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Lone Star State

No matter if you wear them of not, you have got to appreciate the Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star sneaker. Also known as Chucks or One Stars, these canvas and rubber icons have been around since 1917, and remained, essentially, the same design for the past 40 years, racking up sales along the way that have eclipsed every other basketball shoe in history. Unfortunately, Nike bought out Converse in 2003 and replaced the trademark, all-weather canvas with a crap textile blend. Stupid Nike. Still, the love of Chucks lives on, whether it's for use in athletics or in punk rock fashions or in... DIY shoemaking? Yep, Chucks' ubiquitous and universal nature makes them ideal canvases (no pun intended) on which to create art. There's a whole subculture of folks out there looking to punk and/or pimp your Chucks, painting elaborate designs on them or even turning them into something completely different, like a modded-out cowboy boot.

Saturday night at 7, Fort Lauderdale's finest DIY toy and art shop, Pink Ghost, will be busting out a custom collection of One Stars cool enough to make Taylor himself blush (were he alive still). The store will hang around 30 pairs of arted-up kicks on the walls, submitted by folks from as far away as the UK. Most of the sneakers are still wearable, and can be bought for as little as $50 a pair (not bad considering a new pair runs almost as much), though some folks have turned theirs into immobile art — like the pair designed with plush vinyl to look like a yeti foot chopped off at the knee, complete with hairy toes sticking out the front. "Chucks go in and out of style, but they always become popular again," says Paola Mendez, co-owner of Pink Ghost. "But they're great to customize because they're cool shoes to work with and almost everyone owns a pair."

Get to steppin' at 21 W. Las Olas Blvd., Ste. B, in Fort Lauderdale. Admission is free. Call 954-616-1304, or visit pinkghost.net.
Sat., May 16, 7 p.m., 2009

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John Linn

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