Peter Holslin, music editor at San Diego CityBeat.
Claire Caraska, KPBS production assistant and Culture Lust blogger.
CAVANAUGH: This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. Of it's a weekend of fairs and festivals ahead in San Diego, plus challenging art and a rock and roll legend. Peter Holslin is music editor at San Diego City beat.
HOLSLIN: Good to see you too, Maureen.
CAVANAUGH: And Claire Carasca, hi.
CARASCA: Hi, Maureen.
CAVANAUGH: We're going to start out with the pride festival. There are several live music performances. Who's playing on Saturday?
HOLSLIN: Well, on Saturday, there is a dizzying array of musicians and DJs. I started counting it on their website, then I lost count because there are so many. One thing I'm looking forward to is that there is a whole stage devoted to hip hop for the whole day. And this one particular group, it's a local grouped called 50/50. They're two local rappers, Mickey veil, and candy cole, and they sing a lot about feminist issues and black pride and stuff like that, but it's very stylish and very artful. And it just sounds really good.
CAVANAUGH: Do they play frequently here in San Diego?
HOLSLIN: I wouldn't say it's a rare opportunity. They're both very active in the local hip hop scene. Of it's definitely going to be pretty cool to check out. And I think it fits in well with the whole ethos of the festival. And Natasha bedding field, and she is awesome. Most of us probably know her hit songs, unwritten and pocket full of sunshine. And she has a lot of other songs, and it's all pop. It's fun, and it feels good. But she also has really emotionally poignant lyrics, and she's very empowering. The she has a really big audience in the LGBT community. And she just has this great style and this, like, whimsical nature, like the video for pocket full of sunshine is really, like, kind of cool. She's in an office building, and her boss is yelling at her, and then she's ignoring him, and puts on a parachute and jumps out the window.
[ LAUGHTER ]
CAVANAUGH: That's great!
HOLSLIN: I'm cool with that.
CAVANAUGH: I think we all are. Let's hear a little bit of the music. Here's Natasha beddingfield.
(Audio Recording Played)
CAVANAUGH: Any other musical acts we should check out?
HOLSLIN: It's just like I said. It was a lot of people, a lot of acts. I can honestly say I lost count how many acts there are.
CAVANAUGH: So Dwayne HOLSLIN wasn't wrong when he said buying a ticket to this is like buying a couple of concert tickets.
HOLSLIN: I would definitely say so.
CAVANAUGH: The pride festival is Friday through Sunday in Balboa Park. We move to something really completely different. The eye way, way documentary. It's the Chinese artist, eye way, way.
CARASCA: He is a truly fascinating character. Art review named him the most powerful artist in the world. He's very controversial, very outspoken, and very critical of his own country. He has been detained by the Chinese government, spent four months in jail last year.
CAVANAUGH: Is he still under arrest?
CARASCA: Last month the veil was lifted. But he's still barred from leaving China. And he came to international prominence with his design for the birds nest stadium, which was very iconic during the Beijing Olympics.
CAVANAUGH: Just watching the trailer for this documentary, you get the feeling that this is a very powerful documentary and a very, very brave man. You kind of see him being arrested, are being detained, taken into custody.
CARASCA: Yeah, I watched the trailer too, and one of the most outrageous moments is when you hear him say F you, motherland, which is just -- you wouldn't dare say that! That's the worst thing you could say as a Chinese citizen. So he is heavily surveyeded by the government still. And he's one of their most controversial figures. And interestingly enough, he's the son of a celebrated communist poet.
CAVANAUGH: Oh, really. And he's a powerful artist. We have some local connections to Ai Weiwei, don't we?
CARASCA: We do. When he was detained last year, the international art community really rose to his defense. The museum of contemporary art San Diego staged a silent protest for 24 hours where community members, staff members, did a sit-in in these two marble chairs that were his own sculptural works. And they're actually part of the museum's collection now. Of
CAVANAUGH: And that's the work that people can see as they go and see this documentary. Ai Weiwei, never sorry, screens Friday at the museum of contemporary art San Diego in La Jolla.
CARASCA: And it's free.
CAVANAUGH: Two respected jazz musicians are performing here on Sunday.
HOLSLIN: Mark dresser and the pianist Diane Moser. Mark dresser is -- he's an iconic local bassist. He's one of the best jazz musicians in town. He's played with four thinking jazz composers like Anthony Braxton, and he's just a very masterful versatile player. Then Diaz Moser, she's a jazz pianist, a composer who lives in Montclair, New Jersey, and she's also very versatile, very powerful player, and she's played with jazz ensembles, and big bands and theatre companies. The two musicians first met in San Diego all the way back in 1977. So they have been collaborating on and off ever since.
CAVANAUGH: Tell us about their most recent album, dueto.
HOLSLIN: It came out in March on CIMP records, which is based in New York. And they both contribute their own original compensations to the record. And it's not like a usual swinging jazz record. It's very moody and natural and atmospheric and ambient. But it's also very playful with these kind of herbingy jerky rhythms and skewed melodic patterns. And it was also actually recorded in a church in Montclair, New Jersey. So it has this kind of natural feel to it.
CAVANAUGH: Let's hear a track. Here's big mamma.
(Audio Recording Played)
CAVANAUGH: They perform Sunday at 98 Bottles in little Italy. A rock and roll Hall-of-Famer is performing here on Sunday. Ray Davies.
CARASCA: Yes, one of my favorite musicians. He was a cofounder of the Kinks.
CAVANAUGH: If anybody doesn't know the Kinks, let's play a little bit.
(Audio Recording Played)
CAVANAUGH: That's till the end of the day. Now, here he's playing with the 88.
CARASCA: The 88 are an LA-based band, and you've probably heard them. They wrote and perform the theme song for the hit TV show community. And they're very much inspired by the '60s rock and pop out of Britain and the U.S. so since 2010, they have been playing and touring with Ray, and they got the big by sending him recordings of themselves playing the songs of the Kinks. And so it's a really --
CAVANAUGH: And he said that sounds like us!
[ LAUGHTER ]
CARASCA: Exactly! He'd been touring solo and putting out his own material since the Kinks split in 1996. But I think it's great that these guys who are obviously influenced by them get to play with one of their idols.
CAVANAUGH: That's Sunday at the house of blues in it downtown San Diego. There is another affair. There is a fair in Golden Hill this weekend on Sunday.
HOLSLIN: Well, it reminds me of the show parks and recreation when Lesley Nope and her friends decided to put on the harvest festival after it was not around for a long time. The Golden Hill street fair, this is the first time it's taken place in eight years.
HOLSLIN: Yeah, and it's put on the Golden Hill based arts nonprofit saysio, and the greater Golden Hill community development corporation. It's just this big celebration and a showcase of all the area's businesses and musicians and artists. If you've ever walked around that neighborhood, you know Golden Hill is just crawling with artists and musicians. They're just coming out of the trees and everything.
CAVANAUGH: The woodwork! It's one of San Diego's really exciting and emerging neighborhoods. Who's providing the food and drinks?
HOLSLIN: Well, the food is coming from a couple of really good local restaurant, Alchemy and Georgino's. And then the mihoe gastrotruck will be rolling out a street food stand called stand and deliver. This is the non-truck version of the gastrotruck.
CAVANAUGH: Let's squeeze in another music clip, this is one of the several local bands playing at Golden Hill street fair. Just ride it by cuckoo chaos.
(Audio Recording Played)
CAVANAUGH: So food, music
ORR: And art-make something
HOLSLIN: There is art-making. And the stone brewing company will be hosting a craft beer garden. Can't forget that. There's a Golden Hill artist's collective called yeller. They'll be doing screen printing.
CAVANAUGH: Okay. That happens Sunday on 25th street between B and C streets in Golden Hill. And if you would also like to see pools by, you can see the pool side film series at the pearl hotel in Point Loma.