Spring is (almost) here and Balboa Park has lots of ways to get into the swing of spring. From blooming blossoms to the music of mariachis to some scientific myth busting, there’s no shortage of things to do in the park this March.
San Diego’s local art scene is thriving more than ever. World-class museums abound across the county. As do independent galleries, unique pop-ups, and outdoor installations that can be enjoyed year-round, thanks to our perfect climate. February is Macy’s Museum Month in San Diego, which means you can enjoy half off admission to more than 40 local museums. When you’re looking for inspiration, it’s easy to enjoy the bounty of artistry right here in these creative-minded ‘hoods.
The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego‘s downtown location is a must-visit for modern art aficionados and just blocks from Little Italy. This acclaimed museum offers a rotating schedule of shows in addition to a large permanent collection, which includes everything from video art to large-scale sculptures. Nearly a dozen boutique galleries can be found in Little Italy, and local galleries like Subtext Gallery or Sparks Gallery are close by in the Gaslamp Quarter. Best of all, Little Italy is arguably one of San Diego’s hottest drinking-and-dining ‘hoods. So cocktails and fine dining await in spades just outside the MCASD’s doors.
Fans of photography, contemporary folk art, European master painters, and everything in between will be wowed by at least one (if not all) of the 17 museums in Balboa Park during Museum Month. Stroll through the Botanical Gardens on your way to the San Diego Museum of Art, or enjoy a cheese plate among the sculptures next to Panama 66. Visitors can also pop into local artisans’ studios in the Spanish Village Art Center to watch working artists in action and purchase one-of-a-kind prints, jewelry, pottery, and more.
In the past 10 years, Point Loma’s Liberty Station has evolved into a world-class arts-centric destination. From promenades that feature massive sculptures to art studios open to the public, the Arts District is a thriving creative hub with something for everyone. And they’re just getting started; new restaurants, galleries, and shops seem to open every day. Don’t miss Friday Night Liberty every first Friday of the month from 5:00 to 9:00 PM. It’s the city’s biggest (free!) monthly art walk and features art, music, dance, and theater.
Escondido, located in the northeast region of San Diego, boasts some of the best art in the county. The California Center for the Arts, Escondido is home to a contemporary art museum, art studios, concert hall, theater, and more, making it one of San Diego’s biggest centers for arts and culture. Catch a performance by a touring symphony or stop by for one of the famed Jazz Jam Sessions before.
Head north along the coast to the Oceanside Museum of Art. This seaside museum hosts temporary exhibits and arts workshops for a variety of ages. Just around the corner is the California Surf Museum, home to thousands of rare surfing artifacts and photographs. Once you’ve had your art and history fill, visit the beautiful Oceanside pier to catch a Pacific sunset.
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It’s February and love is in the air and there is plenty to love in Balboa Park, too. From the science of love to pop-up Latin art to strolling Japanese gardens in a kimono, the park is alive with experiences you won’t want to miss.
When: February 1-11, 2018
Where: The Fleet Science Center – 1875 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
Some science is just too messy, too noisy and, well, maybe a bit too daring to try at home. Luckily, the Fleet Science Center is more than happy to offer up hair-raising experiments through its live show of “Don’t Try This at Home.” The shows are included with museum admission and start every 30 minutes past the hour. There are explosions, shocks and even a leaf blower and toilet paper pairing.
When: February 3, 2018
Where: Mingei International Museum – 1439 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
Learn about the craft and culture of weaving with a demonstration and trunk show at the Mingei Museum with Porfirio Gutiérrez, a master weaver who was recently profiled in The New York Times about his work to keep traditional Zapotec practices alive. These century old traditions include the use of insects and plants to make environmentally friendly dyes that produce an array of vivid colors. Gutiérrez, who comes from generations of weavers from Teotitlán del Valle in Oaxaca, Mexico, will have his works for sale and provide a free weaving demonstration in the Mingei’s Collectors Gallery on from noon to 3:00 PM.
When: February 9, 2018
Where: San Diego Museum of Art – 1450 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
See art in action as six local artists create works inspired by the San Diego Museum of Art’s Modern Masters from Latin America: The Pérez Simón Collection. In addition to live art, there will also be live music from Mariachi Estrellas de Chula Vista and Air Nandez. Admission to the museum is free from 5:00 to 8:00 PM.
When: February 9, 2018
Where: TheNAT – 1788 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
For those who would love to know more about love, the San Diego Natural History Museum (theNAT) is where you should head. As part of its Secret Society of Adultologists series, a nighttime 21-and-over event, theNAT is looking for love in all the right places by exploring courtship in the natural world with a variety of activities, including unique specimens from the museum’s expansive collection, a Valentine’s Day crafting station, and games that test your love IQ. There will also be a photo booth, live music and special access to the museum’s rooftop bar. Tickets are $15 for members and $25 for non-members. Food and beverages are not included but can be purchased at happy hour prices. The event runs from 7:00 to 10:00 PM.
When: February 10, 2018
Where: The Old Globe – 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego, CA 92101
Give love and get love at this interactive event in the courtyard just outside The Old Globe Theater. The event is part of the theater’s AXIS program, which is designed to offer up free cultural events for the community. Give Love, a project that started in New York and has spread through cities around the country, is intended to inspire kindness, and the Saturday event will include everything from free flowers, playful games, dancing, a photo booth, arts and crafts, and other dialogue-inspiring activities. The event runs from 11:30 AM to 2:00 PM.
Want some more time to wallow in the frothiness of love with a witty twist? Then definitely make plans to see The Importance of Being Earnest, which will have a matinee at the Old Globe right after the Get Love event. The play runs through March 4.
When: February 13, 2018
Where: Timken Museum – 1500 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
Looking for a romantic event that delivers the not only the sights but also the sounds of love? The Timken Museum is offering a performance of Antonin Dvořák’s String Quartet No. 12 in F alongside the its exhibition of Romantic Impulse in the American Landscape Tradition, 19th to 21st Century. Nuvi Mehta, the San Diego Symphony’s concert commentator, will lead a discussion prior to the evening’s performance, and serve as the violinist, joining Chi-Yuan Chen, principal viola, Xian Zhuo, viola and Zou Yu, violin, also of the San Diego Symphony. Tickets $45 for members and $55 for non-members. The program starts at 6:30 PM.
When: February 25, 2018
Where: Japanese Friendship Gardens – 2215 Pan American Way E, San Diego, CA 92101
Why just visit the Japanese Friendship Gardens when you can stroll through in true Japanese style in an authentic kimono? The Japanese Friendship Gardens has teamed up with Yuko Niwa to offer kimono and yukata rental for both visitors and members alike. Participants must pay admission to the gardens and rental fees for a kimono, yukata or hakama range from $20 to $35 an hour and include dressing time and assistance. Charges are at an hourly rate, but the dressing time is not part of the rental period. RSVPs and walk-ins are welcome. To schedule an appointment, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
From Ancient India to a Mythical California, here are 8 art shows in San Diego you don’t want to miss in 2018.
1. Epic Tales from Ancient India
The flagship of Balboa Park’s world-class collection of museums is the San Diego Museum of Art, located on the scenic, pedestrian Plaza de Panama in the heart of the park. In 2018, SDMA debuts a major exhibition of more than 90 works of art chosen from its own world-renowned Edwin Binney 3rd Collection. Assembled over a lifetime by the Crayola heir and acquired by the museum in 1990, it’s one of the largest and finest private collections of South Asian paintings outside of India. Epic Tales from Ancient India explores the classical literatures of the Indian subcontinent through the stories told in its paintings. You’ll see the stories of the Bhagavata Purana, ancient tales of Hindu gods Vishnu and Rama; stories of love and music from the Ragamala; and works of Persian literature, including the epic Shahnama.
Where: 1450 El Prado
When: Opening June 9, 2018
> Find out more about the San Diego Museum of Art
2. Ryan McGinness: Ocular Evidence
Gallery owner Mark Quint has a stellar reputation in San Diego for spotting new and up-and-coming talent, having staged exhibitions in gallery spaces all over the city for more than 30 years. Ocular Evidence is artist Ryan McGinness’s fifth solo exhibition with the gallery, featuring new paintings and cyanotypes, large and small works, both colorful and monochromatic, that fill the space and show the artist’s range within his signature graphic style. McGinness’s work has been shown in many national and international exhibitions and is included in numerous public collections. He also recently opened a public art installation and skate park in Detroit with pro skateboarder Tony Hawk. The artist happened upon the term “ocular evidence” while doing research for a large-scale public art installation intended for the San Ysidro border crossing. This exhibition at Quint’s Bay Ho gallery references different bodies of work McGinness has been exploring in recent years – from the self-reflective Studio Views to the iconic Signals, Skateboards, Mindscapes, and Black Holes.
Where: 5171 H Santa Fe St, San Diego, CA 92109
When: Through February 3, 2018
> Find out more about the Quint Gallery
3. Niki de Saint Phalle: Mythical California
Tucked away in the backcountry of Escondido is a park that’s great for hiking and hides an added surprise. Internationally known French artist Niki de Saint Phalle (1930–2002), who moved to San Diego in 1994, is known for her large, colorful, whimsical and powerful works of art, many of which have found homes around her adopted city. Inspired by myths and legends of California, Queen Califia’s Magical Circle is the only American sculpture garden and the last major international project Saint Phalle created. Located in Kit Carson Park, it consists of nine large-scale sculptures within a circular “snake wall” and maze entryway, with sculpturally integrated bench seating and native shrubs and trees planted all around. All of it is covered in the brilliant, unique mosaic ornamentation that was Saint Phalle’s trademark. The impact of walking into the vibrant Magical Circle in the middle of the quiet rural park defies description. In 2018, the Museum at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido celebrates the 15-year anniversary of the sculpture garden’s construction with an exhibition of the artist’s maquettes, models, sculptures, photographs, furniture, blueprints, and video. Start by taking in the exhibition, then grab a picnic lunch and head out to experience the Magical Circle for yourself.
Where: 340 N Escondido Blvd, Escondido, CA 92025
When: January 13 – March 4, 2018
> Find out more about the California Center for the Arts, Escondido
4. Art of the Americas
Last year, the Getty Center in Los Angeles launched Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art at more than 70 cultural institutions across Southern California. Art of the Americas, at SDMA’s neighboring Mingei International Museum, is one of the few exhibitions of ancient Latin American art in the program. The Mingei is home to eclectic folk art, crafts, and design from all eras and cultures of the world, and objects from the ancient cultures of Mexico and Central and South America are well-represented in its collection. Art of the Americas showcases a wide selection of pre-Columbian art that straddles cultural boundaries—from the Olmec and Maya of Mexico to the Moche civilization in Peru—as well as many ancient traditions and cultures, including the indigenous Teuchitlán, Zoque, and Huastec societies of Mexico. The objects range from those meant for ritual and ceremonial use to household objects, plus a rare collection of Maya textile fragments and ancient beads.
Where: 1439 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
When: Through February 18, 2018
> Find out more about the Mingei International Museum
5. Seeing is Believing / A Group Show
One of the coolest downtown spaces in San Diego is Sparks Gallery, housed in the historic Sterling Hardware Building, which received Save Our Heritage Organisation’s 2015 Adaptive Reuse Award. Sparks is known for thoughtfully curated exhibits of contemporary artwork by San Diegan and Southern Californian artists as well as being an ultra-hip event space. Twenty-one of these artists will be showing their work in Seeing is Believing, a giant group show that takes a trip into the unconscious mind as art transforms the everyday into thought-provoking explorations of the body, relationships, emotion, form, and inanimate objects. Media include photography, sculpture, painting, and illustration. Check the gallery’s website for the full list of artists represented.
Where: 530 Sixth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
When: January 6–April 8, 2018
> Find out more about Sparks Gallery
6. Erica Deeman & Moment in Time: A Collection of Photographs
The Museum of Photographic Arts is consistently one of San Diego’s most interesting art museums, presenting exhibitions and special events such as film festival screenings in its lovely jewel-box theatre. This exhibition will display two series by contemporary artist Erica Deeman, who investigates the history of race, ethnography, and portraiture through large-scale photographs of people of color. Concurrently, Moment in Time: A Collection of Photographs features a selection of works from Beaumont and Nancy Newhall’s stunning late 1960s collection. Spanning the history of photography, this exhibition presents the art form’s greatest hits, including boldface names like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Imogen Cunningham, Robert Frank, Dorothea Lange, and many more.
Where: 1649 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
When: Both open April 28, 2018
> Find out more about the Museum of Photographic Arts
7. Memories of Underdevelopment: Art and the Decolonial Turn in Latin America, 1960-1985
The reliably cutting-edge Museum of Contemporary Art’s La Jolla home is currently closed for a massive renovation and expansion. Fortunately, its downtown annex, the Jacobs Building, is one of the most interesting venues for art in the city. Formerly the Santa Fe Depot baggage building, built in 1915/16, it features airy galleries and open spaces perfect for large-scale installations and site-specific works, including one by artist Richard Serra. (And since it’s still part of Santa Fe Depot, it can literally be your first stop if you’re arriving in San Diego by train.) In collaboration with Museo Jumex in Mexico City and the Museo de Arte de Lima, Peru, this exhibition looks at how Latin American artists from the 1960s to the 1980s responded to modernization after World War II, especially in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Venezuela. Memories of Underdevelopment is the first significant survey exhibition of these crucial decades and highlights the work not only of well-known artists such as Hélio Oiticica and Lygia Pape, but also lesser-known artists from Colombia, Peru, Chile, and Uruguay.
Where: 1001 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101
When: Through February 4, 2018
> Find out more about the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego (Downtown)
8. Artist-in-Residence Francis Upritchard
Lux Art Institute in Encinitas does art a little differently. With a goal of making art more accessible and personally meaningful, it shows visitors the artistic process firsthand, allowing them to observe internationally recognized artists in a working studio environment. This year Lux has scored a coup with Artist-in-Residence Francis Upritchard, whose bronze-and-rubber figures created a sensation at the 2017 Venice Biennale. The New Zealander artist, who has shown all over the world, should be particularly interesting to watch in the studio, as the nature of the Brazilian balata rubber requires her to work quickly and intuitively: rough and leathery at room temperature, it becomes malleable for about a half hour once immersed in hot water. At the beginning of her residency, Upritchard will first create multiple watercolor paintings inspired by the Lux environment, which will serve as drawings to work from while she makes her figures. The residency will include an opening and an artist talk.
Where: 1550 South El Camino Real, Encinitas, CA 92024
In studio: January 27–February 24, 2018
On exhibit: January 27–March 24, 2018
> Find out more about the Lux Art Institute
This February, the Macy’s Museum Month invites you explore local museums with 50% off regular admission and to discover something new at these exciting exhibitions.
Macy’s Museum Month
Leap into 40+ museums in San Diego this February. Presented by Macy’s, this popular event allows participants to enjoy half-off entry fees at 40+ San Diego Museum Council membership museums. The savings encourages locals and visitors to explore a variety of arts, culture and science-oriented destinations. From Oceanside Museum of Art down to the Tijuana Estuary, there are ample opportunities for edutainment, creating memories and fun for the whole family.
When: February 1-28, 2017
> Find out more about Macy’s Museum Month
5 Special Exhibitions to Explore During Macy’s Museum Month
Additional fees may apply for special exhibitions.
Dreadnought: 100 Years of a Mighty Martin Guitar
One of guitar maker Christian Frederick Martin’s greatest contributions to our musical landscape was its 1916 introduction of the Dreadnought style guitar. Named after the game changing British war ship, the HMS Dreadnought, this large-bodied, powerful acoustic guitar still thrives today. It is a primary tool of countless musicians, and a mainstay in the factories and shops of guitar builders around the globe. Come visit this unique special exhibition and experience the Dreadnought for yourself.
Where: Museum of Making Music – 5790 Armada Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008
When: Thru April 30, 2017
> Find out more about Dreadnought: 100 Years of a Mighty Martin Guitar
Radical Machines: Chinese in the Information Age
Explore the seemingly impossible, yet technologically crucial Chinese typewriter – a machines that inputs a language with no alphabet, yet has more than 70,000 characters. Experience the puzzles themselves along with other rare Chinese and Pan-Asian IT artifacts and materials from printing, telegraphy, typewriting and computing in China, Japan and Korea – the first exhibition of its kind.
Where: 28 J Street, San Diego, CA 92101
When: Thru April 16, 2017
> Find out more about Radical Machines: Chinese in the Information Age
Be the Astronaut
Be the Astronaut is a fun, interactive adventure where you are in control as you launch a rocket, pilot a spaceship, and drive a rover in space! Discover the solar system first hand with the help of virtual astronauts, and land on multiple worlds, including the moon, Mars, Jupiter and asteroids. Designed with the help of NASA experts, Be the Astronaut is fun for the whole family and takes STEM learning into outer space!
Where: San Diego Air & Space Museum – 2001 Pan American Plaza, San Diego, CA 92101
When: Opens February 3, 2017
> Find out more about Be the Astronaut
Sherlock Holmes and the Clocktower Mystery
A terrible crime! A clever mystery! The game is afoot! A terrible crime has been committed. Victorian London’s most celebrated detective needs your help to find out “whodunit!” Sherlock Holmes and the Clocktower Mystery is a clever, interactive exhibition at the Fleet Science Center that will challenge your powers of observation and deductive reasoning as you work to solve a baffling mystery.
Where: Fleet Science Center – 1875 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
Dates: Opens February 11, 2017
> Find out more about Sherlock Holmes and the Clocktower Mystery
Cutting-edge, 21st century technology puts a new twist on these prehistoric creatures, bringing them to life-like never before. Through the use of augmented reality technology, full-scale dinosaurs are transformed into flesh-covered animated beasts. This same technology highlights the continental drift that altered the landscape of the ancient world, setting the stage for the evolution of these bizarre creatures. Feel the exciting and intimidating presence of these exotic creatures as you wander among 16 life-size casts and numerous prehistoric specimens. From the tiny Eoraptor to the massive Giganotosaurus (T. rex‘s bigger, badder cousin), Ultimate Dinosaurs is a fascinating study of species you haven’t met before.
Where: San Diego Natural History Museum – 1788 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
When: Opens February 25, 2017
> Find out more about Ultimate Dinosaurs
In January 2017, the National Park Service named Barrio Logan’s Chicano Park a National Historic Landmark to recognize it’s cultural and historic significance to San Diego and it’s community.
Chicano Park’s Designation Announcement
As the National Park Service enters its second century of service and strives to tell a more inclusive and diverse story of America’s history, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today announced the designation of 24 new National Historic Landmarks.
The National Historic Landmarks Program recognizes historic properties of exceptional value to the nation and promotes the preservation efforts of federal, state, and local agencies and Native American tribes, as well as those of private organizations and individuals. The program is one of more than a dozen administered by the National Park Service that provide states and local communities technical assistance, recognition and funding to help preserve our nation’s shared history and create close-to-home recreation opportunities.
On April 20, 1970, community residents occupied Chicano Park in San Diego, California, in an ultimately successful effort to prevent the construction of a California Highway Patrol substation on land where the City of San Diego had promised the neighborhood a community park. Representative of the Chicano Civil Rights Movement, Chicano Park has become a cultural and recreational gathering place for the Chicano community and is the location of the Chicano Park Monumental Murals, an exceptional assemblage of master mural artwork painted on the freeway bridge supports.
Barrio Logan: Arte y la Cultura Auténtica
One of San Diego’s most vibrant and exciting historic neighborhoods, Barrio Logan is home to young artists and designers as well as families who have resided in this industrial, seaport area for generations. Long a hub for Chicano art, culture and activism, Barrio Logan is now a destination spot for its gallery scene and authentic dining.
If you’re the type that wants to rock out on the weekends, but have children, it’s hard to reconcile those two things. Not every concert is friendly to all ages, nor is there an overwhelming number of places where you can take the whole family and have an outing that everyone will enjoy. But it doesn’t take too much digging to find some concerts that you can bring the kids to. Here’s a roundup of some of the better options for family-friendly concerts in San Diego.
School of Rock Concerts
Family friendly rock concerts aren’t always so easy to come by, but when the kids are the ones putting on the show, it certainly adds an interesting option to the table. School of Rock offers music education to kids with an emphasis on the “rock,” and several times a year they put on concerts showcasing either the work of a particular artist, ranging from icons like Led Zeppelin to more esoteric acts like Neutral Milk Hotel, or thematic shows, such as the popular annual local music covers show. The venues change each time, having been held as locales such as House of Blues and The Irenic, but there’s really no bad place to see junior find the rock star within.
San Diego County Fair Concerts
There’s nothing quite like a trip to the fair. Every summer, the San Diego County Fair offers families a chance to indulge in all kinds of fried concoctions, carnival rides and, of course, live concerts. As it turns out, most of those shows are open to all ages, and this year’s 2016 lineup includes some big names, including Brian Wilson, Joan Jett, Carly Rae Jepsen and X Ambassadors. So make a day of it: Gobble some fried cheese, pet some friendly sheep and take in a concert before heading back home.
Balboa Park Organ Pavilion Concerts
The Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park has been regularly hosting Sunday afternoon performances for years, which are always free and open to all ages. However, of late those shows have expanded from being mostly classical to incorporating more contemporary rock, pop and experimental music. Civic organist Carol Williams recently led a pair of tributes to the music of David Bowie, and in 2014, she collaborated with local punk band Drive Like Jehu on their first live show in 20 years.
Point Loma Summer Concerts
Taking the family to the park is never a bad thing to do on summer weekends. Everyone gets out of the house, gets some fresh air and takes part in something that doesn’t involve looking at a screen. But add music to the equation and it’s even better. The Point Loma summer concert series in Point Loma Park features a variety of concerts featuring local bands outdoors in a comfortable and fun setting that’s accessible to everyone. Even better, there’s a raffle each year, with proceeds going toward music education and music nonprofits.
Featured photo courtesy of Cynthia Sinclair.
There’s a lot of competition for live music in San Diego, and the competition doesn’t always come from other live shows. Beaches, parks, museums, galleries – there’s no shortage of options for fun summer activities, but if you’re starting to figure out your summer plans, I’d like to suggest marking a few select dates on your calendar for some great concerts coming to town between June and September. I’ve assembled some great options for those seeking out a great live music experience this summer, from old-schoolers to newcomers, be it rock, pop or R&B. Start planning now – you don’t want to miss ’em.
The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds celebrates a milestone 50-year anniversary this year, and founding member and singer/songwriter Brian Wilson is playing the album in its entirety on tour. One of the stops is at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, and the concert is free to ticketholders at the San Diego County Fair, which is a major plus. God only knows there aren’t many opportunities to hear one of the great artists of our time perform the entirety of one of the best albums ever released, especially without paying a steep ticket price, so wouldn’t it be nice to be there when it happens?
Where: Del Mar Fairgrounds – 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014
When: June 30, 2016
Time: 7:30 PM
Cost: Free to fair goers. Reserved Seating – $16-$118
> Find out more about Brian Wilson at the San Diego County Fair
Three of the best shows I’ve seen in the last year and a half were all played by Savages. The London-based outfit has a dynamic stage presence, intense but big-hearted, loud yet overflowing with charm. It doesn’t hurt that their two albums, Silence Yourself and Adore Life are two of the best indie rock/post-punk records of the past five years, and in a live settings they grow into something even more powerful. This one’s at the top of my list, and should definitely be up there on yours as well.
Where: Observatory North Park – 2891 University Ave, San Diego, CA, 92104, USA
When: July 29, 2016
Time: 8:00 PM
> Get Tickets to Savages at Observatory North Park
Individually, I’d be pretty enthusiastic about recommending a show that featured either Duran Duran or Chic, but both bands? That’s definitely a must see. New wave icons Duran Duran have been on tour with disco/funk legends Chic since earlier this spring, but their double-headlining old-school dance party makes their way to Sleep Train’s outdoor stage right in the middle of summer, making for a perfect night of vintage jams in an open-air setting. Freak out!
Where: Sleep Train Amphitheatre – 2050 Entertainment Circle, Chula Vista, CA 91911
When: August 2, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
> Get Tickets to Duran Duran: The Paper Gods Tour with CHIC featuring Nile Rodgers
California’s Anderson .Paak (the period is intentional) has been making funky, just slightly psychedelic R&B for a few years now, but his new album Malibu has made him an early MVP for 2016. His style is a mix of ’70s-era soul a la Stevie Wonder or Marvin Gaye, filtered through contemporary electronic and hip-hop sounds, with more than his fair share of unique quirks. His music is pure joy, and nothing but good times are guaranteed when he hits the stage.
Where: House of Blues San Diego – 1055 5th Avenue San Diego, CA 92101
When: August 3, 2016
Time: 8:00 PM
> Get Tickets to Anderson .Paak at House of Blues San Diego
If you need an excuse to stay a little longer in San Diego, we have one word for you: festivals. From Shakespearean folios to interactive film fests, you can immerse yourself for a day or a week, enjoying the unique combination of cultural enrichment and pure escapism at these fun fests.
Discover Shakespeare’s First Folios
Fans of the Bard are in for a treat, as San Diego is the only California stop for “First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare,” a traveling exhibition commemorating the 400th anniversary of the playwright’s death. The folio is the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays, published in 1623 by two of his fellow actors. Without their foresight, treasures such as “Macbeth,” “Julius Caesar” and “Twelfth Night” might have been lost. The rare volume will be on display from June 4 to July 7 at the San Diego Central Library’s Art Gallery, complemented by props and costumes from The Old Globe Theatre. Admission is free but reserving tickets in advance is highly recommended.
In addition, the Old Globe, San Diego Public Library and several partners are hosting Shakespearean-themed performances, panel discussions, film screenings, family workshops and tours – even an alternate reality game – throughout May, June and July. Many of the events are free; some require reservations.
When: June 4 – July 7, 2016
> Find out more about First Folio San Diego 2016
Graffiti Art Meets Poetry Slam
At the Jacobs Center’s Market Creek Plaza Amphitheater, you’ll find a year-round calendar of culture from jazz to culinary fusion. On June 25 from noon to 5:00 PM, the Poets and Painters Spoken Word and Graffiti Art Festival presents award-winning poet/playwright Gill Sotu along with Writerz Blok graffiti artists Jose Venegas and Sergio Gonzalez. This free event includes a poetry slam, live mural painting, music, storytelling, hands-on workshops and some of the hottest all-style dance from The Junkyard Dance Crew.
When: June 25, 2016
Time: 12:00 to 5:00 PM
> Find out more about the Poets and Painters Spoken Word and Graffiti Art Festival
Immersed in Mozart
The Mainly Mozart Festival is a long-running local tradition, expanding over the years to include a range of composers from the 18th and 19th centuries. Performances are held in cathedrals, the outdoor Spreckels Organ Pavilion and the exquisitely restored Balboa Theatre, a 1924 jewel box that CNN Travel listed in the top ten of “World’s Most Spectacular Theatres.” This year’s edition of Mainly Mozart is more than music – there’s also a one-woman play, “The Other Mozart,” and a three-day symposium, “Mozart & the Mind: an Exploration of Prodigy,” with renowned speakers from science, medicine and the arts.
When: June 2-18, 2016
> Find out more about the Mainly Mozart Festival
All across town, museums and galleries are rolling out fresh new shows. You can see an entire New York apartment made of fabric at the downtown location of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, covet elegant kimonos and graceful soba cups at the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park, or find yourself dwarfed by a sperm whale skeleton nearly 60 feet long at the San Diego Natural History Museum, also in Balboa Park.
Below are three must-see exhibitions that reflect San Diego’s distinctive artistic character, where a combination of international diversity and tech savvy create an arts experience you won’t want to miss.
This art installation has a secret superpower: the ability to turn adults into giggling kids. Created by local artist and engineer Dave Ghilarducci, a team from the Center for Research in Mathematics and Science Education, and loads of volunteers, “Taping Shape” is constructed from more than 660 rolls of clear packing tape – that’s more than 22 miles of tape! It fills two of the Fleet’s galleries with oversized tunnels and slides, suspended in midair and illuminated with ever-changing colored light. As you move through the flexible structure, you can learn about toroidal polyhedra and Schwarz-P surfaces. Or you can just bounce off the walls, literally.
With so many scientists here, you’d expect to find someone experimenting with the structure and form of music. “Cathedrals” goes a step further, adding a visual art spin. Bay Area new media artist Jeff Ray collaborated with students and faculty from San Diego State University’s Composition Laboratory to create a multi-sensory installation melding electro-acoustic music, altered photographs and video. Ray says he wants viewers “to be on a journey – the feeling of exploring space and sound.”
Where: San Diego State University Downtown Gallery – 725 W. Broadway, San Diego CA 92101
When: April 7 – June 12, 2016
> Find out more about Cathedrals
Brush and Ink: Chinese Paintings from The San Diego Museum of Art Selected by Pan Gongkai
Acclaimed contemporary artist Pan Gongkai was given the keys to the collection. Choosing from more than 200 Chinese paintings in the museum’s vaults, he curated a selection of 40 works that trace the evolution of brush and ink painting from the 15th century to the present. Visitors will recognize the highly detailed style and delicate tonal range associated with traditional brush and ink but might be surprised by the bold graphics and brilliant colors of artists such as Zhang Daqian, who was inspired by the Tang dynasty and 20th century abstract expressionism. Works include hand scrolls, hanging scrolls, fans and Gongkai’s own massive painting, “Noble Virtues,” commissioned by the museum in 2015. It includes four poems in his characteristic calligraphy, pairing classical techniques with contemporary Western practices.