OOH BABY, I LIKE IT GRAS
There's nothing like Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and it's often been said that if you remember it, then you probably weren't really there. The commute to the Crescent City is a bit of a hike, but lucky for locals, San Diego probably celebrates the annual pre-Lent bacchanal bigger than any other city outside of Louisiana.
Of course, there's the mother of Mardi Gras events: the Gaslamp Quarter Mardi Gras Parade & Celebration (sdmardigras.com) on Saturday, Feb. 6, from 5 p.m. to midnight. It's really not enough to call the annual event a block party since it takes up multiple blocks in the heart of the Gaslamp and also includes specials at neighboring bars and after-parties galore. Snag some beads when the parade starts at Fifth Avenue and E Street at 9 p.m. while also checking out multiple stages of music with artists such as The Aggrolites and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony serving as headliners. Tickets range from $35 all the way up to $90 for VIP packages. Oh, and proceeds benefit the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation.
For something a little more low-key, the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library will be hosting a Carnaval-themed grand opening party for its new Art Center in Logan Heights (1955 Julian Avenue) on Saturday, Feb 6, from 7 to 10 p.m. There will be an art show and jazzy tunes from the Euphoria Brass Band and Radio Pulse del Barrio, as well as food and drink samples all night. Best of all, it's a free event, but reservations are required at ljathenaeum.org.
And what would Mardi Gras be without a proper Fat Tuesday blowout in Hillcrest? Urban Moís Bar & Grill (308 University Ave.) will host its annual Mardi Gras Mask Off on Tuesday, Feb. 9, from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. The LGBT-friendly soiree includes a mask fashion show, $6.25 Skyy Blackout Lemonade specials all night and a Bead Off contest where the partygoer with the most festive necklaces at the end of the night will win cash and prizes. Cover is $3. urbanmos.com
Women's rights is always a political talking point come election season, but Women in Action: UN Paths to Global Equality, a new multimedia exhibition at the Women's Museum of California (2730 Historic Decatur Road), takes a closer look at the often behind-the-scenes heroes who have fought for the cause of equality since the formation of the United Nations more than 70 years ago. Opening Friday, Feb. 5, from 5 to 9 p.m., the exhibition includes photos, documents and films that highlight some of the major accomplishments of the international organization in the areas of women's rights. The opening during Liberty Station's Friday Night Liberty art walk should be fun, but the museum will also be holding more talks, film screenings and events throughout February and March. womensmuseumca.org
LIFE ON A SPRING
Back in 2009, Tara Donovan's exhibition at the downtown Museum of Contemporary Art was an absolute stunner. Patrons marveled at the giant, liquid-like sculptures made from things like Styrofoam cups and polyester film. It was one of those shows you wanted to see again or told your friends about in hopes they'd go with you. Now, the New York City-based Donovan is back, albeit in the much more intimate Quint Gallery (7547 Girard Ave.), with an installation that is made entirely from (wait for it...) Slinkys! Yes, Donovan has taken the springy, metallic toy and warped, bent, disassembled and reassembled them into something altogether unique and fantastical. The show will be up through April, but be the first to see it when it opens on Saturday, Feb. 6 from 6 to 8 p.m. Yes, it's OK to stare. quintgallery.com