Arts & Culture Newsletter: Pearl Jam returns to San Diego

Good morning, and welcome to the UT Arts & Culture Newsletter.

I’m David L. Coddon, and here’s your guide to all things essential in San Diego’s arts and culture this week.

Is Pearl Jam now considered a “classic rock” band? I guess it depends on whatever definition of “classic rock” you choose.

But I hope not. Relegation of Pearl Jam to legacy act implies these guys are past their prime. They’re not. If you’ve got a ticket for the band’s show Tuesday night at Viejas Arena, its kickoff of a North American tour, you’ll hear for yourself.

Yes, Eddie Vedder and company (guitarists Mike McCready and Stone Gossard, bassist Jeff Ament and Matt Cameron, drummer for Pearl Jam since 1998) have been making music together for decades. No, they don’t sell albums the way they once did. In this era of streaming, few do. But Pearl Jam in concert still cooks.

Tuesday’s show is a makeup for an April 2020 date that was postponed by the pandemic. It’s also the band’s first performance in town since 2013.

Most all of us know that Vedder lived in Encinitas when he was growing up and attended San Dieguito High School. That and his other San Diego connections are well publicized. Less remembered possibly is that one of the 72 official bootleg albums the band released in 2000-2011 was a recording of a Pearl Jam show at the then-named San Diego Sports Arena. (Were you there?) There’s also a YouTube recording circulating on the Web, although a poor quality one, of a Pearl Jam show at downtown’s Civic Theater in November ’93.

Then there’s that storied 1991 concert at the Del Mar Fairgrounds with Nirvana, Pearl Jam and the Red Hot Chili Peppers all on the same bill. Everybody says they were at that show. Don’t believe ’em.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m a fan. Not a fanatic, though. I just feel it’s my duty to remind you that Pearl Jam is not a “whatever happened to them?” band. See you Tuesday.

Local music

Musician Sara Petite performs on stage at her “Rare Bird” album release livestream concert at Belly Up Tavern on Feb. 26, 2021, in Solana Beach.

(Daniel Knighton / Getty Images)

In speaking with me in February about her latest album “Rare Bird,” singer-songwriter Sarah Petite affirmed that “Everything really does have to do with love.” Recently, the San Diego Music Awards folks loved Sara Petite, honoring “Rare Bird” as Album of the Year in addition to two other honors she received. Shoutout to Sara!

Shout for her yourself on Saturday when she performs as part of the 2022 Adams Avenue Unplugged event in Normal Heights.

View the entire Unplugged schedule here.

READ MORE ABOUT ADAMS AVENUE UNPLUGGED: John Doe will perform, minus X, at Adams Avenue Unplugged: ‘People love to see their singers screw up!’

Live satire

Fran Lebowitz in

Fran Lebowitz in “Pretend It’s a City.”

(Courtesy of Netflix)

She’s America’s favorite intentional luddite. Well, maybe not America’s, but mine for sure: Fran Lebowitz. The star of the recent Netflix series “Pretend It’s A City” will be at the Balboa Theater downtown on Monday night. Union-Tribune Editorial and Opinion Director Matthew Hall will host the conversation with Lebowitz.

In addition to being wary of digital technology, and that’s putting it mildly, Lebowitz is outspoken on almost and everything social, political, cultural and even the mundane. That’s what makes hearing her so predictably unpredictable. As the ever-quotable Lebowitz once opined: “All God’s children are not beautiful. Most of God’s children, in fact, are barely presentable.”

READ MORE: Ahead of rare San Diego appearance, Fran Lebowitz chats about writing, Zoom calls and California burritos

Art festival

Attendees check out artist booths at a previous Mission Fed ArtWalk Little Italy event.

Attendees check out artist booths at a previous Mission Fed ArtWalk Little Italy event.

(Paul Nestor)

Little Italy gets a lot bigger population-wise this weekend when the Mission Fed ArtWalk returns to its streets. As anyone who’s ArtWalked in the past knows, the art itself is only part of the attraction at this event, which also includes plenty of food, live entertainment and some of the best people-watching you’ll do all year.

The event takes place Saturday and Sunday, and it’s free. Do yourself a solid and take the trolley to Little Italy, considering parking and especially the cost of gas these days. With the money you save, you can buy some art.

READ MORE: Mission Fed ArtWalk finally returns to Little Italy this weekend. What you need to know


Crystal Skillman, left, and Lynne Shankel

Crystal Skillman, left, and Lynne Shankel are the creative team behind “Postcard American Town,” a new musical that will be developed at San Diego State University.

(Courtesy photo)

“Postcard American Town,” A world premiere musical by Lynne Shankel and Crystal Skillman, opens tomorrow on the Don Powell Theater stage at San Diego State. It’s an SDSU School of Theater, Television, and Film production directed by Stephen Brotebeck.

SDSU students star in this thoughtful musical about discrimination and activism. It had its first industry presentation in New York in January. Big Apple-based music orchestrator/arranger Shankel has an impressive list of credits at San Diego’s Old Globe Theater, including “Allegiance” (2012) and “Life After” (2019).

Tickets for the SDSU production, which runs through May 5, are $17-$20.

READ MORE ABOUT THEATER: Theater Notebook: San Diego Rep unveils lineup for 29th annual Jewish arts festival


University of California Television invites you to enjoy this special selection of programs from throughout the University of California. Descriptions courtesy of and text written by UCTV staff:

‘Script to Screen’: On the Red Carpet: UC Santa Barbara’s “Script to Screen” refocuses our attention from this year’s memorable Oscar Awards ceremony back to the movies and moviemakers, themselves. Host Matt Ryan was invited onto the Santa Barbara Film Festival red carpet to interview actors, screenwriters, and directors from many of this year’s 2022 Oscar-nominated movies. Watch as he speaks with actors including Benedict Cumberbatch, Troy Kotsur, Javier Bardem, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Penelope Cruz, and yes, Will Smith. He also goes behind the scenes with the screenwriters of “King Richard,” “Dune,” “Belfast,” “The Lost Daughter,” “CODA” … and more.

“An Evening with David Brooks”: David Brooks is an op-ed columnist for the New York Times and commentator on “The PBS Newshour,” NPR’s “All Things Considered” and NBC’s “Meet the Press.” His books include “Bobos in Paradise,” “The Social Animal” and “The Road to Character.” His latest book, “The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life,” is a New York Times No. 1 bestseller. As part of the annual Writer’s Symposium by the Sea, director of Point Loma Nazarene University’s journalism program Dean Nelson has a candid, humorous, and inspiring with Brooks about his lifelong work as a journalist and writer, how events in his life shaped who he is today and his spiritual journey.

“2021 Kyoto Prize Recipients”: Three UC San Diego professors sit with three Kyoto Prize laureates for fascinating one-on-one discussions about their work. Laureate Andrew Chi-Chih Yao created new trends in computer science and his work is continuing to influence current real-world problems in security, secure computing and big data processing. Robert Roeder revealed the principle of the regulatory mechanism of transcription in eukaryotes through his 50+ years of transcriptional research. And Bruno Latour revolutionized the conventional view of science by treating nature, humans, laboratory equipment, and other entities as equal actors, and describing technoscience as the hybrid network of these actors.

And finally: Top weekend events

Escondido Renaissance Faire at Felicita Park

Escondido Renaissance Faire at Felicita Park

(Hayne Palmour IV/San Diego Union-Tribune)

Here are the top events happening in San Diego from Thursday, April 28 to Sunday, May 1.

Coddon is a freelance writer.

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