1 Swells on film
The organizers of the San Diego Surf Film Festival set out this year separate it from all the other, similar festivals around the globe. "We wanted strong stories, not just the average surf movie with just wave after wave after wave," co-organizer Pierce Kavanagh says. "A lot of surf films are sponsored by big brands, and all it does is [create] an advertising vehicle. We wanted to steer away from that. We put a call out for independent films and got a huge response from around the world."
Running from Friday, May 11, through Sunday, May 13, the festival showcases 13 feature films and 22 shorts from locations including Italy, Australia, Israel and the west coast of Africa. Kavanagh is particularly fond of Somewhere Near Tapachula, which documents the emotional intersection of surfing and humanitarianism at an orphanage in Mexico.
Taki Bibelas, the Paris-based director of The Still Point, also dives into deeper issues. His journey began with a search for what draws people to surfing, but he ended up with a film more about water than anything else.
"Surfing becomes the metaphor, and the people who are in the film, who are legends and pioneers of the sport, have had a long enough time in the water and near the water to have felt that," Bibelas says.
Director Heather Hudson says her film, The Women & The Waves, explores the unique perspective of less-celebrated female surfers, since many surf films feature the same male surfers over and over again.
"I didn't want it to be a male-bashing film," she says. "At the end of the day, we're all surfers, and we're all out there for very similar reasons . It was a lot harder for women, but now it's a lot easier."
The festival also includes panel discussions, board-shaping demonstrations and a beach cleanup. Ticket prices, starting at $5, may be worth it for the location alone—Bird's Surf Shed (1091 West Morena Blvd.), which is decorated with more than 400 vintage boards.
2 Crocodile rock
We don't get much authentic Creole and Cajun food in San Diego. For those who have a hankering for a real-deal Louisiana meal, paired with fresh sounds from zydeco, blues, jazz and Americana acts, there's the Gator by the Bay Festival. Happening Friday, May 11, through Sunday, May 13, it celebrates the sounds and flavors of the South. They even ship live crawfish from the Big Easy for the feasting. Scheduled to take the stage are Billy Lee & the Swamp Critters, ZZymzzy Quartet, Chubby Carrier Ian Dunlop and Chubby Carrier, among others. Tickets range from $15 to $30 at the gate, with online discounts available. The party kicks off at 3:30 p.m. on Friday and 10:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Oh, and no flashing for beads is allowed.
3 The end
About a year ago, local literary arts nonprofit So Say We All asked writers to submit stories answering the prompt: "If you were to wake up and find out the world was ending in less than 24 hours, how do you live your last day?" They'll be publishing the resulting Last Night on Earth anthology in June; in the meantime, the book's authors and editors have put together a preview event, Last Night On Earth: A Radio Play. From 8 to 10 p.m. Friday, May 11, at Space 4 Art (325 15th St., East Village) the scribes will act out their stories live on stage, accompanied by music and sound effects, under the direction of Patrick Stewart (formerly of Sushi Performance and Visual Art). A talk with the authors will follow. $5 donation.