Past and present: High Fidelity, opening at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego's La Jolla location (700 Prospect St.) on Saturday, May 28, looked so cool that we made it a stop in our recent Choose-your-own-adventure Summer Guide. Indeed, it's one of 2011's must-see shows, featuring more than 50 of MCASD's best pieces from its collection of 1960s and '70s pop, minimalist and experimental art. Opening the same day, same place, is an unexpected complement to High Fidelity: Emperor's River: Philipp Scholz Rittermann. Rittermann, a San Diego photographer, set out in 2009 to document life along China's Grand Canal; the result is a stunning look at the clash of history and modernity, rural life and city life. Both shows are on view through Sept. 5. mcasd.org
‘Smashing egos': From 9 p.m. to midnight, Saturday, May 28, at Saigon on Fifth (3900 Fifth Ave. in Hillcrest) local artists / curators Sonia Lopez-Chavez and Chikle will introduce the first in a new series of exhibitions in unexpected urban places. One Night in Saigon will feature art by Chi Hom, Donny Taylor, Blush, Jen Fong and many others, plus three bands, poetry, DJs and live visuals by artist Juan Castruita. Chikle and Lopez-Chaves say the show is a tribute to the legendary Landlord Jim's art shows that happened before the bar was shuttered, and they say the effort is an attempt to “create unity amongst San Diego artists by smashing egos, agendas and tireless self-promotion and creating momentum in thinking outside of the box and intervening in urban spaces, restaurants and bars.” We can get behind that. Search for it on Facebook.
Kelly Bennett, arts editor for voiceofsandiego.org, says she hears two radically different complaints about the local arts-and-culture scene: that there's absolutely nothing going on and that there's too much going on. A Meeting of the Minds, a Pecha Kucha-style discussion put on by voiceofsandiego.org and the nonprofit arts group Sezio, aims to quell both complaints. Six presenters— Jennifer Luce, Jay Porter, Evan Schumacher, Ben Strauss-Malcolm, Seema Sueko and David Flores—will show 20 slides for 20 seconds each, discussing design, art, music and theater. It starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 1, at Kettner Daylight Studio (2308 Kettner Blvd., Studio C, in Little Italy). sezio.org
Not gonna take it anymore: For years, Howard Blackson's been fighting an uphill battle as he's advocated for more community-oriented use of public and private space, and he's watched as San Diego has failed to capitalize on opportunities. From 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 28, the urban planner and architecture professor will lead a discussion, Coding for Character: The Architecture of Community, at 4610 Park Blvd. in University Heights. It's all about maximizing infill development in an era when redevelopment—which Blackson says “brings its own host of cultural angst”—is the only viable economic option. The event is the latest in a series stemming from the recent TEDx conference in San Diego. Ultimately, Blackson's goal is to present the city of San Diego with a planning document that will help guide the future re-use of space—this is your chance to help him do it. Search for the event on Facebook.
So Say We All is not a Battlestar Galactica fanzine. But if it were, we'd probably be just as into it. In San Diego, it's an unstoppable narrative corps that stages regular storytelling extravaganzas, including the monthly VAMP Showcase (Visual Art, Music, Performance) at Whistle Stop Bar (2236 fern St. in South Park). At Last October's VAMP, CityBeat arts editor Kinsee Morlan spun a shocking tale of debauchery, and at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 26, staff writer Dave Maass follows in her footsteps at VAMP Showcase: First Times. He joins local talents such as Mindy Solis, Joni Redmond, Pat Johnson and Andrew Printer, who'll tell stories of drug abuse at Disneyland, Catholic rebellion, supermarket larceny and saying no. Free. sosayweallonline.com
The four pounding notes of Ludwig von Beethoven's Fifth Symphony are among the best-known classical riffs of all time, but not always the best understood—especially if one's perception of Beethoven was tainted by his portrayals in Immortal Beloved and Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. For real insight, look to Nuvi Mehta, resident lecturer at the San Diego Symphony, though “lecture” is hardly the word for Mehta's Symphony Exposed series.Often performed in the character of the composer, Mehta's presentations are TED meets spoken-word, backed by an orchestra to reveal the context and meaning of the work. Mehta exposes Beethoven's Fifth at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 26, at Copley Symphony Hall (750 B St., Downtown). Tickets are $20. sandiegosymphony.org
After UCSD material-science professor Marc Meyers worked with the Center for Explosives Technology Research, the U.S. Army and Japanese and Soviet research institutes, he sort of let his imagination run wild. His pending-apocalypse, mythmeets-science novel, Mayan Mars, was the result. For his second novel, Chechnya Jihad, Meyers uses his inside knowledge to introduce readers to a horrible war, present a positive view of Islam and freak you out by talking about the plausibility of finding a powerful explosive like the one his protagonist finds in the book. Meyers will read and sign copies of his book at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 28, at Mysterious Galaxy (7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. Suite 302, in Clairemont). mystgalaxy.com
We're kind of ticked that Your Metaforest Guidebook happens at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 1, when some of us are still at work. (But—shhh—you have our permission to skip out early.) The performance, a collaboration of words and music by UCSD assistant professor of literature Anna Joy Springer and experimental musicians Tara Jane O'Neil and Rachel Carns (who've been blazing trails and blowing minds for more than a decade) is described by Springer as “a really beautiful, odd, creepy, queer, hilarious, melodramatic, somber and lush punk soundscape.” Part of UCSD's New Writing Series, the show's free, poet Eileen Myles is the special guest and it takes place at The Loft in UCSD's Price Center East. Zanzibar, located in The Loft, will offer specials on beer, wine and snacks. jadedibisproductions.com