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San Diego Weekend Arts Events: A Beirut Benefit, Maneki Neko, ‘90s Nostalgia And California Impressionism

This weekend's San Diego arts and culture offerings range from pop music livestreams to Japanese Udo-style cat finger puppets. There's plenty of virtual culture this weekend, and we have all the details.

Natula: 'A Song for Beirut'


Natasha Kozaily, of Natula and Baby Bushka, who also owns Kalabash School of Music and Art, was deeply affected by the recent tragedy in Beirut. To support her friends and family and their community in the city, Kozaily will perform a livestream concert of Natula's fantastic avant-garde fueled pop. Her work is fantastical, experimental, romantic and disconcerting all at once.

Kozaily has some suggestions on making the evening feel like a benefit concert: dim the lights, prep the snacks, wear your finest funeral attire, etc. She's fundraising to support two organizations on the ground in Beirut. "It will take billions of dollars to help the thousands of people injured and properties damaged and destroyed," said Kozaily. Impact Lebanon is a funding nonprofit that makes sure money doesn't end up in the government, and Souk El Tayeb/Tawlet is a food-based organization whose work ranges from bringing rural produce to the city, to food festivals and more.

"Tawlet, which means table in Arabic, aims to celebrate food and traditions that unite communities and foster the culture of sustainable agriculture, as well as empower rural women by allowing them to generate income in a sustainable manner. Every day a different cook from a different region tells us the story and traditions of her land, through food," said Kozaily.

Soul El Tayeb has immediate needs to support their community, farmers and chefs, but also to renovate the kitchens. In addition, they've partnered with World Central Kitchen to feed residents of Beirut during the recovery.

Details: Sunday at 8 p.m. (chat will be open at 7:30 p.m.). Streaming online. $20-50.

Photo credit: Mingei International Museum

The Mingei will host a virtual workshop to make DIY finger puppets, inspired bu Edo period Maneki Neko figures.

The Mingei Family Sunday: Maneki Neko Finger Puppets

Visual arts, Family

The Mingei's monthly family Sunday program continues online, and this month's is a finger puppet workshop. Even though the materials kits have all been claimed, you can also make this using relatively common household items: some felt, glue and a simple needle and thread.

The Maneki Neko figure is known as a "beckoning cat," or "lucky cat." They're common Japanese figures found throughout Japan and China beginning as early as the Edo period — which ranged from the early 1600s through the mid 1800s. The cats often hold a raised paw, which symbolizes good luck.

Register in advance to receive the materials list and instructions, and tune in to catch a quick video tutorial.

Details: Sunday at 12:30 p.m., via Facebook Live. Free.

Photo credit: Zard Apuya

Zard Apuya's "SpaghettiOs" sculpture is part of a new online exhibition at Thumbprint Gallery.

Tastes of Nostalgia: New Works by Zard Apuya

Visual Art

San Diego artist Zard Apuya's work is iconic and anchored in the specific, alluring aesthetic of brands at the turn of the last century. The tiny sculptures in the online exhibition at Thumbprint Gallery blend '90s collectible figurine nostalgia with '90s food nostalgia, but with a weirdness that feels fresh and a little more grown-up (just a little, though). Featuring Spagettios spilling like liquid brains, a chocolate shell ice cream cone figure that looks by far the most edible of the lot, and many more. You can view — and shop — the entire exhibition online or on Thumbprint's Instagram account.

Details: Ongoing through September 6. Online exhibition. Free.

Virtual Road Trip: Impressions of California

Visual Art

Oceanside Museum of Art's newest exhibition, "Gifted: Collecting the Art of California at Gardenia High School, 1919-1956" showcases a decades-long program where students at Gardenia High would curate and buy works of art for the high school. The 75 oil paintings in the collection showcase not just California as a subject, but the talent exhibited by the students in their taste and curation. OMA has some photographs of the exhibition available to view digitally. But the best way to experience some of the works in the program and explore the California coastline is to take a road trip. And with OMA's "Virtual Road Trip," you don't even have to worry about truck stop bathrooms during COVID. This tour, which focuses on California Impressionists, also includes stops at the Laguna Art Museum, the Irvine Art Museum, the Norton Simon Museum and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

Details: Thursday at 7 p.m. Online; registration required. Donation based.

Oceanside Film Festival


KPBS film critic Beth Accomando has the preview of this year's virtual Oceanside Film Festival, and you can check out her preview here. I am a sucker for short film reels, and this fest has seemingly endless options.

Details: Films are available to stream Saturday through Aug. 25, with one-week viewing passes. $10 for a single pass or $35 for an unlimited festival pass.

For more San Diego arts events, check out the KPBS/Arts calendar or subscribe to the weekly KPBS/Arts newsletter.


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Julia Dixon Evans
Arts Calendar Editor and Producer

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI write the weekly KPBS Arts newsletter and edit and produce the KPBS Arts calendar. I am interested in getting San Diegans engaged with the diversity of art and culture made by the creative people who live here.

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