1. Charming hucksters
San Diego crooner / guitar-slinger Grampadrew says his wife bitterly called him a "flimflam man" at about 5:30 a.m. one Tuesday morning, after he'd returned home from a night of drinking, carousing and playing music. The description stuck and eventually became the name of an event the musician puts on regularly at Whistle Stop Bar or The Casbah, Grampadrew's Flim-Flam Revue.
To him, the name makes perfect sense. Through artful, skillful wordplay, a flimflam man manipulates his audience into buying whatever he's selling. "Medicine shows had a bad reputation because they were often selling worthless cure-alls and snake oils," Grampadrew explains in an email, "but what they were really selling was the entertainment value of the sales pitch."
And that's how Grampadrew sometimes views live music. "Seeing people hustle, watching the work as it's being created—when it's done well, you just can't help but be taken wholly in by it. Hucksterism or not, it's charming and undeniable."
The Flim-Flam Revue is a rollicking, informal gathering of local musicians who get up on stage and play "old-time favorites and original compositions inspired by our musical heroes from the days of yore," Grampadrew says. The next one, starting at 9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 31, at The Casbah (2501 Kettner Blvd. in Middletown), is a little bit more special because it's doubling as a birthday party for the host himself. The lineup includes members of San Diego bands such as Transfer, Scarlet Symphony, Hills Like Elephants, The Long and Short of It and River City, among others.
The Revue has recently added visual art to the mix, and this one will feature art in The Casbah's Atari Lounge by Natassia Nicolau, Ryan Tannascoli, Jon Kruger, Max Mannion, Tara Castro, Gary Hankins and Eric Hankins.
And starting at 3 p.m. and leading right into the Revue, The Casbah will host The Sunday Round Up, six hours' worth of live music, art-and-design browsing and barbecue. Admission to the Round Up is $5. The cover for the Revue is $8, or $5 in advance. Those already there for the Round Up can stay for the Revue for free.
2. Pop goes the music
There are still a couple weeks left of summer, and that means a few more opportunities to take in a free, outdoor concert. The Downtown San Diego Partnership is hosting a number of summer pop-up concerts, all happening downtown, as part of an ongoing series, all day on Friday, Aug. 29. The shows start at noon with classic rock from Kova at the Westgate Hotel (1055 Second Ave.), then continue from 3 to 5 p.m. with the Brazilian sounds of Sol e Mar at Silo at Makers Quarter (753 15th St.) and the country / western sounds of Jesse Beason Band at the County Waterfront Park (1600 Pacific Hwy.). The shows are free and open to all ages.
3. Group effort
New York artist Jaimie Warren says that roughly 80 people stopped by Helmuth Projects (1827 Fifth Ave. in Bankers Hill) to help her with a project she's been working on during her residency at the gallery. Warren's known for the elaborate, often quirky, pop-culture-inspired sets she constructs by hand. After putting herself and/or others dressed as wacky characters inside the iconic worlds she creates, she photographs or films them. The volunteers made fabric flowers, built giant sequined hands and crafted papier-mâché chainsaws. The result—a 15th-century painting re-imagined by replacing angels and saints with folks who played a role in the life of Michael Jackson—will be unveiled, along with other works, at a public opening at the gallery from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 29.
Does your event deserve to be in our top three? Email Kinsee Morlan.