Culture Report: History Center Tackles a Present-Day Lightning Rod
Music and art meant to slow things down, a new theater company hits the scene and more in our weekly roundup of arts and culture news.
Two years ago, when the La Jolla Historical Society started planning its exhibition on climate change, executive director Heath Fox had no idea the show would open just as a climate skeptic was assuming the presidency.
“We, of course, knew that the topic was important,” he said. “But we had no idea that when it opened it would be as timely as it is.”
“Weather on Steroids: the Art of Climate Change Science” opens at the Historical Society’s Wisteria Cottage Gallery on Saturday. The exhibition paired contemporary artists with scientists from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, and asked the artists to visualize the research in new ways.
“One of the points of the show is to communicate the science that the researches at Scripps Institution of Oceanography have been developing,” Fox said. “To communicate that to the public in a way they haven’t seen, or in an innovative, creative and accessible way for them to consider the issues around climate change in a little bit different way.”
So why is a historical society dipping its toes into current events?
Fox, who’s known for his outside-of-the-box thinking when it comes to the role of a history center, said the Scripps Institution of Oceanography is an important part of La Jolla history. It was founded in 1903, which makes it one of the oldest and largest centers for ocean and Earth science research in the world. People who see the show will soak in some of that history.
Participating artists in “Weather on Steroids” include Judit Hersko, Eva Struble, Paul Turounet, Ruth Wallen, Allison Wiese and Oscar Romo.
Romo’s sculpture is mounted in the front yard of the Wisteria Cottage. He worked with Scripps scientist Alexander Gershunov, and the piece is a response to Gershunov’s research on atmospheric rivers, or streams of moisture-heavy winds that are behind most of California’s most extreme rainfalls. Gershunov’s research shows that in a warming climate, atmospheric rivers are expected to carry even more water than they already do, which will likely result in extreme rainstorms and floods across the state.
Romo, who’s also a lecturer at UCSD’s urban planning program and the former watershed coordinator at the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, describes himself as an accidental artist who found himself making artwork to better communicate his ideas about sustainability and environmentalism. Lately he’s found himself making more and more sculptures and installations from recycled materials for hotspots like the new One Bunk micro hotel Tijuana and the soon-to-open Waypoint Public in San Diego’s 4S Ranch.
His “Atmospheric Rivers” piece is made of old car parts, bicycle sprockets, glass bottles and metal from a junkyard. He said even if folks who don’t read the sculpture’s explanatory text, he hopes they’ll walk away with a heightened sense of appreciation for old or discarded things.
“The sculpture shows people the value of used materials,” he said. “Everything in it is re-purposed.”
Many Hours of Slow Music
Life moves fast.
That’s why the so-called “slow TV” genre presents viewers with things like unedited footage from a camera mounted on a train, knitting and other video meant to calm and relax.
Slow music and art also exist, and now San Diegans can experience it firsthand at Slow SD, a festival organized by violinist, composer and UCSD assistant professor Erik Carlson. Here’s a quick sample of Carlson’s music.
Slow SD will provide listeners with 72 hours of free slow music and art. It kicks of at midnight Friday, Feb. 10, and last through Sunday, Feb. 12. Performers include Carlson, Steven Schick, Aleck Karis and dance professor Liam Clancy, plus several graduate students in UCSD’s music program.
Lyceum Theatre Revamp, Street Murals and Other Arts and Culture News
• Here’s your last reminder that I’ll be moderating a talk about what San Diego’s art scene needs to thrive this Saturday at 6 p.m. at Bread & Salt in Logan Heights. The event has reached capacity, but you can still register to be on the waiting list. Shoot me an email and help me come up with good questions to ask the panel.
• The Art Newspaper profiles San Diego artist Wendy Maruyama, whose touring “wildLIFE Project” show is meant to bring focus to the plight of elephants and other animals slaughtered for their tusks.
• Downtown’s city-owned Lyceum Theatre underwent a $3.9 million renovation, and city and arts leaders are holding a ribbon-cutting and open house event to show off the upgrades on Tuesday. (City News Service)
• Listen to three songs featured in the La Jolla Playhouse’s production of “Freaky Friday,” a musical comedy that’s showing through March 12. (Playbill)
• San Diego Free Press says Hershey Felder’s “Our Great Tchaikovsky” play showing at the San Diego Repertory Theatre’s Lyceum Stage through Feb. 12 is an entertaining way for the audience to learn about the composer’s life, but also “deepens the understanding of Tchaikovsky’s sufferings, pain, fear, depression and love.”
• There’s a new theater company in town. (San Diego Jewish Journal)
• The University of San Diego’s art gallery collaborated with the British Museum for an impressive exhibition of prints opening at the Robert and Karen Hoehn Family Galleries this week.
• The U-T talks to the current Lux resident artist Siro Cugusi about his surrealist paintings.
• The Westwind Brass band will climb aboard the Maritime Museum’s docked “Berkeley” stream ferryboat on Sunday to play a concert.
• Moxie’s two-man play “Blue Door” is “compelling, provocative and sometimes wordy,” and it runs through Feb. 26. (U-T)
• Pacific Magazine rounds up a few of the city’s most interesting street art murals.
• The Mojalet Dance Collective celebrates its 25th anniversary with a performance this weekend in Escondido. (U-T)
• I asked San Diego artists if they’ve recently made any art related to Donald Trump’s presidency. Here are some of the images they posted.
• February is Museum Month in San Diego.
• Remember the Port of San Diego’s “Urban Trees” public art program that commissioned artists to make tree-like sculptures that adorned the embarcadero? One of the former “Urban Trees” sculptures has been given a new life at the Port’s new National City Aquatic Center.
• The Fleet Science Center has been working with local contemporary artists more and more lately. The center’s latest endeavor opens Saturday. It’s called “So Moved: The Art and Science of Motion” and it includes interactive science exhibits and art made by San Diego artists.
• Here’s an interesting event at the San Diego History Center that might get you in the mood for the impending day dedicated to love.
• The Padres are throwing a party and inviting former Chargers fans to bring in their football gear in exchange for $25 credit toward Padres schwag.
• A new exhibition just opened at the Museum of Photographic Arts.
• Nominations for KPBS’s “One Book, One San Diego” community reading program are open.
• A binational art exhibition at City College is hosting an opening reception this week. The show features 36 artists from the United States and Mexico’s border region.
• “Matilda the Musical” is bringing in rave reviews. (San Diego Gay & Lesbian News)
• Musician and conductor Steven Schick has done it again.
• The annual San Diego Jewish Film Festival is under way.
• Craig Watson is stepping down from his role as director of the California Arts Council.
• Carlsbad, a city known for its commitment to community and public art, has hired a new cultural arts manager. The new staffer replaces Vincent Kitch, who was hired in 2014 before disappearing from the city’s payroll last year without any public explanation.
Food, Beer and Booze News
• Described as a “beer & coffee laden extravaganza,” the first-ever Carnival of Caffeination is happening Saturday.
• A craft distillery is set to open in North Park. (Reader)
• Don’t know what Braulio is? Now you do. (San Diego Magazine)
• Ballast Point’s booze operation lives on, but under a different name. (Reader)
• Breakfast Republic is taking over San Diego. (Eater San Diego)
Kinsee Morlan is the engagement editor at Voice of San Diego. Email her at email@example.com. Want to recommend this culture newsletter to someone? Share this sign-up link.