San Diego weekend arts events: Incarcerated artists, ‘Stir’ and ballet

Top picks

‘Voices on the Inside’

Poetry, Visual art, Photography | “Voices on the Inside” is a new exhibit of self-portrait photography and poetry by incarcerated women from California, Oklahoma and Tijuana at the Central Library. Led by the nonprofit Poetic Justice, the project explores the way writing, photography and creative self-expression can be restorative and healing. Participants worked with photographer Lisa Loftus to learn the art of portraiture. The resulting exhibit features these photographs along with the incarcerated artists’ poetry and audio recordings of interviews.

A photograph of Tamara is part of "Voices on the Inside," on view at San Diego Central Library's Popular Library Fairway through July 31, 2024.

Lisa Loftus


Poetic Justice

A photograph of Tamara is part of “Voices on the Inside,” on view at San Diego Central Library’s Popular Library Fairway through July 31, 2024.

One of the curators and advisors on the exhibit is Dr. Reka Barton, who said that the design of the multimodal exhibit is intended to inspire audiences to action.

“The issue of mass incarceration is everybody’s problem. It’s a systemic issue. So this isn’t something that you’re passively taking in and just walking through. We want you to understand, educate yourself and feel the call to action to actually produce change,” Barton said.

Details: [Event information] Opening reception is 1-4 p.m. Sunday, May 5. On view through July 31. San Diego Central Library – Popular Library Fairway, 330 Park Blvd., downtown. Free.

The Big Exchange

For more arts events or to submit your own, visit the KPBS/Arts Calendar. If you want more time to plan, get the KPBS/Arts Newsletter in your inbox every Thursday to see event picks for the weeks ahead.

Visual art, Family, Museums | The Big Exchange is a reciprocal admission program from the San Diego Museum Council, and it runs May 1-18. If you’re a member of any of these 50 museums, you can use that membership to visit any (or all!) of the other museums on the list. Some already offer free admission, but here are a few of the actual bargains: Birch Aquarium, California Wolf Center, Comic-Con Museum, Fleet Science Center, Japanese Friendship Garden, Living Coast Discovery Center, Maritime Museum, Mingei International Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Museum of Making Music, San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Botanic Garden, The Nat, The New Children’s Museum and more. Check the list for restrictions, as some museums require advance reservations.

Details: [Event information] May 1-18. Various locations. Free.

"Stir" co-playwright Melinda Lopez is shown in an undated photo.

Adam DeTour


The Old Globe

“Stir” co-playwright Melinda Lopez is shown in an undated photo.


Theater | I was lucky enough to see a staged reading of this play, then called “The Black Beans Project,” during the Old Globe’s Powers New Voices Festival early last year. Playwrights Melinda Lopez and Joel Perez were commissioned by the Globe, and this is the official world premiere, directed by Marcela Lorca.

The play follows two siblings who reconnect — virtually — to try to make their mother’s favorite recipe. I could practically smell the meal being prepared, even though no actual onions sizzled in any pans on stage. It’s a beautiful story that holds food as the backdrop for the siblings to explore loss, trauma and their own relationship.

Details: [Event information] Low-cost previews begin May 4. On stage through May 26. The Old Globe, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park. $33+.

‘Notes On Killing Seven Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Board Members’

Theater | Playwright Mara Vélez Meléndez’s 2022 play, “Notes on Killing Seven Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Board Members” follows a Puerto Rican trans woman, Lolita, who ends up storming the Wall Street office of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Board. This is a co-production with Moxie Theatre and Diversionary Theatre, and performances are held at Moxie.

Check out our KPBS Spring Arts Guide interview with director Andréa Agosto about her family’s roots in Puerto Rico, which are part of what drew her to this story. “To even do any theater with, for, by, or about Puerto Ricans, I honestly wasn’t sure that that would happen for me,” Agosto said.

Details: [Event information] On stage May 5-26. Moxie Theatre, 6663 El Cajon Blvd., Rolando. $20-$46.

‘Celebrating Asian American & Pacific Islander Fashion and Stories’

Visual art, Fashion | The Bonita Museum and Cultural Center will open an exhibit that showcases fashion and traditional attire from countries and communities of Asia and the Pacific Islands, connected with family stories. In the May 4 opening reception, modern fashion designer (and Project Runway contestant) Kenneth Barlis will tell his story, and Asian Pacific chefs will offer tastings.

Details: [Event information] Reception is 3-6 p.m. May 4. On view through May 26. Bonita Museum and Cultural Center, 4355 Bonita Road, Bonita. Free.

Dancers from City Ballet of San Diego are shown in an undated production photo for "Carmina Burana."

Dancers from City Ballet of San Diego are shown in an undated production photo for “Carmina Burana.”

‘Carmina Burana’

Dance, Ballet, Music | City Ballet of San Diego’s production of a ballet of Carl Orff’s 1936 masterpiece “Carmina Burana” is set during the 1929 stock market crash. The work is choreographed by City Ballet’s Geoff Gonzalez. The company will also perform Mozart’s “Concerto for Flute, Harp and Orchestra” in what they refer to as a “tutu ballet.” Read more about the program, and the husband-wife duo of choreographer Geoff Gonzalez and dancer Ariana Gonzalez in our KPBS Spring Arts Guide feature here.

Details: [Event information] 8 p.m. May 4 and 2 p.m. May 5. California Center for the Arts Escondido, 340 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido. $39+.

Junction Trio

Music, Classical | La Jolla Music Society hosts violinist Stefan Jackiw, pianist Conrad Tao and cellist Jay Campbell to perform three unique and diverse works for piano trio by Ives, Beethoven and John Zorn. Each performer is highly regarded on their own, and together as an ensemble, the grouping is electrifying.

Details: [Event information] 3 p.m. Sunday, May 5. The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, 7600 Fay Ave., La Jolla. $46-$83.

Feminist Image Group: ‘Women Work Together’

Visual art | Working in “duets,” 22 women artists will present works that merge their individual styles and celebrate the collaborative process. Artists include Alessandra Moctezuma, Doris Bittar, Kathi McCord, Kathleen Mitchell, Minnie Valero, Linda Litteral and many more.

Details: [Event information] Opens with a reception from 6-8 p.m. Friday, May 3. On view through Sept. 6. Mandell Weiss Gallery, 2650 Truxtun Road, Liberty Station. Free.

Camarada: ‘Soundtrax’ at the Mingei and Bread & Salt

Music, Classical, Visual Art | The magnitude of cinematic sound will be combined with the unmistakable intimacy of chamber music in local ensemble Camarada’s “Soundtrax” performances. Camarada is a notably talented ensemble led by flutist Beth Ross Buckley. In addition to works by iconic film composer John Williams, they’ll also perform Phillip Glass, Nino Rota and Koji Kondo. Composer Gilad Cohen, who has composed scores and soundtracks for theater, will join the ensemble for a discussion. Two performances will take place at two unique San Diego art spaces: Mingei International Museum (museum admission included in ticket price) and Bread & Salt’s Brick Room (gallery admission is always free).

Details: 7:30 p.m. May 2 at Mingei International Museum, 1439 El Prado, Balboa Park, $35+. 7:30 p.m. May 4 at Bread & Salt, 1955 Julian Ave., Logan Heights, $25+.

More arts and culture events

Dance, Ballet | San Diego Ballet presents “Giselle.” Artistic director Javier Velasco has adapted the story into Spanish Colonial California, with ghostly Lloronas as the ballet’s “Wilies” — spirits of women scorned by lovers and seeking revenge on all men. Event information. 8 p.m. May 4 and 2:30 p.m. May 5 at Balboa Theatre, 868 4th Ave., downtown. $35+.

Mainly Mozart and Promotora de las Bellas Artes: ‘The Sea Unites Us’
Music, Classical, Youth | Mainly Mozart’s youth ensemble will join with Tijuana’s Promotora de las Bellas Artes children’s choir, plus other ensembles. One of the pieces performed is by composer Jorge Cózatl, who was inspired by ocean research and collaborated with Tijuana-based rapper Danger on the piece. Event information. 5 p.m. Sunday, May 5. Epstein Family Amphitheatre, 9500 Gilman Drive, UC San Diego. Free.

Sound of Music Singalong: Oceanside
Music, Film | The Greater San Diego Music Coterie is hosting its third annual “Sound of Music” singalong. Singers of all abilities are welcome to join in on the classic movie’s hits. Event information. 2:30 p.m. Sunday, May 5 at King of Kings Lutheran Church, 2993 MacDonald St., Oceanside. Free.

Evgeniya Golik, 'Esoterica'

Evgeniya Golik, ‘Esoterica’

Evgeniya Golik, ‘Esoterica’
Visual art | Sparks Gallery will open an exhibit by Russian-born artist Evgeniya Golik, showcasing her fantastical, surreal work that’s as beautiful as it is unsettling. Event information. Opens with a reception from 5-8 p.m. May 4. On view through June 30. Sparks Gallery, 530 6th Ave., downtown. Free.

Le Salon De Musiques: ‘Masterpieces By Tchaikovsky, Korsakov, Rachmaninoff & Gretchaninoff’
Music, Classical | This month’s chamber salon concert features works for soprano and piano by Tchaikovsky, Korsakov and Rachmaninoff, as well as a U.S. premiere of a piano trio by Gretchaninoff. Event information. 4 p.m. Sunday, May 5. La Jolla Woman’s Club, 7791 Draper Ave., La Jolla. $45+.

‘The Art of Experience’: Ted Berryman and Martha Moramay Cuevas
Visual art | A new Golden Hill community arts space, Union Hall, will open up their first exhibit on May 4, featuring the work of sculptor Ted Berryman and painter Martha Moramay Cuevas, Berryman’s late wife — in partnership with Santa Ysabel Art Gallery. Event information. Opens with a reception 4-8 p.m. Saturday, May 4. On view through June 16. Union Hall Gallery, 2323 Broadway Ste. 201, Golden Hill. Free.

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