Photo courtesy of SACRA/PROFANA
Voyage: The Slave Journey
PLIGHT OF PASSAGE
The legacy of slavery in this country is something we should never shy away from discussing. The topic of how this country’s despicable past still permeates our lives (especially the lives of our Black citizenry), and while it can hurt our hearts to talk about it, we should not ever avoid it.
We’d like to think that the arts can be a great catalyst in helping to facilitate these kinds of discussions. The can certainly be said about Voyage: The Slave Journey, a new concert experience from local choral ensemble SACRA/PROFANA. While the group is mainly known for classical interpretations of pop artists, SACRA Associate Artistic Director Juan Carlos Acosta says Voyage is a chance for the ensemble to show off its serious side.
“What some people might call avant-garde classical music or like high-art choral music, that’s where I would put this performance in,” Acosta says. “The performance features a tonal language that’s going to be pretty unfamiliar to most folks.”
The performance itself will feature the premiere of a new, multi-movement work by UCSD composer Anthony Davis with text based on the poem “Middle Passage” by Robert Hayden. While the first part of the program will deal directly in the horrors of the slave trade, the second half of the program will feature the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Choir San Diego performing pieces that examine slavery times but working up to the modern era.
“They’re going to be telling the story of how the spirituals arrived, developed in the slave era and about the progress of that music,” Acosta says. “How it really influenced everything that we have: blues, rock and roll, jazz, all of that was birthed out of the spiritual tradition.”
The concerts will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 17 at the Maritime Museum of San Diego (1492 N. Harbor Drive) and at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 26 at the All Souls’ Episcopal Church (1475 Catalina Blvd.). Tickets range from $10 to $30. Each performance will be followed by an open discussion and we, naturally, encourage readers to stay for that.
Robert Pinsky, Shauna Niequist and Tracy Kidder
Now in its 22nd year, the Writer’s Symposium by the Sea at Point Loma Nazarene University is focusing on “Writing that Resonates” this year with featured authors Robert Pinsky, Shauna Niequist and Tracy Kidder. The written word won’t be the only attraction, however, as Poet Laureate Pinsky will be doing a poetry and jazz event with members of the PLNU Jazz Combo. All three authors will also be offering a behind-the-scenes look at their work in Q&A sessions hosted by symposium founder Dean Nelson. The series begins Tuesday, Feb. 21 with Pinsky, and goes through Thursday, Feb. 23, when it wraps with Pulitzer winner Kidder. All events begin at 7 p.m. in the Crill Performance Hall at PLNU (3900 Lomaland Dr.). Tickets are $5 for PLNU students and $10 for everybody else. pointloma.edu/writers
Let’s face it: the huge crowds, obnoxious costumes and overzealous nature of some comic conventions can be a bit overwhelming. That’s why Comic Fest comes as a felicitous alternative for comic enthusiasts who prefer a casual atmosphere. Taking place at Four Points by Sheraton (8110 Aero Dr), the four-day fest will feature events like the X-Men Mock Trial on Mutant Rights, a Comic Fest Cafe celebrating comic book artist Jack Kirby and more. Other experiences include the Virtual Reality Comic Demo where special guest Liam Sharp will be speaking about the future of comics. The festival runs from Friday, Feb. 17 at 5 p.m. through Monday, Feb. 20. Ticket prices vary for each day from $7.50 to $50 with discounts for students and activity military. Children under 12 get in for free. Tickets can be purchased online at sdcomicfest.org.