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.
In a truly cross-cultural event, Nortec: Bostich y Fussible of Tijuana will perform a world-premiere original score for the 1924 German expressionist silent film “Das Wachsfigurenkabinett (Waxworks)” on Saturday in the East Village.
“Das Wachsfigurenkabinett,” which was directed by Paul Leni and starred Emil Jannings (the first ever Academy Award winner for Best Actor) and Conrad Veidt (later, the infamous Major Heinrich Strasser in “Casablanca”), tells the familiarly creepy story of wax museum figures that come to life. Here’s a trailer. This outdoor concert/film experience at the new University of California, San Diego building at UC San Diego Park and Market Street is the culmination of a grant that Nortec Collective’s Bostich and Fussible were awarded by the German Cultural Center of Monterrey.
The original score features traditional Mexican music and samples from pre-Columbian Mayan instruments that Bostich and Fussible recorded in Yucatan.
The more multicultural, multidisciplinary events like this one downtown, the better. Bit by bit the East Village is forging an identity as a destination for forward-looking artists in the tradition of the much-missed Sushi Performance & Visual Arts organization on 11th Avenue.
Tickets for the 7 p.m. Nortec-scored “Das Wachsfigurenkabinett” screening are $10 for students, $32.50 general admission.
When San Diego Ballet Artistic Director Javier Velasco says “Romance is at the heart of my life,” as he told me recently, you can believe him. Better still, witness the expression of that romanticism in SDB’s season-premiere production “Ritmos Latinos.” The program, which opened last weekend at the promenade at Liberty Station in Point Loma, happens again Saturday and Sunday. Showtimes are at 2:30 p.m.
The piece “Que Bonito Amor” is a “character dance,” Velasco explained, a pas de deux set to Mariachi music. “For me,” he said, “to put a ballet to Mariachi music is not that different than when Tchaikovsky was doing his pseudo-Arabian, pseudo-Spanish dances in ‘The Nutcracker.’ It’s written in the way classical music is written.”
Also part of “Ritmos Latinos” is Velasco’s choreographed “Mambomania,” a dance work that he said strikes at the “romantic core” of the program. Tickets are $25-$45.
Classic-rock radio and TV commercials have ruined for me George Thorogood’s “Bad to the Bone.” When I hear it, I suffer the same “Not again!” impatience that I do when I hear Free’s “All Right Now” or Joe Walsh’s “Rocky Mountain Way.” Fortunately, there are still enough nuggets in the extensive Thorogood canon to make his appearance next Tuesday at Humphreys Concerts By the Bay worthy of note.
“One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” cooks as much today as it did when Thorogood and The Destroyers recorded it back in 1977. So do the covers of Red Arnall’s “Cocaine Blues” and Chuck Berry’s “It Wasn’t Me,” both of those from the 1978 “Move It On Over” album. All three of those and certainly “Bad to the Bone” may be on the setlist when Thorogood brings the “Good To Be Bad — 45 Years of Rock” tour to Shelter Island.
Thorogood, the pride of Wilmington, Del., is now 71. And still pretty cool.
The 50th Anniversary Tour of “Jesus Christ Superstar” does not have a San Diego date. The closest it gets to us is Costa Mesa, where “JCS” opens Tuesday for a five-day run at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
I’ve seen “Jesus Christ Superstar” many times over the years, including at La Jolla Playhouse in 2011, at the Civic Theatre downtown in a Broadway San Diego touring production in 2019, and in a San Diego State University School of Theater, Television and Film staging in 2016. Half a century later, it remains the best collaboration between Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. A rock opera that actually incorporates the electricity of rock ‘n’ roll and the high dramatics of opera, “Jesus Christ Superstar” has aged very well.
So too has the 1970 album from which the stage musical grew, which featured Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan (as Jesus), actor Murray Head (“One Night in Bangkok”) as Judas Iscariot and Yvonne Elliman, whose rendition as Mary Magdalene of “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” was definitely NOT topped by Helen Reddy’s take a year later. Elliman was a standout on the album and the saving grace of the otherwise turgid 1973 “Jesus Christ Superstar” film.
A rich array of programming is there for the streaming courtesy of the Paley Center for Media. Its free Paley@Home presentations are entertaining and educational.
The “Paley Front Row” series can take you inside the creation of the CW network’s “Batwoman” series or into a “Salute to Hispanic Achievements in Television” with a panel that includes actor Wilmer Valderrama and ESPN’s Jessica Mendoza. The only drawback to these programs is the Zoom format.
Elsewhere, “Paley Impact” features more issue-oriented streamings. These are ideal for instructors teaching the influences of media and its role in politics, policy and society.
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:
“Twins in Space: The Effects of Space Travel on Humans”: Over the past 16 months, civilian aerospace companies Blue Origin, SpaceX and Virgin Galactic have sent people into space. NASA is hoping to return humans to the Moon by 2024, and SpaceX is hoping to get humans to Mars in that same timeframe. What effect does space travel have on our bodies and minds? As we travel beyond our Earth, it’s critical to understand the impacts of spending extended time in space. Dr. Brinda K. Rana shares the results of NASA’s Twins Study that focused on astronaut Scott Kelly who spent nearly one year living on the International Space Station and his identical twin brother, Mark, who remained on Earth.
“TV at the Pollock: ‘Deadwood’”: Actress Robin Weigert, who played the iconic role of American frontierswoman and sharpshooter Calamity Jane in the Emmy Award-winning series “Deadwood,” sits down for a conversation about creative expression and collaboration in the TV industry with UC Santa Barbara’s Emily Zinn. The one-on-one discussion highlights working in the extreme heat on the “Deadwood” set, the creative process of series creator David Milch, and the challenges of portraying a historical figure. They also explore Weigert’s career and experiences working on some of the most critically acclaimed television series in recent history.
”Sexual Barter in Times of Genocide”: What is everyday life, and how is it experienced under extreme stress? This is the broader question that animates the research of author Anna Hájková, an associate professor of Modern Continental European History at the University of Warwick. In her talk, Hájková examines sex work, sexual violence, and coercion of Jewish women and men in concentration camps, ghettos, and in hiding. Her current project, “Boundaries of the Narratable: Transgressive Sexuality and the Holocaust,” further explores the erasure of narratives of gays and lesbians who were deported as Jews and who subsequently vanished from the historical record.