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Anxiety in kids, 'Crime and Punishment' as a comedy, and SummerFest

 July 27, 2023 at 3:34 PM PDT

S1: It's time for Midday Edition on Kpbs. We're talking with one local author who draws from personal experience to write about the ways kids can cope with anxiety. I'm Jade Hindman. Here's to conversations that keep you informed , inspired and make you think. Shining a spotlight on how full life can still be for kids dealing with mental health issues.

S2: Note the health concerns are not , you know , huge red flags that mean that a kid can't live a happy , great life.

S1: Plus , a tale of morality and murder takes the Old Globe stage as a comedy. And the La Jolla Music Society kicks off an intimate festival. That's ahead on Midday Edition. Many young people are learning how to navigate their mental health in the wake of the pandemic. But anxiety in kids in particular is on the rise. The number of young people experiencing high level clinical anxiety doubled since the pandemic. And according to a 2021 analysis by the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics , at least 20% of youth worldwide face symptoms of anxiety. The middle grade novel The Gray looks at the realities of middle schoolers struggling with anxiety. It follows 11 year old Sasha , who spends a summer in the country with his widowed aunt , and as an escape from his daily life disconnected from technology , he finds new ways to cope with his anxiety , which includes caring for a horse coincidentally named the Gray. This is local author Chris Behrens third novel. He won the San Diego Writer's Award in 2021 and is also a professor and coordinator of the English Center at San Diego City College. Chris. Welcome back to Midday Edition.

S2: Thank you so much for having me. So happy to be here.

S1: Glad to have you. So the title The Gray is How the Lead Sasha refers to episodes of Anxiety he experiences.

S2: Things get foggy for him when he experiences these episodes of anxiety and the world itself kind of , you know , the gray rolls over him and it changes the way things look , the way things taste and the way he's able to function and deal with things. And he can't totally understand it. It's almost like he enters a different world.

S1: And all your books are very personal and the gray is really no different.

S2: I mean , definitely all my books are personal. I always tell my students , you know , like , you have to write what you know. And I know that's almost a cliche in writing and for writing teachers , but I think it's really true. We write from our experiences and then we use fiction , at least I do , to explore the truths of that situation and to see where and explore things can go for the GRE. It really does come from a time in my life where , you know , I grew up in an artist family and lived in New York City , just like Sasha does in the gray. And my mom is the artist decided we need to move to upstate New York to live in nature. And that's what happened to me. I left the city life. I went to PS six and by that summer we were living in upstate New York and it was really challenging if you've ever had to move. And I think of kids out there have to move and I know kids are resilient. I was as resilient as a kid could be , but it's difficult and it causes a lot of sort of many traumas and changes in friends and environment. And so a lot of what I experienced when when I moved were things that my characters experience like in the Magical and Perfect , it was selected mutism. So that's some of the , some of the manifestations of anxiety that occurred for me was selective mutism and also this sense of anxiety of being in a new place and how to function.

S1: Yeah , no , I could imagine. And I can also imagine , you know , it being tough to process those things as a child , you know , you know , the pandemic has really exacerbated a lot of the anxieties and societal pressures young people face.

S2: I think when I was growing up , you know , in the 80s , we didn't understand mental health concerns the way we do now. And thankfully there are so many good professionals now and and teachers and just parents who are aware of these issues. But I think we were aware of them then. But for me , you know , it was it was more of a phrase you'd hear. It'd be like toughen up or deal with it. And it was the same root of love from parents and people who are caring for the kids. But we didn't always understand the gravity of it. And I think today , thankfully , we have a lot more resources. But I think in these core pandemic years , there's this like void that opened up and a lot of kids are experiencing , you know , this transition back to maybe what once was and that there's sort of this no new normal. And so how do they fit in ? And it's causing causing more anxiety than ever. So like I said , thankfully , we have more help and more understanding , but we also have many more cases of kids dealing with this and grappling with these concerns.

S1: We'd like to have you read a brief excerpt from your book.

S2: This is a part at the beginning of the book where Sasha is reluctantly leaving the city after agreeing with his parents and his therapist that a break from everything is what's really needed. But of course , he doesn't want to go. So he's in the car and he's heading out to upstate New York with his mom. And she's , you know , he's remembering his his wonderful times out there when he was younger , seeing things and starting to remember. But his mom , of course , is really , really worried. So she starts to sort of press him to remember some of the techniques for dealing with his anxiety. We passed the huge horse ranch , long pastures spread out against the hills , small clearings and creeks. I start to imagine the crunch of leaves under my feet. It's like the forest wants me to remember it. Remember Mom says , listen to Aunt Ruthie , enjoy riding horses. And if things get tough , promise me you'll try using the grounding technique. I say the grounding technique is the newest thing I've been working on. It's supposed to help me. When my anxiety feels out of control , I pull out a folded index card out of my pocket. That one that we worked on together , and I read it out loud to practice and to make her happy. Five. Look , look around for five real things. You can see and say them out loud. Four. Pay attention to your body and think of four things you can feel easy things. Socks , the soft chair , whatever else. Three. Listen. Listen for three sounds. Maybe traffic or someone typing your best friend's voice or the sound of a power up in a video game to smell. Say two things out loud that you can smell good or even bad. One taste. Say one thing you can taste. Maybe it's pizza or toothpaste or sour patch kids and then take another deep belly breath.

S1: You're listening to Kpbs Midday Edition. I'm Jade Hindman. I'm speaking with local author Chris Barron about his middle grade novel , The Gray. And Chris , I'm curious about your background as an educator and in writing. You've been teaching for more than 20 years.

S2: I think it's a huge influence for what I write. I absolutely love my job and working here at San Diego City College as an English professor and writing the writing center here. And I've definitely been influenced over the years by my students. You know , I've always wanted to be a writer. Even as a kid , when I wrote my my gripping novel at five years old , The Hungry Lion , which was one of those folded pieces of paper with yarn stitched into it. And you know about a lion that bumped into a tree and , you know , on to my MFA. But when I was doing my MFA in Creative Writing , I fell in love with teaching. And so I've been teaching here and , you know , in writing poems and essays and articles , but I've been deeply influenced by the lives of the students here at City College , which are some of the most diverse students and incredible people I've ever met. And each of them has such unique story. And , you know , when I'm teaching , I'm just it's a real privilege to be able to help them write their stories. And so as a writer , I just realized that the thing that has connected us the most between me and my students and me and even my own kids is storytelling. So it's always been in me and on me and then now through me with novels. So a few years ago they started to write. It really was my students who helped me be inspired. You know , they would I would never try to make my students hear my writing , but they would ask me , like , what are you working on ? Because I'm making them right ? And so just a lot of really fun experiences collaborating , sharing with them as they shared with me.

S1: I want to go back to mental health. You mentioned the main protagonist in the magical Imperfect has selective mutism and in the Gray Sasha struggles with generalized anxiety disorder with occasional panic.

S2: The magical and perfect selective mutism and chronic illness. And even in all of me , you know , with with body image issues , I think it's a through line because I think that so many kids out there are grappling with these kinds of things. And I think it's important to to normalize these things. And health concerns are not , you know , huge red flags that mean that a kid can't live a happy , great life. We're all dealing with things together. And the point is , we can move forward in community , in healing , in coping with the things that affect us and and be productive and have adventures and have a great life and do all kinds of things. So I think it's often , you know , important to help readers feel seen , because I know as a kid I didn't always feel seen for the things I was dealing with. And because of that , I didn't know how to talk about them.

S1: What do you think about how children's literature is covering topics of mental health like anxiety and neurodiversity ? I know they can be a big tool in helping.

S2: Yeah , I think we've we're seeing right now just an amazing time in children's literature for exploring characters and situations and stories from typically underrepresented authors. You know , now that's just like almost like a renaissance of these stories. And there's so many good resources out there. A novel mind kid lit , which is , you know , a website. This has a database of stories that deal with these issues. And , you know , there's there's a sense of like , are these topical stories. But it's not just that mental health is the topic. And that's all the story is about , is just about kids in the context of their lives , living them out. And , you know , they just happen to be dealing with some of these things. And and I love that for children's literature because , you know , you can still have an amazing , fun adventure story or a hilarious story , but maybe one of the kids is dealing with anxiety in that story and that's okay.


S2: A great question. And I'm looking at my own like , you know , family community. And , you know , I see our kids coming out of pandemic years and dealing with what they're dealing with , and we're all sort of in it together. So I think if the community can can have more understanding , can can take time with each other , if we have a little more mercy and patience with one another , that will go a long way. But but I also think , you know , finding ways to fill the gaps. So a lot of the processes that we've we're used to especially say , in education , have been interrupted and those kids are interrupted. And so we need to build little bridges over those gaps. And so whether it's helping kids sign up for school or maybe we need to allow kids to read other kinds of books , maybe not just the classics , but lots of new books. I think we need to invest in libraries and and those kinds of things that just create more of a community feeling , you know , that can allow kids to feel part of the community and less alone , because that's really crucial in dealing with any anxiety is invitation into community.

S1: I've been speaking with local author Chris Barron about his new middle grade book. The Gray Baron will speak more about the novel with author Sally PLA at the book Catapult on Thursday , August 3rd. Chris , thank you so much for joining us.

S2: Thank you so much for having me. Love being here.

S1: Coming up , a Russian tale of morality and murder takes the stage at the Old Globe as a comedy. You're listening to Kpbs Midday Edition. Welcome back to Kpbs Midday Edition. I'm Jade Heinemann. You know , Russian literature can be intimidating. It serves up dense volumes with lots of suffering. But this summer , the Old Globe Theater commissioned Crime and Punishment , a comedy. To find out how this classic tale of murder and morality became a 90 minute romp , Kpbs arts reporter Beth Accomando spoke with playwrights Gordon Greenberg and Steve Rosen.

S3: Stephen Gordon , you have created a show called Crime and Punishment , a comedy. Now , anyone familiar with Dostoyevsky's novel knows it is not a comedy. It deals with murder. And a young man who has committed a crime and suffers moral anguish from this.

S4: So that was our way in.

S5: And Steve Well , we were also in the midst really of the pandemic , had just sort of started. And as Gordon said , when Barry Edelstein reached out to say , We'd love you to adapt another classic work of literature to the stage in a in a funny way and the way that you guys like to do it , which is a sort of a hyper theatrical , small cast , lo fi feeling way. We both were feeling particularly probably trapped in our homes and with the weight of the world upon us from all the things that were happening that were outside of our control. And so when we started sort of looking into the themes and the ideas in crime and Punishment , it seemed like something we could use the moment we were in to try and express ourselves emotionally , but also a parallel to what we were what was happening to us and in the modern world.


S4: And yet at the same time , I think there was something at its core that spoke to me and maybe it was my great , great grandparents , Russian backgrounds and the sense of Eastern European despair and figuring out how to find hope on the other side of of trauma and difficulty. And these are all people in like Les Miserables. I mean , these are people who are facing abject poverty and physical decrepitude and all kinds of challenges. And ultimately , in Dostoyevsky's version , I think he looked to religion to be the answer. A certain spirituality that comes through the character of Sonia in the book , who was almost a Mary Magdalene like character. I believe she was a prostitute. In our adaptation , we've taken some of the same core ideas , but translated them into what amounts to a pretty new story. So it's really a riff on crime and punishment as opposed to a straight up adaptation.

S5: And Steve , people in my family have always been voracious readers , and they were readers of the , you know , all of the great works. And I was always more of a Classics Illustrated kid where I would get my Dostoyevsky from the comic book version of it. But my introduction to Dusty was my brother coming home from college when he really got into reading European literature , and he came back with Dante's Inferno and Crime and Punishment. And I just remember seeing these big , thick books with these very dour looking people on the front of them looking so miserable. I was like , Who wants to read this book ? But his explanation was that , like , these are actually great. The themes are amazing. It's like , this tells us that the times that we live in now are not so different than the times that they were then. And this guy was saying things that I still identify with today. And so in a weird way , it was it was my brother introducing me to the power of this kind of classic literature that sort of got me first into the into the world of Dostoyevsky. Yeah. So it was one of my brother came back from college. That was. It.

S3: It. And you mentioned that this is not strictly an adaptation of Crime and Punishment , and I saw that this was kind of a riff on Russian literature in general.

S4: Really. We looked for how to take the story of Rodya Raskolnikov. Who's. The central protagonist of the original novel and lift it to a world that lives a foot off the ground , as we say. So there are all kinds of crazy characters swirling around him , from The Brothers Karamazov to the Three Sisters , and they show up in all manner of silly moments. However , I should say not to sell this short , that this really does take the core of what that book was about and manifest it in a new version of the narrative that speaks to the idea that human experience is the same and that the ideas and challenges that the characters were facing them are still very much alive. The idea of moral relativity , the idea of justifying for ourselves the way we live , whether it's passing by an unhoused person on the street and being able to just walk right by and understand that there are certain inequities that is in life. And somehow we convince ourselves that this is the fair and just way to live. And when there are arguments on either side of any question , be it philosophical , political , what have you. Usually both sides of the argument are very much convinced that they're in the right. And that's what we're kind of getting inside of. How does someone fall into that trap ? And we see it all the time now in Tech geniuses or maybe not geniuses like Elizabeth Holmes or the We Crashed Guy. There's a whole spate of television shows about it in the last year or two. So this kind of explores someone in a similar situation. The ax murder of the original has been replaced with a different type of murder. There is still a murder at the center of this and how one gets to the place where they convince themselves it's okay to murder someone and it's for the greater good that there is net good to a bad or damaged decision that we make. So that's what's fascinating about this and the way it affects everyone in his life. This guy who's telling himself , I'm doing this for everyone else , I'm doing this for the world. Someone like Napoleon , you know , he had to kill people. There was collateral damage. But look , his his legacy lives on in our civil codes and our bakeries. And that's what's at the core of this.

S5: Yeah , well said , Gordon. I don't think I can say it much better than in the play that he you find we all know a perfect , perfectly nice people in our lives who we've always sort of seen eye to eye with ideologically. And then something happens in their lives where they start making moral and ethical compromises to explain a point of view that probably before that point they were not so comfortable with or would have been would have found abhorrent. And they begin acts of mental and ethical gymnastics worthy of Nadia Comaneci in order to make it all make sense in their world.

S3: Tell people what they can expect. Because you have a small group of actors playing a very large number of characters.

S4: They can expect a virtuosity on the stage of watching people change characters before their eyes. So it lives somewhere between Saturday Night Live and the Royal Shakespeare Company.


S5: No , it's you know , it's very theatrical. It's celebrates the convention of theater. It's the kind of you can expect that to see something that you can only see in a theater , a story coming to life before your eyes. People changing characters on a dime. An amazing experience in the round as well. So that's one of the other fun challenges of this show and the joy in watching Gordon stage something where basically you can sit on any side of this and you're basically transplanted into the world of Raskolnikov and the world that we've created here. And it's going to be a really fun night at the theater that I know.

S3: And do you hope that on some level , while this is entertaining people , that somewhere it may click in their brain that they want to go and explore some of these actual novels or some of Dostoevsky's work.

S4: That would be swell. I mean , I feel like if by the end they've come out , the audience having been moved a little bit and having something to think about that illuminates something in our own lives and the ways that divides pop up between people , between factions , then it's a big win because we know it's a lot of fun. We know it's it's silly. In places it features puppets , but by the end , it does actually address something quite real and human. And I think there's an opportunity for this to feel really good on both levels , both a comedic level and a literary human level.

S5: What I hope more than anything , aside from people. Rekindling their interest in love of classic literature is that will encourage more people to come to the theater and come to the Old Globe because the work that they're putting up there right now is so exciting. And the fact that they're commissioning new works at a time when so many regional theaters are really struggling is such an honor and a privilege for us and a joy because nothing I think I can speak for Gordon when I say that the theater is the thing that we love more than anything , and the fact that we can now bring people back and show them new things or new interpretations of old things and create new experiences is very exciting after all we've been through. I want people to bring their kids to the theater. I want teenagers to come see this and see crime and punishment so that they can acknowledge both the fact that like , theater is really fun and I'm going to laugh my butt off. But also , like , you can take something this book that I'm reading in school that may feel inaccessible to me , there is a way into it or there is a way for me to do something with it and make it more accessible in other ways. This tremendous source material. But something like this , Crime and Punishment , even the title feels like Eat your Vegetables. Do you know what I mean ? There's a sense about it that seems so dramatic that it seemed like a it seemed like it was daring us to make fun of it or to find humor in it. It was actually really it was fun to explore and find because the situations that this person finds himself in , the red tape , he has to go through the bureaucracy that he's got to jump and deal with. It's not very different than what we deal today at the DMV or dealing with our taxes or dealing with universities and all that sort of stuff. And so finding parallels between the humorous inconveniences that we face today , even on that sort of smaller level and applying them into this world , it was a fun challenge. And whenever Gordon and I get together , we just wind up goofing around and laughing anyway. So it just seemed like a natural extension of our hanging out to say , okay , let's , let's take this , let this seems impossible. Let's give this a try.

S3: Talk a little bit about creating something which to the audience feels sort of like chaotic. And so much is going on and it feels like there's nothing like really controlled. But how much work and craft has to go into kind of creating a play that feels so kind of loose and free and crazy.

S4: A show like this because there are only five people in it and there are so many scenes and so many characters and so many ideas. It's all choreographed , it's all planned , and you kind of want to give an actor all of the foundation , all of the kind of guardrails to play within. And I always say , you know , directing to me is like making a big bento box where there's all these tiny compartments that are set and that help us tell the story. But within each compartment , the actors can play every night and have that spontaneous combustion that can only happen live. And so there is a bit of danger because you're never sure exactly what the play is going to be on any given night. And yet you have a sense of the overall flow and thrust and certainly the staging. There is a bit of puppet dancing in this as well. I'll warn you.

S5: A lot of puppet warnings. And we also , aside from the wonderful work that Gordon is doing staging because he co-wrote it and he's directing the show , we have a tremendous company of actors who are working together as a team supporting each other because it is it isn't just about we're going to do this scene and then we go off stage is that we're going to go in this scene. And then as soon as it ends , I have to grab that chair , put that here , hand this person a mustache , and then we're into the next section. So there is a great deal of choreography that has to happen in order for this to look the way that it does. And to me , I could never do what what they what these what this company of actors and what this director are doing. It is so complicated and but so seemingly simple. You would never know how complicated it is.

S3: Well , I want to thank you very much for talking about Crime and Punishment , a comedy , just the title alone. The collision of those two phrases makes you curious to see what happens.

S4: That's the idea.

S5: Well , we hope to see you at the Old Globe. We are having a tremendous time. I'm sure that the bar there serves vodka so you can get yourself into the mood and , yeah , bring your kids. It's going to be fun.

S1: That was Beth Accomando speaking with playwrights Gordon Greenberg and Steve Rosen. Crime and Punishment , a comedy , runs through August 20th at the Old Globe's Theater in the Round. Coming up , we'll talk about the unique artwork on display around San Diego and a chamber music festival happening this weekend.

S6: I think the most special thing about it is that it is the most intimate form of music making. It's a conversation between individuals.

S1: You're listening to Kpbs Midday Edition. Welcome back to Midday Edition. I'm Jade Hindman for the weekend preview. The La Jolla Music Society kicks off a month long festival of chamber music concerts , and there's also a free Shakespeare Festival , miniature paper theaters and a rock music festival in Barrio Logan. Joining me with all the details is Kpbs arts producer and editor Julia Dixon Evans. Julia , welcome.

S7: Hi , Jay. Thanks for having me.

S1: Always glad to have you here. Let's start with Summerfest fest. Tell us a little bit about that.

S7: So this is it's the 37th year that the Music Society's been doing this festival , Summerfest. And they bring in musicians and composers from all around the world to perform all month. These are smaller than normal orchestras. They range from duets to medium sized ensembles. And it starts Friday and runs through August 26th. They do a variety of classical and older compositions with world premieres and new stuff , and most of the shows are happening in their performance spaces at the Conrad in La Jolla.

S1: And what's on your radar for this festival ? There are dozens of concerts and not just music either.

S7: It's this traditional sense songs composition , and it's been re-imagined and set in the January 6th insurrection in the Capitol Rotunda. That's on August 18th. And another thing in general on my radar is a bunch of free rehearsals and workshops and discussions. The discussion series is called Encounters , and audiences can sit in on these. Most of these are during the weekdays , but still a great opportunity to take a long lunch break , listen to some free performances or see behind the scenes a little bit. And the next free rehearsal coming up is Tuesday morning. And I'm also really looking forward to this year's composer in residence. It's Thomas Ardis and I love his work and he will be here performing and being featured as a curator as well.

S1: And the festival's director , Inon Britten , performs all around the world. But you actually caught up with him. Yeah.

S7: So he is a world renowned pianist and curator , and this is his fifth year as the Summer Fest music director. But he had been coming back to perform in the festival for years before that. So he performs around the world , but definitely has made this creative home here in San Diego. And his theme this year is the great unknown , and that's a celebration of all the sort of surprises that happen in these festivals. And when we spoke about the festival , I started by asking him to explain what exactly chamber music is and how the roots of that that genre fit into this festival.

S6: Chamber music comes the name Chamber music comes from the fact that it was performed in a chamber. It was the intimate form of music making that was originally in people's houses or in courts of the palace , and as such , it was the most accessible to people. People could play in their own living rooms. People could hear it at parties. And to this day , I think the most special thing about it is that it is the most intimate form of music making. It's a conversation between individuals and that intimacy transfers to the audience. I think especially at the Conrad , where we perform , which is so spectacular both acoustically and architecturally , so that everybody can feel part of that conversation. So chamber music in some ways is the most direct form of musical communication.

S7: So the opening night this year is this Friday , and you're not announcing the program , the repertoire for that show. Yeah , This is part of your theme , the Great Unknown.

S6: In some ways is trust. And , you know , the audience comes and trusts me to curate a journey for them. And I think that's one of the most important things in radio as well. When the more and more music we have , the more and more access we have , the more important the curation is , the more important that to have somebody choose something that will take you through a journey or something. Oh , listen to this. So I decided to really lean into it and create an opening night that is in some ways an omakase menu. If you if you're familiar with Japanese sushi restaurants , it means , trust me. And I'm so thrilled that the audience has responded and we're practically sold out for the opening night. And and they're they're in for some real , really great traits. I can't talk about specifics. I can tell you , though , that it's led by my one of the great musicians that I know , which is the former music director of New York Philharmonic , Alan Gilbert , who is here to conduct a large ensemble. So the the evening will go from two people to basically a chamber orchestra will have a symphony , a concerto , and some many , many surprises. So that's about as much as I can say.

S7: And this year's resident composer is Thomas Addis.

S6: Is the number one composer working today. To me , if I if I had to name one composer that I think will be still played in the 100 , 200 , 300 years that is working today , Tom would be at the very top of the list. He. I was just telling somebody in from the audience , from our from our board saying I hope that you know what a big deal it is to have him here , because to me he is. He's the best. And I've based two of my. Recordings , my solo recordings actually on solo pieces by his The way that I discovered this music was years ago. I listened to a piece called Darkness Visible. And that piece in that piece , he takes an old song from the 1600s by John Dowland and transforms it into without changing a single note or a single rhythm , transformed it into a hypnotizing current meaningful work for piano. And that act of making something your own like that just blew my mind. And I based a whole recording out of it.

S7: Another concert that caught my attention. It's a bit later in the festival on August 25th. It's called Silenced Voices.

S6: And that happened because of many reasons. Partly some of it was because the composer was a woman at a time where women composers were not allowed , like Fanny Mendelssohn , who was overshadowed by her famous brother , Felix Mendelssohn , and basically not really allowed to compose much. And she wrote this beautiful string quartet. Clara Schumann did the same thing with her husband. Robert Schumann overshadowed her , but some composers were silenced by regimes. Shostakovich being the most famous example of of a composer who wrote music that the Soviet regime found unacceptable and silenced. And he spent much of his composing career trying to fight that or find a balance of being both celebrated and silenced. And we have a composer who was silenced by the the Nazi regime , a Jewish composer who wrote his piece and phenomenal and very light hearted piece , actually while he was in the concentration camp and and so forth. It's every piece on that program , in some ways was had a tough time getting to us. But they're all just phenomenal pieces. Actually , two pieces , two pieces on this program were written in concentration camps , Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time , famously , even though Messiah was not Jewish , but he was in a concentration camp in the Second World War , and he wrote this quartet while in the camp , and it had its premiere by camp prisoners. And we'll hear one of the movements from from that piece , the clarinet , the solo clarinet movement. But we also have Chulov , who is that is a Jewish composer who wrote five pieces for string quartet that are just delightful. And he also died in a concentration camp. One of the voices that really would have been much , much more well known had they not been silenced.


S6: And through the years we've come to to know more and more. In fact , we have another one during the festival by Gidon Klein , another composer who would have been much more well known had he not died in a concentration camp. So certain musicians , James Conlon , for example , the conductor , has taken upon himself to resurrect a lot of these pieces. And I think through the years we just it's word of mouth and it's and it's festivals like these that , that take it upon themselves and like this one and take upon themselves to to really discover music that deserves to be heard.

S1: That was inon Barnard from the La Jolla Music Society. Summerfest opening night for that is Friday. And just to remind you , you're listening to Kpbs Midday Edition. I'm Jade Hindman and I'm speaking with Kpbs arts producer and editor Julia Dixon Evans about arts and culture events happening this weekend. Julia , let's talk about miniature theaters.

S7: It's sometimes looks like a kind of an opened up , pop up book. Sometimes they look more like a diorama in a shoebox , and sometimes they're more elaborate and unusual. But the practice came about in Victorian era London when a play the Playhouse would sell souvenir posters and little kits so that families could take them home and cut them up and build their own sets so that they could reenact the play themselves at home and on their kitchen table. And according to the UC San Diego Library and Scott Paulson , who runs the festival , this hobby is seeing a bit of a comeback. And Paulson's been putting on this festival for 22 years now. It's part art exhibit. So in some display cases in the UCSD Geisel Library , right in the lobby , some paper theaters are on view now through August 15th. That's open during regular library hours. But the festival also centers on a couple of performances. And there's one show left. It's Friday at noon. It's free. And it's a play called Lady Ada Steampunk Heroine , and it's created by Paulson himself.

S1: Oh , wow. And next , there's a free Shakespeare Festival happening at Southwestern College.

S7: This one started last weekend and continues this weekend and next , wrapping up on August 5th. And they're producing two Shakespeare plays. There's Hamlet and the Comedy of Errors. That one follows two sets of twins separated at birth. So there's lots of mistaken identity hijinks. And these are both three plays. They're performed by the esteemed faculty and students at the Southwestern Theater Department. And it's at one of very few places to see live theater in the South Bay. And this weekend , a comedy of Errors is at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. And then Hamlet is 7:00 , 7 p.m. Friday , Saturday and Sunday nights. And you need to RSVP online. And some of these are already starting to sell out.

S1: And finally , the Bad Vibes Good Friends Festival takes place in Barrio Logan. There's music , art and cocktails. Sounds like a good time.

S7: Right ? It's a two day music and art festival , and they've paired music with visual art projections as well as cocktails that match the theme. It's Thursday and Friday night at Corazon Del Barrio. That's the former La Bodega Gallery. It's mostly a performance space tonight. Set is kind of an eclectic set. It has some cumbia and contemporary Colombian music and then locals , the fresh veggies , microbrews and Friday Night show features this garage rock band from LA called Wand , and then local indie punk band Drug Hunt. They describe themselves as a bizarro quintet and also performing is the Joshua Tree based This Lonesome Paradise and a Cross border. Inner sound art ensemble , New Tongues. And yeah , both nights they're doing live visuals. So these are going to be video artworks and projections from artists that run alongside the music. Tickets are $20 in advance for either night.

S1: You can find details on these and more arts events or sign up for Julia's weekly Kpbs arts newsletter at Slash Arts. I've been speaking with Kpbs arts producer and editor Julia Dixon Evans. Julia , have a great weekend.

S7: Thank you , Jade. You too.

S1: Share your thoughts on today's show at (619) 452-0228. You can leave a message or you can email us at midday at Don't forget to watch Evening Edition tonight at five for in-depth reporting on San Diego issues and listen in to the roundtable tomorrow at noon. If you ever miss a show , of course , you can find the Midday Edition podcast on all platforms. Before we go , I want to thank the midday edition team Giuliana , Joaquin Domingo , Harrison Patino and Andrew Bracken , with the help of Ariana Clay , are the producing team. Beth Accomando and Julia Dixon. Evans produced the art segments. Our technical directors are Rebecca Chacon and Adrian Villalobos. The theme music you hear is from San Diego's own surefire soul ensemble. I'm Jade Hindman. Thanks for listening and have a great weekend , everyone.

Performers take the stage in the The Baker-Baum concert hall at the La Jolla Music Society
San Zauscher
Performers take the stage in the The Baker-Baum concert hall at the La Jolla Music Society in 2022.

One local author's middle-grade novel, "The Gray" looks at the realities that middle schoolers experiencing anxiety face. Plus, a comedic retelling of Dostoyevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” is currently playing at The Old Globe. Then, La Jolla Music Society kicks off its annual chamber music concert series, SummerFest. And finally, other arts and culture events to check out this weekend.


Chris Baron, author of “The Gray”

Gordon Greenberg, director and playwright of “Crime and Punishment, A Comedy”

Steve Rosen, playwright of “Crime and Punishment, A Comedy”

Inon Barnatan, pianist and director of La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest

Julia Dixon Evans, KPBS/arts producer and editor