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Events: Trolley Dances, Neon Indian, And A Badass Female Drummer

September 22, 2011 1:32 p.m.

This weekend you can find recycled art in Little Italy, The Art of Fashion at the Timken, Trolley Dances, and plenty of music choices.

Related Story: Events: Trolley Dances, Neon Indian, And A Badass Female Drummer


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

CAVANAUGH: This is KPBS. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. If it feels like it's just about the right time for the Adams avenue street fair, you are correct. This weekend is also the right time for another art fashion show the at the Timken. Jazz pop legend Hershey Hancock, and Sheila E. It's just the right time for a weekend preview. My guests are Kinsee Morlan, arts and entertainment editor at San Diego City beat. Hello.

MORLAN: Glad to be here.

CAVANAUGH: And Peter Holslin is music editor for San Diego City beat. Peter.

HOLSLIN: What's going down, Maureen? Glad to be back.

CAVANAUGH: Let's start with you, Kinsee. We were just speaking about the light and space movement. And it's being highlighted of course at the museum of contemporary art San Diego but there's also a show opening called new out west. Tell us about this.

MORLAN: As your listeners just heard, are the show at the museum is focusing on '60s and '70s artists three of those artists will be at Quint contemporary art this weekend in La Jolla. The cool thing about it is you can see new works. Go to the museum show, see the artists' works, and you can see how they've evolved yet kept the same vision over the years.

CAVANAUGH: Robert Irwin art of this. Who else?

MORLAN: I was so honored to meet him. Peter Alexander, and Mary course. And Peter is doing these sculptures that start out as dark blue at the top, and as you get to the bottom, they fade to clear. His lines are so clean, and the way the light hit the work is amazing. Irwin is doing some of his light sculptures. You'll see his museum sculptures installed at Quint. So you can get that experience. And then Mary course is doing bee paintings, they're painted with reflective glass. As you move through them, the light hits it in different ways. And you can see this at the museum show. But you can see her new work, which has really evolved. It's fascinating, and all light and space work.

CAVANAUGH: You can go see the first chapter and the second chapter. Now out west will open in Quint cop temporary art in La Jolla tomorrow night. The Adams avenue street fair, Peter, it's become?

HOLSLIN: It sure is. And in addition to the usual fun stuff like carnival rides and beer gardens and food, there's a lot of really great bands this year. There's more than 70 live music acts on six stages. There's a lot to choose from. But the bands I'm really excited about are el Vez, the Mexican Elvis. The beat farmer which is a legendary cow punk band from San Diego, and deny fever, which is an indie band that incorporates retro. He's known as the Mexican Elvis, but he's not any old Elvis am impersonator. He's hailed as something of a musical genius, he puts on these spectacular Las Vegas style performances where he'll do all these costume changes and fill all these songs with these cultural references and his music is just full of Chicano pride.

CAVANAUGH: And he rewrites Elvis song to have, like, Latino focused lyrics?

MORLAN: And he has a cool mustache.

CAVANAUGH: I have a feeling that this clip we're about to play used to be in the ghetto, it's el Vez, in En el Barrio.

(Audio Recording Played)

CAVANAUGH: That's fabulous. One of the performers at the Adams avenue street fair. The beat farmers you told us about. They are back too, huh?

HOLSLIN: Yeah, they're a popular roots rock band from San Diego that was around in the '80s and early '90s. And they're a really cool band. They could be dirty and rock, but they're also kind of goofy and they sort of joke around a lot. And in the end, they were just a gnarly band. You know? They have eye really good run. They built a pretty big following and they were loved by critics. They even had a song in the 1989 movie major league. And they performed on David letterman in 91.

CAVANAUGH: So those are two of the '70s bands that are going to be at Adams avenue street fair. I want to ask you, I know this is such a popular event, any tips on how to get there? Parking?

HOLSLIN: I know that parking is going to be really bad. And it's probably know going to be pretty packed. That's why I'm riding my bike there.

MORLAN: Yay! And find shade early. Find your shape and camp out there.

HOLSLIN: Yeah, seriously.

MORLAN: It gets warm.

CAVANAUGH: Good advice. The Adams avenue street fair is this Saturday and Sunday. Back to Kinsee with trolley dances. Remind us about this.

MORLAN: It's been over's decade. The I love the trolley dances. It's live dance in an urban setting. And how cool is that? It's literally hundreds of performers along the trolley line. This year they're moving out east. So it's a bit different. They've usually done the downtown line. So you're probably gonna be in places you've never been if you're not a trolley rider. And just what looks like these spontaneous moments of dance burst out, and it's five different Choreographers, Jean Isaacs of course is the master mind behind all of this. It's a great event for family. And you don't have to -- dance is often revered or put up on this pedestal, and this is literally taking it to the streets.

CAVANAUGH: Can you give us an idea? These dances are supposed to be site specific. How would they change along different stops of the trolley line?

MORLAN: So, like I said, five different Choreographers, and they really do use the location for inspiration for their choreography, for the tone of the piece, for the music. So at each different spot, it's going to be a completely different piece by a different choreographer with different dancer accident. And they really do use the architecture. Jean Isaacs last year used a fountain, an empty fountain. It was just gorgeous.

CAVANAUGH: And for people who are not used to this idea, you don't follow along. I mean, you actually ride the trolley with the dancers, right?

MORLAN: Correct. Sometimes there's a lot bit of walking involved. Sometimes they don't do the dance right there at the trolley stop. But it's a minimal walk to get to the different pieces then you get back on, and I think it's every half-hour, opening weekend, check the schedule. And then you go to the next stop, and there's another piece. So it's a very cool event. And a good excuse to ride the trolley. I think people forget there's ray trolley here sometimes.

CAVANAUGH: Let me tell everyone, trolley dances are this Saturday and Sunday, with other performances October 1st and second, at the Grantville trolley station. Hershey Hancock, Peter, that name from the past. Playing Balboa theatre as part of his brand-new tour.

HOLSLIN: Yeah, well, you know as many people know I'm sure, Hershey Hancock is one of the greatest jazz keyboardists of our time. In my blush this week, I also said he's -- blurb this week, I said he's one of the cheesiest performers of all time. And I say that with love. But the guy is a pioneer of jazz fusion, he's incorporated synthesizers and funk grooves into his music. And some of his music is pretty cheese, but in this cool way, you know? And he also rocks the keytar, which is pretty cool.

CAVANAUGH: And what do you think about his hit, rocket? Is that the cheesy part?

HOLSLIN: I say that was, like, kind of the pinnacle of his cheesiness.

CAVANAUGH: Let's hear a little of it.

(Audio Recording Played)

CAVANAUGH: That is Hershey Hancock's monster hit, rocket. It's right, though, he is almost like two sides of him. He is iconic isn't he?

HOLSLIN: For sure. He's definitely one of jazz's, like, cross-over artists. Rocket was a big hit, and it had a music video on MTV. And I mean, like you said, he's done all this funk stuff, and he's a pioneer of jazz fusion. And it's really interesting 'cause he's actually, like, still today he's really viable as an artist. He actually won a Grammy. He won album of the year at the Grammies in 2008 for his album, river, the Joni letters, which is a tribute to Joni Mitchell. And he beat out Konye west and Amy wine house.

CAVANAUGH: That's pretty good. So Hershey Hancock will be playing at the Balboa theatre on Friday night. And remember are never to give me any compliment, Peter, okay? I don't think I could stand them. Art of fashion happens this Saturday at the Timken museum of art. What's this event about, Kinsee?

MORLAN: Well, you know the San Diego museum of art, they do their annual art Alive event where florists come in and interpret specific paintings into a design. It's kind of lick that, but with fashion. So the museum teams up with FCC, a fashion college here in town. They assign them each a piece in the Timken's collection, and they come up with designs. If you've been to the Timken, you know there's one student designer made a comment, oh, great I get this stuffy old white guy in a block coat and white collar. But she came up with this amazing gown, and you can read about how she went about that, the process behind it. And Jeffrey parish, he's a local designer here, he own ace shop in south park, he does it every year, and he's just a mad genius. This year he was assigned a still life, which is basically a slab of, like, veal. And he had to come up with a dress. So I have not --

HOLSLIN: A veal dress?

MORLAN: Is he going to go lady Gaga on this? I don't know.

CAVANAUGH: Just to be clear, with those flower arrange. They're based on the pictures. They don't look like the picture, right?

MORLAN: You know, some do. I wouldn't be surprised if you go and you see a beautiful lady in a renaissance type striped gown, and then maybe the literal translation of that is into a dress that looks very similar. But I would assume when you're dealing with students and fashion people, and veal, that you can get pretty loose with the interpretation.

CAVANAUGH: Are the tickets pricey?

MORLAN: You know what? They are. Saturday's event starts at $100. There's also a VIP thing you can do for a little bit more. But the Timken provides educational programming that is stellar. If you haven't been I highly suggest you. Hugh MORLAN who was just on the show, I went it a recent panel with him, and the Timken director. And it was just so good. And so you know you're supporting a good cause. Will I know blah, blah, blah, rough economy. If I could suggest an event, I don't like to suggest events that are $100 because like me, that's half your paycheck.

HOLSLIN: That's about $100 too much.

MORLAN: But it really is, if you go to any hundred dollar event, this is the one.

CAVANAUGH: The fourth annual art of fashion Saturday at the Timken museum of art in Balboa Park. And we have to scroll down to another musician. Sheila E., an anthology. Now I have to say, I love Sheila E., okay?

HOLSLIN: I love her too.

MORLAN: No dissing her, Peter.

CAVANAUGH: No compliments! Tell us, remind our listeners who Sheila E.

HOLSLIN: Where I would say that Hershey Hancock can be a little bit cheesy, I would that Sheila E. Is totally badass. She's an awesome drummer and a singer. She had a number of hits in the '80s and recorded with prince. And she always just kind of keeps popping up in the mainstream pop culture zeitgeist. She actually recently performed with marc Anthony on American Idol. And went on David letter man and busted out a characteristically gnarly drum solo. She just threw down so hard.

CAVANAUGH: Right. There aren't that many female drummers that really made a name for themselves.

HOLSLIN: Yeah, you know, that is a really good point. The funny thing is that when I was watching this old music video of Sheila E's, and she's drumming and singing. And there's actually a local artist named smile now, cry later. And she does the same exact thing. She plays a drum set and sings while she performs?

MORLAN: And dances

HOLSLIN: And I was like, dude, this is so Sheila E. Right here.

CAVANAUGH: So she's got her own style that can be transferred to other people. That's great. I want to let everyone know, Sheila E. Will be drumming at anthology in little Italy on Saturday night. Maybe we can hear just a little bit of her glamorous life as we trail out here. I've been speaking with CityBeat's Kinsee Morlan, and Peter Holslin, thank you both so much.

MORLAN: Thank you Maureen.

HOLSLIN: Thank you, Maureen.