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Weekend Preview: Casual Encounters, Love Notes and The HeART of Lotería

February 14, 2013 1:11 p.m.


Claire Caraska, freelance writer, editor and DJ

Barbarella Fokos, NBC Universal correspondent and writer at the San Diego Reader

Related Story: Weekend Preview: Casual Encounters, Love Notes and The HeART of Lotería


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: Love stories, romantic dinners, games of chance, and fungus! Okay, well, we tried to have a completely Valentine's day-inspired weekend preview, but sometimes you just have to talk about mushrooms! So whether you are happily coupled or still looking for the perfect porta bellow, we've got the program for you. Clair Caraska, and Barbarella. Welcome. Let's go to you first for a legitimate Valentine's day event. Some people may still be looking for something to do tonight. I would imagine there are some out there. Tell us what's happened at the bar quality social.

BARBARELLA: And happy Valentine's day. This is a great last-minute, not sure what you're doing catch-all event. Tonight there's going to be casual encounters put on by the party for may star. And it's going to be an aphrodisiac inspired menu, live performances, and DJs keeping the music going before and after.

CAVANAUGH: And you don't have to have a date?

BARBARELLA: No, it's definitely an event for everyone, couples and singles. And the environment itself is kind of like a club. So it's really fun. It's not, like, sitting off in tables. And the name I was told today is derived from the Craigslist personals where people can look for strictly Platonic friend, dating and romance, and casual encounters which I think is code for grabbing a cup of coffee.

CAVANAUGH: Only lunch. Tell us more about this aphrodisiac inspired menu.

BARBARELLA: Well, they do all their homemade sauces, locally serviced. Spiced almonds, fig and bleu cheese flat bread. What they're doing is they have a lot of descriptions on why each of the menu items are appropriate for this love-concentric holiday. But they're suitably naughty so I'm not going to share them.

CAVANAUGH: There's also a classic burlesque performance by keyhole cabaret.

BARBARELLA: Classic here is just sort of how risque it is. Think Moulin Rouge. You probably have seen these girls before. If you went to culture and cocktail, they were the cigarette girls, they're all around town. Really WorldWarII era, pin-up style.

CAVANAUGH: How fun. Clair, you also appropriately have a Valentine's day event for us. But yours is more of the spoken word variety. Share with us what local theatre company write out loud has planned.

CARASKA: I have a question for you. When was the last time someone read you a story?

CAVANAUGH: Well, you know, I have to admit I'm an audio book kind of a person.

CARASKA: All right, well, this is better than an audio book! Right out loud is presenting a night of live short stories beinged are out loud by local actor, and because it's Valentine's day, the theme of course is romance and love. But because the event is being held at the music and arts library, all the stories have something to do with music and art as well.

CAVANAUGH: Oh, okay! So love, music and art!

CARASKA: What's not to love?

CAVANAUGH: What kinds of stories are we going to hear?

CARASKA: Well, both classic and contemporary stories. One of the stories is by Isabel Allende, a Latin-American author known for her realistic stories. One takes place in a bar in South America. These two elderly people meet there through the live music and dancing in the bar. And they fall in love. Stories about couples reuniting after long periods of separation, people falling in love, all romantic with unexpected endings.

CAVANAUGH: And these are read by from write out loud.

CARASKA: Yeah, most of the stories are read by one person. There's a couple stories that are read by two, like a man and a woman doing their parts. But it sounds like a really unique event to go hear some great stories, and you don't have to be in a couple to enjoy.

CAVANAUGH: In addition to love and music and art, there's food, right?

CARASKA: Of course! Part of the price of admission gets you some champagne and sweet treats from chocolate and fruit. Voluptuous fruit, it says on the website.

CAVANAUGH: Of course, of course! What about write out loud? What are they known for?

CARASKA: The group was founded by two local actors, and they're known for presenting literature-focused performance events. So really taking stories off the page and bringing them to life on stage. People may be familiar with the Twain Fest they put on every year, and The Big Read. All of their events are typically held at the Old Town theatre.

CAVANAUGH: But tonight, love notes is at the music and arts library in La Jolla. Barbarella, you bring us something that's not appropriate for Valentine's day.

BARBARELLA: What's not appropriate? Everything's appropriate.

CAVANAUGH: It's the fungus fair!

BARBARELLA: Yes! Exactly. Fungus is an aphrodisiac.

CAVANAUGH: What is this event?

BARBARELLA: It's the 15th annual one. And it is put together by the San Diego Mike logical society. People gather to see gourmet cooking demonstrations, learn how to identify whether or not a mushroom is poisonous, there's vendors and mushroom growing kits and art. Everything mushroom-related goodies! So it's really a mushroom-lovers gathering to appreciate the fun guy.

CAVANAUGH: Could you name a few for us?

BARBARELLA: I could. There's over 600 in Southern California that are not in Northern California. But for the edible one, we have morels, shaggy mains, porcini, pine spikes and chant rels. There's also oyster mushrooms and cinnamon caps. But common mushrooms aside, I was looking through photos this morning, and it's truly extraordinary. There are all these tiny little alien lifeform all around here in San Diego! And most of the time, we don't even notice them.

CAVANAUGH: And this brings me to another event called BYOM, bring your own mushrooms!

CAVANAUGH: Does this mean that people can actually get some of these alien lives and pluck them up and bring them in and have the people tell them what they are?

BARBARELLA: They do. And that's actually huge. There are forums all online, and the San Diego micological society focuses on that. You can dig up a patch of dirt with some mold on it and say what is this? And there will be experts there to tell you is it safe, what to do.

CAVANAUGH: Besides identifying your own personal mushroom, what else can visitors find?

BARBARELLA: There's a lot of educational materials. There's going to be a liken display, and talks by three prominent local mushroom authorities.

BARBARELLA: They take mushrooms very seriously. There was a TED talk by a famous mycologist who covered six ways mushrooms will save the world, things from cleaning polluted soil to treating the flu.

CAVANAUGH: Anybody going to prepare mushrooms?

BARBARELLA: Yes, yeah! They have cooking demonstrations, gourmet. A lot of chefs using mushroom, and especially locally sourced. If you can go out in your yard and find the safe edible kinds, you can make a gourmet dish from it.

CAVANAUGH: February17th at Balboa Park's casa dell Prado room 101. Our last event is based on a popular game in Latin America. Could you say it for me?

CARASKA: Lotteria.

CAVANAUGH: First explain what it is for people who have never heard of it.

CARASKA: It's very similar to bingo. But instead of a board with columns of numbers on it, be there's images. So there's a caller and he draws from a deck of cards with these images, and the first person to get four in a row, images on their board, wins. It's very much like the Mexican bingo. It's played throughout Latin American countries, and the images vary from country to country. And this show is really focused on the Mexican version of lotteria.

CAVANAUGH: Now, we're talking about an art show, heart of lotteria. How do they translate this game into artwork?

CARASKA: The images on the boards are very iconic. I'm sure many listeners have seen them and not realize it's the game. There's images of a hand or a heart, El Borracho, the drunk man, the Mermaid. So the artists in the show are either reinterpreting those icons and or creating their own variation of a loteria icon. So for example the hand, one artist added, like, tattoos to it. Very much looking like rectangles with the number and the name of the icon on it, so --

CAVANAUGH: Now, where are the artists from? And what are the different kinds of mediums that they're going to be using?

CARASKA: The artists are from all over. There's a good amount from Southern California. But also as far away as Peru and the UK. Also artists from Mexico. Media ranges from paintings to sketching, to sculpture and glass mosaic. And this really is as the curator told me, it's like an art show on steroids. There's going to be a lot of interactive elements, there's going to be giant 7-foot backdrops of the actual lotteria bingo cards with the faces cut out so people can get their photo taken as el borracho or the mermaid. So yeah, there's ways for people to really get into the game. There'll be game stations where you can play lotteria, and also people dressed up like these characters kind of milling throughout the space.

CAVANAUGH: That does sound interactive. Now you mentioned the curator. It's curated by Ruben Torres.

CARASKA: He's a fairly now local curator. And he is really focused on emerging artists and exposing art that people may not be aware of. And he got his start by doing toy drives for kids and families in Tijuana. His nonprofit is called love thy neighbor. And he really wanted it to be an event for people interacting not just dropping off toys so he brought in artists to make it a destination to not only drop off toys for a good cause but see some art too. That was kind of his first entrance into curating art shows.

CAVANAUGH: Will there be any other kind of entertainment?

CARASKA: This is a really big event. It's so much more than an art show. There will be a Mercado outside selling food, street taco, bacon-wrapped hotdogs, churros, arts and crafts, and live music by Gabachillo, which features members of Ozomatli.

CAVANAUGH: That sounds great. February16th at the Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park.

BARBARELLA: Good accent.

CAVANAUGH: Every once in a while.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you very much. And happy Valentine's day.

CARASKA: Happy Valentine's day!

BARBARELLA: I'll see you at the fungus fair.