San Diego weekend arts events: Lilian Martinez, 'to the yellow house,' 'Boil the Ocean,' Michelle Bradley and Kazim Ali
Speaker 1: (00:00)
In our weekend preview, we have a play about van Gogh, a comforting art exhibit, an intimate opera performance, and even a choose your own adventure book reading. Joining me with all the details is KPBS arts, producer and editor, Julia Dixon Evans, and welcome Julia.
Speaker 2: (00:18)
Hi Maureen. Thanks for having me on let's
Speaker 1: (00:20)
Start with the theater. There's a world premiere at the LA Jolla Playhouse that opens this week with the main character. Then go tell us about to the yellow house,
Speaker 2: (00:30)
Right? This is by playwright, Kimber Lee, who we might remember for her play Tokyo fish story that was performed at the old globe in 2016. But to the yellow house is set in a two year period of time in Vincent van Gogh's life that we just don't know a lot about. Lee wrote this play in part because of how fascinating that is. But also because we do know that it was a time of tremendous failure for Vincent van Gogh. He was constantly running out of money. He's living off of his brother's wealth and his brother's good name in Paris. And he was often drunk and causing problems with everybody who he meets. But right after this period of failure, he moves to that famous yellow house in RL. In the south of France, I talked to the playwright Kimberly this week about that.
Speaker 3: (01:22)
I play brings him through great difficulty through a moment of great shattering, to a place of quiet resolve and kind of starting over. He has no way of knowing that the paintings he's about to do are going to be the most famous, you know, some of the most famous paintings in the history of art. He has no way of knowing any of that, but despite the ringing failure and heartbreak that he goes through, he still finds something within himself to say, I'm going to keep going anyway.
Speaker 2: (01:55)
And like Lee's Tokyo fish story. The script is spare and it's quiet and it's really built on the way Vincent interacts with the people around him. I think it's going to be a really brainy and subtle antidote for the, in your face flashing us of that immersive van Gogh experience that will come to the Del Mar fairgrounds in January.
Speaker 1: (02:19)
I'm interested to hear what you have to say about that in January, the low cost previews to the yellow house, continue at the LA Jolla Playhouse through this weekend with performances tonight at 8:00 PM and Saturday at two and 8:00 PM. And it runs through December 12th, swish projects in north park opens a new visual art exhibition this weekend. Tell us about Lillian Martinez.
Speaker 2: (02:44)
Yeah, she's an artist who shown her work around the world, but she's also the founder of the home goods company, BF GF, which stands for boyfriend girlfriend. And this is things like art tapestries, upholstered furniture with prints on them, clothing accessories and all stuff that are like these comfy works of art. The colors are soothing and the objects are, are soft, but also very artistic as well. And so this show of her art also kind of runs on that theme of comfort. It's looking at beauty humor and comfort, and I love her use of the figure, particularly women of color. And she creates these images that are really powerful and kind of soft at the same time. And she also has a pretty evocative use of everyday objects. Like there's a giant sculpture of a Nike hat or a basketball, and it's all startling, but still familiar, still quit hitting. And there's, there's a total comfort to that. There's a mixture of sculpture, fabrics and paintings. In this show, you can see it at the opening reception that's Saturday from noon to three or by appointment
Speaker 1: (03:51)
That's Lillian Martinez on view at switch projects tomorrow through December 19th. All right, then in the literary world, or should I say the fantasy world, local writer, Kazim Ali will be reading from his new, choose your own adventure book. Tell us about this.
Speaker 2: (04:07)
Yeah, this is the actual choose your own adventure book franchise that we all grew up with. And the sun is about Chrissy, a whisperer who was following in the ancient ways of magicians and sourcer is from the young age of 10. And he's suddenly caught up in a threat to the city of Ilaria and Chrissy is the UW character all through the book. And I love how implicating these stories are in second person, even before we have to make those decisions and chasm Allie's pros and his storytelling is really rich and enchanting. And it's also really approachable too. He'll be doing an in-person event at the book catapult that's in south park, and that would be Saturday at 1:00 PM. So
Speaker 1: (04:52)
Julia let's talk music opera. Great. Michelle Bradley is returning to the San Diego opera for one of their intimate solo performances. What can we expect? So
Speaker 2: (05:03)
I first saw Michelle Bradley in the lead role of Aida, which the San Diego opera produced a few years ago and she has this incredible voice and stage presence. And it's really exciting to see her in one of these more intimate concert experiences. There's actually two performances. They're both at the baker BOM concert hall at the Conrad. It's just Bradley with piano accompaniment and she'll be spotlighting American composers and spirituals. One of the works that caught my attention is Samuel barber's hermit songs, which are these whimsical vocal pieces. They're based on the found poetry of Irish monks, where listening to a recording from 1951. So of course this is not Michelle Bradley. This is the great lean tin price singing the monk and his cat
Speaker 4: (05:51)
Speaker 1: (05:57)
Soprano, Michelle Bradley sings, American composers and spirituals presented by the San Diego opera tomorrow at 7:30 PM and Sunday at four at the Conrad for details on these and more arts events at the sign up for Julia's weekly KPBS arts newsletter to get these recommendations delivered straight to your inbox each week, go to kpbs.org/arts. I've been speaking with KPBS arts producer and editor, Julia Dickson Evans. Thank you, Julia. Thank you.
Speaker 5: (06:29)
Have a good weekend.
This weekend in the arts: Lilian Martinez of BFGF at Swish Projects, Kimber Lee's Van Gogh story at The La Jolla Playhouse, Marina Zurkow at ICA North, soprano Michelle Bradley and an in-store "Choose Your Own Adventure" reading.
Lilian Martinez: 'Castillos y Cuevas Joyas y Piedras'
Artist Lilian Martinez is also known for her home goods company, BFGF, which sells tapestries, upholstered furniture, pillows, clothing and accessories that are like comfy works of art. And lucky us: she'll open a solo show at Swish Projects this weekend.
Her works of art are striking, often with a really evocative use of everyday objects and brands and especially with the figure — particularly women of color. In this exhibition, Swish's John Itiola says her work is "exploring themes of beauty, humor and comfort." With a mix of sculptural pieces, fabrics and canvas paintings, Martinez's work is startling and soothing at the same time. And don't miss the 200 lb carved limestone "Art Handler," an abstract figure prone atop a chunky, pastel-hued automobile.
Details: "Castillos y Cuevas Joyas y Piedras" (which translates to "castles and caves, jewels and stones," opens Saturday with a reception from noon to 3 p.m., and will be on view by appointment through Dec. 19, 2021. Swish Projects, 2903 El Cajon Blvd., North Park. Free.
'to the yellow house'
The world premiere of Kimber Lee's play will finally open at the La Jolla Playhouse — after postponing its anticipated spring 2020 opening. "To the yellow house" is set during a two year period in Vincent van Gogh's life, which Lee became fascinated with after reading Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith's comprehensive biography, "Van Gogh: The Life." She noticed there were some years largely missing in what we know about the great painter's life, and looked to fill in those details. It's set mostly in Paris and the southern city of Arles (the location of the actual yellow house), at a time when Van Gogh was particularly struggling with his work.
"The play brings him through great difficulty, through a moment of great shattering, to a place of quiet resolve and kind of starting over," Lee told me this week. "He has no way of knowing that the paintings he's about to do are going to be some of the most famous paintings in the history of art. He has no way of knowing any of that. But despite the ringing failure and heartbreak that he goes through, he still finds something within himself to say, I'm going to keep going anyway."
Keep an eye out for my feature on The Playhouse's production of "to the yellow house" later this week.
Details: Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. Performances continue, Tuesdays through Sundays, through Dec. 12. The La Jolla Playhouse Mandell Weiss Theatre, 2910 La Jolla Village Dr., La Jolla. $39-75. Military discounts available.
More theater (and dance): The Broadway touring production of "Hairspray" is here, just through Sunday. I just saw this, and it is an incredible cast, and the top notch design, singing, lighting and dancing is almost overwhelming after a long break from major productions like this. And you can check out KPBS Arts and Culture reporter Beth Accomando's feature here.
Even more theater: "1222 Oceanfront: A Black Family Christmas" opens with low-cost previews at New Village Arts this weekend. Written by Dea Hurston and directed by Delicia Turner Sonnenberg, with music by Milena (Sellers) Phillips and additional creative collaboration from Frankie Alicea-Ford and Kevin "Blax" Burroughs — the play follows the festive family traditions (and drama) of Dorothy Black for a brand new classic.
Marina Zurkow: 'Boil the Ocean'
Let's give this one the best title award. New York-based artist Marina Zurkow will launch her residency at ICA North (formerly Lux) in Encinitas with a reception on Friday. The exhibition is immersive (artistically speaking, not aquatically) and will transform the gallery space. Zurkow's work is informed by the space between human civilization and ocean, the uneven relationship between the two, and, of course, human impact. Sculptural elements will include actual local marine debris (smell included), and the installation will feature several generative video works that will transform throughout the residency.
Details: Marina Zurkow's residency begins with an opening reception Friday from 6-8 p.m. and will be on view through Jan. 30, 2022. Regular gallery hours are Thursday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. ICA North, 1550 S El Camino Real, Encinitas. $0-10 for the reception, pay what you wish gallery admission.
More visual art: Masters of Photography: The Garner Collection re-opens at the San Diego Museum of Art this weekend. This was originally on view during the pandemic, but since the exhibition's run was cut short, the museum has brought it out for another whirl. Discover new favorites as well as plenty of iconic photographs from the 20th century through today, all part of the collection of local collectors Cam and Wanda Garner. Open most days from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday noon to 5 p.m. and closed on Wednesday.
Kazim Ali: 'The Citadel of Whispers'
Remember "Choose Your Own Adventure" books? Well, literary superstar Kazim Ali (who happens to be local, and helms the literature department at UC San Diego) has written a new story for the youth literary franchise.
Krishi is a "whisperer," learned in the ancient ways of magicians and sorcerers from the age of 10, suddenly caught up in a threat to the city of Elaria. Oh, and Krishi? It's you. I love the implicating nature of these second-person stories, regardless of the actual decision making we get to do. Ali's prose and storytelling is as richly detailed as it is enchanting and approachable, perfect for readers middle grade and up. He will appear to read and discuss the work in-person at The Book Catapult, one of the first in-person events the beloved South Park bookstore will hold since pre-pandemic.
Details: Saturday, Nov. 20 at 1 p.m. The Book Catapult, 3010-B Juniper St., South Park. Free.
Michelle Bradley, known for her incredible turn in the title role of the San Diego Opera's production of "Aida," will return to San Diego for a two-night intimate performance with piano accompaniment. The program spotlights American composers (of note: Samuel Barber's "Hermit Songs") and a series of spirituals.
Details: Saturday Nov. 20 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 21 at 4 p.m. Baker-Baum Concert Hall at The Conrad, 7600 Fay Ave., La Jolla. Tickets start at $50.
More music: The San Diego Master Chorale will also perform a set of twin concerts this weekend, one in St. Paul's Cathedral near Balboa Park on Saturday at 7 p.m., and a repeat on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. in Carlsbad, at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church.