Weekend Preview: From Adams Avenue Street Fair To An International Book Fair
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September 26, 2013 1:33 p.m.
Jeff Terich, Music Editor, San Diego City Beat
Seth Combs, Freelance Writer
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: This is KPBS Midday Edition. I am Maureen Cavanaugh. Just last week it was summer and now it is time for Oktoberfest. That and other surprising facts coming up on this weekend preview. One of California's largest streakers is getting underway plus an annual city book fest and an unknown portal orchestra. This week so we can preview guests are freelance writer Seth Combs. Welcome, Seth.
SETH COMBS: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And Jeff Terich, he's editor at San Diego City Beat. Jeff, hi.
JEFF TERICH: Hi, how are you doing?
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Good. Let's start with you, Jeff, a big draw this weekend is The Adams Ave. Street fair in Normal Heights, one of the largest free music street fairs in California. Tell us about that.
JEFF TERICH: Well it is a street fair that happens every year and it is really great. There are hundreds of bands that play and it's all free and all ages and it is a great event to take the whole family and or if you just want to go and have a beer and see some great bands. It's a great event to take them out.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Does the activity span all of Adams Avenue or where is most of the activity located?
JEFF TERICH: It is mostly in Normal Heights right sort of between University Heights and Kensington. So that for most of it sort of happens right along Adams and the antique district as they sometimes call it.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Right, now there are also carnival rides and all sorts of food, right? It is not just music?
JEFF TERICH: Right there is something for everybody, pretty much. Music is one of the big draws, but there's other types of entertainment and different attractions and food vendors. So I mean, you can make a whole day of it.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: A lot of bands will be performing at the fair and which ones are you looking for to, which ones are big crowd-pleasers?
JEFF TERICH: Some of the favorites of the, you're one of them is the wild wild (inaudible) which is psychedelic rock band and they have an elaborate stage presence, the style towns who are a funk band kind of in the style of James Brown or Stax records groups of the 60s and Ed Ghost Tucker who are kind of a younger band to do sort of a folk sound with a little bit of jazz influence.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: We have a clip from on your own by Ed ghost tucker.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And that is on your own by Ed ghost tucker. Seth, do you have any favorites are going to be playing at the Adams Street fair?
SETH COMBS: Well ones I just mentioned are pretty good. The style tones are great. As far as local bands go, the barbarians are really good, the creepy creeps, the donkeys, there is a guy who is not local named Jonathan Bates who's going to be playing with his new band which is big black Delta and it is like a very danceable synthpop project with a bit of an edge. I really love the record being, this year and keep the Casbah and it was really great and if anybody wants to check it out check out the video for side of the road, it's really cool.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Do we have a clip from all right, big black Delta, here we go.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: That is a clip from being black Delta.
SETH COMBS: Say it three times fast.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: It's hard! They will be at the street fair. Jeff would you describe this as the street fair for people who don't go to clubs and on, who can't, it's a great opportunity to really sample some of the really good bands, see them live.
JEFF TERICH: Absolutely, for people who who kind of have to get up early during the weekend maybe don't have a chance to go out to see a lot of shows it is great to be able to go to one festival or street here where you can see a lot all kind of in the same place and to get to sample different things and you can see so much and it's free. And that's---
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And that's one of the best things. The Evan Adams Ave.Street fair Saturday and Sunday starting at 10 AM. Seth, it is almost October, that means time, I cannot believe it, for Oktoberfest. What are some of the Oktoberfest events around the country?
SETH COMBS: There will be some all throughout the month and even last week but there's quite a few this weekend and into the week. There's the Oktoberfest grand slam at Winston's in OB which is like a cover tribute band battle of the bands with a lot of beer, of course, Oktoberfest dance festival which is Saturday and Sunday at the Balboa Park club. It's like a two-day dance festival hosted by like five international folk dance clubs. And they've got free dance lessons and performances and (inaudible) showing of course the big one is the El Cajon annual festival and it's put on by the German-American society.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Named one of the best Oktoberfest, named the best in the country.
SETH COMBS: I don't remember what website named it the best one, but they are pretty legit. They've been doing it for decades now, and they fancy themselves San Diego's most traditional and authentic German Fest. I'm not one to argue, because if it's got. Schnitzel I'm like well German, features a variety of German foods it's got German beers everywhere, German Liquor, music, authentic German music.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Now is food a big part of the festival? As you say, food and drinking, right?
SETH COMBS: That is what Oktoberfest is all about. I don't know what it celebrates besides drinking and eating.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: There is music too, there's a band that comes from Germany.
SETH COMBS: Yeah you know what I'm going to completely rape this name, but it is (German name) or something I think I think it is, they are from (Bonn) Furstenberg Germany. They are talented fine musicians in traditional clothing and they play a variety of traditional music like the music, they do the chicken dance and Polkas and waltzes and you know, it's going to be if you don't dance at least once at an Oktoberfect, you are not doing it right.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I want to ask you really fast, set out of the picture, this is a party, you know but it's also a family event. How do they make sure that people are doing their oompahs and drinking their beers responsibly?
SETH COMBS: Well of course it's up to the individual to do that but they are at this one in El Cajon they have a kids only zone, so you can leave the kids there, and you know, maybe take a taxi home. At the end of the night. But yeah, there is a kids friendly zone of all kinds of activities for them and you don't have to worry about them and all the people watching them are legit.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: So the best Oktoberfest in the country according to one website, the 42nd annual Oktoberfest in El Cajon, two weekends, this weekend and again next weekend October 4 and six. Jeff, if festivals aren't your thing, then there is a short because on Saturday. Tell us about unknown moral orchestra.
JEFF TERICH: Unknown mortal orchestra is a career started to come out by accident. Ben Nelson singer-songwriter from New Zealand and he was in a band called the mint chicks and when that band broke up he thought that he was kind of not being a professional musician but he still did it as a hobby, so he recorded some demos at home, and they kind of got passed around and ended up in the hand of some labels and next thing you know he puts up this record under the name unknown moral orchestra and it's full of great, fuzzy indie pop and it became kind of a hit.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Fuzzy indie pop, is that how you describe sound?
JEFF TERICH: A little bit and psychedelic influences and some soul too. It's pretty eclectic.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Let's hear little bit this is so good at being in trouble by unknown mortal orchestra.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And that is so good at being in trouble by unknown mortal orchestra. Would you like about this band, Jeff?
JEFF TERICH: There's a lot to like about this band. They have really big melodies and they're simply accessible and really catchy but they don't necessarily do things on a really big scale. They do a lot with a little. So you kind of have this sort of warm and fuzzy low-flying kind of sound but the songs themselves don't feel hindered by their production values, they have these great choruses and some great riffs, and sometimes even do a little bit of a psychedelic freak out, and it's a lot of fun. It's a really fun band.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Unknown moral orchestra will be at the Casbah on Saturday. Doors open at 8:30 and tickets are still available. Seth, after the weekend after the fair and Oktoberfest we might want to relax with a good book. So tells about the international book fair at city College on Monday.
SETH COMBS: It starts Monday and it's a three-day, actually more than three days, it is in its eighth year some screenings, not just book stuff. It will have performances from international names and not just at city college either, Thomas Jefferson school of Law, DG Wells bookstore and San Diego space for art, all over the place.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: This event has really grown, hasn't it over the years?
SETH COMBS: It actually has. Some pretty big national names, and people actually fly in for it. No, I mean it's definitely one of the more recognizable figures and it does seem to get bigger and bigger every year with more events, more local authors, more national authors, more films and everything.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Tell us some of the authors being featured.
SETH COMBS: I guess one of the bigger ones is Geraldine Brooks. She's a Pulitzer Prize recipient. She's to be a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. She's a New York Times bestseller and her new book Caleb's Crossing is the 2013 one book one San Diego selection. Her other books are years of wonder and people of the book. They were both international bestsellers and translated into a whole bunch of different languages and yeah, and the other one, would be probably so say we all literary collective is having---
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Right they were on the show having it's about the East County, right?
SETH COMBS: The (inaudible) in East, a collection of stories about living in East County not just living in east county buddies County stories called the Far East, everything just as it is and is an anthology of stories from various local writers and they are having actually three different events, like the two of them are focused on that particular anthology and the other one is what they call a vamp showcase which stands for visual arts music and performance.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Now this is billed as the international book fair at city college but the fear is really committed to promoting local writers, is that right customer
SETH COMBS: Yeah I mean some of the other ones are, one that has a particularly international but to and also a sort of local is a Manuel Paul Lopez he wrote a book called, an anthology of poetry called the yearning feed, and it focuses on the San Diego and Imperial Valley regions of, around the US-Mexico border and you know, that is one that I'm particularly excited about just because it's kind of local and international as well.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And I think it's good to repeat the fact that this is not just an author sitting at a table and signing their books. There's a lot of, as you say, visual presentations that go along with this book there, right?
SETH COMBS: Absolutely (inaudible) none of the things that you're going to go to is just going to be like oh, hey, buy my book and I'll sign it for you. A lot of them are going to be discussions, Q&A, there's also film screenings. It is so funny my girlfriend was watching this documentary the other day on streaming on Netflix and they are actually screening it on this festival as well called the house I live in which examines the war on drugs, and there is also a freedom to write panel about the Penn Center which defends writers has been persecuted and tortured around the world. So yeah, this is not just like you know get a book and
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: It's free and open to the public San Diego city College downtown Monday starting at 930.and I've been speaking with Seth Combs and Jeff Terich, thank you both very much.
SETH COMBS: Thank you
JEFF TERICH: Thank you
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Be sure to join us tonight for KPBS evening edition at five and 6:30 and join us again tomorrow at noon for KPBS Midday Edition. I am Maureen Cavanaugh and thank you for listening.