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Weekend Preview: Symphony Season Kickoff, Fall For The Arts, A Hillcrest Hoedown, And More October Fun

Lang Lang performs at the San Diego Symphony.
Lang Lang performs at the San Diego Symphony.
Weekend Preview: Symphony Season Kickoff, Fall For The Arts, A Hillcrest Hoedown And More October Fun
GUESTS: Barbarella Fokos, author of Diary of a Diva column and Your Week page at the San Diego Reader Valerie Scher, arts journalist

CAVANAUGH: October is time to fall for the arts in San Diego. We'll be talking about a monthlong arts and culture celebration, and the start of a new symphony season, and lessons on raising chickens in the city. It's the weekend preview! My guests, Barbarella is author of diary of a diva column, and your week page at the San Diego reader. Welcome back! BARBARELLA: Thanks so much for having me. CAVANAUGH: And Valerie Scher is here, hello. SCHER: Good to be here. CAVANAUGH: Fall for the arts launches at liberty station Friday. BARBARELLA: Everything art-related, music, dance, film, theatre, art and food. Food is an art too. CAVANAUGH: It is! [ LAUGHTER ] BARBARELLA: Art-boxed San Diego, where nine different artists transform those pod, those storage container, and those will be all over. CAVANAUGH: Oh, that's great. Now, is there sort of value involved in this? Can people get really good buys going to various arts locations? Good economical packages for their whole family? BARBARELLA: Yes, definitely. The City of San Diego, the county of San Diego, really, everybody is coming together to make things either free or very affordable. So you can see things like the symphony, theatre shows, galleries and museums. Children for example can -- you can download it online, go to 35 museums free for the entire month. CAVANAUGH: Oh, that's great! So the kickoff takes place at liberty station as I said during their weekly Friday not liberty. Is that a fun menu? BARBARELLA: Not only fun but beautiful. You know the gardens and the foundation and the flowers. All of the studios are open. There's always performances, and for this one, it's actually extending two hours. It usually goes to 8:00, but there's so much happening that it'll go until 10:00. And there's much to see. CAVANAUGH: Is there any place where people can find all the museums and the arts-related activities that are included in this fall for the arts program? BARBARELLA: Yes. And I forget the name of the website, but it's or something like that. But if you Google fall for the arts -- CAVANAUGH: That's how I found it! [ LAUGHTER ] BARBARELLA: Yes, you'll find it everywhere. Upon everybody is involved. CAVANAUGH: And we talked about this, just mentioned it, the opening of the San Diego symphony, Valerie! It begins this weekend. Who will they have performing for the opening of the season? SCHER: The symphony likes to open its season with a superstar. And this year that person is pianist long-long. He was born in China and turned 30 this past June. I heard him play here in 2001 when he was still a teenager. Even then there was such a distinctive quality to his playing and his stage presence. He was a very expressive virtuoso. He told me that it's really important to know how to play from the heart, and that he does. CAVANAUGH: And what's on the program? SCHER: On Friday and Sunday, long-long will be the soloist in Beethoven's very famous piano concerto No. 5, his final concerto, which is nicknamed the emperor. The program also includes Beethoven's overtour to Fidelio, and muse organize ski's pictures at an exhibition. CAVANAUGH: I understand there's a special gala package. SCHER: It's the major annual fundraising party and concert. This year's version will be held on Saturday. Long-long will be the star. He'll join the orchestra in Tchaikovsky's piano concerto No. 1, and the suite from his ballet, sleeping beauty. The price of an ultrapremium gala ticket is $5,000. CAVANAUGH: Whoa! SCHER: That's for the concert, and all the party perks, including a signed CD by long-long. CAVANAUGH: Anything less -- [ LAUGHTER ] SCHER: Yes, there are. If you just want to attend the gala concert, the tickets cost $30 to $80. CAVANAUGH: All right. Barbarella, harvest to home, it's the San Diego County master gardener's association event, this Sunday. What is the impetus? What will we learn at harvest to home? BARBARELLA: With a lot of people now with the slow food movement growing their own food, and the new law that you can raise your own chickens and stuff like that in San Diego, this seeks to teach people gardening techniques, provide principal information about pest management, all the things that are tailored for the individual, not the corporation. CAVANAUGH: Okay. So what kind of schedule do they have planned? BARBARELLA: Registration is at 7:30 in the morning. There are different sessions, and in each session, it breaks down to different classes. And the classes themselves are only $15. There are a few that are $25. But there are classes like the coop scoop, or homegrown edible and medical fungi. And you can see actually demonstrations from master gardeners during the lunch hour. CAVANAUGH: And where will this be taking place? Somewhere where there's enough earth to be relevant! [ LAUGHTER ] BARBARELLA: Right, you're going to need ground, probably! It's in El Cajon at Sophie center on Madison event. CAVANAUGH: I understand that attendees who want to add on lunch to the seminar, they have something special? BARBARELLA: Yes, for another $15, the menu looks really good, waters fine foods to go created all these gourmet boxes. If you don't end up getting that, there will be some basic refreshments in a garden goody bag available for anybody who registers. CAVANAUGH: So it's a great celebration for the urban farmer. Trolley dances, Valerie. It continues this weekend, and it end this is weekend! SCHER: True! And I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea. There is no dancing on the trolleys. You're not going to see performers scampering on board or pirouetting down the aisles. The dancing is done near the trolley stops. So you take a guided tour to each performance location. There are six stops, and it starts at the Grossmont center in La Mesa. Of it's always an adventure. CAVANAUGH: Is there a specific troupe involved? SCHER: Jean Isaacs who's a dance icon in San Diego is the guiding force behind it. She choreographed a couple of the dances this year, and there are works by a variety of guest choreographer who is tailor their work for specific locations. Because you ride the trolley and walk to the sites, you end up discovering parts of San Diego you might not otherwise see. CAVANAUGH: That's wonderful. So just to emphasize, it's not people doing big dances on the trolley. This is an event. It's something you follow along to different locations, and the dancers perform on the particular sites. SCHER: Yes. CAVANAUGH: Final performances this Saturday and Sunday. Hillcrest ho-down! It sounds like fun already. What else is there to do? BARBARELLA: Well, lots and lots of dancing. There's going to be a grand stage featuring country-themed music all day, and dancing lessons every hour. You have clogging exhibition and lessobs. It's not the Dutch-type clogging you think, it's actually Appalachian folk dancing. They'll be there. Line dancing, and a musical. It's best little whore house in Texas. I don't know if I can say that. CAVANAUGH: You just did! [ LAUGHTER ] BARBARELLA: It's put on by the Coronado playhouse. In conjunction with meals on wheels. That show is going to be running at the playhouse. It's a bawdy musical, based on a Texas brothel known as the chicken ranch. CAVANAUGH: Where is this going to take place? BARBARELLA: It's all on normal street. Right there in Hillcrest, where they have the parking, it'll be shut down, and there'll be a street-side saloon for the 21 and plus. But the dance floor outside is for all ages. CAVANAUGH: That's fascinating. And I would imagine there's also going to be lots of music. >> Yes, California rhythm project, urban kickers, Ezebbingiel jay, and all emceed by Laura Jay, she's really fun. CAVANAUGH: Solana center is conducting, oh, yes, a compost workshop at the San Diego video! What better place! SCHER: Absolutely. People can learn all about the wide world of compost. Compost is a mix of organic matter that looks sort of like dark, rich soil, and I am in awe of anyone who can make great compost! I'm an organic gardener who has compost envy! It's like black gold. It's hugely available because it improves the soil so amazingly well. The class has just filled up, but there is also one coming up in Fallbrook. CAVANAUGH: What mysteries are we going to learn in this event? SCHER: Well, are the great thing about compost is that it's a way of using your leftover fruits and vegetables rather than just throwing them out. I have a son who's a raw food vegan, and we give the scraps to earth worm who is live outdoors in a bin. They seem as happy as earth worms can possibly be. [ LAUGHTER ] SCHER: So we compost with the help of these earth worms, which is very easy and enjoyable. CAVANAUGH: Is there a cost involved? SCHER: The workshops are free. They're presented by the Solana center, and sponsored by the City of San Diego. And I urge anyone who's interested to get more information at

This weekend, prepare to fall for the arts, hit a hoedown and more.

Fall themed events abound in the first weekend in October. There’s everything from a hoedown to a seminar on how to get the most out of the harvest of your own home garden. Peppered in with these seasonal events, is a nice dash of music and dance to add some spice to your life.

The weekend starts off on Friday night with the kick-off to the Fall for the Arts month-long celebration of arts and culture happenings all over San Diego. This opening night event takes place at Liberty Station, during their weekly, Friday Night Liberty event. There will be lots to fun on hand including; free open art studios, galleries, performances, dance, art, film, music, food trucks and innovative experiences throughout the NTC Arts & Cultural District. This event goes from 5pm to 10pm.


Copley Symphony Hall features the opening of the San Diego Symphony's 2012-13 season. Celebrated pianist Lang Lang will be the soloist in the performance of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 ("Emperor") on Oct. 5 and 7. On Oct. 6, he'll play Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 (Sleeping Beauty Suite) with the orchestra as part of the "Opus 2012 Gala." Concert-only tickets can be purchased for as little as $30.

The San Diego County Master Gardener Association’s Fall Seminar is this Saturday, October 6 from 8:45am to 3:00pm, at St. Madeleine Sophie's Center in El Cajon. There will be a bountiful selection of gardening subjects to choose from, with the different sessions of the seminar offering everything from succulents to herbs. Attendees can explore the garden marketplace and add-on an optional $15 catered gourmet lunch from Water’s Fine Foods-to-Go.

Jean Issacs San Diego Dance Theater’s 14th Annual Trolley Dances 2012 will be having their final performances this weekend. This is one of San Diego's most adventurous dance events. The two-hour tours leave Grossmont Transit Center hourly from 10am-3pm and travel to six stops along the Trolley line to see site-specific dances performed by a troupe of 50 dancers.

Another fun fall event happening is the Hillcrest Hoedown, located at Normal Street and University Avenue on Sunday, October 7 from 1pm to 9:30pm. This street festival has a great line-up of music and country hoedown dancing. Other fun activities include line-dancing lessons, hayrides, a barbecue and a mechanical bull. Yeehaw!

The Solana Center’s Compost Workshop is going to be held at the San Diego Zoo’s Otto Center, this Saturday from 8am to 10am. The center is located one block south of the main Zoo entrance in Balboa Park. If you want to create nutrient-rich garden soil and help the environment, this workshop will teach you how to compost at home.


Whether it’s a hoedown or the symphony this weekend – enjoy!