You: Investigating Identity—opening with a reception at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, at the Oceanside Museum of Art (704 Pier View Way, oma-online.org)—was three years in the making. Longer, if you count the time that's passed since Tara Smith first saw experimental filmmaker Cathy Begien's "Black Out," a short video about binge drinking that's both silly and heartbreaking as Begien allows herself to be manipulated (literally) by her friends.
"That one's phenomenal," Smith says of the video. "I saw that seven or eight years ago at the Getty and really wanted to incorporate it into this show."
Smith, OMA's interim executive director, chose seven artists for Investigating Identity: San Diegans Kelly Schnorr, Lea Dennis, David Adey, Trish Stone and Alida Cervantes; Begien, who lives in New York, and Melissa Cooke, who lives in L.A. The central theme, clear by the exhibition's title, is identity: "learning who we are, becoming who we are and understanding who we are," Smith says.
While pieces like Begien's are raw and personal, others, like Cervantes' videos that explore gender identity in Latino culture, take a wider, socio-cultural look at how identity is shaped. Schnorr, meanwhile, questions whether people are really so different in "The Rockwell Series," in which two sets of photographs are projected onto second-hand plates. One set depicts Schnorr's life growing up, and the other represents a woman three generations older. The photographs parallel each other, revealing surprising similarities between the two women's experiences despite the years separating them.
Smith created two interactive components—one is a digital display of images of eyes of exhibition attendees; the other invites people to write about an event that shaped who they are and add it to a collection of personal narratives submitted by other patrons or via the museum's Facebook page. Whether you choose to divulge your story or not, you're welcome to hang out in the gallery and read what others have written.
2 Two feasts
University Heights will celebrate its food and arts scenes on Sunday, Sept. 16, amid the 7th Annual University Heights Arts Open, running from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The free arts event, showcasing the works of local artists, playwrights and other creatives, includes North Park Vaudeville's presentation of The Brady Bunch Gets Arrested; the Athenaeum School of Arts' live-drawing demonstration; live music all day at Across the Stree, a venue at Mueller College; and selfguided tours of artist studios. This year, Taste of University Heights will happen in conjunction with the Arts Open, from noon to 3 p.m., featuring nibbles from 15 neighborhood restaurants. The cost is $25 at the door, $20 presale. uharts.org
3 End-of-summer sounds
Though it's still hot as Hades out, summer is officially nearing its end. Coming to a close along with the season is the Birch Aquarium's (2300 Expedition Way in La Jolla) Green Flash Summer Concert Series, which has been bringing great live music with an oceanfront view since May. On Wednesday, Sept. 19, the series finishes with Steve Poltz. The singer-songwriter, who released his latest album, Noineen Noiny Noin, in June, is known for putting on a great show. Catch him doing his thing while you enjoy food and drink from French Gourmet and Gordon Biersch Brewery as the sun goes down. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $27. This is a 21-and-up event. aquarium.ucsd.edu