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San Diego Weekend Arts Events: The Symphony, SoulKiss Theater, Bryan Ali Sanchez, Contemporary Music, New Dance And More

Rafael Payare conducts the San Diego Symphony at Copley Symphony Hall in an undated photograph.
Courtesy of Raindrop Marketing
Rafael Payare conducts the San Diego Symphony at Copley Symphony Hall in an undated photograph.

Any other year, this pre-Thanksgiving weekend would be a bit of a wildcard for arts events, but you may have noticed that 2020 is not like any other year. Time is inside out, the election is still going on, travel is out of the picture, and (hopefully) your Friendsgivings are all on Zoom — so if you ask me it's the perfect weekend to turn to art instead.

San Diego has some outstanding choices for you this weekend. The San Diego Symphony returns to Copley Symphony Hall this weekend, plus works by emerging Black playwrights, new choreography from San Diego Dance Theater, a virtual night of contemporary instrumental music, and new works by painter Bryan Ali Sanchez.

San Diego Symphony: 'Together Apart: Strings, Winds, and Brass'

Classical Music

Finally, we can return to Copley Symphony Hall … sort of. You'll watch from home, but the orchestra was actually there, performing together while socially distant, in measured ensembles with COVID safety protocols in place.

The musical selections include two Baroque sonatas by Venetian composers Giovanni Gabrieli and Giovanni Battista Buonamenta. Gabrieli often instructed brass instruments to perform from the balcony, like a serenade — a prescient, socially distant serenade. Plus, they'll perform a symphonic work by Chevalier de Saint-Georges, considered one of the earliest known Black classical composers. Fugue and waltz selections from Venezuelan composer Aldemaro Romero and the lush "Serenade for Wind Instruments" by Antonín Dvořák round out the night.

These works span hundreds of years, and seem to have been chosen to showcase the versatility and strengths of the smaller ensembles — and maybe also a little bit of the eager playfulness from exploring the inside of this strange new playground.

Details: Friday at 7 p.m. Virtual. Free.

SoulKiss Theater: 'A Night of New Playwrights'


Miki Vale's new theater collective SoulKiss Theater has spent the past ten weeks with a cohort of six emerging Black playwrights, creating new works.

This livestreamed reading of the plays will bring together a wide range of styles and backgrounds. There's K Larae, an active duty, Black, lesbian, single mom, whose work reflects that lived experience. Writer KishaLynn Moore Elliott recently published "Childish: Stories From the Life of a Young Black Girl," and champions telling stories that help young readers see themselves represented in art. Los Angeles-based hip hop artist Queen Kandi Cole has taken the leap from the storytelling aspect of hip hop into her first play, a comedy. Andrea "Angie" Chandler wrote "Black Girl Laughing," which focuses on using humor and joy as a form of resistance. Rounding out the night are works from Amara Granderson and Niomie Allison.

SoulKiss aims to elevate the voices of queer, Black womxn in theater and the performing arts, and this looks to be a don't-miss sampling of some powerful, emerging voices in the craft. The workshop was part of a partnership with The Old Globe, where Vale is a regular teaching artist.

Details: Friday at 7 p.m. Virtual. Free.

Dancers from San Diego Dance Theater rehearse for their "Fall in Love With Dance Again" program, streaming Nov. 20-22, 2020.
Manuel Rotenberg
Dancers from San Diego Dance Theater rehearse for their "Fall in Love With Dance Again" program, streaming Nov. 20-22, 2020.

San Diego Dance Theater: 'Fall In Love With Dance Again'


San Diego Dance Theater has put together a virtual program of two new works and a reprise of Jean Isaacs' "Cabaret Dances," which features music by Kurt Weill and Bertoldt Breich, performed by Ute Lemper. The company's associate artistic director Terry Wilson has choreographed new, currently untitled work for the full company and will present a few smaller cast vignettes from it for this program. Wilson draws on the poets for this work: Pablo Neruda, Maria Pasantanapoulos and Rumi — and the patchwork of spoken word, music and dance is bolstered with new work by composer Armand Amar.

And the company recently teased excerpts of guest choreographer Khamla Somphanh's premiere work. It's a haunting and mesmerizing piece, about the history of bombing in Laos.

Details: Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 5:30 p.m. Virtual. $15.

Digital Doses: Rachel Allen, Nathan Hubbard, Tasha Smith Godinez


This is the first in what promises to be an interesting contemporary performance series, from San Diego New Music and the Athenaeum. Trumpeter Rachel Allen will perform works by Hilary Tann and Libby Larsen, plus an improvisation. Percussionist Nathan Hubbard will unveil original compositions for solo percussion, including tuned percussion instruments (think: xylophone) as well as more experimental instruments like metals and electronics. And harpist Tasha Smith Godinez will deliver a world premiere by Michael Vincent Waller, among other works.

If you've been wanting to check out San Diego's vital experimental and new music scene, this is a great chance.

Details: Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Virtual. Free.

Work by Bryan Ali Sanchez, which is on display now through Dec. 5, 2020 at Bread & Salt Gallery.
Courtesy of Bread & Salt
Work by Bryan Ali Sanchez, which is on display now through Dec. 5, 2020 at Bread & Salt Gallery.

Bryan Ali Sanchez: 'In Search Of'

Visual Art

Barrio Logan-born and raised painter Bryan Ali Sanchez has a new exhibition of paintings on view now at Bread & Salt — viewable by appointment during their gallery hours. Masks are required.

Sanchez's work studies inequality in the working class, cliche and trauma associated with border culture, and his own experience of "misplaced identity" as a first-generation Mexican-American.

His works are vivid and textural: thick oils and noticeable, exaggerated brush gestures, but there's a contrasting softness and abstraction in the level of detail — both specific things in the scene and emotion on faces or bodies. His pieces almost always have a body but only some feel like portraits. These are huge paintings, so if you're willing to make an appointment to see them, you'll be rewarded. You can also get a good sense for Sanchez's work online.

Details: By appointment, Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. now through Dec. 5. 1955 Julian Ave., Logan Heights.

For more arts events, check out the KPBS/Arts calendar or sign up for our weekly KPBS/Arts newsletter.