Thursday, August 16, 2012
Valerie Scher, arts journalist.
Claire Caraska, KPBS arts & culture production assistant.
Music, art and film options abound this weekend. Here are a few of our cultural picks:
Big Freedia, a transgender rapper from New Orleans, will be spreading the gospel of bounce music, a New Orleans-grown sub-genre of hip-hop, at The Casbah tonight. A largely underground music scene that began in the early '90s, bounce is noted for its fast beats and short repetitive chants and call-outs. And Big Freedia's super energetic live shows are known to get people dancing. Expect maximum booty-shaking on the dance floor. (Hot Tub and Smile Now Cry Later open).
La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest continues with performances all weekend long. On Saturday, tango pianist and composer Pablo Ziegler will be performing at Sherwood Auditorium at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla. Ziegler, a trained jazz pianist, is known for bringing improvisation to tango music and championing "nuevo tango", continuing in the tradition of famed Argentinian tango master Ástor Piazzolla (Ziegler performed in Piazzolla's quintet from 1978-1989). SummerFest runs through August 24 at various locations. Other concerts this weekend: "Beethoven: The Other Masterpieces" on Friday and "A Family Affair" on Sunday. (View the complete concert schedule.)
A new documentary, "Searching for Sugar Man," tells the incredible story of a Mexican-American folk singer/songwriter who received no commercial success in the U.S. but became a superstar in South Africa, unbeknownst to him for over three decades. Sixto Rodriguez, who goes by his stage name Rodriguez, was discovered in a Detroit dive bar in the late 60s by two producers with ties to Motown. He recorded two albums in the early 70s, which were commercial failures. Somehow a bootleg copy of his debut album “Cold Fact” made its way to apartheid South Africa, and achieved legendary status, selling an estimated half-million copies. In a pre-Internet world, not much was known about who Rodriguez, the actual person, was. Rumors of his death quickly spread in South Africa, and his story remained a mystery for decades until two South African fans decided to find out what really happened to Rodriguez. “Searching for Sugar Man” opens tomorrow at the Landmark La Jolla Village Cinemas in La Jolla.
For visual art exploration, "Musical Chairs", features chairs and stools from a variety of cultures in Africa along with musical instruments like flutes, whistles, drums, zithers, and stringed instruments. The exhibition runs now through September 30 at Africa and Beyond in La Jolla.
Jazz bassist, composer and singer Esperanza Spalding, 27, has received a lot of critical praise within jazz circles. She has played for President Obama at the White House, and Stevie Wonder and Prince are big fans. But it wasn’t until last year’s GRAMMY Awards when she grabbed the mainstream's attention. Spalding became the first jazz musician to win the GRAMMY for Best New Artist, beating out platinum-selling superstars Justin Bieber and Drake. This year, she released her fourth album, "Radio Music Society," which mixes jazz with pop, R&B, soul and funk. See what all the buzz is about when Esperanza Spalding performs Tuesday at Humphreys Concerts by the Bay on Shelter Island.
Sometimes it's fun to play tourist in your own backyard. Architecture and home design enthusiasts will enjoy a visit to the Marston House Museum & Gardens, located on Seventh Avenue just north of Balboa Park. Built in 1905 and set on five acres, this Arts & Crafts mansion was designed by architects William Sterling Hebbard and Irving John Gill, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for Architecture and Landscape Architecture. Step inside and suddenly it's 1905 all over again. Everything is furnished in the style of the times, early 20th-century Arts and Crafts. The Marston House Museum & Gardens is open Thursday through Monday (through Labor Day).