Sew What? 

Suddenly, domesticity is hip

11/24-12/22

Sewing is no longer just for grannies or Martha Stewart aficionados. It's hip. Groups of women congregate these days to sew, embroider, and craft. You needn't feel left out: Join the fray at Sew Images in Oakland for lessons in sewing, quilting, and machine know-how. The store, at 4172 Piedmont Avenue, was founded in 1992 by Cecilia Franklin, who teaches according to the four basics: "Fit, accuracy, good tools, and make it so you can wear it inside out." She offers workshops for beginners, and people of all ages sign up -- not only women.Franklin says that one young sculptor took classes because "he wanted to rescue socks" in an art project that involved sewing together all the leftover, mateless socks in the world. Another man wanted to make covers for his sailboat. Frustrated with trying to sew by applying engineering techniques, he went to Franklin for help; he now sews his own shirts.

The beginners' course began November 24 and costs $140 (or wait until January and catch the next series). At the end of five lessons, you'll have completed a pattern of your choice. So rather than going on a fruitless search for that new holiday frock, sign up for classes and unleash your inner fashion designer. SewImages.com or 510-601-USEW.-- Amrita Sidhu

FRI 11/28

MC Mecca

Somewhere to the left of mainstream hip-hop's crass nihilism and to the right of cerebral, underground indie-hop, lie the spiritual stylings of Remarkable Current. The collective, which has a strong Islamic focus, showcases its roster this weekend at The Refinery at the Oakland Box (1928 Telegraph Ave.). The ten performers include hip-hop trio 11:59, rapper and Compton native Kumasi, DJ (and Remarkable Current creator and producer) BLM, and special guest Napoleon (of Outlawz). Also on the bill is traditional Moroccan musician and Sufi storyteller Sidi Yassir, who has recorded with Dizzy Gillespie and Omar Sosa. 8 p.m., $10. Info: 510-451-1932 or RemarkableCurrent.com -- Stefanie Kalem

11/14-1/11

She-Legends

So Many Women...

Q: What do Dorothy Parker, Marilyn Monroe, Josephine Baker, Georgia O'Keeffe, Helen Keller, Janis Joplin, Maya Lin, and Judy Garland have in common -- beside the fact they're female? A: They're all at the Blackhawk Museum. Their photos, that is. The portraits are just a part of the 75 Women of Our Time on view in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery's traveling exhibition, which lingers until January 11, 2004 at the Blackhawk (BlackhawkMuseum.org).In the words of the National Portrait Gallery's director, Marc Pachter, "This collection of photographs features women whose lives redefined America." That's hard to argue with, especially when such worthies as Joan Baez, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Katharine Hepburn are factored in. The pictures themselves are world-class, as well -- by Edward Steichen, Irving Penn, Philippe Halsman, Richard Avedon, Lisette Model, and Bob Willoughby, among other famous photogs. -- Kelly Vance

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