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San Diego weekend arts events: Alexis Smith, zines, funk and kickball

Courtesy of MCASD
"Men Seldom Make Passes" is a 1985 work by artist Alexis Smith. It will be on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego Sept. 15, 2022 through Jan. 29, 2023.

Alexis Smith: 'The American Way'

Visual art
This weekend, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego's La Jolla campus opens a new exhibition that chronicles the long career of Los Angeles artist Alexis Smith.

Smith has two significant works on view at UC San Diego as part of the Stuart Art Collection: 1992's 560-foot-long "Snake Path," and the 1987 mural "Same Old Paradise," which was installed in 2021, and had served as the inspiration for "Snake Path."

Curator Anthony Graham said this retrospective spans Smith's entire career, from the 1970s through the 2010s.

"This is the first exhibition to present the full extent of her work since she had a mid-career survey in 1991, which was organized by the Whitney Museum in New York," Graham said. "There's a lot that people haven't seen, for sure. And in a lot of ways, there's also a whole generation of viewers who might not be as familiar with her work and certainly didn't see her shows in the '80s and '90s."

Graham said that Smith is a central, influential figure in Los Angeles art and American art, and her work is often entrenched in depictions of culture, literature, Hollywood, music and advertising.

"She's been really dedicated not only to collage as a medium, but to mining the kind of cultural objects of our society — looking at literature and movies and pop culture and advertising — to try and understand how all of these cultural objects inform us and how we kind of think of ourselves and interact with the world," Graham said.

Julia Dixon Evans
"Starlight" by Alexis Smith is shown in a Sept. 12, 2022 photo at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego's La Jolla campus.

Many of the works in "The American Way" are collages — some detailed multi-sheet works on paper, and some large, striking wall murals with appropriated elements. Smith worked often in collage, but resisted categorization, whether in form or style.

Hard to miss: "Men Seldom Make Passes," a large-scale mural rendering of Marilyn Monroe, with American football imagery encased in large, sculptural sunglasses. It's a play on a two-line Dorothy Parker poem: "Men seldom make passes / At girls who wear glasses," as well as one of Smith's many nods to Hollywood stardom.

Don't miss: "Madame Butterfly," a collage work which examines the act of appropriating through a retelling the story of "Madame Butterfly," which itself has been adapted from a play into an opera.

Another strikingly detailed work is "Isadora," a mixed-media collage set atop a painted mural that takes a fragmented look at the tragic life and death of dancer Isadora Duncan.

Courtesy of MCASD
"Isadora" is a 1980-81 mixed media collage and mural work by Alexis Smith, and is on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego beginning Sept. 15, 2022.

"There's a really strong interest in personas throughout her work, and the kind of crafting of self," Graham said. "It's one of the reasons that she's really looking to these ideas of old Hollywood, this myth that the girl next door, the boy next door, could head west, arrive in Hollywood and make it on the silver screen and become a star. That becomes a really clear example for her of what she sees as a particularly American ethos of self invention and self reinvention."

Details: On view Sept. 15, 2022 through Jan. 29, 2023. MCASD La Jolla, 700 Prospect St., La Jolla. $0-$25.

San Diego Zine Fest: 10th Anniversary

Books, Zines, Visual art, Music

San Diego Zine Fest
In this undated image, a poster for the 2022 San Diego Zine Fest is shown. The event runs Sept. 17-18, 2022 at Bread and Salt.

San Diego Zine Fest is celebrating 10 years this weekend, with a two-day festival at Bread and Salt. Dozens of vendors, presses, artists, zine makers and more will present their wares, including AjA Project, the SDSU Zine Club, Grrrl Zines A-Go-Go, High Tech High International, Adam Gnade, Particle FM, Grant Leuning, Comic Artists of San Diego and so many more. All ages.

A kick-off performance will be held 5-10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, also at Bread and Salt, featuring live performances and readings from Adam Gnade, Ana Carrete, D.Wrex and more.

Details: Noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 17-18, 2022. Bread and Salt, 1955 Julian Ave., Logan Heights. Free.

Choreo and Kickball

Dance, Sports

Sam Zauscher
Dancers from Disco Riot perform in an undated photo.

Disco Riot is at it again, combining contemporary dance with a cool sport. The local company's "Choreo &" program is meant to get audiences involved and moving. In between games of kickball, Disco Riot dancers will perform new choreography by Tina Carreras, Sara Celaya, Martin Anthony Dorado, Marlene Garcia, Zaquia Mahler Salinas, Aisha Reddick, Robi Ruocco and Chelsea Zeffiro.

The theme is "Summer's end," and this is part of Disco Riot's Park Social project, held at Olive Grove Park in Clairemont Mesa.

Details: 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 17-18, 2022. Olive Grove Park, 6075 Printwood St., Clairemont Mesa. Free (RSVP required).

'Magic and Myth: 16th Annual Juried Youth Exhibition'

Visual art, Photography
The Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) opens their annual juried youth exhibition this weekend. Seventy-seven works of photography will be on view, from regional students representing grades K-12 in San Diego County and Tijuana. The prompt for the competition was "Magic and Myth," and the works include fantastical creatures, and supernatural and otherworldly scenes.

Priscilla Pangelinan / Courtesy of MOPA
"What's in your cards?" by youth photographer Priscilla Pangelinan is seen in this undated image. It's part of the Museum of Photography's 16th annual juried youth exhibition, "Myth and Magic," opening Sept. 17, 2022.

Details: On view Sept. 17, 2022 through Feb. 19, 2023. MOPA is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday. 1649 El Prado, Balboa Park. Free/pay what you wish.

Sidro Saturdays

Music, Art, Zines
DJs and electronic music, vendors, books, zines and a pop-up art show converge in this San Ysidro art and community festival. It takes place Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. at the El Salon Cultural Center, inside and outside. Eleven artists are featured in the pop-up inside El Salon, including Diana Benavidez, Lola Grant and T Jay Santa Ana.

Details: Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022. El Salon Cultural Center, 114 Hall Ave., San Ysidro. Free.

Ceelo Green as Soul Brotha #100: A Tribute to James Brown

Hip-hop and soul star Ceelo Green comes to the Shell on Sunday as part of his James Brown tribute tour, "Soul Brotha #100." The program includes James Brown hits as well as some of Green's own songs. Groove and funk band Karl Denson's Tiny Universe will also perform. (Frontman and namesake Karl Denson is one of the founders of San Diego's Greyboy Allstars.)

Details: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022. The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, 222 Marina Park Way, downtown. $30-$110.

For more arts events and Editor's Picks, to submit your own, or to sign up for the weekly KPBS/Arts newsletter, visit the KPBS/Arts Calendar.

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