Aug. 29 2012 11:58 AM

Our top three picks of San Diego events this week

A still from Eternal Gaze by Sam Chen

1 You say it's your alt.birthday

It's not only CityBeat that just turned 10. Every year for the last decade, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego has presented alt.pictureshows, the brainchild of film curator Neil Kendricks, who turns the museum into what he calls "physical channel surfing," screening dozens of short films that are almost impossible to see anywhere else.

The 10th anniversary of alt.pictureshows will be at MCASD's La Jolla location (700 Prospect St.) at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30, and will include a slew of new material, as well as some blasts from the past.

Even after 10 years of putting on a show, Kendricks says he isn't burned out. "I still get a thrill out of seeing the audience embrace my selection of short films." That's good news for all of us, because alt.pictureshows is always an alt.experience.

Kendricks says that two movies not to be missed are Anna Musso's L Train and Lucy Walker's short documentary The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom, which was nominated for an Oscar. Both can be found in the Occupy My Heart room, along with Glory at Sea, the short film from Beasts of the Southern Wild director Benh Zeitlin.

It's the alt.pictureshows' Dark Amour & Giddy Apocalypse room—aka the greatest-hits set—that's perhaps nearest and dearest to Kendricks' heart. This collection of films, screened at one time or another during the last nine years, includes Kendricks' own film, Loop, along with efforts from locals like Sam Chen (Eternal Gaze) and Matt Hoyt (Fake Baby).

"Without giving away any of the storylines," Kendricks says, "the greatest-hits section runs the gamut from wildly irreverent, humorous films to short films that delight in pulling the rug out from under you by pushing their original narratives into unexpected directions."

It's good stuff—and, unlike going to the movies, cheap. In fact, it's free if you're an MCASD member, or $5 if you're not. Oh, and one other way alt.pictureshows isn't like going to your local multiplex? Adult drinks will be served.

Creative democracy

The La Jolla Athenaeum Music and Arts Library's Annual Juried Exhibition is a must-see event, highlighting established and upand-coming local artists working in a variety of media. It's on view for only a few more days, and on Thursday, Aug. 30, you can check it out after-hours at Swing Vote: Members' Choice"Members" refers to the Athenaeum's A List, a hip young-art-lovers group that you can join for a modest annual fee, but nonmembers (for the price of $12) are welcome to attend this event, too. See the art, vote for your fave from the exhibition's 65 pieces, dance to gypsy-swing tunes by The Zzymzzy Quartet and enjoy cocktails and food from Herringbone. The Athenaeum's located at 1008 Wall St., and the evening begins at 7 p.m.

Top Spot

Just as CityBeat and alt.pictureshows are celebrating milestone birthdays, Barrio Logan's The Spot (1835 Main St.) is also blowing out a birthday candle. The gallery is turning a year old and celebrating with an all-day One Year Anniversary Group Art Show on Saturday, Sept. 1. Curators Sonia López-Chávez and Chikle have gathered 150 artists to display prayer candles, one candle per artist. Among them are Roma Sanchez, Roberto Rios, Monty Montgomery and Gumaro Piña Jr., whose work you see, in that order, in the accompanying image. There'll also be visual art from Escobar, Mystery Cave and Vizual Suspects, live performances from Makeshift, Afro Jazziacs and others, as well as DJ sets to get the party bumpin'. Happy birthday!

Does your event deserve to be in our top three? Email our events editor, Alex Zaragoza. You can also bug her on Twitter.


See all events on Friday, Dec 9