Thursday, October 06, 2005 | Upcoming theater, visual arts and music events:


The Schemers. Realist painter Jean Millet once offended bourgeois French sensibilities by painting peasant farmers with pathos instead of romance. Working in the counter-culture of the ’70s, playwright Sam Shepard paints the American family farm five shades darker. In the “Curse of the Starving Class,” a depraved crew of misfits gather ’round the dinner table, fueling their appetites for the ever-elusive American dream with elaborate plots to cheat each other off the land.

His eccentric family portrait includes a drunk visionary, a social climber, a deranged idealist and a rebellious teen, each nursing their own vision of a better life. But as crops wither and the loan sharks close in, individual dreams join family values in the dust. Shepard’s darkly comic look at the cutthroat politics of family and business leaves no illusions.

“Curse of the Starving Class” runs Oct. 8 through Nov. 6, Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Cygnet Theatre is located at 6663 El Cajon Blvd. Suite N. For more information, call (619) 337-1525 or visit

Also playing:

– “da Kink in my Hair” uses a Caribbean hair salon in Toronto as the setting for the storytelling and music of eight contemporary black women. Runs through Oct. 16, Tuesdays and Sundays at 7 p.m., Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. Lyceum Stage, 79 Horton Plaza in downtown. Info: (619) 231-3586 or

– “Dancing with Demons” draws parallels between the lives of a privileged white kid and tough black youth on the streets. Runs through Oct. 16, Fridays and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. 6th@Penn Theatre, 3704 Sixth Ave., Hillcrest. Info: (619) 263-7911 or


Pixel paintings. Computers have come a long way since the days of vacuum tubes, punch cards and paper tape. Though computer technology has gotten smaller in size, its functions continue to grow. More than just a tool for word processing, number crunching and Web surfing, the computer also serves as an artistic medium … beyond digital photography.

San Diego’s Digital Art Guild, a collective of digital artists, sees fine art possibilities in pixels. The group defines digital art as “images captured, processed and/or displayed using digital technology.” In its current exhibition, “Dawn of the Living Pixel,” 45 artists showcase their works ranging from fractals and image modeling to photo manipulation and digital photography to even digital painting – much more sophisticated (and realistic) than Mac or Microsoft Paint software could produce.

“Dawn of the Living Pixel: An Exhibition of Digital Fine Art” runs now through Oct. 27 at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts, 15498 Espola Road, in Poway. Info: (858) 679-1242 and

More art:

– “Road Trip: An Exploration of Color Across the U.S.A.” Local artist Delane bills this as an “interactive art show.” Not sure what exactly is meant by interactive, but it sounds intriguing. Will there be paint throwing? Interpretive dance performances? Find out opening night, 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday at the Broker’s Building Art Gallery, 402 Market St. (third floor) in downtown. The gallery will also be open 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and Oct. 10-22 by appointment only. Info: (619) 871-8999 or

– Cole Gerst paints whimsical, colorful, graphic illustrations of piranhas with electrical cords plugged into outlets, among other juxtapositions of nature and electricity. See his paintings, prints and apparel in his show “Thirst for Power,” on display now through Oct. 20 at the Magpie Gallery, 2205 Fern St. in South Park. Info: (619) 563-5124 or

– Thursday (tonight) you can drink, mix and mingle at not one, but two different art museums. Get your drinks first from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the San Diego Museum of Art’s “Culture and Cocktails” soiree ($7 in advance/$10 at the door includes drinks and appetizers). Then, catch a cab downtown to the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s monthly “TNT” event (free, though a $3 donation is suggested). Info:


Snarky Scotsmen. If it seems there’s an inordinate amount of buzz around the Scottish foursome Franz Ferdinand these days, it’s because their accomplishments are rare among rock bands of their generation. Few in the latest style-crazy batch of hip-shakers managed to make one album worth remembering; with the release of “You Could Have Had It So Much Better,” these lads have made two.

While many other Mercury Prize winners went on to be commercial flops, Ferdinand’s sultry recklessness is still adored by both critics and fans. They’re playing Sunday with TV on the Radio, whose experimental treatment of R&B and other “urban” sounds forms one of modern rock’s more unique aesthetics. Sunday, Oct. 9 at SDSU Open Air Theatre. 8 p.m. $30.

More music:

– The Selecter were once one of Britain’s top “2-Tone” bands, earning huge but short-lived popular success in the turbulent Thatcher era. Their day in the sun was short-lived; it’s anybody’s guess whether it’s worth extending. Thursday, Oct. 6, at House of Blues, 1055 Fifth Ave. 8 p.m. $15-18. (619) 299-BLUE.

– Inara George is a cut above your average arty folkstress. With a versatile voice that goes wherever it wants to, and conventional instrumentation that nonetheless manages to surprise, her songs show today’s MTV-maidens for the Lisa Loeb retreads they are. Saturday, Oct. 8 at The Casbah, 2501 Kettner Blvd. 8 p.m. $12 advance/$14 day of show. (619) 232-HELL.

– John Lennon would have celebrated his 65th birthday on Sunday; guitarist Fred Benedetto will celebrate with a performance of Beatles songs. (It’s a lot cheaper than seeing McCartney.) Sunday, Oct. 9, at Dizzy’s, 344 Seventh Ave. 8 p.m. $8. (858) 270-7467.

– Ridiculous time-capsule concert of the week: Billy Ray Cyrus – exclusively of “Achy Breaky Heart” fame – at Harrah’s Rincon, (tonight) Thursday, Oct. 6. 777 Harrah’s Rincon Way, Valley Center. 8 p.m. $25-35. (760) 751-3100. (IP)


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