Category Archives: Events

Viva la Revolución: A Dialogue with the Urban Landscape

On Friday, October 15, 2010, I went to visit the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD). The museum was holding an exhibit, which was Viva la Revolución: A Dialogue with the Urban Landscape. This is the first international museum exhibition of street art that takes place both inside and outside MCASD downtown. It features works by 20 different artists from 10 countries. I was speechless (and still am) at how talented these artists are! Each artist has their own style, and it was AMAZING to have the opportunity to view all the different works of art! They were all inspiring in their own way. There were two artists that were my favorite: Ryan McGinness and JR.

I was really intrigued by McGinness’s work. I loved the colors he uses in his works and that there is so much going on! It reminds me of Where’s Waldo. Every time I looked at one of his pieces, I found something new. For example in one of the pictures, one can see a pyramid of suitcases at the bottom with scissors in the background. The layering of different objects, how he contrasted different colors, and still made his pieces flow amazes me. It also reminds me of a different type of collage. Having a love of collages, it has inspired me to try something of this sort in my own art!

I was also inspired by JR’s work of art. This work of art is the one that looked like a movie theater with pictures of people all around. It was quite humorous looking at some of the people’s faces, and I liked how the pictures were in a series. This work of art also reminded me of a type of collage. I liked how it was in black-and-white. In contrast to McGinness’s colorful, chaotic work, JR’s was more structured in rows and columns with shades instead of colors. I really enjoyed this piece.

Overall, I am really glad I had the chance to visit this museum. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to view all of the outdoor pieces, but from what I did see, they were amazing as well. Below are some other pieces that I enjoyed. I am also glad that I was exposed to these extraordinary artists as well. I will always remember this experience and am glad we had the chance to take pictures!

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Event 4 & 5

Trouble in the Wind: Concert

On Saturday, November 13, 2010, I went to attend the MandoBasso event at It’s a Grind in Carlsbad at 7pm. However, one of the musicians was sick, so it was cancelled. Driving an hour to attend this event, I was on a mission to find another event. Luckily, I was allowed to use another event to count for two, so it still ended up working out.

My classmate and I found a local bar, Boar Cross’n that was known for hosting bands. When we entered the bar, we noticed it consisted of pool tables, patio bar, lots of plasma screens, and had Vegas style lighting. We also noticed a sign that said a band was about to play: Trouble in the Wind. It also stated that it was a mix of folk and rock. Intrigued by the genre, we decided to stay and listen. Unfortunately, the quality of our pictures didn’t come out very well because of the lighting. However, the experience we had is something that we will never forget.

What was significant for me was the fact that this was the first bar that I have ever been to. That is one thing that I will always remember: going to my first bar for a school assignment! Another thing I will remember a year from now are the instruments some of the band members played. I was expecting the usual guitar and drums. However, I was surprised to see a bass and accordion! The combination of the instruments and diverse looks of the musicians were unique and different. The bass player was dressed in a white long-sleeved collared shirt with black slacks, while the singer and the rest of the group were dressed casual. It looked like the bass player didn’t quite fit in, yet you could see the passion in the way he played.

The bass player’s passion is something that was inspiring. In fact, the whole group’s passion was clearly evident. They were so into their music. Even though I couldn’t understand the words of the songs, it was somewhat entertaining to watch the band because they were absorbed in their music. I thought the instrumentals were great, and I thought overall they sounded good. It was an interesting combination hearing the folk genre with the rock. You could definitely tell when the folk part came in, and I think it added a bit of flair to the overall performance.

Overall, I think Trouble in the Wind was a good band, however I don’t think I would pay money to see them play at a concert. It is not really my genre of music that I think I would listen to on a regular basis. However, I am glad I had a chance to see them and be exposed to their music. It was a good experience, and although I was disappointed for not being able to see MandoBasso, it was a good alternative.

Event 3

Queen Califia’s Magical Circle at Kit Carson Park: Sculpture Garden


On Thursday, October 14, 2010 at Kit Carson Park in Escondido, California, I went to visit Queen Califia’s Magical Circle. It is the only American Sculpture Garden by artist, Niki de Saint Phalle. The garden promises to become a cultural landmark for the San Diego region. Susan Pollack, the manager of the City of Escondido’s Public Art Program, says that visitors are welcome to roam, play, touch, dream and find inspiration there. The garden links California’s mythic and historic origins and cultural diversity. There were some significant moments the docent had mentioned that I will remember and what inspired me was the artist herself. I thought this Sculpture Garden was original and unique, and it left me wanting to research more about the artist and the different meanings behind her work.

What was significant to me was learning about the history of the garden and the techniques that were used in creating it. Niki immersed herself in regional history and myth. She constructed eight large totemic sculptures that had monsters, deities, geometric symbols, skulls, humans and various animals that played vital roles in southern California (also including Spanish, Mexican and Southwestern Indian cultures.) Niki personally selected dozens of varieties of glass that differed in color, hue, shape, translucency and degrees of reflection. She also used a wide assortment of polished and tumbled stone. Lech Juretko, a director of Niki’s mosaic workshop, described that the results are “magical and ever changing, as the movement of light, wind, and color reflections continually transform the garden.” I couldn’t agree more. The garden captures the essence of beauty and culture.

What captivated me most and what I will remember a year from now are the vibrant colors and intricate designs on Niki’s artwork. The different textures and mosaic ornamentation on the different pieces were eye-catching, and one could tell this garden was put together with thought and care. There were many beautiful, colorful designs on the artwork, which gave the garden a kid-friendly atmosphere. My favorite and most memorable thing about the garden is the entrance. When you first walk in, there are two snakeheads leading into the maze-like mirror entry. I felt like I just walked into a storybook. The colors were so vibrant and the contrast between the two snakes complementing one another led your eye to the eagle displayed in the middle of the garden. The eagle towered over everything else and its reason for its extraordinarily high flight was thought to bring him nearer to the sun and in close proximity to the gods. The stories linked to each piece were very interesting, and it is something that I wouldn’t mind hearing again.

The artist, Niki de Saint Phalle, inspired me most. Her hard work and dedication to each and every piece of artwork in the garden was inspiring. Hearing the stories of her past and how she came to California was interesting, and I couldn’t believe she gave this garden as a gift! Before she died, she had said that California has been a rebirth for her soul and this garden was a gift to her region. The eagle is very personal to her and she said the garden was a dream to create a wonderful legacy for a place she dearly loved. I learned that she remained totally immersed in the creation of this project until her death at age 71!

I am very happy that I was able to experience the beauty of Queen Califia’s Magical Circle and learn about its history and culture. Its vibrancy and brilliant display of mosaic ornamentation still leaves me in awe. I was able to capture some pictures that I hope you will enjoy and get an idea of what I experienced. I highly recommend visiting this garden, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Event 1 & 2

Eco-Cultural Revitalization in Southern California Indian Basketry: Lecture/Demo

On Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at 12 pm in Clarke 113 at CSUSM, two basket weavers came to lecture about basket weaving. Rose Ramirez and Lydia Vassar showed contemporary and traditional basketry techniques. They talked about their cultural practices, and they discussed how important it was to revitalize their traditions. A storyteller, Cathleen Chilcote Wallace, opened with a traditional story passed down from her ancestors. There was a significant moment during the lecture, the story that I will remember, an inspirational moment, and my overall reaction to this lecture.

What was significant to me was their discussion of how much work it takes to basket weave. I had no idea how long it took to make one basket. Thinking simple-mindedly, I thought you just take some grass and intertwine them into a basket. I thought it’d take maybe a few days to a week at most, depending on the size of the basket. When they explained that basket weaving begins with the actual gathering of materials to dyeing it, etc., I looked at it from a different perspective. They continued to explain that some materials only harvest for ten days! I also learned that one of the materials most used is juncus, and in Cathleen’s story, the girl was on a mission to find juncus.

A year from now, I think I will still remember the story Cathleen told during the lecture. It was called, “The Gift Basket” and was about a girl who wanted to make a gift basket for her grandmother. She wanted to keep it a secret from her grandmother and went to gather the materials needed. When she went to gather the juncus, she realized it was gone. The animals of the land helped her retrieve it by leading her to an island. However, the juncus could only be picked when there was a low tide and by the kind, generous hearts. The girl was able to gather the juncus, and she made sure she took just enough for her one basket. When she arrived back to town, everyone surrounded her because they were worried, but the grandma just gave her a nod and smiled. From then on, the animals guided her, and the girl tells the story to others. Not only did I think it was a good way to start off the lecture, but I believe stories are a good way to teach lessons to people. It inspired me to want to teach my future students through the art of storytelling; I was also inspired by the basket weavers’ hard work and dedication.

While all three ladies are an inspiration, I was really inspired by the basket weavers’ passion. They work so hard to preserve their culture and tradition, and they are so humble. Lydia’s passion for teaching the Native children on the Pechanga Reservation is inspiring because I want to be a teacher as well. She does something she loves to do, and she can pass that on to younger generations. It is inspiring to see the two ladies doing something they love and putting that skill and passion to use. This was a definite eye-opener to basket weaving.

Overall, I was very glad I attended this lecture. It was not only educational, but I learned a great deal about Native culture, how the need to preserve their culture is important, and how much work it takes to weave baskets. It was interesting to me because I learned about different types of plants, what they can be used for, and how they can be used for several different purposes besides basket weaving. I am grateful to have met them, and I hope to make a basket of my own someday.