OUT OF THE ASHES
The 2003 San Diego wildfires were devastating and nerve-racking for those who went through them. The sky looked apocalyptic. The ash raining from the sky was the closest San Diego gets to a snow day. The news networks were giving it names like "Firestorm" and "Fire Siege."
For architect and artist James Hubbell, the fire destroyed part of his iconic Julian home that he built in 1958. He and his wife ultimately decided to rebuild. Inspired by the charred and blackened landscape that now surrounded their property, he began working on some watercolor paintings that both reflected upon, and in a way, embraced the damage.
"You could see rock formations that you'd never seen before. It was really kind of beautiful," Hubbell says. "I became fascinated with it. It was one of those occasions where an artist sees something that others don't see."
Hubbell guesses he did somewhere around 30 to 40 paintings centered on the fires and 10 of these works can be seen in James Hubbell: California Wildfire Watercolors, which opens Thursday, Nov. 5, at the San Diego Museum of Art (1450 El Prado) in Balboa Park. The paintings are both vibrant and jarring, with Hubbell masterfully balancing the line between destruction and rebirth.
If patrons are so inclined, they can attend SDMA's Culture & Cocktails event on Thursday, Nov. 5, from 6 to 10 p.m. The event is mainly focused on the Museum's The Art of Music exhibition, and will include guitar pick jewelry, Blush Desserts sweets, and naturally, cocktails. But attendees should definitely stop by to see the Watercolors exhibition. Hubbell says you don't necessarily have to feel somber when viewing his paintings.
"After the fire, my wife and I decided to not to be victims. We started to rebuild right away," he says. "People use the word awful a lot, but when you think about it, it really means 'full of awe.'"
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ASIA!
A lack of diversity is a common concern when it comes to Hollywood films, but for 16 years the San Diego Asian Film Festival has sought to rectify this issue and celebrate Asian filmmakers and actors. The annual fest will bring the best of Asian cinema with more than 130 films from 20 countries, making it one of the largest Asian film festivals in the U.S. Highlights include Crush the Skull, directed by Los Angeles' Viet Nguyen, and South Korea's Wonderful Nightmare. The former is a blend of humor and horror about two enamored thieves who break into the wrong home, while the latter is a comedic fantasy about an attorney's opportunity to regain his life. The festival takes place Thursday, Nov. 5, through Saturday, Nov. 14, at five venues throughout San Diego. Prices vary from $12 to $250.
One of the tastiest outcomes of the recent comfort food resurgence is that mac and cheese is now a go-to staple for local chefs to show off their creativity. On Saturday, Nov. 7, more than 11 local restaurants, including Flying Pig, Riviera Supper Club and Stella Public House, will show off the savory results of these experiments and compete in the First Annual Mac n' Cheese Festival. There will be plenty of beer and wine to wash it down and attendees can vote for their favorite dish. Briana Renée from Little Women: L.A. will emcee the event and crown the winning chef. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Waterfront Park (1601 Pacific Highway). The $35 tickets include all food tastings and 10 beverage tastings. Proceeds benefit the educational nonprofit, The World Wide Network of Learning.