1 CIRCUS SCHOOL'S IN SESSION
Jean-Luc Martin was once a Cirque du Soleil performer making audiences gasp at his mind-bending feats that seemingly defied gravity and reality altogether. He retired from circus life only to return this past March with the opening of San Diego Circus Center, a nonprofit circus school that caters to both the recreational and more professional student.
At 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20, and 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, the San Diego Circus Center (7735 Arjons Drive, Suite B, in Mira Mesa) will hold its first in-house showcase, The Grinch Who Stole Circus. The holiday-themed narrative performances will feature aerialists, acrobats, contortionists, wire walkers, trapeze artists, clowns and more. While there won't be a lot of dialogue or traditional methods of storytelling, the spirit of the holiday classic will be told through movement and the type of exciting stunts you might see at a top-tier circus.
"I don't want to say you'll see death-defying acts," Martin laughs. "I think spectacular' is probably a better word . You'll definitely see some spectacular technique and people having fun and showing off their hard work."
A 16-year-old trapeze student will play The Grinch. Three young contortionists—ages 13, 15 and 16—will also take to the stage, bending and twisting themselves into human pretzels. San Diego Circus Center instructors and even Martin himself will perform alongside the school's talented students.
"You'll see everyone from 7 years old and up doing things like trapeze, lyra, Russian bar," Martin says. "I have a 15-year-old who does one-arm handstands."
Martin says the event is also a chance for those who've always dreamed of running away to join the circus to swing by and check out the school to see if it might be a good fit.
Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children 12 and younger. sandiegocircuscenter.org
2 THIS ONE GOES TO 11
The sounds of guitars being strummed, plucked and blown out is pretty commonplace in San Diego, but it's rare that we catch a more in-depth look at the instrument, its technical aspects and its history. However, a new exhibit will do exactly that. Guitar: The Instrument that Rocked the World will explore the science, sound and background of the iconic instrument with models, posters, videos and interactive features, including a giant Flying V guitar. A series of live performances will also be held. The exhibit opens Friday, Dec. 20, at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park (1875 El Prado), with sneak-peek tours beginning on Dec. 19. It will run through April 6. Admission is $13. rhfleet.org
3 ART IS GRRRREAT!
Remember the giggling penguin "power animal" that tells Edward Norton's character in Fight Club to "slide"? Well, the folks at Thumbprint Gallery do, and they've designed an annual art show around the concept. After three years showing at the gallery's North Park and La Jolla locations, the playful Power Animals IV will be held at the recently opened Thumbprint Gallery 2 in Hillcrest (1475 University Ave.). An opening reception takes place from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday Dec. 20, showcasing various artists' paintings and mixed-media art. Opening-night music will be provided by local DJs Joemama and Pokkey. The event is free and open to all ages, and the show runs through Jan. 11. tpg2.com
Does your event deserve to be in our top three? Email Kinsee Morlan.