Arts & Culture Newsletter: Look what’s in bloom: San Diego Asian Film Festival Spring Showcase

Good morning, and welcome to the U-T 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.

Among those in Japan who know and love films, Kinuyo Tanaka is a legend. One of the great filmmaker Kenji Mizoguchi’s most familiar actresses, she appeared all told in 250 movies over the course of her half-century-long career.

But as Pacific Arts Movement’s 11th San Diego Asian Film Festival Spring Showcase will illuminate this weekend, Tanaka became an accomplished director as well at a time when a woman behind the camera was unheard of in Japan.

The festival’s Sunday Spotlight at 1 p.m. will feature a screening of four films Tanaka directed: “Love Letters” from 1953, “Forever A Woman” from 1955, “Girls of Night” from 1961 and “Love Under A Crucifix” from 1962. The venue for these and all of the festival’s film screenings is the UltraStar Cinemas complex in Mission Valley. The festival runs through April 28.

Besides being, in the words of festival Artistic Director Brian Hu, “one of the most revered actors in the history of Japanese cinema,” Tanaka was a pioneering director who “explored women’s issues with a very high level of craft and personal vision.”

Hu calls “Forever A Woman,” about a tanka poet stricken by breast cancer, “truly one of the great Japanese films of that decade (the ‘50s). It’s melodramatic, it’s visually striking. I love directors who embrace melodrama. It’s often dismissed, partly because of its association as a ‘women’s genre.’ To me this is filmmaking that is not afraid to startle us or to make us cry.”

Individual general admission tickets for festival screenings are $10-$12.

Rock music

Noodles (right) and Dexter Holland (left) of The Offspring

Noodles (right) and Dexter Holland (left) of The Offspring perform at The Sunset Strip Music Festivals street fair in West Hollywood.

(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

The Offspring have been around so long — since 1984 — that the band’s name sounds incongruous these days. The last remaining original member of the punk outfit from Garden Grove in Orange County, guitarist/vocalist Dexter Holland, is 56.

But don’t expect all the punks at The Offspring’s show on Tuesday night at Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre at San Diego State University to be in their 50s. Like its longtime Orange County contemporaries Adolescents and Social Distortion, The Offspring enjoys a following of much younger fans. Their current tour is named for the band’s 10th album, released last year: “Let The Bad Times Roll.” Don’t let that stop you. This show should be a good time.

Classical music

Award-winning classical pianist Jeeyoon Kim poses

Award-winning classical pianist Jeeyoon Kim

(Jarrod Valliere/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Jeeyoon Kim is not only an acclaimed concert pianist. The South Korean-born Kim is a podcaster, art activist and author of the motivational book “Whenever You’re Ready: How to Compose the Life of Your Dreams.”

The San Diego resident will perform Saturday afternoon in a La Jolla Music Society concert at the Baker-Baum Hall at the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center. In addition to her performance of works by composers that include Debussy, Handel and Chopin, Kim will incorporate poetry into the concert from San Diegans Michael Klam and Rudy Francisco and former world champion surfer Shaun Tomson.

Tickets for the 3 p.m. performance are $48.

Book festival

FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, file photo, Amanda Gorman delivers a poem after Joe Biden was sworn in

In this Jan. 20, 2021, file photo, Amanda Gorman delivers a poem after Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States.

(Associated Press)

Every spring I used to make a pilgrimage to my alma mater, the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, not for nostalgia’s sake but to attend the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Then COVID happened and the past two years the festival was held virtually.

It returns in person this weekend, free of charge as always. Parking on campus, however, is $14.

The largest book festival in the country features exhibits, author presentations, panels, live music and books books books. Among the guest speakers will be poet Amanda Gorman, whose presence at the 2021 presidential inauguration may never be forgotten.

This year’s celebrity appearances aside — Janelle Monae, David Duchovny, Valerie Bertinelli, among others — the family-friendly festival will be a wonderful opportunity to meet and speak with authors.


Tom Frank and Ana Marcu star in CCAE Theatricals' "Once"

Tom Frank and Ana Marcu star in CCAE Theatricals’ production of “Once,” opening April 22 at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido.

(Ken Jacques)

Once is not enough times to see “Once,” the Broadway musical based on the 2007 film. I say this especially for theatergoers who attended a performance of “Once” during its wildly popular run at Lamb’s Players Theatre in 2018. In this lively and warm show set in Dublin, the actors are also the onstage musicians, and the setting is a bar.

At Lamb’s, it was a working bar. We’ll see at the California Center for the Arts Escondido, which is staging its own production of “Once,” opening tomorrow and running through May 7. Tickets range from $40 to $75.

READ MORE ABOUT THEATER: Plays by Young Writers festival, delayed by COVID, opens May 7 in a streaming production

More from U-T writers

Famed choreographer Bob Fosse, center in top hat, with the original cast of his 1978 musical "Dancin'

Famed choreographer Bob Fosse, center in top hat, with the original cast of his 1978 musical “Dancin’,” which included Wayne Cilento, bottom right. Cilento is directing and staging the show’s revival “Bob Fosse’s Dancin’” at the Old Globe.

(The Old Globe)

Pam Kragen: Old Globe’s ‘Bob Fosse’s Dancin’’ aims to both honor and reinvent legendary choreographer’s 1978 show

George Varga: Charles Mingus at 100: The legacy of the late jazz giant also looms large in rock, hip-hop, film and beyond

Michael James Rocha: In ‘Lost in The Ark,’ a tale of faith and forgiveness

David L. Coddon: How creative youth development makes a difference in the community

Karla Peterson: When this Del Mar doctor writes a book, Doctors Without Borders gets a windfall

Author and physician Richard Brown

Author and physician Richard Brown

(Eduardo Contreras/The San Diego Union-Tribune)


Nadia Bolz-Weber standing looking at the camera

Nadia Bolz-Weber is a highly accomplished blogger, essayist, podcaster, public speaker, prolific tweeter, and she even runs a social media forum.

(Courtesy of Nadia Bolz-Weber)

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:

“An Evening with Nadia Bolz-Weber”: Nadia Bolz-Weber is an ordained Lutheran pastor, founder of House for All Sinners & Saints in Denver and the author of three New York Times bestselling memoirs. In 2017, Bolz-Weber won the coveted Audience Award at the Nantucket Project. Her latest project is a podcast, “The Confessional with Nadia Bolz-Weber,” a partnership with PRX and The Moth. As part of the annual Writer’s Symposium by the Sea, director of Point Loma Nazarene University’s journalism program Dean Nelson has a witty, probing, and spiritual conversation with Bolz-Weber about her evolution from youthful rebellion to her journey of spirituality and compassion.

“Revenge of Power: How Autocrats are Reinventing Politics in the 21st Century”: In “The Revenge of Power: How Autocrats Are Reinventing Politics for the 21st Century,” Moisés Naím, former editor-in-chief of foreign policy, turns to the trends, conditions, technologies and behaviors that are contributing to the concentration of power, and to the clash between those forces that weaken power and those that strengthen it. Naím concentrates on the three “P”s: populism, polarization and post-truths, all of which are as old as time but are combined by today’s autocrats to undermine democratic life in new and frightening ways. Naím explores how power has not changed but the way people go about gaining it and using it has been transformed.

“Time, Einstein and the Coolest Stuff in the Universe”: At the beginning of the 20th century, Albert Einstein changed the way we think about time. Now, early in the 21st century, the measurement of time is being revolutionized by the ability to cool a gas of atoms to temperatures millions of times lower than any naturally occurring temperature in the universe. Nobel Prize recipient William Phillips, Ph.D., a Distinguished University and College Park Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland, talks about laser cooling and ultracold atoms and how they relate to time. Indeed, the best atomic clocks use ultracold atoms and these clocks are essential to the Global Positioning System (GPS) which guides cars, airplanes, and hikers to their destinations.

And finally: Top weekend events

A rider at the Lakeside Rodeo

A rider at the Lakeside Rodeo

(U-T file photo)

Here are the top events happening in San Diego from Thursday, April 21 to Sunday, April 24.

Coddon is a freelance writer.