1. RELATIVE SURPRISES
Back in 2007, Dana Levine came across an Arthur Lavine photography exhibition at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park. For some reason, Levine had a feeling she and the famed shutterbug had more in common than a passion for photography, and she was right. Now, play close attention, because you're about to read a lot of Lavines and Levines, and it might get confusing.
Levine, whose maiden name is Lavine, went to the exhibition's opening reception with a family history in hand and told the photographer she believed they're related.
"When we both started to look at our family history, we realized we had the same history," she says.
Turns out, Lavine's grandfather and Levine's great-grandfather were brothers, making Lavine and Levine distant cousins. Both were raised on the East Coast and retired in San Diego years later. Meeting a long-lost relative would be exciting for anyone. However, this story gets better.
Levine, 71, is a photographer herself. After connecting, the cousins realized that their work is eerily similar. You can see sideby-side comparisons at Lavine / Levine: Relative Viewpoints, opening with a reception at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11, at Gotthelf Art Gallery (4126 Executive Drive in La Jolla). It runs through Nov. 27.
"When you see how close their images are, it's serendipity at its finest," says gallery spokesperson Ilene Tatro. "You would think it was the same photographer."
Lavine, 90, began shooting photos while serving in World War II. He continued doing photography, working in New York City alongside iconic post-war photographers like Arnold Newman and Edward Steichen. Levine picked up her first digital camera less than 10 years ago and says she never saw her cousin's work until around the time they met.
Though she marvels at the similarities in content and composition in their respective photos, Levine chalks it up to chance and not science.
"Someone suggested maybe there's a photography gene, and maybe we share that in common," she says. "But I doubt that very much."
2. 12-BAR BASH
In San Diego, it can feel like summer well into autumn, so September is an optimal time to head to the water, open up some beers, kick back and listen to some great blues musicians hammer out some sweet licks under the California sun. For the third year in a row, the San Diego Blues Festival takes over Embarcadero Marina Park with a lineup of great blues acts, including The Tighten-Ups, Charlie Musselwhite and Dave Alvin's Downey Blues All-Stars. The festival starts at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, at the park (400 Kettner Blvd.). Tickets are $15, and proceeds benefit the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank. sdbluesfest.com
3 QUITE QOMEDIC
If you know any lesbians, they're the funniest people you know, right? Studies show that gay women are 23 percent funnier than straight women and 36 percent funnier than gay men. It's a fact. Look it up. Lesbians are freaking hilarious. OK, wait. Don't look it up; we may be lying about all that. In any case, we're suspecting that the lesbians in the Queer Queens of Qomedy are a riot. Just look at the way they spell "comedy"! That's pure comic gold! The touring show will hit the Birch North Park Theatre (2891 University Ave.) at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, with comics Sandra Valls, Shann Carr and event producer / comic Poppy Champlin. Tickets are $25. birchnorthparktheatre.net