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Events: Soul Food, Lantern Festival, And Art vs. Science

Aired 8/25/11 on KPBS Midday Edition.

Soul food, Vietnamese food, art, music - we'll tell you where you can sample it all on this weekend preview.

Soul food, Vietnamese food, art, music - we'll tell you where you can sample it all on this weekend preview.

Guests

Kelly Bennett is the arts editor at Voice of San Diego. Her blog is called Behind the Scene.

Seth Combs is a freelance writer in San Diego.

Read Transcript

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

CAVANAUGH: This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. Soul food, Vietnamese lanterns, salsa dances and whales. If you ever doubted the diversity of San Diego, you won't after this edition of the weekend preview. Kelly Bennett is arts editor at the voice of San Diego, her blog is called behind the scene.

BENNETT: Hi, Maureen.

CAVANAUGH: Seth Combs is free-lance writer in San Diego. Hi.

COMBS: Hey there.

CAVANAUGH: Cafe Sevilla, we're talking about the grand openings of cafe Sevilla and Griffin. Sevilla is ground zero for salsa dancing in San Diego. Let's gone through a remodel. What's happening?

COMBS: It's been a main stay in downtown San Diego for about 20†years. And I've been in once or twice, and they're really well known for their top -- the small tapas dishes, and they have a thing called a sangarita, sangria and a margarita mixed together. And it's pretty dang delicious. But they also have a club portion of the place where they have, you know, merengue, and salsa and yeah. So what they've done is they've just -- they've actually not just redesigned it, but move today from fourth avenue to 5th avenue. And they've actually been open for a while, but tonight is the big blowout.

CAVANAUGH: What's the party going to be like?

COMBS: I know that they have some live bands, and for I think from 8 to 9 I think they have free food, free tapas, and free drinks as well.

CAVANAUGH: A new bar called the Griffin is opening tonight, replacing the bar O'Connell's. How has the bar changed now?

COMBS: If anybody has gone into O'Connell's remembers that it was pretty divy. And these two night life vets in the scene, they've taken it over and completely gutted the place, and put up a new, beautiful wood walls, new booths, even like the pool tables are you new. Of and the place looks great. It still has that great divy feel. But they -- it's just a lot nicer now. And I think their focus is going to be on bands, better bands than what O'Connell's had, which was -- if anybody had ever been in there, I wouldn't go in there, but it's a lot better now.

CAVANAUGH: And their official grand opening is tonight right?

COMBS: It is. If you look it up on Facebook, you can RSVP to get in, otherwise I think it's five bucks after 11. And the howls and the cabs are playing.

CAVANAUGH: So you have cafe Sevilla downtown, and the Griffin in Linda Vista both cell celebrating their grand openings tonight. And also tonight, Kelly, the summer salon series continues at the San Diego museum of art. We've been talking about this this summer, but remind us what this series is.

BENNETT: Right. This is the series that brings a lot of different local artists and politicians and thinkers together to answer the question what does a city need. So they have been trying to answer that question all summer, every Thursday. Tonight's idea for contemplation, I suppose, is called access to resources. And so there are a few different things that are part of the night. There's a panel discussion about food with some of the local farms, like Suzie's farm, and J. Porter who owns el Take it Easy, and the Linkery, a big proponent of local farm to table eating and other questions like that.

CAVANAUGH: And what kind of artwork is going to be on display?

BENNETT: There's a smelly artwork. An olfactory artwork by a couple of artists, and they'll be doing, I think they're pairing bits of poetry with some fragrances, which I think is a really interesting thought because a lot of the most compelling poetry has a lot of the different senses woven in, including olfactory or smelly. There's also a poet, Bruna Mori reading her poetry tonight. And Luka Dennis is putting together that panel discussion about farms and access to food.

CAVANAUGH: And not to get too incestuous about all this, but your band is there tonight.

BENNETT: My band, which has been seen at O'Connell's before.

COMBS: You guys played O'Connell's? That's crazy.

BENNETT: A long time ago. But we did play O'Connell's. We will be playing tonight as well. The tree ring.

CAVANAUGH: We actually do have a song, can you imagine that, by the Tree Ring. This is Dreams Where I am Sleeping.

(Audio Recording Played.)

CAVANAUGH: That's a song, dreams where I am sleeping from tree ring's) debut album, generous shadows. Of and you've got a new album out, don't you?

BENNETT: No, this is the album we just took with us out on our trip up the west coast.

CAVANAUGH: Got it. From it from a tour on the Pacific northwest. How was that?

BENNETT: Eon was a dream. It was amazing. We got to see most of our mom, which is atypical for a band on tour and enjoy a lot of time outside, and playing for friends and family in front yards and living rooms, and also full on venues too.

CAVANAUGH: This whole big package, including the tree ring plays at the summer salon series, at the San Diego museum of art tonight, smelly art, poetry, tree ring.

BENNETT: Exactly.

CAVANAUGH: Seth, there's a band you're pretty excited about playing at the Casbah tomorrow. It's art versus science.

COMBS: I'm excited about these guys all right. And I've turned a lot of people onto them via, like, this music video that they recently released called magic fountain. And if you get a chance, listeners, look it up, it's hilarious. But they're a three-piece band from Sidney Australia who play this sort of electro Brit-Pop hybrid. It's weird because I was driving over here listening to it in the car, and there's even songs that sound, like, bon Jobe or something. It's kind of tongue in cheek and goofy, but they're huge in Europe and Australia. I think they went platinum recently in Australia, and they're just trying to break into the U.S.

CAVANAUGH: This is art versus science, and the song is magic fountain from their magic fountain EP that was released last year.

(Audio Recording Played).

CAVANAUGH: That is the magic fountain by art versus science. What are their live performances like, Seth?

COMBS: If you couldn't tell from the music, it's pretty spirited. They take turns on -- there's three guys in the band. They take turns on keyboards and guitars. And I was watching some clips of them on YouTube, and they really get the crowd involved, get down in people's face, make them move. So all the arms crossed bespectacled nerd hipsters, stay at home or get ready to move your butt.

CAVANAUGH: The Hundred Days and Hyena all playing the Casbah tomorrow night. Little Saigon street fair takes place this weekend, the second annual San Diego lantern festival is part of that event. Tell us about it.

BENNETT: It's on El Cajon boulevard by Hoover high school. And little Saigon is about six blocks on El Cajon boulevard between Euclid and high land that the little Saigon foundation has been trying to brand as little Saigon. A lot of Vietnamese businesses, and trying to really carve out that piece of El Cajon boulevard for the Vietnamese community and say, you know, this is sort of our spot. This is answer we celebrate. A lot of other communities in San Diego have their spot. And this is what little Saigon's been trying to do. So they've got all sorts of things happening. It's really a combination like you said at a lantern festival and a street fair. So the things that would go with a street fair, food trucks and music, and they have a pageant for Ms. Asia San Diego, I think. But then there's also 6,000 silk lanterns that they actually had shipped from a village in Vietnam, Hoan, are that is known for making these silk lanterns, and volunteers all have been stringing those up to hang for the whole weekend.

CAVANAUGH: And I guess these are lighted lanterns. It would be best to see at night.

BENNETT: Exactly, exactly. But they have stuff going all day. I think they start 3:00†o'clock on Friday but they've got stuff starting at noon on Saturday and Sunday, and it goes all night.

CAVANAUGH: The San Diego lantern festival is this Friday through Saturday on El Cajon boulevard. Let me move to the soul food festival, and the premiere of crave. San Diego south food festival this weekend. How do we do soul food in San Diego? Pretty good?

COMBS: Not at all or not very well. I hate to report that, but I'm -- and you'll forgive me, listeners if my voice changes from, like, a regular tone to a sound accent. But I'm originally from Atlanta, and I know soul food.

CAVANAUGH: Oh, we would get one of them.

COMBS: Yeah, so I'm -- there's one place Kelly mentioned Euclid, near the 94 called Bonnie gene's soul food, and it's amazing. I'm not sure if they will be at the soul food festival. The website is kind of, like, kind of -- doesn't really name any specific people that are going to be cooking there. Upon but they promise all kinds of delights. For me it's collard green, but they're going to have ribs, macaroni and cheese, sweet tea, it's a 21 and up event. So don't bring the kids. But if you like it, it's from 12 to 6, and it's all you can eat.

CAVANAUGH: All you can eat with admission?

COMBS: Well, I think the tickets are $40 in advance and, and $60 the day of. And that's how they're advertising it. Come and just pig out.

CAVANAUGH: So you're hoping -- are you holding out for any hope for this?

COMBS: Like I said, I'm going to remain skeptical until I'm actually there just because that's just the way I am. But once I'm in there, and if they do it upright, I will happily come back here on your show for the second annual one and be, like, got to go!

CAVANAUGH: San Diego soul food festival is at Qualcom stadium on Saturday. Let's go back to the new photography exhibit, it's called among giants Kelly.

BENNETT: This is a photographer called Charles Flip Nichlan who has been photographing whales and migrating with them from the Pacific northwest to Hawaii. He spends his life in the water, photographing whales, and these photographs -- I just had a few sent to me. I haven't seen the exhibit yet at the natural history museum. But it opened officially this week. They're unbelievable. The whales -- people pay a lot of money to get on bodes and see a fin or a spurt of water, but these whales -- this guy has been close to some giant whales. And I just love how this whole world exists without us. And he's gotten to see it, and he's bringing those photos. He fakes pictures for national geographic. He's known as one of the best whale photographers in the world, if not the best, and actually grew up in San Diego. His dad's a really well known local SCUBA diver. So he eight have a bit of a hometown hero welcome in September when they do the formal representation for this show. But the gallery itself is in the natural history museum.

CAVANAUGH: And there's whale sculpture that goes along with these photographs right?

BENNETT: Randy Puckett is a sculpture based in Monterey. He made the whale in front of the birch aquarium, and that big whale sculpture. So he's going to have some sculptures there. And this gallery itself, there's a guy, Abe Ordover, who runs it and has for a few years, he's a lawyer turned photographer, turned gallerist, and convinced the natural history museum to use the space at the top of the atrium after they did their remodel to show some of these really highly skilled highly qualified photographers' work as art, not just as the pages of national geographic. They get to blow up their images and really see them on the wall.

CAVANAUGH: So you don't know whales until you go to this exhibition.

BENNETT: I can't wait.

CAVANAUGH: Among giants is open at the San Diego museum of natural history through December†31st. And I don't want to leave our weekend preview without telling everyone that Troy Johnson, who is a frequent guest on our show, senior editor of San Diego Riviera magazine has a cooking show preparing tonight on food network.

COMBS: It's actually premiering Monday night at 830.

CAVANAUGH: Monday at 8:30 on the Food Network. I cannot wait to see this.

COMBS: It's going to be great. I was talking to him on the way over. I asked him for a one Klein description, and he went off on this tangent like you wouldn't believe.

CAVANAUGH: I do believe. He's super excited. It's going to be a great show. I've been speaking with Kelly Bennett and Seth Combs. Thank you so much.

COMBS: Thank you.

BENNETT: Thank you.

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