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Home / Articles / Arts / The Short List /  Checked ...
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Monday, Aug 11, 2014

Checked Out, CityBeat 5-Minute Film Festival and Tiki Oasis

Our top three picks of San Diego events this week

Checked Out Scott Paulson
- Photo courtesy of

1. Turn it up!

A public library seems an unlikely place for an experimental-music festival, but San Diego's new central library (330 Park Blvd. in East Village) isn't your normal library. The architecturally stunning building's hosted dance performances and art exhibitions, and from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 16—it's where you'll find Checked Out, a free experimental-music festival curated by Sam Lopez, whose eclectic monthly series Stay Strange has made San Diego an aurally more interesting place.

Performances will be in the library's auditorium and courtyard.

Lopez, who says he handpicked the artists for the setting, has envisioned holding an event like this at the new library for quite awhile; he credits the folks in charge of library programming for being open-minded.

"It takes a lot for the library to say, 'Hey, let's try something like this,'" he says. 

Things kick off at noon with a 30-minute performance by Faro, whom Lopez describes as "experimental bass and transcendental voice." Half-hour performances by six more acts follow. Two that Lopez is particularly excited about are Genetic Windsongs (2:30 p.m.), aka Joe Galarza, whose music, Lopez says, is "indigenous, ritualistic, primitive-meets-noise," and Monochromancy (3 p.m.). "Ominous, creepy and foreboding, but on the other hand filled with light and revelatory—the sort of music that puts you into a certain kind of a trance," is how Lopez describes the latter.

In the library courtyard, there'll be a noisemaking workshop hosted by Scott Nielson ("musical genius," Lopez says) from 2 to 4 p.m. when anyone 8 years old and older can build a noise box and test it through an amp. And artist Jason Rogalski will unveil a piece he's calling "Photosynthesis Fiesta." Part installation, part workshop, it'll feature two tents that encourage participants to view plant life in new ways. 

What if experimental music ain't your thing? Lopez encourages folks to give it a try.

"Listen with an open mind. Be curious," he says. "The curiosity factor alone draws [people] in."

2. Too short

If we do say so ourselves, last year's inaugural CityBeat 5-Minute Film Festival was a humongous success. So, why wouldn't we do it again? The second annual fest will happen from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 15, at Sunset Temple (3911 Kansas St. in North Park). This time, we received more than 120 films that are no longer than five minutes, and our judges picked 25 of them to screen. Festival attendees will vote for their favorite movie; the winner will leave with a brand-new video camera, and their film will air on San Diego 6 a week later. Beer and soda will be for sale, and folks can also buy food from Claire de Lune Coffee Lounge next door. Tickets cost $15, available at

3. Subculture worth exploring

The word "tiki" no longer refers to just a wooden carving. Tiki is a fascinating subculture that includes its own type of cocktails (rum!), unique art (Shag!), style of dress (Hawaiian and animal prints!) and more. The annual Tiki Oasis event at the Crowne Plaza Hotel (2270 Hotel Circle N. in Mission Valley), happening from Thursday, Aug. 14, through Sunday, Aug. 17, typically sells out, but right now, there are tickets left for most of the events, plus there are several events that are free and open to the public, including the Tiki Art Show, Car Show and Tiki Marketplace. This year's symposiums (which can be accessed without a festival pass) are intriguing and include lectures on tiki history, an Ernest Hemingway-inspired cocktail class, surf-guitar lessons and more. Ticket prices vary.

Does your event deserve to be in our top three? Email Kinsee Morlan.