Street-level: If you've ever had the pleasure of flipping through The Americans, a book of photos by Robert Frank, you should have an idea of what to expect at Streetwise, an exhibition at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park. Frank is the most iconic photographer of a movement that brought us stark, documentary-style, blackand-white snapshots chronicling pivotal events in American history. The exhibition will feature photos by Frank, along with eight other photographers. It opens Saturday, Feb. 5, and will remain on view through Sunday, May 15. At 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 5, join photographers Andy Grundbery and Jerry Berndt, whose work is part of the exhibition, for a gallery talk. mopa.org
Not that: Mexican art is more than just folk art from the indigenous cultures of the south. It's more than Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. And it's a hell of a lot more than the cheap, velvet paintings we see at the border crossing. There will be no such clichés in Mexico: Expected / Unexpected, a show opening at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego's La Jolla location (700 Prospect St.). Organizers say the show will obliterate preconceived notions of “Mexican-ness” by featuring installation art, sculptures, paintings and photography from the Isabel and Agustin Coppel Collection. Half of the show will be on view at MCASD La Jolla and half will be at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach. The local show opens Saturday, Feb. 5, and remains on view through Feb. 20. mcasd.org
Life patterns: Underground artist Janelle Carter's '70sinspired, psychedelic, mixed-media mash-ups are fun to look at, but they also pack an intense intellectual punch. Carter says she's been thinking about the circle of life, self-liberation and self-acceptance; the impact of that thought process can be seen in the paintings, drawings and art books she'll show in Let's Just Start From the Beginning, opening from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5, at Playa Gallery @ Dragonfly Salon, 2940 Adams Ave. in Normal Heights. DJs Cuttyman and Existence 76 will provide the sounds. The official after-party will be at BrokenBeat Night at Club Kadan across the street, where Eddie Turbo, Vagitron, Messenger and others will spin glitch, dubstep and breaks. janellecarter.net
Can you spare a dime?: Come July, the city of San Diego is expected to be more than $50 million short of what it needs to provide basic services. Where will the city find that money? Find out what some heavy political hitters think when they face off at a forum, Solutions to San Diego's Budget Crisis, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 8, at the Joyce Beers Community Center, 3900 Vermont St. in Hillcrest. At the table will be City Councilmember Carl DeMaio, former Councilmember and current union leader Mike Zucchet, former City attorney Mike Aguirre, USD economics professor Alan Gin and voiceofsandiego.org CEO Scott Lewis. Hear what they have to say and share your own opinions. Get involved. Visit the event page by searching for the forum title in Facebook. Free.
Wise women: Don't write off Go, Tell Michelle: African-American Women Speak to the First Lady as another words-of-wisdom book. The collection of letters and poems to Michelle Obama's been praised for weaving together a narrative history of what it means to be a black woman in America. From 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 8, the Women's Museum of California and Mo'olelo Performing Arts present a staged reading of Go Tell Michelle, directed by Mo'olelo's Seema Sueko. It's preceded at 5:15 p.m. by a reception with the book's editors, Barbara Seals Nevergold and Peggy Brooks- Bertram, of the Uncrowned Queens Institute for Research and Education on Women. Bring a bottle of wine (or soda) and/or food to share, or make a $10 donation at the door of the 10th Avenue Theatre, 930 10th Ave, Downtown. RSVP to email@example.com or 619-342-7395. 10thavenuetheatre.com
If you're following the war on WikiLeaks or the so-called Twitter revolutions; if you believe in net neutrality, creative-commons licensing and open-source software; if you care about your privacy rights and think government is most honest when you have a big honking light shining on it—then you need to unplug for a few minutes to attend Drumbeat San Diego. Hosted by San Diego's New Media Rights, the free, half-day event is part of an international campaign by Mozilla (you use Firefox, right?) to protect the open web by organizing media and tech professionals, activists and artists. Drumbeat runs from 12:30 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5, at Queen Bees Art & Cultural Center (3925 Ohio St. in North Park). Registration required. newmediarights.org/drumbeat
Talk you like a hurricane: When it comes to slam poetry, we subscribe to the Ice-T school of thought: Don't hate the player; hate the game. That also means we like to show some love for the word gladiators when they perform outside the arena. This spring, Mike McGee— the first poet to win both the National Poetry Slam and the World Poetry Slam—is touring the country with three other young, acclaimed poets as The Whirlwind Company. They're not competitors on this journey; they're “dream journalists,” and La Jolla is their second stop. They'll perform at The Loft, in UCSD's Price Center, at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 4. Tickets are $12, $8 for students. artpwr.com
Fire it up: Kate Hatmaker and Demarre McGill really want to turn you on to classical music. For three years, the co-artistic directors of Art of Élan have been organizing edgy chamber-music performances at the San Diego Museum of Art, but now they're bringing it to where you hipsters hang out—at The Glashaus, a sculpture studio at 1815 Main St. in Barrio Logan. The show, Crossfire, which starts at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 3 (the bar opens at 6:30), will infuse classical music with elements of pop and rock, and works by artists Greg Brotherton and Matt Devine will be on display. We've seen Art of Élan's performances, so you can trust us when we say this will be a fantastic experience. Folk / blues band The Heavy Guilt will play an after-party at 8:30 p.m. The $15 ticket includes one free drink. Seating is limited. artofelan.org