You've heard the old "women be shopping" joke. I mean, yes. Women do be shopping, but let's be fair. Everyone be shopping. It's not like men are walking around wearing burlap sacks as clothing. In any case, whether you fit the stereotype or not, I think we can all agree that shopping is more fun when it's turned into a party.

That's where North Park After Dark comes in. More than 25 North Park retailers will stay open late on Thursday, Aug. 22. Each will offer discounts, entertainment and some tasty drinks and snacks. Make sure to swing by The Girl Can't Help It (3806 Grim Ave.). The vintage-clothing shop is owned by longtime vintage collectors Sparkle Moore and Jasja Boelhouwer, who moved the store to San Diego from London a year ago. They'll be celebrating their first anniversary with live sets by The Little Richards featuring Robert Lopez (aka El Vez) and heavy garage-rockers The Schitzophonics and sexy, mini burlesque performances in their storefront window by Hell on Heels Burlesque.

The folks at Thumbprint Gallery are back with another one-night-only art show / hip-kid party at Basic (410 Tenth Ave. in East Village) on Tuesday, Aug. 27. This time, the theme is Pen 2 Paper. If you have the extra scratch, you can purchase cool pen illustrations by local artists, including Eric Wixon, Paul Naylor and Kristine Tran. There will also be baubles by Frances Camaccio Jewelry to splurge on, if you're feeling extra-spendy. Camaccio's handmade pieces have a funky, vintage quality to them; blame it on the rustic stones and fine metals. Buy yourself or your favorite lady something pretty.

Now that you've spent all your hard-earned dough, cruise over to El Dorado (1030 Broadway in Downtown) for The Tighten Up (not to be confused with the local band The Tighten Ups) on Wednesday, Aug. 28. DJs Saul Q and Beto Peres, Kid Wonder and V-Rock will spin the only kind of music that can mend a broke-ass heart: Motown and oldies. I mean, Smokey Robinson did say, "You better shop around," right?

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