San Diego weekend arts events: Pride art, dance and a poetry contest
San Diego Pride is underway, and Lindsey Deaton is the recipient of this year's Larry T. Baza Arts & Culture Award, named after the influential local arts leader who passed away in 2021. Deaton is a conductor, LGBTQ+ and transgender activist and playwright — as well as the founder and artistic director of both the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles and the San Diego Queer Youth Chorus.
Deaton is also one of the leading experts on transgender and nonbinary choruses and singing voices. In her work, she's driven primarily by a profound sense of urgency.
"It was last year that we read 50 names at the Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20, and that had been more than double the names that we were reading before and you know, if you think about it, 50 people being murdered in this country for who they are is incredibly, incredibly debilitating for everybody in our community including trans kids. They see what's going on," Deaton said.
Trans and nonbinary singers — and their choirs — face a litany of challenges, and Deaton said one challenge is that transgender and nonbinary vocal ranges don't always fit into traditional choral categories. It's something she's working to change.
"How do I help my community love their voice, find music that speaks to where they're at and what they need to say. And then working with composers who understand that our voices might not necessarily fall into the old western categories of soprano, alto for high voices, tenor and base for low voices," Deaton said.
"Moving in the future where it will be high voice, middle-high voice, middle-low voice or something like that. But right now, musicians are faced with a library of published music that has copyrights or is in the public domain and for money reasons, nobody's gonna go back and rework those catalogs. So when you put music in front of a trans person and they automatically — you're confronted with the binary, where do I fit, right? And so that's the story of our musicians’ lives. And so how do I change that?"
Deaton will direct the San Diego Queer Youth Chorus in singing the National Anthem before the Pride 5K on Saturday morning, and will accept the Larry T. Baza Arts and Culture Award at the Spirit of Stonewall Rally on Friday evening.
The Spirit of Stonewall Rally is 6 p.m. Friday, July 14. Hillcrest Pride Flag, 1500 University Ave., Hillcrest. Free.
For more arts-related Pride activities, check out the Art of Pride section of the Pride festival (by the giant inflatable rainbow), where you can visit the featured artists and pick up the Art of Pride Zine. KPBS is the Art of Pride sponsor, and we will have a booth there, too! Art of Pride is 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, July 15 and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, July 16. Marston Point, 6th Ave. and Laurel St., Balboa Park. $32+ for festival passes. (Free for youth in high school or younger.)
31st Annual Juried Exhibition: The Athenaeum Music and Arts Library will open their annual juried show this weekend. This year's exhibition was juried by Isabel Casso, assistant curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Twenty-five artists have work in the exhibition, including Kaori Fukuyama, Marina Grize, Becky Guttin, Andrés Hernandez, Oriana Poindexter, Leslye Villaseñor and more. There are 35 pieces of art, chosen from 900 submissions.
Details: Opens with a reception at 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, July 14. On view through Sept. 9. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Athenaeum Music and Arts Library, 1008 Wall St., La Jolla. Free.
"Is It Thursday Yet": La Jolla Playhouse just opened a new full-length evening dance-theater production by dancer Jenn Freeman and choreographer Sonya Tayeh. Freeman was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at age 33, and the ensuing series of epiphanies about the past has resulted in this production. You can check out my full interview with Freeman and Tayeh here:
Details: On stage through Aug. 6. La Jolla Playhouse, 2910 La Jolla Village Dr., UC San Diego. $25-$75.
"On the Move: Without Bounds": City Ballet is taking its annual "On the Move" production to the new Epstein Family Amphitheater at UC San Diego. This year's production features three brand new works, "AUBADE I & II," "Forever Sunset," and "Noct," from company choreographers Elizabeth Wistrich and Geoffrey Gonzalez, as well as the choreography debut from dancer Brian Heil — all performed beneath the stars just steps from the Blue Line trolley station.
While you're there, check out the adjacent walkway, home to "KAHNOP," the latest piece of public art in the campus Stuart Collection. Check out our recent feature here:
Details: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 14-15. 9500 Gilman Dr., UC San Diego. $39-$59.
Visual art, Music and Dance
"C You Saturday": This month’s iteration of the Institute of Contemporary Art San Diego's community night will be held at their north county campus, spotlighting the work of artist Edra Soto, whose exhibit "Graft" is on view through Aug. 6. There will be live music and dancing in both the gallery area and the hilltop sculpture garden (bring sturdy walking shoes for the short but steep trail!). At 4 p.m., artist Katie Ruiz will lead a community pompom-making activity; at 4:30, Fred Astaire Dance Studio will lead salsa lessons; and at 5:30 Helena Holleran will perform their blend of R&B, soul, jazz, latin and reggae.
Details: 4-8 p.m. Saturday, July 15. ICA San Diego-North, 1550 S. El Camino Real, Encinitas. Free.
"Teen-Versionary" is Diversionary Theatre's annual youth production during San Diego Pride. The performances are free, and feature LGBTQ+ and allied teens. This year's show includes movement and music, and centers on the queer youth experience.
Details: 2 p.m. Friday, July 14 and 3 p.m. Saturday, July 15. Diversionary Theatre, 4545 Park Blvd., University Heights. Free (RSVP recommended).
"Crime and Punishment, A Comedy" opens at The Old Globe this weekend. It's a world-premiere Globe-commissioned work by the playwriting duo Gordon Greenberg and Steve Rosen. It's a comedic retelling of Dostoevsky's classic novel (and Russian literature as an entire genre). The show description says it best: "Based on the book you didn’t actually read in high school."
Details: On stage July 15 through Aug. 20. The Old Globe, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park. $92+.
Books and Poetry
"Find Your Voice Poetry Contest": Glassless Minds, a local creative writing nonprofit, and the Oceanside Public Library present a special poetry contest. There are just 17 spots for the contest (signups start at 4:30 p.m.), and it will be judged by San Diego Poet Laureate Jason Magabo Perez and Dr. Angélica M. Yañez, as well as poet Rudy K. Francisco, who will also perform a short feature set.
Details: 5-7 p.m. Saturday, July 15. Civic Center Library Courtyard, 330 N. Coast Highway, Oceanside. Free.
"Tchaikovsky X. Drake": The San Diego Symphony is host to composer and conductor Steve Hackman who has made a name for himself mashing up classical works with popular music — partly to lure fans of those modern artists (think: Coldplay, Bjork and Radiohead) to classical music. This time? Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony and Drake.
I admit I was a skeptic until I watched an interview with Hackman where he describes how naturally the intimacy and vulnerability in Drake's "Marvin's Room" pairs with the beautiful, sweeping French horn solo in the Fifth Symphony's second movement.
Several singers and a rapper will perform live with the Symphony.
Details: 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 14. The Rady Shell, 222 Marina Park Way, downtown. $30-$108.
2023 San Diego International Mariachi Summit Gala Concert: Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlán, Mariachi Champaña Nevin, Ballet Folklórico Internacional and more will perform at Balboa Theatre for a benefit concert to foster mariachi education programs in the region, as well as scholarships for their students to attend college.
Details: 7:30 p.m. on Friday, July 14. Balboa Theatre, 868 4th Ave., downtown. $25+.