Events: G. Love, Floating World, And A Band Of Robots
G. Love and the Special Sauce, a band made up of robots, and the chance to be in a music video. We have an eclectic mix of events for your weekend itinerary.
Liz Bradshaw is the curator at The Loft at UCSD and has worked in the music industry for many years.
Seth Combs is a freelance writer in San Diego.
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. Art, music and dance are featured today on the weekend preview. Music acts from singer song writers to some poor guy captured by robot. A documenter of a hole struggling artist, and an interesting collaboration between dancers story tellers and designers here at UCSD. Here to tell us more about the events this weekend are my guest. Liz Bradshaw is the curator of the lost at UCSD and has worked in the music industry for many years. Hi Liz.
BRADSHAW: Hi there, Maureen.
CAVANAUGH: And Seth Combs is a freelance writer in San Diego. Good morning, Seth.
COMBS: Good morning, thanks for having me.
CAVANAUGH: Let's start off, Liz, with this interesting collaboration that tells the story of a dance company's tour. It's called floating world. Tell us more about it.
BRADSHAW: Yeah, so the noting world, and 13 views of a dance company is a piece, an interdisciplinary piece being performed and it's been created by the Malashock dance company that's based here in San Diego. And it's actual low a collaboration that was conceived by John Malashock who's the artistic director, and the foundation of Malashock Dance, and the choreography, and film maker, projection designer and visual artist and faculty at UCSD, Tara knight. It's opening this weekend, and it's copresented by the San Diego museum of art.
CAVANAUGH: And it is inspired by one of their exhibits, I think that's fascinating. Tell us about that.
BRADSHAW: It is, yeah. So it's been inspire bide one of their current exhibits which is calmed dreams and diversions, and the exhibit explores -- it exhibits 250 years of Japanese wood block prints of these wood block prints are called and excuse my pronunciation, Ukiyo-e, and translates to pictures of a floating world. Literally. So what tarra and John have done with this piece, and with the use of 440-foot giant screens that kind of envelope the audience and the performance as well, 'cause this is a piece that's performed in a round, tarra's reimagined these images of these wood block prints that depict kind of emotion and moments in tame to create the story of the moments in time of dancers on tour.
CAVANAUGH: And Zandra Rhodes, the great designer is also a part of this. What does she do?
BRADSHAW: She is, and Zandra, I feel like she's popped up a few times in San Diego off [CHECK AUDIO].
COMBS: I think she lives here off and off.
BRADSHAW: That would be why then. But she's created all the costumes for this piece, and also designed the merchandise as well. So I believe you can buy your own little Zandra Rhodes piece.
CAVANAUGH: And of course there's music, there's music that goes along with this too. Cellist Zoe Keeting.
BRADSHAW: Yeah, I actually was looking enough to see her perform just about a month ago at the lost. And she's really this one woman orchestra. She's strike she's got this great flaming red hair. And she's originally a classically trained cellist, and sheep uses with her performance a foot controlled lap top [CHECK AUDIO] to create the music for this. And she's, you know, she's been the number one on eye tunes classical, and electronica, she's performed with people from, like, Imogen Heap to pal anno tina, the Dresden Dolls, has performed in dingy rock clubs and more traditional concert halls as well, composed music for film and ballet, and she just released her new record into the trees. She's very much, like, a DIY artist so she puts her records outer herself, and she's selling out concerts all across the country. Which is fantastic.
CAVANAUGH: This sound like a really interesting exhibit. It is called floating world, it opens on Saturday at the San Diego museum of art's Copley auditorium, and it runs till April 23rdrd. Now, we move onto a documentary with a local artist, Seth. Shay Davis. It's gonna be screening on saturday. First of all, who is shay davis?
COMBS: He's been at it for years but he's been making a lot of waves recently. He's got a solo show opening up at distinction gallery on Saturday up in Escondido. As far as the documentary goes, it looks to me like a group of film maker, three or so, made a documentary about him, and he's just -- and it's opening to Friday at the Northpark bridge theatre. Shay Davis is gonna have a busy weekend.
CAVANAUGH: So how, if you could describe his art, how would you describe it?
COMBS: Well, I think Salvador Dal is probably the most obvious point of reference. I wouldn't say much -- so much sure realism, but rather pop sure realist and low brow art, and even some comic book influences of upon the show he has opening up on Saturday, the paintings are based on the 7 deadly sins and the seven virtues. So there's portraits of all kinds of modern day takes on people's shortcomings and heroics.
CAVANAUGH: And people can actually see his work on the cover of this weeks' Citybeat, Right?
COMBS: Yeah, the one on the CityBeat cover is his take on the pride sin, the pride deadly sin, where there's this woman sitting on a throne while her pet lions ravage wall street bankers. The according to the article in CityBeat, the whole thing came to him in a dream. So even if the vision is unique, and rather surreal, he tackles, you know, very topical issues.
CAVANAUGH: You know, from what little I've seen in the trailer of this documentary about Shay Davis, it's about how hard it is to be an artist.
COMBS: Right, yeah, I saw the trailer on the website, and there were parts of it that kind of reminded me of, like, you know epic montages of like eight-mile or something like that. You know where he's walking down the street, and he's got his hoodie on. This whole thing has this very serious and Ernest tone, and it's told through his words as well as artists who are also local and some national and they all kind of come together to tell his stories, and you know, like you said, the struggles that you go through when you're an artist.
CAVANAUGH: Well, and I want imagine that there are some pop parties that are gonna be surrounding this screening?
COMBS: Oh, of course. What would a -- what would it be without parties? Yes, people can purchase tickets on the website, and there's a cocktail hour before, and then there's an after party at nine as well. Ir believe both are next door to the Northpark birch theatre in the west coast tavern. I'd also add that that's other short films and documentaries being screened in addition, and that the -- that there's a dollar from each ticket goes to, I believe the San Diego visual arts network.
CAVANAUGH: Oh, okay. Shay vision documentary, as Seth tells us, screens at Northpark birch theatre this Friday night. I have tell you, I love the name of this band. G. Love and special sauce. Of playing at the house of blues, Liz. Who are, say it again, G love and special sauce?
BRADSHAW: They would probably like to hear you say that. So G. Love and special sauce, G. Love is also known as garret dotten. And his band, the little sauce, they're a trio. And they're pretty well known for being this, like, hip hop whether blues kind of trio from Philadelphia. And they have been around, actually for a long time, about 20 years, they put their first record out in 1994 and have been touring and recording nonstop since then. G. Love is also -- he's also put out a few solo records. And he's pretty well known. He's on the brush fire records label, which is Jack Johnson's label. Jack Johnson actually before we all know who he was, I think played on one of G. Love's records. And then since then, G. Love has recorded with jack Johnson and Donnvan Frankenwriter, and people of that kind of surfy music genre as well.
CAVANAUGH: So they just released this group just released a new album, fixing to die, what does it sound like?
BRADSHAW: I did, so I mentioned already that they're signed to brush fire records, and from what I've heard, and something [CHECK AUDIO] he's actually said, you know, this is the album that I really wanted to make 20 years ago. And so he's not so much you know, trying to move so far away from this kind of hip hop blues style about he's trying to get back to his roots and on this record, he teamed up with the [CHECK AUDIO] brothers, so Seth and Scott both produced and they both appeared on this album as well. And I think what he's produced is much more of a rootsy, blues sound, and les of the more produced hip hop kind of blues sound they've sort of had on previous records.
CAVANAUGH: Well, let's hear a little bit of it. This is from the new album. This is the song milk and Sugar from G. Love and Special Sauce.
(Audio Recording Played).
CAVANAUGH: That's G. Of and special sauce. From their album fixin to die, a cut called milk and sugar. You can hear this really rooties, and you can imagine them doing this 20 years ago or wanting to.
BRADSHAW: Right, right.
CAVANAUGH: Now, they have a big following. Are their live shows fun.
BRADSHAW: You know, they're really, really fun. I actually did a show with G. Love back in England quite a few years ago now, and he is a whole bag of fun. And the audience, like, his audience will get super into it. There's gonna be loads of songs that you know people know. And yeah, he's aiate performer. So this show's gonna be awesome, I think.
CAVANAUGH: G. Love and special sauce play the house of blues on Saturday night. Weep move now to captured by robots. A band with a story behind it, Seth. It's playing thea the soda bar on Saturday night. Tell us more.
COMBS: Well, where do I start? According to the Wikipedia page which, you know, is somewhat unreliable, captured by robots is -- they describe them as a touring musical comedy troop with only one human member. It's much, much more than that, I assure you. It's basically a guy who plays with seven or so robots who literally play different instruments, guitar, piano, drumses that's even a robot gorilla who plays a tambourine, and a full three-piece horn section. Yeah. That's what I got.
CAVANAUGH: Yeah. J-Bot, the human, who has been captured by these robots, says he got tired playing with humans, and just made these robots because they'd be more reliable, and then he got captured by them.
COMBS: Yeah. There's two stories here, there's the legend, and then there's the truth. But both are pretty bizarre. The legend is that the human and the band, J-Bot, created these robots to serve as his back up band, but that the robots took over and made him their slave. The truth is somewhat similar, but it's actually -- the truth is there's -- he's actually a musician named J. Advance who used to play in some punk and ska bands back in the 90s, however, he did create these robots to play the music. And I have to say, they're pretty amazing, in their cob instruction. Of the robots.
CAVANAUGH: So tell us, though, is the music actually any good?
COMBS: Well, they play both original songs and covers, they have four albums, they do covers of don't stop believin', and I melt with you, and of course Mr. Roboto.
BRADSHAW: I'm there, by the way.
COMBS: To answer your question, though, if you were to hear it solely on the record, you might think it was pretty amateurish, but you know, we're talking about a band of robots playing as a full band, they're so, you know, intricate considering that a lot of people look like they were just made from things that jay or J-Bot found around the house. That alone just makes you sort of forgive any shortcomings, musically, I don't -- I don't need my robots to shred. I just need them to know the basic cord cords.
CAVANAUGH: Good, Seth, I'm glad that's where you draw the line. Now, in live performance, one of the robots has laser eyes, right?
COMBS: Yeah. And they're definitely -- you probably notice I've been referring to the bacnd as them and not like its or just him. I saw them and they -- on the instance of a friend of mine who was just like you have to go check this out. And the whole thing is like some creepy demented version of what the -- and remember the animatronic band that played at chuck E. Cheese? I don't know if anybody remembers that. Or maybe pirates of the Caribbean, the ride at Disneyland, you know, it's really funny too. The robots harass and berate him and shoot lasers at him. And they berate the crowd as well 678 it's very interactive, and you just find yourself amaze one minute, disturbed the next, and then laughing the next.
CAVANAUGH: Okay. Captured by robots, plays at the soda bar on Saturday night. Here's something that we had to try to figure out, Liz, and you have. Of the adult swim rag bag of jollification event. It's happening at fourth and B. For our listeners who don't know, let's start out with what is adult swim?
BRADSHAW: Right, and I think actually this would be a good follow on from going and seeing a robot band. Or maybe they could play here.
COMBS: It's a Sci-fi weekend.
BRADSHAW: It's a party right? O for anybody that doesn't know, adult swim is part of the cartoon network, and it's like an after-hours, 18 plus channel, starts at 9:00 PM, and runs through the night. It's pretty dark comedy, you know, cartoons and original series as well 78 you'll see things on there like aqua teen hunger force, and family guy, cow boy bee bop, and then some kind of random British comedy shows like [CHECK AUDIO] and the Mighty Boosh, and stuff that I really like as well. So basically this is it like a block party of sorts, and it's the third year, I believe adult swim channel have been doing this tour. And it's very much a carnival style tour. And from what I can gather into the college crowd, this one's held, it's held down in the parking rot of fourth and B. Of the whole thing is free. So it's free food, live music, carnival games, and just general fun and silliness. Some of the games I saw and apparently some of the more popular ones included convict escaped, babies versus old people on segues, toilet bowl, black hole fun, and oh yell no.
COMBS: I'm there.
BRADSHAW: Right. And then I read somebody discussing another game called balloonicorn blowout, where contestants get a helmet with a unicorn horn on the top, and then you have to attempt to pop balloons on the ceiling by jumping up and down and --
CAVANAUGH: Well, if you are, if you happen to be a little bit older than college age said, do they even let you in.
BRADSHAW: I don't know. Maybe if you're in, like, a fun costume or something, and you know it's all -- it's all fair.
CAVANAUGH: And that's live entertainment as well, right? I mean, there's actual bands and music?
BRADSHAW: Yeah, there is, there's a different sort of artist perform at each one around the country. Artists like best coast and waves have been at various other locations. On this one, you've got performances from it's got like a hip hop feel, so rappers young dro pacdiv and killer Mike, who's a regular kind of outcast kind of a collaborator.
CAVANAUGH: Okay. So this carnival themed event, the adult swim rag bag of jollification takes place at the forth and B parking lot on Saturday night. That should be quite something. For something a little more sedate, Seth, local singer songwriter Gale Skidmore is playing Sunday night. Tell us about here.
COMBS: Yeah, she's a huge local talent. Multi instrumentalist, sings very catchy folk pop, I guess is the best way to describe it. There's a little country thrown in there, and she has an amazing voice, and she's bye-bye, you know, honing it for years.
CAVANAUGH: Now you write about the emotion in her lyrics.
COMBS: Right. I wrote an article about her for CityBeat's local music issue. I should point out that she did not like it very much. But -- it wasn't because of my sincerity but because of some of the subject matter I threw into the article. But anyway, I guess what I was trying to get --
CAVANAUGH: There's a story there.
COMBS: Yeah, it's a story for another time.
COMBS: I was trying to get across to the reader and maybe I fell short of that that she is this rare singer who isn't just writing catchy songs from places ask states of mind that she's never really emotionally experienced 678 the heart breaks are real, the emotion and real, and I think it really comes across in her lyrics and in her singing.
CAVANAUGH: She has her first album out, right? What's it like?
COMBS: Well, it's just full of the stuff I've been talking about. I think a lot of -- I think a lot of what I like best about it is that there's a varied approach to the songs. She switches styles and genres, she dabbles in different time signatures. There's nothing formulaic about it, and I think that it's a record, which is -- its greatest strength is that you can't pigeonhole it into a particular kind of genre.
CAVANAUGH: Okay. Well, we have a cut, let's listen to a song from her new album, called make believe. The song is called hollow.
(Audio recording played)
CAVANAUGH: That's a bit from the new album by gale skid more, and that's a tract called hollow. What does she like to sing live, Seth?
COMBS: She's very engaging, sometimes playful. That was a bit of a more forlorn song from the album, but she has a great smile and a bodily harm demeanor, she switches instruments, guitar piano, banjo, in the past she's had shows where she gets really crafty. She'll have, like props and origami cranes hanging from the sealing. But I think this show will be a bit different, because the stage is a little smaller. I'm thinking this might be a little more intimate low key show.
CAVANAUGH: Gale Skidmore plays the tin can ale house Sunday night. Now, a local band liz, called chairs missing, is shooting a vide, and they want you! Or somebody.
BRADSHAW: They want you in your costume from the rag bag [CHECK AUDIO].
CAVANAUGH: Tell us about this video and this group.
BRADSHAW: Well, just really quick, chairs missing, San Diego kind of psychedelicy folk band, definitely some kind of sounds of the 60s coming through there. The first time I saw them, actually, it was a three-piece, I had a violin play are. And now the lineup's changed slightly, are the violin player is not in Saturday equal. It's a four-piece, great proficient local musicians, and they are ary leasing -- sorry, recording a few EP to the follow up [CHECK AUDIO] and they're going to be recording a video for their next single called to the hills this weekend at the park gallery in north park. And I they want you to come along and be a part of this. They're very -- they like to create different environments in which they perform, so they're gonna be creating this big kind of, like, circus, fear and loathing in it Las Vegas kind of environment. Kind of circusy Sci-fi, I think I read in CityBeat this week that they're calling it. And so they're bringing along -- there's gonna be a flea circus.
BRADSHAW: Caricatura, are face painting, visual projections, contortionists, fire cancers, and if you come along in it costume or kind of agree to get your face painted, admission's free, and you can be a part of this kind of crazy and wacky scene in the video.
CAVANAUGH: That's really interesting. So the video is circus themed, and the whole event is circus themed as well; is that right?
BRADSHAW: Yes, that's exactly right so much they're creating this circus, kind of crazy tripped out circusy experience for the back drop for their new video.
CAVANAUGH: Okay. So your ticket to fame, the chairs missing, circus video filming. It happens on Friday night at the park gallery in university heights. So let's talk about our last subject on our weekend preview. It's a panel discussion and it's all about the what women want show that's on in the lyceum theatre gallery. I'm wandering what is this about, Seth?
COMBS: Well, it's -- the show itself is you know, a group of local women artists who have brought their own take to this particular topic, what women want. I don't know, personally. So --
CAVANAUGH: I'm glad you're honest enough to say it.
COMBS: I'll let -- trust me I've been trying for years to figure that out. But it's a really fantastic show. Of some of the best local female artists in if the city, you you know, collaborating on a big group show. And there's, you know, there's -- like I said, like a dozen or so, and then as far as the public discussion goes, it will be moderated by former, T arts critic Robert pinkis, some of the exhibiting artists will be there as panelist, and they'll be discussing issues like the role of women in the local scene, what inspires women in the local arts, gender politics within the keep. I think it will be fascinating either way, but it is -- it is generated -- the show itself, as well as some kit simples of it have generated, like, some controversy. So this should be a pretty heated discussion.
CAVANAUGH: Just quickly, can you tell us what that controversy is.
COMBS: ? Well, yeah, to try and sum it up real quick, there were a few critic, particularly Joan Alvin from sign on San Diego who wrote a review, and interviewed some of the artists involved. The controversy came from a commentary that Joe did not on the show, but on how he was against same sex marriage. And there were a few commentators that took issue with the fact that Melvin is somehow unqualified or unfit to write about a show about womenism and or feminism when he doesn't strongly support same sex marriage. I think the idea of him not being qualified to offer his opinion, you know, whether his against something like that or not is pretty ludicrous, but they have had to shut down the comments on the article because there were so many people, you know, commenting on it.
CAVANAUGH: So they're gonna toss that around. Of is the art itself though controversial really to any extent?
COMBS: In my opinion, not particularly. I mean, Ana stampa is a great local artist, made a comment in the sign on interview that the repertoire theatre asked the artist to do a quote unquote Grated show because kids would see it. Some of it is pretty edgy, most of it is pretty great. But I think that the themes are more controversial than the actual art.
CAVANAUGH: Well I want to tell everyone the panel discussion on what women want is at the lyceum theatre in Horton Plaza. It takes place Sunday. Seth Coombs, and Liz Bradshaw, thank you so much. I appreciate it.
BRADSHAW: Thank you.
COMBS: Thank you for having us.
CAVANAUGH: I want everyone to know that These Days is produced by Hank crook, Angela ca-Rhone, Megan Burke, Pat Finn, senior producer is Natalie Walsh. Production manager is Kurt Kohnen with technical assistance from Chad Bennett. Our production assistants are Hilary Andrews, Robert Moreno, on Jocelyn art, Pauline Lucas, and Nathan John. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh and I hope you inn joy the rest of the week. You've been listening to These Days on KPBS.