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San Diego weekend arts events: Denja Harris, Festival of Books and 'Carnival of the Animals'

Artist Denja Harris is shown finishing up her fiber art installation at Intervals gallery in an undated photo.
Preston Swirnoff
Artist Denja Harris is shown finishing up her fiber art installation at Intervals gallery in an undated photo.

Visual art

An installation by artist Denja Harris hangs at Intervals in San Diego, shown in an undated photo.
Brandon Mosquera
An installation by artist Denja Harris hangs at Intervals in San Diego, shown in an undated photo.

Denja Harris opens a site-specific solo show at Intervals on Saturday. Harris is a textile artist from the South Bay whose fiber and tufted works first caught my attention in a window exhibition at Mortis Studio in late 2021. The rug-like aesthetic of those works evokes looking down, underfoot, but in this exhibition, Harris seems to want you to look up. Installed in the rafters and suspended down from the ceiling, intricate, brightly colored fibers drip, tangle and spool their way to the floor. Harris works with yarn and materials that are reclaimed or from manufacturing waste, or deadstock. Threads ooze from suspended rectangular fiber sculptures in a way that deftly pairs the careful, mindful process of rug-making with the abstract, organic process at the heart of Harris' work — and the boldness of color and scale shares a curious harmony with the sculptures' softness.

The exhibit opens with a reception Saturday evening with live DJs and natural wines. During the four-week run of the exhibition, it's viewable by appointment during set hours — and free appointments can be made via an online scheduling tool. Intervals is a multi-use, indie art space, relatively new to the scene, and is run by multidisciplinary performance artist and curator Preston Swirnoff.

Details: Reception is 7-11 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 19. Gallery hours by appointment are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. On view through Sept. 15. Intervals, 998 W. Juniper St., Little Italy. Free.



The 7th Annual Union-Tribune Festival of Books brings us yet again the best of local literature alongside global literary and performance stars. This year's lineup spotlights Susanna Hoffs of the Bangles on the "entertainment" stage, plus authors Remi Adeleke, Charlie Jane Anders, Kashana Cauley, Aisha Harris (of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour), John Jennings, TJ Klune and many, many (seriously many) more.

Overwhelmed by the choices? I've rounded up some of the authors we've spotlighted at KPBS in the past, plus two fresh interviews this week.

Kicking off the festival is the KPBS One Book, One San Diego announcement. What three books (adult, teen and children's) will San Diegans get to read together in the next year? Take a peek at the list of finalists here, and then get the selections on Saturday at 10 a.m.

In addition to the slate of panels and discussions, there's an expansive book fair, with individual authors, organizations and publishers tabling along with larger booths from all your favorite local bookstores. A children's area features storytimes and activities. The festival is free, but advanced registration is recommended for individual panels. Some panels require a small donation to reserve a spot. On-site, no-ticket lines usually form for some of the bigger panels, but admission isn't guaranteed.


Details: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 19. University of San Diego, 5998 Alcala Park, Linda Vista. Free.

Books and Theater

Literary puppets interact with visitors during a prior TwainFest in an undated photo.
Courtesy of Write Out Loud
Literary puppets interact with visitors during a prior TwainFest in an undated photo.

TwainFest is on Saturday, if you prefer your literary events to include a bit of fancy dress. Given the proximity of Old Town and USD, I daresay you could literary fest-hop. Live actors dressed as 19th century heroes will roam Heritage Park (which I once heard described as a "Victorian architectural petting zoo"). There'll be salons and performances, and you can also find giant puppets, literary-inspired games and activities like fence painting with Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher or a Mad Hatter Tea.

Details: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug.19. Heritage County Park, 2454 Heritage Park Row, Old Town. Free, but advance registration is required.


'A Weekend with Pablo Picasso' has returned to New Village Arts, on stage through Sept. 3. Written, performed, directed and produced by Herbert Siguenza. The story follows one single weekend in Picasso's studio as he binge-paints six works due to a buyer, and imagines Picasso's artistic process and what it's like to be inside his head while under some significant professional pressure.

Details: On stage through Sept. 3. This weekend's showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 17-19. New Village Arts Theatre, 2787 State St., Carlsbad. $30-$58.


"Bayanihan: Dance-Theatre Spectacular" is a production of the Filipino-American-run Maraya Performing Arts space in the South Bay. The production features works that celebrate the Filipino immigrant community through contemporary dance as well as live music, spoken word, storytelling and hip-hop.

A dancer for Maraya Performing Arts' "Bayanihan" is shown in an undated photo.
Courtesy of Maraya Performing Arts
A dancer for Maraya Performing Arts' "Bayanihan" is shown in an undated photo.

Choreographers include Odessa Uno, Sean Asuncion and Xavier Hicks. Dr. DJ Kuttin Kandi, who is founder of the Asian Solidarity Collective, will perform. Four (early) shows this weekend, followed by a ticketed after party on Sunday.

Details: 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 19-20. After party is 3 p.m. Sunday with an additional donation. Maraya Performing Arts, 861 Harold Pl. Ste. 208, Chula Vista. $40+.

"Fairy Tales in the Park" is San Diego Civic Youth Ballet's annual summer offering for families. It's a collection of several beloved children's stories set to ballet, like "Beauty and the Beast," "Goldilocks," and more, narrated by storyteller Catherine Caldwell. The Casa del Prado Theatre lobby will also be decked out as an immersive, enchanted forest to welcome you into the world of stories before the dancers even take the stage.

Details: 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 19-20. Casa del Prado Theatre, 1600 Village Place, Balboa Park. $25.

Music and Dance

"Carnival of the Animals — A Political Jungle" is one of the La Jolla Music Society's SummerFest Synergy offerings. Synergy is an initiative started by SummerFest artistic director Inon Barnatan to pair chamber music with interdisciplinary art and performance mediums. "Carnival of the Animals" takes the Saint-Saëns masterpiece and transforms it with the words of spoken word performer Marc Bamuthi Joseph and dance from choreographer Francesca Harper and dancer Wendy Whelan, who is artistic director of the New York City Ballet. The story's reimagined setting takes place during the insurrection in the United States Capitol building on January 6, 2021.

Encounter: "Carnival of the Animals"
Courtesy of La Jolla Music Society
Wendy Whelan and Marc Bamuthi Joseph are shown in an undated video still during a rehearsal for "Carnival of the Animals."

This is a special premiere, co-commissioned by Synergy/SummerFest alongside a handful of other institutes.

Arrive at 6:30 p.m. for a pre-show discussion with Francesca Harper.

Details: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18. The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, 7600 Fay Ave., La Jolla. $75-$90.


Museum of Making Music's "Sing Sing Sing" is a free community music day on Saturday. Artmaking stations from 10 a.m.-11 a.m. will guide you through creating your own decorative microphone. There's live-band karaoke from 12-2 p.m. with the Temecula-based band Lifetime Rocker (who boast over 600 songs to pick from).

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., so don't miss their current special exhibit, "MIDI@40: Artistry, Inclusivity, Connectivity." While the community event is free, museum admission is $10-$15 and children are free.

Details: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19. Museum of Making Music, 5790 Armada Dr., Carlsbad. Free (does not include museum admission).

Pep Rally is a concert series from event organizers Death Valley Cheer Squad, and it's hitting the Casbah on Sunday evening. Bands include headliner Obed Padilla along with Winnabego (both hailing from Oceanside) and San Diego's Sidne, whose songwriting makes me think of Jezabels with a dash of Blondie. I love her recent single "VOID": dark and moody but still relentlessly rocking.

Details: 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 20. Casbah, 2501 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy. $10.

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