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Arts & Culture

Culture Lust's June Jubilee

Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby" stars Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan.
Warner Bros. Pictures
Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby" stars Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan.

Summer is almost officially in full swing, and there’s a lot to look forward to. The next three months are destined to keep us all abuzz with arts, culture and everything else in between. If the increase in out-of-towners has you feeling overly exhausted, don’t fret. There are certainly alternatives to a weekend at the beach.

Almost Famous

Cameron Crowe’s "Almost Famous" (2000) not only has ties to San Diego (it’s beyond San Diego famous), but it's also screening next week at The Pearl Hotel as part of their summer Dive-In Theatre series. Lounge poolside, enjoy refreshing beverages and people-watch under the moonlight. If you’re lucky, the crowd might even burst into song during “Tiny Dancer.” That’s something Penny Lane could get on board with. "Almost Famous" screens at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma on Wednesday, June 20.


Cuckoo Chaos

Local natives Cuckoo Chaos kick out the jams later this month at the Tin Can Alehouse in Bankers Hill. Some liken their sound to Paul Simon, while others gravitate toward the Afro-pop vibe. Whatever they are, there’s no denying that there will be an outstanding dance party. Always a good time and full of surprises, the boys of Cuckoo Chaos are not to be missed. They’ll play alongside fellow San Diegans Little Deadman and Ditches on Saturday, June 23.

Fallen Star

Earlier this month, Do Ho Suh’s "Fallen Star" opened to the public. The larger, yet smaller than life work is the 18th permanent sculpture commissioned by UC San Diego’s Stuart Collection. Teetering on the seventh story of UCSD's Jacobs Hall at the Jacobs School of Engineering, the sea foam, miniaturized house is a sight and experience to be had. To enter "Fallen Star" is one part Toontown, one part "Wizard of Oz" and one part complete mind melt. This may be the most surreal piece yet in the Stuart Collection.

The Mynabirds ‘Sophomore’


Like Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes in his musical chairs of a band, so too has singer-songwriter Laura Burhenn created an ever-rotating musical collective with The Mynabirds. The Omaha-based band just released their sophomore album "Generals," which takes an alternative but mystical journey away from their soulful debut album, "What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood." Burhenn is part Jenny Lewis, part Florence Welch, but is really her own force of nature.

Safety Not Guaranteed

In 1997, a man posted a classified ad in Backwoods Home magazine asking for the following: “Wanted: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You'll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. I have only done this once before. Safety not guaranteed.” Fast forward 15 years later with the upcoming Sundance hit film "Safety Not Guaranteed" starring Aubrey Plaza, Jake Johnson and Mark Duplass. Between the quirky plotline and Plaza’s deadpan humor, there’s bound to be an endearing tale. The film is out now at the Landmark Hillcrest and AMC La Jolla theaters.

The Pitch

With the return of AMC’s "Mad Men" came much relief, excitement and inevitable angst. But then came "The Pitch," a real-life "Mad Men" of sorts. Each episode follows two different ad agencies who must make the perfect pitch for a large corporation—from Subway to Waste Management. It becomes both an interesting game of East Coast vs. West Coast dynamics as well as an extremely open look into the pressures of the ad world. Who knew that pitching breakfast sandwiches for Subway could lead to tears?

7 Minutes in Heaven

SNL writer Mike O’Brien’s "7 Minutes in Heaven" takes a classic game of yesteryear and turns it on its head. In his fantastic web shorts, O’Brien spends less than seven minutes in a closet with a variety of comedians and personalities alike—from Amy Poehler and Jon Hamm, to Jeff Goldblum and the boys of Insane Clown Posse. The Q&A banter elicits hilarity, but in the end each short builds up to an awkward (or often) underwhelming kiss.

The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel "The Great Gatsby" has been culturally absorbed by literature courses and party planners alike. It’s no surprise then that the latest (and sixth) film rendition of the novel has already created an equal buzz and uproar. Though it won’t be released until Christmas Day, the trailer has prompted die-hard fans to quickly question the use of Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild.” It’s hard to say whether the film and the original novel will mesh seamlessly, but that’s forever an issue. For now, I can’t wait for the sensory overload that will be this Baz Luhrmann-directed film.

Made in L.A. 2012

"Made in L.A. 2012" is the first Los Angeles biennial and is organized by the Hammer Museum in collaboration with LAXART. The biennial features works by 60 artists from the L.A. area and serves to showcase artists out of the limelight. This smörgåsbord of Angelino art includes a full roster of performance and public programs at venues in Culver City, Los Feliz and Westwood. It’s about time that L.A. artists received recognition of this nature, and maybe with this biennial, as well as the recent "Pacific Standard Time" arts initiative, the world might pay more attention.

The Soft Pack/Heavy Hawaii

San Diego natives The Soft Pack (formerly The Muslims) have been a local staple for quite a while and often elicit the feeling of a fantastically surprising 2 a.m. house party, pure mess and all. Their “I don’t care” attitude is a perfect way to kick off summer. They’ll be playing with other locals Heavy Hawaii on Friday, June 29 at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach. Hawaiian shirts and dance parties are welcome.