Not For Sale

XX MARKS THE SPOT – Maxx Moses presents abstract paintings celebrating freedom in his stunning exhibition "Good Morning America" at the SWC Art Gallery.
Photo by Karen Tome

Anger and rebellion seethe under the surface of every stroke of the brush, every paste of newsprint, every spray of the can. His exhibit “Good Morning America” is satirically named but seriously serious. Walls of the Southwestern College Art Gallery are aflame with his vivid vision. Moses pulls no punches, even for the commander-in-chief. In 2012 he was asked to contribute a painting for a series concerning the state of racial America for President Obama’s re-election campaign. His entry, “The Final Sale,” was deemed too controversial by the art curator and was not used. It features a larger-than-life self-portrait of Moses smiling maniacally at the viewer. His beard is checker boarded, the word “whore” writ on his cheek and a…

WONDERWALL – Vallo Riberto, SWC's talented and well-connected gallery director, works wonders with a tiny budget and a big vision. 
Photo by Cindy Borjas

SWC gallery director is himself a work of art

Longhaired New York artist Vallo Riberto arrived in San Diego in the 1960s expecting to find a dull, conservation Navy town. Not even. “I lived in Los Angeles so I definitely had a sense of California culture, but San Diego I didn’t know at all,” he said. “There are tremendous inroads with the art pulse and border culture.” Riberto liked the South County so much he came back after earning his MFA from Notre Dame in 1995. He began teaching …

VEGGING OUT – Marisol Rendon's masterful installation "Feast" at the San Diego Children's Museum is a big time attempt to get kids to eat better. 
Courtesy Photo

Giant Veggies are Big Fun

For parents, getting their children to eat vegetables is an art and a science. For Marisol Rendon it is purely an art. Southwestern College’s brilliant professor of art created the critically-acclaimed exhibit “Wobbleland,” part of “Feast: The Art of Playing with Your Food” at the New Children’s Museum in downtown San Diego. Her sculptures of oversized fruits and vegetables marry “Alice in Wonderland” to “Veggie Tales” in a hands-on experience for children and their parents. Rendon is bucking the timeless …

Rudy Francisco performs at the 'Love & Liberation" poetry reading at the SWC Art Gallery. 
Photo by John Domogma

Review: ‘Love & Liberation’ is a grand poetry slam

Their hands moved through the air with grace and authority. Smooth voices rising and shaking with passion as their diction weaved poems that weighed heavily on the conscience and heart. Spoken verses so beautiful that audience members held onto each and every word, relishing its splendor. SWC hosted “Love & Liberation: Javon Johnson and Rudy Francisco of Fiveology” along with several students from Helix High School to perform spoken word poetry to an audience packed into the art gallery. Speaking …

SINGING FOR LOVE —Tracy Burklund-Becker, Jazz Vocal Ensemble director, sings "Let’s Do it, Let’s Fall in Love," making the audience feel the love in the air. 
 Photo by Karen Tome

Review: Jazz Café is a show of sweet love

February is month of romance and love was in the air at the “Jazz Café: Let’s Fall in Love” presented by the Southwestern College Jazz Vocal Ensemble. A spark of romantic energy electrified Mayan Hall with some of the best love songs ever composed. Director Tracy Burklund-Becker’s black dress was silky and elegant, and so was her group. She opened the show delicately singing a mash up of “Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall in Love,” accompanied by a wonderful rhythm …

Photo by Alejandra Rosales

Review: San Diego Clarinet Quintet

It was Abraham Lincoln’s birthday and five sublime clarinets marched out “Battle Hymn of the Republic” in his honor. The Great Emancipator would have loved it. Southwestern College played host to the San Diego Clarinet Quintet, five gifted musicians with the hottest woodwinds west of New Orleans. Starting with the cheerful Disney classic “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah,” the quintet quickly showed that the clarinet is a versatile instrument that can adapt to a variety of musical genres. Claude Debussy’s six-movement “Children’s Corner Suite” …

Eric Mabrey skillfully works through familiar medleys with fellow Hornswoggle members Dave Gifford and Dr. Sandra Petersen.
 Photo by April Abarrondo

Review: Hornswoggle

French horn players have a little joke.  Q: Why is the French horn considered a divine instrument? A: Because a man blows in it, but only God knows what comes out. Hornswoggle, a convivial group of French horn players with divine talent, played Heavenly music at Southwestern’s College recital.  Archangel Gabriel’s trumpet has competition in the Supreme Horn Section. Hornswoggle kicked off great.  “Roaring 20s” was a blast from the past that made Mayan Hall swing like an epic Jay …

Photo by Karen Tome

Review: 50 Years of Awesome

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and there was much of it to behold at the Southwestern College Student Art Exhibit. Painters, illustrators, designers, sculptures, woodworkers and printmakers blended their creativity in an impressive array of talent and vision. It was a great mixture of culture and diversity around the school and in our community. Many of the pieces were for sale, ranging from $50-$200, but some were thousands of dollars. Most were worth it. Perhaps the most …

Photo by Marshall Murphy

Review: Out of Africa, Into the Heart

  A chilly evening was no match for hot drumming and frenetic dancing.  SWC’s West African Drumming and Dance Experience warmed the hearts and feet of an audience coming in from the cold. Directed by dance instructor Akayee Atule and music professor Todd Cashetta, the African dancing and drumming ensembles brought the spirit of West Africa to America’s West Coast.  It was impressive, educational, inspiring and fun. Bare feet by the dozens stomped and jumped across the stage in circles …

RAPPING FOR LOVE  — Adriana (Ruff Yeager, l) complains to Luciana (Kelly Henry) in the hysterical Shakespeare send up "Bombi-itty of Errors." 
 Photo by Karen Tome

Review: Yo, can’t touch this Shakespeare

William Shakespeare would probably have liked hip-hop. It sure likes him. SWC’s production of the Shakespeare send up “The Bomb-itty of Errors” brought out the will.i.am in Big Willie S. It was a well-staged laugh riot of Renaissance farce and street smart sitcom all rapped together. Director Ruff Yeager’s retelling of Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors,” credited to the writing team The Q Brothers, is still set in the swinging crossroads city of Ephesus, Turkey, made all more hip by …

Review: Latin Jazz Night Spices Up the Evening

Latin Jazz Nights, featuring the Southwestern College Guitar Ensemble and Latin Jazz Ensemble, was not always Latin, but it was jazzy and great. Dr. Jorge Pastrana’s guitarists kicked kicked the evening off strong, but not so Latin. “Concion O Tocata” by Santiago de Murcia was nice, and despite the lack of actual dancing, “An English Dance,” was cheerful and blanketed the audience. It was a pleasant experience for the ears, much like folk piece “Estartit” and Bach’s “Invention No. 4.” “Sanctify Us by They Goodness” and “Rondo from Eine Kleine NachtMusik” were amiable pieces, but Pastrana’s adaptation of “Rondo” was wanting. Though the guitarists demonstrated technical fluency, the songs sounded too similar to each other and lacked any sort of …