Thursday, September 29, 2005 | Upcoming theater, film and music events:

THEATER

Shakespeare for the masses. Its 2005 Shakespeare Festival line-up may look a little sparse with only one play this fall, but the Coronado Playhouse has one significant advantage over its bourgeois neighbor, The Old Globe. Jobless artists, “starving” students and others who can’t afford The Old Globe’s prices can still enjoy classic theater – for free. The theater, established in 1946, is also one of the oldest in San Diego with its location in previous WWII barracks on the Coronado waterfront.

The play contains some of Shakespeare’s most complex and controversial characters. Shylock, the aging Jewish money-lender, is an antagonist who is at once pitiful and cruel, stereotyped yet possessing intellect and eloquence that exceeds that of Antonio, the rather drab protagonist upon whom he wishes to visit revenge. Their tragic tale intersects with the life of Portia, a heroine of great wit and wiles who succeeds in transcending the boundaries of gender and the law to solve the mess men have made of her fate and their affairs. As always, Shakespeare uses comedy and tragedy together to blur the lines of gender, morality, law and love – with an unusual emphasis in “The Merchant” upon the complex nature of hate, prejudice and persecution.

“The Merchant of Venice” plays at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and at 7 p.m. Sundays, Sept. 30 through Oct. 23. The Coronado Playhouse is located at the ferry landing, 1335 First St., Coronado. For more information, call (619) 435-4856 or visit

More plays:

– “Valhalla” is a screwball comedy about two gay adolescents – one’s a prince, one’s a Texan. The production’s West Coast premiere is in its last week, celebrating the opening of the Diversionary Theatre’s 20th anniversary season. At 7:30 p.m. tonight; 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30; and 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Oct. 1-2 at the Diversionary Theatre, located at 4545 Park Blvd., University Heights. Info: (619) 220-0097 or

– “The Scottish Play” adds tragedy to tragedy to produce comedy, as a production of Macbeth is beset by fire, floods and flu. 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturdays; and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sundays through Oct. 23. La Jolla Playhouse, located at 2910 La Jolla Village Drive, La Jolla. Info: (858) 550-1010 or

– “The Prince of L.A.” explores Catholic corruption and faith in verse in a contemporary drama by Globe Associate Artist Dakin Matthews. 7 p.m. Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays; 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays; and 2 p.m. matinees Saturday and Sunday through Oct. 30. Cassius Carter Centre Stage of the Old Globe in Balboa Park. Info: (619) 231-1941 or

FILM

Hello, my name is Grace Lee. Filmmaker Grace Lee – “not to be mistaken with the other filmmaker Grace Lee in Portland, Ore.,” as stated on her Web site

But upon moving to New York and California, she would meet people claiming to have known “another Grace Lee,” who many would describe as the “good girl” – obedient, intelligent, and often a talented violin/piano player. Scared to think that “Grace Lee” somehow embodied an existing stereotype of Asian-American women, this Grace Lee set out to find other Grace Lees around the country and the world, to see if their shared name translated into shared experiences. According to a survey of 257 Grace Lees from 23 different countries on Lee’s Web site, 56 percent of Grace Lees know other Grace Lees.

“The Grace Lee Project” is one of more than 130 short and feature films from 10 countries to be screened at the sixth annual San Diego Asian Film Festival, which runs Sept. 29-Oct. 6. The film screens 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1 at Brickstones Salon, 5:05 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2 and 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3 at the Ultrastar Cinemas at Hazard Center, 7510 Hazard Center Drive in Mission Valley. For a full schedule of films, tickets and other information, visit

More films:

– “Elling.” In this 2001 Norwegian comedy, two ex-psychiatric patients struggle with life on their own in the outside world after spending two years in a mental hospital. In Norwegian with English subtitles. 7 p.m. tonight at the Copley Auditorium at the San Diego Museum of Art, Balboa Park. Info:

– “Beetlejuice.” Michael Keaton plays the zany “bio exorcist” called upon by two ghosts to eliminate two obnoxious home dwellers. Get a jump start on ghoulish happenings at this midnight screening Saturday at the La Jolla Village Landmark, 8879 Villa La Jolla Drive. Info: http://www.landmarktheatres.com or (619) 819-0236.

– “La Frontera Asiatica.” Four short films explore the fusion of Asian and Latino diaspora, including one 26-minute documentary about the lesser-known history of the Japanese-Latin American internment during World War II. 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2 at the Ultrastar Cinemas at Hazard Center, 7510 Hazard Center Drive in Mission Valley. Info: www.sdaff.org.

MUSIC

John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers were the kind of British band American bluesmen used to love to make fun of. With pitter-patter rhythms buried deep under layers of vocals and ponderous guitar, Mayall and co. definitely did not play the blues the “right” way. But if nothing else, the band’s recording with Eric Clapton of Freddie King’s “Hideaway” probably made Clapton immortal. Some of that grace ought to wear off on them. 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29. at Humphrey’s by the Bay, 2241 Shelter Island Drive. $35. (619) 224-3411.

– Keane, who instead of bass or guitar have vocalist Tom Chaplin to noodle deep into the upper registers, are somehow fabulously popular in Britain. See if you can find out why. 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29. At House of Blues, 1055 Fifth Ave. $29. www.hob.com

– Acid Mother’s Temple is a music-nerd’s dream: a Japanese psych/avant-garde electric rock ensemble. Just what the world needs. 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2. at The Casbah, 2501 Kettner Blvd. $10 advance, $12 day of show. (619) 232-HELL.

– Sigur Ros hasn’t embraced the mainstream, despite a growing interest in the Icelanders’ eerie dream-rock. Well, okay: word is vocalist Jon Thor Birgisson sings in more actual languages on the new record (as opposed to ones he made up). But with most songs stretching past six minutes, no one’s hearing any “sell out” cries yet. 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3 at Copley Symphony Hall, 750 B St. $32.50.

– VOICE STAFF

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