Jan. 15 2014 11:52 AM

Our top three picks of San Diego events this week

shortlist
Danza Azteca

1 ALL IN THIS TOGETHER

In the 1990s, community activist Sheila Hardin organized the first multicultural festival in Downtown. "She wanted to bring people of different cultures together," says current event organizer Cynthia James-Price, "to showcase the diversity of San Diego and also to highlight Downtown San Diego."

The festival started small but eventually grew to accommodate thousands of attendees. But in 2010, Hardin died, having lost a battle against cancer at age 60, and the multicultural festival died with her.

However, then-City Councilmember Tony Young asked the Zeta Sigma Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, the organization that holds the city's Martin Luther King Jr. Parade, to help restart it, and the group agreed. Last year's fest was the first one after the short hiatus.

Now renamed to honor its driving force, the 16th Annual San Diego, Sheila Hardin Multi-Cultural Festival is back again this year to highlight the ethnic diversity of San Diego. It'll happen from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, along the Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade, on East Harbor Drive, between First and Fifth avenues, Downtown.

The festival's highlights are Danza Azteca the music and dance performances aimed at expressing various traditional heritages. The lineup includes Zydeco and bluegrass by the Bayou Brothers, drumming from the dynamic Japanese group San Diego Taiko, Afro-Cuban music and dance by Omo Aché, a children's African drum workshop, the Walter Gentry & Curtis V jazz ensemble and Native American dance by Danza Azteca.

James-Price says it's important "to know that we are a melting pot in San Diego and to embrace our differences and to understand our differences and not look at the differences as something that is a negative, but something that's a positive. I think we should learn from each other and broaden our perspectives of other cultures."

There will also be food vendors, children's activities, artists selling their work and community information booths offering health, educational and other services. Oh, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Parade will be held the next day, from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19, on Harbor Drive along the Embarcadero. sdmulticultural.com


2 STARS ON STAGE

Watching ballroom dance sounds a tad boring, right? Ballroom with a Twist is pretty much the opposite. The touring production includes all sorts of sexy, high-energy dance, including cha-cha, tango, foxtrot and jive, but that's just the beginning. Conductor Matthew Garbutt and artists from the San Diego Symphony play their pretty music alongside a cast of reality-television stars, including swoon-worthy dancer Mark Ballas (Dancing with the Stars) and singers Gina Glocksen and Von Smith (American Idol). Choreographed by Dancing with the Stars veteran Louis van Amstel, the night of toe-tapping, live song-and-dance will happen at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Jan. 17 and 18, at Copley Symphony Hall (750 B St., Downtown). $20-$85. sandiegosymphony.org


3 WORD PLAY

For his "Origins" piece, San Diego artist Alex Dikowski used words cut from the pages of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species. The words were carefully collaged on canvas, then surrounded by shapes and colors made with foil and marker. All of the work in Dikowski's Abstractions of Thought series is inspired by philosophical, scientific or spiritual quandaries and constructed in similar ways. Books that made the cut—pun intended—include iCon: Steve Jobs and The Man in the Iron Mask; other pieces were inspired by philosophical quotes. The resulting body of work is a collection of interesting, textured, abstract images that ask viewers to pause and ponder their meaning. Dikowski's show opens from 8 to 11 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16, at Quality Social (789 Sixth Ave., Downtown). dikowski.com


Does your event deserve to be in our top three? Email Kinsee Morlan.

Calendar

  • Visit one of the 70 participating restaurants, bars, coffeehouses and nightclubs in town on this night and 25 to 50 percent of sales will go to local HIV/AIDS services and prevention programs. 
  • Anthony Bernal and Chris Ward, who are vying to replace Todd Gloria on the San Diego City Council, will discuss urban issues, such as parking, homelessness and new developments
  • The new exhibition designed by Dave Ghilarducci is made from hundreds of rolls of packing tape and bound together by layers of plastic shrink-wrap. Visitors can navigate their way through cocoon-like passageways...
  • The renowned Mexican black and white photographer presents an exhibition exploring the principal themes within three groups: "Bestiarium"," Fantastic Women" and "Silent Natures."
  • Presented by Pacific Arts Movement, the sixth annual mini film fest features 14 film programs from 10 countries that includes everything from docs to romantic tearjerkers. See website for full lineup and...
  • The San Diego County Bike Coalition hosts this monthly bike-in happy hour event to get biking residents involved in their communities and discuss bike projects planned for that specific community
  • Debunk some of the stereotypes surrounding cannibalism at this new exhibition that takes a hands-on approach to the subject. Includes video games and interactive activities where patrons will have to decide...
  • So Say We All's monthly storytelling night features stories about those jobs we took because we had to take a job. Featured readers include Allison Gauss, Annmarie Houghtailing, Cecile Estelle, and more
  • Artists from the all-abstracts group show will talk about their work and techniques. Artists include Edwin Nutting, Danielle Nelisse, Leah Pantea, Lenore Simon, and more
See all events on Thursday, Apr 28