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Arts & Culture

San Diego weekend arts events: 'Peter and the Wolf,' Katie Ruiz, Best Practice and more

Katie Ruiz's ofrenda at the San Diego Botanic Garden
Courtesy of Katie Ruiz
Katie Ruiz designed, painted and installed an ofrenda dedicated to Chicana artist Yolanda López, including Ruiz's painting of López and papier-mâché sugar skulls. It's on view at the San Diego Botanic Garden Oct. 23 through Nov. 1, 2021.

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.

Katie Ruiz's pom poms installed at San Diego Botanic Garden.
Courtesy of Katie Ruiz
Artist Katie Ruiz's pom poms installed near her Yolanda López ofrenda at the San Diego Botanic Garden. The ofrenda opens Oct. 23, 2021.

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

Poet and artist Gill Sotu performs in an undated photo.
Marisa Pfenning
Poet and artist Gill Sotu performs in an undated photo.

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

Visual art

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.

Daniel Buren's "Three Light Boxes for One Wall, 1989" on view at Quint ONE.
Brian Lockhart
Daniel Buren's "Three Light Boxes for One Wall, 1989" will be on view at Quint ONE's new home at the Bread and Salt complex, beginning Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021.

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.

'Ben Butler'


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.

For more arts events, visit the KPBS/Arts calendar, or read the latest KPBS/Arts newsletter here. You can sign up here to get it delivered every Thursday.