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San Diego Weekend Arts Events: Blues, Douglass Versus Lincoln, And Remembering Voz Alta

Our weekend arts and culture picks deliver in-person art at Best Practice, the San Diego Blues Fest and North Coast Rep’s new production of ‘Necessary Sacrifices.’

Ray Chambers and Hawthorne James perform in North Coast Repertory Theatre's

Credit: Aaron Rumley

Above: Ray Chambers and Hawthorne James perform in North Coast Repertory Theatre's "Necessary Sacrifices," which streams now through Oct. 11, 2020.

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Our weekend arts and culture picks deliver in-person art at Best Practice, the San Diego Blues Fest and North Coast Rep's new production of “Necessary Sacrifices.”

Aired: September 11, 2020 | Transcript

There's plenty to do in the arts this weekend to shed a little light on social injustice and how history and race are intertwined. From honoring the loss of an indie art gallery under the vine-like spread of gentrification — and telling those stories in an interactive exhibition — to a captivating play featuring Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. There's also plenty of music in the air(waves), with Saturday afternoon's San Diego Blues Fest. Read on for all the details.

Remembering Voz Alta At Best Practice Gallery

Visual Art

Best Practice gallery in Barrio Logan is reopening, with a new exhibition, "Voz Alta: Time & Space" opening Friday. It's part evolving exhibition, part invitation: they're in the gathering stage of a major archive process to honor the former art space. Visitors who come to Best Practice to view the existing videos and installations about Voz Alta will be able to tell their own stories.

Pushed out by gentrification, Voz Alta was a mainstay in the San Diego indie art scene from 2000 through 2014. Artist Noé Olivas — a former intern of Voz Alta — is curating the show, and working with Carlos Beltran and Stephanie de al Torre, past organizers of the gallery.

The structure of this exhibition, guided primarily by Olivas, will mean that it's more about the process, but also constantly changing. Performances and live streams will accompany the run, announced on social media, and the video streams inside the gallery will be updated as new stories are recorded.

It's an opportunity for people who remember Voz Alta to participate in these archives, but it's also a chance for the rest of us to learn about an important part of San Diego art history.

Details: Fridays from 1-3 p.m., now through Oct. 16. 2284 Kearney Ave. Free.

More visual art: San Diego Design Week is in full swing, and if you haven't delved into any of the online offerings, exterior installations or even some in-person events, you can check out my guide and some picks here. One more thing I want to highlight is the San Diego Made Factory studio tours. Resident artists and creators will be opening their studios to display work, including Cataphant, one of my favorites. The studios will be open Thursday and Friday 2-6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Photo credit: Sarah Anderson

The San Diego Made Factory, shown in an undated photo, will be open for studio tours during San Diego Design Week.

The (Virtual) San Diego Blues Festival


Celebrating a decade of the annual San Diego Blues Festival is a bit bittersweet this year, but the organizers have put together a two hour set of pre-recorded performances from local blues greats to fill your Saturday afternoon.

Featuring Whitney Shay, who was part of our Summer Music Series this year, Mr. Sipp, Tommy Castro and the Painkillers, Southern Avenue and Watermelon Slim, these five performances are intended to raise money to support the San Diego Food Bank.

You can stream it online, watch on television on KUSI or listen on AM760 radio, among other broadcast outlets.

Details: Saturday from 4-6 p.m. Online. Free/donation based

More music: Need some more blues? The always stunning Lady Dottie and the Diamonds take the real Casbah stage Saturday night at 8:30 p.m., and you can livestream on Twitch.

North Coast Repertory's 'Necessary Sacrifices'


I think nicely filmed versions of fully staged performances are a pretty good middle ground for virtual events, and North Coast Repertory Theatre has a new production. Richard Hellesen's play "Necessary Sacrifices" is a riveting historical drama with a cast of two: Hawthorne James in an intense portrayal of Frederick Douglass alongside Ray Chambers' Abraham Lincoln as the two leaders confront each other, directed by Peter Ellenstein. It's hard to not get the Hamilton refrain "I wanna be in the room where it happened" in your head thinking about this one.

Details: Now through Oct. 11. Streaming on-demand at $25.

More theater: There's some phenomenal innovation coming out of local theater groups and creative teams to meld augmented reality, film and stage acting. The La Jolla Playhouse's Without Walls Festival has produced a new program, "Portaleza." This one involves turning your phone into a kaleidoscope with a kit they mail you. You can check out KPBS reporter Beth Accomando's story here, and grab your pass for the digital portal, now through Oct. 4.

For more arts and culture events, check out the KPBS/Arts calendar and/or sign up for the KPBS/Arts newsletter here.

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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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