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Culture Report: Talks on Tijuana

Full disclosure: I grew up partly in Tijuana. My family moved there just before my 13th birthday. While I hated living there at first, mainly because my awkwardly pubescent body and mind were extremely overwhelmed by the loud, bustling city, I grew to love Tijuana. I crossed the border every morning for school, and then crossed it again to come home. This bi-cultural experience is pretty common, but has still been a defining factor in who I am.

The border wall has been depicted in various ways in the local art scene.  Artist Ana Andrade will speak [1] about her work documenting the fascinating and harsh life in the space along the U.S./Mexico border this Thursday, March 6, at disclosed unLocation in South Park.

In her artist statement, Andrade says:

“After observing for years the movement below the bridges that crosses the Tijuana River Channel, I decided to go down and discover what was really happening, instead of what the mass media portrays: danger and addictions. The first thing that made an impression on me was the wall that divides United States with Mexico, and the second was the auto-build improvised little houses made with recycled materials – cables, cardboard, wood scraps, blankets, carpets, and all kinds of stuff.

As I kept returning to the canal, I observed how the local authorities treat inhabitants – with corruption and violence, providing no means of support. It seems to me a never-ending story that leads inhabitants to feel illegal – such as they would in the United States – in their own country, and sometimes worse. In building an ephemeral community for themselves the canal’s residents reinforce their identity – to themselves and to others – as a community of non-identity.”

Andrade will discuss her art and the region even further at her talk, which coincides with the opening of her exhibitionÑongos.” The exhibition will consist of photographs, a collaborative journal made by residents of the Tijuana River canal and a collection of objects given to Andrade by residents.

You’re reading the Culture Report, Voice of San Diego [2]’s weekly collection of the region’s cultural news.

Farewell Silva, Dia de la Mujer and More Visual Art News

• Culture Buzz’s Robert L. Pincus talks about the legacy of artist Ernest Silva [3], who sadly passed away last week. He writes:

“Like Silva himself, his art works its effects on you modestly and quietly. Spend a little time with it and you would feel its force, its sense of wonder and mystery.”

CityBeat [4] also wrote a piece about Silva. It mentions Pincus’ piece and offers insights from some close to the artist.

“I loved that he was approachable, accessible and generous with perspectives about the process of art-making,” Jewel Castro, a former student of Silva’s, says. “He had an edgy quietness about him but also was quick to laugh.”

Photo courtesy of The Front at Casa Familiar [5]
Photo courtesy of The Front at Casa Familiar

• The 7th annual Dia de la Mujer [6] juried exhibition returns to Casa Familiar’s The Front on Friday, March 7. See work by a long line-up female artists, including Nicole Waszak, Elizabeth Garcia-Molina and Terri Hughes-Oelrich, from 4 to 7 p.m. and then stick around for a shindig featuring dance performances, party jams, women’s craft market, delicious grub and good times.

• If you simply can’t wait until Friday for a female-driven art show, head to Basic Tuesday night for Rivet [7], featuring pieces by tons of talented artists who happen to have a vagina.

KPBS Culture Lust [8] visited A Ship in the Woods and brought a camera. Get to know this happenin’ art and performance space in just a little over five minutes.

San Diego Free Press [9] bids adieu to Voz Alta and talks about the art and performance space’s impact on Barrio Logan.

• UC San Diego’s visual arts department is known for bringing fascinating, experimental and conceptual art to the local scene. See the awesome and likely kooky stuff students have been concocting over the course of the year at the UCSD Open Studios [10] this Saturday.

• The Athenaeum Music and Art Library’s A-List art and music mixers got a bit of a re-branding. The event is now called The Nite Owls [11]. Stop by the first event for tasty cocktails, nibbles and art from Robert Irwin, especially because getting drunk among cultural surroundings is less embarrassing than, say, getting drunk at Chuck E. Cheese and flirting with an animatronic bear playing the bass. Not that I would ever do that. Look over there! A diversion!

• Sea creatures get paparazzoed in beautiful images by photographer Scott McGee, who will exhibit life beneath the ocean’s surface at Carlsbad’s Vinaka Café starting March 9. (Reader [12])

• Tijuana-based photographer Daniel Peña is all about analog. He tells CityBeat [13]:

“Things are always changing, you know? Everything is just a moment in history and then it’s gone … I’m making it stand still.”

• Consumer culture is a major influence for GMONIK, who will display new works at Thumbprint Galley starting Saturday, March 8, for his solo exhibition, “Trash Metropolis [14].” I wrote a little profile [15] about the artist and his fascination/distaste for consumerism back in October for CityBeat, if you want to learn about his work.

• Psychedelia and surrealism reign at Cosmosis [16], an exhibition with art by Teddy Pancake and Jetter Green opening Saturday, March 8, at Visual SD in North Park.

• The San Diego Foundation recently launched its “Meet the Artists [17]” series, which features San Diego artists who received grants through its Creative Catalyst program. It’s a great chance to hear about work created by some of the city’s most exciting art makers. Next up, photographers and filmmakers Cy Cuckenbaker, Neil Kendricks and Andrew Bracken will discuss “Filming Place and Culture” at 5 p.m. Thursday, March 6, at the San Diego Foundation’s Hoffman Room.

• Hear local artists, designers and culture vultures discuss the impact of art and culture at Aesthetics & Authenticity [18], presented by the San Diego International Airport.

• Installation artist Dani Dodge will hold a reception [19] for her latest piece, “Coming Home, Trailing Sand,” inspired by the hardship veterans deal with upon returning home from war at San Diego Art Institute’s Museum of the Living Artist this Friday from 6 to 8 p.m.

Demos, Videodrome and More Music and Performance Pieces

• CityBeat released its annual Great Demo Review [20], in which local musicians send their recordings to CityBeat’s cast of jorts-wearing music journos with a penchant for bashing bad music in the funniest way possible. I know they wear jorts because I worked there and we’d have jorts day. To be fair, they also love a lot of the music sent in.

Videodrome [21] is quite possibly one of the coolest, weirdest things to do in town, if you like cool, weird stuff. Happening this Thursday at Whistle Stop, the monthly event will showcase music videos, viral videos, movie trailers, strange commercials and more bits of the most random clips, all curated by Volar Records’ Craig Oliver.

• The Fresh Sound music series welcomes Nicole Mitchell with Sun Dial Ensemble [22] on Friday at the Athenaeum School of the Arts in University Heights.

• Next up from the San Diego Opera: “A Masked Ball [23].” Let’s hope it’s nothing like the masked orgy from “Eyes Wide Shut.” Unless that’s what you’re into, in which case no judgment. The U-T [24] published a great piece on how many members of the opera just can’t deny their love of singing.

“I am a singer,” soprano Cherylyn Larson tells the newspaper. “You try not to do it. But we’re put on this earth to accomplish something, or do something, or serve something. And I know I’m here to serve music in one capacity or another.”

I feel the same way about eating nachos. And writing too, I guess.

• The City Ballet of San Diego performs “Balanchine Masterworks [25],” a full program of ballets choreographed by George Balanchine. Dear god, please tell me the adorable puppy [26] will be incorporated into the concert because I will die of cute overload and it will be completely worth it.

• Jazz legend Charles McPherson created all new music for the San Diego Ballet’s Sweet Synergy Suite [27]. This should be a pretty awesome concert, so long as they keep the jazz hands to a minimum.

Culture

• Reading this [28] piece by VOSD tech columnist Blair Giesen, about how his daughter fell in love with math and tech after attending a start-up conference hosted by some of San Diego’s most influential ladies in tech, punched me square in my dark, feminist heart. I look forward to asking my future child how to use the amazing app or website Bella Giesen will one day create.

• Nica Taylor describes her experience of being homeless. (Reader [29])

• Pop-up weddings are the weddings to have if you’re a twee hipster with an active Instagram account. Which, I admittedly kind of am. I wonder if they do pop-up divorce parties too, because I’m planning one of those. (Reader [30])

• I love my fellow CityBeat columnist Aaryn Belfer, and her last column [31] is one of the reasons why.

• Mo`olelo Performing Arts Co. names [32] New York stage director and academic Lydia Fort as its new leader. In a statement, Fort says:

“I am thrilled to be joining Mo’olelo and the San Diego theater community. Mo’olelo’s vision to integrate community, social issues and diversity in its work makes it unique. I look forward to the company’s upcoming 10th anniversary and helping launch it into its next exciting decade.”

 

Photo by Alex Zaragoza [33]
Photo by Alex Zaragoza

I was hanging out in Tijuana over the weekend and happened upon a ceremony being performed at the statue of Aztec ruler Cuauhtémoc. Indigenous dancers were on the street below and a few people were at the statue’s feet performing rituals. It was a beautiful, serendipidous moment to catch.