Elliott Murphy lives in Paris, France, but his music is 100-percent American. The folk-rock troubadour hasn't embarked on a U.S. tour for eight years, but at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 13, Acoustic Music San Diego will bring Murphy stateside for an intimate performance at the acoustic-friendly church at 4650 Mansfield St. in Normal Heights. Murphy, son of two performers, has been playing guitar since he was 12, was praised in both Rolling Stone and The New Yorker and has been turning out albums since 1973. $15-$20 or $45 for a dinner seating. Singer / songwriter Jan Klose will open the show. www.acousticmusicsandiego.com.
Walking by homeless people makes most of us feel pretty uncomfortable. Some people get angry and mutter things like “Get a job” as they look the other way. Others feel the tug of liberal guilt as they smile and dig through their pockets for change. Artist Carol K. Brown, who has a solo show opening at Scott White Contemporary Art (939 West Kalmia St. in Little Italy), wants you to feel whatever it is you feel when you look at Passersby and Other Sidewalk Stories, her series of paintings and prints based on photographs of homeless people on the streets of New York and Miami. And with her newer series, Home Décor, Brown juxtaposes her paintings of the homeless with photographs of rooms in her mother's home as commentary on the consequences of the current economic crisis. Brown's show opens in conjunction with Kettner Nights, a Little Italy gallery walk, from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 9. www.scottwhiteart.com.Best of the rest: After stopping by Carol K. Brown's solo show at Scott White Contemporary Art (see blurb above), be sure to stop by the opening of Richard T. Reyes' show, Into the Woods, at Perry L. Meyer Fine Art (2400 Kettner Blvd., Suite 104., Little Italy). Reyes' graphite drawings are beautifully done, beautifully twisted retellings of stories like Goldilocks and Little Red Riding Hood. Also, don't miss the United States of Color vs. Grand Theft Auto, the first show of 2009 at the always edgy and interesting Luis De Jesus Seminal Projects, 2040 India St. in Little Italy. Both shows will be open for Kettner Nights from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 9. www.seminalprojects.com, www.plmeyerfineart.com.
Helping the self
Sad but true: Self-help books sell like crazy. Just go to your favorite bookstore and compare the size of the self-help section to that of other genres. The books tend to range from corny to sorta-kinda useful. Local author Arielle Ford's new self-help manual promising to prepare anyone and everyone for true love, The Soulmate Secret, may fall on either side of the self-help spectrum; it could be an inspirational read that actually does help people become a “magnet for love,” as it says it does, or it could be a collection of new-age affirmation-type stuff that works about as well as The Secret. Let Ford make a case at her reading and signing at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 12, at Warwick's Bookstore, 7812 Girard Ave. in La Jolla. www.warwicks.com or 858-454-0347.
The Dolls' house
The San Diego Derby Dolls kick off their 2009 season at 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 10, at The Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd. The gals-on-wheels will take on the Orange County Rollergirls in an all-out battle to be the queens of the rink. After the bout, some of the Dolls will head over to the Surf and Saddle (123 W. Plaza St. in Solana Beach), where 21-and-older fans can meet and greet the girls. And just so the kids don't feel left out, the rest of the Dolls are holding a meet-and-greet for fans of all ages at Pizza Port, 135 N. Highway 101 in Solana Beach. $13-$15. www.derbydolls.com.
Are you struggling with what to make of the huge bailouts of the finance and auto industries. Do you have a hunch that there must be a better way to skin those cats? Activist San Diego, with the help of Shahrokh Shahrokhi, professor of economics at Grossmont College, will discuss the current economic meltdown, the multi-million-dollar bailout packages and alternatives that have yet to be discussed by those either getting or giving the money. The Teach-in on the Economic Meltdown will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 12, at the Joyce Beers Community Center, 1220 Cleveland St. in Hillcrest. www.activistsandiego.org or 619-944-9820.
Back and better
The annual San Diego Boat Show is back, and this year, organizers have added something they think may just attract our readers: the wakeboard stunt show. So, this time around, from Thursday, Jan. 8, through Sunday, Jan. 11, at the San Diego Convention Center and Marriott Marina (111 West Harbor Drive, Downtown), Boat Show-goers get to see professional wakeboarders and wake-skaters perform jumps and flips in a gigantic indoor pool with ramps and rails. And if that doesn't pique your interest, they've also added an eco-friendly boating element because, as we all know, green is the new black. For full details on the huge showcase boating event, jet on over to www.sandiegoboatshow.com. $10, children under 12 are free. 858-274-9924.
Believe it or not, the Smothers Brothers are still at it. The comedy duo are currently touring the country with their blend of musical entertainment and political, slapstick and just straight-up silly comedic sketches. The living legends will perform at the California Center for the Arts (340 N. Escondido Blvd. in Escondido) at 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 11. $40-$55. www.artcenter.org, 800-988-4253.