San Diego weekend arts events: 'Peter and the Wolf,' Katie Ruiz, Best Practice and more
Speaker 1: (00:00)
Today on our weekend preview opera singer, Stephanie bleive performs the music of Johnny Mercer artists. Katie Ruiz installs a new a friend of, for the San Diego Botanic gardens fall festival. The symphony brings a beloved children's story to life at the shell, and there's an art auction at the bread and salt complex. Joining me with all the details as KPBS arts editor and producer Julia Dickson Evans, and welcome
Speaker 2: (00:26)
Julia. Hi Maureen. Thanks for having me
Speaker 1: (00:29)
First. Let's talk about San Diego opera's presentation on Saturday with Metso soprano, Stephanie bleive. What can we expect?
Speaker 2: (00:38)
So Stephanie Blake is an absolute powerhouse in the opera and she last performed with the San Diego opera back in 2014. But for this show, which is the opera's first indoor performance of any kind, since they pivoted to drive in shows during the pandemic, this is going to be just Stephanie Blythe and a pianist on stage at the Balboa theater. And it's just going to be the music of Johnny Mercer. I talked to Stephanie blight this week and I asked her why Johnny Mercer,
Speaker 3: (01:12)
To my mind, he's probably one of the most important parts of the American songbook. Not only because he was a great lyricist because he was a great performer. He was a great collaborator. He was a producer. He was the face of the American songbook. There is no other lyricists in, I think in the history of, of the art form that was more visible to the public than Johnny Mercer. And he indeed was a storyteller. If you watch footage of him performing, it feels like you know him.
Speaker 2: (01:48)
So the format is a cabaret style and Stephanie Blythe is known for her storytelling as well. And she'll fill in the evening with stories and history about each of Mercer's songs. And we're listening to an earlier adaptation of a, of a medley of Mercer songs recorded by bluff for her 2014 album called as long as there are sons it's any place I hang. My hat is home from St. Louis And the performance on Saturday will feature all brand new adaptations, including hits like moon river, and then some lesser known Mercer works or works. We don't quite know our Johnny Mercer like Barry Manilow's when October goes,
Speaker 1: (02:34)
Stephanie Blythe performs the music of the great American lyricist, Johnny Mercer Saturday at seven 30 at the Balbo with theater. Now, speaking of storytelling, the San Diego symphony is bringing in poet Gil. So to, to narrate their performance of a beloved children's classic. Tell us about this.
Speaker 2: (02:53)
Yeah, they're performing Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf, which is where generations of music lovers developed their own animal based identification system for the instruments in an orchestra. I am an oboist, so I'm partial to the duck and it's really a beautiful piece of music with a sweet story to go along with it. It's known as a symphonic fairytale for children
Speaker 4: (03:17)
Speaker 2: (03:29)
Plus I love Gail. So two's work as a poet and spoken word performer. So expect him to bring a lot of heart to this story.
Speaker 1: (03:38)
The San Diego symphony performs Peter and the Wolf at the shell on Saturday at 11:30 AM in the visual art world. What's on it, bread and salt. This weekend
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Bread and salt in Logan Heights has home to best practice, a small, but steadfast art space that moved in about a year ago. And they're holding an art auction fundraiser this weekend in person with works from about 65 artists. And the list of participants is incredible. There's Tom Driscoll, KRA Fukiyama Yasmeen Kasem, Richard Kelly, to name a few. And it's a great opportunity for collectors or hopeful collectors to scope out new works or discover new artists and support a local gallery. And for the rest of us, it's 65 works of art. We get to see plus best practice still has the Elida Cervantes exhibition. That's on view, which is bold and kind of wild too.
Speaker 1: (04:35)
The best practice art auction takes place Saturday from six to eight 30 at the bread and salt complex in the north county, the San Diego Botanic garden will kick off their fall festival. The festival day, Donio this weekend, including new work by artists, Katie Ruiz. Tell us about this.
Speaker 2: (04:55)
Yeah, it's a 10 day long fall festival and the gardens commissioned artists, Katie Ruiz to design and install, and a friend of that, which is the traditional DIA de Los Muertos altar and Ruiz decided to dedicate the work to the late Chicano activist and artists, Yolanda Lopez. She's painted a portrait of Lopez based on the Tableau Vivaan series of photographs. Those are now on view at the museum of contemporary art, San Diego, which is an exhibition absolutely worth checking out too. I talked to Ruiz this week and she said that this is the first public alter she's worked on. So she wanted to dedicate it to Lopez
Speaker 5: (05:35)
Like a really great opportunity to showcase a Chicano artists like myself, who was born and raised in Southern California and worked very hard to make extremely brave images. Um, that allow me to be brave in my work.
Speaker 2: (05:54)
In addition to the a friend of Ruiz installed a curtain of her signature pompoms in a nearby tree, and their visitors can write the names of loved ones on little tags and tie them to the strings, the gardens and the Frendo will be open daily. But this Saturday San Diego Botanic garden will host things like face painting and crafts throughout the day, as well as performances from children's banned hullabaloo at 11 and the mariachi reality San Diego band from two to four,
Speaker 1: (06:25)
The San Diego Botanic garden fall festival takes place Saturday from 10 to 4:00 PM. And the Frendo will be on view during the gardens regular daily visiting hours through November. First for details on these and more arts events or to sign up for Julia's weekly KPBS arts newsletter go to kpbs.org/arts. I've been speaking to KPBS arts editor and producer Julia Dixon Evans. And thanks a lot, Julia.
Speaker 2: (06:54)
Thank you, Maureen. Have a good weekend.
Speaker 4: (06:57)
Katie Ruiz at Festival de Otoño
Visual art, Music
The San Diego Botanic Garden's fall festival, Festival de Otoño, pairs cultural fall traditions with, of course, plants. On my radar: SDBG commissioned Xicana artist Katie Ruiz to design and install an ofrenda, the traditional Día de los Muertos altar — and Ruiz is dedicating the work to the late Chicana artist Yolanda López.
Ruiz painted a portrait of López based on the "Tableaux Vivant" series of photographs now on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Ruiz said that this is the first public altar she has worked on, so she wanted to dedicate it to López.
"Yolanda López is someone really important to me because she's a Chicana artist whose shoulders I get to stand on now," Ruiz said. "I thought it would be sort of a nice ode to paint her the way that she had done for her grandmother and herself and her mom sewing in those Guadalupe pieces. So I chose her because I felt like it was the perfect opportunity to honor her."
Ruiz said that she hopes the altar will serve as a place where people who know of López's work can come to remember her, but also that it might inspire people who don't yet know her work to learn more.
"[It's] a really great opportunity to showcase a Chicana artist like myself who was born and raised in Southern California and worked very hard to make extremely brave images that allow me to be brave in my work," Ruiz said.
In addition to Ruiz's ofrenda, she's installed a curtain of her signature pom poms in a nearby tree. Visitors can write the names of loved ones on tags and tie them to the strings. The pom poms were created in community with a local Girl Scout troop.
The gardens and the ofrenda will be open daily, but they're highlighting two dates with special activities — this Saturday, Oct. 23, and Sunday Oct. 31.
This Saturday, SDBG will host face painting and crafts throughout the day, as well as performances from the children's band Hullabaloo at 11 a.m., and the Mariachi Real de San Diego band from 2-4 p.m.
Details: Saturday, Oct. 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The garden is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the ofrenda on view through Monday, Nov. 1. Tickets are sold by time-slot — and be sure to grab the Kids Free San Diego deal to get a free youth admission with each adult ticket purchase. San Diego Botanic Garden, 230 Quail Gardens Dr., Encinitas. $0-18.
'Peter and the Wolf'
Music, Literature, Family
Gill Sotu, Prokofiev and The Shell? Sign me up. "Peter and the Wolf" is where generations of other music lovers developed an animal-based identification system for the sounds and instruments of the orchestra. The San Diego Symphony will perform the work, a "Symphonic Fairy Tale for Children," alongside Ravel's "Suite from Mother Goose." Rafael Payare conducts, and the story will be narrated by influential San Diego poet and spoken word performer Gill Sotu.
Details: Saturday, Oct. 23 at 11:30 a.m. The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, 222 Marina Park Way, downtown. $20-50 (kids 2 and under who do not require their own seat are free).
More music: Stephanie Blythe performs an intimate evening of Johnny Mercer tunes, courtesy of the San Diego Opera. This is a perfect transition to indoor concerts for opera lovers with just Blythe and a pianist on stage at the Balboa Theatre, Saturday at 7:30 p.m. I recently chatted with both Blythe and San Diego Opera's general director David Bennett, and you can read the feature here.
Best Practice Art Auction
Best Practice gallery is holding an art auction on site on Saturday with works up for grabs (and for viewing) by something like 65 artists (I counted!) — including Tom Driscoll, Kaori Fukuyama, Marina Grize, Matthew Hebert, Richard Keely, Yasmine Kasem, Noé Olivas, Allison Wiese and more. For collectors or hopeful collectors, this is a great way to scope out new works and support a hardworking local art space. For the rest of us, we get to see 65 works of art by the region's finest artists.
Plus, Alida Cervantes' bold current exhibition, "El desastre que dejaste (The disaster you left)" is still on the walls at Best Practice.
But the big news from the Bread and Salt complex (I am now this close to calling it a "megaplex") is their newest tenant. Quint ONE will officially relocate to Logan Heights, debuting the new space with a striking lightbox sculpture by French conceptual artist Daniel Buren. Quint ONE's former home in La Jolla will continue as an extension of Quint's traditional gallery, and moving forward, the Bread and Salt space will be used for their model of "single, monumental works." They'll open Saturday during the Best Practice art auction.
Details: Saturday, Oct. 23 from 6-8:30 p.m. Best Practice (at Bread and Salt), 1955 Julian Ave., Logan Heights. Free.
On The Move
This is your last chance to catch City Ballet of San Diego until they perform the Nutcracker in late December. "On the Move" is a collection of works that debuted this summer to multiple sold-out audiences — but this weekend there's just one chance to see them live, this time on the Baker-Baum Concert Hall stage at The Conrad in La Jolla.
Two of the works, "Unbroken," and "Within the Hourglass Desert," are new pieces premiered this summer by company choreographer Geoff Gonzalez, both set to compositions by influential American composer Philip Glass.
Details: Saturday, Oct. 23 at 8 p.m. The Conrad, 7600 Fay Ave., La Jolla. $39-59.
North Coast Repertory Theatre will open a production of Richard Strand's "Ben Butler," a Civil War-era play full of humor and history. It's based on a true story about Union leader Major General Benjamin Butler (played by Richard Baird) and Shepard Mallory (Brandon J. Pierce), a runaway slave. Pierce is based in New York and Philadelphia, and this will be his California debut on North Coast Rep's stage.
Details: Opening night is Saturday, Oct. 23 at 8 p.m., with performances Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. (preview shows run Thursday and Friday). North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987 Loma Santa Fe Dr., Solana Beach. $54-71.