San Diego Weekend Arts Events: The Shell, SummerFest, Nahla Valdez, John Mireles And The Circus

The San Diego Symphony opens their new outdoor venue, The La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest, Art Power Equity, contemporary photography at SDMA and Fern St Circus.

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The San Diego Symphony opens their new outdoor venue, The La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest delivers a hybrid concert, immersive art from Art Power Equity, contemporary photography at SDMA and … Read more →

Aired: August 6, 2021 |

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This weekend in the arts we have a much-anticipated performance at the new outdoor concert space in town, American classical music blended with interdisciplinary film at the La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest, two unusual visual art experiences and a free circus performance in the South Bay. Read on for all the details.

The Rady Shell Opening Weekend


This weekend, three different programs will grace the San Diego Symphony’s long-awaited new outdoor stage, including Sunday’s Gladys Knight performance and Saturday’s “Best of Broadway.” But it’s Friday’s opening night that caught my attention. It’s the full symphony, with music director Rafael Payare on the podium, and a broad range of composers and styles to fill out the night.

The event opens with a world premiere of a commissioned work by contemporary composer Mason Bates, written specifically for The Shell. It’s called “Soundcheck in C Major.” The symphony will be joined by pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, emerging talent bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green and cellist Alisa Weilerstein. I love the Saint-Saëns work that Weilerstein will perform — the romantic “Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op. 33.”

Plus, they’ll punch out some iconic works — pieces from Charles Gounod’s “Faust” opera, Rossini’s “Barber of Seville,” Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “South Pacific” and Stravinsky’s “Firebird Suite” to name just a few.

As of this writing, Friday night’s lawn seats are sold out, but there are tickets available for other seats in the venue.

Details: Event information. Friday, Aug. 6 at 7:30 p.m. 206 Marina Park Way, Downtown. $45-250.

SummerFest: ‘American Perspectives II: Idealized Landscapes’

Music, Film, Dance, Visual Art

If all of these in-person events aren’t for you, the La Jolla Music Festival’s SummerFest will livestreaming each of their performances from The Conrad. Their annual program has been underway since last weekend, but this Saturday’s concert is a standout — from an exceptional schedule of events.

The program focuses on the American landscape, using works from American composers ranging from Charles Ives, John Williams, Aaron Copeland, Caroline Shaw and a world premiere from Gabriela Lena Frank, with performances from the Attacca Quartet.

This performance’s livestream will be available to watch between Saturday, Aug. 7 and Sept. 6, and you can RSVP for free here.

In the first half of the performance, each piece (Ives, Shaw and Frank) will be accompanied by a film, screened concurrently and synched to the live performance.

The Charles Ives work, “The Unanswered Question,” will be performed to a slideshow of photography by New York Philharmonic trumpeter Ethan Bensdorf. Bensdorf captured the barren streets in NYC during the early days of the COVID lockdown, and also appears in the film playing the trumpet solo.

Gabriele Lena Frank’s “Contested Eden” will be accompanied by a dance film featuring Molly Katzman & Co, with musicians playing live to the film.

Details: Event information. Saturday, Aug. 7 at 7:30 p.m. 7600 Fay Ave., La Jolla, or virtual. $0-95.

Nahla Valdez: ‘Are You Really Here’

Visual Art

Touted as an immersive experience, Nahla Valdez’s site-specific performance installation is the third and final project in Art Power Equity’s curatorial residency at the headquarters of J. Walcher Communications. It’s a 125-year-old Victorian building in Sherman Heights.

Valdez is a crossborder artist, filmmaker, musician, visual and performance artist, as well as an advocate for women in film — her work is evocative, rich and feeds on both an awareness of surroundings and a deep interiority. The installation at J. Walcher will include sculpture, music, film, movement art, performance and site-specific pieces that work with the building.

For the next three Saturdays, Valdez will hold an immersive performance with the installation at 7 p.m., and each week will be different.

“My work uses all five senses to explore the different versions of ourselves we experience/perceive through travel and living and being,” Valdez said in a statement.

Details: Exhibition information. Saturday, Aug. 7 at 7 p.m. 1940 Market St., Sherman Heights. $22.20

John Raymond Mireles: ‘Disestablishment’

Visual Art

When the federal government slashed several National Monuments in 2017 down to just fractions of their prior size to make way for drilling and mining, local artist John Raymond Mireles traveled to Escalante-Grand Staircase and Bears Ears in southern Utah to document what remains, and what was once protected.

“Disestablishment,” a new exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art, is a collection of photographs from these newly unprotected lands, before the damage sets in. But Mireles won’t stop there. The exhibition runs until the end of January, but in mid-September, the museum will host several “public destruction events.” Visitors will be invited to cut, hammer on, tear, walk on and otherwise physically, permanently damage the art. The altered works will be then rehung on the wall.

It’s a way of making the future destruction of these pristine lands more tangible and visceral, and implicating the viewer along the way.

Bonus: these works will be on view in the free galleries that are adjacent to Panama 66, and don’t require museum admission. Further bonus: I love to see SDMA spotlighting local, living artists.

Details: Exhibition information. “Disestablishment” opens at SDMA Saturday, Aug. 7, 2021 and runs through Jan. 30, 2022. Two “Public Destruction Events” will be held Sept. 16 and 17. Free.

Fern Street Circus Neighborhood Tour

Circus, Dance, Performing Arts

The steadfast and highly creative circus arts troupe Fern Street Circus will kick off a month-long “neighborhood tour,” bringing performances to seven different parks across the county. It kicks off at Bay Terrace park and rec center, and they’re collaborating with other organizations, including Maraya Performing Arts. There’ll be tightwire, puppetry, juggling, contortion and more, plus crafts, food and other ways to get creative. The ringmaster, Memo Mendez, will host the bilingual performances.

Details: Event information. Sunday, Aug. 8 at 2 p.m. 7373 Tooma St., South Bay. Free.

For more arts events, or to submit your own, visit the KPBS/Arts calendar. And be sure to sign up for the weekly KPBS/Arts newsletter here.

Photo of Julia Dixon Evans

Julia Dixon Evans

Arts Calendar Editor and Producer

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI write the weekly KPBS Arts newsletter and edit and produce the KPBS Arts calendar. I am interested in getting San Diegans engaged with the diversity of art and culture made by the creative people who live here.

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