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Arts & Culture

San Diego Weekend Arts Events: 'Toward Belonging,' Drive-In Opera LOLs, 'Crying In H-Mart,' And Exhibitions Closing Soon

Jasmine Rafael and Ala Tiatia perform in the dance film "Towards Belonging," which launches Saturday, May 1, 2021.
Beto Soto
Jasmine Rafael and Ala Tiatia perform in the dance film "Towards Belonging," which launches Saturday, May 1, 2021.

This weekend in the arts: A dance film commissioned by the La Jolla Playhouse, "The Barber of Seville" drive-in, virtual Mission Creek Festival and the Domestic Geographies open house

This weekend in the arts, there's a new dance film that highlights the stories of Southeast San Diego, it’s our last chance to see an exhibition of works from 30 artists living in the border region. Also work from some of the finest emerging contemporary artists studying art today.

Remember that vaguely anxious feeling that you forgot to go check out a thing or a show or an exhibition before it closed? That feeling is back. While this week's arts options are packed with fresh and exciting new options, I've also included a quick flash round of art exhibitions closing within the week to pre-empt all of our best "I've been meaning to see that" excuses.

Plus, don't miss our latest KPBS/Arts features with even more productions and things to check out. Listen to new music from Mexicali-based band Silent, stream the staged, filmed production of "The Mountaintop" about MLK's final night (weekends only through May 14), plus Turnkey Theatre's interactive audio story-enhanced board game, "Homecoming: A Meditation on the Natural World," with no closing date needed. And read on for all of this weekend's editor's picks.

'Towards Belonging'

Dance, Film

The world premiere watch party for the La Jolla Playhouse's "Towards Belonging," is on Saturday at 11 a.m. It's a dance film, choreographed by Maraya Performing Arts' own Anjanette Maraya-Ramey, and commissioned by the Playhouse to portray stories of Southeast San Diego. Tune in Saturday morning for a panel discussion, including Maraya-Ramey and filmmaker Eboni Harvey (known as Eb Of Course). There's music by Adrian Cantero and Kristopher Apple, with soundscapes by David's Harp Foundation, an appearance by Gill Sotu and such a local star-studded lineup of dancers and other arts champions.

Details: Saturday at 11 a.m. Virtual, but RSVP required. Free.

More dance: Disco RIOT's 'Stories Starting With…' is a presentation of live dance performances and dance film screenings before an audience, featuring original choreography. The Saturday performance is sold out, but limited tickets are still available for Sunday at 8 p.m. Location provided after ticket purchase. $37.

'The Barber Of Seville' Drive-In

Opera, Music

Rossini's 1816 opera is already a comedy, but there's something about the way the San Diego Opera's team leaned into everything they're up against with pandemic restrictions: it's a drive-in within a drive-in, there's plenty of social distancing gags (how does a barber shave someone from 6 ft. away?), there's a very pandemic-hobby appropriate crocheting side plot, and there's even reality show-esque camera confessionals. I'm not sure how purists would feel about the 1960s rock 'n roll costumes, but I personally never want to see an opera without them now. Jokes and novelties aside, the sets are vivid, the San Diego Symphony's orchestral accompaniment is gorgeous and bright, and the performers are absolutely flawless. Mezzo-soprano Emily Fons as Rosina is expressive and stunning. Just two performances remain.

Details: Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m. (note the time change). 3500 Sports Arena Blvd, 92110. $200 per car for general admission, $300 for VIP, and you can bring as many people as your vehicle has seatbelts.

Mezzo soprano Emily Fons is Rosina in San Diego Opera's drive-in production of "The Barber of Seville," which runs through Saturday, May 1, 2021.
J. Kat Woronowicz
Mezzo soprano Emily Fons is Rosina in San Diego Opera's drive-in production of "The Barber of Seville," which runs through Saturday, May 1, 2021.

More music: The San Diego Symphony continues its digital concert series with "Early Genius: Fugues and Serenades." It's a collection of works by greats that were written when they were young — including Mozart, Edward Elgar and Mendelssohn. Streams online beginning Friday at 7 p.m. $20.

The cover of Michelle Zauner's "Crying in H-Mart."
Courtesy of Penguin Random House
The cover of Michelle Zauner's "Crying in H-Mart."

Mission Creek Festival: Japanese Breakfast And Brandon Taylor

Literature, Music

If you missed this week's episode of 1A on NPR that featured Michelle Zauner, known as the musical act Japanese Breakfast and author of the new memoir "Crying in H-Mart," you can listen here, and catch Zauner at the virtual Mission Creek Festival. Zauner will perform and discuss work with author Brandon Taylor, whose recent novel "Real Life" was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Mission Creek is a renowned literary and music festival based in Iowa City, and this year's event features two nights — Thursday and Friday — all without traveling to Iowa. One ticket gets you full access to both nights.

Details: Friday beginning at 5 p.m. (7 p.m. CT), with a replay available through May 3. Virtual. $20.

More Literature: The Día Del Niño Bilingual Book Fest takes place online Friday through Sunday, with storytelling, readings and activities from authors, editors, artists, podcasters and more. All ages and free.

'Domestic Geographies' Open House

Visual Art

If you've put off seeing this incredible group show at The Front Arte and Cultura in San Ysidro, there's just over a week left. This Saturday, you can pop in to their open house, view the works and enjoy snacks on the outdoor patio, along with a live DJ set by Lucy Liebre. The exhibition features 30 artists working in the border region, with painting, photography, video and mixed media. There's something unifying and coherent about the entirety of the show, and the disparate ways these artists have interpreted the domestic landscape. Don't miss Kim Sweeney's "Fish Loop Soup," Irma Sofia Poeter's "Time Out," Victoria Fava's "303 Encinos" and Claudia Canos' 8-panel pop-art piece, "Tareas de Limpieza."

Details: Saturday from 5-8 p.m. (or viewable by appointment through May 7). 147 W. San Ysidro Blvd., San Ysidro. Free.

"Tareas de Limpieza (Cleaning Tasks) 2021" by Claudia Cano is part of "Domestic Geographies," a multidisciplinary exhibition curated by Ingrid Hernández. The exhibition closes May 7, 2021.
Courtesy of The Front Arte and Cultura
"Tareas de Limpieza (Cleaning Tasks) 2021" by Claudia Cano is part of "Domestic Geographies," a multidisciplinary exhibition curated by Ingrid Hernández. The exhibition closes May 7, 2021.

More visual art closing soon: A quick list of incredible visual art exhibitions closing this weekend or in the coming week: Carlos Castro Arias' "Remorses and Other Maladies" at Bread and Salt through Friday; Bilal Mohamed's photography (and book!) "The Unseen" at Swish Projects through Sunday; the "Earth Sign" group show at False Cast through May 7; Joshua Moreno's "Everything is Temporary" at ICE Gallery through May 8; "Young Art 2021" at SDMA through May 9.

For more arts events, visit the KPBS/Arts calendar, and be sure to sign up for my weekly KPBS/Arts newsletter here.