5 Local Kickstarters to Support in April

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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.

BetterBack: Perfect Posture Without the Pricey Desk Chair

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.

Haruki Murakami's Sleep at Berkeley Rep: Pretty Arty

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."

Max Understood: A Musical About Autism

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).

Core Kitchen: "The World's Most Nourishing Restaurant"

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.

Monolith: The Super Cool Motorized Skateboard That Doesn't Really Need Your Money

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."

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