Weekend Preview: Bike the Boulevard, Kinetic Art, Carlsbad Music Fest And Barrio Art Jam
September 19, 2013 1:30 p.m.
Kinsee Morlan, freelance arts writer
Alex Zaragoza, staff writer, San Diego CityBeat
Related Story: Weekend Preview: Bike the Boulevard, Kinetic Art, Carlsbad Music Fest And Barrio Art Jam
CAVANAUGH: Barrio Logan's first art jam, and Carlsbad's 10th music festival, and a stopover to mid-city for a leisurely bike ride. Kinsee Morlan, welcome back to the show.
MORLAN: It is good to be here.
CAVANAUGH: And Alex Zaragosa is staff writer at San Diego City beat. Welcome!
CAVANAUGH: We'll start in the North County with the 10th annual Carlsbad music festival.
MORLAN: It started as the brain child of one guy, one young composer. Matt McBane, a Carlsbad native. He just went to the city and said, hey, give me some money! And ask forward a menial sum, and they turned around and gave him, like, twice as much. And the first one was maybe ten people listening to some pretty avant garde music. And since then, it's just -- he has this vision, and he just does a great job of curating music that is challenging but not too challenging. So it's grown. And last year, I think they had almost 4,000 people.
CAVANAUGH: The festival has been called the new hotbed of contemporary classical musician action. Why are people so excited about this?
MORLAN: You can't turn on the radio and listen to this type of music. There's not many venues for it. And it's in this little sleepy, quiet seaside village of Carlsbad. So to have in some cases world-class musicians coming to this small city to play music that you can't find anywhere else, that's what people were so excited about.
CAVANAUGH: What are some of the artists included?
MORLAN: The collar quartet at the time, amazing, beautiful chamber music, you could call it, but it's so much more than that. This year, Sarah Watkins is actually playing. And people might raise their eyebrows. Alex, you just --
CAVANAUGH: I saw that!
[ LAUGHTER ]
MORLAN: So she is known as more of a bluegrass, she's on prairie home companion a lot. So her and maybe her brother, I think are playing this year. And there's a Pulitzer prize winner. I think we're going to -- are we going to listen to that? I can't explain it.
CAVANAUGH: Okay. It's a Pulitzer prize-winning piece from the New York vocal ensemble, room full of teeth. It's one of the featured a cappella groups at the music festival. And here's a bit of their performance of partita.
(Audio Recording Played)
CAVANAUGH: One of the artists Eric group of artists playing at the Carlsbad music festival this weekend. This is often described as challenging music. Is there something for the average music lover going on here too?
MORLAN: There is. So that piece is actually by Carolyn Shaw, performed by that band. And this festival really is about composers and seeing what kind of the new, young, edgy people are up to. But on the same token, there are people like Sarah Watkins, there's these two darling little -- I shouldn't call them little anymore, sorry. I interviewed them long ago. They've grown, they're this experimental jazz duo. I would not call all of the music avant garde. I don't want to scare people away. I think most of it is pretty -- you can consume it. Am you're not going to twerk to it, but --
[ LAUGHTER ]
MORLAN: But you're going to sit and listen and be more appreciative.
CAVANAUGH: Is this -- what kind of atmosphere is it like? It's not dressed up classical music, is it?
MORLAN: I think you could get away with being flip-flops.
[ LAUGHTER ]
MORLAN: But high-class, world-class music. Really good stuff.
CAVANAUGH: The opening of a new artist called Brett Barrett. What makes him stand out in San Diego's art scene?
ZARAGOSA: His art is just really cool. It's one of those -- he makes these pieces that you end up just transfixed by. You stand there at his shows, and you're, like, how is this working, how is this happening? It's really cool because he incorporates kinetics into his paintings and collages, and he also makes kinetic sculptures. So it'll be this beautiful painting with, you know, magazines and stuff incorporated. But he takes also found toys and electronics and he creates this machinery, so the art basically comes alive. So it kind of has that magical element, a bit of that steam punk element. You can see all the knobs and everything in the art. It's just so different from a lot of what you see here locally in terms of contemporary art.
CAVANAUGH: Right. So one of his pieces may be looks static then perhaps if you touch it, it kind of comes alive?
ZARAGOSA: No, he has -- he turns them on.
CAVANAUGH: Oh, okay.
ZARAGOSA: He turns them on, and they just come to life. And it almost feels like you're in this wacky emporium,
CAVANAUGH: What's the inspiration for these pieces?
ZARAGOSA: What's interesting about Brett is that he has all these different types of inspirations. A lot of it is cartoons. When I talked to him, it was a lot about cartoons that he watched as a kid, and things he saw growing up. Sometimes it was also movies, a lot of times it was just kind of something that he came across or -- and saw and just thought was beautiful. One piece is inspired by a Chinese proverb. It could be really anything. And the cool thing is that he'll look at the thing and he'll create it, and he'll have this idea behind it, but then somebody will come along and say oh, I see this! And it gives a whole new perspective, at least for him as an artist which is cool because sometimes artists can be, like, oh, that's not what I meant!
[ LAUGHTER ]
ZARAGOSA: And they get really annoyed at you if you give this different perspective. But he's so hope to that, and it -- he mentioned that sometimes it's difficult for him to hone in on one particular thing that's inspiring his piece because there's so much going on in his mind all the time. But it ends up coming out as a really interesting multi-layered piece that you see.
MORLAN: I actually own two of his pieces. One is a robot smoking a tobacco pipe, and the other is, like, an alien flashlight.
ZARAGOSA: Yeah, very diverse. And they're cool! They're things you would want in your house.
CAVANAUGH: What advice would you give to somebody who's seeing Barrett's work for the first time?
ZARAGOSA: Just go there and take it in. Honestly, it's not so much about sitting there and trying to pick it apart or what does he mean by this, they're just so interesting that you can just stare at them for a while and watch all the ticking and chomping --
CAVANAUGH: And try to figure out how it workings
MORLAN: And technically he is a superb painter.
CAVANAUGH: So the opening exhibition is this Saturday from 6:00 to 10:00 PM. And his exhibition runs into October at the visual gallery on adamams Avenue in normal heights. From art to more art.
ZARAGOSA: Yay, art!
[ LAUGHTER ]
CAVANAUGH: The first annual Barrio Logan art jam is being held at the bread and salt in Logan Heights.
MORLAN: It's the first one ever, so what I do know about it is the man behind it is Bill Caballero, and you cannot say Latin jazz in San Diego without thinking of this man. I did the listings at CityBeat for almost ten years now, and his name would come up on a weekly basis. And I thank you is just a bigger effort that he's organizing. He's including the poster art, kind of from the Barrio Logan neighborhood and beyond. And featuring a lot of great bands. All kind of in the Latin genre.
CAVANAUGH: Tell us some ever the bands.
MORLAN: Bill will be performing with his band, and then Israel Maldonado, sure fire soul ensemble, and I hear KPBS has a loose connection to.
CAVANAUGH: Featuring our own technical director, Tim Felton.
MORLAN: And it's a good lineup. And there might be also San jar on whicho, and I'm in love with that. It's a traditional music from Vera Cruz, Mexico. And seeing it performed, it's like call and response, there's a circle of musicians, and little guitar, and a board in the middle.
CAVANAUGH: Adrian Florido.
MORLAN: Yes, that's the man. Really fun stuff. And the art show should be stellar as well.
CAVANAUGH: This is billed at the first annual Barrio Logan art jam.
MORLAN: We'll see how it goes. I like poster shows. And I think they're sustainable, because it features art that the normal person can afford. And this is a really cool space down in the Barrio Logan, Logan Heights area. So if you haven't been, it's time to check that out. It might be, like, one of those new centers of creativity that help change -- the Barrio Logan plan just went through, right? So this is the neighborhood to watch. And I think festivals like this have built the neighborhood grassroots up, and this whole plan will only help things to continue to grow and blossom there.
CAVANAUGH: Held at bread and salt in Logan Heights. It starts at 9:00 PM tomorrow night. And the bike the boulevard is back. It's a little bit of riding, and a whole lot of El Cajon boulevard.
ZARAGOSA: I believe it starts around Livewire, I want to say. I can't remember quite L. But what's cool is that you basically get to see the whole stretch of El Cajon boulevard. And it's one of those areas that they're really pushing to kind of revitalize and make it into this really cool cultural center with interesting and different businesses and art festivals and cultural happenings. There's a lot of things opening up there and it's not just the poker room.
CAVANAUGH: That's a good point, the event is sponsored by the El Cajon business improvement district. So that's the whole push of this, to get people to be aware what's happening on the boulevard.
ZARAGOSA: Right. And there's been a lot of changes in the last couple years. So many new unique businesses have opened up, have really led to the transformation of the neighborhood.
MORLAN: You can get some really good poured over coffee at coffee and tea collective.
ZARAGOSA: And Jim standard just opened up. They host art shows. They have an art show up right now that's really, really great. What else is there? Home brewer, if you're into making your own beer, you can get everything you need.
CAVANAUGH: So I would imagine this is like a ride and stop, are stop and ride, ride and stop kind of thing.
CAVANAUGH: Is it for families?
ZARAGOSA: You know, that's the cool thing. They really welcome anybody. I don't have to be, like, some crazy fixee riding or anything. They take a nice leisurely pace. You take all these stops. And at each stop, they have interesting and fun events going on. So you can bring the kids or ride solo, whatever you want to do, bring your dog.
MORLAN: And we have to invoke Ms. Boulevard. She's one of the driving forces behind it. She has a stash that says Ms. Boulevard, and she's a big bike advocate. She'll be there, and are she's fun.
>> And she really pushes for the neighborhood.
CAVANAUGH: And a street barbecue.
ZARAGOSA: Yes! And what's even better, it's free barbecue till 2:00, and a karaoke competition!
CAVANAUGH: All right. Bike the boulevard, this Saturday on El Cajon boulevard from 12:00 to 5:00. Thank you so much.
ZARAGOSA: Thank you!
MORLAN: It's been fun.