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Home / Articles / Arts / The Short List /  Cirque ...
. . . .
Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012

Cirque du Soleil's Totem, Early Evening @ Mingei and the San Diego Native Garden Tour

Our top three picks of San Diego events this week

shortlist Cirque Du Soleil's Totem
- Photo by OSA Images

Hold your breath 

When Cirque du Soleil rolls into town, one of the first things they do is push up the big top. It’s quite a sight as almost everyone on staff pitches in—artists, technicians, hired local labor and even office lackeys—raising the roof with good old-fashioned manpower.

After that spectacle, of course, comes the real magic. This year, Cirque is bringing “Totem,” a tale that traces the journey of the human species from its amphibian beginnings onward and upward. Cirque tells the story through what “Totem” company manger Jeff Lund describes as a back-to-the-classics approach.

“There are very strong acrobatic elements,” he said. “A high-bar act opens the show, and then there’s just an array of different acrobatic elements—high-risk elements—and a duo trapeze act that’s pretty spectacular, as well.

“You end up on the edge of your seat holding your breath at points,” he promised.

Lund calls himself a “carnie on steroids” because of the juggling of logistics that comes with managing a roughly 170-person “traveling village” like Cirque, which requires 65 trailer trucks to fit all the gear. But don’t feel sorry for the guy and the rest of the Cirque crew just yet. Lund said that while most people imagine circus folks living out of trailers, roughing it up on the road in true carnival style, in reality, the staff is typically put up in top-notch corporate housing. During the show’s run in San Diego—Wednesday, April 25, through May 13, they’ll be staying in sweet pads in La Jolla.

It’s good to know that a nice chunk of the $49-and-up change you’ll be paying for a ticket to “Totem” goes right back into supporting the talented artists and crew who work so hard to make the magic happen.

TJ connection

As part of the ongoing Tijuana revival, Mingei International Museum partnered with the Centro Cultural de Tijuana (CECUT) for Mingei: Beauty of Use, an exhibition of 500 pieces of fine folk art, currently on display at CECUT. Now, Mingei will bring back a bit of Tijuana to its space in Balboa Park (1439 El Prado) for Early Evening @ Mingei: Looking South—Mirando al Sur, happening from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, April 27. The event will feature eats from chef Miguel Angel Guerrero of Tijuana’s famed restaurant La Querencia, Guadalupe Valley wines and electronic jams by Bostich + Fussible from Nortec Collective. There’ll also be historic postcards and photographs by Manuel Bojorkez on display, as well as live art demos by Alejandro Martinez Peña, Maria Evangelina Rodriguez and other regional artists. Tickets are $10 to $15.

Sow cool

Native plants are the red-headed step-kids of the flora world, often overlooked because, well, they’re everywhere—growing on the side of the highway, sprouting from vacant lots. But, when tended and thoughtfully placed, they’re gorgeous. On Saturday and Sunday, April 28 and 29, the California Native Plant Society will show off 25 of the county’s best examples of landscaped local horticulture during the San Diego Native Garden Tour. Your $20 ticket gets you self-guided access to spots like the Fallbrook Wetland Park, the gardens at Lux Art Institute and something called the San Marcos Getaway. Register at or at the Chula Vista Nature Center (1000 Gunpowder Point Drive) on Saturday. Each tour day starts with a marketplace where you can purchase a gourmet breakfast, native plants and other garden accoutrements.

Does your event deserve to be in our top three? Email our events editor, Alex Zaragoza. You can also bug her on Twitter.