San Diego weekend arts events: 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' new music, new plays and more
'To Kill a Mockingbird'
On the Civic Theatre stage this weekend is the touring production of the Aaron Sorkin-penned 2018 adaptation of Harper Lee's 1960 novel, "To Kill a Mockingbird." Set in Depression-era Maycomb, Alabama, the story is about the trial of Tom Robinson, a Black man falsely accused of raping a white woman. Sorkin, known for "The West Wing" and political and legal films like "A Few Good Men" and "The American President," delivers a new perspective on the story, with plenty of snappy dialogue and timing.
The adaptation's most obvious change comes in the use of Scout as one part of a narrator trio — alongside her brother Jem and their friend Dill — who speak directly to the audience and each other as each scene unfolds and refolds back in on itself. It's a fascinating narrative device.
The acting shines — including Mary Badham, who played Scout Finch in the 1962 film adaptation. Badham was nominated for an Oscar for that role, and this time, plays Mrs. Henry Dubose, the elderly, racist neighbor with whom Scout and Jem cleverly spar. Atticus is Richard Thomas, who local audiences may recognize from a recent Old Globe production of "Othello," as well as his run as John-Boy Walton in the 1970s TV series "The Waltons."
Note that racist language used by the characters remains true to Harper Lee's original text.
Details: On stage through Dec. 4, 2022. Remaining shows are 7:30 p.m. Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday; and 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sunday. San Diego Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave., downtown. $39-$169.
Tatiana Ortiz-Rubio: 'Light Cones' walkthrough
Join artist Tatiana Ortiz-Rubio in a walkthrough of her solo exhibition at the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library in La Jolla this Saturday. "Light Cones" is a stunning and enchanting mix of Ortiz-Rubio's large-scale murals, the tiniest ephemera and everything in between — all of it rendered in charcoal and graphite.
Details: Artist walkthrough at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3. On view through Dec. 31, 2022. Athenaeum Music and Arts Library, 1008 Wall St., La Jolla. Free.
'The Holy Ghost': San Diego New Music
San Diego New Music presents a special performance at the Athenaeum Art Center in the Bread and Salt complex. It's an "improvisation," a guided, extemporaneous performance by an ensemble of experimental instrumentalists. The musicians — 14 of them in total — include soprano sax soloist Ryan Ebaugh, along with trumpets, trombones, sousaphone, flutes, violin (by Kristopher Apple), piano, percussion (including Nathan Hubbard) and sound. The event is curated by Zane Alexander.
Details: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. Athenaeum Art Center, 1955 Julian Ave., Logan Heights. $12-$30.
Jon Savage: '7250'
Self-taught, deaf artist Jon Savage paints vibrant pop-style paintings. His works are set against colorful stripes that seemingly serve as threads between otherwise disparate subjects from painting to painting: lollipops, work gloves, trees — to name a few. This solo exhibition showcases a collection of pieces he's created since he began painting in 2011.
The opening reception on Saturday is ticketed, but prices range from a $10 donation to Deaf Community Services to $75+ donations that also include copies of a limited-run art book, "Sugar Stripe: 10 Years and Counting."
Details: On view Dec. 3 through Dec. 30, 2022, with an opening reception from 5-8 p.m. Saturday. The Studio Door, 3867 Fourth Ave., Hillcrest. Free (opening reception is $10+).
'DNA New Works Series'
La Jolla Playhouse's play development program kicks off its 2022 installment this week. The DNA New Works Series showcases and workshops four different plays performed by actors as readings across both weekends. Each play has two free readings, though reservations are required.
This weekend's readings include two performances of "The Loyal Opposition" by Keith Bunin, directed by the Playhouse's artistic director Christopher Ashley. The play is a comedy about a group of former college friends reuniting when one opens a restaurant. Bunin's play will be read 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1 and Saturday, Dec. 3.
Another is "Manny and the Wise Queens" by prolific playwright Idris Goodwin, directed by Jacole Kitchen. It's a unique twist on the Star of Bethlehem story, set in pandemic-style 2020 with a backdrop of hip-hop. Goodwin's play is 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2 and 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 4.
Next weekend, plays from Noelle Viñas (directed by Delicia Turner Sonnenberg) and Lia Romeo (directed by Pesha Rudnick) will have their readings.
Details: This weekend's performances (readings) are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. La Jolla Playhouse, 2910 La Jolla Village Drive, UC San Diego. Free, but reservations are required and space is limited.
Randall Goosby, violin, and Zhu Wang, piano
Two accomplished young artists take the stage at the La Jolla Music Society on Sunday afternoon — San Diego-born violinist Randall Goosby and his frequent collaborator pianist Zhu Wang. They'll perform four works: "Two Pieces for Violin and Piano" by early 20th century French composer Lili Boulanger; Maurice Ravel's "The Unseen Way"; William Grant Still's "Suite for Violin and Piano; and Beethoven's "Kreutzer" violin sonata.
Goosby's debut album, "Roots," came out in 2021. It's a series of classical works by Black composers or works informed by Black American culture.
Check out Goosby and Wang's recent NPR Tiny Desk Performance here.
Details: 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022. Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, 7600 Fay Ave., La Jolla. $43.
More weekend arts events we're covering:
This weekend the La Jolla Symphony performs two concerts at UC San Diego's Mandeville Auditorium. I spoke with composer Sang Song, this year's Nee Commission winner, about his new work, "Frozen Grief," for Thursday's Midday Edition program. Performances 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Filmmaker and comic John Waters returns to San Diego for "A John Waters Christmas" on Sunday at the Belly Up Tavern. KPBS reporter Beth Accomando spoke with Waters for a preview.