Arts and Music

SHOW TIME! EAST COUNTY MOVIE THEATERS REOPEN

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 3, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – The  magic of movies on the big screen returns after months of shutdowns due to COVID-19. 

Two major theater chains, Reading Cinemas International (NASDAQ: RDI) and Regal, announced reopenings this week of cinemas including several locations in East County (La Mesa, El Cajon and Rancho San Diego) featuring long-awaited new-release films.

Both chains have also rolled out new procedures to protect guests  in compliance with CDC health guidelines and state safety regulations.


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EAST COUNTY ARTISTS IN MAJOR EXHIBITS

Source:  San Diego Watercolor Sociey

Photo:  “It’s All About The Chrome” by Craig Anderson.  Watercolor, 15 x 22 in.  All images courtesy of San Diego Watercolor Society

September 1, 2020 (San Diego) - No fewer than four artists in East San Diego County have received some of the highest honors available for watermedia artists this month. La Mesa artist Craig Anderson and El Cajon residents Linda Drake and Michael Garberick all had paintings that were juried into the highly competitive 40th International Exhibition to be held virtually in October on The San Diego Watercolor Society website, www.sdws.org. The art was selected from nearly 900 entries from 21 countries by nationally known juror Michael Reardon.  In addition, Lakeside artist Susan Hewitt won third place in the San Diego Watercolor Society’s September Members Show. This highly selective show was juried by nationally known artist Richard Glassman.


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VALHALLA STUDENT HONORED AS ONE OF SAN DIEGO’S MOST REMARKABLE TEENS

East County News Service
 
August 25, 2020 (El Cajon, CA) — Amelie Simpson, a junior at Valhalla High School, has been named one of San Diego’s most remarkable teens. The award, presented annually by the San Diego Public Defender’s Office and the San Diego Public Defender Youth Council, honors teen accomplishments in a wide range of categories, including civic involvement, leadership, and the arts.
 
Nominated by the Mitchell Thorp Foundation, Simpson is one of 25 teens recognized this year for their achievements. Beth Thorp, founder and executive director of the Mitchell Thorp Foundation, recommended Simpson for the award saying, “While Amelie’s musical abilities standout publicly, the majority of her other accomplishments, especially her dedication to community service and academic excellence go unnoticed because of her humility.”           
 
The East County teen is a singer and songwriter, who performs at venues throughout San Diego, including the House of Blues, the San Diego County Fair, Grossmont Center, and the Helix Brewing Company. Ron Troyano, founder of Alchemy San Diego, who manages events for Seaport Village said, ”We feature music from many local performers and one of our favorites is Amelie Simpson, a true talent.”

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WHILE MAJOR EVENT PLANNERS RALLY TO REQUEST AID AS SHUTDOWNS CONTINUE, TRIBES RESUME EVENTS, EXEMPT FROM STATE RESTRICTIONS

By Miriam Raftery

August 24, 2020 (San Diego) – Due to state and county restrictions on gatherings of any size, most theaters, concert halls and other large event sites remained closed to prevent spread of COVID-19.  On Aug. 13, the San Diego Event Coalition held an “empty venue” rally to call not for reopening due to safety concerns, but for aid to assist the industry.  


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KIDZ DANZ KOMPANY PRESENTS “THE CONSTITUTION” ONLINE AUG. 29

East County News Service

 

August 26, 2020 (La Mesa) -- Kidz Danz Kompany, San Diego’s premier children’s dance company, presents a virtual encore performance of “The Constitution” on August 29, 2020 @ 6 p.m.   

 

The Constitution” received a National Youth Arts award (2018) for Outstanding Dance Performance and an award for Outstanding Dance Ensemble.  It also received three nominations for Outstanding Dance Performance and one nomination for Outstanding Choreography (Spencer John Powell).


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PALA CASINO SPA RESORT ANNOUNCES NEW OUTDOOR CONCERT SERIES: UP & COMING COUNTRY ARTISTS

East County News Service

August 24, 2020 (Pala, CA) – Pala Casino Spa Resort in northeast San Diego County is launching an outdoor concert series in the Starlight Theater. The series is titled “Up & Coming Country Artistsopening Aug. 29 and running through Oct. 2.

 

The Pala tribe is able to host these events because sovereign tribal lands are not required to follow state or county restrictions on gatherings due to COVID-19.  However, Pala will follow guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to protect health and safety of guests. According to Pala’s press release, guests will be asked to wear facial coverings and practice safe social distancing at events. Seats will be sanitized and pre-set to enforce proper social distancing. All guests will have temperatures screened. For a full list of the property updates and safety protocols, see https://www.palacasino.com/.


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PANDEMIC ART PROJECT ADDS WHIMSICAL FLAIR TO LEMON GROVE RESTAURANT

By Miriam Raftery

August 16, 2020 (Lemon Grove) – “What have we been up to the last few months? Oh, just a pretty incredible art  project - adding a massive mural to the side of our building, as well as our very own art gallery inside,” Karina Kravalis, co-owner of Giardino Neighborhood Cucina posted on Facebook this week. “Gallery chalk art pieces include classics with a COVID twist to keep things as upbeat as possible.”


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THEATERS IN THE TIME OF COVID

 
By David L. Coddon
 
Photo:  House of Joy, a virtual production of San Diego Repertory Theatre, courtesy of San Diego Repertory Theatre via Zoom productions.
 
July 30, 2020 (San Diego) - Lamplighters Community Theatre in La Mesa has been producing for 82 seasons, but no season presented the artistic and financial challenges of its proposed 83rd.
 
Photo, right:  Beethoven, a Zoom production by San Diego Repertory Theatre, courtesy of San Diego Repertory Theatre via Zoom productions
“We’re just trying to figure out what to do,” said Paul Ericson, president of Lamplighters’ board of directors. “It’s very difficult to plan anything.”

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RUSSELL FAMILY TO CEASE LEADERSHIP OF TROUBLED THEATER GROUP, MOST CYT STAFF LAID OFF

By Miriam Raftery

July 28, 2020 (El Cajon) – After multiple allegations of sexual abuse of students, racism and homophobia complaints, CYT San Diego has sent a text message to members of the Christian youth theater group’s families announcing an “intermission” of programming until further notice, staff layoffs and an end to CYT leadership positions by members of the Russell family.

Artistic Director Robyn Rebold-Smith issued the announcement “with a heavy heart.” She indicated that for the indefinite future, no programs will be offered while the group focuses on training and protocols to “help ensure that we have an environment that promotes safety for our CYT students.”

The messages states that this will be the final week of employment for the majority of staff including all chapter coordinators, costumes, production, and managing director positions.


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CYT SHUTS DOWN ALL LOCAL PROGRAMS INDEFINITELY AMID STORM OF SEXUAL ABUSE COMPLAINTS

By Miriam Raftery

July 25, 2020 (El Cajon) – After numerous former students alleged sexual abuse by instructors, Christian Youth Theater posted yesterday on its Facebook page, “As of today, CYT San Diego social media will no longer be active since we will not be holding any programming or reopening until further notice. Please visit our website at www.cytsandiego.org to contact us directly if you have any questions or statements. We are here to listen. We are here to learn. We love and support our ENTIRE CYT family.”


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100 YEARS STRONG, ARTIST PHEBE BURNHAM’S WORKS TO BE DISPLAYED AT SOPHIE’S GALLERY



By Miriam Raftery

July 24, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – On July 26, Descanso artist Phebe Burnham will celebrate her 100th birthday.  A restrospective display of her vibrant oil paintings, pastels and mixed-media creations can be viewed at Sophie’s Gallery in El Cajon from now through September 9th.  Several can been seen online and many more can be viewed in-person at the gallery at 140 East Main Street in El Cajon.

Born at the dawn of the Roaring ‘20s in the U.S. and the Mexican Revolution in Mexico, Burnham has painted scenes and people in both Mexico and the U.S., including her rural Descanso community. 

 


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CHRISTIAN YOUTH THEATER IN SPOTLIGHT FOR ALLEGED SEXUAL ABUSE OF STUDENTS AND RACIAL BIAS

By Miriam Raftery

File photo, left: CYT’s 2014 performance of Les Miserables on Mt. Helix

July 23, 2020 (El Cajon) – Christian Youth Theater (CYT) a national junior theater organization based in El Cajon, is now in the spotlight over allegations by former students of sexual abuse and racism dating back decades. 


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SANTEE’S OFF BROADWAY LIVE WILL START SINGING AGAIN JULY 31 AT NEW OUTDOOR SPACE

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

July 23, 2020 (Santee) -- Santee’s Off Broadway Live will start performances again ----outside of their theater on 9490 Cuyamaca Street.  The theatrical company is adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic by constructing a performance area and seating section in the parking lot.

Arts organizations have been hard-hit by the pandemic, which has caused statewide shutdowns of theaters and concert halls since mid-March, with no opening date yet in sight for indoor live performance venues.  So like more and more businesses in other sectors, Off Broadway Live has opted to move musical theater productions outdoors.


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SURVIVING ON THE EDGE: A LOCAL MUSIC COMPANY AND COMMUNITY NONPROFIT FIND INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS IN A COVID-19 WORLD

Part 1 of a 2-part interview with Dr. Leonard Thompson

 

By Helen Horvath

 

Photo:  Dr. Leonard Thompson, CEO and Michelle Thompson, Sr. Vice President, M.A.N.D.A.T.E Records

 

June 29, 2020 (San Diego) -- In this first of a two-part interview with Dr. Leonard Thompson III, CEO of M.A.N.D.A.T.E Records and Communications Director of the NAACP San Diego, Dr. Horvath and ECM discuss COVID-19’s impact upon his business and the mission of the NAACP. 

 

M.A.N.D.A.T.E’s acronym means “Making A Necessary Difference at the End.”


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EL CAJON POLICE OFFICER DIVERTS GRAFFITI ARTISTS TO CREATE PUBLIC ART

By Miriam Raftery

Photos courtesy of Officer Murphy and El Cajon Police

June 19, 2020 (El Cajon) – When El Cajon Police Officer Michael Murphy found three youths spray-painting “peace” and “BLM”, he created a teaching moment.  “I explained to them that by doing that, their message gets lost and destroys another person’s property. So I decided instead of arresting them we would work together to fix the damage and work on an area where they can post their message,” he posted on Facebook.

So he arranged to meet up with them, get plywood and find a place for them to express their views and creativity in a positive way - as well as having them lend a hand to clean up the defaced property. The result is a work of art showing talent and the power of working together for creative solutions to conflicts.


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MOVIE THEATERS AND MORE CAN REOPEN

Image Credit: Shutterstock

June 13, 2020 (San Diego) – The latest easing of COVID-19 restrictions are rolling out. Since yesterday, June 12th, indoor movie theaters can reopen and film production of TVs and movies can resume. Also allowed to reopen, with limitations, are gyms, bars and wineries, swimming pools, hotels and other rental properties for travelers, and major tourist attractions such as zoos, aquariums, galleries and museums.


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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: ARTISTS BRING BEAUTY BACK TO LA MESA AFTER RIOTS

 

Story and photos by Miriam Raftery

 

June 6, 2020 (La Mesa) -- Artists from Art Beat San Diego have been volunteering this week to paint colorful murals in downtown La Mesa, beautifying plywood used to board of broken windows and protect undamaged businesses at the La Mesa Springs shopping center and along La Mesa Boulevard.

The action comes after the May 30 rioting, which led to vandalism of dozens of downtown businesses, looting of many, spot fires in several stores and burning down of three buidings (Chase Bank, Union Bank, and a historic building that housed the Randal Lamb engineering firm).


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BILL TO EXEMPT MANY WRITERS, VIDEOGRAPHERS AND MUSICIANS FROM AB 5 SET FOR HEARING MAY 20 IN SACRAMENTO

By Miriam Raftery

Update: This bill passed the Labor and Employment committee 7-0 and next heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

May 18, 2020 (San Diego) – A bill to provide relief for many freelance writers, videographers and musicians negatively impacted by California’s sweeping new labor law, Assembly Bill 5, has been introduced by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D- San Diego).  Assembly Bill 2257, a measure to exempt many in these occupations from requirements of AB 5, is slated for hearing May 20 in the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee.  Letters can be send to committee members at https://calegislation.lc.ca.gov/Advocates/.


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SANTEE DRIVE-IN MOVIE THEATER REOPENS THIS FRIDAY NIGHT

May 15, 2020 (Santee) – Eager for entertainment?  It's showtime in Santee--with social distancing.

The Santee Drive-In movie theatre is set to reopen tonight. Theatre 1 will show Trolls World Tour starting at 8:30 p.m. and Onward at 10:10 p.m.; both are rated PG. Theatre 2 will show The Invisible Man at 8:30 p.m. and The Hunt at 9:45 p.m.; both are rated R.

Bring your own FM radio to listen; tune in to 89.3 FM for Theatre 1  or 89.7 FM for Theatre 2 . Loaner radios are available for a $20 deposit refundable on return.

The theatre accepts cash only. You’ll need to bring your own popcorn or other refreshments, since the snack bar will be closed, and follow these new rules:


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NATIONAL COMEDY THEATRE RELEASES CAST VIDEO "ALL TOGETHER NOW"

Source:  NCT

May 11, 2020 (San Diego) - The National Comedy Theatre, San Diego’s professional improv comedy club and longest running show, has just released a cast video with a positive message.


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LIVE NATION STREAMS CONCERTS BY ARTISTS AT HOME DAILY DURING PANDEMIC, OFFERS GENEROUS OPTIONS FOR CANCELLED EVENTS

Concert cancelled?  You can get a refund – or a 150% credit, plus give tickets to healthcare workers
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
May 1, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Live Nation’s concert venues remain shut down around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the Magnolia performing arts center in El Cajon, House of Blues in San Diego and others.  But their site proclaims, “Just because we’re keeping our distance doesn’t mean the music has to stop. Join us daily for live streams from around the globe – follow artists live form their homes as they share music, stories and more.”
 
 
If you had tickets to any upcoming shows, here’s what you need to know.  

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SAN DIEGO FUND LAUNCHES TO HELP ARTS AND CULTURE NONPROFITS AND ARTISTS IMPACTED BY CORONAVIRUS

By Miriam Raftery

April 17, 2020 (San Diego) – Arts and cultural organizations across our region have been forced to shut down due to the COVID-19 crisis. That’s eliminated major revenue sources for everything from small community theater groups to large organizations such as art museums, the San Diego Symphony and the San Diego Opera. Many artists have been laid off and are struggling to make ends meet.

Yesterday, the San Diego Arts + Culture Challenge Fund launched with $1.25 million in aid to help arts and culture nonprofits and creative individuals across San Diego County. Grant guidelines and applications will be available in late April at sandiegoracc.org. Donations are sought to increase the fund. You can donate at sandiegoracc.org/challenge.


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JAMUL MUSICIANS HOST LIVE ONLINE CONCERTS EACH SATURDAY NIGHT

By Miriam Raftery

April 11, 2020 (Jamul, CA)  -- Kymm Civetta and her husband, Andy, owners of NRG productions in Jamul, have provided bands and musical entertainment for celebrities including Jay Leno and Larry King, major charities and corporate events.  Now they are hosting free concerts online each Saturday night at 7 p.m. “out of the goodness of our hearts, to get everybody feeling connected, because there’s so much isolation and everybody’s feeling pretty sad,” she told ECM. 

You can view the concerts live tonight and every Saturday on Kymm Civettta's Facebook page  as well as on the NRG Productions Facebook page and YouTube channel at 7 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.

Their first concert last weekend drew over 2,000 viewers.  Kymm says viewers called her to say how much they appreciated the musical entertainment.  “It’s become a very cool thing,” she says.


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COALITION OF ARTS FUNDERS LAUNCHES EMERGENCY ARTIST RELIEF FUND

East County News Service

Photo: Creative Commons via S.A.

April 16, 2020 — A coalition of national arts grantmakers, consisting of Academy of American PoetsArtadiaCreative CapitalFoundation for Contemporary ArtsMAP FundNational YoungArts Foundation, and United States Artists, announces the launch of Artist Relief, which will provide rapid, unrestricted $5,000 relief grants to assist artists facing dire financial emergencies due to the impact of COVID-19; serve as an informational resource; and co-launch the COVID-19 Impact Survey for Artists and Creative Workers, designed by Research Partner Americans for the Arts, to better identify and address the needs of artists moving forward. 

Grant applications opened April 8 at artistrelief.org. The first round of funding closes April 23; several future rounds are also planned.

An unprecedented national, multidisciplinary partnership between seven arts grantmakers and a consortium of foundations, Artist Relief is an ambitious effort to support the country’s individual artists in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


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FAMOUS MUSICIANS SHARE EASTER AND PASSOVER CONCERTS ONLINE

By Miriam Raftery

April 8, 2020 (San Diego) -- “The world might be dark at the moment, but several performers with disabilities are bringing light and joy to millions around the world,” says Jennifer Lazlo Mizrahi with RespectAbility, an organization advocating for people with disabilities.

Now two of the world’s most famous musicians, violinist Itzhak Perlman and opera singer Andrea Bocelli, who each triumphed over their own disabilities, will be offering free concerts online to ceelbrate Passover and Easter.


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A SCOURGE REVISITED: 1952 POLIO EPIDEMIC IN THE GROVE AND A GREAT ARTIST

The Way We Were: A look back at Lemon Grove 68 years ago. History is repeating itself as it often does.

 

By Helen Ofield (photo, left), Board member and Historian, Lemon Grove Historical Society

 

April 7, 2020 (Lemon Grove) –  First, a Couple of Songs

 

The hills are alive with the sound of spraying

the germs that will live for a thousand years;

The hills fill our lungs with corona virus and

We yearn to spray every germ that we fear(s).

 

Our hearts want to beat like the wings of a bat,

But we don’t want to eat every dog, pig or cat;

Our hearts beat and sigh like a virus that flies

And lands on a door handle and a door mat;

 

We go to the hills whenever we’re sneezing;

We know we will hear what we’ve heard before,

Folks trying to escape from the sound of spraying

As we promise ourselves we will sing once more!


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EL CAJON ARTIST ELAINE HARVEY WINS AWARD

East County News Service
 
Painting: Award-winning "Cool Frog" by Elaine Harvey
 
April 6, 2020 (El Cajon) - Elaine Harvey, an artist and resident of El Cajon, California, won the second-place award for regular paintings in the highly competitive April Member’s exhibition, “Cheeky Monkey,” at The San Diego Watercolor Society. 
 
Award-winning juror Rikki Reinhoz said of the painting Cool Frog,  “This painting has a wonderful composition. It has a nice circular swirl to it, and in the middle the frog is just suggested, which makes the whole painting make sense. The colors and the brush strokes are what make it so exciting and inspiring.”
 
Elaine Harvey is recognized for her innovative paintings and collages done in acrylic, watercolor, and mixed media.  The winner of more than 75 awards in local and national exhibitions, she also teaches art classes and workshops, juries exhibitions and has been featured in a number of publications and on the cover and editorial page of The Artists Magazine.  She has earned the right of Signature Membership in the National Watercolor Society, San Diego Watercolor Society, and the Western Federation of Watercolor Societies, among others.  She has won numerous awards all around the United States. 
 

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ART PRODUCED DURING A PANDEMIC: ARTISTS GIVE BACK WITH ERASECOVID EFFORT

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

April 6, 2020 (San Diego) -- El Cerrito artist Michael Buchmiller, creative director at El Cajon-based Graphic Business Solutions, Inc., created an artist-led effort to provide economic relief for artists and musicians during the world-wide coronavirus pandemic.  The project is titled EraseCOVID, featuring works by local and well-known creative talents.

(Artwork by Michael Buchmiller)   

But EraseCOVID is not only about raising money for artists and musicians, who have also become charity partners with the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund. The creators also supply artworks that reflect messages, such as washing your hands or staying home, that are informational and aim toward minimizing the spread of covid19.  

Their website bills it in part as “Public Safety Art You’ll Want To Own.” 

Art patrons get pandemic artwork for their money, including some by prominent artists. 


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BEAUTIFUL AMALFI, IN BETTER TIMES

East County News Service
 
April 3, 2020 (Lemon Grove) – Lemon Grove artist Jack Ofield’s painting of fabled Amalfi on the Italian Mediterranean coast recalls that ancient enclave in happier times, before the COVID-19 pandemic devastating Italy and much of the world.
 
“It was January years ago when we stayed in a tiny B & B with a view of the sea, run by a mother and daughter,” Jack and his wife, Helen, recall in an email sent to ECM and others. “While at breakfast (delicious coffee, eggs, toast, preserves), with the  windows open to let in brilliant sunshine, a local band marched across the square followed by a priest, who blessed the sardine fleet setting sail for the day's catch.”

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REZ RADIO LOL: 91.3 FM GOES ALL FUN FOR APRIL FOOL’S DAY

Source: Pala Rez Radio

March 30, 2020 (Pala) -- With the “new normal” and the gravity of current events beginning to sink in, it’s time to lighten the mood.  Towards that end, Rez Radio 91.3 will suspend all regular programming for one full day and replace it with nothing but novelty songs, stand-up comedy and other classic funny, funny bits that we call “Rez Radio LOL”.  It begins at 1 a.m. Wednesday, April 1 and continues all day and night ending with Wednesday night’s Old Time Radio Hour at midnight featuring “Fibber McGee & Molly” and “The Red Skelton Show."  As always, we’re ready to break in with any urgent news.  But this Wednesday is designed to be a much needed day off for everyone. 


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