For those who've never experienced Steam Powered Giraffe's live performance, it's, well, hmmm...It's kind of hard to describe. Put simply, the steampunk-inspired musical project combines sketches, pantomime, improvisation, theater and original music that jumps genres and defies classification. Even SPG cofounder David Michael Bennett, who plays the silver robot "The Spine" in the group, sometimes has a hard time giving people an accurate sense of what they should expect at a show.
"The shortest, no-frills summary would be that Steam Powered Giraffe is a group where people pretend to be malfunctioning robots on stage while they sing songs and do improv and comedy," says Bennett, but then adds that he prefers to tell people that, at the end of the day, SPG "is an experience that must be seen and heard by the entire family."
The three-member group has been performing since 2008 and, over the course of three albums, two live albums and one feature-length film, SPG has developed a loyal local and national following. For those new to the group, the release show for their new 28-track double LP, The Vice Quadrant: A Space Opera, is a nice place to start. The show begins at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, at the Spreckels Theatre (121 Broadway #600), and Bennett says audiences won't necessarily need to know the story of the group (which involves a rich San Diego inventor creating the robots in the late 1800s) to enjoy the new music and production.
"The story told in it stands on it's own, but also connects to our other albums loosely through the robots," says Bennett, pointing out the show will include multimedia visuals and billowing steam effects. "It sees the robots traveling into space to help save the day, while two other separate stories with new characters play out alongside the robots."
Tickets are $20 for the Spreckels show. For hardcore fans there's a "Behind the Steam" VIP ticket option for $100 that includes front row seating, backstage access during the sound check and other perks. steampoweredgiraffe.com
There won't be any superfluous f-bombs being flung around when Ithamar Enriquez performs his unique stand-up comedy act at Finest City Improv (4250 Louisiana St.) on Saturday, Jan. 16 at 8 p.m. The name of his one-man show says it all: "Ithamar Has Nothing to Say." That's right, an entire set of improv-based comedy where the only sound the audience will hear is the sound of their own laughter. Taking cues from masters of physical comedy such as Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy, Enriquez has made regular appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and had a recurring role on Arrested Development. Tickets for the Saturday show are $15 and there will also be a $40 "Shut Up and Move" workshop on Sunday at noon for those who want to learn their own comedic moves. finestcityimprov.com
When it rains, it most certainly pours. Local restaurants took a hit this past week when potential customers opted to stay in and stay dry rather than brave the El Niño rains. Luckily, things are looking distinctly dryer for San Diego Restaurant Week. Starting Sunday, Jan. 17, more than 180(!) local eateries will be offering up reasonably priced ($10 to $50), multi-course menus through Jan. 24. Whatís more, for every diner who posts Restaurant Week pics on social media with the hashtag #Food4Kids, Sysco San Diego will donate $1 to the Food 4 Kids Backpack program. For North County residents, the second annual Encinitas Restaurant Week also runs from Jan. 17 through the 23rd with CityBeat faves such as Lobster West, Solace & the Moonlight Lounge, and seven others participating. encinitas101.com