Friday, August 18, 2023

ENVZN: A Very Special Event

 By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt 

ENVZN.  If these letters don’t mean much to you, read on, since they stand for a coming attraction you won’t want to miss.

Try to envision a panorama of arts performances from both sides of the border in a two-block commercial district you’ve probably never been to before. Presented by Vanguard Culture, an adventurous non-profit dedicated to advancing San Diego’s creative industries, ENVZN is a grand-scale experience that will take place in Logan Heights on Saturday, September 2, from 5-10 p.m.

“This is the largest undertaking we’ve ever attempted and we’re so excited about how it’s coming together,” said Susanna Peredo Swap, founder/executive director of Vanguard Culture. “The tenants here have been a joy to work with, and we’re using their working environments—a shoe factory, a screen-printing machine factory, a cross-fit gym, a loading dock—to lead us into the artworks. There’s the beginning of a burgeoning arts community in Logan Heights and we’re thrilled to support that.”

There will be so much going on, it’s best to look through the list of events beforehand. You’ll find a link to the full schedule below, and here are a few I’m planning to check out, though I’ll surely have additions once I get there and see what I see. 

Steamroller Printmaking. 6-10 pm.
In 2021, I had a chance to catch Alessandra Moctezuma’s original demonstration of this fascinating process at Mesa College. Now Mesa’s gallery director and her team are at it again. Stop by to watch at least some of what happens when 7 artists + 1 steamroller take turns creating works of art.

The last stage of the printmaking prep at Mesa College in 2021.
Photo Credit: Maurice Hewitt

Parking Sin Estrellas: A Spanish-speaking puppet show. Performances 6 and 6:30 pm. 
I’m planning to test my Spanish comprehension with this unusual puppet theater piece about street children in Tijuana’s dangerous Zona Norte whose strategies for dealing with their daily lives include escapes into their own imaginations.

The Alchemist in His Elements. 6-10 p.m.
A brilliant use of reclaimed bits of trash, Debby and Larry Kline’s giant-size sculpture references an antique Chinese jade burial suit and a hulking mud-born character from Jewish folklore who was meant to be a protector—though that never worked out. 

Debby and Larry Kline with their original Alchemist in 2016.
Photo Credit: Maurice Hewitt

Since its creation in 2016, the Klines’ Alchemist has appeared in different iterations in various locations. This newest version—now legless but taller than ever—will be surrounded by drawings that illustrate the four elements of the alchemical process: Earth, Wind, Fire and Water. You’ll find him in a space that welcomes meditation, with a soulful soundscape by Tijuana-based multimedia music artist MALU and an offering bowl for you to share your hopes and dreams.

The Alchemist will also be the 3-D backdrop for live performances at 8 and 8:30 p.m.

Malashock Dance is presenting Convergence, a short piece about how we see ourselves, how others see us, and how we would really like to be. It’s choreographed by John Malashock and Jessica Rabanzo-Flores, features five dancers and strolling composer/guitarist Rann Golamco, and should be a lovely and thoughtful treat for audiences.

A duet from Convergence. Photo Credit: Jim Carmody

Cenotes. Performances 9 and 9:30 pm.
DISCO RIOT Artistic Director Zaquia Mahler Salinas offers a preview of her latest work—a live dance and film installation that promises an opportunity to experience the everyday world in a magical way. If you love the experience, the completed work will premiere in San Diego this November.

Flower Pot Music. Performances 9 and 9:30 pm.
Hundreds of flowerpots will become musical instruments in this piece led by Art of Elan musicians who invite everyone to pick a pot and join them in creating a community concert, with simple instructions given in English and Spanish.

 There’s much more to ENVZN, and plenty of food and drink vendors onsite.
See the full schedule of events HERE

A helpful map of the area

In a few months, ENVZN will be part of a year-long celebration of the San Diego/Tijuana region, recently designated the 2024 World Design Capital, but we can have a great taste of it now.

ENVZN-23 tickets range from $20 for students, active military, creative industry professionals and residents of Logan Heights or Tijuana to $125 for VIPs.  Hot tip: If you order before September 2, you can use the promo code SDVAN for 20% off at

 An Artful P.S.
While we’re still in August, here are two soon-to-end art shows you won’t want to miss.

O’Keeffe and Moore at San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park (Closing August 27)
You still have time to see this brilliantly curated collection of works by Georgia O’Keeffe and Henry Moore that seem to relate to each other while displaying varied aspects of their individual talents. There are also re-creations of both artists’ studios built by the SDMA team but filled with their original furnishings, right down to the brushes and paint samples. 

Georgia O’Keeffe’s Studio
Photo Credit: Maurice Hewitt

I loved this re-creation of her studio and was sorry I only had time to watch a few minutes of the film about her at the end of the exhibition. Just watching her face as she speaks is an experience.  

Henry Moore’s “Reclining Figure”
Photo Credit: Maurice Hewitt

This elmwood piece was my personal favorite, even more so when the security guard pointed out how you can tell by the chisel markings how difficult some of the work had been and how long it must have taken to get it right.

Photo courtesy New Village Arts

A Weekend with Picasso at New Village Arts Theater in Carlsbad

A solo performance by Herbert Siguenza. (Closing September 3)

I’ve seen this terrific show in different venues since its 2010 work-in-progress days and am ready to see it again. Siguenza not only channels Picasso with energy and humor but also wrote the script, based on Picasso’s writings, and manages to complete several Pablo-like paintings onstage. I first saw him perform as part of the traveling theater troupe Culture Clash, but just learned from Wikipedia that he actually started out as an artist, with a BFA in printmaking from California College of Art and Crafts. 

Lonnie Burstein Hewitt is an award-winning author/lyricist/playwright who has been writing about arts and lifestyles in San Diego County for over a dozen years. You can reach her at

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