San Diego Weekend Arts Events: Latinx Theater, San Diego Art Prize, Performance Art And Math Rock
September is upon us. The autumnal scent of pumpkin spice is in the air, back to school shopping is — oh wait. This weekend we will have another heat wave and this is the weirdest back-to-school season of most of our lives. But I've said this since March and I'll keep saying it: There's still art! Always. In San Diego this weekend, you'll find new plays by emerging and acclaimed voices in Latinx theater, a couple of in-person visual art experiences, and an instrumental rock performance live streamed from an empty venue.
San Diego Art Prize
Bread & Salt will open its doors this Saturday for a metered-entry, socially distant and masked opening reception of the 2020 San Diego Art Prize. This is the first time that the four finalists (who voted to share the prize rather than compete) are all women. Alanna Airitam, Kaori Fukuyama, Melissa Walter and Griselda Rosas have each installed new work in the Bread & Salt gallery, and it's a don't-miss chance to see the work of these powerful San Diego-affiliated artists together.
They've been working on these pieces since late last year, with lots of stops and starts and unknowns as the pandemic unfolded. An undeniable common thread: each artist's work has a larger-than-life use of light. After the opening reception, the exhibition will be available to view individually by appointment.
Details: Saturday, 5-8 p.m., and by appointment through Oct. 24. 1955 Julian Ave, Barrio Logan. Free.
More visual art: I have recently confirmed that the figure portrayed in Carlos Castro Arias' massive tapestry, "The Awaken King" is Michael Jackson, shrouded in the myth-like visual tropes and imagery of traditional tapestry, which is worth me bringing up this amazing and massive work of art again. On display now through September 15 at the appointment-only Quint ONE gallery in La Jolla.
Even more visual art: Don't want to be in a room with other people or stare at Zoom? There's a new mural in La Jolla as part of the Athenaeum's "Murals of La Jolla" project. Tijuana artist Marcos Ramirez ERRE has installed a brand new work — replacing ERRE's previous 2015 work — on the side of an office building at 7611 Fay Avenue. The new piece is called "IN CHAINS" and features, optometry-chart style, a quote from the late American bandleader Paul Whiteman: "Jazz came to America three hundred years ago in chains."
San Diego REP's Latinx New Play Festival
The fourth annual Latinx New Play Festival will be entirely online this year, hosted as usual by the San Diego Repertory Theatre and Amigos del REP — a Hispanic/Latino/Chicano theater advocacy group affiliated with the REP. The festival discovers and produces new works by playwrights across North and South America and hosts panels and showcases.
The four plays (and one original showcase work) in this year's festival are scattered throughout the weekend.
Argentinian-born, Brooklyn-based Francisco Mendoza's "Machine Learning," which screens Friday at 5 p.m., is an interesting and weirdly prescient look at how robots could handle health caretaking in our stead. Colombian immigrant Diana Burbano's "Sapience," which is Saturday at noon, tells the story of a zookeeper and primate scientist concealing her autism.
US-based playwright and comic Makasha Copeland's "Extreme Home Makeover" is Saturday at 3 p.m. and is about a family working on an application video for a rags-to-riches reality show. Saturday night, settle in for "Spanking Machine," a showcase performance by Marga Gomez, a "darkly comic memoir" about gender, sexuality, growing up and more. This event is the only part of the festival that has a viewership capacity of 300.
On Sunday at 1 p.m. the final play presentation is Texas playwright Jaymes Sanchez's "The Cucuy Will Find You," which pulls on Mexican-American folklore and a quest to be a good person. Plus, panels about dramaturgy, design, directing and more. After registering, login instructions will be emailed to you.
Details: Friday through Sunday. Online. Per-household festival passes are pay-what-you-can, ranging from free to $250. The REP suggests $50 for a full festival pass.
Elizabeth Salaam: 'Write or Die'
Literature, visual art
This weekend only, You Belong Here, which is an art gallery, event space and coworking collaborative in City Heights, will open their doors for an in-person art exhibition and performance. They're scheduling small group appointments, cleaning the entire venue in between, and requiring masks and other social distancing protocols. For artist and writer Elizabeth Salaam, writing has been a major source of healing and connection for her, and she's sharing that wisdom in "Write or Die," a new multi-installation exhibition. Featuring live writing projected across her body, sculptures crafted from pages of writing, wall hangings from traumatic events in her past and a journal that invites the audience to participate (wearing gloves). And for those not quite ready for that in-gallery art experience yet, you can follow along on Zoom.
You can read my profile of Elizabeth Salaam and learn more about the exhibition here.
Details: One-hour experiences, Friday through Sunday. 3619 El Cajon Blvd. Advance tickets required, $10.
Los Pinche Pinches Livestream
San Diego's Los Pinche Pinches is an instrumental math rock band that blends a harshness with a dash of shoegaze and a steady surf-rock guitar twang. They'll take to the stage at the Casbah to perform to an empty venue, available to livestream on Twitch. Math rock is an especially nerdy way of saying that the music has a lot of complex (but not always overwhelming) drumming, including the irregular beats found in progressive rock like Rush, or contemporary minimal composition.
Details: Saturday, 8:30 p.m. Livestreamed on Twitch. Free/donation-based.
More music: The House of Scotland Pipe Band performs in front of Scottish Treasures Celtic Corner, a small import shop in Coronado, this Saturday (and "most Saturdays") between 3 and 5 p.m. It's the age-old question: why suffer the crowds at the beach a few blocks away when you can listen to bagpipers on the sidewalk?