"Portrait of a Lady" by Marie-Guillemine Benoist, re-interpreted as a bouquet by Suzanne Thomas, 2009
Just add water: The San Diego Museum of Art's Art Alive 2010—the annual event for which floral designers use pieces from the museum's collection as inspiration—opens to the public at 9 a.m. Friday, April 30. What's that? Your 9-to-5 gets in the way? Well, you're in luck. From 7 to 10 p.m. that evening, attend Flowers After Hours, a special version of the museum's popular Culture & Cocktails event. Scope out the pretty posies, including work by internationally known floral designer Rene van Rems, while you munch on complimentary snacks and, natch, sip a cocktail. Tickets are $35 for nonmembers. Art Alive runs through May 2. For the full list of related events, see www.sdmart.org.
Modernist retrospective: Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman is a bittersweet 2008 documentary, narrated by Dustin Hoffman, exploring the career of a renowned architecture photographer—bittersweet because many of the beautiful buildings Shulman photographed either no longer exist or have fallen into disrepair. Still, there are rays of hope in the scenes where Shulman, who died last July, returns to the handful of pristinely preserved dwellings or works with preservations who, with the help of his photos, are trying to restore buildings to their former glory. The San Diego Architectural Foundation will screen the film poolside at 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 4, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma, but be sure to get there by 7:30 p.m. because it'll be preceded by an introductory talk by local modernist Keith York. $10 donation suggested. www.sdarchitecture.org.
Hot-blooded jazz: When Puerto Rican pianist Eddie Palmieri cancels a show, it's big news. Last month, for example, the New York Daily News assigned three reporters to a story about Palmieri calling off a gig reportedly due to a jealous feud between his 73-year-old wife and an 81-year-old neighbor. The neighbor pulled a .38 revolver from her fanny pack and shot at Palmieri's wife, grazing her head. If that ain't the stuff of jazz legend, then we don't know what is—except for maybe his nine Grammys, 36 records and 50 years leading Latin big bands. Assuming gun-toting grannies don't get in the way, Palmieri will perform as part of the La Jolla Music Society Latin Jazz Series at 8 p.m. Friday, April 30, at the Birch North Park Theater, 2891 University Ave. Tickets start at $35. www.birchnorthparktheatre.net.
Three's company: While there's not much that can compare with listening to a full symphony in a giant concert hall, listening to a chamber-music ensemble in a small room can be just as moving. The all-female, Grammy-nominated ensemble Eroica Trio is composed of some of the most lauded and in-demand players in the world, and on Saturday, May 1, in Sherwood Auditorium, at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego's La Jolla location (700 Prospect St.), you can witness what the fuss is all about. The trio (piano, violin and cello) will play selections from Cassadó, Gershwin and Dvorák at 8 p.m., but show up an hour early for “Musical Adaptations,” a pre-concert lecture by SDSU musicology professor Dr. Eric Smigel. Tickets: $25-$75. www.ljms.org.
Food & Drink
Mmmmm… beer: We're not sure how it happened, but San Diego is now a world-renowned destination when it comes to craft beers. And that's exactly what we at CityBeat aim to celebrate with our Festival of Beers. The third annual event showcases all the best in local and independent microbrews, and, trust us, there are plenty to choose from. More than 40 breweries will set up shop from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 1, outside the Lafayette Hotel (2223 El Cajon Blvd. in North Park) to let you sample the goods. If that weren't enough, there will be sets by local bands Apes of Wrath, The Styletones, Softlightes, Geezer and River City. Proceeds from the $30 ticket price ($35 at the door for 10 beer tasters) will go to the San Diego Music Foundation, which helps fund local music education. www.citybeatbeerfest.com.
Heroes for nothing: Saturday, May 1 is Free Comic Book Day, the annual event when publishers print thousands of limited-edition comic books and distribute them for free through local retail stores. It's pretty much a scam to hook new readers, but, hey, a junky never complains about free product. This year, there are more than 30 titles. We recommend: Fantagraphics' debut of Jim Woodring's surrealistic Weathercraft, Dark Horse's re-launch of the Doctor Solar and Magnus, Robot Fighter stories, Del Rey's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies preview and Matt Groening's Bongo Comics. Each shop keeps its own hours and rules on how many free comics you can take; you may need to make purchases or store-hop to collect them all. Visit www.freecomicbook
day.com to find the nearest participating outlet.
Down at the Derby: Sure, Kentucky is far from San Diego, but that doesn't mean we can't partake in Derby Day festivities. Besides, we've got our very own racetrack, and it's next to the ocean to boot. On Saturday, May 1, Surfside Race Place (2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd.) will host its own Kentucky Derby Day festivities, during which you can watch horse racing via satellite from around the country. You don't have to just watch, either—you can make a wager on the races, too. And it wouldn't be a Derby Day celebration without mint juleps and huge hats. Surfside will provide the drinks, but ladies are encouraged to top their outfits with a fancy, wide-brimmed beauty. Races start as early as 7 a.m. but the Kentucky Derby doesn't start until 3:25 p.m. $5. www.surfsideraceplace.com.
Let's talk: When it comes to art, the more informal the better. When all the pretenses about the art world get swept out the window, it's much easier to understand and relate to the actual artwork. That's why we always appreciate the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego's efforts when it comes to artist talks. Their newest quarterly engagement, On Topic, makes the artist the teacher. Each time, an artist will use his or her own work as a starting point for a discussion about broader topics in contemporary art. For the first talk—at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 29, at MCASD's Downtown location (1100 Kettner Blvd.)—local artist Ruben Ochoa will discuss his own large-scale sculptures that use common construction materials and encroach on an existing environment, and then he'll move on to how his work relates to contemporary sculpture as a whole. $5 students, $7 general. www.mcasd.org.