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Events: Vienna Philharmonic, RC44 Sailing Regatta And Carnival

One of the world's premiere orchestras plays San Diego this weekend. We'll talk about the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra as well as the RC 44 Sailing Regatta taking place on San Diego Bay this weekend.


Erin Chambers Smith is the senior editor at San Diego Magazine.


Marty Wollesen is the artistic director of ArtPower! at UC San Diego.

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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 and you're listening to These Days on KPBS. There are some decidedly foreign elements in this edition of the weekend preview. Carnival's, a Viennese orchestra, European style regattas, and an Italian version of the three little pigs of San Diego goes international this weekend, and here to tell me about it are my guests. Erin Chambers Smith is the senior editor at San Diego magazine. Good morning, Erin.

CHAMBERS-SMITH: Good morning.

CAVANAUGH: I almost forgot to say hello to you.



CAVANAUGH: And Marty Wollesen is the artistic director of Art Power at UC San Diego. Marty welcome back.

WOLLESEN: Thanks. It's great to be back.

CAVANAUGH: Let's start with you, Erin, about these foreign carnivals coming to San Diego. The San Diego Brazil carnival is happening Saturday. So what is this event.

CHAMBERS-SMITH: This is basically a really huge party happening downtown at fourth and B, which is I great sort of live music venue, it's multilevel, there's a stage there. And then it's celebrating Carvinale. Which, the history of Carnivale, just to remind everybody are in the days leading up to lent, traditionally in the Roman Catholic tradition, and you know, every knows lent is when you're fasting, and it's sort of this very somber period before the Easter holiday, so before lent happens issue traditionally everybody's had sort of the biggest part of the year, get all of your eating and drinking and dancing and sinful things in before you have to fast for lent. So the Brazilian group in San Diego has a really big one at 4th and B.

CAVANAUGH: And we know this Mardi Gras, fat Tuesday. So we're just getting a little head start on it. What cultural activities are involved? Is this cultural activities or is this just basically having fun.

CHAMBERS-SMITH: Kind of eating and drinking and dancing is kind of what it is. We have lots of samba music, so there is a little bit of culture in it. Live samba muse, lots of food, lots of dancing, lots of costumes. And this is an adult only one, as well, the Brazilian one Downtown.

CAVANAUGH: Right. Downtown there's one. And there's also one happening in Little Italy.

CHAMBERS-SMITH: Yeah, there's one more in the Venetian tradition happening in little Italy, and this one is much more family friendly. Right there north of this Saturday, they're having you can make your own Venetian mask, and some events for kids, and then later on in the even, all along India street in little Italy, it's gonna be closed off, and they're gonna have live music, and people are gonna come walking down the street dressed and wearing their best Venetian masks, and really sort of costume and celebration all there in Little Italy.

CAVANAUGH: Right, so get your costume ready is just go for it right.

CHAMBERS-SMITH: Yes, exactly.

CAVANAUGH: The 19th annual San Diego Brazil Carnival takes place Saturday night at fourth and B, and little Italy Carnivalle also makes place Saturday on India street between Horthon and Cedar. The Vienna philharmonic orchestra is performing in San Diego, Marty, that's tomorrow. This is pretty much a big deal.

WOLLESEN: Oh, yes, this is it a very big deal. And actually there are probably 2 or 3 must sees -- and actually I should say must listen to orchestras in the world. And that's the Berlin, that's the Amsterdam and the Vienna. And depending on who you talk to, that can be hotly contested but really, I think the Vienna philharmonic with its history of more than a hundred and 60 years really stand up for the very unique sound and style. And there's a lot of ways to sort of talk about how that comes about, but for example, in the orchestra, members of the orchestra, sometimes it's been passed down from fourth to son. So you have a physical generational history that's sometimes shared but they also use very specific instruments, and they're very precise about that, to create a unified sound with the orchestra. And also as an orchestra, they've never had in its history a music director. So the musicians elect to work with guest conductors of seep it's a really fascinating organization with an immensely rich history and just a beautiful beautiful sound.

CAVANAUGH: Well, tell us about the conductor who will be with the Vienna philharmonic here in San Diego.

WOLLESEN: Yeah, his name is it Semyon Bychkov, and as you can tell by his name, he's a Russian. And he is a conductor who's really regarded internationally fro the clarity of his interpretation and the rich sound and beauty that he sort of evokes from the musicians. He's been associated with some of the very best orchestras and opera houses in the world, including London, Berlin, Paris, who I mentioned before, and also Chicago and New York. And really the list goes on. So he is I terrific conductor to be with this orchestra.

CAVANAUGH: What's on the program? What are they gonna play?

WOLLESEN: Well, again, I think this is it an ideal program for the orchestra. It's romantic and lush of one of the piece system Brahms symphony number two in D major, opus 73. And what's pretty amazing about that is the Vienna philharmonic premiered that piece in 1876.

CHAMBERS-SMITH: Oh, my goodness.

WOLLESEN: So I should tell you, that in and of itself should let you know something about the philharmonic, and they know that piece of music. And you're gonna hear it the way it should be heard. And the piece itself, [CHECK] light and dark, lyrical and forceful sounds in his working and it's just rich, full and often just striking and glorious. So it's fantastic. The other piece is Robert Schumann's symphony number two in C major, Opus 61, and actually it's his third symphony, but never mind that. Schumann had all sorts of personal and physical traumas in his life. And his music and sometimes infused with that, I think. Especially in this work. [CHECK] recovering from that, and so I think this work sort of has a dark turbulent Mel an colic feel. But I think towards the end of the symphony, you get a sense of recovery's at hand. So it really takes the listener on a pretty emotional journey.

CAVANAUGH: So the La Jolla music society offering the Vienna philharmonic is really quite something. How did they make this happen?

WOLLESEN: You know, it is impressive. And we really should thank them for making this happen. We're very lucky in San Diego to have this opportunity. And it's both a testament to the vision of Christopher beach who's the executive and artistic director of the organization, and the generosity of spirit, of Conrad Prebys and Debbie Turner who provided a substantial grant to make it possible.

CAVANAUGH: Okay. The Vienna philharmonic orchestra performs at the San Diego civic auditorium, that's tomorrow night. Now, we kind of -- we kind of expand on this European theme to European sailing.


CAVANAUGH: Style sailing regatta. It's the RC44 regatta. It started yesterday, Erin, tell us about this.

CHAMBERS-SMITH: Yeah, switching gears here, this is a really bilge deal, in the international sailing scene. And this is the first time that this group has come to San Diego to hold this race. It's a really big international sailing regatta that's gonna be held in San Diego. It started yesterday, and it's gonna go throughout the weekend.

CAVANAUGH: Well, how big and who's participating?

CHAMBERS-SMITH: It's a big deal in the staling word, it's an international competition, and the big keel about this race is that all of the teams race on the exact same boat. So bailing is one of those sports, it's kind of like formula one racing where a lot of times whoever has the most money and can get the best engineer and the most proprietary what's next, or innovation technology, [CHECK] it definitely comes down to the team that's sail it, but a lot of times it's the actual boat. Whereas this race, this is a very short course style sailing and it's very, very -- it sort of shows a lot of technical skill, because everybody sails on the same boat 678 see it is race really about who's the better sailor.

CAVANAUGH: That is amazing.

CHAMBERS-SMITH: For this one. Yeah, it's a cool race, and people are frying in from all oaf the word, there's a team coming in from the Netherlands, the Oracle racing team, which is the current America's cup trophy holder. They're gonna be racing right in the San Diego bay.

CAVANAUGH: Yeah, tell us what the course is, and where we can go and see this.

CHAMBERS-SMITH: That's the other cool thing about this course, is there's people coming in it from all over the world, just to go down and look at the boats that they're having shipped in from everywhere is kind of a cool sight. But a lot of the races that happen in San Diego often happen off the point in Point Loma. So unless you have binoculars, you're not gonna see it. But this one happens in the San Diego bay, so if you go down to the Broadway pier where there's that new cruise ship terminal, that huge building they just finished up there.

CAVANAUGH: Sure, yeah.

CHAMBERS-SMITH: That's kind of the center point for all the festivities. But the Court is right off there. So you could see all the races every day if you are hanging around the Broadway Pier.

CAVANAUGH: They could see it of the why, they could see it today, and right through the weekend.

CHAMBERS-SMITH: Yeah, and I was actually excited to sea that a lot of the local news shows were covering it down there this morning. Because San Diego really is a huge center point for a lot of sailing internationally, ask we have huge amounts of tell talent here, and I love to see these races come to the bay, and I love to see the local coverage to see people get into it.

CAVANAUGH: Okay, this is called RC 44 sailing regatta, as I say, it started yesterday, in San Diego bay, it will last right through Sunday. The tech no mania circus is performing this morning. It brings a smile to Marty's face.

WOLLESEN: Yes, it. Does.

CAVANAUGH: Not much of a traditional circus, is it?

WOLLESEN: It certainly is not. I suppose if a regular circus is a sort of dream world of reality, then Technomania is probably an alternate reality of a dream world. And of course depending on your personal view of clowns, that could be a nightmare. But I don't think that's the case here. It really is just absurd, ridiculous, crazy, and so maybe in the end, that is a lot like reality. I don't know, but it's a fantastic group.

CAVANAUGH: So it's -- it is supposed to be absurd. But how absurd? I mean, can you give us a description of the types of things people will see?

WOLLESEN: Yeah, I will do my best Maureen. Bi-I love the fact that they actually describe and I'm quoting them, a circus 234 our pants.

CHAMBERS-SMITH: Oh, my goodness.

WOLLESEN: So that's to say something. And it might be a little unsettling, but along with that comes a demolition derby on disability scooters, a genuine flea circus, shadow puppetry, and underwear. Bizarre comedy skits, absurd music by the Absurdians, Bewilderman, Hairy Brained Ideas. And I actually can't imagine why anyone wouldn't want to go to this.

CAVANAUGH: Yeah, well, how is the show started? Was it started here in San Diego?

WOLLESEN: Well, I have to be honest with you, Maureen, I don't really think I want to know where it started. Some things are best left unknown and unsaid. But I will tell you that I don't -- you won't find in San Diego a more eclectic wacky, weirdly talented group of artists and creators, and just down right bizarros, in the best sense of it, and it's just fun, and it makes you feel -- so for example before you even discovered it, all your life you've been missing out on all the fun.

CHAMBERS-SMITH: I bet there was wine involved whenever this was created.

WOLLESEN: At some time there had to be.

CAVANAUGH: So is this like a family friendly event Marty?

WOLLESEN: Well, that's a great question. I think it's probably more geared towards adults. But it is exuberant and it's got a little bit for everybody. And I think it's gonna be for the audience who want to sort of walk outside the boundaries a little bit of cookiness.

CAVANAUGH: Well, it takes place at the center for amusing arts, can you tell us a little bit more about that venue?

WOLLESEN: Don't you just love the name? Wouldn't you want to live in a place with a name like that?

CAVANAUGH: Yeah, I think I do.

WOLLESEN: The venue itself is really not right to call it a venue. It's actually a house in Barrio Logan[SIC], and it's one of those places if you were walking down the street and you came upon it, you would sort of stop in your tracks and say what kind of people live in that crazy house ? And then I'd stop and say, oh, my God, what are these people doing in that house? You know something crazy ask and wonderful is going on, and you'd want to go in, and in this case you actually can go in. So the house is actually a piece of art itself, and the backyard is where the circus takes place. So it's a pretty magical crazy place.

CAVANAUGH: Yeah, let me -- I don't want to throw you, but why haven't we heard of this before, you know they have been around for quite some time. And I think that they are working sort of under ground, and it's one of the -- and I first discovered them about a year ago, it was one of those ah, ha moments, wow, this is happening in San Diego?

CHAMBERS-SMITH: I need to write about that in San Diego magazine.

WOLLESEN: It's really cookie and fun, and it's a collection -- it's really sort of a DIY who are really creating this thing on their own of and they do marching bands, they do circus acts, they have this venue, they do all sorts of puppetry, they're just really exploratory artists who are taking this space and creating something new and different and wonderful.

CAVANAUGH: Well, the Technomania Circus: Absurd and Ridiculous Music and Circus Acts performs Saturday night at the center for Amusic arts in Logan Heights. Cafe 21, Erin. It's a restaurant in normal heights and they've opened a second location in the gas almost, tell us a little bit about them.

CHAMBERS-SMITH: Yeah, this is a great neighborhood restaurant, family owned, the husband and wife duo, they started, I guess the wife makes excellent baklava and started making it for friends and family, and then opened up sort of a quasi commercial bakery in her own home kitchen, and then a few years after that led into a restaurant. [CHECK] moved to a different location recently and now they've got a new spot in the gas lamp. I love to see those sort of neighborhood up down restaurants give it a go.

CAVANAUGH: [CHECK] and of course I've seen cafe 21 On Adams Avenue, their website says they have Azerbaijan roots.

CHAMBERS-SMITH: Yeah, the couple who owns it is from there. So they definitely have those roots but this is not a very exotic menu. It's super approachable, very easy. They do lots of vegetables and some herbs that taste a little bit and feel a little bit Persian, a little bit of eastern [CHECK] lots of green onions, but yeah, it's not a super exotic menu. Very approachable.

CAVANAUGH: Is a lot of it organic?

CHAMBERS-SMITH: [CHECK] that has amount of organic teas, and interesting teas, but then they also have really good lamb kabobs, and you other than a really great -- they have a best of your recollection fast lunch and dinner so at breakfast they have crapes filled with all kinds of fruit and everything.

CAVANAUGH: [CHECK] expanding to downtown in the gas limp, it's kind of -- style kind of a dicey time to be doing that, isn't it, in the restaurant world.

CHAMBERS-SMITH: Well, I would say it's a dicey time consumer wise because consumer spending is so still all over the board. But the one good thing is that the commercial real estate market sort of followed the residential market. So there are really good lease rates right now, and unfortunately a lot of the people that didn't make it through sort of that first round of bottoming out of the commercial real estate market left identity of open spaces and you can get a much better deal leasing a space now than you could before. And as a restaurant you're looking for a space that already has a built in kitchen, [CHECK] done spaces available.


CHAMBERS-SMITH: So give them a go, they're on 5th Ave. Downtown, we gotta support these local guys.

CAVANAUGH: I just want to make a point, from the looks of the pictures on the website, the foot is presented beautifully of what's the atmosphere? The restaurant like.

CHAMBERS-SMITH: It definitely has a gourmet touch to it. It's organic and all the food is sort of made fresh and everything, this is not the [CHECK] the one in normal heights is very rustic feeling it has kind of, like, a wooden wagon wheel outside in front, it has wrought iron tables and [CHECK] downtown location has a little bit bigger bar space area. So you can come in and have a glass of wine or something like that downtown. But it feels kind of rustic and like your basic neighborhood restaurant. But definitely gourmet. The prices are -- nothing's really over $20 or so on the menu, but lots of things in the teens for entrees.

CAVANAUGH: Got you. Cafe 21 now open in university heights on Adams avenue between Idaho and argon street, and on 5th avenue between 5th and F street. Artist Cheryl Nickel -- is that how you say it, Marty?

WOLLENS: I would say it "nickel."

CAVANAUGH: Cheryl Nickel will be at the sushi contemporary performing and visual arts tomorrow. Tell us about Nickel.

WOLLESEN: Well, I'm hoping I'm saying her name correctly, but she's a remarkable artist, and an exciting artist who creates installation and sculptural work in various media. She's also the co-founder of Space for Art. And that's an amazing coalition of artists who are working to establish permanent affordable work live spaces in San Diego, which as you know, is a challenge for artists to really work and thrive and develop in our town.

CAVANAUGH: So she has a masters category in landscape architecture. How does that translate into her work?

WOLLESEN: Uh-huh. Well, you know, first of all, environmental sculpture is part of the work that she does. And she's in fact currently working on an environmental piece up north. And while I don't presume to speak for her, I think she's really interested in how space and structures impact the way we respond to the world around us. How changes in our environment can change the way we look at the world.

CAVANAUGH: So tell us more about the Gothic cathedral that will be on exhibit at sushi.

WOLLESEN: It's a stunning works, and it's a single works, but a single work that just -- with that being said, it has just immediacy -- [CHECK] because she's adapting that familiar in new ways of thinking about it. In many ways, it's [CHECK] hand blown glass work. And it just changes our emotional balance about a place of sanctuary, you know, especially given the intimate space of the sushi gallery, there's a heightened sense of I think how out of proportion we are on the cathedral, the cathedral is to the immediate surrounding in sushi gallery, and of course, the very elements that the cathedral is constructed of, and it just sort of gives me shivers to talk about it, it's a really beautiful piece.

CAVANAUGH: Now, it's going to be permanently installed somewhere in Riverside? ; is that right?

WOLLESEN: That I don't know what's happening with this particular piece. About you she has another piece that she is in the progress of working on, it's a piece of called path of just. And this is in Riverside at la Sierra university. And she says this piece is dedicated to those whose lives -- who live altruistic service, that has fostered human rights, individual empowerment, religious toleration, and social justice. It's a pretty tall order.


CHAMBERS-SMITH: But specifically she's wanting to honor Desmond Tutu, Mother Theresa, and founders of Habitat for Humanity. And the design itself consists of these giant planters in the shape of continents issue and there's this tilted planes pushed up on earthquake fault lines and I don't think I can fully explain the whole sculpture, one of the things she's doing with this about this, [CHECK] and abroad to create this community of gathering together to create this piece that's looking about social justice?

CAVANAUGH: Well, really, I mean you described all of this in such a very, very enticing way. I'm really looking forward to seeing this. Of Gothic cathedral: A sculptural installation by Cheryl Nickel opens Friday night at sushi contemporary performing and visual arts and with a representation to follow. Erin, the restaurant that I refer to as The Three Little Pigs.

CHAMBERS-SMITH: There you go.

CAVANAUGH: A recently opened in Hillcrest, where bite used to be. What can you tell us about Tre Porcellini?

CHAMBERS-SMITH: Yes, very good. I loved that this place opened, because I was so sad when Bite closed. [CHECK] in a new life, new soul there there, which is nice to see, on university avenue down in the part of Hillcrest that sort of past the whole foods and such down there. And the Tre Porcellini, it stands for three little pigs, and there are three people involved in this restaurant, [CHECK] I think everyone thinks it's all pork all the tile. But it's not. The three stands for the three honors, and it's a great sort of modern Italian restaurant.

CAVANAUGH: The chef and one of the owners, Roberto Garbino, who makes a lot of his pasta from scratch. What are some of his other specialties.

CHAMBERS-SMITH: [CHECK] and then the first course and the pasta and the second course, he does have some pizzas on there that are excellent. Buzz he's got a lot of risotto specials on there. Within that he's known for he does with strawberries and shrimp and champagne. Which you couldn't think to put together in a risotto. Very, very well balanced and delicious. [CHECK] instead of putting in just parmesan cheese at the end, he also does an aged white cheddar. So it's really, really creamy like a risotto, but it tastes kind of like a very American version of macaroni and cheese.

CAVANAUGH: And instead from some innovative menu items, is there anything else that makings this restaurant a little different from Italian restaurants in the area?

CHAMBERS-SMITH: Yeah, there's no kitsch here really, there's no -- it's not rustic, there's no red checker table cloths, there's no flour pots, there's a really cute -- Bonissimo too is sort of down the street, and that one has the flower pots and the [CHECK] much more of that sleek modern.

WOLLESEN: Italian. So they've got a lot of white leather chairs and much more sleek, modern decor.

CAVANAUGH: And since it's an Italian restaurant, do they have an impressive wine list.

CHAMBERS-SMITH: What a way to end the weekend preview! [CHECK] very, very well priced, so very few bottles that are over $50. Good prices. [CHECK] they're pretty international list of white wines, lots of California, some from which I le, a couple others from South America. So good, approachable wine list. The best time to try the wine list is they have happy hour every single day of the week, [CHECK] and that mac and cheese risotto is on the appetizer menu, and that's only $7, and plenty to share for two people.

CAVANAUGH: Every day should have a happy hour.

CHAMBERS-SMITH: It really should.

CAVANAUGH: Tre Porcellini is open in Hillcrest [CHECK] and you know, we have about a minute left over, Marty, and I just want to ask you, I know that you're working on the wonder land dance festival.


CAVANAUGH: And I wonder if you would give us just a lot bit of a preview of that.

WOLLESEN: We are inaugurating the wonder land [CHECK] art power, sushi performance and visual arts and the UCSD theatre and dance department. And for this first festival, we're gonna be featuring four companies from Australia, from Mexico and the U.S., and all of them are working in collaborative ways, and it's going to be an intimate, fun exciting experience to see international work, and for -- to begin to really place dance as a spot for creation and dissemination of contemporary dance.

CAVANAUGH: So they're working on that now and when is that going to be happening?

WOLLESEN: The dates are March 31st, April 1st and second, and there are packages available. We are really committed to making it accessible to folks so $10 for students and $28 for a package.


WOLLESEN: And it'll be both at UCSD and sushi downtown. So it's a campus community partnership. And I'm very excited. Companies that have been nurtured, actually in San Diego, and that have been taking off, and going to the next level in their career. Very exciting world.

CAVANAUGH: There, thank you for that, thank you Marty and thank you airplane, for speaking with us, for giving us some ideas what to do this weekend. I appreciate it.