Hard Times Handbook - Page 2

Our guide to living better, for less, in the recession


You didn't think BART — notoriously expensive for commuters — could be the source of cheap events, did you? Well, mybart.org, run by the transit system, lists a calendar of free events that take place close to BART stations. The site also gives you access to an constantly updated bevy of special discounts like two-for-one theater tickets, museum discounts, and heavily-discounted tickets to Warriors and Cal basketball games. For those of you who only respond to free, mybart.org also puts together ticket contests with different prizes each week, like the chance to win one of five preloaded $50 BART tickets.



Hell with Fisherman's Wharf and its giant crab sign. Forget the pricey crab dinners at local restaurants. You can learn how to be your own crusty crab-fisher, right in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge. The National Park Service staffers at the historic Fort Port (built in the 1850s) give free pier-crabbing demonstrations every Saturday morning from March to October. After the class, they'll even loan you crabbing equipment so you can put your newly-learned skills to the test. Space is limited and advanced reservations are required.

Fort Point, Marine Drive, Saturdays, 10 a.m.–noon, March–Oct. (415) 556-1693 www.nps.gov/fopo


Feeling nostalgic? You can get a taste for the era when the Bay Area and the psychedelic music scene were the center of the rock 'n' roll universe at the Museum of Performance and Design's free history exhibit "Something's Happenin' Here: Bay Area Rock 'n' Roll 1963-73." On display at this one-of-a-kind exhibit are the full-size original painting that made in onto the Grateful Dead's "Anthem in the Sun" album cover, costume pieces worn by stars like Janis Joplin and Sly Stone, and original posters from the Fillmore and the Avalon Ballroom, along with a collection of previously unseen rock photos. Visitors can also listen to rare audioclips and watch vintage film footage they probably never knew existed. Exhibit runs through Aug. 28. It's free, but the museum suggests a $5 donation.

Museum of Performance and Design, Veterans Building, 401 Van Ness, Fourth Floor. Wed.–Sat., noon–5 p.m. www.mpdsf.org


If you're really looking for a blast from the past, check out the free exhibit at this little-known museum. Bookbinding is the art of physically assembling and sewing the pages and spine of a book by hand — a skill that was made essentially obsolete (at least, for the purpose of mass-production) with the dawning of the Industrial Revolution. But the nonprofit American Bookbinders Museum, part of a working bookbindery that still practices this art, documents the history of how books used to be put together with exhibits celebrating the skilled artisans who bound books, samples of vintage papers, and a maze of large and terrifying-looking 19th- and early 20th-century binding and cutting machines (many of which could cut off all your fingers in one go if you stood too close).

1962 Harrison at 16th St., Saturdays, noon–4 p.m. and by appointment, (415) 710-9369. www.bookbindersmuseum.com