Thursday, August 26, 2010
San Diego offers up some great art and music events this weekend, including the Timken Museum's Art of Fashion event and 94.9's Independence Jam.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH (Host): I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. You're listening to These Days on KPBS. What if Project Runway met Sister Wendy? What if Oceanside met a slate of high-powered indie rock acts? And what if laid back San Diegans got up on stage to stick it to the man? Strangely enough, it's all happening in this week's edition of the Weekend Preview. I’d like to welcome my guest. Seth Combs is the editor of Pacific San Diego magazine. Good morning, Seth.
SETH COMBS (Editor, Pacific San Diego Magazine): Thank you for having me. Thanks.
CAVANAUGH: You’re very welcome. We’ll start out with Timken Art of Fashion at Timken Museum of Art. The Timken Museum is hosting their annual Art of Fashion show on Saturday. What is this event, Seth?
COMBS: Well, it’s the third year they’ve done it. Essentially what the museum does is they have students from Fashion Careers College right here in San Diego create fashion designs that are inspired by the Timken’s permanent collection of art. And they can be pretty elaborate. It’s very interesting to see what they come up with.
CAVANAUGH: And is the art that inspired the clothing from a variety? I mean, is it from old time stuff?
COMBS: Oh, yeah. Yeah, it spans like six – five or six centuries of art. There’s, you know, European old master painters like Rembrandts and stuff like that. There’s – Actually Rembrandt’s not – oh, yeah, he is European. But obviously. Yeah, Russian, there’s like Russian icons, there’s – I’m like – yeah. There’s a whole collection there that includes French, Dutch, Italian masters so there’s lots to choose from.
CAVANAUGH: Well, why do I feel you’re challenged by this particular event, Seth?
COMBS: I’m not challenged by it. I think it’s really cool. I actually went not the last year but the first year that they did it, and it’s really cool to see what the students come up with because, you know, you’ll be looking at a Rembrandt, who is really well known for his portraits.
COMBS: And so what you have is like these students, you know, creating a design around something that they’re wearing or just like something even more crazy. And it’s amazing to see what they come up with because it’s definitely – it’s definitely like blows your mind, what they come up with.
CAVANAUGH: Zandra Rhodes, a lot of people know her, she’s a fashion designer for a long time.
CAVANAUGH: She will be the honorary chair for the Timken Museum Art of Fashion event. Tell us who she is, for people who don’t recognize the name.
COMBS: Well, sure, I’m sure she’ll really appreciate the fact that you’ve been – you said she was around for a long time.
COMBS: No, I’m just kidding. She’s an English fashion designer. She was most famous for being like at the forefront of the London fashion scene in the seventies and her designs were very controversial and considered, you know, even ridiculous at the time. And now they’re, you know, just so commonplace that, you know, she often doesn’t really get credit for being the, you know, one of the first to do it, like exposed seams and bejeweled safety pins, like very punk rock back in the seventies. But it worked for her because she’s done designs for Princess Diana and Freddie Mercury of Queen, and she calls San Diego a second home, so that’s pretty cool.
CAVANAUGH: Right, right. Now will you be fed at this event?
COMBS: Yes, definitely. There’s – The tickets are kind of pricey but not too pricey. They’re $125 bucks and then $150 for like the VIP ticket. But there’s – if you’re paying that, yes, you’re going to get, you know, free food and free booze.
CAVANAUGH: Well, the Art of Fashion is at 6:30 at the Timken Museum this Saturday, and the VIP party follows – Afterparty follows.
COMBS: That’s right.
CAVANAUGH: Let me do that again. The VIP Afterparty follows. We move on to the annual 94/9 Independence Jam this Sunday at the Oceanside Pier Ampitheatre. Seth, tell us about it.
COMBS: Sure. Well, there’s a – the first band that’s – I guess the band that’s headlining is a band called Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.
CAVANAUGH: We’ve talked about them on this before.
COMBS: Yeah, yeah. You – In fact, I was on that show when we were…
COMBS: …talking about them. And they’re actually fronted by a gentleman named Alex Ebert and he used to play in this electropop band called I’m A Robot and they never really went anywhere and I think he got on drugs and had like some kind of spiritual awakening after he was getting off and formed like this collective of LA hipster hippies—I call them hippiesters.
CAVANAUGH: That’s a good one.
COMBS: And, yeah, and they had some really good success with it. I mean, they have, you know, songs on commercials now and they have a song called “Home” that’s very, very popular right now.
CAVANAUGH: Well, a local band is also playing at this event, Delta Spirit. Tell us about these guys.
COMBS: Yeah, Delta Spirit’s – they’ve been around for about five years or so and they’ve done quite well for themselves. They’re a quartet and they play, you know, a really soulful kind of rock and Americana. They definitely have that name – have a name that’s very representative of their music, the Delta Spirit. They’ve appeared on Conan O’Brien and toured with some pretty big acts and, yeah, they’re really good. They’re definitely one of my more favorite bands around town.
CAVANAUGH: Well, let’s listen to a song from their new album. This is “Golden State” from the album “History from Below.”
(audio clip of Delta Spirit performing “Golden State”)
CAVANAUGH: That’s Delta Spirit, “Golden State” from the album “History from Below.” Part of the ticket sales from the 94/9 Independence Jam goes to a local charity. Can you tell us where’s it going?
COMBS: Yeah, I think it’s a dollar from each ticket sold goes to the About the Music Fund, which is a charitable organization. Some people have probably seen the commercials on VH1 or other music stations but they help fund music programs in schools, so you can’t beat that. I think the tickets are actually sold out, so I think, you know, Craig’s List is the way to go so…
CAVANAUGH: Okay. Well, okay, this is like a big event…
CAVANAUGH: …in Oceanside. How do you survive a music festival like this? Parking and the whole day-long thing.
COMBS: Yeah, I mean, well, I don’t know if you’ve been outside lately but it’s hot.
COMBS: It’s kind of hot in here, too, but it’s going to be hot so wear cool clothes. Sunblock’s a good thing. Drink water. There’s not a lot of shade at this actual venue so, you know, definitely wear the sunblock. I think one thing that people forget a lot is they always wear like open-toed shoes. Don’t do it. It’s a festival, there’s people stepping on your feet. Wear some sneakers, you know, and – oh, and as far as parking goes, that’s going to be a bummer. So get there early. You’re likely going to have to park on the street. They do have lots but, you know, better yet, take public transportation.
CAVANAUGH: 94/9’s Independence Jam is this Sunday at the Oceanside Pier. The local band Lesands is playing at the Casbah this Saturday and, Seth, what do you know about this band?
COMBS: Well, I’m going to be that cooler than thou music journalist for just a minute…
CAVANAUGH: I hope…
COMBS: …and say, yes, Maureen, even though you didn’t ask me, I was the first person to write about this band. I saw them when there were only 9 people in the audience. Unfortunately, no one will ever know this because at the time I wrote about them, their name was Arrows and they had to change their name because they’ve gotten so big so quickly that they – there was another band, I don’t know, somewhere else and they were called Arrows first. Anyways, they’re very young, they’re a quartet from North County, they aren’t – I think some of them aren’t even 21 yet. They play just this ridiculously catchy new wave-y music and they remind me a lot of, for lack of a better comparison, The Killers, when they first started out. And I have like full confidence they’ll be not – maybe not as big but pretty big.
CAVANAUGH: Okay. Now their music has been described by – as bliss wave or tropic wave and I don’t know what that means. Let’s hear them, okay?
CAVANAUGH: Lesands, this is Lesands performing “Pretenders.”
(audio clip of “Pretenders” performed by Lesands)
CAVANAUGH: Oh, that bliss wave. Okay, I’ve got it now.
COMBS: I don’t know what it is either. I just – I say they’re just a regular great pop band.
CAVANAUGH: Oh, the Lesands will be playing at the Casbah on Kettner this Saturday night. We move on to “Strange Visions” at the Project X Gallery. A new exhibit opens this Saturday at the gallery. What kind of work are we going to see?
COMBS: Well, I think the title of this show, “Strange Vision,” is very apropos because the two painters are definitely of the surrealist vein and their works explore what they call—and I’m quoting—their unconscious fears, longing hopes and collective dreams. And I believe they collaborate together on a few of the pieces as well.
CAVANAUGH: Now one of the artists is from here in San Diego, Matt Forderer. What can you tell us about him?
COMBS: Yes, he’s a longtime resident of San Diego and has been in some great shows here over the years. As I mentioned before, he works very much – he’s very much rooted in the surrealist school like Salvador Dali or Max Ernst, and a lot of natural elements presented in a very unnatural fantastical way. They’re really fun to look at and sometimes even humorous.
CAVANAUGH: And can you tell us a little bit more about the gallery itself?
COMBS: Sure, I mean, Project X is definitely one of my – it’s semi-new. I think it’s only about a year old but it’s a great gallery up in Solana Beach. And, yeah, I mean, they’ve had some great shows up there already. I think one of the ones they had was for the Art Prize artists and they had all the people that were nominated for that prize had a big showcase of them. It’s a really cool little studio. It’s like almost like – it’s behind a building and it’s like one of those cool galleries that you have to look for, you know.
CAVANAUGH: Look for. Well, the opening reception starts at six on Saturday for “Strange Visions.” And now we move to So Say We All doing an event called “VAMP.” V-A-M-P, Visual Art Music Performance. First of all, what is So Say We All?
COMBS: Well, it started out as an incubator for writers, musicians, artists and actors and then it was – It was started by two drama geeks who moved here from New York who wanted to just put on events and performances that included all the things that you just mentioned and they’ve had quite a lot of success with the semi-regular theme nights that they’ve been doing at the Whistle Stop and even their website is actually great and has some great feature artists, profiles and writing on there. So I, yeah, it’s – they’re really – they’re really cool.
CAVANAUGH: Right, I did check out the website. It is good. This – The theme of this event is “Trouble with Authority.” What will people see?
COMBS: Well, I’ve been to a couple of their performances and what people have to understand is like while people are getting up there and reading stories and singing and dancing, it’s not one of those like awful like, you know, stereotypical spoken word events. I mean, these are people that are – I really don’t like those.
COMBS: But these are really good. Like I said, I’ve been to a few of them. These is (sic) like the cream of the crop as far as San Diego writing and performance goes. And they get up there, they showcase these works beforehand, and I’ve never seen one and not liked them. I think this theme particularly is going to be cool. I think you’re going to have a lot of people talking about, you know, running from the cops and, you know, disobeying mom and, you know, stuff like that so…
CAVANAUGH: Well, we’ll…
COMBS: …a lot of middle fingers.
CAVANAUGH: We’ll be playing one of the artists who’s performing there, Rob Deez, as we go out of this segment. But you have been to one of the So Say We All performances before. What do you like about them?
COMBS: Well, like I said, it’s a great showcase of local talent and I think what I like about the most of them is it’s very engaging. They’re not exactly in your face but at the same time there’s – a lot of them perform. A lot of people who do perform – it is – well, a lot of people who write, like if somebody’s getting up there and write, they’re actually performing.
COMBS: They’ll have – some of them will have visual accompaniment behind them like projected and I just think that they’re – it’s a really great – a really great showcase of local talent and a lot of these people are doing amazing things. You should definitely go on the website and read up on them because I was surprised myself to find some of these people.
CAVANAUGH: So Say We All will be having a visual art music performance tonight at the Whistle Stop in South Park. “Trouble with Authority.” Okay, thank you…
COMBS: Which I have a lot of.
CAVANAUGH: Yeah, Seth Combs, thanks so much for being here.
COMBS: Oh, thanks again for having me.
CAVANAUGH: I appreciate it. I want you to know that These Days is produced by Angela Carone, Hank Crook, Megan Burke, Pat Finn. Senior producer is Natalie Walsh. Our summer guest producer Julien Pearce is returning to France. Thank you, Julien, and good luck. Our Production Manager is Kurt Kohnen. Our production assistant is Hilary Andrews. I’m Maureen Cavanaugh. I hope you’ll enjoy the rest of the week. You’ve been listening to These Days on KPBS.