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Arts & Culture

San Diego weekend arts events: 'Korea in Color,' haunted theater and a 19th century courtesan

Kim Chonghak, "Metamorphosed Peony, 2006" is a ten-panel folding screen artwork of acrylic on canvas, on view Oct. 28, 2023 through Mar. 3, 2024 at San Diego Museum of Art.
Kim Hyunjoo
Courtesy of the Ilchi Foundation
Detail of Kim Chonghak's "Metamorphosed Peony, 2006," a ten-panel folding screen artwork of acrylic on canvas, on view Oct. 28, 2023 through Mar. 3, 2024 at San Diego Museum of Art.

This weekend in the arts: Contemporary Korean polychrome painting; San Diego Art Prize; a play about an "it girl" sex worker in 19th century England; haunted dance; spooky Shakespeare; Dìa de los Muertos; experimental bassoon; live music picks and more.

Visual art

For more arts events, or to submit your own, visit the KPBS/Arts Calendar. If you want more time to plan, get the KPBS/Arts newsletter in your inbox every Thursday to see event picks for the weeks ahead.

'Korea in Color: A Legacy of Auspicious Images' opens this weekend at the San Diego Museum of Art. The exhibit explores the traditional and modern use of polychrome painting, chaesaekhwa, pairing contemporary pieces with works from the 19th and early 20th centuries. On view are 50 works from contemporary artists, in conversation with just a handful of traditional pieces.

One striking piece (of many) in this exhibition is a 2019-2020 sculpture by artist Kim Sangdon: "Cart." It features a traditional Korean ceremonial funeral boat adorned with "dancheong" decorative coloring and wooden figures, all set atop a grocery store shopping cart. The funeral boat features piercing representations of capitalism and information overload — like a tiny figure holding a video camera, with tears streaming down their face. Murals, video works, poetry, sculpture and more are included throughout the exhibit, displayed near the traditional works.


Details: "Korea in Color: A Legacy of Auspicious Images," on view Oct. 28, 2023, through Mar. 3, 2024. San Diego Museum of Art, 1450 El Prado, Balboa Park. $0-$20.

A sculpture appears to show a small, glass blue orb emerging from a gray rock.
Courtesy of San Diego Public Library
Work by Mely Barragan is shown in an undated photo.

The San Diego Art Prize 2023 Exhibition opens this weekend, celebrating the four winners of this year's San Diego Art Prize: Mely Barragan, Anya Gallaccio, Janelle Iglesias and Joe Yorty. The exhibition is titled "To Fix the Object in Memory," referencing the way each artist explores memory and creates object-centered works of art. (It's also a nod to artist Vija Celmins’ sculpture, "To Fix the Image in Memory.")

Details: "San Diego Art Prize 2023 Exhibition," opens with a reception from 3 p.m. - 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28. On view through Jan. 14, 2024. San Diego Central Library Art Gallery, 330 Park Blvd., downtown. Free.

"Boundaries Edge" is a group exhibition at Oceanside's Techne Art Center, featuring works exploring and upending traditional landscape artworks. With painting, sculpture, multimedia and photography works, participating artists include Rebecca Webb, Adriene Hughes, Catherine Ruane, Jeph Gurecka, Riccarda de Eccher and more.

An installation view shows the "Boundaries Edge" exhibition at Techne Art Center in an undated photo.
Courtesy of Techne Art Center
An installation view shows the "Boundaries Edge" exhibition at Techne Art Center in an undated photo.

Details: "Boundaries Edge," opens with a reception from 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28. On view through Jan. 20, 2024. Techne Art Center, 1609 Ord Way, Oceanside. Free.


Space 4 Art Open Studios is a periodic celebration and open house at the East Village art space, and this iteration is Halloween and Día de Muertos themed. Resident artist Felix Diaz has put together Día de Muertos programs, like an ofrenda and a performance from the Diaz Trio at 8 p.m. Other performances include Jonathan Piper at 7:15 p.m., and Ariana Warren, Chris Warren and friends at 8:45 p.m. Resident artists will open their studios and display their works throughout the evening.

Details: Open Studios at Space 4 Art: October 2023, 7 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28. Space 4 Art, 340 16th St., East Village. Free.

"Haunted House 2: An Experimental Halloween Art Show" takes over Bread & Salt for just two nights. Twenty artists have come together, curated by Jason Sherry, to turn Bread & Salt's "Brick Room" into an interactive, multi-installation maze-like haunted house. There's sound, light and sculpture, all leaning into our assorted nightmares. Artists include Andrew Alcasid, Brian and Ryan, Rob Crow, Neil Kendricks, Margaret Noble, Joe Yorty, Jean Lowe and more.

Details: "Haunted House 2," 5 p.m. - 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 27-28. Bread & Salt, 1955 Julian Ave., Logan Heights. Free.

Theater and Literature

"The Little Fellow (Or, the Queen of Tarts Tells All)" opens at Cygnet Theater this week. Kate Hamill's play centers on the life of real-life courtesan Harriette Wilson, who earned a reputation as being a sort of "it girl" among the ranks of England's ruling class, taking high-profile lovers and living in near-luxury. When promises to take care of her for life fell through, Wilson decided to tell all in a memoir. The play explores the role and perception of sex workers, class, feminism and what motivated someone like Wilson.

"I always love a rude woman. She's not very polite and nothing's more satisfying then watching someone refuse to play nice and she doesn't particularly play nice," Hamill said. Stay tuned for my upcoming interview with playwright Kate Hamill on KPBS Midday Edition.

The cast of Cygnet Theatre's "The Little Fellow" are shown in an undated photo.
Karli Cadel
Cygnet Theatre
The cast of Cygnet Theatre's "The Little Fellow" are shown in an undated photo.

Details: "The Little Fellow (Or The Queen of Tarts Tells All)," On stage through Nov. 19. Cygnet Theatre, 4040 Twiggs St., Old Town. $27-$61.

"Spooky Shakespeare" at MOPA@SDMA brings San Diego Shakespeare Society actors to perform short excerpts from Halloween-worthy Shakespearean plays like "Hamlet," "Titus Andronicus," "Macbeth," "Richard III" and "Romeo and Juliet." The performances will be in conjunction with — and informed by — James Balog's exhibition, "Photographs from the Anthropocene," a gorgeous (and apocalyptic) look at the human impact on the natural world.

Details: "Spooky Shakespeare," 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28. MOPA@SDMA (the original Museum of Photographic Arts location), 1649 El Prado, Balboa Park. Free.

"AXIS: Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead Celebration" is the Old Globe's free, family-friendly community program, featuring dance, music, a new coLAB play written by community members in City Heights, crafts and artmaking opportunities and more, to celebrate Día de Muertos.

AXIS: Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead Celebration
Photo by Rich Soublet II
The Old Globe
A performer from a previous AXIS: Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead Celebration is shown in an undated photo.

Details: AXIS: Día de los Muertos, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29. The Old Globe, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park. Free.

"Poe & Company" is presented by Write Out Loud, a San Diego literary-theatrical organization. It's a one-night-only production featuring performances of stories by Edgar Allen Poe (and friends) at the always spooky Villa Montezuma. Performers include Poe-regular Travis Rhett Wilson.

Details: "Poe & Company," 6:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Oct. 28. Villa Montezuma, 1925 K St., Sherman Heights. $30.


The Rosin Box Project's annual "Ghost Light Masquerade" production returns this week. It's an evening-length, interactive dance performance that draws on myths and superstitions from the theater world. The name comes from the idea of a "ghost light," a single lightbulb left on stage overnight to fend off evil spirits.

Dancers from The Rosin Box Project are shown performing in a previous Ghost Light Masquerade production in an undated photo.
Sam Zauscher
Dancers from The Rosin Box Project are shown performing in a previous Ghost Light Masquerade production in an undated photo.

Billed as "a spirited immersive ballet spectacle," the show will combine the Rosin Box Project's inventive contemporary ballet style and choreography with theatrics, gorgeous sets and spooky mystery — all at the allegedly haunted Horton Grand Hotel theater.

Details: "Ghost Light Masquerade," 7 p.m. Thursday; 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26-29. Horton Grand Hotel, 311 Island Ave., downtown. $54-$60.


Joy Guidry: "AMEN": Bassoonist, composer, and interdisciplinary, experimental performer Joy Guidry will bring their new work, "AMEN," to the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla. Guidry's works are striking and abstract, and use bassoon as well as electronics and voice. "AMEN" is a forthcoming album, and they'll spotlight some of the newer works. Guidry's artist statement declares that at the core of their work is "radical self-love, compassion, laughter, and the drive to amplify Black artmakers and noisemakers."

Details: Joy Guidry: "AMEN" 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 27. Jacobs Hall at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, 700 Prospect St., La Jolla (enter the performance space along Coast Blvd.; the galleries will be closed). $15-$20.

"Struck and Plucked": This performance of music from the Philippines spotlights the rondalla and kulintang — ancient folk styles of music that use traditional Filipino string and percussion instruments and will also include dance performances. Presented by the Samahan Filipino American Performing Arts & Education Center, the musicians will be led by Samahan Arts' Dr. Bernard Ellorin, music director and ethnomusicologist.

Details: "Struck and Plucked," 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28. Mingei International Museum, 1439 El Prado, Balboa Park. $15-$35.

More live music

Thursday: Interpol and Jean Dawson at The Sound (rock, experimental pop); TSOL, Doll Riot and The Pawns at Casbah (punk); Good Morning with Lauren Early at Quartyard (indie).

Friday: The Frights at Observatory North Park (surf punk); Songwriter Sanctuary with Shhhhh, Lady July and Cathryn & Nisha at Normal Heights United Church (singer/songwriter); Frankie and the Witch Fingers with Monsterwatch at Quartyard (rock, punk).

Saturday: Laraaji at The Loft (world/electronic/dance); Underscores and Jedwill at Soda Bar (electronic/pop/punk); Rocket From The Crypt and Tijuana Panthers at House of Blues (rock); Casbah Halloween Show: The Creepy Creeps, The Loons, Scary Pierre and Low Volts at Casbah (rock).

Sunday: Nation of Language at Belly Up (indie pop); Claudio Simonetti's Goblin performing live score for "Demons" at Music Box (progressive rock/soundtrack); Chloe Lou and the Liddells, Lauren Leigh and Jeff Berkely and the Banned at Casbah (folk, indie, singer/songwriter); Tideless, Muerte, Skulls and Parasite Caste at the Che Cafe (hardcore/metal).