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Weekend Preview: Kelsey Brookes, Kingston Trio Retrospective And The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Above: San Diego-based artist Kelsey Brookes in his studio standing next to his painting "Serotonin" (2012), one of the new works on view at Quint Contemporary Art in La Jolla.

Aired 11/8/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.

GUESTS

Kelly Bennett, arts editor at voiceofsandiego.org

Claire Caraska, KPBS production assistant and Culture Lust blogger.

Courtesy photo

The Kingston Trio on the cover of Life magazine in 1959. The band is the subject of a new exhibition, on view through April 7, 2013, at the Coronado Museum of History & Art.

Music, art and a dose of science. Here's a taste of what's happening this weekend:

If it wasn't for The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, bands like The White Stripes and The Black Keys most likely wouldn't exist. Formed in 1991 in New York, the trio came to prominence within the '90s alternative/indie scene with its gritty, stripped-down, raw rock 'n' roll that riffs on punk, funk and the blues. And minus a couple hiatuses here and there, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion has continued to kick out the jams — and influence countless bands. In September, the band released "Meat + Bone" (Mom & Pop Music), its first album of new material in eight years. Catch them tonight (along with Quasi) at The Casbah.

San Diego-based artist Kelsey Brookes may have abandoned the laboratory for a studio but he's still utilizing his scientific background. For his latest solo show, “Serotonin; Happiness and Spiritual States,” the former biochemist-turned-artist has transformed molecular line diagrams into brightly colored, psychedelic paintings that represent how those molecules affect our visual perception (as imagined by Brookes). The resulting work is, according to Brookes, "a lot like taking a bunch of hallucinogenic drugs and looking into an electron microscope, without all the anxiety and mess." Expand your mind and see for yourself this Saturday during the opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. at Quint Contemporary Art in La Jolla. Brookes will be in the gallery, along with a surprise live musical performance. "Serotonin; Happiness and Spiritual States" runs through December 29. (Before you go, check out this Q&A with the artist in voiceofsandiego.org.)

Science and art continue to collide during a free talk at the La Jolla Playhouse this Sunday at 5 p.m. Inspired by its current production "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots," the Playhouse will bring together several local scientific thinkers and La Jolla Playhouse artists (including "Yoshimi" director Des McAnuff) to discuss “The Art in Science – The Science in Art." From robot-assisted surgery to robots that dance on stage, the worlds of art and science are not mutually exclusive. Join the conversation and learn how creativity is shaping the latest innovations in medicine and vice versa. (Seating is limited; RSVP to rsvp@ljp.org.)

Very few bands have the opportunity to shape not just a generation but also music history. The Kingston Trio did both. Widely popular during the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Trio was responsible for kick-starting the American folk revival movement, setting the stage for subsequent artists like Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Peter Paul & Mary and The Byrds, as well as the protest movement of the '60s. A new exhibition at the Coronado Museum of History and Art, “Kingston Trio: A World of Music,” brings together photographs, oral history interviews, performance clips and personal items to tell the story of this highly influential band, who in 2011, received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. One might call this exhibition (which runs through April 7, 2013) a bit of a "homecoming" as two of the band members, the late Nick Reynolds and the late John Stewart, were born in Coronado and San Diego, respectively.

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