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Events: Pinback, The Pharcyde, Distinction Gallery


2011 is here and the music and arts scene in San Diego is off to a strong start. We'll talk with two writers for San Diego CityBeat about what they recommend for your weekend itinerary.

2011 is here and the music and arts scene in San Diego is off to a strong start. We'll talk with two writers for San Diego CityBeat about what they recommend for your weekend itinerary.


Kinsee Morlan is the arts and entertainment editor at San Diego CityBeat.

Peter Holslin is the music editor at San Diego CityBeat.

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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: I'm Maureen Cavanaugh, You're listening to These Days on KPBS. The holidays are over. The decorations have come down. You're back to working maybe on a diet, and let's face it, life can look a little dreary. Well, we have some suggestions that could life up your post-holiday blues of it's the first weekend preview of 2011. I'd like to welcome my guests, Kinsee Morlan is the arts and entertainment editor at San Diego City beat, and Kinsee, welcome.

MORLAN: Thanks for having me, as always, glad to be here.

CAVANAUGH: And Peter Holslin is the music editor at San Diego City beat. Good morning.

HOLSLIN: Good morning, Maureen.

CAVANAUGH: Happy new year.

HOLSLIN: Happy new year to you too.

CAVANAUGH: I think that's the last time I'm gonna say that. Of well, let's start with some music, Peter. We have Monette Marino Keita, and Mamady Keita. They're playing at Anthology tonight. Tell us about them.

HOLSLIN: Well, Monette Marino Keita is a local percussionist, and she studied African, Latin American, and Korean drum systems, and her husband, Mamady Keita, he's a world class master drummer from Guinea. And so basically he's kind of like a drum virtuoso, who's -- he's very well known in Guinea as, like, a teacher and a performer in traditional drum styles in Guinea, particularly like the man ding people, their traditions of drumming.

CAVANAUGH: So I'm wondering issue so Monette was born and raised here in San Diego. So she's into the music scene through, Mamady, her husband?

HOLSLIN: Well, it's really interesting. She was telling me her story for an article I wrote for CityBeat this week. And basically she was introduced to the drums when she was nine by her father, Vincenzo Jim Marino, who is a self-taught drummer and he played in a bunch of bands in San Diego. And he actually had a top 40 hit in 1959 with his band, the Strangers. So she started out playing, like, Led Zeppelin, and ACDC, and hen her brothers were hogging the drum set. So her father introduced her to the congas, when she was like 15. And then later when she was in college she went to this African drumming class, and it just kind of blew her mind.

CAVANAUGH: I see, I see.

HOLSLIN: And then she started studying with mamma di. She travelled to Guinea to study, like, the jimbay, and the dunun, which were traditional drums used in, you know, like, ceremonies, like, weddings and baptisms, and all sorts of stuff. And she would study all these different drum patterns with Mamady Keita, and they ended up getting married.

RANDALL: Falling in love.

CAVANAUGH: Let's hear what she sounds like. This is a sock from her debut album, Coup d'Clat, and it's called big heart.

(Audio Recording Played).

That's big heart from Coup d'Clat, and it's performed by Monette Marino Keita. Is Mamady on that?

HOLSLIN: I don't actually know.

CAVANAUGH: Okay, but I know there's a cool story behind this album, though.

HOLSLIN: Yeah, there is. Basically she and her husband run a school called Tam Tam Mandingue, and it's a drumming school, and every year they bring students to Mamady's house in the capital of Guinea. And so two years ago they were having this drum camp. And the president, the, like, long time dictator died, and the military took over the country. And, like, mount the a coup d'état, and closed the borders and instituted a period of mourning. And so they couldn't drum, and they couldn't celebrate.


HOLSLIN: And it was actually -- it was a bloodless coup. So there was no threat on them. But yeah, the couldn't drum. So basically Monette just opened up her lap top, and opened up Garage Band, this music software program, and started sketching out songs for her debut.

CAVANAUGH: That's wild. And that's a really exotic story too.


RANDALL: It made for a great cut lineup. She wrote her album, coup, during a coup?

CAVANAUGH: Monette Marino Keita, and Mamady Keita play Anthology tonight. Kinsee, a new exhibit up at the Distinction gallery, and that's in Escondido. Tell us more about Exuberance Found.

RANDALL: Well, I was going through an on line preview this morning, and there's everything from a scene of super heroes in a fist fight to a guy who's kind of bent over with a city sprouting from his back.


RANDALL: To blue faced portraits of historical figures of so it's a show by artist Chris Murray, Darryl pierce, and Mike Maxwell. And if you absolutely have to lump them into one clean concise category, it would probably be pop surrealism. So it's a pop surrealism show, featuring -- and make Maxwell might ring some bells. He's a pretty well known local artist here.

CAVANAUGH: And what about the gallery itself? What kind of art do they usually display?

RANDALL: They've become known for pop surrealism. And I upon Melissa who owns it. He's an artist herself, she's a photographer so she has quite the eye. Of and she's been showing pop surrealism since it really started getting big. It kind of came out of LA in the '70s and it was sort of this movement of putting sort of the subcultures that you didn't see in art, like punk rock, comic books, hot rod, street culture, into the forefront of paintings. And it's got a very illustrative sort of background, so a lot of it looks, you know, a lot of it is character driven. So she's shown that type of work since opening, and really has built a name for herself. I know people from LA because it's up in Escondido, come down to see some of her shows.

CAVANAUGH: That's interesting, are there live performances involved in this?

RANDALL: You know, her openings are always kind of a big deal. She does music and stone beer, and for this one in particular, they're doing -- gotta, you know --

CAVANAUGH: Got a lot of people perking up there.

RANDALL: For this one, they're doing a live poetry reading, so that should be interesting. And there's gonna be live painting throughout the building. So upstairs at the gallery are artist studios. And I guess in my mind I'm picturing walking through this kind of maze and stumbling upon different live painters so --

CAVANAUGH: Will that only be during the opening reception, or will there always be live painters up there.

RANDALL: You know, they're always up there. They have studios there, so they are painting live. Of but I don't know if you could just go up there and open the door on them. This is I big to do for the opening itself.

CAVANAUGH: Okay, exuberance found opens at the studio gallery as we were saying in Escondido. And that is on Saturday night. Peter, back to you, Pinback, that's a boundary we've heard about here on the weekend preview, playing the Casbah next Monday and Tuesday. But remind us about the band Pinback.

HOLSLIN: Pinback is basically I darling indie rock band from San Diego. They play cool, mellow, harmonious, melodic indie rock with intertwining guitars and keyboards. I that just sound so fresh and so nice.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you, Peter.


CAVANAUGH: Can't wait to hear them in just a moment. But I just want to say that they're presenting something called the rob and Zach show. So Pinback presents the rob and Zach show. What is this configuration?

HOLSLIN: Okay, so basically as you'll read in a feature that we ran in this week's issue, the cofounders of Pinback, rock crow and Zach Smith, basically decided to just appear down the whole band, become a two-piece, and completely redo their live show as, like, a duo. And the idea of it is to present their old songs in a new light. Like, a fresh new way.

CAVANAUGH: I see. So is this like unplugged in some way or 12 just tamped down?

HOLSLIN: Well, they have, like, a live mix playing behind them.


HOLSLIN: From what I understand. But it's just them two. And they can kind of -- they're more mobile and -- but I don't know if it's acoustic or not. I haven't actually seen their performance.

CAVANAUGH: Well, let's hear a cut from an album version of a song that they're gonna be playing on Tuesday night. It's called the album is called blue screen life, and the cut here is called Penelope.

(Audio Recording Played).

That's Pinback performing Penelope off their album, blue screen life. So you're expecting more movement in this show than, Peter, than usual.

RANDALL: Are they gonna be clapping as well?

HOLSLIN: I don't know.

CAVANAUGH: Are we gonna be clapping?

RANDALL: Well, that has yet to be determined.

HOLSLIN: I think Pinback fans are gonna be clapping. The real special thing about these two shows on Monday and Tuesday next week is that they're gonna play their first two albums all wait through. So on Monday, they're gonna play this is it a Pinback CD, and then on Tuesday, they're gonna play my personal favorite, blue screen life.

CAVANAUGH: Fabulous.

HOLSLIN: So Pinback fans are definitely gonna be clapping.

CAVANAUGH: All right, well, the Rob and Zach show, this iteration of Pinback will be at Casbah on Monday and Tuesday. Kinsey, there's a science themed art show that's happening this week, and it's the got DNA art in it. What is that?

RANDALL: Well, are the DNA art is just a small part of a big science themed group show of and it's by a local group called -- what is their name? Yonder biology. And they basically send you a kit, you swap your cheek, send in samples of your DNA, and they use, kind of your unique code or sequencing to design a work of art on canvas. But I have to be honest, I have yet to have my socks knocked off by it. The effect is basically a very abstract piece of work. And I don't know. Maybe it's a little too gimmicky for me personally. I've yet to really be amazed by one of the pieces that I produced. But the other artists in the show, there's one who I actually wrote about this week, Michael Creeny, and he's in the show, might have 1 or 2 pieces. And he has this image that's kind of a recurring image in his pieces that looks like a nerve cell. And there's an interesting story behind that. That he was attacked a year or so ago, and his eye was swollen shut, and this image kept popping into his head. So it's really interesting. He now has this tattooed on his arm. And if you did, you should talk to him about his work.

CAVANAUGH: That is interesting. Now, are these artists, affiliated with some science in some way, or are they scientists so to speak.

RANDALL: You know, there is a group there, a local group there, UCSD grand who will be doing a demo, and they use art to get people interested in science. To keep science a topic, and they use art to do this. I'm not sure how. It'll be a demo, so I'll have to see it myself. Most of them are just artists who are -- picked up on the theme, thumbprint gallery organized the show. So --

CAVANAUGH: Right. And the venue is basic. That's actually a bar and restaurant, right.

RANDALL: It is, but I have to say that even though it's a Tuesday night and I'm getting old, I try to do my best. It's true. I know. I do my best to go to these shows on a Tuesday night because I promise you, it's some of the best local art that's going on of it's a really good way to kind of tap into the under ground art scene that's going on. They do it every Tuesday night. There's a handful of promoters who put it on. And I have yet to be disappointed.

CAVANAUGH: On a school night, to elements of expression, it will be on display at basic urban kitchen and bar, and that is on Thursday night as you said. No age, playing at Che Cafe Friday night. Tell us about them, Peter.

HOLSLIN: No age is a duo from Los Angeles, and they came out of the scene surrounding this all ages venue called the Smell. And they're really noisy. But they're also really catchy. And so if we were gonna categorize them, I'd say they fall somewhere between noise pop and noise punk.

CAVANAUGH: Ah. Clever man.

RANDALL: He's a noise expert. I don't know if you know this.

CAVANAUGH: What about their new album that has garnered some attention lately?

HOLSLIN: Yeah, their new album came out last year, it's called everything in between. And it's just awesome of it got on a lot of top ten lists of the year. And what I really like approximate it is that they take these blasts of, like, feedback, and they use them as pop hooks in the song. And so it's like just this, you know, harsh noise, but in the context of, hike, basically a pop song.

CAVANAUGH: Let's hear it. I don't know if we're gonna hear exactly that. But we're gonna hear a song from the album, everything in between. This is life prowler.

(Audio Recording Played).

That's life prowler, from the album everything in between, performed by no age. You're right. A synthesis of noise pop and noise punk. I would have nailed it there.

RANDALL: Usually I don't like noise, but I actually like -- you know, that was easy on the ears. You're right.

HOLSLIN: Yeah, the way they deploy it is just -- it just comes at the perfect time.

CAVANAUGH: Right, right. Now, do they put on a good live show?

HOLSLIN: Yeah, the thing is, like, this album is probably their poppiest album to date. And they were really noisy, like, you know, in their previous albums, so I think it'll be a wild show, you know? It'll be -- they're gonna rock out, for sure.

CAVANAUGH: Okay, well, no age will be playing with a few other bands, including protect me, and heavy Hawaii. They play the Che Cafe on Friday night. Of and there is a sculpture exhibit at blind lady ale house on Monday, Kinsey. What down about this event.

RANDALL: Yes, another school night. But it's well worth the trip. You know, craft beer is the new wine. Blind lady ale house has a small space for showing art. But they've been doing really big things with the space. They have the help of local artist, Joshua Kraus, who curates some of the shows. And this one that's coming up is actually becoming kind of annual tradition. It's their next door neighborhood who's an architect, and they're gonna be showing his sculpture. So you can hang out and check out the work, and parked outside will be a MIHO Gastrotruck, farm to food truck, that serves handmade and homemade food. Of and you gotta try their ketchup.

HOLSLIN: Get a big glass of ketchup?

RANDALL: Just order a glass of ketchup and look at the art and have a craft beer. Call if a night.

CAVANAUGH: MIHO gastrotruck has fans all its own. Just a couple more questions about this event. It's called burden. Why that name? Because it features sculptor Steve Florman, right?

RANDALL: It does. Steve Florman is an architect, and he does this sort of work that you would expect from an architect. He uses beautiful materials, raw materials, often a beautiful chunk of wood that he kind of merely lets kind of shine through its natural beauty and then just polishes it, and then uses, often scrap metal from some of his projects to arrange it in these sort of natural looking patterns that you might find in nature. Scatters leaves on the forest floor, or sticks. And it's just really beautiful work. I actually don't know why he called it burden, because his work is almost meditative, when you look at it. So I would be interested in talking to him to find out why he named it that. I would have to say his work is more peaceful and like I said, meditative than burdensome.

CAVANAUGH: Just one more word on the MIHO Gastrotruck, besides the ketchup. What else might you be able to get there?

RANDALL: You can get grass-fed meat, so burgers, sandwiches, you know, fries to dip in your ketchup. I'm a veg -- they have salad, so I'm a vegetarian, I've tried their vegetarian fare and been impressed before. There are MIHO gastrotruck groupies.

CAVANAUGH: The artwork of Steve Florman will be on display at Burden next Monday night. It's at the Blindlady Ale House, and the MIHO gastrotruck will be there. Will be there. We move to the Far Side, playing fourth and B this weekend, Peter. Remind listeners about them.

HOLSLIN: The far side an alternative hip hop group from southcentral Los Angeles, and they were huge in the 90s. And the reason that they're called an alternative hip hop group is that, you know, when they were really big the big thing that was in vocal was, like, gangsta rap, especially in LA. And so where all these other people were rapping about, like, you know, robbing stores or whatever, these guys were, you know, laid back and goofy, and lighthearted, and they would, like, trade comical insulates with each other, and pay tribute to prank calls and tell silly stories, and rap about people that they had crushes on and that passed them by, like in that -- their big hit, Passin' Me By from --

CAVANAUGH: Sort of an emo hip hop.

HOLSLIN: I guess you could say that.

RANDALL: Oh, man, I they would be so sad to hear that. But you're right.

CAVANAUGH: Let's hear from Far Side. This is a song from the album, bizarre ride to the far side. And the song is officer.

(Audio Recording Played).

That is the far side, the album bizarre ride to the far side, the song officer. Now, they stopped making album ace while ago. Is this sort of a reunion show for them?

HOLSLIN: Yeah, well, basically there was like a ten-year period where they were kind of not really together. And two of the members were still performing as the far side, but if wasn't the original quartet. And then in 2008, they all reunited again. And so this has kind of, like, been their period of their renaissance.

CAVANAUGH: All right. Now, reunions. A renaissance, man. Far side along with a number of other bands will be playing at fourth and B tomorrow night. And we come to community conversations, a discussion about the opera designs of artist David hock no. Of it's taking place at the museum of contemporary art San Diego, are Sunday. So 50 off, Kinsey, just remind us briefly, who is David hock no.

RANDALL: Hock no is an English man, and he's a pretty famous painter, designer, all around artist type guy who was a part of the pop movement in the 60s. Of and you know, he did -- he's been doing set design for a long time as well. And looking at his, you know, snapshots of his sets is seriously, like, looking at a beautiful painting for the turn doe, his design that he's doing for the San Diego opera, I was looking at shots of those, and they're like these vividly comfortable surreal paintings. So you know, opera is often visually striking. The stage design, but hock no takes it to the next level, for sure.

CAVANAUGH: And so there's gonna be a discussion about how these works relate to the opera that's gonna be performed here in San Diego?

RANDALL: Right. Kathryn Kanjo, I think is how you pronounce is. I always write it, I don't pronounce it. She's the chief curator at the museum of contemporary of art. And she'll be joined by Dr. Nicholas Reveles who is the director of education and outreach for the opera. So you're in good hands. The two are entertaining, and they slip in that all important education and give you a whole new appreciation for --

HOLSLIN: You don't know what hit you.

RANDALL: Yeah, you leave a smarter person. Of and they'll be talking about hock no and his work for the stage design.

CAVANAUGH: And that is happening Sunday at the museum of contemporary art, San Diego. I want to thank Kinsey and Peter. Thanks so much. I appreciate it. It was fun.

HOLSLIN: Thank you.

RANDALL: Thank you. Next time we're bringing in a boom box and doing some free flowing. I'm just gonna say that on the air so we make it happen.

CAVANAUGH: If you'd like to comment, You're listening to These Days on KPBS.

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