Memorial Day weekend in San Diego means a lot of things, but for whatever reason it also seems to be the weekend for new theater openings. Sure, there are some large-scale openings, but being an alt-weekly, we like to think our readers are a little more experimental.
Take Native Voices at the Autry's production of They Don't Talk Back, which runs from Thursday, May 26 through Sunday, June 5, at the La Jolla Playhouse. Started in 1994 by Randy Reinholz, Native Voices is the only theater company entirely dedicated to producing new works by Native American, Alaska Native and First Nations playwrights. They Don't Talk Back is a coming-of-age story about a troubled teen sent to live with his grandparents in a small fishing village in Alaska. While audiences are being exposed to another culture, Reinholz feels the subject matter is relatable to all people.
"It's very real-life stuff and it does take you into another world, but there's a really great guide in the main character of Nick because he doesn't know the culture either," says Reinholz, who adds that San Diego County has the largest number of Native American reservations of any county in the U.S. "It's a good window for the audience into this world."
Just down the street from the Playhouse in the Arthur Wagner Theatre, the Undergraduate New Play Festival will be held from Friday, May 27 to Saturday, June 4. The annual fest features eight new works by theater students at UC San Diego. The plays were selected from 36 total submissions and include site-specific works as well as staged productions where workshopping is encouraged.
"This is one of the most ambitious groups I've seen in the four years I've been here," says Jenny Grober, a theater student who helped coordinate this year's festival. "I wanted the authors to challenge people's perceptions of how to think about theater and they've all risen to the occasion."
Tickets for They Don't Talk Back range from $10-25 and the Undergraduate New Play Festival is free, but reservations are encouraged at theatre.ucsd.edu. Times for both productions vary.
TIJUANA BAJA BREWS
A new beer festival seems to pop up every weekend, and now crafty things are happening in TJ. The annual Tijuana Expo Cerveza Artesanal might be the best opportunity yet to try some south-of-the-border suds. Held Friday, May 27, and Saturday, May 28, from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m., the event lets patrons choose from more than 60 Mexican craft breweries including standouts like Insurgente, Border Psycho and Wendlandt. The music lineup is eclectic as well, with Bostich + Fusible and Hepcat on Friday and Jungle Fire and Kinky on Saturday. There will also be food trucks and the $12-$15 admission price includes a tasting cup. It all happens about five minutes from the border at the Rio Zone across from the Mercado Hidalgo (Calle Guadalupe Victoria 2, Sanchez Taboada). bajacraftbeers.com
We were touched when the Spreckels Organ folks lit the stage and pavilion purple in honor of the passing of Prince. Some may remember back in January when Civic Organist Carol Williams recruited a band to play David Bowie songs with her shortly after Bowie's passing. It was definitely one of those "had to be there" concerts, but luckily for fans, Williams is bringing back the David Bowie Tribute Concert on Sunday, May 29, at 2 p.m. for one more performance. Williams will be joined for the show by a five-piece rock band, which will play Bowie hits (and maybe a few originals from Williams for good measure). And like all concerts at the organ, it's free to the public and great for all ages. spreckelsorgan.org