1 Museum marathon
Ben Stiller brought a million kids' dreams to the screen with Night at the Museum in 2006. But, staying the night at a cultural institution isn't only a kid's fantasy—add lectures from controversy-stoking artists, quilters, installations, music from two rising local acts (The Nervous Wreckords and Mrs.Magician's Jason Turnbloom), a two-story theatrical drama and sliders, waffles and mimosas and you've got one helluva an adult adventure.
The San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park is taking major risks with its Summer Salon Series "Beyond the Banner" marathon, which starts at 10 a.m. Friday, July 27, and runs for 36 hours. Devised by Alexander Jarman, SDMA's public-programs manager, and Agitprop gallery's David White, the event is one of several planned this summer that react to current exhibition of gothic tapestries (The Invention of Glory) in surprisingly subversive ways. The tapestries, which illustrate the violent conquests of King Afonso V of Portugal, inspired Jarman and White to draw connections between the banners of war and banner advertisements.
"One of things we're look at is how history is told and how information is disseminated, and taking a contemporary look at it and how it's packaged, all the way from news to advertising," says Jarman, who'll lead an "Insomniac's Tour" of the museum at 3 a.m. Saturday, July 28, starting with Rufino Tamayo's surrealist painting, "The Somnambulist." The event is also a chance to see artist Tim Schwartz's "Ad Sense," which uses old-fashioned gauges to track how certain words are being repurposed by the Internet marketing industry.
The biggest draw will be Mike Bonanno and Andy Bichlbaum of The Yes Men, the culture-jamming, political pranksters who made international headlines posing as chemical and energy spokesmen on TV and at press conferences. The duo, who've produced two films about their exploits, will deliver the keynote lecture at 7 p.m. Friday, July 27. The event is free with museum admission. For a full schedule, visit sdmart.org
Art has a way of taking over public spaces, and we like it. At 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 1, Voice of San Diego will take over the top floor of Horton Plaza's "fruit" parking garage for the third edition of the news website's ongoing series, Meeting of the Minds. Six plugged-in presenters will use 20 slides for 20 seconds each to discuss the current and future state of the arts in San Diego. Speakers include Anna Daniels, Alexandra Hubenko and Lauren Popp. Adding the perfect backdrop is "The Circle," a mural by artist Chor Boogie and the nonprofit Writerz Blok, commissioned by Horton Plaza and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in an effort to add to the local cultural landscape. voiceofsandiego.org
3 Sweet counsel
Online culture magazine TheRumpus.net is all about good writing, so it's not surprising that folks who write to Rumpus advice columnist Dear Sugar pen some eloquent, often heartbreaking, letters. And Sugar herself ain't no hack; her responses are equal parts personal narrative and pointed advice and could stand on their own as compelling short stories. "You don't have a right to the cards you believe you should have been dealt," she tells one advice-seeker. "You have an obligation to play the hell out of the ones you're holding." Sugar is Portland author Cheryl Strayed, who also wrote the bestselling memoir Wild. She'll discuss Tiny Beautiful Things, a compilation of her best Dear Sugar columns, at Warwick's (7812 Girard Ave. in La Jolla) at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 28. warwicks.indiebound.com