Thursday, July 29, 2010
A bike ride through Tijuana, Paula Poundstone and a celebration of the written word, are part of the eclectic mix of things to do this weekend in San Diego.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH (Host): I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. You're listening to These Days on KPBS. People talking on a stage, that's the takeaway image from this Weekend Preview. Some of that stage talk will be funny, some provocative, and some you may not agree with. That, plus remembrance of punk things past and an artsy bike ride. Joining me for this Weekend Preview is my guest Kinsee Morlan, arts and entertainment editor for CityBeat.
KINSEE MORLAN (Arts and Entertainment Editor, San Diego CityBeat): Hello, Maureen.
CAVANAUGH: Hello, Kinsee.
MORLAN: Great intro.
CAVANAUGH: Thank you.
MORLAN: I like that. Visuals.
CAVANAUGH: Well, and NPR, talking about being onstage, an NPR favorite is in town this weekend. She’s going to be doing standup comedy. Since I said ‘she’ we know it’s not Carl Castle. So tell us who it is and what she’ll be doing.
MORLAN: Well, first of all, I love Carl Castle, let’s just talk about him for one minute. I’ve always – I love his voice, I miss him on Morning Edition and I’ve always wanted to win his voice on my voice mail…
MORLAN: …which is the prize that you can win on “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.” And that brings me to who’s going to be in town. Her name is Paula Poundstone. She’s the kind of offbeat gal that you would recognize by her voice. It’s kind of a masculine voice. She’s always the wittiest of the bunch, I’d have to say.
CAVANAUGH: Yeah, and she works a crowd wonderfully. Tell us a little bit about Poundstone’s career.
MORLAN: Well, she was a young 19-year-old when she first left home to do the whole standup thing. She worked the crowds in Boston and San Francisco. And like all comedians, ended up in LA and kind of got swooped up by the HBO scene, did some shows, was a regular on late night talk shows and then eventually found herself and her voice on “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me,” where she appears regularly. But I hadn’t heard of her touring in a while so this – I was excited to hear that she’s hitting the road and doing standup, one woman show type thing.
CAVANAUGH: Now, is this – She’s going to be at Anthology, is that right?
MORLAN: Yep, it’s regularly a dining, fine dining and a live music venue but that means it’s going to be a great place to sit comfortably and be able to see the stage and hear her well. So it’ll be a cool venue, I think, to see Poundstone, who is just, ahh, she’s a riot. She’s – she has described herself as asexual and she’s adopted like three or four kids so a lot of her kind of schtick is about being a mom. If you go to her website, you can watch a video on being the wrong mom, is what she calls it. So she’s just offbeat and interesting and different. So if you’re looking for something sort of different, the show will be for you.
CAVANAUGH: And Paula Poundstone will be at Anthology in Little Italy on Saturday at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. We move on to an old music scene that’s being resurrected this weekend and we’re adding another guest. Peter Holslin is music editor at San Diego CityBeat. Peter, good morning.
PETER HOLSLIN (Music Editor, San Diego CityBeat): Good morning. Thanks for having me.
CAVANAUGH: Now – Oh, you’re very welcome. Tell us what the Che Underground scene in the early 1980s was.
HOLSLIN: All right, well, the Che Café, you know, has long been a hub for activism and underground music and so back in the eighties there was a number of bands there that played there a lot. There was…
CAVANAUGH: Now, is this on the UCSD campus?
HOLSLIN: Yeah, yeah.
HOLSLIN: It’s on UCSD campus. And a lot of the bands actually were going to UCSD. But anyway there were bands like the Answers and Manual Scan, Hair Theatre, and Noise 292 and the Rockin’ Dogs and the Wallflowers, which was not the one-hit-wonders headed by Bob Dylan’s son but the local Wallflowers who were kind of a funky, weird, garage rock band that was influenced by Iggy and the Stooges and the New York Dolls, but also George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic.
CAVANAUGH: So this is all – We’re talking about a scene in the early eighties here. So how is it being commemorated this weekend?
HOLSLIN: Well, this weekend, there’s going to be two shows. There’s going to be one at Lestat’s, Lestat’s Coffeehouse on Friday, July 30th, and there’s going to be a photo retrospective of concert photography by Dave Doyle and Shawn McMullen, who are two local photographers.
MORLAN: The photos are good, too. We’ve seen a few.
CAVANAUGH: Yeah, who’s organizing this?
HOLSLIN: The organizers are the Che Underground blog.
HOLSLIN: Which is kind of devoted to, you know, documenting this whole scene and they have all this stuff on their blog. They have a list of shows and they have all the bands and groups that…
MORLAN: They have audio samples, mashups that you can listen to, get an idea of what kind of music was going on.
CAVANAUGH: And pictures of the handbills that they used to hand out for the…
HOLSLIN: Yeah, yeah, all the old fliers and everything.
CAVANAUGH: Let’s hear an example of the Che Underground sound. This is “Fall In Love Wrong” by Jeffrey Luck Lucas.
(audio clip of Jeffrey Luck Lucas performing “Fall In Love Wrong”)
CAVANAUGH: That’s “Fall In Love Wrong” by Jeffrey Luck Lucas and is part of the Che Underground Revival that’s going to be happening this weekend. I’m just wondering, though, I expected more punk, like Ramones, like punky, yes? No?
HOLSLIN: Yeah, well, you know, all – It’s interesting because Jeffrey Luck Lucas, his – all of his solo material is really slow and quiet and kind of gloomy. But he was also a co-founder of like a garage rock band called The Morlocks and so, you know, at this show you can expect a lot more like louder, faster songs.
HOLSLIN: But it’s also, you know, the interesting thing is that they weren’t quite, you know, these skuzzy punk rockers, these dirty punk rockers. They were maybe a little – maybe a little cleaner...
CAVANAUGH: Oh, for heaven sakes…
HOLSLIN: …and maybe a little more melodic.
CAVANAUGH: It was UCSD for heaven sakes. The Che Underground Revival takes place this weekend, as you’ve been saying, Peter, at Lestat’s and Bar Pink. Moving on, Kinsee, a reading series from LA is coming to San Diego this weekend. Tell us what “Vermin on the Mount” is and what they do.
MORLAN: Well, they are – it is a series that features writers and authors that are serious, they’re good, but they don’t take themselves too seriously. So instead of a kind of a stuffy library or a bookstore or an auditorium, they go in bars and different alternative venues and do readings that are more irreverent. Jim Ruland, who founded the series back in LA six years ago, he described it to me this morning as readings that don’t suck.
CAVANAUGH: Boundless praise. Now, who’ll be reading on Saturday? Anyone we know?
MORLAN: Yeah, it’s cool because there – they – there will be traveling authors but there’s local authors. A little self-promotion here. CityBeat’s own Enrique Limon, who does the Enrique Experience, will be reading from his offbeat column.
MORLAN: And he told me he might be doing a piece that he first submitted to CityBeat and it got – it never ran because of its content. We just couldn’t run this sort of content. So…
HOLSLIN: So it must be extra scandalous.
CAVANAUGH: It sounds like it. Now, are readers also going to be performing in any way?
MORLAN: You know, I think in terms of performance art, no.
MORLAN: But they are going to be, you know, some of them memorize it and have – it’s a little more well put together than a straight reading. But, no, it’s not a performance art type thing. But it is lively. I’ve been promised that it’ll be lively and irreverent and… Jim is doing this thing called Vermin Bucks, where you can pay $15.00 and get a drink and a book, so it might get kind of rowdy in there. It’s at Sushi Performance Art (sic), which is a gallery.
CAVANAUGH: Yeah, tell us a little bit about how – It’s going to be an intimate event because of the space, right?
MORLAN: It is. It’s going to be relatively intimate but it’s kind of a warehouse-y type space so it does have room for rowdiness. So we shall see. But, yeah, it’ll be a cool – cool event. You know, San Diego has a literary scene but doesn’t often get showcased so “Vermin on the Mount,” this is their six-year reunion. Jim lives in San Diego and has lived here for the past three years and we’ve been wanting him to move the series down here, and so this is kind of the test. So come out, San Diego, and support your local authors.
CAVANAUGH: That’s “Vermin on the Mount.” The reading series comes to Sushi Saturday, July 31st, at 8:00 p.m. Now, you’re participating in the next event, Kinsee, right? Tell – It’s Ignite San Diego. Tell us how Ignite San Diego works.
MORLAN: Well, I will be participating if I turn my slides in on time. We’ll see how that goes. Deadlines at the paper. But so a bunch of San Diegans, this is the second ever event, in the past few weeks have submitted ideas online and then people voted on the ideas and so through community sourcing they’ve kind of chosen 16 ideas to be presented at this event. And the people get up onstage and are kind of led along through slides, 20 slides that are flashed every 20 seconds, maybe I’m wrong with that number but…
MORLAN: …anyway, it’s a fast-paced talk with visuals and everyone from Jay Porter at the Linkery, who will be talking about society’s limits, to someone who’s going to talk about waffles, will be on the stage that night.
HOLSLIN: I’m with the waffles.
CAVANAUGH: Now, okay…
MORLAN: The waffles, yum.
CAVANAUGH: Who’s against that? Now, you show your slides and you talk about what your issue is. Can the audience talk back?
MORLAN: You know, I’ve never been to an Ignite San Diego…
MORLAN: …but I have been to a Pecha Kucha, which is kind of a similar idea. And it’s sort of a one-way conversation when you’re presenting but once you’re off that stage you are fair game to be engaged in a dialogue.
CAVANAUGH: I see, so it can get pretty passionate then.
MORLAN: I think so. I mean, these are ideas that, you know, no one’s going to engage someone on a conversation about waffles except for maybe Peter Holslin.
HOLSLIN: Umm-hmm. Yeah.
MORLAN: But, yeah, these are ideas that could be a little controversial and…
CAVANAUGH: So what are you going to be discussing, Kinsee?
MORLAN: This is a topic that is very dear to my heart and your Culture Lust producer, Angela Carone, it’s the future of arts journalism, and I think there’s a lot of options out there and it’s especially pertinent conversation because of the recent letting go of the arts critic at the daily Union-Tribune, Bob Pincus. And I just want to talk about some different models that are being thrown around and different things looking forward because, you know, arts journalism is important.
CAVANAUGH: Right. Ignite San Diego II takes place Tuesday, August third at 7:30 at the High Working Space on 14th Avenue in the East Village.
MORLAN: And go online. Sorry. Real quick, ignitesandiego.org and print off your ticket because it’s free but there’s a 200 person limit, so…
CAVANAUGH: Gotcha. Okay. Now, finally, for people seeking adventure, there’s a two-day street art bike tour taking place this weekend. It’s the Tijuego Bike Tour. Tell us what the tour is about.
MORLAN: Well, it’s kind of inspired by the street art exhibition “Viva La Revolucion” going on at the Museum of Contemporary Art. And it’s actually put on by three local arts collectives, Turista Libre, Set & Drift, and Sezio, and they kind of wanted to look at street art that’s been here in the past as well as look at new pieces. And they’ve turned it into sort of a fun game where you take your photo—Peter, you’ve ridden your bike around TJ, didn’t – Right?
HOLSLIN: Umm-hmm. Yeah. Yeah, I’ve been, you know, been through the red light district and everything.
MORLAN: On your bike?
HOLSLIN: It was a good time.
MORLAN: Is it safe?
HOLSLIN: It’s – The roads are really poorly, you know, poorly managed but it’s cool. And there’s a lot of…
CAVANAUGH: But this is guided, right?
MORLAN: It is guided.
HOLSLIN: …kind of scary drivers, no damage.
MORLAN: So wear your helmet, bring your camera. Derrik of Tourista Libre will be taking you around in the Tijuana side of things. He sent me the map last night. It’s something that anyone can do.
CAVANAUGH: Oh, really? Okay, because that was one of my questions. I mean, do you need to be in excessively good shape to be able to make this thing?
HOLSLIN: No, I think you should be fine. You know, it’s kind of like just riding around, going on a bike ride, you know, checking things out.
CAVANAUGH: And what are we going to be seeing?
MORLAN: You’ll see murals that have been up for years. Chicano Park will be on the San Diego side. You’ll look at some of the murals that have been there. The San Diego tour is meeting at the new OBEY mural in Hillcrest.
CAVANAUGH: Uh-huh, yeah.
MORLAN: And in Tijuana, street art, there’s a crew, and I don’t know if Derrik is planning on stopping by any of these pieces but the ‘him’ crew is going to – they’ve been decorating the city with just this beautiful art that it’s a surprise. Casa del Tunel, an art gallery in an old drug tunnel building, has commissioned art pieces on houses in a neighborhood in Tijuana. And they’re, you know, there’s stuff that you will – you’re just going to kick yourself for not knowing that this has existed for so long and you’ve never seen it.
CAVANAUGH: How can people find out more?
MORLAN: Turistalibre.com and, again, bring your camera because it’s a photo scavenger hunt so the best photos of the street art wins some prizes.
CAVANAUGH: Oh, great. The TJ ride meets at the south side of the pedestrian border crossing in Tijuana on Saturday, and the San Diego ride meets outside of Urban Outfitters in Hillcrest on Sunday. I want to thank you so much, Kinsee. Thank you, Peter, for talking with us today.
HOLSLIN: Thank you so much for having me.
MORLAN: Yeah, thanks for having the CityBeat crew. We behaved relatively.
CAVANAUGH: You did, very well. Thank you.
HOLSLIN: We tried at least.
CAVANAUGH: And if you’d like to comment, KPBS.org/thesedays. These Days is produced by Angela Carone, Hank Crook, Megan Burke, Pat Finn, Julien Pearce, senior producer is Natalie Walsh. Production Manager is Kurt Kohnen. Our production assistant is Hilary Andrews. I’m Maureen Cavanaugh, hope you’ll enjoy the rest of the week. You’ve been listening to These Days on KPBS.