Weekend Preview: 'Extraordinary Chambers,' San Diego Oysterfest And The Big Bite Baconfest
June 13, 2013 1:14 p.m.
David Coddon, theater critic, San Diego CityBeat.
Seth Combs, freelance arts writer & nightlife editor, Zagat
Related Story: Weekend Preview: 'Extraordinary Chambers,' San Diego Oysterfest And The Big Bite Baconfest
CAVANAUGH: This weekend the guys get a big chunk of the attention on this Weekend Preview! Guy bands and foods take center stage with the exception of one serious play on stage. My guests, David Coddon with San Diego City beat.
CODDON: Thank you Maureen.
CAVANAUGH: And Seth Combs, editor at Zagat.
COMBS: Hi, thank you.
CAVANAUGH: Some people say everything is better with bacon! Does that go for father's day too?
COMBS: Yeah, I would say so. There's a big bite bacon fast this weekend at the San Diego fair. And I don't think bacon love is exclusive to fathers. But unless your dad is a vegetarian, I can't imagine he wouldn't want to go to this. Unlimited bacon dishes, snaps, apps, desserts. And it's at the San Diego fair, so you can go ride the zipper or something.
[ LAUGHTER ]
CAVANAUGH: To further entice dad, this festival focuses on bacon and beer! What kind of beer?
COMBS: Oh, tons. There'll be beer samples, and they're comp limitary with the price of the ticket. Dozens of breweries, and most of them are local. And there's even some bacony-flavored beer.
[ LAUGHTER ]
CAVANAUGH: Aside from perhaps the bacony-flavored beer, what other kind of bacony foods will be on hand at this bacon fest?
COMBS: I can only tell you what I'm personally excited about. I like bacon sweets. I love bacon must have been, things like that. There's a company called Nothing Bunt Cakes. They'll have a bacon bunt cake. There's a place in Encinitas called Betty's Piehole. They'll have pies. Bacon jerky, doughnuts, and fried bacon-wrapped pickles. My arteries are clogging just talking about this.
[ LAUGHTER ]
CAVANAUGH: Well, you're not off the hook yet. So stand by. There's also the San Diego oyster fest which focuses on oysters, beer, and live music. Well, there we said it! What else can you say!
COMBS: Not a whole lot more to say! Obviously the focus is on eating as many oysters as you can. And it's from up and down the west coast. Mexico as well. There will be bands, DJs, a shuck and suck competition, you can learn about oyster farming, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the San Diego Music Foundation.
CAVANAUGH: And craft beers on hand?
COMBS: Oh, tons of craft beers. You can't have any fest in San Diego without having beer. They have some pretty good beers as well. And I think Pacifico and -- I think Corona is one of the main sponsors. So a lot of Mexican beers.
CAVANAUGH: And live music?
COMBS: Oh, yeah, the headliner is mayor Hawthorn. He plays this indie R&B retrosoul hybrid. And I'm excited about Family Wagon, they're rocking guys with long hair. So check them out.
CAVANAUGH: You just realized you can go to the oyster fest on Saturday, and the bacon fest on Sunday!
COMBS: Why wouldn't you!
CAVANAUGH: Now for something completely different.
CODDON: I'm going to lay a big bummer on everyone!
CAVANAUGH: Well, it's something for everybody. It's a play opening this weekend. And the name of it is Extraordinary Chambers.
CODDON: Maybe the best way to start is to tell you what that is. Extraordinary chambers is the name of a tribunal in Cambodia, which is assigned the task of compensating or investigating survivors of the genocide there in the '70s. This is a play written by David Leaner. It's about a couple, an American couple who goes to Cambodia on business, his business, and while they are there on business, they encounter not only the personal problems in their own marriage, but this very grim and eye-opening world that is Cambodia. It's still trying to recover from this terrible regime that was led by Pol Pot.
CAVANAUGH: Of course. And this happened in the 1970s.
CODDON: From 1975 to 1979 is when Pol Pot was ruling the government. This was an offshoot of a communist party. And the persecution of the people of Cambodia was beyond comprehension. People who had not conformed to what the government wanted. And it was so bad at one point that intellectuals were persecuted, and people who wore glasses were usually executed because it was assumed that they were readers. That's how terrible it was.
CAVANAUGH: Now, the Mo'olelo Performing Arts is behind this production. They have been known for this type of drama that really highlights a problem for one ethnic culture or an ethnic story that is not being told.
CODDON: Absolutely. The name Mo'olelo is Hawaiian, it means story or legend. And that is exactly what they do. They celebrate and shine a light on multiculturalism. This is just another in the long line of shows that they've done that do that. And a memorable one they did earlier this year in cooperation with Moxie was called the Bluest Eye. It had to deal with an African American stories, and it was one of the best plays I've seen all year.
CAVANAUGH: Now, there is an education, an outreach effort that goes along with this production.
CODDON: There is, at certain performances, including this Sunday there will be an attorney who is a human rights attorney who is working with survivors of the Khmer Rouge persecution. And on the 19th or the 20th, they have someone from the Joan Crock Peace Institute here in San Diego. So you can stay and watch the show and engage in a discussion afterward.
CAVANAUGH: We take a sharp tuner again, and go to a music act, the Gray Boy All-Stars. They have back to back shows in San Diego. And they have been together for almost 20 years! Give us some 101.
COMBS: Yeah, it's hard to believe they've almost been around for 20 years. I think they got together in 1994. And that makes me feel already, but whatever! They got together after being asked to play a funk and soul DJ night by their name sake, DJ Gray Boy. They've only made a few albums, but I want attribute that to the fact that all the members are so talented they all have their own things going on. And it also means they don't play live shows too often. So when they do all get-together in one room, it's very special.
CAVANAUGH: For people who are unfamiliar with the Gray Boy All-Stars, if you only had a few word, how would you describe their sound?
COMBS: Nostalgic, funky, superfly, head-bobbing, and booty-shaking.
[ LAUGHTER ]
CAVANAUGH: Okay. It's one thing to describe. Let's just hear something off Inland Emperor.
(Audio Recording Played)
CAVANAUGH: And could this have been recorded by them years ago? Or has the sound changed?
COMBS: They still have a -- that '70s kind of funky sound. And it's perfect for blasting in your low-rider or just dancing around the house. Carl Denson the singer there, also the sax player, he can still bust out a mean sax solo, and a voice solo as well. I'd say it's more reserved and honed in at times, but I think that may be more a result of their growth as musicians and having a better sense of the type of hooks that make songs truly memorable. Of
CAVANAUGH: And they're back to back shows.
COMBS: Friday and Saturday.
CAVANAUGH: Could this be their last tour for a while?
COMBS: It's possible. They kind. Just pop up every now and again. And the shows are increasingly rare. So if all you people out there in radio land haven't heard them before, it's worth it to just check it out. It's very high energy, very sweaty. You're packed in with everybody. And it's very -- it's a good time.
CAVANAUGH: Performing two shows as we said, Friday and Saturday June 14th and 15th at the Casbah. And David, you're interested in seeing an eclectic musician perform this weekend. David Lynley performing at the Ramona Main Stage this Friday.
CODDON: I'm going to date myself. Seth has dated himself.
[ LAUGHTER ]
CODDON: When I was a kid living in LA, there was a song that came on by Jackson Brown called Redneck Friend. And there was this fantastic slide guitar. That was David Lindley. He is one of the legendary side men, studio side men, and multi- instrumentalists in the business.
CAVANAUGH: I was looking at a list, it's like Linda Ronstadt --
CODDON: Bob Dylan, be Dolly Parton.
CAVANAUGH: And he's been around for quite some time. He joined the band Kaleidoscope in 1966, and he is known for being what one magazine calls a maxi-instrumentalist. How many instruments does this guy play?
CODDON: I think it's over 20. He's basically a spring player. Guitar and bass and lap pedal, steel, etc. But he as almost instruments as unusual as the zither and the Oud, and the mandolin, and a bunch of instruments I can't even pronounce. When you see him on stage, you're going to see all kinds of instruments you've never seen before.
CAVANAUGH: Let's hear what he sounds like.
(Audio Recording Played)
CAVANAUGH: And I'm wondering, this guy has had such a long career playing with so many different people. Does he often go out and tour on his own like this?
CODDON: Oh, yes. Quite a bit. And in case you're wondering about that falsetto, he is the man who sings the falsetto in Jackson Brown's version of Stay, which was a very popular cover of that. He is an enduring musician because if you're a talented side man who can play a lot of different genres, you'll always get work.
CAVANAUGH: Even as he's just shy of his 70th birthday.
CODDON: He's an ageless wonder.
[ LAUGHTER ]
CODDON: Kind of like me.
[ LAUGHTER ]
CAVANAUGH: Yes! No one was going to say that, but that's wonderful to hear! Now, just a brief word if you would about the Ramona Main Stage.
CODDON: That's sort of an ageless wonder too! It's the original Ramona movie theatre built in I think 1947. And about ten years ago, they refurbished it to make it a performance venue. And there are still vestiges of the old theatre there. It's casual, but it's comfortable. And it's a nice place to hear music.