David Coddon writes about theater for San Diego CityBeat.
Keli Dailey writes about food for U-T San Diego.
CAVANAUGH: This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. Talking about food, theatre, and music can get you started thinking about the weekend. And that's just what we aim to do. Two wildly different kinds of theatre experiences and cuisine choices from cooking school to first-class. My guest, David Coddon writes about theatre for San Diego City Beat. Welcome to the show.
CODDON: Thank you very much, Maureen.
CAVANAUGH: Kelly Dailey writes about food for UT San Diego. Welcome back.
DAILEY: Thank you.
CAVANAUGH: A rather curious theatrical piece, a man, his wife, and his hat. What's this play about?
CODDON: That's a tough question.
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CODDON: Part of the show is that it is absurdist theatre. And to put it as simply as possible, it literally is about a man who loses first his hat, and then his wife. But that's barely scratching the surface of what's going on. It really is more a play about identity and believe it or not love.
CAVANAUGH: What did you enjoy about this play?
CODDON: I think the fact that it is off the wall, and speaking of wall, there is a talking wall in the show voiced by Joanne Glover. And you've got a Gollum, which if our listeners not familiar, it's a mythical creature that has spiritual significance, and that is lumbering around the stage. It hooks kind of like the monster in a twilight zone episode. Then you've got this very strange story of this older couple trying to rekindle the love in their marriage.
CAVANAUGH: So with all of this absurdity going on, you would say that there is a plot line that people can follow?
CODDON: There is. But I would caution the audience to be patient with it and understand that it's a very nonlinear plot line. What makes the show acceptable, Maureen, is that it's frequently funny and it's often very visual, which is typical of Moxie's productions.
CAVANAUGH: Tell us about the playwright.
CODDON: Lauren Yi is a very talented young woman, a UCSD MFA student, and she previously was a winner in the playwright's project in the teen requesting in San Diego, and this was a chance for her to have one of her works which previously was produced last year on the UCSD campus, to have it produced in a San Diego venue. And she was there on opening night, and I could tell very excited, and she's bright and she's got a lot of ingenuity.
CAVANAUGH: And people can see more of her works coming up.
>> Yes, the Baldwin new play festival, which I believe begins on the 19th of April, she has a play called Hookman, which will be part of that festival.
CAVANAUGH: So this play, a man, his wife, and his hat, runs through April 29th at Moxie theatre in the college area. Kelly, this is taste of Julian, this weekend. Tell us about this event.
CAVANAUGH: This is Saturday afternoon, and there's no helping friends move this weekend.
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DAILEY: There's no detailing the car. We're all going to the quaint little mountain town to the east, and we're going to do a self- guided tour of the restaurants up there in our tiny little gold mining town. The main street actually is it go through all the relevant businesses in Julian. And they're opening up their doors and letting people come in and have some food and drink.
CAVANAUGH: How many restaurants?
DAILEY: It's 20 eateries, and for $25, you basically make money if you sample them all. There's, like, a Julian grill, it's a nice little romantic dinner spot, and they're doing samples. Something called a Georgia peach, and it's not at all what you think, it's a chicken dish, it's wrapped in pecan crumbs and bread crumb, and it's not nectar and sauces and peaches. And you can sample their walnut salad, and some shrimp linguini.
CAVANAUGH: Julian is known for its apple pie, of course. Is it also known for its restaurants?
DAILEY: Well, it does have a bunch of cute restaurants there. One of them that comes to mind is Jeremy's on the Hill. It has a Cordon Bleu graduate there. Julian may be known for its beer pretty soon, because Julian brewing company just started up. The town hadn't had a brew company for 100 years. So this is an outfit related to Bailey barbecue up there, who's also a participant in taste of Julian. So you can try their beer or pulled pork or baby back ribs. I spend a lot of time up in Julian just relaxing and having soup and what not, so this is a perfect chance to get them all in one scoop.
CAVANAUGH: It sounds like it's going to be a really party atmosphere up there on Saturday. What else is going on besides food?
DAILEY: Artists are going to have their work in the eateries, and there'll be a stroll. There might be a light dusting of snow the night before.
CAVANAUGH: Ah, yes!
DAILEY: If there is some bad weather. I've definitely been rained on in Julian before, and that's kind of cute two. Band B sum up Julian normally. So if you want to spend the night up there, you could have a fun time escaping San Diego for a while.
CAVANAUGH: Excellent. We go from absurdity to someone who was very, very concerned with making rational decisions, David, ripples from Walden pond opens Monday at signet theatre. This is Thoreau's Walden Pond; is that right?
CODDON: Yes, Henry David Thoreau, who was one of the great thinkers of all time.
CAVANAUGH: Start out with the playwright. Richard Platt.
CODDON: He actually is not a playwright, he is a literary essayist and novelist. He's British. And he is not surprisingly an expert on Thoreau, and certainly an admirer. And this was his first attempt at a play. And it is a 1-man show, but it's -- it does have dramatic elements built into it. Thoreau was a practitioner of civil disobedience, and he was an activist before activists were highly profiled as they are now. And this actually lends itself to theater. It was originally staged as a staged reading where someone would just come up there and read the script perhaps with mannerisms. So to have it dramatized is pretty exciting.
CAVANAUGH: Now, are as you say, this is a 1-man show. And 1-man shows can be a little bit tricky. You think of Hal Holbrook doing Mark Twain for years and years. It seems it has to be the right blend of the right historical figure that holds an audience for the evening. Is Thoreau the kind of figure that can do that?
CODDON: I'm not sure, to be honest. I think the success of the Mark Twain, series, which is many, many years old, is that humor is built into it.
CAVANAUGH: Right, it's very funny.
CODDON: So the audience are almost watching a standup routine. Thoreau is pretty serious-minded. And I wonder how audiences will react to material that is -- I won't say humorless, but is very serious. Not having seen the script yet, it's possible that there is humor built into it. And this I think is where it's incumbent upon the actor and the director to bring the kind of vitality to the show that will keep an audience attentive for that long.
CAVANAUGH: Tell us about the actor, Francis Girk playing Thoreau.
CODDON: He's a signet theatre ensemble member and has a lot of experience. And he is able to be a chameleon. Most recently he was in a production of at the San Diego Rep called in the wake, which was a very contemporary production, and prior to that for signet, he was in the glass menagerie, which is a classic piece of theatre. Two completely different roles. This is going to be a challenge for any actor. But I think he's the right age, I think he's got the right chops as they say in the theatre to do it. And I know he's got the enthusiasm. Of he always brings that to all of his roles. So I'm encourage the with the thought of him doing it.
CAVANAUGH: Signet theatre's ripples from Walden pond opens Monday, runs four nights through April 24th at the old town theatre in old town. We're going to talk about mood at gross month college's 50th anniversary.
DAILEY: Well, the college has a culinary program, obviously. They have been -- this is their 50th anniversary open house they're having on Saturday also. And I'm really excited about some of the cooking demos they're going to be doing. For one, not all pastry chefs are created equal. And they've got a pastry chef instructor there, James Forin, from market restaurant. He has been at Artera also. This guy is teaching the students in town that go onto the lodge at Torrey Pines, and he's going to do some demos about chocolate truffles and sugar sculptures, and prep you to what it's like to be a pastry chef and what you'll learn in his classes there.
CAVANAUGH: Besides making food, are you going to be able to eat any food?
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DAILEY: Well, that's the payoff, right? There would be protests at Grossmont otherwise. You can sample the chocolate. His students are going to have some of their displays to eat also. It's a good time to just see the campus. They just upgraded their kitchen. It's all the stainless steal, wonderful stuff that we didn't have in home-ec. And they're hoaxing their math and English program, and there's going to be live performances there too.
CAVANAUGH: Friday and Saturday at Grossmont college in El Cajon. Taj Mahal is playing the belly up on Sunday. Remind us about this legendary blues artist.
CODDON: Before I talk about him, let me just recommend the show. Because the belly up is a good venue anyway, and to see an artist like Taj Mahal who's played at much largely venues like Humphrey, to see him in a venue this small is a treat. This is a guy turning 70 next month. A lot of people think he's older because he's been around so long. But he has taken a different approach to interpreting the blues throughout his career. In one way, he's much more of an acoustic blues player. We tend to think of blues as electrified, which is how we generally hear them on record and the radio. And Taj Mahal throughout his career has been a proponent of acoustic blues. Besides that, he's a great interpreter of the idiom. He has looked to blues influences in roots music and world music from South America, Africa, from the Caribbean. So he's an educator and student of the blues.
CAVANAUGH: We have a sample of blues artist Taj Mahal. The tune is called leaving trunk.
(Audio Recording Played)
CAVANAUGH: And this weekend, Kelly, marks the one hundredth anniversary of the sinking of the titanic, and on Sunday we can dine like passengers in it first-class.
DAILEY: It's a meal to remember, so to speak. Actually all over the country, restaurants are hopping onto the morbid boat, and giving you a taste of the last meal the passengers had on the titanic 100 years ago. And I'll like to medieval times and what not, but these guys at the Prado are actually consulting with the San Diego natural museum to have a very authentic, ten-course wine-paired meal for you in their grand bawl room, and there's going to be monologues related to titanic history, and piano Quintet, and a lot of feel for what it was like to dine before the tragedy.
CAVANAUGH: One last fast question, pretty pricey?
DAILEY: $212. It's investment grade because it's about history, it's about putting you in the moment.
CAVANAUGH: Saturday at the Prado in Balboa Park. And I've been speaking with Kelly daily, David codon. Thank you very much for speaking with us.
DAILEY: Thanks, Maureen.
CODDON: Thank you, Maureen.