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Events: Los Tigres del Norte, Richard Allen Morris, And The World Cup Of Sausages

Audio

Aired 6/10/10

Norteño music, the World Cup of sausages, and Marion Cunningham as Queen Elizabeth. San Diego offers an eclectic mix this weekend.

TOM FUDGE (Host): I’m Tom Fudge. You’re listening to These Days. Los Tigres del Norte are today's definitive norteño music band and they have a huge fan following in Mexico and the U.S. Los Tigres are bringing their music to the Del Mar Fairgrounds this Sunday. That's one of the things we'll talk about on today's Weekend Preview. And joining us for the Weekend Preview is Keli Dailey, an arts writer for the San Diego Union-Tribune. And, Keli, good to see you.

KELI DAILEY (Arts Writer, San Diego Union-Tribune): Hey, Tom.

FUDGE: And, well, we’re going to start out with Los Tigres. The norteño band, Los Tigres del Norte has been together for 40 years. It’s a bunch of brothers and they’ve won many Grammys. They’re playing at the San Diego Fair on Sunday. Tell us a little bit about how they got started.

DAILEY: Well, they are a band of brothers and a cousin and, you know, they all wear matching rhinestone suits and fancy boots but it wasn’t always like that, Tom. They came to the U.S. in the late sixties and they used to send money back to their farm in Mexico in Sinaloa just by raising money as a roving band of musicians. But they were teenagers and an immigration official, legend says, dubbed them ‘the little tigers.’ And that’s what Los Tigres essentially means.

FUDGE: I actually read that story and then one of them, I think one of the brothers corrected him. They say, no, we’re the tigers, we’re not the little tigers.

DAILEY: Right. Exactly.

FUDGE: But he was 16 at the time, I think. They’ve been in the news recently having to do with Arizona’s immigration law?

DAILEY: That’s right. They’re boycotting Arizona for the law signed in April. And they’ve joined with Kanye West as part of Sound Strike, which is a organization put together by Zack de la Rocha of Rage Against the Machine and basically it’s not surprising though because they’ve been the lyrical voice of the Latino immigrant for a while now. They participated in the immigration marches in 2007, and a lot of their songs are about illegal immigrants as well. They’ve got this one “Jose Perez Leon,” it’s about a young man who suffocates inside of a truck crossing into the United States.

FUDGE: And they play corridos.

DAILEY: That’s right.

FUDGE: Now, remind us, what kind of songs are corridos?

DAILEY: Corridos are ballads and they’re narrative songs. Historically, they’re about heroes, and Los Tigres have really made them about ordinary, everyday people, working class fables, basically. And they’re the kind of ballads that borrachos in my hometown of San Antonio would listen to and drink Lonestar to, basically.

FUDGE: I understand, I just read an article. There’s a good article about them recently in the New Yorker magazine. And it’s – they say that the stories that they tell onstage, the songs they sing, are true stories.

DAILEY: That’s right.

FUDGE: They get them from real people and they’re true stories. Well, let’s hear one part of their – one piece of their music. This is Los Tigres del Norte and one of their classics which is called “Contrabando y Traicion.”

(audio clip of Los Tigres del Norte performing “Contrabando y Traicion”)

FUDGE: That’s Los Tigres del Norte and that is a sound that is known by lots of people in this country. This is a band that is just tremendously popular and this is a song about the border, immigration.

DAILEY: Right, you heard the shout out to San Antonio in it as well.

FUDGE: Okay, to…

DAILEY: Yeah.

FUDGE: …to your hometown.

DAILEY: Umm-hmm.

FUDGE: All right, anything else you want to say about Los Tigres?

DAILEY: Well, you know, the New Yorker, like you were saying, had a piece about them in May and the writer, Alec Wilkinson, said they’re probably the most gracious superstars he’s ever chronicled. They stay afterwards, after every concert, until every photo is taken, every fan has given them a kiss. They’re there for hours and hours. And they also fill stadiums. He says they’re somewhere between Bruce Springsteen and the Rolling Stones in capacity building, you know.

FUDGE: And I can’t figure out when they sleep because they play music all night and then they stay up until the wee hours of the morning signing autographs and so forth. I don’t know when they sleep.

DAILEY: Rockstars.

FUDGE: But anyway, Los Tigres del Norte play the San Diego County Fair at the Del Mar Fairgrounds this Sunday at 7:30 p.m. Moving on, Keli, the World Cup of soccer starts on Friday, and the North Park restaurant The Linkery is getting into the action. What are they doing?

DAILEY: Well, they’re celebrating this global soccer shootout by screening the games, of course, but cooking up each national sausage dish that represents the teams, and they call it a Battle for World Sausage Supremacy. And what is the World Cup if not a meaty street brawl? Like look for – look at all those hunks like Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka from Brazil.

FUDGE: The World Cup of sausage.

DAILEY: Yeah.

FUDGE: Give us some examples of the sausages that will be competing.

DAILEY: On the opening match, the opening match on Friday, it’s boerewors versus longaniza, which also translates to South Africa versus Mexico. I’m surprised they didn’t go with chorizo from Mexico but longaniza is also a pork sausage, spicy. And boerewors, of course, is Afrikaans for farmer’s sausage, and that’s what they’re opening with. There’s also chorizo versus boudin blanc, which is Uruguay versus France. And, of course, bangers versus American farmhouse, and that’s Sunday – Saturday’s game of England versus the U.S.

FUDGE: And some of these are early morning games.

DAILEY: That’s right. You know, South Africa’s 9 hours away, 9 hours ahead of the U.S., of California. And just think of it as like breakfast sausage.

FUDGE: And they will be serving beer just in case you want to have a beer at nine o’clock in the morning.

DAILEY: That’s right. If you’re going to be a soccer hooligan, you’ve got to do it right. Have a greasy meal and start drinking.

FUDGE: Okay, well, it’s going to be exciting. The competition is going to be fierce at the World Cup of Sausages. You can find out the whole schedule of games and sausages offered at The Linkery’s blog, which is thelinkery.com. I’m Tom Fudge. You’re listening to These Days on KPBS. My guest is Keli Daily, arts writer for the San Diego Union-Tribune. And it’s the Weekend Preview. We’re looking at some of the events that are coming our way this weekend in San Diego. Well, the Old Globe is holding its open house, the Old Globe Theatre, holding its open house with Marion Ross. And tell us about that. Tell us about her.

DAILEY: Sure. The woman who will forever be the mom from “Happy Days,” Mrs. Cunningham, will be playing the mother of England, also known as Queen Elizabeth for this open house. And, you know, she’s actually starring in “The Last Romance” at the Old Globe in late July, so this is kind of like our early introduction to Marion.

FUDGE: I’m sorry, she’s going to be doing a show? Or she’s…

DAILEY: That’s right.

FUDGE: …going to be appearing as Queen Elizabeth?

DAILEY: Well, she’s going to be wandering the grounds as Queen Elizabeth, you know, olde English and nice gown, and, yeah, so it’s a great time to see Marion.

FUDGE: All right, the mother from “Happy Days.” What else can people expect to see at this open house?

DAILEY: Well, this free event has performances, as we mentioned, people in character, backstage tours of the Old Globe’s Theatres and costume displays, sword fighting, bagpipes and Elizabethan dances, too.

FUDGE: And this is the first Shakespeare Festival under its new artistic director Adrian Noble. Why don’t you tell us about him?

DAILEY: Well, he takes over for Darko Tresnjak and I believe Noble also has an accent. He is English.

FUDGE: All right.

DAILEY: And he spent more than two decades with the Royal Shakespeare Company, so he’s from real Shakespeare country. And he used to direct Kenneth Branagh under the Royal Shakespeare Company, and now he’s directing “King Lear,” and “The Madness of George III” for the Shakespeare Festival here at the Old Globe.

FUDGE: And this is the 75th anniversary of the Old Globe.

DAILEY: That’s right.

FUDGE: So are they making that into a big deal?

DAILEY: Oh, yeah, certainly. In fact, the open house is part of it. It’s getting a lot of attention in the newspapers. Yeah, it’s – The Shakespeare Festival itself, though, is enough of a reason to pay attention to the Old Globe.

FUDGE: And this is a family event, right? So there’s some activities for kids as well?

DAILEY: Kids love crafts, face painting, circus performances, free popcorn, and there’s a kid distracter I mentioned earlier, bagpipes, so I think they’ll have a good time there, too.

FUDGE: Okay. Well, it’ll be interesting to see a new director of the Shakespeare Festival at the Old Globe because Darko Tresnjak was there for, gosh, well, I don’t know, 5, 7 years, I think. So that’ll be interesting to see. And if you’re interested, the Old Globe’s Open House takes place this Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., so go and check it out. Once again, you’re listening to These Days. I’m Tom Fudge. And I’m joined by Keli Dailey, arts writer for the San Diego Union-Tribune. And, as always, at this time on Thursday, we’re bringing you the Weekend Preview. Well, Richard Allen Morris is going to be at the R.B. Stevenson Gallery. Let’s get started on that. He’s having a show of his new paintings. Who is Richard Allen Morris?

DAILEY: Well, he’s known for his delirious layers of color. He’s a painter, born in 1933 in Long Beach, but he lives here in San Diego. We claim him. And he was once said – his work was described as disrespectful, bold, downright fresh, and always full of painterly bravura. He transforms his own sometimes bizarre world theatre into painting, end quote. And he’s an abstract expressionist.

FUDGE: An abstract expressionist. So how would you describe his paintings? If we were looking at one of them, what would we see?

DAILEY: You know, my layman description of his paintings, I would say that they look like thick gelato piled on a canvas, like he squeezed out a rainbow of pigments and left them in a raw mass. And it looks so touchable, and they’ve been described as an aftermath of a food fight between Matisse and Gauguin.

FUDGE: This guy has an interesting story. He started painting while he was in the Navy, I think.

DAILEY: That’s right. Paint by numbers.

FUDGE: Paint by numbers kits. And some critics have called him – Even so, some critics have called him an artist’s artist, appreciated more by his peers than the art world. What do you say to that?

DAILEY: Well, I got this from Morris’ blog, and he’s got a quote on it that says, an artist – the true artist paints for himself. So what’s meant by that is that he’s not chasing trends. He’s not doing video installation art or, you know, oh, lowbrow’s in now so let me experiment with that. He just sticks with his own guns, basically, and, you know, layering colors and totally being disrespectful, as the catalog said, of just what the art world wants right now.

FUDGE: This new exhibit is called “Patch and Paint.” Do you think that’s a good way to describe his work?

DAILEY: Completely. You know, if you walk in, you’ll – you’re almost distracted by what looks like sculptural use of paint on a canvas. It just looks like patches and paint, you know, thrown together but he is really important to the San Diego art scene. He’s being collected by the Swiss and Germans right now. It’s really great that he’s still a living artist, too.

FUDGE: And so it sounds like he’s fairly important. Well, would you say he’s important to the San Diego art scene?

DAILEY: I’m going to go with our art critic Robert Pincus’ assessment. He wrote that many artists make memorable paintings but few artists make an original contribution to the evolution of the form. So it’s more than just his paintings, it’s that the form of creating is what Morris has offered to the international art scene.

FUDGE: And, finally, before we leave this topic, the R.B. Stevenson Gallery, is that a gallery that’s been around for a long time?

DAILEY: You know, I’m not really familiar with its history but I know it’s in La Jolla.

FUDGE: All right, well, we have just a couple minutes left. And so let me raise one other subject, which is the film “Evil Dead,” which I think you’re looking forward to. Is that opening this weekend or…

DAILEY: I’m so…

FUDGE: …has it – has it opened already?

DAILEY: I’m so looking forward to this. This is part of the Midnight Madness event at the Ken Cinema, I believe. And “Evil Dead,” for fans of “Spiderman,” same – Sam Raimi is the guy behind this. He directed it. And it’s one of the grossest pieces of cinema, and it’s so low budget. I mean, the things that they’re creating blood with and, you know, intestines and you – It’s about a bunch of couples that go to a cabin and are set upon by demons.

FUDGE: And it’s a comedy.

DAILEY: It’s a dark comedy and it’s definitely, you know, for adults. Some of it gets a little bit racy. And it’s weird because to go on and see the Spiderman series after seeing that this man once produced “Evil Dead,” it’s pretty alarming.

FUDGE: I was going to ask you to make that connection because I wasn’t quite sure what was the connection between this movie and “Spiderman.” It’s made by the same filmmaker?

DAILEY: The same director, yeah, Sam Raimi.

FUDGE: And so Sam Raimi, this is some of his early work when he was disreputable, before he made “Spiderman.”

DAILEY: Well, hopefully all directors start off as disreputable before, you know, aging and making, you know – I’m thinking of the guy that did the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, right, he started off also with really gory movies where, you know, people were pursued by demons also. It’s a very common theme, I guess, in people’s directorial careers.

FUDGE: Oh, one more thing. Can you say anything about Peter Jackson?

DAILEY: That’s Peter Jackson I was talking about.

FUDGE: Oh, Peter Jackson is who?

DAILEY: The “Lord of the Rings…”

FUDGE: The “Lord of the Rings,” thank you.

DAILEY: Right. And he also has a movie. I can’t place the name right now but it’s like on par with “Evil Dead,” where, you know – It’s pretty gross.

FUDGE: All right, well, we kind of got off subject here so let me get back to the subject of the painter Richard Allen Morris because I don’t think I mentioned “Patch and Paint,” a new work by Richard Allen Morris, opens tomorrow night at the R.B. Stevenson Gallery in La Jolla. There’s an opening reception that begins at 5:00 p.m. Keli Dailey is an arts writer for the San Diego Union-Tribune. And, Keli, thank you very much for joining us.

DAILEY: Thanks, Tom.

FUDGE: These Days is produced by Angela Carone, Hank Crook, Megan Burke, Pat Finn, and senior producer Natalie Walsh. Production Manager is Kurt Kohnen. Our director is Tim Felten. Our production assistants are Jonathan Constanza and Hilary Andrews. The These Days theme was composed and performed by Gilbert Costellanos and his band. If you want to listen to a segment you’ve heard on These Days or download a podcast of the show, go to our website which is KPBS.org/thesedays. I’m Tom Fudge, sitting in for Maureen Cavanaugh. And you’ve been listening to These Days on KPBS.

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