Valerie Scher, freelance arts journalist
Susan Myrland, freelance curator and arts project manager, and covers emerging art in San Diego and Tijuana
Related Story: Weekend Preview: Dance, Music, And Arabian Horses
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: This is came KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. We attempt to raise the level of our discourse on today's weekend preview. As we discussed some decidedly highbrow events such as the start of the mainly Mozart season, and art exhibit by UC San Diego's MFA graduates and an event at the Del Mar Fairgrounds featuring exquisite Arabian horses. And despite all that good taste we shall also attempt to have some fun with my guests arts journalist Valerie Scher. Valerie welcome back.
VALERIE SCHER: Good to be here.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And Susan Myrland is arts project manager and she writes about emerging art in San Diego and Tijuana. Susan, welcome to the show.
SUSAN MYRLAND: Thank you so much, Maureen.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Let's start with Valerie and Eveoke dance theater. They are opening a new production called break nine ticks and a boom. Eveoke dance theater has a history of mixing dance and social concerns. What is the show about?
VALERIE SCHER: The title break nine tics and a boom was inspired by the statistic that every 9 seconds a woman is beaten in this country. Their production is about trying to break the cycle of sexual and domestic violence. I spoke to Erika Malone about this issue, she is Eveoke's artistic director and she said that even women who are smart and capable can get sucked into abusive relationships. And the nine tics and a boom reflects the company's commitment to women and to social change was she said we want to create as much awareness as possible about why women get caught up in these cycles.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: It really is a very meaningful profound even theme of this dance. Now, what styles of dancing will be seen?
VALERIE SCHER: Well Eveoke deserves a lot of credit for being willing to experiment and also explore a different aesthetic, different outlook. It can be edgy, powerful, even provocative. It's gutsy. As air, Malone says, it's about art as an instrument of personal and community transformation. This particular event is an evening length production that features 10 performers all of whom are women. They range in age from their teens to about 30. The choreography is by Becky (Hurt) and Miriam Lucas. Both hip-hop experts. And in true hip-hop fashion and dancers will be wearing tennis shoes.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: All right, so is mixing hip-hop and the spoken word, something that they've done before in Eveoke?
VALERIE SCHER: Oh yes Eveoke is very comfortable and very adept at that kind of combination. This time the spoken word material is Maisha Ocean Rice, a young poet with a rising reputation. One fascinating to see what she Eveokes anti-folk.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: This is Eveoke as you know, the resident group at La Jolla Playhouse. What has that partnership yielded?
VALERIE SCHER: Well it has certainly been a tremendous honor for Eveoke. It is the first dance group to be chosen for residency at La Jolla Playhouse. This has given them much greater visibility. After all, La Jolla Playhouse is such an established and respected theater organization. We just got the news that the musical hands on a hard body is going to Broadway.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Oh really?
SUSAN MYRLAND: So Eveoke's residency (inaudible) to see the dance theater company that's based in part on that.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Fabulous. See Eveoke this Thursday Friday at the La Jolla Playhouse and runs through June 24. Hetero topia is and is an art show it is an exhibit of work of MFA students of the visual arts program at UCSD. Is that an important program for San Diego?
SUSAN MYRLAND: It is, Maureen, the program is very strong in conceptual art and it is ranked among the top programs of the nation because the quality of the faculty of the students who come here. They have their pick of schools around the country. And that this issue is important because this is a graduating class of several of the students might be moving away and this might be the last chance to see their work.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: What does the name mean, hetero topia?
SUSAN MYRLAND: I was afraid you were going to ask me that. It's a phrase coined by French philosopher Michel Foucault and it's a place where there is no dominant culture or school of thought but a diversity of ideas and groups of people. These groups interact and debate and refine. The curators of the show saw similarity between that and a fine arts program where students are working on their own ideas but also interacting with each other. So that is a gross simplification.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: What are some of the concepts that the artists are exploring?
SUSAN MYRLAND: Well there is a whole range. I mean that is the theme is the fact that they are so diverse. So there's one student Jessica Sledge has been excavating the objects in her neighbor 's garage and she's going through these things. The neighbor was a little bit of a hoarder maybe, collector and Jessica is re-purposing these things and giving them a new life. So she's talking about what we inherit from the previous generation, what things are passed down? There's another student Christopher Kardambikis, he used his interest in space and science fiction, comic books and his Greek heritage. He created an oversized book that is 28 feet long. It has beautiful intricate images that I like topographic maps. If you can make a topographic map of space.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Wow do you have a favorite perhaps?
SUSAN MYRLAND: I have several favorites Mike Kelly favorite, he will be hetero topia and also in a show called Fresh Bred which is spelled BRED, opening Going down Saturday night in La Jolla and fresh Bred is a group exhibit of the next generation of artists working conceptual light and space abstract Expressionism and performance art. Mike will be showing his sculptures that hetero Tobia and his collages that fresh bread.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Was he going to be sticking around here in San Diego
SUSAN MYRLAND: No he's gone. Already a lot of them are moving to LA, moving to the Bay Area they are moving where they can get jobs and residencies.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: so this is basically sort of last chance maybe not the less chance but the less chance for a while to see some of the artists and the work they've created here in San Diego. Is this the type of show that would appeal to a wide audience?
SUSAN MYRLAND: Conceptual art can take a bit of effort on the part of the viewer sometimes sometimes you can understand it immediately or you can project your own meetings onto it. But sometimes need to talk with your next or read the wall text to figure out what's going on. I've never known K PBS listeners to shy away from an intellectual challenge. I think they will be fine.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: All right then. Good. It hetero topia ends June 29 at UCSD's University Art Gallery. The Arabian horse show at the Delmar Fairgrounds, Valerie, first of all what distinguishes an Arabian horse from other breeds?
VALERIE SCHER: Well I'm glad you asked, Maureen. I will try to answer that. The Arabian is an ancient breed that began as a desert horse thousands of years ago. Has a beautiful and distinctive look. Big eyes and nostrils, delicate muzzle, arched neck and tail, a short but strong back and a magnificent way of moving. Can you tell I like Arabians?
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I think you do.
VALERIE SCHER: They are among the glamorous supermodels of the horse world.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Well done, will be be seen at the show? For instance are these animals just there to sort of prints around or are they actually competing in some way?
VALERIE SCHER: Oh they are competing all right there will be about 300 horses and 300 people in the show. Air going to try to outdo each other in all kinds of competitions which are called classes. You'll see English and Western writing, jumping, dressage, which is horse ballet, ringing, which is spinning in circles and going from a dead stop to a full gallop. There's even called a class called Dare to wear pink in which the horses and their riders have to wear pink ribbon straps, glitter, you name and the entry fees support breast cancer research.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: isn't that interesting system of this kind of thing is what we would see at the Olympics or something like that, the dressage.
VALERIE SCHER: Absolutely
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Why do you go to these events, Valerie because I have a feeling you do.
VALERIE SCHER: I am a horse crazy as you can probably tell. I love horses whether they are little ponies or heavy draft horses and I love to watch them do different things. Besides it is so much easier to watch a horse show then to participate in one. I once entered a local (inaudible) show and it took forever to wash the horse with the right air-conditioner, so that his mane and tail looked great. It took much more time than I have ever spent on my own hair. So I appreciate all the preparation that goes into these events.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: What advice would you have for another somebody who doesn't know horses the way you do to go see a or show like this the first time?
VALERIE SCHER: Just have fun, watch the classes look at all the cool things that are for sale and by all means go visit the barns where the horses are staying. You can talk to the owners and riders and ask them questions and you will end up learning a lot.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Okay the Arabian horse show runs through June 3 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Practices and opening night of the summer salon series. It is this Friday and it is that the Museum of Art in Balboa Park. Remind us what is the summer salon series?
SUSAN MYRLAND: Summer salon is in its third year now and they take a team that is playing off an exhibit at the museum and the open right now it is on Friday nights it will be June through August 31 and they give a variety of talks and art installations and performances that are all around this theme. Part of the ideas that they put San Diego artists on stage with international artists and they expand and they bring the exhibits to life.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I see and so what are the kind of things that set it apart from other events at the San Diego Museum of Art?
SUSAN MYRLAND: It's raucous. It can be. But usually museums have a little bit of a lock down culture and summer salon is very fun. It's quirky. Playful. It's also serious. It's also thought-provoking. And it really takes the museum literally out into the courtyard, one of the events that will be happening opening night is, will take place in the sculpture garden. So it's really kind of breaking out of the traditional mode of a museum and art exhibit.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Who are some of the artist that you are looking forward to seeing at the opening?
SUSAN MYRLAND: Well the evening will start with this activity out in the sculpture garden and it is free. People will be building wayfinding devices with Mario Borja and Mickey Davison. I hear that Red Beans and PBR will be involved. There will be a sculpture and a presentation by David White of agitprop part of his series called there goes the neighborhood and he's examining what it would've been like if UCSD's campus had been cited in Balboa Park which was originally an idea. They are about the same geographic area. So he has these overlays that show what it would've been like and they talk about that. And then the final evening, or the event is a panel discussion with Todd Gloria and An (Xi Mei) from the International Rescue Committee, Brian Goldfarb and Xavier Leonard who is a multimedia artist. And they will talk about knowledge and information flow and how information gets distributed in the public realm.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: That is the thing about the summer salon series. Prepare people, the sort of odd pairings of people actually, people you would think would have anything to do with art. So it's really really fun. The summer salon series runs through August 31 at the San Diego Museum of Art. The mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra's first performance is next Wednesday. Valerie give us a little history of this festival.
VALERIE SCHER: I can hardly believe Maureen that the mainly Mozart Festival is now in its 24th year. I guess it shows how time flies when you're hearing wonderful music. He opening concert was back in June of 1989 in Balboa Park at the old Globe's outdoor venue and I still remember that it was one of those chilly overcast June gloomy evenings. People were renting blankets to keep warm. During the early concerts you could even hear animal sounds from the San Diego zoo. So it is not surprising that mainly Mozart began focusing on indoor concerts, right? A wants to deal with June gloom each year? But some things have not changed. The festival's conductor and music director is still David Atherton who is outstanding and the musicians are still highly accomplished performers who come from near and far. As you mentioned the first orchestra concert of the season is June 6 at the Balboa theater and the festival closes a few weeks later with all five of Beethoven's cello Sonata starring cellist Lynn Harrell and pianist Anne-Marie McDermott and she is the festivals first curator of chamber music.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Wow so it is kind of coming full circle. So the concerts this year have a couple of special features. What are some of the performances we can look forward to?
VALERIE SCHER: All sorts of music and musicians are features. Mainly Mozart is not just about Mozart's music. There's much more to it and one concept I'm especially eager to attend is the one on June 12 at the Balboa.along with works by Mozart and Wagner there's going to be a movie version of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf with Atherton and the orchestra providing live accompaniment. This is the first time mainly Mozart has done anything like that and it sounds really worthwhile because the film which is a contemporary spin on Peter and the Wolf won an Oscar for best animated short film in 2008. It's been presented with live orchestras in other cities so it is great that we will be able to see and hear it here.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Tell us about the venues for these concerts.
VALERIE SCHER: Well, we've got venues all over. Through the years mainly Mozart has performed in all kinds of venues on both sides of the border.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: That is the newly restored Balboa theater this year, right?
VALERIE SCHER: Absolutely and they have been there actually since 2008 so they are very much at home there. And there are other of course many other venues as well including new this year, the one in Rancho Santa Fe, the village church, which is you know, lovely intimate setting and you can hear David Atherton and the orchestra perform there on June 10.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: the Mainly Mozart Festival runs through June 16 and I don't want to leave before we mention this art show inspire/respond at Sophie's gallery at liberty Station. It seems to focus on outsider art. What type of art is that, Susan?
SUSAN MYRLAND: there are several destinations for this is the partnership between the feminist imaging Madeleine Sophie's gallery and members of the feminist imaging group picked up work from Sophie's and we created something in response to it.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I see and I understand this is part of a monthly art walk open use event called Friday night liberty and I wish that we could talk more about this but at least people will know about it. The inspire/respond art exhibit runs through June 30 at Sophia's gallery and gift shop at NTC. I've been speaking with Valerie Scher and Susan Myrland. Thank you both very much.
SUSAN MYRLAND: Thank you Maureen
VALERIE SCHER: Thank you
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Be sure to watch the PBS evening edition on PBS television at 630 and tomorrow KPBS Midday Edition it is the roundtable. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh, thank you for listening.