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San Diego looks different three-quarters of a century after The Old Globe began.
The acclaimed theater brought in noted director Lear deBessonet over the last couple of years to research just how different. She and composer Todd Almond have been folding as many corners of the community as possible into a new production of the epic “Odyssey.”
At a potluck dinner to formally kick off the production, deBessonet surveyed a room of salsa dancers, high-schoolers, a park ranger, posh Globe supporters and guys who’d auditioned for roles at the Jackie Robinson YMCA.
In subsequent rehearsals, the cast has been swelling to include the St. Stephen’s church choir, the San Diego Youth Symphony, the drum line from Valhalla High School and a few professional actors, like Alvin Crawford, who’s taking a month off from the Lion King on Broadway to play Odysseus.
Facing such a motley group, deBessonet’s direction at a rehearsal on Saturday was compelling:
Think of an event, she said, that brings a whole country together, like when President Kennedy was shot. Imagine what emotion would be on your face immediately after that. This is what the town of Ithaca is going through….
“Each person in this town is a specific person,” she said. Each person has a mother, a job, a set of things he or she cares about. Together, they make up a town of distinct personalities.
“I want to see a full town of people,” she said.
We’ve been following this production as it ramps up for its three performances beginning Sept. 30. Last Thursday’s blackout pushed one rehearsal outdoors.
A longtime Globe supporter, Darlene Davies, will appear in the production, onstage in the theater named for her late husband, Lowell Davies. She hasn’t been onstage at the Globe since she was a kid, performing in the 1950s and 1960s.
“How often do we get a chance to revisit those things we do when we’re young?” she said.
You’re reading the Arts Report, our weekly compilation of the region’s arts and culture news.
• The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s preparing to open its biggest exhibition ever in conjunction with the Getty’s massive, multi-museum show of post-World-War-II art in Los Angeles.
This guy’s confronted with that scope every day: Preparator Thomas DeMello has to figure out how to mount an estimated 1,500-pound installation by artist DeWain Valentine.
He told Kinsee Morlan: “It’s a large resin sculpture in a diamond shape… and, just logistically, you can’t pick it up. It’s kind of a nightmare.” (CityBeat)
• September is Arts Month in San Diego. You can download and print a pass for discounted admission to events and museums here, or check out the lists of events, exhibitions, performances and stuff to bring kids to.
• Barring another blackout, tonight’s the rescheduled premiere for “Working Class,” a documentary featuring artists Mike Maxwell’s and Mike Giant’s art inspired by the working class. We visited Maxwell’s East County home to feature his art collection, which happened to feature a few pieces by the other Mike, like this one:
• Surely you’ve seen Slomo, the guy who rollerblades the boardwalk in Pacific Beach and appears to move in slow motion. A San Francisco-based filmmaker just reached his fundraising goal to finish an interesting-looking documentary about the beach icon, former neurologist John Kitchin, and his philosophy on meditation and consciousness. (Union-Tribune columnist Logan Jenkins profiled Slomo’s unconventional retirement a few years ago.)
• Diversionary Theatre was supposed to perform the first preview of “Edward II” on Thursday when the lights when out. The costumed cast banded together instead as a medieval anti-zombie squad. (U-T)
Made in San Diego
• The idea sparked for photojournalist Bear Guerra when he was living in Austin, Texas, to shoot portraits of homeless people. But when he moved to San Diego, the volume of people living on the streets propelled the idea into the “(In)Visible Project.” Guerra and his team compiled 37 portraits and exhibited them for the first time at the beginning of the month. Our photographer Sam Hodgson interviewed Guerra about shooting portraits of homeless San Diegans and asking them questions like “What were your dreams as a child?”
• A reader saw our post about local percussionist and conductor Steve Schick, and wrote in. “Schick has stretched my mind and ears and musical sensibility,” she said. I want to hear from you: Who in San Diego — a conductor, a curator, a writer — do you trust to lead you into performances or exhibitions that you otherwise wouldn’t immediately appreciate? Leave us a note.
• Eveoke Dance Theatre revisits last year’s popular production, “Las Mariposas,” for its first performance as a resident group at the La Jolla Playhouse. (North County Times)
• The artist behind the Surfing Madonna mosaic wants to put his artwork up on state property across the street from its original location, but he has to go through city and state bureaucracies first. (U-T)
KPBS’s Angela Carone visited White and learned about his sleepy discovery that he’d been selected to compete.
• Last week, the voice behind the San Diego Opera Twitter account linked to a pasta timer that sings opera music when the pasta is done cooking and suggested the gadget would fit right in with their “Too Hot to Handel” oven mitts.
These are the same folks, remember, whose blog is called “Aria Serious?” I asked if the opera tweeters keep track of the groceries they need on a “Chopin Lizst.”
They do, indeed, and keep it next to their caPuccini machine, they punnily replied.
Not to be outdone, I bragged that I can usually keep my grocery needs as a mental note, unless I’m making something complicated like Bachlava or salsa Verdi.
The opera, in turn, admitted all the silly puns had them Haydn their heads in shame.
Not me. I’ll be Bach as soon as I unRavel the noodles I’m cooking.
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