ALERT: KPBS Radio is undergoing scheduled upgrade work which may result in temporary signal outages.
San Diego Weekend Arts Events: To The Earth Festival, Sidro Saturdays, ‘The Mango Tree,’ Xenos And Art Alive
This weekend in the arts: classical music honors the planet, a fictional band comes to life (live!), SDMA gets the floral treatment, a new San Ysidro art crawl and a Black playwright’s world premiere.
Thursday, June 17, 2021
Credit: Courtesy of San Diego Symphony
To The Earth Festival - 'Morning: Birds And Light'
Classical Music, Poetry
Steven Schick has paired up with the San Diego Symphony to curate "To The Earth," a festival featuring three performances, inspired by nature. Over the course of a week, virtual performances will bring to mind how the planet engages with morning, noon and evening. The first performance is Friday at 7 p.m. "Morning: Birds and Light" centers on (obviously) birds and light in compositions old and new, as well as the poetry of Joy Harjo, United States Poet Laureate, and John Haines.
The symphony will mark the dawn with Haydn's Symphony No. 6, then perform French composer Olivier Messiaen's enchanting 1952 composition "Le Merle Noir" — the blackbird. They'll also feature Missy Mazzoli's "The Sound of Light" and John Luther Adam's "songbirdsongs," which are short, percussive pieces based on the composer's study of birdsong.
The ever-worsening climate crisis is enough to make even the staunchest environmentalist occasionally want to cover their ears and try to tune it all out, but this set of performances is a reminder to listen.
And mark your calendars, "Noon: The Rush of Water" streams Wednesday June 23 at 7 p.m., and they'll close the festival with "Evening: The Earth Rests" (including a reading of a newly commissioned poem by Gill Sotu) on Friday, June 25, also at 7 p.m.
Details: To The Earth festival kicks off with "Morning: Birds and Light" Friday, June 18 at 7 p.m. Online. Free
Fanboy Movie Soundtrack And Xenos Album Release Show
Providing us with the complicated and delightful main characters in local filmmaker Ben Johnson's recent feature "Fanboy," the band Xenos were always fictional… until now. Not only are we getting a long-awaited soundtrack for the movie, but Xenos will come together to perform a free, outdoor show for us, hopefully without any crime and terror!
"Fanboy" is available to watch on Amazon Prime, and the soundtrack — released on vinyl from Silver Girl Records, has music from Hot Snakes, Death Eyes, Havnauts, Big Business, Tourettes Lautrec, Tulpa Luna, Hexa, The Black Heart Procession and more (many more: the soundtrack has 22 tracks).
Details: Saturday, June 19, 2021 at 3 p.m. 1128 25th St., Golden Hill (Krakatoa's back parking lot). Free.
There's no big "Bloom Bash" this year (again), but San Diego Museum of Art will still adorn the museum (and our virtual lives) with flowers. Floral designers will construct elaborate arrangements inside the museum, inspired by pieces in the collection. You can reserve timed slots to visit. Plus, taking a cue from our pandemic-era art experience, they'll launch the first ever "Open Air Floral Affair" in the Plaza de Panama, with large-scale floral sculptures, a marketplace, crafts and art projects for kids from noon to 4 p.m. each day, snacks, and contemporary sculptures by Rachel Hayes and Davis McCarty. One of my favorite off-the-beaten-path coffee shops, S3 Coffee Bar in Grantville, will be there with their floral-inspired drinks, including some color-changing magic.
A $25 ticket gets you inside the Art Alive exhibition in the museum. $40 gets you the indoor exhibition as well as the outdoor offering, and it's all free for members. Kids are $0-5, depending on age. You can also check out the virtual offerings here.
Also at SDMA this weekend, I'm especially excited for Ana de Alvear's new exhibition of hyper-realistic drawings (okay, the official genre uses the word "hyper" but I think a better term for de Alvear's work would be "mindblowingly"). Her new exhibition, "Everything You See Could Be A Lie," is the perfect chaser to all that natural, floral goodness.
Details: Friday through Sunday, June 18-20, 2021. 1450 El Prado, Balboa Park. $0-40.
Music, Visual Art, Food/Drink
Art spaces and businesses in San Ysidro are coming together to launch "Sidro Saturdays," which will be held the third Saturday of each month. The first will take place this Saturday from 5-10 p.m., featuring stops in The Front art gallery for poetry performances, live music and art vendors; Living Rooms At The Border, a brand new performing arts space in San Ysidro that will host a live DJ set and food, plants and ceramics vendors; Blk Box Gallery where Gerardo Meza's wild and surreal street art exhibition is on view and bands will perform live; and Hoppy Daze and South Bay Tap House for beer and low riders.
There's a QR code to help you navigate your crawl — pop in anywhere at any time, but a great place to start is The Front. Masks are required.
Details: Saturday, June 19 from 5-10 p.m. 147 W. San Ysidro Blvd., San Ysidro. Free.
'The Mango Tree'
San Diego-based playwright, performer and storyteller Bibi Mama's new one-person play is now on view as part of the Say It Loud Juneteenth Festival. Produced, staged and filmed by Moxie Theatre, it's a play Mama wrote when putting together her thesis in graduate school — she was part of the MFA program at University of San Diego and The Old Globe. Her work is informed in part by her upbringing as not only a first generation Beninese-American, but as the daughter of Raouf Mama, iconic storyteller and writer. In "The Mango Tree," the story is a blend of West African folk tale traditions, magic and a reckoning with Mama's personal grief.
It's just twenty minutes, but it's a gorgeous twenty minutes. Mama's writing and performance is engaging, imaginative and powerful; she commands the stage but also feels like she's just talking directly to me.
In the discussion between Mama and Moxie's Jennifer Eve Thorn (plus, a special guest, Raouf Mama) immediately following the performance, Mama said she's hopeful this play will be part of a series of similar folk-inspired short plays.
Details: Streams online Friday, June 18 at 8:30 p.m. and Saturday, June 19 at 6 p.m. Free/donation based.
More Theater: Don't miss the rest of the Say It Loud Juneteenth Festival. Saturday at noon at The Old Globe's outdoor festival stage is a Juneteenth AXIS event featuring San Diego Black Artist Collective performers. Then at 1 p.m., head across Balboa Park to the Pepper Grove playground area, just southeast of the Fleet, for the second annual Artists 4 Black Lives event, with musical performances, scenes from plays performed on stage and more. Both events are free. Check out our feature on the Say It Loud Juneteenth festival here, and our interview with San Diego Black Artist Collective president Joy Yvonne Jones.
Even More Theater: Staying in? Tune in to KPBS Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. for "Hamlet: On The Radio."
To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.