Neil Young plucked out the score for Jim Jarmusch’s cinematic classic Dead Man while he was watching the film, resulting in a spontaneous, magical score. Here in San Diego, Blind:Deaf II brings that same inspired formula to a live venue with a lineup of San Diego musicians performing over silent, short videos produced by local artists. The musician-filmmaker duos include experimental keyboardist Michael Zimmerman (pictured, photo by Xavier Vasquez) live-scoring Ash Eliza Smith’s haunting images of the Jonas Salk Institute in La Jolla, minimalist guitar player Steve Flato pairs creating music for Nathan Hubbard’s slow-moving imagery, and noise guitarist A Eugene LeGrow providing the soundtrack for Marcelo Radulovich’s surreal collages of the grotesque and bizarre. The show’s from , at Moxie Theatre (6663 El Cajon Blvd., Rolando). At $6 a person, it's way cheaper than the mind-numbing Hollywood blockbuster you were considering.
If you want to see two actors working their butts off, look no further than the Old Town Theatre, where Francis Gercke and Manny Fernandes are co-starring in Sam Shepard's brutish drama True West. It's the grittier, more physical of the two plays comprising Cygnet Theatre's "Shep Rep," which presents Shepard's Fool for Love and True West on alternating nights. Gercke and Fernandes attack each other, virtually destroy every prop on the stage and writhe on debris-strewn floor throughout Shepard's unrelenting story about two brothers at odds, the mythology of Hollywood and toast. Yes, toast. It plays a supporting role in True West. As for the play itself, Shepard's been overpraised for this one, which props up two completely unsympathetic characters and asks us to give a damn. Truth is, we don't.
True West and Fool for Love run through Nov. 2.
Outdoor art, wine and beer
More than 150 artists, including paper sculptor Sue Britt, photographer John Maher and pop painter Sarah Stieber, will be showing their work at this year’s La Jolla Art & Wine Festival. Happening from , and , along Girard Avenue between Prospect Avenue and Torrey Pines Road in La Jolla, the fest's artists were selected via a jury process, which means most of the work is better than you might expect from an outdoor festival. There’ll also be plenty of craft beer and fine wine from the likes of Rancho Santa Fe’s Gen 7 and other vineyards from grape-growing hotspots like Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe. Entertainment includes live music and the quirky San Diego Circus Center. New to the free fest, which is bigger by an entire city block this year, is the Bravecort Brew Fest, a 21-and-up beer-tasting party from .
The San Diego Architectural Foundation's annual Orchids & Onions awards were announced Thursday. "Orchids," of course, indicate accolades for eye-catching architecture, planning and urban design in San Diego County. Onions, on the other hand, are meant to bring attention to opportunities lost and projects gone wrong.
Folks familiar with the program will also notice a new (or old, depending on how long they've been following the awards) category called "Planted Bulb."
"We pulled this out of the O&O history books as an option for the jury to consider during their deliberations," writes Craig Howard, one of the volunteers who help organize the event and a designer at De BARTOLO + RIMANIC DESIGN STUDIO. "A Planted Bulb defines a project as something that can be truly great with time or something that is a great first step towards a larger scope. The Parklet, for example. The jury awarded it a Planted Bulb instead of a regular Orchid award, because the city needs more Parklets, more of these urban interventions, and the jury wanted to let the city and future restaurant developers know that these parklets are public gathering spaces and we want more of them in the city."
In case you missed the awards or the smattering of media coverage that followed, here’s the final list of award winners:
That the elderly couple seated in front of me walked out 10 minutes into the show tells you that Next to Normal is not your normal San Diego Musical Theatre offering. Those unfamiliar with Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt's award-winning musical about mental illness in the suburbs may have bought tickets expecting lighter fare more customary to SDMT, like, say, Annie Get Your Gun.
Next to Normal is Diana Get Your Pills. I wouldn't call Next to Normal a "rock musical." It doesn't rock that hard, but it's not a stagey, ballad-heavy "Broadway musical" of the type San Diegans eat up like chocolate truffles. Excepting the anthemic song of hope at the finale, Next to Normal is a brave, occasionally upsetting story of a woman's terrible battle with bipolar disorder and how profoundly it impacts her family.
Bets Malone is outstanding in the lead role, underplaying when a lot of actors wouldn't resist the opposite. Just as impressive is 16-year-old Lindsay Joan, singing and acting way beyond her years in the part of Diana's understandably messed-up daughter, Natalie.
Anyone who suffers from bipolar disorder, or who loves someone who does, should see Next to Normal. You'll know that answers aren't easy and that life can feel unfair, but also that you're not alone.
Next to Normal runs through Oct. 12 at the North Park Theatre.
Other than the San Diego View Art Now APP, there's not much competition when it comes to local smart-phone applications dedicated to the arts.
Enter ArtPin, a new(ish) website and app that has some lofty goals when it comes to helping build and connect the arts in San Diego. Here's a quick Q&A we did via email with Jessie Hale, a co-founder of ArtPin:
The Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park closed its doors last Saturday and will remain shuttered through Oct. 10.
MOPA's getting a facelift and will reopen with a new interactive gallery under works that'll eventually add roughly 1,200 feet of exhibition space and allow for more shows involving digital technology.
Raya Greenbaum, the museum's new marketing and communications manager, says it's been 14 years since MOPA's was last renovated. When folks walk into the museum on Oct. 11, they'll see three new exhibitions. They'll also notice that the museum store is on the right instead of the left, taking over a space that currently operates as a classroom. While the new store is being completed, there will be a pop-up store in an atrium.
The former store space to the left will be in the midst of its transformation into the interactive gallery, which is set to open next year. Once completed, the new gallery will help launch the museum’s latest initiative, the Becky Moores Center for Visual Learning, which promotes visual literacy.
*This post has been updated to clarify that the new interactive gallery and store will still be under construction when the museum reopens Oct. 10.
In the 2014 movie Chef, Jon Favreau plays Carl Casper, a frustrated chef at a Brentwood restaurant who goes off on a food critic on social media after a bad review of a menu Carl didn’t want to create in the first place. One thing leads to another, and Carl finds himself rediscovering his passion for Cuban cuisine as the owner of a food truck in Miami. The R-rated film—which also features Sofia Vergara, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Downey Jr., Oliver Platt, John Leguizamo and Scarlett Johansson—will be the main attraction at the first-ever North Park Movie Night, a kickoff of the Taste of North Park (tastenorthpark.com. The event happens behind the North Park Theatre (2891 University Ave.). You’re encouraged to bring chairs and blankets, but $40 VIP table seating for five can be reserved, as well.). In addition to the free screening, the evening, which goes from , will include a craft-cocktail competition (to determine the official cocktail of North Park), a beer garden and picnic meals from North Park restaurants that can be purchased ahead of time at