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Arts & Culture

San Diego Weekend Arts Events: Cognate Collective, SACRA/PROFANA, Cygnet Theatre, LEGO art and more

Stephanie Bachiero/Quint Gallery
Stephanie Bachiero's "Sustained (Stainless Steel), 2017" is on view at Quint Gallery's satellite location now through the end of 2021.

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'

Visual art
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.

The album cover for "A Longing for Christmas," by SACRA/PROFANA, under the direction of Juan Carlos Acosta. The album will be released at a performance Dec. 17, 2021.

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

Theater, Virtual
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'

Visual art
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
Textiles by Cognate Collective hang from the gallery walls at Best Practice. The exhibition, "Como Soles: Despidiendo Luz" closes Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021.

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'

Ballet, Music
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'

Visual art

UPDATE: This event has now been postponed and will be rescheduled at a later date. More information here.

Courtesy North Park LEGO
"My Neighbourhood in Bricks" will take place Monday, Dec. 20, 2021.

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.

Updated: December 17, 2021 at 9:45 AM PST
This story has been updated to reflect event changes from Golden State Ballet.