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Arts & Culture

San Diego Weekend Arts Events: Memories, Counterpoints, Boundaries and Chekhov

Em Watson
Conrad Tao and Caleb Teicher are shown in an undated photo.

This weekend in the arts: "Memory Traces" at the La Jolla Historical Society, tap dance and piano at La Jolla Music Society, Evan Lopez at Mortis Studio, the Hausmann Quartet, "Selected Drawings" at City Gallery and "Life Sucks" at Cygnet Theatre.

'Counterpoint': Conrad Tao and Caleb Teicher

Dance, Music

Tap dancer Caleb Teicher and collaborator, pianist Conrad Tao, will grace the La Jolla Music Society's Baker-Baum Concert Hall stage on Friday with a program that traverses through a range of composers: from Bach to Tao and Teicher themselves, to Art Tatum, Gershwin, Ravel and more, then back to Bach.


Each performer would put on a pretty great show solo, but together their creative partnership is undeniable. I recently spent some time watching the filmed performance of Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" that's housed in the Library of Congress, and the interplay between tap and piano almost seems to suggest the piece was written for this setting.

Conrad Tao, piano - Caleb Teicher, tap dance

Details: Friday, Feb. 4, 2022 at 8 p.m. with a special prelude at 7 p.m. Baker-Baum Concert Hall, 7600 Fay Ave., La Jolla. $36-$80.

'Memory Traces: Artists Transform the Archive'

Visual art

Courtesy of the La Jolla Historical Society
Work by Allison Wiese will be on view at the La Jolla Historical Society beginning Feb. 5, 2022.

In this new exhibition, curated by Elizabeth Rooklidge, artists were inspired by pieces in the La Jolla Historical Society's archives and collection. The seven artists are Allison Wiese, Chantal Wnuk, Janelle Iglesias, Joe Yorty, Joshua Moreno, Robert Andrade and Shirin Towfiq — who work in a variety of disciplines.

I love the idea of re-visioning works from the past, and in the process studying memory and history.

What I've seen of the pieces so far are incredible: Janelle Iglesias' wood frame sculpture with tangled palm fronds, Allison Wiese's massive banner, powerful sketches by Joshua Moreno, to name just a few from this fascinating list of artists, each making unique work.

Details: On view Feb. 5 through May 15, 2022. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. La Jolla Historical Society, 7846 Eads Ave., La Jolla. Free.

More visual art, memories and history: The San Diego History Center is marking Black History Month by revisiting their "Celebrating San Diego Black History and Heritage" exhibition and local Black history timeline both in-person and virtually. This week, KPBS Midday Edition interviewed Shelby Gordon of the San Diego History Center about the exhibition, and you can listen to the interview here, ​​and check out their virtual exhibition here.

Hausmann Quartet's 'Haydn Voyages: Stars Align'


Ian Bines
Composer and performer Leila Adu's work "if the stars align ..." will be performed by Hausmann Quartet on Feb. 6, 2022.

The Hausmann Quartet returns to the Berkeley ship at the Maritime Museum this Sunday afternoon. As is always the case with their "Haydn Voyages" series, they'll perform several of Joseph Haydn's string quartets alongside other works by modern composers or Haydn's contemporaries. It's their way of not just methodically going through Haydn's entire catalogue of string quartets like it's a to-do list (but yes, that too), but of studying the musical genre with one of its particularly prolific composers as a critical starting point.

This quarter's concert pairs Haydn with French Romantic composer Germaine Tallefaire's lovely "String Quartet (1919)" and contemporary multidisciplinary avant-classical and electropop performer, songwriter and composer Leila Adu's "if the stars align…" Adu's work is gorgeous and enchanting, with unsettling microtone harmonies, and a whimsy that's as refined and purely classical feeling as it is worldly and modern.

Musicologist Derek Katz from UC Santa Barbara will discuss the selections throughout the show.

Details: Sunday, Feb. 6 at 2:30 p.m. Maritime Museum, 1492 North Harbor Dr., downtown. $10-$60.

Evan Lopez: Blurring Boundaries

Visual art, Outdoors

A new window exhibition is up at Mortis Studio, replacing Denja Harris' textile works. Sculptor Evan Lopez has installed two clay sculptures in the front windows on 25th St., both playing with the idea of form and function and boundaries. Lopez's use of materials and textures is intentional and evocative. One of the two pieces has a clay base, evoking maybe a tree or a sort of foot, draped in blood-red, transparent plexiglass. Another is almost cellular, some sort of otherworldly, microscopic organism with holes punched through curved cylindrical clay.

Courtesy of the artist
Evan Lopez's "Blurring Boundaries" sculptural installation is viewable in the street-side window of Mortis Studio in Golden Hill, through Mar. 6, 2022.

The works are viewable from the sidewalk in a lit window display 24 hours a day.

Details: On view through Mar. 6, 2022. Mortis Studio, 1028 25th St., Golden Hill. Free.

'Selected Drawings'

Visual art

City College's City Gallery reopens with a group exhibition, featuring new works by four regional artists: Dakota Noot, Tatiana Ortiz-Rubio, Catherine Ruane and Vicki Walsh. Even though the final medium of these artists is different — whether painting, sculpture, mural, large format works, etc — their artistic process begins with (and sometimes ends with) drawing.

Tatiana Ortiz-Rubio
"Intrinsically asymmetrical," by muralist Tatiana Ortiz-Rubio, will be on view at City College Gallery Feb. 5 through Mar. 1, 2022.

I love Dakota Noot's grotesque paper sculptures, whether foam-core and standalone or intended to be taped to his own body like a fantastical paper doll outfit. Catherine Ruane is known for her large-scale, black and white botanical or tree drawings. Vicki Walsh's portraiture is made with oil paint, but in transparent layers to replicate skin. Her works are beyond realistic — taking a close-up to an extreme or making a face far larger than life — with exaggerated flaws. Tatiana Ortiz-Rubio has installed a massive cloud mural made from charcoal, which draws into focus the intersection of the past and present. You can read more about Ortiz-Rubio's work here.

Details: On view Feb. 1 through Mar. 1, 2022, with an opening reception Saturday, Feb. 5 from 5-7 p.m. Parking is free in the staff lot on C St. and 14th St during the reception. Otherwise, gallery hours are Tuesday through Thursday from noon to 4 p.m. and by appointment. City College Arts and Humanities Bldg. AH314, 1508 C St., downtown. Free.

More visual art: Check out "5 works of art to see in San Diego in February" for more works on view this month.

'Life Sucks'


Cygnet Theatre kicks off 2022 with a production of Aaron Posner's "Life Sucks," which is a retelling of Anton Chekhov's 1898 play "Uncle Vanya." The setting is a gathering of friends, hopeful lovers, ex-lovers, former in-laws, and other questionable company, all culminating in a murder mystery-style tension. This production is directed by Rob Lufty and starring Beatrice Basso, Frank DiPalermo, Savanna Padilla and more.

Courtesy of Cygnet Theatre
Actors from Cygnet Theatre's production of "Life Sucks" are shown on set during a rehearsal. The production runs Feb. 3 through Feb. 27, 2022.

Details: Feb. 3 through Feb. 26, 2022. This weekend's performances are Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m. Cygnet Theatre, 4040 Twiggs St., Old Town. $20-$49.

More theater: I've spotlighted five plays (including "Life Sucks") opening this month in San Diego, and you can read the roundup here.