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Arts & Culture

Cultural Picks for September

Paul Dano stars as a struggling musician, figuring out his role as a father, in Sundance hit "For Ellen."
Deerjen Films
Paul Dano stars as a struggling musician, figuring out his role as a father, in Sundance hit "For Ellen."

The earth is quaking, the heat wave is ending and the air is getting crisp. Whether you’re starting school or a new adventure, it’s time to bid farewell to summer. Fall is right around the corner and brings plenty of arts and culture happenings worth checking out. It may feel like Mercury is out of retrograde, but perhaps it’s just time to question the norms — and what better way to do that than with a thought-provoking film, a new song or an aesthetically pleasing work of art?

Idyll Wild

It’s hard to get wrapped up in the San Diego music scene. Good news is, there’s a new five-piece band to look out for, featuring three siblings hailing from Lake Havasu. Idyll Wild describe themselves as a “shoegaze ghost band,” which could mean anything. There are certainly elements of Radiohead evident, but almost of a different cosmos entirely. Siblings Blake, Grant and Jade Martz make up three-fifths of the band and together they vibe on introspective levels. With great walls of sound, the future is looking bright. Idyll Wild plays Wednesday, September 19 at Soda Bar in City Heights.



Last year, “Bridesmaids” put Kristin Wiig on the map as a comedic force to be reckoned with. The SNL alumna stood out in an all-star female cast and reminded us that women can be funny (not necessarily in a quirky Zooey Deschanel sort of way). There’s something about Wiig’s sass, comedic timing and physical humor that leave an unforgettable impression. Whether or not you’re a Wiig fan, there’s no doubt that Bridesmaids will make you smile. “Bridesmaids” plays poolside at the Pearl Hotel in Point Loma as part of their "Dive-In Theatre” film series on Wednesday, September 5.

Thee Oh Sees

San Francisco's Thee Oh Sees is known for its garage rock sound, combustible live shows and lead singer John Dwyer’s monster-like vocals. The band's distorted, yet catchy, tunes evoke a dated, but lively spirit. It’s much like encountering a whimsical band of misfits at a Bay Area co-op party, with unknown antics on the horizon. Don’t miss out on this wild and fantastic musical mess when Thee Oh Sees play Bar Pink in North Park on Monday, September 10.

Barrio Logan Art Crawl


As part of Arts Month San Diego (along with Art San Diego Contemporary Art Fair), Barrio Logan Arts District will be hosting the third annual Barrio Block Party. For four days, art lovers can venture outside the bubble of downtown San Diego to the historic (and often forgotten) arts district of Barrio Logan for a self-guided tour of open studios, galleries and local businesses. There are endless treasures between Chicano Park and Las Cuatro Milpas. Good news is, it’s all just a trolley ride away. The Barrio Block Party is Saturday, September 8.

Animal Collective

In a beautiful cacophony of noise comes Animal Collective’s latest album, Centipede Hz, which comes out Sept. 4. The experimental Baltimore band continues to deliver psychedelic, but less ambient jams. Each song is a world of its own, with many elements. There’s also something creepy and psychedelic about the album, as is visualized in the distorted open mouth image on the album cover. There’s no doubt that this is an album, and band, that will consistently keep you on your toes. Animal Collective performs Sunday, September 23, at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.

For Ellen

Sundance hit “For Ellen” stars Paul Dano in a different type of role as a 20-something hipster rocker, who already seems to have reached his peak. With his black hoodie and tired eyes, he appears far more aged than he is. The film explores his own attempt to develop a relationship with his young daughter after a messy divorce. Many tears will be shed on this journey of family and relationships torn apart by music and life on the road. Maybe there’s more to life than “making it.” “For Ellen” opens Wednesday, September 5, in select theaters.

Ryan McGinness

Artist Ryan McGinness has been called “the Warhol of the 21st century.” His largely graphical, brightly colored works draw on contemporary logos and take shape as paintings, sculptures and even entire environments. The multi-layered works seem to take on a life of their own in sheer saturation and complexity. Veering away from his knack for pops of color, McGinness’ works in “Women: New (Re)Presentations” at Quint Contemporary Art explore traditional academic drawings of the female nude in a deconstructed light. "Women New (Re)Presentations” opens Saturday, September 15 (and runs through Nov. 3) at Quint Contemporary Art in La Jolla.

Que Viva! Cine Latino

The San Diego Latino Film Festival (SDLFF) is a staple to both the film community in San Diego and beyond, since its inception 19 years ago. Good news is, SDLFF fans don’t have to wait until March for the latest batch of Latino films. “Que Viva! Cine Latino” kicks off this month, as a showcase for critically acclaimed Latino films and documentaries of the year. Every Wednesday this month, various films will be screened at Otay Ranch Town Center, including Academy Award-nominated “A Better Life,” starring Demián Bichir (known by many as Esteban Reyes, the fictional mayor of Tijuana on Showtime's “Weeds.”) The series starts Wednesday, September 5 and runs through Wednesday, September 26 at Otay Ranch Town Center in Otay Ranch.

FM 94/9 Independence Jam

San Diego’s own purveyors of alternative radio, FM 94/9 host its ninth annual Independence Jam this month. Past performers have included Rogue Wave, Delta Spirit, The Black Keys and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. This year’s lineup features '90s moody songstress Fiona Apple, California loving Best Coast and the nature-oriented boys of Gardens & Villa. Why not journey to the Oceanside Pier Amphitheater for some good jams to ring in the first days of fall? The FM 94/9 Independence Jam is Sunday, September 16.

Behold America!

Three San Diego art museums — the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the San Diego Museum of Art and the Timken Museum of Art — are collaborating for an exhibition featuring American works from their collections. “Behold America!” is grouped into three main sections: “Frontiers, Figures and Forms,” with each venue showcasing works from all three collections. “Frontiers” presents works dealing with the United States landscape, “Figures” focuses on the human form in American art and “Forms” features still life works. From Thomas Eakins and Georgia O’Keeffe to Sol Le Witt and Cindy Sherman, there’s something for everyone. “Behold America!” opens Sunday, September 16, and runs through Sunday, February 10, 2013, at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla, the San Diego Museum of Art and the Timken Museum of Art in Balboa Park.