Fairs, Festivals, & Fiestas

Bamako Chic Benefit

When: Thu., March 18, 7:30 p.m. 2010

Normally, it takes venture capital or vast economic wherewithal to grow a business. But women cloth-dyers in Mali started from scratch, and created an astoundingly successful cottage industry. In this case, "success" amounts not only to paper returns, but also to the producers' staying power. Defying trends toward cheap, factory-made clothing, they've managed to turn hand-dyed bazin into a popular fashion item and sustain a customer base for decades. Such do-it-yourself entrepreneurship fascinated anthropologist Maxine Downs and filmmaker Maureen Gosling, who traveled to West Africa to film their new documentary, Bamako Chic: Women Cloth Dyers of Mali. They'll show scenes from the film at a benefit this Thursday, Mar. 18, which also features a reception and musical performance by Mamadou and Vanessa, at the Hillside Club (2286 Cedar St., Berkeley). 7:30 p.m., $40. MaureenGosling.com/Bamako

Rachel Swan

Price: $40

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