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San Diego's Top Weekend Events: 'Hairspray' And Indie Rock Pioneers

A 2018 photo of Bethany Solmka as Tracy Turnbland in San Diego Musical Theatre's "Hairspray."
Ken Jacques
A 2018 photo of Bethany Solmka as Tracy Turnbland in San Diego Musical Theatre's "Hairspray."
San Diego's Top Weekend Events: 'Hairspray' And Indie Rock Pioneers San Diego's Top Weekend Events: 'Hairspray' And Indie Rock Pioneers
San Diego's Top Weekend Events: 'Hairspray' and Indie Rock Pioneers GUEST: Nina Garin, editor/producer, KPBS/Arts Calendar

This is KPBS midday edition. Maureen Cavanagh a production of Hairspray that holds true to its campy roots and to big alt rock acts from the 80s and 90s in concert in San Diego. It's our weekend preview. And joining me is Nina Guerin K PBS arts calendar editor. Nina welcome. Thank you. The musical Hairspray is back in San Diego. Nina who's staging this local production. This one's put on by San Diego musical theater. They have a home now at the Horten Grand Theater which is small and it's the perfect place to see this show. It's also packed with fantastic talent notably Bethany Sonika as Tracy Turnblad and I really love Zachary Scott Wolfe as corny Collins. Can you remind us what this musical is about. Jaso it takes place in 1960s Baltimore and it's about a plus sized girl with big hair. Tracy she dreams of joining the Corny Collins dance show and once she does her dancing catches the attention of the dreamy star link Larkan. And it's like her body size is the first step in showing different people on TV and she takes that power and she tries to integrate the Corny Collins Show because again it's in the 60s. You saw the show already and you were saying that it's not like any Hairspray that you've ever seen. Right. So Hairspray has become a very popular musical to put on it's seen as a family friendly story about body acceptance and diversity. Recently NBC did a live version it was filled with pretty stars from the Disney Channel and it was very polished. But people might not remember that this started out as a John Waters movie in 1988 divine played the mother. It was very low budget and very gritty and this show actually felt more like an homage to that. How so. The world of John Waters has a lot of camp it's raunchy. There's a lot of innuendo and this show you see that like Tracy openly lusts for the heartthrob link Corny Collins makes these very funny faces like he's also kind of in love with Lenk just everyone is making character choices that are not squeaky clean. There's like something going on there and you really have to pay attention. Now you brought a clip from the original movie. Can you tell us what we're about to hear. This is my favorite scene from the movie it's when Tracy and her friends meet the beatniks and they show Tracy that there's other ways to live and other ways to style your hair. I'm in integration. We shall overcome someday. Now with that here you want to look like a hair Hobert in me. I need your hair is really cool. How do you get your hair straight. It's so flat. We didn't I. Play my bongos listen to Audet and then iron my Airds day. That was a clip from the 1988 version of Hairspray starring Ricki Lake. And you can see a local production of the musical now through September 2nd at the Horton Grand Theater. Now next there's a concert that brings together two big names in alternative rock Weezer and the Pixies. Let's start with the Pixies remind us who they are. Nina this is a band that was started in the 80s by Black Francis who's also known as Frank Black. The band also has David Lovering Joe Santiago and at the time had him deal. They had this songwriting style that's really jangly and fragmented and dissonant and it influenced hundreds of bands most notably Nirvana RLM and Weezer. Now you brought a clip of the Pixies and it was actually very difficult to find a clip for you. Why. So the songs have so many layers they have these quiet beginnings and then they get incredibly loud and I don't think a small piece will give you the full effect. But we're going to try it with one of my all time favorites which is the base for a song about the art film and shin on the blue by Louise Benwell and Salvador Dali. That was the Pixies debate sir. And okay so on the other end of the indie music spectrum there's Weezer Weezer started out in the 1990s and they had similar qualities to the Pixies back then they had similar buildups. The front man Rivers Cuomo had this sarcastic dry delivery and they got popular with songs like Buddy Holly and undone the Sweater Song. Let's listen to 1990s Weezer. This is. Say it ain't so. But they don't sound like this anymore. No the band actually went in kind of an opposite direction as time went on they became more poppy. They released songs are very radio friendly and they got known for doing covers. And one is on the radio all the time right now. You probably heard it. It's todos Africa. So now Wheezer has a mix of fans under from the early days but also ones who are kind of into this soft rock and chill times. You brought Weezer's version of Africa. Let's listen. So what can people expect at this concert. So the Pixies are going to play in our set. I know that it's weird that Pixies is the opening act rashly if you're older like me they should be the headliners but Weezer is the headline band and they'll be playing old songs and new songs and their covers the Pixies and Weezer perform Saturday at mattress firm amphitheater in Chula Vista. I've been speaking with PBS arts calendar editor Nina Guerin. You can see all the events she's been working on at Cape PBS dot org slash arts. Nina thank you.

This weekend brings a fun twist on a popular musical, plus a super-sized concert by two giants of alternative rock.



San Diego Musical Theatre presents "Hairspray," a show that won eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Original Score.


The local production is directed by J. Scott Lapp, choreographed by Jill Gorrie and stars Bethany Solmka as Tracy Turnbland.

Set in 1962 Baltimore, the quirky, plus-sized, Tracy Turnblad dreams to dance on The Corny Collins Show. After learning new dance moves from her African-American friends, she wins a spot on Corny's show.

Details: 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays. Through Sept. 2. Horton Grand Theatre, 444 Fourth Ave., downtown. $30 to $60Find tickets to "Hairspray."

A 2017 photo of the rock band the Pixies.
Travis Shinn
A 2017 photo of the rock band the Pixies.

The Pixies and Weezer



Back in the 1990s, a concert featuring Weezer and The Pixies would have felt like a dream. This weekend, that show becomes reality.

The Pixies is a seminal alternative band, creating a songwriting style that was jangly and fragmented. The Pixies influenced hundreds of bands, most notably Nirvana, R.E.M. and fellow tourmates, Weezer.

Weezer was an alternative powerhouse in the 1990s thanks to hits like "Buddy Holly" and "Undone (The Sweater Song)." Lately the band has been focusing on covers songs, like Toto’s "Africa."

Details: 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Mattress Firm Amphitheatre, 2050 Entertainment Circle, Chula Vista. $25 to $258 find tickets to The Pixies and Weezer.