She lives near the end of a rutted dirt road in the fantastically named Elfin Forest, a small rural community outside Escondido city limits. She is Anne Mudge, a sculptor who over the years might have, if she had less integrity, made flashier, more colorful art to woo buyers looking to pretty up their living rooms.

But Mudge won’t abandon her aesthetic, nor her affinity with nature. As writer Valerie Scher discovered when she visited Mudge’s secluded home, the sculptor uses everyday materials like wire, string and masking tape to flesh out her organic inspiration:

One hanging sculpture looks like an elaborate cluster of roots, dangling in mid-air. Another resembles an intricately woven nest, made by a bird obsessed with metal. Still other works call to mind seeds, spider webs, mysterious sea creatures or tiny organisms.

Our photographer, Sam Hodgson, paid Mudge a visit, too, and put together a handful of colorful, textural images of his time with her and her dog, Bandit. As if I needed any more enticement to move to the Elfin Forest!

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Party On, Excellent!

• We are so, so excited about this upcoming free-admission event on June 1. Six gurus will illuminate topics in local arts and share what’s making them stick in a visual, rapid-fire presentation style called pecha-kucha.

They’ll share their topic in 20 slides displayed for 20 seconds each. Each presenter will be up and down in less than seven minutes, giving you plenty of time to grab a drink and compare notes with engaged, stimulating people from neighborhoods and niches all across the county.

Some heavy-hitters have generously offered to speak: Jennifer Luce, Jay Porter, Ben Strauss-Malcolm, Seema Sueko, Evan Schumacher and David Flores. And they’ve offered some compelling topics: contemporary furniture design, art installations in Tijuana’s Colonial Federal neighborhood, making classical music hip, murals in La Jolla, the local theater ecosystem and a new, renovated space for art in San Ysidro.

Please join us and our partners: Media Arts Center San Diego and Sezio. You can visit our Facebook event page to let us know you’ll be there, and share the invitation with your friends.

• On the changing vibe in Tijuana’s nightlife: “We fought the drug war by partying.” (Reader)

• Take advantage of half-off admission and special events in June at seven North County museums. (North County Times)

Made in San Diego:

• A choir of about 40 teens, a rapper, a string quartet and a trio made up of some of San Diego’s finest jazz musicians teamed up this weekend to premiere a new piece by famed local jazz guitarist Peter Sprague. You can see for yourself in this video with snippets from the rehearsal I watched with our partners from NBC San Diego.

• A colorful totem pole statue in Escondido is one of the region’s most talked-about pieces of public art (U-T). You may recognize the artist’s work from her “Nikigator” at the Plaza de Panama in Balboa Park.

• Angela Carone explores the quarter-century life of San Diego’s LGBT theater, Diversionary. (KPBS)

Get Up, Stand Up, Sit In:

• The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s high-level patrons chose three new pieces for the museum to buy. Writing for Hyperallergic, UCSD grad student Drew Snyder called the three new pieces “strong and welcomed steps” as the museum grows its permanent collection. U-T readers picked the same three pieces as the patrons, in a newspaper poll.

• The museum is holding a 24-hour sit-in Thursday in support of imprisoned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, whose “Marble Chair” piece was one of the new acquisitions. (LA Times) CityBeat has more details about the sit-in.

A poster created on Artorical in support of Weiwei invokes Shepard Fairey’s Obey Giant style. Fairey said he supports the homage.

Appraisals, Apathy and Applause:

• Critics from the L.A. Times, the U-T and San Diego Metropolitan Magazine raved about The Old Globe’s “August: Osage County,” the Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning play on stage through June 12.

• Union-Tribune critic Jim Chute did not so much appreciate San Diego Opera’s “Carmen,” which opened last weekend, but a few other reviewers from opera blogs gushed about the production.

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Kelly Bennett is the arts editor for VOSD. You can reach her directly at or 619.325.0531. Or you can keep up with her on Twitter @kellyrbennett or on Facebook.

Kelly Bennett

Kelly Bennett is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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