Arts & Culture Newsletter: B-Side Players launch West Coast tour in San Diego

Good morning, and welcome to the U-T Arts & Culture Newsletter.

I’m David L. Coddon, and here’s your guide to all things essential in San Diego’s arts and culture this week.

A fixture on the San Diego music scene since their formation back in 1994, the genre-hopping B-Side Players will perform their first live show together in a year and a half Friday night at the Music Box in Little Italy. I caught up with founding member Karlos Paez, who’s excited about this gig that launches a West Coast tour, but we also took a trip back to the past, to a time when the B-Side Players enjoyed a house residency at what was the hippest nightspot in town: the Green Circle Bar.

The Green Circle, located at 827 F Street downtown, was an off-the-beaten-track alternative to the clubs and discos of the emerging Gaslamp Quarter. It opened in late ’92 and was gone just a few years later, but in its brief tenure it became synonymous with the fusion idiom known as “acid jazz,” one championed by the likes of another resident band, the Greyboy Allstars.

“We were into that because we were fusing a lot of Latin with jazz and funk,” Paez said.

Paez recalled the Green Circle Bar’s “hip crowd of people who were very supportive and were into music and record collecting. The downtown vibe was different then. Behind The Post Office was another cool spot right near there. The whole Seattle and San Francisco thing was blowing up, and San Diego had its own little scene that wasn’t talked about very much.”

Steve Kader, now with the Adams Avenue Business Association, was one of several DJs spinning at the Green Circle. “You had to be there for a reason,” he said of the word-of-mouth club. “But in a good way. It was all about the music and the vibe. It was multiracial. I loved it because you would meet people from around the world there. It was very spontaneous and organic. You never knew what was going to happen.”

Among the artists who performed at the Green Circle Bar, Kader remembers (and you may have heard of these folks) The Roots, Galactic and Jewel.


Ric Salinas in San Diego Repertory Theatre's filmed production of "57 Chevy."

Ric Salinas in San Diego Repertory Theatre’s filmed production of “57 Chevy.”

(Herbert Siguenza)

In his autobiographical one-person show, “57 Chevy,” Cris Franco dubs that shark-finned, chrome-laden classic from Detroit “the American Dream car for the American Dreamer.” That Chevy is not only Franco’s dad’s pride and joy but an ever-present metaphor in what is a lively and revealing 85-minute streaming production from the San Diego Repertory Theatre.

Directed by Rep Artistic Director Sam Woodhouse and Playwright-in-Residence Herbert Siguenza, “57 Chevy” stars Siguenza’s Culture Clash co-founder (along with Richard Montoya) Ric Salinas in a fabulous solo performance in which he portrays 18 characters — male and female, young and old. The setting is the Franco family’s San Fernando Valley garage. It’s there, among relics of the Francos’ difficult but dignified journey to assimilation, that the grown son shares so many telling stories. It’s a tour de force for Salinas and a treat for viewers.

You can stream “57 Chevy” through Aug. 15. A $35 ticket price is suggested, but you may pay what you can.

Headshots of SD Rep playwrights Octavio Solis, Ali Viterbi, Herbert Siguenza and Michael Gene Sullivan.

Featured playwrights for San Diego Rep’s 2021-2022 season, clockwise from top left, Octavio Solis, Ali Viterbi, Herbert Siguenza and Michael Gene Sullivan.

(San Diego Repertory Theatre.)

Meanwhile, the San Diego Rep also announced a 2021-22 season this week that includes a world premiere, a Shakespeare-inspired musical and the regional premiere of the Tony Award-winning play “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” Read more in this report by the Union-Tribune’s Pam Kragen.

Visual art

Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd

(Courtesy photo)

Road trip or head trip? I’m not sure. But I shall be Hollywood bound very soon to catch “The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains” at the Vogue Multicultural Museum.

This interactive audiovisual exhibition opens Tuesday, Aug. 3, and will run through Nov. 28. I doubt Floyd fans like myself will wait until the end of that Thanksgiving weekend to browse the mementos, relive the band’s music and listen to recorded recollections by Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Richard Wright and Nick Mason, the post-Syd Barrett iteration of Pink Floyd that gave the world, among others, “The Dark Side of the Moon,” “Wish You Were Here” and “The Wall.”

Tickets start at $46.


The Rolling Stones, Charlie Watts, left, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and Ron Wood

The Rolling Stones, Charlie Watts, left, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and Ron Wood

(Mark Seliger / Associated Press)

I’ve bemoaned in the past the loss of the since-closed Morrison Hotel Gallery in La Jolla, but happily I’ve found a new way to see and appreciate the best of rock ‘n’ roll photography from the ‘60s to the present. PBS’ weekly series “Icon: Music Through the Lens” showcases not only some of the most famous music portraits and concert photos in history, but lets us hear from the photographers who took them, shooters like Danny Clinch, Bob Gruen and Mick Rock.

The one-hour series airs Friday nights at 9 on KPBS 2. Next up, the third “Icon” episode tomorrow, chronicles one of photographer Gered Mankowitz’s touring shoots with the Rolling Stones.

So far in the six-episode docuseries it’s been heavy on the Stones and as far as the various photographers’ insights are concerned, shamelessly self-indulgent. Fortunately, enough photos fill your TV screen over the course of each hour – including many you may have never seen before – that you’re guaranteed at least one “Wow.”


Well, we’ve had a classic car and classic photography, so why not photography of classic cars? That’s what’s on exhibit at The Gallery Without a Name, 134 E. Main St. in El Cajon, through next Wednesday, Aug. 4.

In conjunction with the Cajon Classic Cruise shows at the gallery, “Car Gaze” includes car-centric photos by, among others, Alex Dejecacion, Xavie Garcia and curator Jake Rose. As somebody who in childhood used up rolls of film taking cool pictures of parked cars I can only say “Step on it!”

Show hours are 5 to 8 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday, and 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday.


Gabriela Lena Frank

Gabriela Lena Frank

(Mariah Tauger / Courtesy La Jolla Music Society)

Gabriela Lena Frank — a Latin Grammy Award and Guggenheim Fellowship recipient — is SummerFest-bound. Read more about her and the La Jolla Music Society’s annual festival in this report by the Union-Tribune’s George Varga.


Bill Hader and Henry Winkler in "Barry."

Bill Hader and Henry Winkler in “Barry.”

(Aaron Epstein/HBO)

University of California Television invites you to enjoy this special selection of programs from throughout the University of California. Descriptions courtesy of and text written by UCTV staff:

“Go Behind the Scenes of HBO’s Comedy ‘Barry’”: With an acting career in film and television spanning nearly seven decades, Henry Winkler has many stories to tell. He currently stars alongside former “Saturday Night Live” alum Bill Hader on the hit HBO comedy, “Barry.” Winkler plays self-obsessed acting coach Gene Cousineau, who serves as a mentor and father figure to aspiring actor Barry Berkman (Hader), longing to put his past life as a low-rent hitman behind him. In “Barry: Script to Screen,” Winkler sits down for an in-depth discussion with Pollock Theater Director Matt Ryan to talk about his new role, as well as recounts some of the highlights from his prolific career, including those moments he stepped behind the camera as a producer and director.

“CARTA Explores the Evolution of Physical Activity”: Exercise is well known to provide many health benefits, yet human physical activities differ significantly from other species. How, when and why did these differences evolve? What genetic, physiological and anatomical adaptations underlie them? And how did the evolution of human physical activity affect other key human characteristics? This new symposium integrates research on genetics, biomechanics, physiology, neurobiology and behavior. As more and more humans today are primarily sedentary, we also explore implications of the evolution of human physical activity for contemporary health and disease.

“What’s Next 2021: The Fight Against COVID-19”: Over 180 million Americans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and over 160 million Americans are fully vaccinated against the virus. This has created a substantial drop not only in cases, but deaths as well. However, a new threat looms … the Delta variant. It has caused an increase in hospitalizations and deaths, especially in pockets of the country where vaccination rates remain relatively low. In this series, UC San Francisco clinicians and scientists from a wide variety of disciplines bring you inside their work to understand the pandemic now and what lies ahead as we continue to battle the virus.

And finally: Top weekend events in San Diego

Boots in the Park is a country music festival at Waterfront Park.

Boots in the Park is a country music festival at Waterfront Park.

(Miguel Lizarraga)

Here are our picks of the top things to do this weekend in San Diego County. Read it all here.

Angelia S. Rico

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