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Weekend Preview: North Park Festival Of Arts, Janka Nabay & The Bubu Gang and The Julian Wild & Scenic Film Festival

May 16, 2013 1:11 p.m.


Barbarella, executive producer and host of Art Pulse TV and columnist at the San Diego Reader

Peter Holslin, Music Editor, San Diego CityBeat

Related Story: Weekend Preview: North Park Festival Of Arts, Janka Nabay & The Bubu Gang and The Julian Wild & Scenic Film Festival


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 Midday Edition. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. What's bad about an event that pairs jewelry and chocolate? Answer: Absolutely nothing! That and other intriguing entertainment questions are answered to today's weekend preview. My guests, Barbarella is executive producer and host of Art Plus --

BARBARELLA: It's Art Pulse.

CAVANAUGH: I'm doing it again! Art Pulse TV, and columnist at the San Diego Reader. Welcome.

BARBARELLA: Thank you so much!

CAVANAUGH: And Peter Holslin is Music Editor for San Diego CityBeat, welcome.

HOLSLIN: Thank you, Maureen.

CAVANAUGH: Peter! Let's start with you. You're here to tell us about a big arts festival happening this weekend. The North Park Festival of Arts.

HOLSLIN: This is a day-long jamboree going down on University and 30th. Arts and crafts, live music on six different sets and stages, an interactive arts area for kids. Live art demonstrations and installations on Ray Street. There's going to be an area for craft beer enthusiasts to try out beers from local brewery like ballast point. Just a big old jamboree.

CAVANAUGH: What's new this year?

HOLSLIN: Well, the main thing is that this year it's being held on a Saturday instead of a Sunday. And the -- then the other thing is that the beer garden and the Bar Pink stage will be open till 9:00PM this year. Which is just more fun for all.

CAVANAUGH: Exactly. And also it's good for Saturday night as well.

HOLSLIN: And there's also going to be an art of whiskey tasting workshop at the Bar 7 Grand. So you can take all sorts of whiskies there.

CAVANAUGH: All right. These are new things! What about the music?

HOLSLIN: Well, I would definitely show up early for Chess Wars. They're kind of a new band, they feature Dustin Lothspeich of Old Tiger, and Jake Najor of the wild tones, and they're just like this gnarly blues rock duo that just came out recently. And I'd really make sure to hit up the Bar Pink stage because later in the night, there's a lot of really great local bands, especially tropical popsicle and wild wild wets. Some very crude, very tripe psychedelic rock bands, very dark vibes and catchy sounds.

CAVANAUGH: Now, Northpark is really undergoing a lot of change these days. What's new in the neighborhood?

HOLSLIN: Well, the main thing I've noticed is that there's just been this massive infusion of craft beer and craft cocktails and craft food. The story Bottle Craft recently opened a shop in Northpark on University, and they're a boutique beer shop. On Adams and 30th, there's the new bar Polite Provisions, and it's connected to the restaurant Soda and Swan. There's 7 Grand which recently opened, it's a huge whiskey bar. But the other thing I have to mention is that there's a new bike shop called Northpark Bikes.

CAVANAUGH: The Northpark festival of the arts happening this Saturday in Northpark. Now, chocolate and jewelry at the bizarre dell mundo in old town.

BARBARELLA: This is both Friday and Saturday. It's from 10:00AM to 8:00PM all day. You can get a "delicious assortment of sweet and sparkly treats." There's going to be an artist there creating chocolate-themed paintings.

CAVANAUGH: What vendors will be there?

BARBARELLA: Eclipse chocolate, the elegant truffle, they're all going to be selling their chocolate. Although there'll be other chocolate in all of the shops for free for you to taste. And they're actually going to be on hand to discuss their unique styles. They all use for exotic flavors. Spices and weird peppers. It's all very tasty.

CAVANAUGH: Lavender.

BARBARELLA: Oh, yes! Green tea, don't get me started. I haven't had my whiskey yet.

CAVANAUGH: It sharpens the palette! Now, the jewelry aspect of this is pretty cool because there's a lot of crafted pieces, individually crafted pieces.

BARBARELLA: Yes, there's going to be at least nine local jewelers. Accessory artists, and they're going to be offering things like button necklaces, bracelets with "a distinctive Bohemian attitude." And even jewelry made out of seeds. So you're going to see a lot of different materials. It'll be very original.

CAVANAUGH: And there's also live music?

BARBARELLA: Yeah, Tinku performing. They're interesting because they perform on authentic Native American instruments. And Spanish-style instruments.

CAVANAUGH: There's a book signing on Friday that's part of this event. What book is being featured?

BARBARELLA: From 10:00 to 4:00, it's a children's book called Grandma's Chocolate. It's about a young girl named Sabrina and her grandmother who visits from Mexico with treats and stories about the Mayans and Aztecs. So fun, flavorful, and informative.

CAVANAUGH: Can you describe the venue?

BARBARELLA: Colorful. They sell art, pottery, accessory, mostly all from Mexico, and of course jewelry. And it's at the end of old town. Not in the center. It has a parking let by Taylor Street.

CAVANAUGH: Happening this Friday and Saturday at bizarre dell mundo in old town. Now, a world music show is happening on Friday on the the Voy. Janka Nabay?

HOLSLIN: I believe that's the proper pronunciation. He is a singer and musician from Sierra Leone, and he is basically the self-appointed king of Bubu music.

CAVANAUGH: Not honey Boo Boo music.

HOLSLIN: No, very different than that. It is a type of Muslim folk music that originated in Sierra Leone, and it was basically used during processionals during Ramadan. And groups of people would play these crazy, zany, frantic rhythms and play melodies on pipes and bamboo flights and stuff. And then he does with it is he incorporates drum machine sounds and keyboards and basically turns it into a live band thing. Then also he brought it to a western audience.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Why did he leave Sierra Leone?

HOLSLIN: Throughout the '90s, it was wracked by a terrible civil war. So while he was in the country, he was pretty much the biggest guy known for this music. And he was taking it to the national level. Then during the civil war, a lot of these rebel groups would go into villages and actually play his music during, like raids on the villages. And they would use it to, like, trick people into coming out of their hiding places.


HOLSLIN: So it's kind of really terrible and sad. And then he basically had to leave the country just because of the violence and everything.

CAVANAUGH: That's interesting is that he's hooked up with some musicians in Brooklyn to form his band, the Bubu gang. Is this now indie world music?

HOLSLIN: I think it's a really good question. Because I saw them at Bar Pink last year. And the musicians he plays with are -- they're total hipsters, like -- they kind of look -- I don't know, but they definitely look kind of hip and cool, and they're young. But it's interesting because they really understand where he's coming from. And they're super dialed into the rhythms and just the feel of the whole thing.

CAVANAUGH: Let's hear some of it.

(Audio Recording Played)

CAVANAUGH: Now, there's got to be a lot of dancing at this show, right?

HOLSLIN: Oh, yeah. When I saw them at Bar Pink, a lot of people were a little bashful. But just the whole vibe is just so ecstatic and happy. So there's definitely going to be some dancing.

CAVANAUGH: They play on Friday night at the Voy in City Heights. Now there's an intriguing film festival happening a little ways east this weekend. It's in Julian. It's a film festival called the Wild And scenic film festival.

BARBARELLA: That's a 3-day festival with three different short films, and they're going to play them straight. So you can see them at any time. It's to benefit the Volcan mountain foundation, and that's the mountain that we can see over here from 65miles away on the water.

HOLSLIN: That's incredible!

CAVANAUGH: I didn't know that! Does the festival have a theme?

BARBARELLA: Yeah, it's wild and scenic every year. Last year's theme was inspire. And this year is called focusing on our planet.

CAVANAUGH: So tell us about a few of the films during this marathon. &%F0

BARBARELLA: Well, I'm a super animal geek. So I definitely want to see eyes in the forest. It's a short documentary around 12 minutes that follows wildlife photographer Jim Lawrence as he treks through British Columbia's remote mountains. Lots of great close ups. There's also an animation called song of the spindle. It's about a man and a sperm whale having a conversation to figure out which of them is smarter.

CAVANAUGH: I'm just wondering, has it changed? You said is this only the second year of this festival.

BARBARELLA: They're growing, I think. So for example this year, there's going to be a kids' program on Saturday morning. It's a short 45-minute program that features kids actually being activists in the environment. And then there's also going to be wonders in nature workshop so kids can do crafts and things while their parents are next door watching films.

CAVANAUGH: So I'm wrapping my head around this but not fast. Julian is known for apple pie, you go up there, have a good time on a weekend. But how unexpected is it that it actually Horsts a film festival?

BARBARELLA: It's surprising to me that so many people are so surprised. If you haven't been there in the last few years, there's a lot that's going on. Wineries, gallery, plus it's all nature! Wild and scenic. So it makes sense that this is there for me.

CAVANAUGH: This weekend, Friday through Sunday in Julian.