Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live

Arts & Culture

Events: North Park Festival, Crystal Castles And 'The Beaver'

Events: North Park Festival, Chrystal Castles And 'The Beaver'
Street festivals are in full swing in San Diego now that spring has arrived. We'll talk about options for your weekend and get the behind-the-scenes scoop on Mel Gibson's new movie, "The Beaver."

Street festivals are in full swing in San Diego now that spring has arrived. We'll talk about options for your weekend and get the behind-the-scenes scoop on Mel Gibson's new movie, "The Beaver."


Beth Accomando is the KPBS film critic and author of the blog Cinema Junkie.


Kinsee Morlan is the arts and entertainment editor at San Diego CityBeat.

Peter Holslin is the music editor at San Diego CityBeat.

Read Transcript

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.

CAVANAUGH: That was the Grammy winning swing band, asleep at the wheel, along with the great Willie Nelson. [CHECK AUDIO] after going dormant through the winter, street festivals are popping up all over San Diego. And we'll be talking with a few happening this weekend. But first, before we do that, I want to tell you that you're listening to These Days on KPBS. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. And we're gonna check in with KPBS film critic, Beth Accomando, about an odd movie that opens this weekend. It's called the beaver. It stars Mel Gibson as a depressed man who communicates through a hand puppet of the puppet is a beaver, and it has an Australian accent of here's a scene from the movie with Gibson and Jody foster who directs and stars in the film.

FOSTER: Hello. The person who handed you this card is under the care of a prescription puppet. Walter, what the hell is this?

GIBSON: Did you read the card?


FOSTER: Yes, I --

GIBSON: Read the card.


GIBSON: Read the card.

FOSTER: The person who handed you this card is under the care of a prescription puppet designed to help create a psychological distance between himself and the negative aspects of his personality. Please treat him as you normally would, but address yourself to the puppet. Thank you.

GIBSON: There you go.

FOSTER: Is this some kind of a joke?

GIBSON: Oh, hardly, love. [CHECK AUDIO].

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Beth, is this some kind of a joke?

ACCOMANDO: I wish were it. I wish it were funnier on some levels.

CAVANAUGH: Well, let's look at it. This film was crippled before it even finished production, in part by its star. What happened? Remind us, at that time, and how did some at the studio releasing the film called summit deal with the bad dress around Mel Gibson.

ACCOMANDO: Well, you know, having Mel Gibson in it is both a curse and a blessing, [CHECK AUDIO] leading up to it, and during this, in case you don't remember, he made anitsemitic remarks, he also had a problem with his girlfriend and there were some --

CAVANAUGH: Terrible phone messages.

ACCOMANDO: Yes. And abuse, alleged abuse and things like this. So the studio didn't necessarily want to release this at the height of all the publicity that the negative publicity that he was getting. So they kind of tabled it for a while. So it's had a little bit of a rocky start. They had a release date, then they decided to do this kind of slow roll out, so in the hopes they had it at the south by southwest festival [CHECK AUDIO] and they could open it in some theatres, and then roll it out across the U.S. but that didn't really work.

CAVANAUGH: It has gotten some very good reviews. What did you think of his performance though, Mel Gibson in this?

ACCOMANDO: You know, he does a good job. And there is that certain blurred line between where does fact and fiction kind of separate? He is a character that is having a melt down. He is trying to come back from it. There are moments where you feel like huh, I wonder how close this is to what really happened to him. The main problem is the film itself. It's a film that wants to be dark and constantly is telling us that, you know, we're not -- you know what's going on to this character is dark and it's dangerous, and it's tragic. And you don't normally get this point of view. And -- but then it ends up giving us exactly what it claims it won't. It says it won't give you the Hollywood ending, and it does.

CAVANAUGH: I see. So is this the movie that is going to resurrect Mel Gibson's career, Beth?

ACCOMANDO: I highly doubt that beaver is going to bring him back into public good graces.

CAVANAUGH: It sounds like it's the kind of thing that sounds like it was a good idea at the time. But just doesn't translate.

ACCOMANDO: Well, originally, Jim cary and Steve Carrell had been attached to the project, which maybe [CHECK AUDIO] on the one hand tries to be dark and disturbing, and on the other hand kind of humorous, and it never commits to either side. So it either really needed to be much more dark, or it needed to be more bizarrely funny. And it was neither. It's kind of bland of I guess that's the thing. You have a hand puppet that some guy is trying to deal with his depression through. And it's kind of mundane.

CAVANAUGH: Well, I want to thank you, Beth. We have been talking about the new movie starring Mel Gibson called the beaver. And that was -- we talked about it with KPBS film critic, Beth Accomando. Thank you.


CAVANAUGH: And now we turn to our experts. Kinsee Morlan is the arts and entertainment editor and San Diego City Beat. Good morning.

MORLAN: Good morning, thanks for having me.

CAVANAUGH: And Peter Holslin is the music editor at San Diego Citybeat. Hi, Peter.

HOLSLIN: What's going down, Maureen?

CAVANAUGH: You, nothing till you got here, Peter. Let's start with Kinsee. And I mentioned that the festivals are popping up again. So we have the fifteenth annual Northpark festival of arts. What do you like about this festival?

MORLAN: The noodle dancing hippies.


MORLAN: That's my favorite. No, just kidding.

HOLSLIN: Can't go wrong. They're at every festival, right? They just pop up out of normal. I mean, it's in Northpark, the neighborhood where I live, work, and play. So I like the fact that it, you know, Northpark has gone through a lot of growth in the last decade. But this festival really is trying to maintain its identity as an arts neighborhood. So I love that fact, as is implicit in the title, it's an arts festival. Every year they're kind of doubled the amount of artists they have. So this year, there's 40 juried artists, 40 plus juried artists issue and that's everything from sculpture to painting, to you as much print making, jewelry, if you're of the jewelry type, and the music and dance, and it's just a day oh, fun.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: When talking about the live entertainment, what are the highlights.


MORLAN: Well, you've got some good local bands, low volts, an act that Peters actually will talk about later in the show.

HOLSLIN: Yep yep.

MORLAN: Grand torrential, of the school of rock kids will be out. [CHECK AUDIO] and flamenco, and I would be remiss not to mention the fact that that toady and the lips girls will be there, drag queen entertainment de jure, my favorite.

HOLSLIN: Woo-hoo!

MORLAN: Yeah, I'm a big fan. So there's jazz and kind of rootsy music [CHECK AUDIO].

CAVANAUGH: And it's a good idea to take public transportation?

MORLAN: Well, yeah, isn't it, like, bike to workday tomorrow, I think, and bike to week work. Or bike to work week. How's that? So you should ride your bike. They have a bike ballet that you can just park your bike. There's a huge parking garage, if you must drive your car. But really Northpark is a biking neighborhood, so if you want to fit in, you should ride your bike. And you know what? I can't leave without talking about the craft beer block that's going on at the festival. 30th street is really becoming known as a place filled with restaurants and bars, that serve some of the best craft beer in the city. So hit that up as well.

CAVANAUGH: You would have been a fool not to mention that.

MORLAN: I know, I know. Trying to get it all in here.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: The Northpark festival of arts takes place Sunday at university and 30th. Peter, crystal castles is playing thea flux tonight of tell us about that them.

HOLSLIN: Well, I think the best way to describe crystal castles is they're a techno band for hipsters. They're an electronic music duo from Ontario, and they play just dark, creepy, dissonant music that's also extremely catchy. So it's got that hipster vibe, that if you don't like house music, and if you don't like going to the club generally, then this is something that you can cross your arms to and listen to and watch and enjoy. Because it's got that edge to it, that hard edge.

CAVANAUGH: Let's listen to. This is crystal castles of it's a track called Celeste ca.

(Audio Recording Played).

CAVANAUGH: That is Celestica from the group, Crystal Castles, and they recently played at Coachella, right?


CAVANAUGH: How was that?

HOLSLIN: Well, it's an interesting story. Their sicker, Alice glass, had a broken ankle, and she was on a crutch. But she killed it! Like she, like jumped around on stage and there was strobe lights, and it was just the most intense show. I mean, I wasn't there, I didn't see it. But I read reviews. And that's how, you know, etch Mr. Everybody described it. Upon and the thing is, like, I think flux is probably the best venue you could see this band at because Flux has the craziest lighting system. --

MORLAN: Great sound system too.

HOLSLIN: Yeah, it's got a [CHECK AUDIO] and it's just the craziest looking club. So I feel like it would really match their sound really well. And it would just be so intense and overwhelming that you're just gonna get sucked in.

CAVANAUGH: And you can see if the lead singer's off her crisps right?


MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Crystal castles plays at Flux downtown tonight. We're going to a taste of Saigon, Kinsee. It's this weekend. And tell us about this event. 'Cause it's -- this really is a taste, isn't it?

MORLAN: It is. And little Saigon is an emerging cultural business district, it's been high land avenue and Euclid on El Cajon boulevard. And it's just a really -- I know if you've driven through, you've noticed the Asian or Vietnamese flare that kind of hits you over the head as you drive through. They're working on making that even more prominent and noticeable. So keep an eye in this district. And I think in the next few years, you'll see more and more cultural events like this. And joule hear more with it. And if you've never been, this is a great opportunity. Vietnamese food is amazing, and especially some of the restaurants on the lineup. It should be a good event so --

CAVANAUGH: What sounds really interesting about this is that there's a walking tour. I mean, you can even get a guided tour through a section of this neighborhood.

MORLAN: Right. I was recently part of a photo project. And we went through this neighborhood by foot and just took photograph it is of kind of more of the cultural sites along El Cajon boulevard. And I mean, there's the Asia business center, which, I mean, you look at it, and it's just a unique looking building for San Diego, there's little tiny shops that you just don't see anywhere else. You know? It's a lot like San Francisco has their China town, and this is really -- this is ours. This is little Saigon, it's gonna be very cool of it's gonna be one of the more comfortable parts of San Diego. So I can't wait to see what happens. And raft week, getting back to the food, since this is a taste, I tried a Vietnamese sandwich. Aren't you a fan?

HOLSLIN: I love the Vietnamese sandwiches. All varieties, pork, chicken, vegetarian.

MORLAN: Yeah, I tried the vegetarian one. And was it so good. So good. So cally bagget will be on the list of the tastings, and noodles, pho, king. You gotta be careful with that one, don't say it too quickly together. But that's on the list as one of the favorite Vietnamese restaurants. Sorry. I did it okay, didn't I?


HOLSLIN: Here's hoping they have an avocado shake, [CHECK AUDIO].

MORLAN: That sounds,a mazing. I've never had one, Peter.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I'm glad you two are talking because I can't regain myself here.

MORLAN: Sorry, Maureen.

CAVANAUGH: We were talking earlier these days with chef Su-Mei Yu, and Caron golden, and we were talking with the taste of Saigon, and also how people become intimidated going into new restaurants and gaucherie [CHECK AUDIO] foreign language, and so an event like this, you actually get -- your hand is held to go and experience something like this.

MORLAN: It radio. I am one of those too. Where I get a little intimidated when I don't know how to pronounce what it is I want to order. So this will really help you get introduced to Vietnamese cuisine.

CAVANAUGH: Do you have to have tickets.

MORLAN: You do. If you buy them now, they're ten bucks, and if you buy them [CHECK AUDIO] they're 12. So it's a pretty good deal for a lot of food.

CAVANAUGH: Let me tell everyone, taste of sigh know do, it takes place in little sigh gone in the El Cajon district [CHECK AUDIO].

MORLAN: It begins, I think at one.

CAVANAUGH: On Sunday or Saturday?

MORLAN: Saturday. Sorry. It's just on Saturday. Yeah, I don't have my nets in front of people I was just gonna wing it today.

CAVANAUGH: That's okay. It's in the afternoon.

MORLAN: Google it, people, Google.

CAVANAUGH: Okay, Peter, hoe volts at the Casbah are playing Friday night. Tell us about low volts.

HOLSLIN: Low volts is a one man band fronted by Tim Lowman, he's a local musician. And he is just the gnarliest dude. He rides Harley Davidsons, he's been riding them all his life, and he performs in Ia wife beater and sun glasses. And he just plays these massive blues riffs, and you know, these vintage rock riffs like '50s rock on his guitar. And he plays, like, slide guitar, and while he said playing, he pounds out this beat on a kick crumb. And so it's just this driving, massive music.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: For those of people who don't know that piece of clothing that his that unfortunate name is sort of like a rolled up sleeved T-shirt right?

HOLSLIN: It's like an under shirt, like a tank top.

CAVANAUGH: Right, right. Yeah.

MORLAN: It allows him to show his gorgeous muscles.

HOLSLIN: Exactly. And I don't want to ruin this guy's credibility here but he is actually also a really nice guy.

CAVANAUGH: Okay. All right. We don't tell anybody. What are his live performances like?

HOLSLIN: Well, I saw him last week, actually, at the shake down bar, which is this punk rock dive in sports arena. And as I was watching him play, I was like, this is the perfect atmosphere for this guy to play because he's just -- it's just stripped down, it's loud, and it's fast, and it's heavy. And it's rock.

CAVANAUGH: Wow. Okay. Well, let's hear what he sounds like. This is low volts. And it's a cut called I cried my guts out.

(Audio Recording Played).

CAVANAUGH: That's low volts, I cried my guts out. And Peter, can you tell us just a little bit about little hurricane? Coheadlining with low volts at the Casbah?

HOLSLIN: Yeah, little hurricane, they're a blues rock group that's been getting a lot of love in San Diego over the past year. And they're also just a pretty gnarly band. They play heavy blues rock riffs. Kind of in the style of the white stripes or the black keys, and they actually went on this slow tour for -- they left in late 2010 and came back recently, and their plan was to tour the country and spend several weeks in each location. And thigh returned recently kind of realizing that they need to get on, like, a bigger bill or they need to work harder. But yeah, so they're a hard working group. And they play hard.


MORLAN: I can see how low volts and little cur cane go well together of it's that stripped down but a lot of sound coming from just a few people.

CAVANAUGH: Right, exactly.

HOLSLIN: Yeah, for sure.

CAVANAUGH: This one man band and then a two-person group right?

MORLAN: Right.


CAVANAUGH: Row volts and little hurricane play the Casbah tomorrow night. I want to U this. Thank you so much, Kinsee and Peter for talking to us.

MORLAN: Thank you, Maureen. We look forward to the challenges we're excited.

CAVANAUGH: Well, I'm gonna tell people just a lot bit about that in just a minute.