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Arts & Culture

San Diego Weekend Arts Events: Book Crawl, 'The Mountaintop,' UC San Diego MFAs, Drive-In Opera And QRT.yrd Jazz

San Diego's Bluestocking Books, pictured in an undated photo, will participate in the 2021 San Diego Book Crawl to celebrate Independent Bookstore Day on Saturday, Apr. 24, 2021.
Julia Dixon Evans
San Diego's Bluestocking Books, pictured in an undated photo, will participate in the 2021 San Diego Book Crawl to celebrate Independent Bookstore Day on Saturday, Apr. 24, 2021.

This weekend in the arts: Independent Bookstore Day, The Roustabouts Theatre, "Measurements of Progress," "The Barber of Seville" drive-in opera and pianist Christian Sands.

This week, check out our in-depth features on a new exhibition of paintings and augmented reality by San Diego artist Chitra Gopalakrishnan, The Old Globe's radio drama production of "Hamlet," and a look at the April selection for FilmOut, San Diego’s LGBTQ film festival, "Tu Me Manques." And read on for more editor's picks for things to do, see and hear in town (and on your screens) this weekend.

San Diego Book Crawl


Why just patronize one shop on Independent Bookstore Day, when you can try to hit up as many as possible? Eleven local independent booksellers are participating in the annual San Diego Book Crawl on Saturday, and it's a great way to support the local indie bookstore scene after a weird and difficult year for them.

Some stores are only open for online shopping, but most have hybrid options. And for in-person shoppers, if you spend $35, you can get an extremely cool and extremely limited official San Diego Book Crawl enamel pin by artist Susie Ghahremani featuring a seal reading a book.

Participating shops are: The Book Catapult, Diesel Del Mar, UC San Diego Bookstore, Bluestocking Books, The Library Shop, Mysterious Galaxy, La Playa Books, Verbatim Books, Run For Cover, Bay Books and Warwick's. And if you're working on your shopping list, be sure to check out KPBS' books coverage for some San Diego connections.

Independent Bookstore Day also has a full slate of virtual programming, author events and activities you can find here.

Details: Saturday, various hours and locations. The San Diego Book Crawl Linktree has details for each seller.

Director Kandace Crystal in an undated photo.
Courtesy of Roustabouts Theatre Co.
Director Kandace Crystal in an undated photo.

'The Mountaintop'


The Roustabouts Theatre Co. partnered with The American History Theater and Teenage Youth Performing Arts Theatre Company (TYPA) to put together this new production of Katori Halls' play, "The Mountaintop," which chronicles a single night in Memphis: April 3, 1968, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. returns to his motel room the night before his assassination. I really like the use of a single set (or near-single set) and miniscule casts in virtual plays, because it feels appropriately and intentionally intimate, especially when I inevitably watch on a laptop or phone screen. It's directed by Kandace Crystal, and features Caiel Noble and Ashley Graham.

Details: Streams on demand Saturday through May 16. $25.

'Measurements Of Progress': 2021 Graduating MFA Exhibition

Visual Art

Feast your eyes on the work of twelve visionary and emerging students of art, educated in the UC San Diego visual arts MFA program. Each graduating "master" has work on display, and the works center on ideas of measuring or quantifying the increments of progress and success. UC San Diego has no shortage of talent, so this is a great opportunity to discover some artists to watch. Plus, it's at the newly reopened San Diego Art Institute, one of a few remaining shows before it officially becomes ICA San Diego in September.

Featuring: Ana c. Andrade, Juan Bastardo, Bailey Davenport, Thien Hoang Doan, Grace Grothaus, Kirstyn Hom, Işık Kaya, Oscar Magallanes, Carolina Montejo, Alex Neuman, Alan Skelton, and Lauryn Smith.

Details: On view by appointment, Friday through May 30. 1439 El Prado, Balboa Park. $5-25, donation based.

One of the costumes that inspired director Keturah Stickann to giver San Diego Opera's "The Barber of Seville" a "Laugh-In" vibe.
One of the costumes that inspired director Keturah Stickann to giver San Diego Opera's "The Barber of Seville" a "Laugh-In" vibe.

'The Barber Of Seville'


The drive-in opera is back. Following their successful production of "La Bohème" in the fall — which supplied more than 300 event industry jobs — San Diego Opera is presenting Rossini's iconic work, "The Barber of Seville" for just four performances in the Sports Arena parking lot.

It's a 90 minute performance, featuring the San Diego Symphony and the San Diego Opera Chorus on the famous soundtrack, sung in Italian with English supertitles projected onto the screen. The titular barber, Figaro, supplies the romantic comedy as he plays matchmaker.

Considering taking your kids to the drive-in opera? Make your own decision after reading this. And check out our feature on this production of "The Barber of Seville" here.

Details: Sunday at 7:30 p.m., with additional performances Apr. 27, 30, and May 1. 3500 Sports Arena Blvd., San Diego. $200-300, with a guarantee to accommodate cancellations.

Christian Sands At The QRT.yrd

Music, Jazz

Grammy-nominated jazz pianist Christian Sands will grace the new Wu Tsai QRT.yrd at the La Jolla Music Society's Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center. It's a limited seating outdoor venue, bedecked with twinkly lights and an included drink ticket — so it's sure to have that long-awaited live music feel. Sands' work is mostly progressive fusion jazz, but check out this strangely moody cover of Steve Winwood's hit, "Can't Find My Way Home."

Tickets are selling out fast, and the 8 p.m. show is already sold out. (If you want to plan ahead, you can find the full season calendar of shows here.)

Details: Saturday at 5 p.m. 7600 Fay Ave., La Jolla. $70-80.

For more arts and culture events in San Diego, go to the KPBS/Arts calendar. And be sure to sign up for the weekly KPBS/Arts newsletter here.