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Events: Kettner Nights, A Cheese Class, And A Hemp Festival

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Neighborhood art festivals, classes on wine and cheese, and a hemp festival offer San Diegans plenty of options for this weekend.


Barbarella Fokos is the author of the Diary of a Diva column and Your Week page at the San Diego Reader.

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

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CAVANAUGH: This is KPBS Midday Edition, I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. It should be cooling down just a bit this weekend. Great weather to get out and enjoy summer festivals in San Diego. We've got art festivals and farmers markets. We've got hemp and cheese. Wee got Barbarella and Aaron chambers Smith to tell us about it in our weekend preview. Barbarella is the author of the diary of a diva column, and your week page at the San Diego reader. And host of five questions with Barbarella on channel 739. Hi.

BARBARELLA: I'll be help if Erin will do cheese.

CAVANAUGH: Done. Erin Chambers Smith is the senior editor at San Diego magazine. Welcome back.

SMITH: Hi there.

CAVANAUGH: Let's start with you, Barbarella, and the green space civic space at least that's part of the summer salon series. We're back now at the San Diego museum of art. It continues tonight. What is this?

BARBARELLA: I gave them a high five in the hallway. The salon series, it's 14 weeks early Thursday, and it's activities and you have artists, musicians, poets and speakers all talking about the theme. And this year's theme is what does a city need. And all of these people will be answering that question in a variety of ways. When I say variety, I mean real variety.

CAVANAUGH: We talked about this before. Now we're really into this summer series. Artists Natalia Calderón, and Hector Delgado Estrado will be speaking this week. Tell us more about them.

BARBARELLA: Natalia has been working on a series for years called tracing passers by. She's going to be in the parking lot in front of the museum physically tracking pedestrians' pads with chalk to show the pattern and the imprints that people leave in their environment. And she does this in urban -- actually there's a picture on the museum website. And there's some fun curlicues, and the see the paths that are created with the chalk. And then you have Hector, he's got a video called punto de Fuga, which I'm pretty sure means vanishing point. And the video examines how public space can be utilized. He uses the subway of Mexico City as an example. And it's a film of that to see where the public space is being used.

CAVANAUGH: That sounds interesting. Both of those projects. Are there any art making activities for gets.

BARBARELLA: There are. From 6 to 7, guests will be able to join Amy Bruyere, for an activity with soft sculpture. It's a type of sculpture using cloth, foam ruby er, plastic, paper. Anything that's soft. Anything nonrigid, supple. Squeezable.

CAVANAUGH: Squeezable. We got the point. The green space civic space discussion starts tonight at San Diego museum of art in Balboa Park. More art, Erin. It's a weekend for neighborhood art festivals. Start us off with Ketner nights.

SMITH: This is a neighborhood walk about and gallery tour that's free it's in the northern stretch of little Italy along Ketner boulevard. It was designated years ago as the Ketner art and design district. It used to be monthly, now I think they do it six different times a year.

CAVANAUGH: What's this art scene like?

SMITH: It's unique in San Diego. The Ketner art and design district. It's different from La Jolla which is gallery focused. Then Northpark is -- there's a lot of galleries, and happenings in Northpark as well as more of a restaurant scene. And the little Italy art district is much more about integrating design, architecture and art. So there's salvage shops and antique stores, even some graphic design and web design firms that have set up shop there. And there's great home design stores, mixture tours, and amazing stores to go dreaming in and window shopping. It's more about integrating design art and architecture.

CAVANAUGH: There's another festival on this weekend. Ray at night.

SMITH: This one is over in Northpark. It started years ago on ray street, which is a tiny little one way street. And it's really sprung up to be a neighborhood festival. And along the same lines that Northpark has sprung up to be a lot more popular and neighborhoody. There's a lot of people that moved there years ago that are sort of grownup, I say with quotes, and have children and are coming out and looking for these family oriented neighborhood festivals.

CAVANAUGH: Besides seeing art, what can you do at a festival like ray at night?

SMITH: Well, Northpark is jump a happening place and popular and crowded on the weekends. There's a great cafe culture there. Claire de Lune does coffee, and a bunch of things there. There's a great cocktail culture.

BARBARELLA: Now she's talking. Can we drink now?

SMITH: Great beers. Calabria has great coffee. The Linkery has fun things and does things at night. And if you -- it's a good chance, if you don't live in Northpark to maybe drive in, they've got a really nice parking structure there with a lot of parking. You do have to pay, but it's a great chance to see what's going on in the neighborhood, if maybe you live in North County and are hearing about this north park scene. This is a good chance to go try it out.

CAVANAUGH: Ketner nights takes place Friday nights in little Italy, and ray at night takes place in Northpark Saturday night. You asked for it, you got it, Barbarella. Of the future is green, and hempy. The discovery hemp convention is this weekend. What is it?

BARBARELLA: It's exactly what it sounds, all things hemp. At Balboa Park, there's gonna be a hemp fashion show, hemp products to buy, hemp related jobs on offer. And speakers focusing on all things, including a nurse, who's going to speak about using cannabis to slow aging. It's an appreciation for -- and I should tell you it's put on by James Stacy who was recently -- he was the one who's been in the news because his collective was raided by Bonnie Dumanis. He's putting this on as an informative kind of festival for people to learn more about it.

CAVANAUGH: I see. So the uses of hemp from antiaging to jobs?

BARBARELLA: There are so many. I looked at the larceny, and it was overwhelming. There are over 2500 uses for hemp. So they're categorized. You have paper, like printing paper and cardboard, food like cooking oil, granola and flour.

SMITH: Cooking oil. Interesting.

BARBARELLA: Not the kind that goes in brownies I guess. Body care, such as soap and cosmetics, and textiles like canvas, nets, carpet.

CAVANAUGH: Okay. So you can look at all the hemp you can discover a great deal about hemp. Is there anything else that you can do?

BARBARELLA: There are a few things. They're also trying to support the community. So there's a food and clothing drive. You can bring food for the San Diego food bank, and clothing for foster kids. But there's music. There's going to be live music by cat house Thursday. There's a Nashville band originally from California. Vanity of fair, and Samisa, and Foola-poola, which is a San Diego band with south Pacific influence. Very hemp friendly.

CAVANAUGH: I understand. But it also sounds like you can learn a lot at this event.

BARBARELLA: I learned a lot just in kind of looking into it. I never realized how versatile hemp is. And I thought, okay, people maybe rope, and you see the bracelets. Maybe hemp is good for that. But to realize that you request use it in so many products, they're even talking about running your car with it.


BARBARELLA: I'm curious to know more.

CAVANAUGH: All right. Well you can at the discovery hemp convention. It's this Saturday in the Balboa Park park club bawl room. There is a market to table cooking class, Eric, this weekend. Remind our listeners what that is.

SMITH: Market to table is the same concept that you hear about farm to table, it's eating and cooking food that is grown locally and not processed on its way to your plate. It's either food that you've got from a farmer's market, which is all fresh, most of it is organic, and it hasn't been processed or packaged.

CAVANAUGH: And chef Jesus Gonzalez is teaching this class.

SMITH: You all meet at cups in La Jolla, which is a great cup cake shop bakery, cooking cool, all in one. Then the chef walks over with the class, and you go over to the La Jolla farmer's market, which is very fancy. They have valet parking for your strollers and bikes. Then you walk through the market, and she shows you what's fresh, and buy this herb. And you learn how to shop the market. Then you bring your stuff back to cups, and you learn how to cook a lovely healthy meal with it.

CAVANAUGH: Tell us a lot bit about chef Gonzalez.

SMITH: He's worked at Rancho la Puerta down in Baja, and also got the golden door spa. His background is in healthy, holistic, produce driven cooking.

CAVANAUGH: You were telling us, you were going to say more about cups itself.

SMITH: This is a great place to know. They have a website that lists their events. It opened as a cup cake shop. Michelle larock owns it. She's an influential powerful slow food advocate in San Diego. She's got a bakery there, at her personal private home she has a huge amazing garden and wonderful relationships with chefs and fishmongers and growers and produce people in San Diego. She offers all kinds of cooking class, a men's cooking class, different days for kids to go in and learn about healthy eating. She's got a very interesting operation there. Of it's definitely worth looking into.

CAVANAUGH: People hear La Jolla, valet parking for strollers, and people think 55?

SMITH: It's $55. But it really is a whole half of a day where you get to go to a market, get to know a really great chef in San Diego, and you get to cook a meal and take recipes home with you. It's not cheap, but you get a lot out of it. As a gift, it's a great gift certificate for the foodie in your life.

CAVANAUGH: And it's $55?

BARBARELLA: A lot of cooking classes are more expensive than that.

CAVANAUGH: The market that table class at cups culinary in La Jolla is this Sunday. The class will be held on alternating Sundays throughout the summer. Stagecoach days.

BARBARELLA: The fun stuff.

CAVANAUGH: Yahoo! Stagecoach days start this weekend in old town. ?

BARBARELLA: It's been going on for almost as long as old town. I think for a hundred and 50 years they celebrated in 2008. Every summer, July through August every solid has a different theme that harkens back to the days when the town was first incorporated, women of the west, soldiers and citizens, and Twain fest. But this week's theme, this Saturday is actually going to be -- the theme is Californio day, not California day. Between 1841 and 1848, when people who lived here were called Californios instead of Mexican. And the uniqu California cultural elements are going to be presented. People will be wearing time appropriate costumes, demonstrating hide tanning, nineteenth century gambling, which I wonder if that's gonna be at the sa loans, paper flower making and period cooking and food preparation. People will be in costume all around you, and demos will be happening everywhere.

CAVANAUGH: That's just great fun when they have these people making their hides, you know, and --

BARBARELLA: I'd rather watch it than do it.

CAVANAUGH: Now is this a silly question, but will there be any stagecoaches at that event?

BARBARELLA: If you've been to old town, you know there are always stagecoaches on display. But there will be not stagecoach rides, but horse pulled wagon rides. And the difference I learned is that wagons don't have a roof. So there will be a big horse pulling it. Carriage rides, but they're not officially stagecoaches. And you can go to the museum and see all about the stagecoaches.

SMITH: If you do go, I recommend going into the cosmopolitan hotel. Which reopened recently. And they have say restaurant on the first floor. And a little sneak peak for everybody, the churros are amazing.

BARBARELLA: I have had them. And they also redid the rooms there. All of the rooms of that hotel, they did to look like they were originally, but with better accommodations.

SMITH: In the old west style.

BARBARELLA: There's a haunted room.

SMITH: I didn't know that.

BARBARELLA: There is a haunted room. I definitely recommend you check out the cosmo as well.

SMITH: Try the churros, there's chocolate sauce with them. They're so good.

BARBARELLA: I'm just going to drink the chocolate sauce and give you the churro.

CAVANAUGH: More reasons to go to stagecoach days, and they take place every Saturday through August 27th in old town state historic park. We have time to talk about the cheese store, with Venissimo, Erin, hosting a cheese and wine tour. Tell us a little bit about the Venissimo cheese shop.

SMITH: It's one of my favorite 900-square foot rooms in all of San Diego. It's a wonderful -- really it's just a gourmet cheese shop. You go in there, and they have tree or four refrigerated cases with. They started with their first location in Mission Hills, they have one downtown around 9 And Market Street they have one up in the flour hill mall in Del Mar. And also a shop up in long beach. Gina started it all. She calls herself the cheese wizz, travels around the world and tries the best cheese. You can sample a $35 bite of something. This weekend, they're doing a little fun cheese tour.

CAVANAUGH: They start with a tour of the shop, which in itself sounds like fun.

SMITH: It's great. They do classes and stuff there, you can see the back of the store where you learn how to make ricotta. And things.

CAVANAUGH: What else?

SMITH: Everybody gets on a bus, then you drive out to an actual dairy farms, Winchester farms in San Diego. If your foodies are listening, you have seen within Winchester farms -- and they have their own dairy there. You'll get to meet an actual cheese maker, take a tour of that farm. Then you're also going to go to Bella Maria winery after that, where of course you're going to have to have some wine with your cheese, and there'll be snacks and lunch. And all that.

CAVANAUGH: Is it 55?

SMITH: It's more 55 than the really is a whole day thing. And I gotta say again, she knows her cheese, this gal. So it'll be fun if you're into cheese. We asked a bunch of chefs, if heaven tasted like one thing, what would it be? And many of them told us cheese.

CAVANAUGH: This tour leaves the downtown Venissimo cheese shop on Saturday morning. I've been speaking with Eric chamber Smith, and Barbarella, thank you both.


SMITH: Have a fun weekend.


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