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Thursday, November 03, 2005 | Upcoming music and theater events:
Back in black. It was 1998 when Mos Def and Talib Kweli gave the Puff Daddy-hijacked mainstream hip-hop sound a much-needed kick in the bling. Before solo success or Hollywood fame, Def and Kweli were BlackStar, a radical hip-hop entity with a positive message aimed at disrupting hip-hop’s increasingly materialistic bent. Their beats were distilled from warm old jazz tracks, their lyrics were gleaned from the ideas of Marcus Garvey, and the songs on their sole five-star collaboration were so good, they still overshadow the stellar rap records both went on to release.
It seemed like a longshot that fans of that seminal disc would ever get to see the pair perform together, now that Mos and Talib are off on their own diamond-encrusted trajectories. But it turns out they didn’t have to give up that idealistic old pairing when they hit the mainstream: they just had to charge more money for it. Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Jean Grae and Pharoahe Monch. All ages show at 6 p.m.; 21 and up at 11 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5 at House of Blues, 1055 Fifth Ave. $40-43. www.ticketmaster.com.
– The Roots occupy their own self-defined spot in the world of hip-hop. Rather than turntables, these incredible musicians employ a full band to kick out infectious, organ-laced beat-poems. Or they used to: their latest full-length “The Tipping Point” employs hip-hop’s usual electronic samples and still shows up the rest of the rap pack. And with a James Brown attitude towards performing, the Roots put on one of the best live shows around. 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4 at House of Blues, 1055 Fifth Ave. $33-35. www.ticketmaster.com.
– Louisvillians My Morning Jacket evoke a rural mystique through reverb-soaked rock odes to a forgotten American past. New LP “Z” moves past their old atmospheric tendencies, revealing a shorter, more song-friendly take on fun-loving Southern rock, but with jazzy jamming aplenty. Skip Grandpa’s Civil War reenactment and get your grits here. 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8 at House of Blues, 1055 Fifth Ave. $17-19. www.ticketmaster.com.
– They Might Be Giants are what happens when TV dorks pick up a synthesizer with the goal of getting as silly as possible. With song titles like “I Palindrome I” and “I Be An Retarded,” They rose to infamy in the ’80s for their blend of unpredictable humor and inane pop, still unequaled in today’s too-pretty-to-laugh mainstream. 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8 at 4th & B, corner of Fourth and B streets in downtown. $22.50 general admission/$27.50 VIP. www.4thandb.com. (IP)
Subversive scripts. Using works that were once blacklisted under repressive regimes abroad, the UCSD Department of Theatre and Dance will push the boundaries of artistic expression even further with daring translations and innovative staging techniques in its two latest productions.
Federico Garcia Lorca joined contemporaries Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel in using art to subvert Franco’s oppressive regime in 1920s Spain. His murder at the hands of fascist police only ensured his martyrdom and survival of beloved works such as “Blood Wedding,” the story of a runaway bride who disregards class boundaries to pursue her passion. UCSD MFA students will use their own poetic license to re-interpret the well-known surrealist work.
“Bus Stop” was deemed “intellectual pollution” by the Chinese government when it was written by 2000 Nobel Prize winner Gao Xingjian in 1981. Air pollution is a more likely concern for San Diego audiences, who will watch eight characters wait in vain at a bus stop while real buses drive by. The absurdist drama is translated and directed by UCSD theatre doctoral candidate Carla Kirkwood, a three-time Emmy Award winner who studied with Xingjian in the ’80s.
“Blood Wedding” will play at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and at 2 p.m. Saturdays, Nov. 4-12 at Mandell Weiss Forum on the UCSD campus. “Bus Stop” plays at 8 p.m. nightly, Nov. 8-13 with a final performance at 7 p.m. on Nov. 14, at the Mandell Weiss Forum Loading Dock, also on the UCSD campus. Seating is limited. For more information, call (858) 534-4574 or visit www.theatre.ucsd.edu.
– Family tensions arise as the old generation tries to understand younger, gay members of the clan in “Mambo Italiano.” Plays at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Nov. 12 at the Adams Avenue Studio of the Arts, 2804 Adams Ave., Kensington. Info: (619) 584-3593 or www.therealtheatre.com.
– “On Golden Pond” is a rare love story that deals with the older generation and the marital trials imposed by age and dementia. Plays at 8 p.m., Thursdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Nov. 27 at the Avo Playhouse, 303 Main St., Vista. Info: (760) 724-2110 or www.moonlightstage.com. (JH)
– VOICE STAFF