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Events: TNT, The Soft Pack, And Celebrate Tahiti


You'll be doing a lot of walking this Culture Lust weekend. Thursday, eat street food while enjoying street art at TNT; Friday take part in a more musical North Park pub crawl at the North Park Music Thing, and Saturday, make your way to Ray Street for the return of Ray at Night artwalk!

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH (Host): I'm Maureen Cavanaugh, and you're listening to These Days on KPBS. Things are taking place as we head into the weekend, and I mean a couple of things called things. Don't be confused. All will be revealed about the things and several other interesting events around town in our Weekend Preview. I’d like to introduce my guests. Barbarella Fokos is the author of the Diary of a Diva column and Your Week page at the San Diego Reader. Barbarella, welcome.

BARBARELLA FOKOS (Columnist, San Diego Reader): Thanks for having me again, Maureen.

CAVANAUGH: And Peter Holslin is the music editor at San Diego CityBeat. Peter, good morning.

PETER HOLSLIN (Music Editor, San Diego CityBeat): Good morning.

CAVANAUGH: Now, both of you are in on this, telling us about the Thursday Night Thing, or TNT. Tonight is TNT at the downtown location at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Barbarella, what happens at this thing?

FOKOS: So many different things are happening, you know. Well, first of all, there’s a lot of interactive aspects. We have a San Diego native, Mike Maxwell, who has been working on this amazing 20 by 8 foot wall that he calls “The Live Free Wall.” He’s been over at The Bakery in Barrio Logan with it, and he’s invited several artists to work on top of each other’s work. And so he’s actually bringing this wall and that – sorry, he’s bringing this wall to TNT at the museum where people who are just going can also work on top of it. Now, basically…


FOKOS: …when I say work on top of it, some artists’ work has only been up there for a couple of hours, and they’re going to play, in conjunction with it, a 10-minute long time lapse so you can see how it progressed and how the art changes. And everybody will get the opportunity to take part in that.

CAVANAUGH: That is exciting. And there, I understand, also an exclusive film screening, a film called “Posse” is showing. What’s that?

FOKOS: Right. This is actually ‘design,’ that’s spelled D-z-i-n-e, but it’s Dzine, he’s an artist. It’s his short documentary film. It’s going to be playing on a 15-minute loop and it’s about Benjy Melendez, who’s the founder of the Ghetto Brothers, which is the 1960s community organization in New York and soul funk band. So that’ll be playing on a loop all night so you won’t worry about missing it.

CAVANAUGH: And Dzine will be there.

FOKOS: Dzine will be there speaking and answering questions so people will have the opportunity to meet this Chicago-based artist who’s really funky. Now think low riders and tricked out cars. Dzine’s work is colorful and he actually has a piece—I brought it to show you—but he’s got a piece at the museum called “Return of the Crowned Prince,” which is not rideable. It’s a three-wheel motocycle with boomboxes on it and Italian gold, he calls it, and it just looks like a really tricked out, pimped out sort of bike.

CAVANAUGH: It’s incredible. I saw one of his actual bicycles and it had jewelry on it and gold all over the place. So it’s really…

FOKOS: Wonderful.

CAVANAUGH: I wanted to ask you, this wall that’s coming to…


CAVANAUGH: How big is it?

FOKOS: It’s 20 by 8 feet. And there’s also another interactive area where artists have designed covers and sketchbooks that anybody going can actually take part in that, too. So it’s really interactive. It’s amazing that people can, you know, paint on the same thing that some of these amazing artists we have have worked on.

CAVANAUGH: And, Peter, for the Thursday Night Thing at the Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown San Diego, there’s also music. The band Wavves will be there. Tell us about this act.

HOLSLIN: Yes, they will. Wavves is the solo project of Nathan Williams. He’s this San Diegan, a young San Diegan surfer guy who smokes a lot of weed and listens to a lot of hip-hop. And he got really big last year for these kind of low-fi pop punk albums he made with like scorching guitars and it just sounded really crazy and goofy and dissonant and he sung about being bored and being a loser and, you know…

CAVANAUGH: He’s at – not only his music has gotten national press but the act itself has got a lot of national press.

HOLSLIN: Yeah, yeah, he has gotten a lot of national press. I mean, he sort of skyrocketed to fame really fast and then he had this kind of big meltdown, this big public meltdown at a festival in Barcelona last year. And then he’s sort of come back. He came out with an album this year called “King of the Beach” and it’s really just night and day, like the album compared to his previous work is like really it’s more polished and it’s more kind of, you know, just straightforward, like pop punk songs but it’s got that kind of low-fi scratchy vibe still.

CAVANAUGH: Well, we have a cut from it. This is from the new album “King of the Beach” from the Wavves.

(audio clip of the Wavves performing “King of the Beach,” the title cut from their latest album)

CAVANAUGH: That’s Wavves, “King of the Beach,” the cut and title of the album. What kind of show does Wavves put on?

HOLSLIN: Well, it’s, you know, it’s really angsty, it’s really loud and fast. You know, one of the most notable things about his kind of latest incarnation is that he plays with the rhythm section of Jay Reatard, he’s this old – he died this year and he’s like kind of this garage rocker and so Wavves is now playing with the rhythm section of that guy’s old band. And it’s just – it’s pretty gnarly. But it still has this kind of Beach Boys – Barbarella was just saying it’s like the Beach Boys meet Green Day kind of.

CAVANAUGH: Right, that’s very good.

FOKOS: That’s what it sounds like to me.

CAVANAUGH: That’s excellent. I want to let everyone know Wavves is playing at MCASD’s Thursday Night Thing and that’s tonight, and the Thing runs from ten – I’m sorry, 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. Let’s move on to another local band, Peter, playing at the Del Mar Racetrack, one of the Friday concerts. It’s a local band called The Soft Pack. Tell us about them.

HOLSLIN: Well, The Soft Pack, they’re another pride and joy of San Diego, another band that’s gotten really big. They play some, you know, just kind of straightforward rock, kind of like the Strokes or the Replacements or The Modern Lovers, kind of like this old, early seventies, you know, like Stooges feel but also it’s got this kind of, you know, catchy Strokes sound as well, like it’s just really good, you know, just a slab of rock, you know, just straightforward.


FOKOS: A slab of rock.

HOLSLIN: No frills, you know.

CAVANAUGH: The Soft Pack, I hear, used to be called The Muslims. Now, why did they change their name?

HOLSLIN: Apparently they got a lot of negative, nasty, racist comments at their shows and it’s a pretty controversial name. It’s not as controversial, I would think, as the name Christian Death…


HOLSLIN: …but it’s definitely, you know, your – you’re kind of raising some, you know, you’re asking for trouble, I think, if you’re name’s called the Muslims.

CAVANAUGH: They thought…

HOLSLIN: They’re not actually Muslims.

CAVANAUGH: Exactly. They thought their life would be easier as – going by The Soft Pack. Now do they have a new album?

HOLSLIN: They do, yeah. Their album came out earlier this year. It’s – They came out with a record as The Muslims and this one is kind of more – it’s more polished. It’s more well produced but it’s still that hard-driving, straight up, no frills rock that, you know, gets everybody all crazy.

CAVANAUGH: I think we have a track from The Soft Pack. This is “Come On.”

(audio clip of The Soft Pack performing “Come On”)

CAVANAUGH: That’s “Come On” by The Soft Pack. And I’m going to ask you, what is the – what are they like live? It sounds like there’s a lot of jumping up and down.

HOLSLIN: Yeah, I mean, you know, they’re – I wouldn’t say that they’re, you know, trying to put on a show. Like they’re not trying to like be all theatrical.


HOLSLIN: They’re a pretty – you know, like I said, they’re a pretty no-frills. They’re just a straight up rock band. They put on a really good show. They just rock out, you know.

CAVANAUGH: I know. Soft – The Soft Pack is playing Friday at the Del Mar Racetrack, Four O’Clock Friday series. Barbarella, the Bali Hai is hosting a heiva…


CAVANAUGH: …this weekend. What is a heiva?

FOKOS: Okay, a heiva, actually the word is a Tahitian word and ‘hei’ means to assemble and ‘va’ means community places, and this is a celebration that happens actually all throughout the Polynesian Islands every year in July and August. And this’ll be the first one in San Diego. And it celebrates music, dance, culture of all 118 islands, but this one focuses on Tahiti.

CAVANAUGH: Oh, wow. Okay, so is there a dance competition?

FOKOS: There will be a dance competition. Tonight is the pageant. There’s a pageant – I’m sorry. What’s today? Thursday.

CAVANAUGH: Thursday.

FOKOS: Tomorrow is the…

CAVANAUGH: I think it’s Friday, yeah.

FOKOS: …pageant. Yes.


FOKOS: And the gala in the evening. And on Saturday is a solo dance competition for – and apparently there are hundreds of Polynesian dance companies in San Diego. I didn’t realize. It’s the president of Friends of Tahiti told me that, Maeva.

CAVANAUGH: And are there things to eat as well?

FOKOS: There are…

CAVANAUGH: She asks…

FOKOS: …of course. Well, the gala’s a dinner.


FOKOS: It’s $50 for the dinner, $60 at the door. And it’s all Pan-Pacific Rim food the Bali Hai would serve but specifically on the gala menu there’s going to be Kahlua Porc, now that might sound gross if you think I’m just going to pour the alcoholic beverage Kahlua over it, which would be an interesting party. But Kahlua actually means that it was cooked underground in something called an imu, and that’s a traditional style of cooking. It’s very, you know, think about the pigs for luaus in Hawaii. So there’ll be a Kahlua porc on there, Teriyaki chicken and a Tahitian banana and Maniota pie (sic). But don’t ask me what Maniota is because I don’t know.

CAVANAUGH: I won’t. I wasn’t going to.

FOKOS: Okay, good.


HOLSLIN: It sounds intriguing, though.

FOKOS: Yeah.

CAVANAUGH: How much does this cost again? This…?

FOKOS: Well for the pageant and there are going to be vendors there all day Friday and for the pageant. It’s $10 in advance, $12 at the door just to get in. For the dinner gala in the evening, it’s $50. And on Saturday to witness the competition it’s, again, $10 in advance, $12 at the door.

CAVANAUGH: I see. So tell us a little bit about the hosts, the Friends of Tahiti. Who are they?

FOKOS: Friends of Tahiti, the president is Maeva McNicol, and she actually helped found this in Newport Beach, and it’s a cultural – it’s a nonprofit organization that strives to, through culture, through dance and music and events like this, teach about Tahiti history and heritage.

CAVANAUGH: It sounds like it certainly will. Celebrate Tahiti, it takes place Friday and Saturday at the Bali Hai. Peter, tell us about the other thing that we’re talking about, the North Park Music Thing. What is it and who puts it on?

HOLSLIN: The North Park Music Thing is the biggest live local music showcase of the year in San Diego and it’s also got some touring acts from other parts of California and I think other parts of the country, and it’s also a two-day conference with workshops and panel discussions and demo reviews. And the keynote speaker is a really interesting guy. He’s Kim Fowley, he’s kind of this man about town, this film and music producer who’s been around for decades. And he’s just a real character. I was talking to him yesterday and, yeah, that should be a – should be an interesting talk.

CAVANAUGH: Now, give us a kind of an overview of the bands and where they’re going to be playing during this festival.

HOLSLIN: Umm-hmm. Well, the bands are going to be playing at 14 different venues in North Park, in South Park, in Normal Heights, and also at the Ruby Room in Hillcrest. And it’s just a – it’s a pretty wide variety of local music, mostly local music with some touring acts. There’s hip-hop at Club Kadan, and there’s acoustic and jazz at Claire de Lune and Lestats and then there’s also, you know, all the indie rock bands at U31 and at Bar Pink.

CAVANAUGH: And a local musician named Erika Davies will be performing. Tell us about her.

HOLSLIN: Erika Davies is pretty much definitely one of the best jazz singers in San Diego. She has an amazing voice. It’s just so beautiful and magical and you really have to see her live because it is quite an experience to see that live.

CAVANAUGH: Well, we can do it live but we do have a clip from her song. Here’s Erika Davies’ song “Robot Girl.”

(audio clip of Erika Davies performing “Robot Girl”)

CAVANAUGH: That’s “Robot Girl” performed by Erika Davies. And Erika Davies is one of the performers at the North Park Music Thing that we’re talking about. And I was surprised to learn that the Kim Fowley that Peter’s talking about, who’s going to be the keynote speaker at the North Park Music Thing is also portrayed in the movie “The Runaways” putting together that first girl band.

HOLSLIN: Yeah, he was – back in the day, he helped put together The Band and there was some controversy. They actually cut, you know – stopped working with him after a while.

CAVANAUGH: Right, yeah.

HOLSLIN: Apparently, he was, you know, kind of involved in some, I don’t know – I don’t know exactly what happened but it’s…

CAVANAUGH: But they broke their arrangement, right.

HOLSLIN: Yeah, they severed ties with him. That didn’t work – it didn’t work out so…

CAVANAUGH: Right. Back to the North Park Music Thing. Do you have to have a whole festival pass or can you pick and choose what show you want to go to?

HOLSLIN: Well, you can get the whole festival pass and that will get you into all the different venues but you can also just pay to get into each individual venue, you know, if you just want to go to that one show.

CAVANAUGH: And how much does it cost? A pass?

HOLSLIN: I’m actually not sure.

CAVANAUGH: Well, I tell you, is the place to find out. The North Park Music Thing takes place this Friday and Saturday. As Peter tells us, venues throughout North Park. Rat stew on the menu.

FOKOS: Right. I like the weird stuff, Maureen.

CAVANAUGH: Well, Barbarella…

FOKOS: How could I pass this up?

CAVANAUGH: Rat stew on the menu at the Star of India. What does it mean?

FOKOS: Right. Well, there will be, quote, unquote, rat stew. The San Diego Maritime Museum hosts these family day overnight stay where you get to sleep on the Star of India on the deck. And because they kind of bring you back to history, I think it’s 1874, you know, back in the day it was tough to get fresh protein on the ships and they would have salted beef that they’d have to actually rinse in – It was so salty you couldn’t eat it. They had to rinse it in fresh water. So the crew mates, the crewmembers, would go on these rat hunts and catch all the rats and it’d be a delicacy. They’d skin the rats and put them in stew and that was a good form of meat. Now, these kids and the parents who escort them—it says parents too, or, you know, aunt or whatever—they will go on a rat hunt on the Star of India but I did confirm they probably won’t find any.


FOKOS: And I bet you’re wondering if – what they’re actually eating.

CAVANAUGH: Yes, what are…

FOKOS: Okay.

CAVANAUGH: What’s really in the rat stew?

FOKOS: It’s actually rat. No, just kidding. Okay. It’s actually beef. Little shred…

HOLSLIN: Oh, that’s a shame.

FOKOS: I know, it is a shame. No, I had a pet rat. They’re actually sweet. Never had a pet cow. They are shredded – shreds of beef but they’re not going to tell the kids. The kids are going to be under the impression that they are eating rat stew and they’re going to like it.

CAVANAUGH: What other kind of activities can the kids participate in during this?

FOKOS: Oh, so many. This is really a hands-on thing. First of all, I love that the people who are working at the museum will be in costume and they never break character.


FOKOS: So there’s a captain, there’s a cook. They will be formulating five crews. So the kids will actually get to – there’s a galley crew, a deckhand crew, riggers, they’re going to actually have to create pulleys and make sure they work and raise cargo. They work with a 100 pound barrel around things, so they really get to work like they were on a ship.

CAVANAUGH: The kids and the young of heart can enjoy rat stew on the menu at the Star of India this Saturday from 3:00 p.m. until 9:00 a.m. Sunday. As Barbarella says, it’s an overnight event.

FOKOS: It is, and I should say that you have to get your tickets in advance and if this one sells out there’ll be another one in September but you would have to contact the museum to arrange, you know, today or tomorrow.


FOKOS: Okay.

CAVANAUGH: I want to get in our two last things and we really kind of have to hurry. So – But we cannot not get in B.B. King. Peter, where is B.B. King going to be.

HOLSLIN: B.B. King is playing at Rincon Casino with Buddy Guy. They’ve been a – they’ve toured together often before and they just have a really, you know, they have a really good dynamic. B.B. King, the living legend.


HOLSLIN: Living blues legend, Buddy Guy.

CAVANAUGH: But some people may not know Buddy Guy. Tell us a little bit about him.

HOLSLIN: Yeah, Buddy Guy is also kind of a legendary blues man but he has a completely different style. He’s Chicago blues, he’s more of a showman, he’s just a real bruiser, blues bruiser. He just gets wild. He, you know, B.B. King is more soulful, slower, and Buddy Guy is just faster, he’s scorching, he’s getting wild, he’s doing some rock. You know, it’s kind of more along the lines of like blues-rock.

CAVANAUGH: Well, we’ve got the King and the bruiser. B.B. King and Buddy Guy will play at Harrah’s Rincon Casino this Saturday. And another family event…

FOKOS: On Sunday…

CAVANAUGH: …we wanted to get in, Barbarella. It is at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum. And what is it?

FOKOS: Yeah, it’s Circus Train Family Day. And I had no idea the San Diego Model Railroad Museum is 27,000 square feet. I had no idea we had a space that big. It’s one of the largest in the country right here, and circus trains basically it’s what you think. They’ll have a model of a Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus train. Kids get to make their own circus trains, with several cabooses that they decorate with paper and clowns. You know, think one for the elephants, think Dumbo, you know. There’s all these little cars there and actual – some circus cars. Circus trains have up to 60 cars on them so that’s what…

CAVANAUGH: That sounds wonderful. Now are there anything – is there anything for older kids or for adults that they might enjoy?

FOKOS: Well, the adults can be there. Well, of course the trains themselves, the models are – the replicas are so specific that any adult can appreciate the craftsmanship and those are all done by volunteers. There are about 320 volunteers locally, teams, who put these together excruciatingly accurate models and there are – there are many of them. And, you know, they say and under 15, it’s free. It’s $7.00 for adults. So I think that this is – any kid probably, you know, up to 12 would enjoy making their train and everybody else can just appreciate the work that’s been done and maybe they’ll want to join one of these teams themselves.

CAVANAUGH: I love that Dumbo thing. Thank you for that. Circus Train Day takes place at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum on Sunday. Hey, I want to thank you so much, both of you. Barbarella, thank you.

FOKOS: Thank you.

CAVANAUGH: And Peter Holslin, thank you so much.

HOLSLIN: Thanks for having me.

CAVANAUGH: Appreciate it. I want to let everyone know that These Days is produced by Angela Carone, Hank Crook, Megan Burke, Pat Finn, Julien Pearce and our senior producer is Natalie Walsh. Production Manager is Kurt Kohnen, with the technical assistance from Chris Maue. And our production assistant is Hilary Andrews. I’m Maureen Cavanaugh, hoping you’ll enjoy the rest of the week. You’ve been listening to These Days on KPBS.

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