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Home / Articles / Arts / The Short List /  Avant ...
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Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012

Avant Garden: (RE)covered Manuscripts, Tower After Hours, Songs from the Space

Our top three picks of San Diego events this week

shortlist Untitled piece by Robert Kushner

1 Beautiful books 

Growing up, drawing on the pages of library books landed you in detention, which makes Robert Kushner’s exhibit Scriptorium: Devout Exercises of the Heart at the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library all the more enticing. As part of the Athenaeum’s A List mixer series, 1,000 of Kushner’s works—colorful flowers painted on the pages of texts ranging from Shakespeare to sheet music—decorate the library walls from floor to ceiling, creating the event space for Avant Garden: (RE)covered Manuscripts, in which guests can frolic while music from local band The Heavy Guilt and craft beer from Karl Strauss flow. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 28, at the library (1008 Wall St. in La Jolla).

Some of us have fantasized about livening up the funny-smelling, yellowed pages of books, but Kushner, who’s from San Diego but lives in New York, went and did it. Yet, the books were his, either by way of gifts or damaged texts that he purchased. His feminine, floral works appear on the pages of these discarded volumes and combine to form a patchwork garden that engulfs museum visitors. His work is meant to bring the pages of old books back to life. Underneath the superimposed images, the books’ flaws are apparent so that viewers can ponder their history and their former owners.

The A List at Athenaeum is geared toward young professionals who are art and music enthusiasts; mixers happen five to six times each year and are typically for people 21 and older. This time around, in addition to the Karl Strauss beer—free with $12 admission—there’ll be bites from Wisknladle and cupcakes from Cups. Kushner’s exhibition is on view through July 28.

2 Nihon go! 

In Japanese, oyaji gyagu, or old-man gag, is a corny pun game where you throw out nonsensical sentences in which the first part phonetically mirrors the second. The most famous is:

Futon ga futon da, which means, “The futon flew.” Yes, that makes about as much sense as the answer to “Why did the chicken cross the road?” The Museum of Man’s regular night-time series is itself almost an oyaji gyagu: Tower After Hours, which is appropriate, since this month’s party, from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, June 28, at the Balboa Park museum, will honor Japanese culture through music, dance, martial arts, crafts, food and, of course, Sapporo beer. And if you hear a bad gyagu, the right response is “Dasai!” (translation: “totally dorky”). $20.

3 Good acoustics 

Acoustic singer-songwriter warbling can be pretty lame. For every Cat Stevens, there are 5 million college frat boys covering John Mayer songs or moody girls who can’t get over their high-school boyfriend. 3rdspace (4610 Park Blvd. in University Heights) is doing us all a favor by weeding out the crap from the cool for Songs from the Space at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 30. 3rdspace founder Peter McConnell says the event brings together musicians featured in weekly videos on, giving them a platform for their work. At this show, past highlighted artists Nena Anderson, Christy Bruneau, Jeffrey Joe and Mark Jackson will perform original songs unplugged while being filmed by Elias Blood. These videos will serve as an archive for the best in local songwriting. $10.

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