Fans of Sushi Performance and Visual Art know the temporarily transient arts organization has a reputation for presenting cutting-edge, contemporary artists. It comes as no surprise, then, that the watchword for Sushi's 2006 East | West Performance Festival is "revolutionary."
"The festival, as a whole, presents artists working with challenging ideas that provoke reflection and discussion about ourselves and the world in which we live," said Sushi artistic director Jeremy Gaucher.
The series of performances features an eclectic mix of dance, new music and visual art by international artists, culminating in Sushi's annual fundraiser gala Red Ball, theme: Revolution.
The East | West festival begins Friday with the acclaimed Lux Boreal Danza Contemporanea and choreographer Monica Bill Barnes.
Lux Boreal, a young dance company from Tijuana, will perform a work inspired by the phenomenon of drug trafficking in the northlands of Mexico. The piece ponders the profound effects of this "narcoculture" on human relationships at all levels of society.
Barnes, one of the hottest young choreographers performing in New York, will present a new piece inspired by the physical space of an empty carnival. Her outrageous and whimsical works are presented with humanity and her signature wit.
Performances run through the weekend at UCSD's Molli & Arthur Wagner Dance Building. Tickets are $10-$20.
On April 14 and 15, Zurich-based Compagnie Drift performs its multimedia "machine a sons" (sound machine), an amalgam of concert, theater and dance, strongly influenced by surrealism, Dadaism and science. Read: offbeat, wacky, weird.
In this piece, Drift investigates the question of whether the inaudible can be made audible. Such as: How does a fly scream when it bumps into a burning-hot light bulb? Or, what does Mr. Fish say to Ms. Fish when he asks for her fin in marriage? Or, what does the rose whisper when the sun comes up? Drift has gathered these sounds with the aid of special equipment and used them to create a concert.
The dance company is, not surprisingly, known for humorously examining the absurdities of everyday life.
The two 8 p.m. performances of "machine a sons" are also at UCSD's Wagner Building, and tickets are $10-$20.
Seattle-based Lingo Dancetheater performs in its San Diego premiere, April 21-22 at the Lyceum Theatre at Horton Plaza.
Lingo's work, "Relatively Real," explores the relativity of identity and perception, creating an environment of mystery that challenges notions of what is perceived as truth.
San Diego and Tijuana artists take the stage in Sushi's New Wave Showcase, May 12-14, also at UCSD. The performance includes new work from emerging choreographers and artists Amanda Waal, Gregorio Coral, Moriah Evans, Evelyn Donnelly, Don Nichols and Jillian Chu.
The East | West festival also includes a visual art exhibit by Isabelle Gerrard and Patrick Liem called "Territory," at Limbo Fine Arts in Hillcrest.
Australian artists Gerrard and Liem examine the convergence of science, media and fashion through sculpture, photography and drawing.
An opening-night reception is scheduled for May 6, and will feature live music in conjunction with Trummerflora's Spring Reverb. The exhibition runs through May 28, and admission is free.
Capping off the festival is Sushi's annual Red Ball party, at the newly christened NTC Promenade in Point Loma.
The evening will feature a visual art exhibit of Shepard Fairey's latest series, "Revolutionary Women." Fairey is best known for his "Obey Giant" propaganda parody art.
Also on the bill are Bostich of The Nortec Collective, SSI, Ant Black and Seesaw Ensemble, providing the music. Expect dance performances from Urban Tribal Dance and BK Soul, and a multimedia art installation by 2nd Nature Productions.
Sushi encourages attendees to go dressed as their favorite revolutionary thinker, artist, scientist or politician. Tickets are $150 including a VIP dinner, $40 general admission ($45 at door), and $35 for Sushi members and students.