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Arts & Culture

San Diego weekend art events: Caribbean art, contemporary dance and Tolstoy pop

A still image is shown from artist Christopher Cozier's 2014 work "Gas Men"
Christopher Cozier
A still image is shown from artist Christopher Cozier's 2014 work "Gas Men"

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'Forecast Form' + Free Third Thursday

Visual art | Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego's next major exhibition opens this week, featuring art that is connected to the Caribbean since the globally transformative and volatile 1990s. The exhibit is divided into a series of sections — Territories, Formal Rhythms, Exchange, Image Making, Landscape and Traces — drawing on issues and ideas of geography, movement and migration, cultural exchange, memory, nature, violence and legacy.

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.

Exhibiting artists include Félix González-Torres, Julien Creuzet, Alia Farid, Jeannette Ehlers, Tomm El-Saieh, Christopher Cozier, Lorraine O'Grady and many more. The exhibit is organized in San Diego by Isabel Casso, MCASD's associate curator. Casso worked on the original exhibit when it opened at MCA Chicago, alongside the curatorial team of Carla Acevedo-Yates, Iris Colburn and Nolan Jimbo.

"It was really important also for this exhibition to come to San Diego, in that a lot of our conversations about borders or even about Latinx art and artists is that it's primarily focused very regionally here, looking just to Tijuana or perhaps even Mexicali," Casso said. "And I really wanted to perhaps break that conversation, or expand that conversation that we have here to think more capaciously about our borders and migration — and that the Caribbean history and diaspora is just as much in California as it is on the East Coast."


The exhibit opening coincides with the museum's Free Third Thursday. An artist talk with Christopher Cozier (whose "Gas Men" is pictured above), Casso, and Acevedo-Yates will be held in Jacobs Hall at 6 p.m.

Details: "Event link." On view April 18 through July 21. Free public opening from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on April 18. MCASD, 700 Prospect St., La Jolla. $0-$25.

'S P A C E' Pro Showcase: Disco Riot

Dance | Disco Riot's artists-in-residence Greta Nuñez, Victor De La Fuente, and Cecily Holcombe will be showcased at a pair of performances this weekend. These dancers and choreographers have been developing new works at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego's downtown space for the past several months. Holcombe's work is called "The folk dances of monsters," which explores the idea that there's a chance for love in the shadows; Imperial Valley-raised Victor De La Fuente's piece, "!Ábrete Sesamo!," is a theatrical dance piece that looks at the brain and neurosis in artists; and Mexican-Brazilian choreographer Greta Nuñez's "Christine & Catalina: Echoes Beneath the Surface" is about resilience and empowerment. Performances will be held at the museum's La Jolla campus.

Details: Event link. 7 p.m. April 19-20. MCASD La Jolla, 700 Prospect St., La Jolla. $15-$25.


'Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812'

Theater | Electropop meets classic Russian literature in Cygnet Theatre's production of "Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812." Writing credits for the book, lyrics and music go to playwright Dave Malloy, but it's adapted from none other than Leo Tolstoy himself, drawing on part eight of "War and Peace." You don't need to know much about "War and Peace," because this script very quickly becomes its own wild and standalone entity — the romance between Natasha and Anatole, and his depressed brother-in-law, Pierre.

Cast members from Cygnet Theatre's production of "Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812" are shown in an undated production photo.
Karli Cadel
Cygnet Theatre
Cast members from Cygnet Theatre's production of "Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812" are shown in an undated production photo.

This is a musical through-and-through, with reportedly only one spoken word of dialogue in the entire script. Malloy drew on electronic dance music, Russian folk music and indie rock for the score. This production is directed by Cygnet's artistic director Sean Murray.

Details: Event link. On stage through May 19, 2024. Cygnet Theatre, 4040 Twiggs St., Old Town. $58-$73.

AXIS: Happy Birthday Mr. Shakespeare

Theater, Books, Family | The Old Globe's AXIS program offers a series of free, family-friendly performances and participatory activities to the community throughout the year. And given that the theater is named after Shakespeare's professional home, The Globe Theatre in London, it tracks that they celebrate the Bard's birthday every year.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Shakespeare! AXIS Event, 2022. Photo by Beto Soto.
Beto Soto
The Old Globe
The Old Globe's "Happy Birthday, Mr. Shakespeare!" AXIS event is shown in a 2022 photo.

In previous years, they've had puppets, live music, sword fighting workshops, dance performances and, of course, some Shakespearean scene performances, all held in the outdoor Copley Plaza.

Details: Event link. 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 20, 2024. The Old Globe's Copley Plaza, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park. Free.

Chicano Park Day

Music, Visual art, Festivals, Family | The 54th annual celebration of the takeover of Chicano Park runs all day Saturday, with live music, dance performances — including Indigenous Aztec dance — kid-friendly arts and crafts, lowriders and more. This year's theme is "Bringing Back the True Spirit and Energy of the Chicano Park Takeover," a reminder of the fight of the students, artists and activists who successfully resisted construction crews assigned to pave a parking lot in the area designated for a park in Barrio Logan.

Details: Event link. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 20. Chicano Park, Logan Ave. between Cesar E. Chavez Pkwy and S. Evans St., Barrio Logan. Free.

Marisa Takal: 'Unconscious Research'

Visual art | Los Angeles-based artist Marisa Takal will open her first San Diego exhibition at Athenaeum Music & Arts Library. The exhibit includes painting and sculpture, ranging from abstract works to "legible subjects." Fans of the Athenaeum's old library storage systems may gravitate towards Takal's Rolodex piece that's a nod to the card catalogs.

Details: Event link. Opens with a reception 6:30-9:30 p.m. April 19. On view through July 13. Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, 1008 Wall St., La Jolla. Free.

Live music picks

* Indicates local act

Thursday: KABBS*, Havnauts* and Vera Veta* at Whistle Stop Bar (indie, punk); Slappin' Hands with Ric Scales* at Til-Two Club (hip-hop); Brian Jones Rock N Roll Revival and Evan Diamond & The Library at Casbah (rock); Charles Moothart and the Fast Band, Memo PST and Kids in Heat* (Murrieta) at Soda Bar (garage rock, punk); Gilbert Castellanos at Lou Lou's (jazz).

Friday: Eric Bachmann (Archers of Loaf) and The Color Forty-Nine at Copley Auditorium at San Diego Museum of Art/Panama 66 (rock); Cindy Lee, Freak Heat Waves and Heavy Hawaii* at Soda Bar (indie, pop, rock); K Street Kreative Flood Recovery Benefit: Translation Has Failed* and The Tordella/Baker Collective at Black Cat Bar (alt, jazz); Saint Luna*, Dolphins on Acid*, New Aesthetic and Dadlore* at SOMA (alt rock, pop punk, indie); Peter Sprague plays Carole King at Museum of Making Music (folk, rock); San Diego Music Awards Showcase: Miniaturized*, Mistress 77*, The Microblades*, Lee Coulter*, Slack Key Ohana* at Pour House Oceanside (rock, punk, folk); Rob Thorsen at Books & Records (jazz); Weep Wave, Sun Jelly*, Night Tides*, Sleeping Ritual* at Che Cafe (punk, indie).

Saturday: Lime Cordiale and Windser at Belly Up (indie, pop); Brittany Howard at Humphreys by the Bay (rock/pop); The Garners at Books & Records (jazz, Americana); The Wraith, New Skeletal Faces* and Vision of the Void at Til-Two Club (metal); San Diego Gay Men's Chorus*: "Freak Out" at Balboa Theatre (disco, choral); MND TMPL: La Diabla*, Drug Hunt*, Fresh Veggies Micro Brass* and DJ Andrew McGranahan* at WNDR Museum San Diego (cumbia, indie, rock).

Sunday: Julianna Zachariou* and Lucy Clearwater at Casbah (singer-songwriter); Xavi at Observatory North Park (Latin); Haez*, Juvenile Seagulls*, Sunshower* and Current Location at Pour House Oceanside (surf rock, indie); Lizzy McAlpine at Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre (pop); San Diego Gay Men's Chorus*: "Freak Out!" at Balboa Theatre (disco, choral)

More arts and culture events

Record Store Day | Music
The official, nationwide Record Store Day lists 13 official indie record stores in San Diego that are participating in Saturday's festivities, including Vinyl Junkies, Folk Arts Rare Records, M-Theory and more. Chances are your neighborhood shop has something going on. Event link. Times and locations vary. Saturday, April. 20. Free. 

Justin Morrison and Mala Forma Dance: 'The Canceled School of Performance' | Performance art, Dance
Project [BLANK]'s regular series at Bread and Salt continues with a dance installation from Mala Forma and Justin Morrison — a work that tells the story of "dishonored students" amidst an absurd educational backdrop. Event link. 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 19. Bread and Salt, 1955 Julian Ave., Logan Heights. $10 or pay-what-you-can. 

SACRA/PROFANA: 'A Cathedral of Trees' | Music, Choral
This program from talented local choral ensemble SACRA/PROFANA takes its inspiration from the writings of John Muir. Works include "Crescent Meadow" by composer Nell Shaw Cohen, performed in this recording by SACRA/PROFANA and directed by Juan Carlos Acosta. Event link. 7-9 p.m. Saturday, April 20. St. Marks United Methodist Church, 3502 Clairemont Dr., Clairemont/Bay Park. $10-$35.

'Where We Lay Our Sorrows Down' | Theater
Artist Thelma Virata de Castro's Far South Border North project, "Cultivating Joy" is a multi-pronged initiative with writing workshops and performances of a play with Asian Story Theater. This one-act play (with puppets!) is inspired by gardeners and explores grief, nature and healing. Event link. 7 p.m. Friday, April 19. A Reason to Survive (ARTS), 200 E. 12th St., National City. Free.

Dayramir González and Habana enTRANCé | Music, Latin Jazz
Afro-Cuban pianist Dayramir González will perform at the La Jolla Music Society's cabaret space, the JAI, where (among other perks) you can get your cocktail delivered to your table. González's show is part of the closing weekend for LJMS' Jazz Piano Mini Festival. Event link. 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Friday, April 19. La Jolla Music Society, 7600 Fay Ave., La Jolla. $68-$83.