San Diego Weekend Arts Events: Cognate Collective, SACRA/PROFANA, Cygnet Theatre, LEGO art and more
Speaker 1: (00:00)
This weekend, you can break up your holiday shopping and baking with some arts and culture from holiday coral music to a chance to learn DIY art to an art exhibition made of Legos. Joining me with all the details as K P S arts editor and producer Julia Dixon Evans, and welcome Julia.
Speaker 2: (00:19)
Hi Maureen, for having
Speaker 1: (00:20)
Me now, one thing that could be putting a damper on holiday arts events this weekend is a new concern about the spread of COVID and the OCN variant, including of course the new mask mandate, how are venues and events handling this?
Speaker 2: (00:35)
Right? And for example, we just found out that the golden state ballet delayed it's opening night for their production of the Nutcracker. This was due to a positive case among the performers, and they've been notifying ticket holders, but in general, it's a really good idea to check the social media accounts of the group or the venue before you head out. And that way you can make sure, you know, if there are any changes or cancellations, and also if you know what their protocol, when you're required to put your mask on, and yeah, organizations are likely seeing a need from their audiences for more options like virtual things or outdoor only things.
Speaker 1: (01:12)
Now, one of those organizations still embracing multiple options is CIG theater and their two productions of a Christmas Carol what's on your radar about this.
Speaker 2: (01:22)
Yeah, for sure. The fact that there are two options, they still have that virtual option. They're doing a full cast production on stage in person with original musical numbers, but the other is virtual and it's a restream of last year's virtual production. Um, as a reminder, that was this one person performance, Sean Murray, who is the artistic director at Cignet. He adapted the Charles Dickens story and he also performs every single character. And that sets up the story to already be really absurd and, and unexpected. But Murray was this really dynamic and, and engaging presence in this performance is kind of a whirlwind and you can rent it for $25 and it's just a great option to be able to stay indoors.
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The virtual production of a Christmas Carol is available to stream from Cigna theater through December 25th. Now onto the visual arts city Heights based youth arts, nonprofit, the Aja project is 20 years and having a neighborhood open house this weekend, what can we
Speaker 2: (02:28)
Expect? Yeah. And this is actually the first neighborhood open house that they have done. They're transforming their model a bit to bring more of the instruction and the art making opportunities into their headquarters, into the neighborhood versus in partner public schools, which they will still keep doing as well. And so what they're doing this weekend is they're opening up the space for the community to share art together. Uh, the event is called welcome home, and I'm particularly excited about an exhibition of the teaching artist artwork. Um, that includes work from Alejandro awe B Louisa Martinez, Andres Hernandez, and so many more. And that's all curated by hill street country club in a new partnership. There'll also be food from local vendors, a live DJ, and then a mixture of hands on workshops to art making opportunities. They're also doing virtual versions of some of these workshops. The sci type one is at 10:00 AM and Alen photography workshop is at 2:00 PM. They've made these take home kits. Everything is free and you just need to stop by the Aja office in city Heights, anytime before the workshop to pick up one of those kits,
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The Aja project's open house is tomorrow from 10 to five in city Heights, local coral ensemble soccer Pana has just released a new Christmas album today and they're celebrating with a performance tonight. Tell us about longing for Christmas.
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So this group, they recorded the songs for this album a almost two years ago in January, 2020, which was a very different time in the coral performance world. And it's this 12 song collection all under the direction of Juan Carlos Acosta, who is soccer, PFAS, artistic director. The album's called a longing for Christmas in it's a mixture of contemporary arrangement and traditional works. And there's also new compositions, including a few commissions. Their concert tonight is at St. Mark's United Methodist church in Claremont, and it is free. You can buy the CD there and it should also be available to stream on all platforms soon. But for now you do actually have to and pick up the hard copy. And the album is really lush and contemplative. It's very wintry in that it's bleak and sublime at the same time. And a really great example of that is this song it's called love came down at Christmas, which is a piece that was written for them by local composer, Stephen star,
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That Sacra from their new album, longing for Christmas. They'll perform a free show tonight at seven and finally an art show made of Legos. Tell us about my neighborhood in
Speaker 2: (05:31)
Brooks. This all started with an Instagram account called north park Lego. They started posting pictures of tiny models of some favorite north park businesses. The first one they posted was tribute pizza, which is in the old post office there in a really cool building. And this is all the work of artists and Lego fan Ben Smith, who started constructing these tiny models, mostly bars and restaurants. He did the soda bar. He did the Kaba. He also did pigment, but there's also inexplicably one church as well. And he's putting all of this on display at tribute pizza on Monday for an exhibition, and they're doing a silent auction fundraiser as well. So all of those modeled donated gifts that you can bid on and the big prize is that he will make your house or a business of your choice out of Legos. The proceeds go to the international rescue community's youth farmwork program, make projects and feeding San Diego. The
Speaker 1: (06:32)
Lego art exhibition. My neighborhood in bricks is Monday at 6:00 PM. You can find details on these and more arts events or sign up for Julia's weekly, K PS arts email@example.com slash arts. I've been speaking with KPBS arts editor and producer Julia Dixon Evans. Julia. Thanks.
Speaker 2: (06:54)
Thank you, Maureen. Have a great weekend.
Speaker 3: (07:00)
This weekend in the arts: The San Diego Gay Men's Chorus, two Christmas album release concerts from Matrida and SACRA/PROFANA, small works at Quint Gallery, Golden State Ballet's "Nutcracker," Cognate Collective closes at Best Practice, and a North Park LEGO exhibition.
'A Large Group of Small Artworks'
Quint Gallery meant it when they said they were transforming the "single, monumental work of art" model of the Quint ONE space on Girard. In this new show at that location, it's definitely now "many, small." This quick show to close out the year features works by 21 contemporary artists, including Kim MacConnel, Griselda Rosas, Kelsey Brookes, Sasha Koozel Reibstein, Gary Lang, Adrien Couvrat and Thomas DeMello. There'll be sculpture as well as flat works, and all of it will be on the wee side.
Details: On view through Dec. 31. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The gallery will be closed on Dec. 24, 25 and Jan. 1. 7722 Girard Ave., La Jolla. Free.
More visual art: Read my feature on The AjA Project's upcoming open house, art-making activities and teaching artist exhibition. The event takes place at their City Heights headquarters on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
SACRA/PROFANA: 'A Longing For Christmas' Holiday concert and CD release
San Diego-based vocal ensemble SACRA/PROFANA recorded the tracks for their forthcoming holiday album nearly two years ago. In January 2020, before most of us could imagine what would befall choral performance in the coming months, the group spent four days recording what would become the 12-song collection of contemporary arrangements of traditional works, new compositions and some commissions. I've listened to some previews and the music is sublime and lush, more bleak and contemplative than anything jolly.
The group will celebrate the album's long-awaited release with a free concert on Friday night. You can pre-order an album online or buy one at the performance.
Details: Friday, Dec. 17, 2021 at 7 p.m. St. Mark's United Methodist Church, 3502 Clairemont Dr., Clairemont. Free.
'A Christmas Carol': Streaming
Looking for an at-home way to find some local art? Cygnet Theatre is rereleasing their 2020 filmed production, a solo-actor adaptation by Cygnet's artistic director Sean Murray, who also performs every single character in the Dickens story. I saw this last winter, and I remember Murray as dynamic and engaging in this whirlwind performance, and while laced with plenty of humor and the expected absurdity, there's still something unsettling about the solo approach.
By the way, Cygnet also has a live, on-stage, full-cast production of "A Christmas Carol," with performances through Dec. 26. Details here.
Details: Streams on-demand through Dec. 25. $25 rental.
Cognate Collective: 'Como Soles: Despidiendo Luz / Like Suns: Giving Off Light'
On view just through Saturday at Best Practice, this Cognate Collective exhibition features installation works, sculptures, participatory pieces, textiles, audio works and more. Cognate is a collaboration of Cal State San Marcos art media and design professor Misael Diaz and San Diego State art history lecturer Amy Sanchez Arteaga. Their work is seeped in resistance, disruption, family, history, identity and place, and the pieces in this show explore the intersection of family stories with the reality and history of the U.S. Mexico border.
Best Practice is located in Bread and Salt, and right now there's plenty more to see there, including the San Diego Art Prize exhibition, which has been extended, but only through Jan. 8, 2022.
Details: On view through Dec. 18, 2021. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 1955 Julian Ave., Logan Heights. Free.
Holiday Singalong at the Conrad
Music, Books, Family
This outdoor event features a reading of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," cocoa and a performance of holiday tunes from the San Diego Gay Men's Chorus. It's a family-friendly event, and is also a drive to collect book or musical instrument donations. It's free, but you can register in advance online here.
Details: Sunday, Dec. 19 at 5 p.m. (Doors: 5, Storytime: 5:30, Performance: 6 p.m.). The Wu Tsai QRT.yrd at the Conrad, 7600 Fay Ave., La Jolla. Free.
Golden State Ballet: 'The Nutcracker Suite'
The brand new Golden State Ballet company begins a 10-show run of "The Nutcracker" at the Civic Theatre Thursday, and it's also a chance to hear the San Diego Symphony accompany the wintry Tchaikovsky ballet. The dancers will perform recent choreography by Jared Nelson, and the San Diego Symphony will be conducted by Dana Zimbric. While the event is billed as "a classic for the whole family," note that children must be 5 years old to attend the full-length production.
Proof of vaccination or negative COVID test is required, and the Civic Theatre has on-site, rapid testing (for a fee).
Details: Performances through Dec. 23. This weekend: Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 1 and 5:30 p.m. Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave., downtown. $25-109.
UPDATE: Due to a positive COVID case among the performers, Golden State Ballet is canceling the Thursday and Friday night performances. Opening night will be delayed until Saturday, Dec. 18. More details in the announcement here.
Matrida and the St. Luke's Choir: Christmas Album Launch Concert
"Krismasi: A Swahili Christmas" is a new six-track album by Matrida, along with the St. Luke's Choir. Matrida is a Congolese refugee who spent most of her life in a refugee camp in Tanzania, and is the music director at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in North Park.
This Sunday afternoon, Matrida and the choir will perform original songs in both Swahili and English, as well as their versions of some well-known Christmas carols. The performance will also celebrate the release of a new Christmas album of Matrida and the choir's music.
Details: Sunday, Dec. 19 at 1 p.m. St. Luke's Church, 3725 30th St., North Park. Free/donation.
'My Neighbourhood in Bricks'
UPDATE: This event has now been postponed and will be rescheduled at a later date. More information here.
The incredibly wholesome Instagram account "North Park LEGO" actually covers more than just the North Park region, and has become a sudden mark of pride for city shops, restaurants and bars (and one church). Builder/artist Ben Smith, who runs the account, will display all of his miniature buildings in an art show on Monday, Dec. 20 at Tribute Pizza in North Park. There's a silent auction of donated gifts from the modeled businesses (including Kindred, Fall Brewing, Soda Bar and more), plus a chance to have your very own house made into one of Smith's famous models. Proceeds support IRC Youth Farmworks and Feeding San Diego.
Details: POSTPONED. Monday, Dec. 20 from 6-10 p.m. Tribute Pizza, 3077 North Park Way, North Park. $5-10 donation.
For more arts events, or to submit your own, visit the KPBS/Arts calendar. Be sure to sign up for my weekly KPBS/Arts newsletter for more arts news each week.