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Hush x Veiled Beauty

At first glance, British artist Hush‘s paintings have an obvious Japanese animation influence, but the chaotic backgrounds belie his street art roots that made his name in London. Take a look through a couple paintings made available as prints here. This year Hush is taking his art to America, beginning with the West Coast. Recently, he opened a show in L.A. (which included an original piece done just for gallery (check the video here). His Veiled Beauty project opens on April 2nd (Thursday) and running until April 26 at the Fifty 24 in San Francisco. We wouldn’t be surprised if a Hush wall piece ends up somewhere in San Francisco permanently. Keep your eyes peeled.

Full flyer for Fifty 24 show after the jump.

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Willo O'Brien

Meeting artist and self-proclaimed "geekyfantastic" entrepreneur Willo O'Brien becomes a run down of phases that start with "I like your""¦ angel wing earrings (she makes them by hand), “Eat. Sleep. Rock. Repeat.” T-shirt (she sells them on the WilloToons shop online, laptop bag (reviewed in one of her recent blog posts), and the list goes on. The San Francisco-based illustrator and graphic designer said she was tired of making pretty things for other people and wanted to put her creativity and illustrations on her own products when she opened up shop two years ago. O'Brien's baby onesies and adult t-shirts featuring octopi and rocker squirrels have been a hit. The line should transition to 100% organic later this year and will be selling "Don't you know who I am?" apparel until then.

San Francisco Ballet's Nights Out

The San Francisco Ballet is facing many of the same issues confronting cultural and arts organizations all over the country: aging audiences, global recession, pricey tickets. To counter act these trends, they introduced some great programs to build community interest. The Fridays at the Ballet evening performances are aimed at young professionals and the Nite Out series is for members of the LGBT community. They start with pre-show talks with choreographers and company members and close with cocktails at the War Memorial Opera House. The evening’s presentation of three brief works ensure that even if you don't love one of the pieces, you and your friends are bound to find something that makes you want to do fouettés on your way home. Next Friday will be no exception with Jerome Robbins’s West Side Story Suite and Christopher Wheeldon’s Within the Golden Hour, one of the hits presented for the Ballet’s 75th anniversary. Looks like everything old is new again.

Playing For Change

Smiles are sure to abound for North American audiences of Playing for Change as the musical extravaganza goes on tour this week. The multimedia, artist-driven effort is working to promote peace and music education through collaboration and live performances of World music. San Franciscans can take in the tunes, including a rather irresistible rendition of “Stand By Me” at Slim‘s today. Other upcoming shows include Seattle’s Showbox and New York’s High Line Ballroom. Should you miss the opportunity to see Grandpa Elliott, Mohammed Alidu, Jason Tamba of Afro Fiesta, and their counterparts performing together live for the first time, the film looks to be a promising second best (after showing at Tribeca, it won best song at the Roxbury Film Festival — no surprise there).

San Francisco Women's Film Festival

Crowdsourcing is coming to this year's San Francisco Women's Film Festival, the Bay Area’s annual celebration of recent contributions to documentary, LGBT, and dramatic film. Indie-Fest recently opened an online screening competition sponsored by the film forum and marketplace IndieFlix. While the festival begins on April 1, voting on five shorts is open until the end of the month, with the winner getting a screening at SFWFF. Characters in the shorts include a soldier going AWOL in the Iraqi desert, a child dressed as the Hindu god Ganesh, and exotic parrots (why not?). Scarlett Shepard, founder of the festival and the Bay Area-based Women's Film Institute, said that "between the festival, the Internet and audience engagement, this is a great platform for people around the globe to see great indie films made by women.”

Handmade Nation

Tonight the San Francisco Film Society will play host to a screening of Handmade Nation, a documentary about the work and connections between independent artists across the country. Made by first-time filmmaker and craft blogger Faythe Levine, the film focuses on the role that the Web has played on the marketability of handmade objects (Etsy, anyone?). That, and the "punky do-it-yourself ethos [that has been] informed by modern aesthetics, politics, feminism and art."

A discussion will follow the event at Mezzanine, and will include design*sponge editor and co-owner of The Curiosity Shoppe, Derek Fagerstrom and Craft editor Natalie Zee Drieu. At $12 a ticket the event will still be less than seeing a flick at Sundance.

Shotwell

Yelpers are a notoriously fickle bunch, and pretty verbose when it comes to the recently opened San Francisco men and women's apparel boutique SHOTWELL. Carrying "vintage Lacoste sweaters, plaid shirts … and reconstructed dresses", as well as lines from Cheap Monday and Alex & Chloe, one reviewer described it as having a "SF-meets-L.A.-meets-NY-hipster-meets-high-fashion yuppy threads."

Founders Michael Weaver and Holly Kricher were previously selling vintage clothing out of their house in the Mission District before grabbing this space on Geary St. If you need an excuse to shop, Bosnian artist Jasko Begovic's colorful, haunting artwork will be on display at an in-store party tonight.

Rotofugi at Wondercon

Wondercon hit San Francisco this weekend, and while the event always attracts an array of comic fans and cosplayers, toy fans looking for more than the latest Watchmen figures had to hunt high and low. One of the biggest treats for designer toy fans at Wondercon was Rotofugi. The shop and gallery from Chicago made the pilgrimage to SF to show off its latest figures. Since 2007, Rotofugi and Squibbles Ink have been dreaming up original creations like Travis Lampe’s Tear Drips, 64 Colors’s Marshall and Chris Ryniak’s Lake Monsters. Flash forward to 2009 and the figures are almost ready for retail. Rotofugi’s Wondercon stand had near-complete sets of the Tear Drips and Marshalls, plus exclusive convention editions. The figures are expected to go on sale this spring. For a recap of all of Wondercon’s art toys, check out ToyCyte’s coverage here.

Noise Pop '09 Update

Between the happy hours, film festival, art showings, discussions about technology and concerts, there isn't much not to love about the Noise Pop festival that's dominating San Francisco until March 1. One of the highlights of the 17th year of the arts and culture festival promises to be Pop N' Shop, the independent design fair that squeezes as much clothing and unique knickknacks into one afternoon as possible. If you can't wait until the weekend, Wednesday will feature Stephen Malkmus performing solo at the Great American Music Hall and Martha Wainwright at Slim's. Also, a retrospective of festival posters and design that runs through the week is set to feature work by Thomas Campbell, Shepard Fairey, and a few other artists you may have heard of.

Disposable Film Festival

Few marketing emails begin with the salutation, “hello friend of disposable film.” Welcome San Francisco’s recently founded Disposable Film Festival highlighting work captured on one-time use digital video cameras, webcams, point and shoot digital cameras, cell phones, screen capture software, and the like. The weekend-long  festival, art directed by interactive visual designer extraordinaire Rebecca Bortman, will include selections from the hundreds of submissions shot with non-professional video capturing equipment and will end with a panel about this new filmmaking phenomenon. In case you can’t make it to the screening of the New York film collective Red Bucket Films‘ feature “Buttons” on Friday (the trailer will have you tapping your toes until then), the competitive shorts program showcasing “the cream of the disposable-media crop” at the Roxie Theater is not to be missed.

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