In such an inventive and industrious place as the San Francisco Bay Area, supporting local businesses isn't exactly a no-brainer—how do you parse which of the many upstarts to grace with your hard-won dollars? Here to help, we've combed Kickstarter for five local projects worthy of your support this month.
Okay, so it isn't the most attractive thing ever. But BetterBack—essentially a back brace with straps that clip around your knees to keep you sitting upright—is more appealing than, say, dropping $600 on an ugly Aeron chair. It's portable, one-size fits all, and purportedly transforms any chair into ergonomic bliss. The sexiest part of all? It's 100-percent "tech-free"—no awkward cords or chargers. And it might save you money at the chiropractor.
New York-based artist collective Ripe Time is headed to Berkeley Rep this summer for a residency at The Ground Floor, where they hope to further develop and stage their adaptation of famed Japanese writer Haruki Murakami's Sleep, a short story about a young woman that "examines the impulse to push against the constraints of everyday life, to transgress and rebel, and the free fall that can happen when a woman steps outside the boundaries or breaks the rules set up by the society around her."
In time for National Autism Month, the Paul Dresher Ensemble has partnered with Fort Mason Center and Behavioral Intervention For Autism to stage two incredible projects: MAX UNDERSTOOD (premiering Apr. 16), a musical drama inspired by writer Nancy Carlin and composer/sound designer Michael Rasbury's 7-year-old autistic son, Max; and Sound Maze for Max, a hands-on interactive sound installation featuring large-scale invented musical instruments, which will debut in The Firehouse at Fort Mason (Apr. 4 through May 3).
It's a big statement: "the world's most nourishing restaurant." But with some help from Whole Foods and other sponsors, Oakland-based Core Kitchen plans to launch its first restaurant, at Oakland City Center, which will serve a global menu composed 100-percent of fresh produce. Listen up, vegetarians! Dishes include a blanched collard leaf burrito, sweet potato and black bean patty with barbecue sauce, and portobella pizza. Core Kitchen hopes to open restaurants nationwide.
Ok, truth: Burlingame-based Monolith, billed as "the world's first skateboard with in-wheel motors," doesn't require your financial support. With three days left in its Kickstarter campaign, the startup has raised over $348,000 against its $100,000 goal. But for you techie kids out there with money to blow, taking Monolith to its stretch goal of $400,000 will earn you the choice of color combination for your wheels and trucks. Because at Monolith, they "know that aesthetics are a huge part of picking a board."