Most reality television shows are terrible and mind-numbing, but there is one that stands out from the rest—a beacon of hope, if you will, shining brightly and boldly: Bravo's Project Runway, where contestants demonstrate real talent constructing one-of-a-kind garments in a matter of hours. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, San Diego's Fashion Careers College celebrates the genius of the show with Project Fashion, a fashion competition hosted by Project Runway's own Nick Verreos. Participants will put their fashion know-how to the test and demonstrate their creative vision in a real-life fashion challenge similar to what you see on the show. The event is a great opportunity for aspiring designers to gain notoriety and win a scholarship to Fashion Careers College. To be considered as a contestant, you have to have an interest in pursuing a career in fashion design or fashion business and must be at least 17 years old. All designs will be judged by a panel of industry experts. For details, call 619-275-4700. www.fashioncareerscollege.com.
N.Y. to S.D.
San Diego hip-hop fans complain all the time about how local promoters, MCs and DJs can't get it together for a decent show. Blame it on the venues, the local press or short attention spans, but if you don't come out for this one, your license to bitch has officially been revoked. Lucky for fans, an established crew from N.Y.C. is guaranteed to get the night pumping. Brooklyn's Nickodemus, DJ Sabo and percussionist Nappy G have been throwing their legendary Turntables on the Hudson nights for 10 years in New York City, and they're spinning their blend of hip-hop, electro and Afrobeat Friday, Jan. 18, at Kava Lounge, 2812 Kettner Blvd. in Little Italy. www.kavalounge.com or 619-543-0933.
Leslie Robard's new book, Commune, tells the story of a 75-year-old woman who refuses to age gracefully. Instead, the baseball-loving, beer-drinking, free-spirited old gal buys a broken-down hotel with a friend and the two eventually start taking in a ragtag group of folks who like to have fun, too. A retired hooker and a pregnant teen are among the cast of characters brought to life by Robard's pen. Find out more about the book when the author reads from and signs it at Somewhere Else Coffeehouse and Bookstore, 30 N. Magnolia Ave. in El Cajon, at 3 p.m. Saturday Jan. 19. www.go-some where-else.com.
Curator Stephen Hepworth is tired of mediums without messages; hence In the Beginning, UCSD's University Art Gallery's reopening exhibition features paintings, sculpture, video and multimedia installations that all contain words and text. Hepworth wants the work to speak to viewers first and be seen as beautiful second. Hepworth, who recently relocated his charming English accent to San Diego for his new job at the gallery, says the show represents the renovated space's new place as a “communication node” for the community. In the Beginning opens with a public reception from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18. Check univer sityartgallery.ucsd.edu for directions.
Start to finish
When architect Graham Downes started his own firm in 1994, he had a dream as well-designed, precise and functional as the buildings he now constructs: He'd incorporate the ideas behind the Bauhaus art movement but with a contemporary twist. Downes and his firm design both exteriors and interiors of their buildings when they can, so the vision doesn't get lost along the way. No matter what you think of Downes' latest big project, Hard Rock Hotel San Diego, you have to admit that the building's sleek and smooth rock 'n' roll style rings loud and clear. Hear more from the man when he kicks off the Friends of San Diego Architecture winter season with a talk, “The Blokhaus Way: Total Package for a Different Experience,” from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, at NewSchool of Architecture & Design, 1249 F St., Downtown. $5 suggested donation. www.friendsofsdarch.ocm or 619-224-8584.
We have it on good authority—from a college buddy who plays the saxophone—that Kenny G is not nearly as big a tool as he seems. In fact, our friend says, he's a musical genius. Yeah, we're not really buying it, either. But you have a chance to see (and hear) for yourself when K.G. opens the 2008 All Star Music Festival on Friday, Jan. 18. Lest you think we'd waste space on Kenny G alone, the three-day festival also features throwbacks like Kool & the Gang, The Four Tops and The Spinners, along with a slew of jazz, soul, funk and world fusion acts, including Fourplay, guitarist Norman Brown and singer Patti Austin. The fest is a heave-ho send-off for fans embarking on the 2008 All Star Jazz Cruise, a five-day life aquatic hosted by Brown and featuring jazz and R&B acts like Nick Colionne and Boney James. If being trapped at sea with Kenny G sounds like a cruel, sick joke, fear not—the sax man will be missing the boat, so to speak. The festival will be held at the Town & Country Resort and Convention Center, 500 Hotel Circle North in Mission Valley from Jan. 18 to 20. 619-291-7131 or www.allstarmusicfestival.com.