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Arts & Culture

San Diego weekend arts events: Baby Bushka, Francisco Eme, 'LIGHT' and sewing machines

The women of Baby Bushka are crouched and leaning together on stage during a performance. They're wearing black and sparkly, sequined silver. Some are wearing headset mics. The stage has a gold and silver shimmering backdrop.
Evan Schell
Baby Bushka is shown at a recent performance in an undated photo.

Baby Bushka: 'The Kate Bush Experience of Your Dreams'

Music, Dance, Theater
"We were on tour in the UK and Ireland when her song became a hit again and that whole 'Stranger Things' phenomenon," said Natasha Kozaily, founding member of Baby Bushka, the Kate Bush cover band that is so much more than just a cover band.

"Running Up That Hill" featured heavily in season 4 of "Stranger Things," prompting a nationwide Kate Bush craze — mostly among young people who weren't even alive when the song first came out. Kozaily said she heard from some fans that they were worried that Bush, their "hidden secret," might be "corrupted."

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The members of Baby Bushka are dressed in colorful pantsuits in reds, pinks, blues and purples. They're seated in front of a silver-streamered backdrop.
Erica Joan
Baby Bushka is shown in an undated photo.

"I think Kate Bush is really incorruptible; she's just so weird," Kozaily said. "This is not bad. It's a great medicine for the world that this song has made it, you know, resurrected after 35 years."

Baby Bushka will perform Friday evening at Music Box, a larger venue than their usual Casbah shows or the pubs and small theaters on tour. Their show is as much a theatrical production as it is a concert, and it has transformed over the years, as has the lineup.

The group consists of eight women: vocalists Kozaily, Nancy Ross and Lexi Pulido, with Batya MacAdam-Somer on violin, Leah Bowden on drums, Heather Nation on guitar, Marie Haddad on piano and Melanie Medina on bass. Each member of the band also sings and dances, performing theatrical choreography. There's intricate costume changes, props, characters, and plenty of Kate Bush magic.

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The second act of the show is entirely new. The band calls it "The Hello Earth arc," and it features a lot of "Hounds of Love" material.

"The first set is all of these very human stories. Kate Bush is such a great storyteller — it's like the soldier, the doctors experimenting, the relationship in 'Running Up That Hill,' the babushkas, the bank robbers. It's all these little vignettes of these human experiences," Kozaily said.

"We end the first act like this person trying to achieve this great knowledge and connect to some higher power and failing, ultimately always failing. And then the second act is all about that, this real desire to connect with the great spirit, some bigger divine thing, which ultimately is also earth and nature and this shared humanity."

The concert will also feature new merch, and new Kate Bush Christmas ornaments handmade by the band.

Details: 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16, 2022. Music Box, 1337 India St., Little Italy. $40.

Francisco Eme Closing Reception and Concert

Visual art, Music
Francisco Eme's powerful multimedia installation at Best Practice, "Le Memoria es un Pájaro / Memory is a Bird," is set to close on Saturday with performances from three musical acts: a solo electronic act from Eme himself; Amy Cimini; and Eme's cross-border indie electronic band, Rabbitlight. Rabbitlight's recent album, "Volátil," is poetic and musically lush — I especially love the mesmerizing clarinet on the track "Easy to Love You."

Details: 5-7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022. Music starts at 6 p.m. Best Practice, 1955 Julian Ave., Logan Heights. Free.

LITVAKdance: 'LIGHT'

Dance, Music
Local contemporary dance company LITVAKdance premieres a new family-friendly collaboration with klezmer musician, Jewish ethnomusicologist and composer Yale Strom. Strom composed new works to accompany new choreography that melds magical realism with Jewish holiday traditions and centers on Shabbat — through the eyes of a woman and her 10-year-old daughter. Sadie Weinberg, Rebecca Margolick and Elyssa Dru Rosenberg choreographed the dance.

litvak-wren-polansky.jpg
Wren Polansky
Dancers from LITVAKdance are shown in an undated photo.

The two performances differ slightly. The matinee features a mixture of recorded and live music and is part of the Lawrence Family JCC's "Hannukah Happenings" program. The 7 p.m. show will be set entirely to live music from Yale Strom and the Hot Pstromi Band, and the performance will be followed by Strom's "Broken Consort."

Details: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022. Lawrence Family JCC, 4126 Executive Dr., La Jolla. $5-$30.

sew-loka-German_Rojas_Art.jpg
Courtesy of the artist
Sew Loka's Claudia Rodriguez-Biezunski is shown in an undated photo.

'Sewing is Life'

Visual art, Fashion
Longtime Barrio Logan icon and sewing shop Sew Loka is owned by designer Claudia Rodriguez-Biezunski. After almost a decade as a brick-and-mortar sewing studio, Sew Loka will host its first art show. "Sewing Is Life" honors the mighty sewing machine, featuring mixed-media works by 40 local artists exploring the ways the sewing machine impacts society. Participating artists include Maritza Garcia, Katie Ruiz, Jorge Mendoza, Rizzhel Javier, Vito DiStefano, Yvette Roman, Panca, and many more.

At 7 p.m., there will be a live sewing performance with Sew Loka and the band The Invisible Panchos. KPBS podcast host Parker Edison will also do a spoken word set in the evening portion of the show.

Details: 1-9 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022. Sew Loka, 2113 Logan Ave., Barrio Logan. Free.

MCASD Staff Art Showcase

Visual art
This year's Museum of Contemporary Art Staff Art Showcase will be held in the La Jolla campus' vast Axline Court public gallery space. Axline Court is free to the public, and is part of the 1997 renovation, preserved in the recent remodel.

Twenty-four staff members have work on view, including Marina Grize, Zachary Abramson, Chris Hincke, Maru Lopez, Dante Rowley, Sophy Zepeda and Reed Vickerman. The opening coincides with the Dec. 15 Free Third Thursday, when the entire museum is free and open until 8 p.m.

Details: On view Dec. 15, 2022, through Jan. 8, 2023. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. MCASD, 700 Prospect St., La Jolla. Free (museum admission required for other galleries).

M-Theory's 21st Birthday Pop-Up

Music, Punk, Beer, Food
M-Theory Music will celebrate 21 years as a record shop — first in South Park (I remember seeing Moby perform there in the early days) and now in Mission Hills. And what better way to celebrate your 21st than with a special lager named after you? Thorn Brewing in Barrio Logan will hold a pop-up record shop, lager release and show, beginning at noon. Performances will kick off at 3 p.m. and include The Havnauts, Pall Jenkins and Se Vende.

Details: Noon on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022. Thorn Brewing, 1745 National Ave., Barrio Logan. Free.

More weekend arts events we're covering:

Gilbert Castellanos is shown in profile, playing trumpet, in a black and white photo with a black bacground. Out of focus in the background, other musicians look on.
Chuck Koton
San Diego jazz trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos is shown in an undated photo.

Gilbert Castellanos releases his first album in almost a decade this weekend. It's a collection of new arrangements of songs that helped him survive a difficult few years. Saturday's show is sold out, but there are still tickets available for Sunday's performance at the Copley Auditorium at the San Diego Museum of Art. "Every time I play, I treat it like it's my last day living. I treat it like it's the altar," Castellanos said about his return to music.

For more arts events or to submit your own, visit the KPBS/Arts Calendar. And be sure to sign up for the weekly KPBS/Arts newsletter here.