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Easy listening? Far from it.
David Borgo plays jazz saxophone and studies the way the world’s cultures interact with music. Improvising and collaborating with fellow musicians has launched him into some heavy, complex thoughts, like, “What does it mean to be human? Where does my identity stop? Where does my cognition stop? You know, is it really inside my head just because they tell me that’s where it happens? Is my body really this boundary that separates me from my environment?”
But the self-described booster of the avant-garde also recognizes music’s functions are wider than just the pursuit of breaking new ground artistically:
“I think that’s what so great about music; it serves so many human needs. It serves the need for us just to get together and groove and dance and feel connected. It serves the need for this kind of space outside the ordinary rigmarole where you can feel more contemplative. Different cultures value these spaces differently.”
Borgo will speak with James Fowler, a fellow UCSD professor, about improvisation and social networks in the next Bronowski Art and Science Forum, happening Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Neurosciences Institute.
You’re reading the Arts Report, our weekly compilation of the region’s arts and culture news.
The Work of Art:
• Using props like plums and watermelons requires some extra logistical practice in dance rehearsal. Malashock Dance’s upcoming performances feature one piece choreographed by guests from Tijuana’s Lux Boreal troupe. We stopped by with NBC7 San Diego to capture some footage of the new “raw” dances.
• People living in Tijuana are starting to venture back out for one of their greatest loves — the arts — the Washington Post reports. Cartel violence has had a huge impact on the economy of the city directly south of us. From the Post:
Open-air ballet performances of “Swan Lake” once drew 5,000 people to the Parque de la Amistad on the border each June, but only 1,500 showed up in 2008, because “people felt exposed” to gunfire, said Raul Martinez Tadeo, the artistic director of the Baja California Dance Company. The 200-strong group lost 40 dancers.
“The violence had a huge impact on the arts,” he said.
This year, 3,000 spectators enjoyed “Swan Lake.” The company is at full strength. “It filled me with hope,” he said.
• Critics reviewed “Odyssey,” the community-infused play I wrote quite a bit about as rehearsals led up to the recent production. The Union-Tribune’s Jim Hebert noted the play was the “first truly local stage creation to spring from the theater’s Southeastern San Diego Residency Project,” and “was utterly unlike anything seen in recent memory on the Globe’s or any other local company’s stages.”
The North County Times’ Pam Kragen enjoyed the play, too, and wished aloud for more hip-hop inclusions in local theater: “Why hasn’t Culture Shock been featured more often in local theatrical productions?”
• Two local upright bass players talk about wrangling the behemoth: “Look, you’re not going to break the instrument, so just go for it.” (U-T)
• We’ve started diving in to San Diego’s two pieces in a giant Southern California effort. The decades following World War II produced artists, art movements and ideas that are major forces in art history. The Getty’s trying to tell that story, and the two local museums onboard are the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and the Mingei International Museum. One show can trick your eyes. The other can make you feel at home.
• KPBS dove into some of the background of the movements in art and craft: The sunlight and shadows of Southern California caught the attention of so-called “Light and Space” artists, and the aerospace industry and indoor-outdoor lifestyle sparked the imagination of local craftsmen.
• The six buzzing happenings our arts gurus pointed us to at an event in June are all heating up. Here’s how you can dive in.
• Upending the typical progression a bit, the La Jolla Playhouse’s upcoming “Jesus Christ Superstar” production will go to Broadway after its run here, director Des McAnuff announced officially last week. (U-T)
• And the Playhouse’s garden-located “Susurrus” has been popular enough to keep running through Oct. 23. I chatted with managing director Mike Rosenberg about taking theater to the streets.
• An art collective invited people last weekend to bring their own art and hang it in a show — no prior vetting or approval necessary. (CityBeat)
• The way to get a prominent artist onboard for a new exhibit? Sell his kid on the idea. The New Children’s Museum’s show “Trash” opens this weekend, including a piece by artist Kota Ezawa, whose 11-year-old loved the museum when she came for a visit with her dad. (U-T)
• A national philanthropy report found that the vast majority of arts funding serves mostly wealthy, white people and is disconnected from diversity. On our Facebook page, one reader rolled his eyes in a comment, suggesting he’s heard those claims arts are “elitist” before. What do you think?
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