks won't have to pack up anytime soon, co-directors Laurie Lazer and Darryl Smith host "Frenzy," an auction and art sale to raise money to buy the building, an amazing two-story built soon after the earthquake of '06. Scores of local artists have donated work for sale or auction, which begins with a special benefit Wednesday at the Store. Among those contributing are Rigo 99, Barry McGee, Alicia McCarthy, and Ruby Neri -- the list goes on and on; if you have a favorite local artist, chances are he or she will have work for sale in this auction. There is a paid preview at 4 p.m., while the benefit party and auction begin at 7. Music will be provided by skateboard and folk hero Tommy Guerrero, Corner Tour, and the Hallflowers, and all proceeds go toward the $70,000 the Luggage Store needs to finalize its purchase deal. The Luggage Store Gallery is at 1007 Market (at Sixth Street), S.F. Admission to "Frenzy" is $10-25; call 255-5971.
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