S.F Open Studios is the largest program of its kind. Launched 32 years ago, it's been ushering looky-loos into workspaces since first-responders moved into the Mission and SOMA and began laying the groundwork for art scenes, warehouse conversions, and, ultimately, that fucking Starbucks on Howard. But it's not just about the art. Sometimes it's never about the art. Like open houses in Pacific Heights, the event is a chance to see how the other half lives. If you've never been into the hive of studios at the massive Project Artaud, for instance, you'll spend much of your visit gripped by jealousy. Just look at all the happy artists with their Trader Joe's cheese selections in their brutally large, achingly worn studios (many with living quarters and expansive views of the Mission and Downtown), holding cats. Or you might pine for the modern industrial spaces at 1890 Bryant Street Studios just be sure to stop by Jasmine Rae Bakery (ask her about Cupcake Wednesdays!) and check out the stellar lowbrow art at the headquarters of SomaFM, the Internet radio station. The cubicle-like spaces at brightly-lit Art Explosion attract a younger crowd must be the stairs and this week you can even pop into Paul Madonna's studio at 290 Guerrero Street ("Top Buzzer," instructs his site). This weekend covers the Mission and points south and west (Bernal, Castro, Noe Valley, and beyond), and next weekend hits SOMA and surrounding neighborhoods (the Tenderloin!). Finally, on Nov. 3 and 4, the year's event closes at Hunters Point Shipyards.
Oct. 20-21, 11 a.m., 2007