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Flooding damage in the San Diego Black Arts and Culture District

 February 1, 2024 at 3:44 PM PST

S1: It's time for Midday Edition on Kpbs. I'm Andrew Bracken , filling in for Jade Heineman. Today we're talking about everything arts and culture related in San Diego. First , the impact of flooding on the San Diego Black Arts and Culture district. We hear about the extent of the damage and its impact on events celebrating Black History Month.

S2: There was nothing that was left unscathed. Nothing that was , uh , usable.

S1: Also , the San Diego International Jewish Film Fest returns. Here's to conversations that keep you informed , inspired , and make you think. Last week's storm took a devastating toll on many homes and businesses across San Diego County , but one of the hardest hit areas was in southeast San Diego , and that's also the home of the San Diego Black Arts and Culture district. It's a major setback for organizers putting together events for Black History Month , which starts today. Here to talk more about the state of the damage and the efforts to recover from it is Francine Maxwell. She's representative of the San Diego Black and Arts Culture District Advisory Committee. Francine , welcome to you.

S3: Thank you so much for having me.

S1: Dan Blevins is also here. He's founder and CEO of San Diego Urban Warriors , a performing arts community in the district. Welcome to Hahn.

S2: Thank you very much. Glad to be here.

S1: So , Francine , before we go into last week's flooding and what happened there were actually expecting more rain today and potentially into Friday.

S3: The office of OES has come out in four different locations in southeastern San Diego to make sure that people have sandbags ready so that they can prepare. We're actually having three pickups of trash in southeastern San Diego on hardest impacted streets , so that everyone can get the extra trash picked up so that when that storm hits , then we will be better prepared.

S1: Well , that's great to hear. And yes , there is Office of Emergency Services. So , Francine , the Marie Woodman Park , also known as Encanto Park , it's a major amenity to the district there and did see damage in last week's flooding.

S3: And so it was hard impact because it has never been properly maintained. And so as the Black Arts and Cultural District was unanimously voted on at our city council , we began to dissect where the loopholes were , where people were not doing what they were supposed to do. You know , we have a boys and girls clip there , and their contract calls for them to do things in the channel , along with the city and along with other departments. There have been conversations and there was a major cleanup probably a couple of months ago , and you began to see some improvements. Of course , we need major improvements. We need things to be intentionally done , especially a comfort station , so that people can better utilize this asset. We have a beautiful piece of property that wasn't quite developed correctly. And so the black arts and cultural , along with the community , we plan to change that into hand.


S2: The synergy building where Max Moses , where Black San Diego , where the coding programs , where the there's a marching band , there's a bevy of different cultural arts programs in that building and a school there. There was nothing that was left unscathed , nothing that was usable as far as you know , being able to do classes or anything in that entire building or the back area. Like Francine said earlier , that area had , you know , erroneously been called The Pit. And so the city has ignored it for years. And so when that water came through there , it pretty much wiped out all the low lying theater groups and cultural arts groups , enhancement type things , all of their services. Max Moses is all the way in the back with graffiti gardens , and so his space probably suffered the least amount of damage , but his back area and portions of his building were also damaged and not usable. But even greater for us. Our first event for choosing the Mr. Black San Diego culture , art and talent was to happen at the Jacobs Center. And because the flooding was so bad , even the Jacobs Center Celebration hall called and told us that we wouldn't be able to have our event there. So right now we're scrambling , trying to figure out events that we have planned throughout the entire year because we don't , you know , you don't know when the damage is going to be repaired. We don't know when we're going to be able to go back into the Black Arts Culture district to do our events. So we have to look for alternative things. And it just goes to show that there needs to be a permanent , safe , permanent , sturdy , permanent place for African Americans and black artists to be able to perform in the Black Arts Culture district anyway. And this is just sort of like shining the light on it early.

S1: And so I also hear there's a campaign to create a more permanent performance facility in the district. Can you talk more about the state of that and in how that's impacted by what's. Going on there now.

S2: I mean , that's one of the major goals of the nonprofit that I belong to that , you know , led the way to get the the designation , the entire city now , the the counties involved. We have a committee that is representative of the entire black arts culture district. All of that work kind of has to be put on hold right now. You know , the the the creek flooded everything in that park. There's no way we could , you know , have the events that are planned for the 18th. There's no way we can just go forward , you know , with business as usual. So as far as priorities right now , we have to deal with , you know , the actual park , the actual place where we want to set up , you know , art exhibits and yoga classes and healing type things. We have to deal with the environment first.

S3: And we also have to be mindful that a lot of businesses had and major damage. And so they're being assessed. And the city of San Diego has set up some help , not only just technical help but financial help. We also have partners within the Black Chamber that have offered businesses some capital so that they can start to regroup , and so everyone has been taking pictures and documenting their damage so that when FEMA does land in our city , that many black businesses that were hit , we have a member of the black advisory. She was um , she's an owner of her building in the Black Arts and Cultural District , and she was redoing her building. So it's been very traumatic for her as she was improving her building to get hit with this storm. And so she's having to make sure that she document things. And so we're really excited to what's to come , especially for her business and the building that she owns. And hopefully the black advisory and the Economic Committee specifically can start to look more towards ownership. There may be opportunities , you know , after we get through this storm season , there may be more opportunities because we would like our artists to be able to own and live and work where they create for the city.

S2: And like she said , those are long term goals. And the young lady that , um , she's talking about , that is that once we got this designation , she literally bought property , but the whole hill behind her came down into her building. And that was one of the mainstays , like the center of the Black Arts culture district , for a art walk that we're going to do on the 18th. So right now we're just asking all philanthropists on on the art side , you know , we have a dual purpose. We have to do the development part. But then us artists are like , we still want to , you know , get out there and express ourselves and showcase about black history , arts and culture and heritage. So what we're asking for right now is for the arts , the entire arts community in the county of San Diego , and wherever there are philanthropists and artists and people that can come and help us use our creativity on the 18th to make that day a success. Anyway , sometimes tragedy brings people together , and so a lot of people didn't even know that the Black Arts Culture district even existed. And now that people know it exists , we're asking for everyone to raise the vibration and the awareness of it , and to come share with us and help build it up and help it be that place that raises the level of understanding and appreciation for black art and culture.

S1: And Dan , you've actually been part of a movement to create this black arts culture district since the 90s. It was mentioned earlier. It was really only officially established fairly recently. I think in 2022 , uh , Monica Montgomery step secured the city Council's approval.

S2: The city just caught up with this once we got a champion like Monica. Well , it's the beginning of the work. You know , my grandfather always told me I was 30 years ahead of my time. I feel like he was right. But now is the time. And now we have that opportunity. Now people know we exist. So to see those 30 something years of sacrifice and and enjoyment and exploration , um , to see three generations of young people work on this in their own communities and seeing it come to fruition. It's where our words can express. We have a battlecry as it means to name , define , create and speak for ourselves. And this is the manifestation of that.

S1: You've both described some of the current challenges the black arts and Culture district is now facing.

S2: Heal and restore. And to change that. We have to get back to that and away from the negative brand. And there's no greater way to do that than arts and entertainment. I really say our magic , as far as a culture is in our song , our faith , our art , our culture , our music , our dance , and the entertainment that exists in this country is based off that essence of us. So once we kind of like deal with the reality and understand we have this diamond , which is one of the things that they use for the fourth district is the diamond district. I like to look at it as a diamond in the rough. And if we all get together , like in a metaphor and polishing and want to see the benefit of it , it'll happen and it'll benefit all of us. San Diego , the tourism , the , the entertainment , the , the , the increasing in knowledge and awareness of the entire diaspora of black art and culture. This is the Age of Aquarius. I mean , it's just time.

S3: And for me , it would be. I would be remiss if I didn't say that when you designate black arts and culture in the city of San Diego , they designated it without any money. And so I would be I would be pleased if my elected officials would be able to go back and see that , you know , they made a mistake. And it's okay. People make mistakes all the time. And they're and they and they invest in the black arts and cultural district so that things can be and we can have a level playing field. We know that African and African Americans , we are on the bottom of a lot of things , the health disparities , the educational disparities , the economics of , um , homeownership. So this would be an opportunity where people who are just the most phenomenal artists would get paid at scale and be able to own where they're working , where they're performing and help. We can have more ownership within the blocks. And so I'm looking for foundations to invest in the black arts and cultural district I'm looking at , for people to lean in and come in and offer your services so that we can go after grants. And , you know , we're looking for donations as it pertains to services as well , so that we can make sure that people are trained properly on how to run their businesses , because there's nothing to start a business and not know which insurances you need and things like that. So we're very excited. And as I said , the storm is here right now , but the storm is going to be over and it's what comes after that.

S1: As Deon put it , you know , tragedy does sometimes offer this opportunity to come together. And so we hope that happens here as well. I've been speaking with Francine Maxwell , a representative of the San Diego Black Arts and Culture District Advisory Committee. Thank you Francine. My pleasure. And Dan Blevins , founder and CEO of San Diego Urban Warriors. Thanks so much for being here , Don.

S2: Thank you for having us.

S1: Next up on Midday Edition , the San Diego International Jewish Film Festival is back. One film features Palestinian and Israeli musicians using their music for peace.

S4: To live in Israel. It's complicated to be an Arab. It's more complicated. But to be an artist in their broadest , it's the highest complexity in the world.

S1: That's coming up next on Midday Edition. Welcome back to Kpbs midday Edition. I'm Andrew Bracken in for Jade Hindman. The San Diego International Jewish Film Festival kicked off last night at the Garfield Theater in La Jolla. Last September , when the festival was finalizing its programming for this year's event , it could not have predicted the ongoing conflict in Gaza that began on October 7th , 2023. One film that strives to create dialogue is Prophets of Change , a documentary about musicians , both Palestinian and Israeli , who seek to use their music as a voice for peace. Kpbs Arts reporter Beth Accomando spoke with director Assaf Ben She Treat and musicians Mira Awad and Sam Sickert.

S5: Ask if you have a film , a documentary called Prophets of Change. So explain a little bit about what this documentary is.

S6: Prophets of change is a six years in the making documentary , and essentially it is five stories of Palestinian and Israeli musicians who are activists. It's separate stories , separate genres of music , all told through the eyes of the protagonists themselves , all spanning remarkable human beings who I have nothing but utmost respect for and just admiration for , and have given me back faith and hope because they have a moral compass that is unwavering and they just go at it day in and day out. They don't wait for anything. They just do and abide by their own true north. And it's it's remarkable.

S5: And Mira , you are one of these musicians and artists. And for you , one of the things that you discuss is the difficulty of defining identity and how you present that and how people accept it or are kind of pushback against it.

S7: I have developed an obsession about identity and narratives , not in the way that I hold on to it , but an obsession to understand why people have such a need to hold on to identities and narratives. And yes , people are. Look for the category to place you. They need a category to place you , and if you don't give them the category , they will fight you for that category. People have a problem when you step out of the rubrics that that they put you in. And I've done that all my life , and I love doing that because I love to have that debate , that why did we decide that these things are so important ? When I wake up in the morning , I don't feel Palestinian. I do not feel an Israeli. I feel like a human being with bad breath. That's how I feel. It's very , very primal. There's nothing about my political identity that wakes up with me in the morning. These are all things that society has somehow imposed on me to define myself by. So where were you born ? This is a geographical point of your identity. Uh , what is the ethnicity of your parents ? This is like the ethnic , right. The race , the the nationality , of course. And nationality is another thing that we worship. And I'm so , so curious about how we worship it , because nationalities are such a modern human intervention , nationality and borders and these countries that we live in , and they are they are changing in front of our eyes , but we're still worshipping , and we're still haven't learned the lesson that these are things that we define and we agree upon , and then we can change. So we should not worship them and we should not , you know , die for any nationality. Uh , nothing is more important than a human life , for example , to me. And yet I keep , um , encountering people who think you should die for your nationality or for your religion. And to me , that is mind blowing. You know , this , um , thing of identity and how how we are supposed to or demanded to identify or self-identify , uh , in ways that would please and appease , uh , is is a very it's a major subject that I'm really , really interested in.

S5: And so as you are also one of those artists , and one of the things you talked about in the film was how your life seems to be defined as political , whether it's from the outside or from yourself. But talk a little bit about what that means to you and how that impacts you as an artist.

S4: To live in Israel. It's complicated to be an Arab. It's more complicated. But to be an artist , an er , Buddhist. Male or female , it's the highest complexity in the world. But I think we are the crazy ones who eventually trying to fulfill our lives and to achieve goals in our lives. Now I take it as a challenge how that life gave me this opportunity to have challenges in my life. And I'm just part of , you know , what's going on. And lately I'm just saying thank God for everything. It gives me the fuel to make more music , more content , and to be more connected to myself.

S7: First of all , I have to mention it says lost family members in Gaza in this war. He lost several family members that he's never met. And I'm sorry for talking about you , says , but maybe you want to , uh , to delve into that. But we really feel for the tragedy that happened on the seventh. However , we also never forget that the Israeli Palestinian conflict did not start on the seventh. And right now , the narrative in Israel is as if it did. Everything started on the seventh when these people , out of the blue , for no reason whatsoever , came in and killed Israelis and Jews and and also that is also a narrative that is very , very harmful and very , very insulting and offensive for the Palestinian population that has stood hand in hand right now in solidarity with Israelis , but feel that their narrative has been wiped away , the things that they have been suffering from until this day , suffering from , which is inequality and and a hardship to be , you know , to , to , to penetrate , um , because of our race. And suddenly we have to keep , keep our mouth shut. Because if you say anything as an Israeli Arab right now , if you say anything , it sounds as if you are standing with Hamas. You are immediately accused of , you know , you're now you're sounding your real self. You're not in solidarity with Israelis right now who are in complete shock and trauma. It's like everything , every condemnation I've done about Hamas gets wiped away in one word that I say about Gaza. And I think this is the thing people like see us and think we are tree huggers , or like people who are like in living in dreams. No , we are the people who are doing everyday work. We are doing the work on ourselves first before turning the finger of blame. We do the work on ourselves to check in with ourselves. What are our intentions ? And then I stand with whoever is vulnerable , with whoever is a victim. And yes , Israelis have been victims now and and I've been sending with them. But come on , we cannot ignore the humongous disaster that is happening in our region right now , that if it goes on , I don't even know where it might reach.

S4: Being part of the movie , being with Mira , you know , it's a huge honor with us , with , uh , Ramzi , with , uh , all of them or Finland. Sam Taylor , it's an honor to be in the movie , to be part of the message that actually , this is their reality when we we all want to live equality with quality , world without boundaries or wolves world that us as , um , visionaries who have visions , we just want , you know , they say you will do the reality that you see. It's the one that you have on your mind and on your heart. And that's our hearts and minds. Just making music , being part of the light to try to even to have. Nowadays , I'm not trying to spread light. I'm trying to keep my own light , and that's what I'm doing. But in the movie too , like I'm saying , I want to be the light in this world because there is darkness. So that's that's the only thing I can add to what a self said is just open your heart , open your mind. And that's what I learned in life. And that's what I'm trying to be every day.


S6: It's it's humbling. I just feel like I needed to give a spotlight to people who are very special and really , really , really need their voice amplified. So the more people see it , the more we could start to have these conversations like we are have having now. We could start hearing the voices of the mirrors and sizes and people who are forced to kind of , you know , be this or that in the eye of the beholder , as opposed to what they want to be known as or what they want to be recognized as. And the more we have these conversations , which is more pressing than ever , it feels the quicker we can get to another alternative.

S7: I mean , I get these people telling me , haven't you sobered up from this fantasy of peace ? And I'm like , seriously , just. Sober up. From what ? What is the alternative ? What is the alternative to peace ? If the alternative is exactly what we're seeing right now , this hell upon earth , this is the alternative to peace. Haven't you finally understood that we don't have another alternative , other than to find a way to live in peace ? It's just mind boggling how the narratives again , narratives are so easily convinced to go to battle. People are easily convinced to send their children to die in war. But when you say , let's make peace , they tell you , but I don't trust the other side to be peaceful. You know , they might stab us in the back. But what if I promise you ? I promise you that the casualties and there might be casualties. Because , yeah , you never know. There are some crazies out there. There will be casualties. But I promise you really 100%. That is going to be much less casualties , much less dead , much less injured , much less displaced , much less traumatized. And still , people don't want to do that sacrifice for peace. And this is narrative. This is where narratives win because humanity has built a winning narrative , such a an ethos of heroism. When you go to a war and you die for your country , there is a whole ethos for it. And we don't have ethos for dying , for peace. Now.

S5: Now. The film was made well before the current turmoil that's going on in Gaza. The festival was programmed before the all these things started to unravel.

S6: Let's break down what a conversation is. A conversation is someone is talking and someone is listening. It's an active part on the other person. Listening is an active , active thing , and it needs to be a space where people can take in whatever is being said. And I think that's so crucial. If someone needs inspiration , they can find it because these people are truly inspiring. And if someone has come with a different perspective , counter perspective or narrative , then hopefully something can seep in and give them a contextualized human voice to put in opposite of their enemy. So instead of seeing just the Palestinians or Hamas or the other things that we know how to define , because they're all very well defined through media and through our , you know , process of , of thought , then they could just see mirror and they could just see stars and just get a glimpse into their lives.

S7: Well , I think there's no wrong time to be showing these messages. So it has not lost its relevant or anything. Maybe the timing and the background is different , but the message is the same. We have to move forward somehow and we have to share the space somehow. And the only way to do it is through , you know , through talking , talking through the narratives and the gaps and bridging them.

S4: I do agree with , uh , with Mira about it's not about timing because and I think this time that we're going through , I take it as an exam. Um , maybe because lately I'm actually being more connected spiritually to God. Seriously. And praying , like five times a day and , like , not turning , you know , to be religious. But I'm asking a lot of questions. And I think we as human beings are going through path or , uh , quiz. That's what I believe in that because , you know , I do I do hear a lot of voices of us or they and this kind of this kind of , uh , talk. It's not really part of how I believe in. It's not us today. It's all of us right now. And we need to find a different solution , different paths. And I think a soft movie. It's important nowadays , even. Even if it's like you can say it , it's Kumbaya. And like Jewish and Arabs , Palestinians and Israelis. I think it's what's happening in the media and what's happening worldwide. Hating Jews , hating Palestinians , just being haters. It's so easy to sell. But to tell people that eventually are humans. Because in the end of the movie , Sam Taylor is going home to his wife. I'm going back to my to my love mirror , to her husband. Like we are all people. Eventually , you know , the night we go to sleep and we dream about better life. We're all humans and we just want to live our lives. So I think it's really important now to , uh , remind me , the media , that it's not us or they. And there's this a majority of people are really the moderate voice and I'm speaking moderate , not what have the media is saying to be a sellout ? No , it's the opposite. It's being us normal people. So that's majority of Jews in the narratives that I know or Israelis and Palestinians. So the movie needs to be out there and to hear the sound a different sound than the sounds of the war.

S7: I still want to , uh , I , I know I sound naive , but , uh , I still want to say the sentence that I hope that one day we'll know better times , you know ? And I know it sounds naive nowadays , but I keep saying it because I think we can we can create our realities.

S5: Well , thank you all very much for talking about Prophets of Change.

S6: Thank you. Beth , thank you so much.

S7: Thank you.

S1: That was Beth Accomando speaking with filmmaker Assaf Ben and Street and musicians Mira Awad and Sami Sickert. The San Diego International Jewish Film Festival runs through February 11th in person and then goes virtual through February 18th. Coming up , New Village Arts puts on a local production of Fun Home , a tragic comedy about a family that runs a funeral home.

S8: To me , Fun Home is really a lesson in grief and self-acceptance. And , um , it's really about that moment when we finally come to see our parents as people.

S1: You're listening to Kpbs Midday Edition. You're listening to Kpbs Midday Edition. I'm Andrew Bracken. For our weekend preview , we have a musical based on the graphic memoir by Alison Bechdel , and we have some photography that challenges diverse representation , even some K-pop. Joining me with all the details is Kpbs arts producer and editor Julia Dixon Evans. Hey , Julia.

S9: Hey , Andrew. Thanks for having me.

S1: So great to have you here , Julia. Let's start with Fun Home. It's a musical at New Village Arts in Carlsbad.

S9: It's called Fun Home A Family Tragicomic. And there's so much that I want to talk about about this play. But first , I wanted to point out that the title Fun Home is based on the family's nickname for the funeral home that they ran when the writer Alison Bechdel was a kid , so I love that little detail. It's definitely tragicomic right there. And the book came out in 2006 and was adapted into a musical in 2013 , and both of those distinct works of art were nominated for or won a bunch of really prestigious awards. The play won a Tony , the graphic novel won an Eisner Award. So yeah , it follows Alison as she kind of reflects on her childhood and coming out as a lesbian. And it's also a lot about her , this really fraught relationship that she had with her father.

S1: And you had a chance to talk to the play's director , Kim Pappas , about , you know , what the play and the book means to her. So let's let's listen in on that interview.

S9: So this play is an adaptation of a graphic novel by Alison Bechdel. Can you tell us about this book and maybe what this book has meant to you ? Sure.

S8: So I actually came to Fun Home through the musical in 2015 , through seeing Sidney Lucas perform Ring of Keys on the Tony Awards. And , you know , truth be told , I did not read the graphic memoir until January of last year when I was asked to direct this play. I feel like I'm doing a disservice to my people. But now the novel itself , I think everyone should read it.

S9: Kim , tell me about that song , Ring of Keys and that that moment that you heard that song performed. Tell us why that song hit you.

S8: So Ring of Keys is sung by Small Alison , who is nine years old when we meet her in Fun Home. And it's , um , if you are a fan of the graphic novel , it's it's pulled right from one of the most poignant moments of the novel to me , which is , uh , Alison was in a diner with her father and saw a butch delivery woman come in to the diner , and it was the first time that she saw someone who she saw herself in. And a ring of keys to me is just the most powerful moment of a young girl really starting to come home to herself.

UU: Your swagger and your bearing and the just right clothes you're wearing , your short hair and your.

S10: Dungarees and your lace up. And your keys. Are.

UU: Are. Your ring.

S9: I want to ask you one more question about the book. There's something really approachable about the genre of memoir when it's in a graphic novel format.

S8: I mean , to me , um , there are so many themes that run through Fun Home , both the graphic novel and the musical. I think that Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori did a wonderful job at taking what Alison Bechdel gave us in the memoir , and turning it into the show that we see on stage. It's so true to the novel itself. I feel like if if you have parents , you're going to see yourself on the stage , whether you're queer or straight. I feel like to me , Fun Home is really a lesson in grief and self-acceptance. And , um , it's really about that moment when we finally come to see our parents as people.

S9: Let's talk a little bit about those characters. There's three different versions of Alison. Like you said , there's small Alison , medium Alison and big Alison or just Alison. But the story also closely follows Alison's entire family. In particular , I want to ask about her dad. Alison's complicated relationship with her father is a crucial part of the story.

S8: And it's one of the things that I love most about Fun Home. Or I guess I should say that I relate to most because I have a very complicated relationship with my own dad. And , um , you know , Bruce and Alison grew up on opposite sides of the Stonewall uprising , and Bruce is a is a gay man a bisexual man ? Questionable ? We don't really know. Alison doesn't know who came out very , very late in life after his daughter and then shortly thereafter committed suicide and respectable , you know , he he was an English teacher. He restored old houses. He was an artist. Um , and Alison Bechdel really ? I listened to several interviews with her while directing Fun Home , and she will credit her dad with , you know , he is the reason why she is the artist that she is today.

S9: So this is a story about secrets and deception , but there's also joy.

S8: There's a lot of joy in Fun Home. It's I think it's important because we don't get a lot of stories like this as queer people in theater and in literature as well , a lot of our stories , and very sadly. But that's that's not the whole truth , you know ? And in Fun Home , we do get to see both sides of the story. We see what happens when our lives are led by shame , and we see what happens when we put that shame down. And we don't choose to to carry it as our own. I mean , it's my hope that people will walk away with the joy after seeing the show. There's no moment to me like watching Medium Allison sing changing my major. We don't get to hear these stories , at least in theater , of just the the love and the bliss that comes with falling in love and and getting to experience that in the musical. To me , it feels transcendent.

S9: I want to listen to one more song. This is from the original Off-Broadway cast recording. This is come to the fun home you got.

UU: You got to get from the. So funeral home. In Beach Creek. No reason to roam. You suspect old funeral home. What ? It is. What it is. Who ? Who ? What it is.

S9: Kim , can you tell us a little bit about this song , this moment in the play ? Sure.

S8: So the family runs the Bechdel Funeral Home. That is the fun of Fun Home. And in come to the Fun Home , the Bechdel kids are creating a commercial for the family business. And I would say it's probably the most fun you're going to have when watching the show. The kids are incredible. The kids , especially our kids who are performing it at New Village Arts. They're just next level and it's it's nothing but joy.

S9: You mentioned earlier that you want people to walk away feeling some of that joy.

S8: We get to watch her struggle with creating this piece of art. And for me , the moment that she is able to forgive her father is the moment when she can truly begin to create. And watching Alison watch her life and come to terms with her life and really come into loving herself fully , I don't know. I hope that that helps other people do the same.

S1: That was Kim Pappas , director of New Village Arts production of Fun Home. It's on stage now through March 3rd , and I'm here with Kpbs Arts producer and editor Julia Dixon Evans to talk about what's going on in local arts and culture this weekend. So photographer Alana Erratum won the San Diego Art Prize in 2020 for her powerful works that place black subjects and settings and styles of Dutch Renaissance paintings. She's now opening a solo show this weekend called New Histories. Tell us about that show. Right.

S9: Right. So , um , shortly after we all saw her work in the San Diego Art Prize exhibition , Alana erratum moved away but has kept close ties to the San Diego art scene , and this will be her first solo exhibition in town in a while. And it will also be the first time that some of these works have been seen here , so it'll combine a few of her distinct series , including the series The Golden Age , which is it's possibly her most famous works. And it's what I think about when I think about Alana Ayrton's photography. There are these like stunning , beautifully lit and staged scenes and set up like the portraiture of old Dutch painters , but instead featuring black figures. And she has said that she was shaped by visiting museums when she was younger , and noticing the lack of representation of black people in the works on the walls. So this is a body of work that she kind of felt compelled to make for herself. And another series in the show is her ghost series , and also one called Colonized Foods , which are these really striking still life food photographs ? Kind of think of those old , still lives where there's a cabbage or something like that that's hanging above a scene of other foods. And Alana uses the series to create scenes that question the racial and cultural inequality in the history of some of our everyday foods. There's bananas , there's watermelons. It's really powerful stuff. Wow.

S1: Wow. Yeah , that does sound really interesting.

S9: The artist reception will be in a few weeks on February 17th. And before that , there's a second Saturday arts event in Escondido where they'll have extended gallery hours. But otherwise it's open Friday and Saturday from 11 to 5.

S1: So let's stay with photography. One more event here. This one combines a guaranteed income project for families with photojournalism.

S9: Guaranteed income for the Future of San Diego. And the exhibit's at a reason to survive or arts that they're gallery in National City. But it's based on a program from Jewish Family Service of San Diego. It's something they launched in 2022 that gave direct financial support to families in need. And then local photographer Michelle Zamora. She went to visit and spent time with some of these families , and she would photograph them , these everyday scenes with them in their homes. So these are really intimate photos. And at the exhibition there'll be about 20 of them. They're oversized on the walls. And I've seen a few of the pictures so far. The photography is just really powerful. It really is like those powerful moments in the home where you see the family. It just feels really intimate. There's also supposed to be some special features that make the exhibit more interesting and kind of tactile and interactive for kids.

S1: So here's one that combines Korean art. Music and dance. It's a free event at the San Diego Museum of Art.

S9: It's a really great exhibition. And then to celebrate it , they're doing one of their free public performance programs. This is Saturday afternoon. It's on the steps of the museum , but the actual entire museum will be free admission. During the event. There'll be family activities and performances from K-pop groups and dancers. So that's on Saturday from 1 to 5 at the San Diego Museum of Art in Barbara Park.

S1: And before we go , let's do one more live music recommendations.

S9: This is the Northern California bluegrass band , AJ Lee and Blue Summit. I love their sound , and I read that it's supposedly without banjo , which is incredible. And they're playing at the Casbah Sunday night with another Northern California bluegrass band , Jimbo Trout. So this is a recent track from AJ Lee and Blue Summit. It's called When You Change Your Mind. When.

UU: When. And I'm alone on a dusty floor in a foreclosed.

S11: Is this room spinning.

UU: Or is it me ? Stay here for a while. I'll. Many miles to travel. The rain and trouble washes.

S1: Fine details on these.

S11: Sports events.

S1: Or sign up for Julia's weekly arts newsletter at Smarts. I've been speaking with Kpbs Arts producer and editor Julia Dixon Evans. Julia , thanks for being here.

S9: Thank you. Andrew.

S1: That's our show for the week. Don't forget to watch Evening Edition tonight at five for in-depth reporting on San Diego issues. Kpbs roundtable is here tomorrow at noon. And if you ever miss a show , you can find Midday Edition podcast on all platforms. Before we go , a big thanks to the Midday Edition team producers Giuliana Domingo , Brooke Ruth and Ariana Clay , art segment producers Beth Accomando and Julia Dixon Evans , technical producers Rebecca Chacon , Ben Roadless and Brandon Truffaut. The theme music is from San Diego's own Surefire Soul ensemble. I'm Andrew Bracken , thanks so much for listening.

Flood and mud damage is shown on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024, at artist Maxx Moses' Graffiti Gardens space in Southeast San Diego. Moses said the murals appear to be undamaged, but the surrounding garden space will need a lot of work to rebuild.
Maxx Moses
Flood and mud damage is shown on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024 at artist Maxx Moses' Graffiti Gardens space in Southeast San Diego. Moses said the murals appear to be undamaged, but the surrounding garden space will need a lot of work to rebuild.

The San Diego Black Arts and Culture District, located in southeast San Diego, was hit hard by last week's flooding. We hear about the extent of the damage and how local businesses and Black creatives are managing.

Also, the San Diego International Jewish Film Festival is back. One film, "Prophets of Change" features Palestinian and Israeli musicians who seek to use their music as a voice for peace. KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando sat down with the director and two musicians about how the film creates dialogue.

New Village Arts' production of "Fun Home" has performances this weekend. It's a tragicomedy about a family that runs a funeral home. KPBS arts calendar editor and producer Julia Dixon Evans spoke with its director and shared her other picks for arts events to check out this weekend.

SDIJFF offers 12 days of in person films at the Garfield Theatre in La Jolla and then goes online.
This weekend in the arts: New Village Arts' production of a musical adaptation of Alison Bechdel's graphic memoir; Alanna Airitam's powerful photography; San Diego Opera; Korean pop culture and fine art; Museum Month and more.