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‘Hidden Leaves:’ connecting people with each other and nature

Social Chaos: Scene Out

Pacific Portal Gazebo and Trellis (2006) James Hubbell Photo: Ana Pines

We had the honor of attending Hidden Leaves, the Ilan-Lael 30th anniversary celebration Sept. 28 at First Unitarian Universalist Church in Hillcrest. The church is the site of founder James Hubbell’s first important volunteer-assisted major outdoor sculpture installation. Hubbell and his wife Anne founded the company in 1982. The celebration included food, wine, a silent auction, dance, an autograph session for those that bought Hubbell’s commemorative anthology, Hidden Leaves, and a Pecha Kucha slideshow in which we heard from board members, students and Hubbell’s son. They spoke about how he inspired their lives and the impact he’s had in communities worldwide in terms of culture and art. It was clear that his art went deeper than his own personal visualization; it connected people with each other and nature.

Tables were adorned with small cards, which chronicled the 30-year history of the Foundation including photos of Hubbell’s work, students, collaborative projects and personal history such as a photo of him and his wife on the eve of their 50th anniversary. We had a great chat with the people we were seated with. All are friends with the Hubbell’s and greatly admire their work and spirit. If James Hubbell’s name doesn’t sound familiar, perhaps you’ll recognize some of his art around San Diego such as Pacific Portal Gazebo and Trellis built in 2006 at 2218 Shelter Island Drive.

Ilan-Lael, which stems from a Hebrew word meaning “a tree from God,” is an arts education non-profit foundation. Hubbell has resided in San Diego on his hand-built compound in Santa Ysabel since 1958. The compound was built without disturbing the environment. They built around trees instead of cutting them down to make room. Because of this, the rooms are connected with nature and are unique in their own way. The location had to be partially rebuilt after the 2003 wildfires destroyed four of the eight buildings. The Hubbell’s open their fascinating home to tours every Father’s Day. For more information on current projects, tours and how to become a member visit: ilanlaelfoundation.org

Mochi Cafe Photo: Ana Pines

San Diego Night Market

The inaugural San Diego Night Market was held in the vast parking lot of the new Zion Marketplace, next to Kearny Mesa Bowl Sept. 28. We took a quick trip to the Convoy District, an emerging cultural and economic hub, to check out this open-air, night-time urban experience of Asian food, culture and entertainment.

There were several local vendors and though we were quite full from our dinner at the Ilan-Lael 30th anniversary celebration, we could not resist trying out some of the food offerings in the market. We watched several performances including Mochi Cafe. This group was founded in 2009 by head maids Koko and Aura. Inspired by maid cafes in Akihabara, Japan, Mochi Cafe is an eclectic blend of Japanese pop culture, cosplay and the celebration of friendship and fun.

DreamGirls Photo: Ana Pines

Pac-Arts’ Drive-by Cinema screened a film at the night market. This unique light/graffiti/pop-up film screening is an experiment as an audience-driven cinema exhibit. Fused to the publicness of ordinary spaces, it’s up to the audience to decide whether to sit or stand around to watch the screening, walk in and out, eat while watching or ignore it altogether. There are no rules of engagement and it seemed to be a great hit with the crowd.

We’re glad that the success of night markets in Vancouver, Los Angeles and the Bay Area has finally reached San Diego. We look forward to the next one. For more information, visit sdnightmarket.com


It’s been awhile since we’ve been to a DreamGirls Revue show. Our friends Manny and Memo share a table with their friends on Wednesdays at Urban Mo’s. They invited us after they had two cancellations and we welcomed the midweek night out. There were bachelorette and birthday celebrations all around. They wore sashes and birthday crowns for all to see. Dollar bills were spread out on the tables as audience members acknowledged their favorite performers with tips and blew them kisses. Our favorite performer flipped their way into our hearts as Pink. The performance space seemed small but, it was enough for two backward flips. The show requires a $7 cover charge and is well worth it. To check out their schedule, visit urbanmos.com

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Posted by on Oct 3, 2013. Filed under Bottom Highlights, Scene Out. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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