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Tuesday, May 13, 2014 - Canvassed | Art & culture

El Lissitzky's avant-garde art, a co-mingling of musical styles in Carlsbad and more to check out this week

Our weekly Red List round-up

By CityBeat Staff

Digable art

There are hints of El Lissitzky's various careers in his artwork: an illustrator of kids' books, an architect and a designer of early-20th-century Soviet propaganda posters. Playfulness, bold geometric shapes and a unique graphic-design sensibility combine to make the avant-garde artist's prints pretty darn cool. The Timken Museum in Balboa Park will be displaying two of Lissitzky's portfolios starting Thursday, May 15. Lissitzky referred to his style as "Proun," a made-up word that he defined as "the station where one changes from painting to architecture." For an exhibition in Berlin in 1923, he created what he called his "Proun Room," in which he turned his 2-D works into 3-D. The Timken asked contemporary artist Hideyo Okamura to create a Proun Room for the exhibition; the museum describes the final product "an all-enveloping art experience." El Lissitzky: Futurist Portfolios will be on view through Sept. 7.

Digable music

Screen Shot 2014-05-11 at 3Chinese-born San Diego musician Wu Man is a renowned virtuoso of the pipa—a Chinese stringed instrument similar to a lute. She’s collaborated with Kronos Quartet and has been nominated for both a Grammy and multiple Independent Music Awards. Her latest project—being produced in part by the Carlsbad Music Festival—is a collaboration with Son de San Diego, a local group that performs traditional Mexican Son Jarocho folk music. The artists have spent more than a dozen sessions learning each other’s musical languages in the interest of bringing disparate musical and cultural styles together, and they’re presenting the finished product in a spring concert titled Intersections: When China Meets Latin America. The concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 13, at St. Michaels By the Sea in Carlsbad (2775 Carlsbad Blvd.). The event is free; RSVP at

Digable festa

Screen Shot 2014-05-11 at 3The 21st annual San Diego Sicilian Festival is going to step up big for the San Diego Opera on Sunday, May 18. In addition to three other stages featuring various genres of Italian music and dance—and the fest's usual abundance of Italian food—there will be a stage mostly dedicated to opera. Opera performers from Point Loma Nazarene and San Diego State universities will warm up the crowd before members of the San Diego Opera chorus hit the stage at 2:45 for more than three hours’ worth of music, interspersed with some jazz and likely some news about what’s going on with the city’s professional opera company (which had announced that it would be closing due to financial problems, but now there’s a major fundraising campaign afoot to try to keep it alive). If you’ve never experienced the opera, this festival is sure to be a good primer. Naturally, the Sicilian Festival happens in the heart of Little Italy, along India Street, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free.

Digable to-do

picnicBikeSD—the nonprofit focused on making San Diego more bike-friendly—invites   fellow cyclers to take a chill ride through Logan Heights and Barrio Logan before gathering for gourmet grub and a bike-centric short films. On Wednesday, May 14, head over to La Bodega Studio and Gallery (2196 Logan Ave.) for Dinner and Bikes. After rolling in and parking you ride, enjoy traveling chef Joshua Ploeg’s (author of This Ain’t No Picnic: Your Punk Rock Vegan Cookbook, shown here) vegan and gluten-free buffet offerings while watching Portland, Oregon, filmmaker Joe Biel's series of shorts focused on the family biking movement. After the show, Elly Blue, also from Portland, will make the case for “bikenomics,” the new word in transportation activism. Tickets cost $15 for BikeSD members and $25 for nonmembers. 

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