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Events: ‘High Fidelity’ At MCASD, Bohemian Shopping, And Sloshball

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The Memorial Day weekend is upon us. In addition to all the traditional ceremonies honoring our war heroes, it's also the unofficial start of summer. You might have your sun and fun and barbeque lineup all decided, but if it's something different you're after, we've got it on the weekend preview.


Seth Combs is a freelance writer in San Diego.

Enrique Limon is San Diego CityBeat's man-about-town and editor for the website El Zonkey

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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.

The memorial day weekend is upon us. In addition to all the traditional ceremonies honoring our war heroes, it's also the unofficial start of summer time. You might have your son and fun and barbecue lineup all decided. But if it's something different you're after, we've got it on this weekend preview. I'd like to welcome Seth Coombs, free-lance writer in San Diego. Hi Seth.

COMBS: Hi. Thanks for having me.

CAVANAUGH: Enrique limon is San Diego Citybeat's man about town, and editor for the for the website Enrique, good afternoon.

LIMON: Thank you, stoked to be here, Maureen.

CAVANAUGH: Okay. Let's start with you, Seth. Cry for us, black swans, are playing the Casbah on Sunday. Tell us about this musical outfit.

COMBS: Well, much to Enrique's disappointment, it has nothing to do with demonic Natalie Portman movies.

LIMON: Such a fan. I'm such a fan.

COMBS: But it's a musical project from John Petrowsky, he's a local singer song writer, and he's -- anybody who follows the local scene might remember the local band, Demaciado. They split up. But he has since come out with his own stuff.

CAVANAUGH: And this show is to celebrate a vinyl record release right?

COMBS: Yeah, I mean, the actual album is up on iTunes already. But it's called a thousand years, and it's sort of a collection of songs that he's written over, like, the past 10 years, I think, and it's on the top of my list for, like, local album of the year. I really love it. And yeah, this'll be the vinyl record release, this show on Sunday.

CAVANAUGH: So he's a local guy. He's from Poway?

COMBS: Yeah, he's from Poway. He's played everywhere. He's played everywhere from the W Hotel to the Soda Bar, and he recently went to South by Southwest music conference in Austin to perform there, and yeah, he's performed all over.

CAVANAUGH: Well, we have something from black swans, this is fear of sleep from the album a thousand years. That.

(Audio Recording Played).

That is fear of sleep from the album, a thousand years, by cry for us, black swans. This is the kind of thing you do a double take on. The show is free?

COMBS: Yeah, it's a matinee show, so it starts a little bit earlier, around seven. And amazingly it's free, it's got all kind of bonuses, there's free food from a sandwich shop, Gaglion brother, I think. There's another band called dog catcher, they're playing. And I would tell people to stick around after that show because they'll be -- the Casbah will be doing their jibe wire club night, which, if I remember correctly, we've shaked our booties quite often there, right Enrique?

LIMON: Often.

COMBS: Often booty shaking.

CAVANAUGH: Booty shaking has occurred. Okay. Cry for us, black swans, host their vinyl record release at the Casbah on Sunday night am Enrique, shopping.

LIMON: Yes, yes.

CAVANAUGH: Shopping is an option this weekend, and always.

LIMON: Oh, yeah.

CAVANAUGH: Tell us about the Bohemian market.

LIMON: Well, Bohemian is definitely the key word here. Imagine just a warehouse full of locally produced jewelry, clothing, salvaged and repurposed vintage goods, art, and just about anything and everything you can think of under the DIY sun. There's gonna be on site engraving by atomic laser lab, DJs, live painting, custom silk screening, you name it.

CAVANAUGH: Is this the last chance to see an art exhibit of stencil work?

LIMON: Oh, yeah, yeah. They actually do a monthly art series titled first Friday art show, which focuses on a particular theme. This weekend will be your last chance to catch their May show which is entitled weapons of mass production four, and consists of some stencil work by some top San Diego guerilla artists. Their next show stars an all female cast and will feature a dozen top lady aerosol and stencil artists and will open on Friday, June third.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Now, we have talked on this show -- well, not on this show, but on other shows that we've known.


COMBS: No, I talked about it on this show. I believe so, yeah.

CAVANAUGH: The industry show room. Can you remind us about this art venue?

LIMON: Definitely, industry showroom is a hybrid downtown warehouse slash retail slash office slash gallery space that has been steadily churning out some great events. I contacted Rex Edland, and he described it best. He said it's a unique small business incubator space, and that pretty much describes it to a T. It combines a central retail floor, a functioning art gallery, a yoga studio, know event facility, a photo studio. Throw in a doughnut shop, and I'd live there.

COMBS: And he made a great paint, like Rex has described it like that before to me where he said, you know, it's like this really great space for the people who are ready to take the next step in their career but aren't exactly ready to, like, open up their own shop. So it's filled with some really, really cool clothing and under ground DIY stuff.

CAVANAUGH: I remember you describing it that way. How pricey again is this merchandise, Enrique.

LIMON: Affordability is definitely the name of the game. Rex mentioned to me, there's usually nothing over 20 bucks, and prices oscillate between five and 10 dollars per item, so --

CAVANAUGH: Great stuff. So the Bohemian market is at the industry show room on sixth avenue between J and X this Saturday morning. Enrique is gonna be there.

LIMON: I'm a master of it, I've been seeing that show, extreme couponing, and I've been on a shopping bargain bender ever since.

COMBS: He's throwing elbows, watch out people. I'm doing it.

CAVANAUGH: The museum of contemporary art in La Jolla is opening a new exhibit. It's called hi fidelity, selections from the 60s and 70s. Seth, is this work from the permanent collection?

COMBS: I believe all of it is, yes. I mean, for those who are 50 plus, they may remember a time when the museum of contemporary art was called the La Jolla museum of art. And this new exhibition, which I'm pleased may have been named after my favorite Nick Hornsby book, I don't know that for sure. Is a retrospective of some of the best artists from the '70s and '70s when the museum was still in its maturation period. They call it a greatest heights exhibition.

CAVANAUGH: Oh, that's interesting. So who are some of the artists whose work will be in this exhibit?

COMBS: Well, they really have something of everything, they can pop art, minimalism, abstract. There'll be more than 50 artists. One of my favorite minimalists, Carl Benjamin, who I love his geometric intimate works, will have a piece there. There's a bunch of California artists. Gosh, Ed Reshia, Alexis Smith, Agnus Martin.

CAVANAUGH: That's big.

COMBS: And Robert Erwin who's a local.

CAVANAUGH: Yeah, they're great. Now, is it mostly painting or any mixed media?

COMBS: It's primarily paintings, but there will be some assemblage and sculptural works there as well. There's an artist in the show, John Baldesari, I'm sorry, who was born in National City, I believe, and still comes out here every now and then. I think he lives in Santa Monica now. But he uses found materials in his work, and he incorporates text and photography in his pieces as well.

CAVANAUGH: Now, you reeled off some really, really well known artists?

COMBS: Right.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Major names in the art world. Are these on display all the time? Or they don't keep them in the basement, do they?

COMBS: Well, yeah, they kind of do, sometimes. It's a very, very nice basement. Much nicer that most basements. But the museum has purchased a lot of great pieces over the years for their permanent collection, and this show is also honoring Murray Gribbon who's a trustee of the museum who died this year, and who donated a lot of amazing pieces to the museum over the years. The 60'ses and '70s just -- in music and political attitudes was an amazing time for experimenting. So this'll be I really cool show.

CAVANAUGH: And how is this exhibit actually organized?

COMBS: You know, I don't know that. I couldn't find that out in time. I it will be exhibited chronologically. But I just heard that from somebody who's in the art scene so --

CAVANAUGH: Right, right and as to downtown, we are actually going to be speaking in a couple of minutes with the director of the museum of contemporary art, San Diego, that talk to us about a little political problem they're having with one of the pieces on display.

COMBS: Yeah.

CAVANAUGH: But returning just a moment to this, hi fidelity, selections from the 60s and 70s opens Friday at ACMSD in La Jolla. And runs flew September 5th. Think we have time to slosh in some slosh ball, Enrique.

LIMON: Oh, yeah, yeah.

COMBS: I'm interested in this very much.

CAVANAUGH: Well, what -- a friendly game of slosh ball is being held at NTC on Saturday. What is slosh ball?

LIMON: Ah, slosh ball. If you ever wondered why that one guy next to your cubicle comes into work slightly bruised with deep set grass stains that not even a tub full OxiClean can remove, and just a faint whiff of beer on his breath, it is because he's probably a huge fan of slosh ball. To put it in a nutshell, it's a game that combines two great American past times. Kick ball and drinking. This particular game will have jello shots on first base, a compulsory keg on second, and a slip and slide that will glide you from third base to home.

CAVANAUGH: Now I understand the slosh. The event is being put on by the secret squirrel society. What is that?

LIMON: They are a sports and social group whose main focus is to join people through playing sports, socializing and giving back to the community as well. Their motto, meet, play, laugh. Describes them to a T.

CAVANAUGH: Okay. So we have to cut this short. But I do want everyone to know that the secret squirrel society will host a game of slosh ball at NTC liberty station park on Saturday morning. Well, we can't be there and at the Bohemian market too, can we?

LIMON: Well, I might double up. But the thing with slosh ball, much like fight ball or the Illuminati, if you play slosh ball, you don't talk about slosh ball. I just want it put it out there.

COMBS: I think Enrique has a Doppelganger that he can use.

LIMON: I have several. I have a basement full at the museum.

COMBS: Right, right.

CAVANAUGH: Now we have to go on to -- we actually have on the line with us Hugh Davies who's director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, and he's joining talk to us about international politics seemingly to be complicating a purchase at the museum, and Hugh, hello. Good afternoon.

DAVIES: Good afternoon.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you for joining us.

DAVIES: My pleasure. Thank you for inviting me.

CAVANAUGH: Tell us about this snag in the purchase of a work by imprisoned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.

NEW SPEAKER: The snag is that we, some trustees and patrons of the museums and I visited eye way way's studio in Beijing last November and arranged to acquire for our collection to purchase two of his marble chairs. And these chairs were shipped in March so that we could present them to our collections committee. We always present artworks in person. We're making major acquisitions, and they were shipped with a temporary export license with the option to purchase, which is a very common way that museums handle international shipping of artwork for either exhibitions or per purchase. And so after our board of trustees approved the purchase of the chairs, which was on May 11th, we contacted the shipper, our shipper, the American shipper, the next day and said we wanted to exercise the option to purchase on the temporary export license.

CAVANAUGH: And now China has stepped in and said that they want the chairs back.

NEW SPEAKER: Exactly, they've told us that they will not honor the option to purchase and would like us to return the chairs by no later than September fifteenth, when the temporary license expires.

CAVANAUGH: Do you have any idea?

NEW SPEAKER: We really don't. We can speculate. And at this stage, we're trying -- resisting jumping to conclusions. We have only communicated with our shipper. And our shipper in turn received these instructions from the Chinese shipper who created the work for Ai Weiwei. And they -- we're told that the Beijing bureau culture would not grant our request that we exercise our option to purpose. And we know it is a municipal bureau, but we have no idea under what authority and under whose direction they've made that determination. And at this point, we've only spoken to an American shipper. We have had no communication with a Chinese fortunately at any level of Chinese government, be it municipal or federal. So -- we're very much in the dark.

CAVANAUGH: Hue, has anything like this ever happened before to the museum?

COMBS: Not in my experience. Sometimes international shipping can be complicated, getting loans for shows. You might have read in the paper that Russia is now refusing to lend works to U.S. museums in response to Jewish historical artifacts being called back by an organization in Los Angeles. So often there are these -- I dare say trade embargoes for political purposes or diplomatic purposes. But never had this suspicious. Particularly of the work that we are purchasing.

CAVANAUGH: Right. I'm going to have it to end it there with you, but I want to thank you so much for explaining this to us. And we will, of course, keep abreast of this. There is a blog post upright now on our culture lust blog that explains more in depth what message that you did receive. Hew Davies, thank you so much.

NEW SPEAKER: Thank you so much too.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: The work of Ai Weiwei will be on display at MCASD as part of a group exhibition called prospect 2011 at the museum's downtown location. And I want to thank you both, my guests in studio, Seth Coombs, and Enrique limon, thank you.

LIMON: Thank you so much.

COMBS: Thank you.


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