Arts & Culture Newsletter: Norah Jones at The Rady Shell — who could ask for anything more?

In this June 8, 2020 photo, singer-songwriter Norah Jones poses for a portrait in Hudson, N.Y., to promote her album “Pick Me Up Off the Floor.”
(Victoria Will/Invision/AP)

This week, Feinstein’s 54 Below, Culture Shock San Diego, ‘Batman Returns’ and more

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.

The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park was made for nights like Tuesday when Norah Jones will perform in the nearly year-old venue by San Diego Bay. Opening the show will be Regina Spektor, who among other credits wrote and recorded the opening theme for “Orange is the New Black,” the ironical “You’ve Got Time.”

Jones knows something about making music in gorgeous locations. Twenty years ago, she recorded her debut album “Come Away With Me” at Allaire Studios in upstate New York. They’re on the grounds of a 1928 mountaintop estate called Glen Tonche high above the Catskill Mountains. That’s only a few miles away from Woodstock.

This brings me to a commemorative gift that Jones has for her fans: a 20th anniversary livestream performance at Allaire of the songs from “Come Away With Me” (plus others) that you can access free on her website. It’s tied to the release of an anniversary deluxe edition of the album that includes 22 previously unreleased tracks.


Joining Jones on the laid-back livestream are some of the musicians who backed her 20 years ago on “Come Away With Me” including guitarist Bill Frisell and bassist Tony Scherr.

If you’re feeling stressed or simply if you love Norah Jones, this 77-minute streaming is a feast for the eyes and the ears. The Allaire Studios setting is a natural fit for Jones’ beautiful vocals and supple musicianship.

Expect more of the same when she takes the stage at the Rady Shell.

Pop music

Call them so bad they’re good or so bad they’re bad, but there’s no question that the weekly “Sunday Lunch” YouTube duets by Brits Robert Fripp and Toyah Willcox are among the weirder offerings on the Web.

Fripp, best known as the founder of and guitarist for the prog-rock legend King Crimson, and Willcox, whom you’ve probably never heard of, team up for video covers of rock classics that are frankly often bizarre. Possibly that’s the idea.

To wit, for their rendition of INXS’s “Devil Inside,” Fripp wears devil horns, cape and makeup. Willcox’s outfit is outrageous, but then her outfits are outrageous in most of these “Sunday Lunch” presentations regardless of the song being covered.

Other Fripp-Willcox covers you can sample via YouTube include their versions of Radiohead’s “Creep,” Hole’s “Celebrity Skin” and a mercifully brief attempt at Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World.”

More pop music

Get out your hankies. On Sunday at 6:45 p.m. PST, New York supper club Feinstein’s 54 Below will stream live an evening of music titled “54 Sings Sad Girl Songs.” In this Broadway World Events presentation, female vocalists with Great White Way cred — including Samantha Pauly (“SIX The Musical”), Hailee Kaleem (“Paradise Square”) and Jane Bruce (“Jagged Little Pill”) — will, as the show’s title promises, cover sad songs by artists like Billie Eilish and Lorde.

Tickets for “Sad Girl Songs” are only $15. FYI, there’s a whole schedule of Broadway-related livestream shows from Feinstein’s 54 Below. Look for “Coming Soon” on the club’s website.


If you’re in Liberty Station on Sunday afternoon, wander over to the Central Promenade around noon. From then until 3 p.m., performers from the hip-hop dance troupe Culture Shock San Diego will be energizing and innovating as only they can.

This year’s “Shock in the Park” program, like those before it, is a combination of performance and competition. Oh, and did I mention that it’s free?

San Diego doesn’t always get it right as it grows, but it did with the conversion of the Naval Training Center in Point Loma into Liberty Station and in particular the addition of the ARTS District. Dance organizations like San Diego Ballet, Malashock Dance and San Diego Dance Theater found homes for rehearsal and performances, and in general Liberty Station has cultivated an arts vibe where creativity is celebrated. Bravo to that.


(Warner Bros.)

Among the glut of “Batman” movies, few have the star power of Tim Burton’s 1992 “Batman Returns,” the cast of which boasted Michael Keaton as the Dark Knight, Michelle Pfeiffer as the best — and most neurotic — Catwoman ever, Danny DeVito as the Penguin and Christopher Walken as the villainous Max Shreck.

So what’s missing at the celebration on Sunday at Hollywood’s Montalban Theatre of the 30th anniversary of “Batman Returns”? Keaton, Pfeiffer, DeVito and Walken, or even Burton. A screening at 7 p.m. at the Vine Street theater will be followed by a Q&A, but with none of the above participating. Instead, behind-the-scenes folks will be there to chat up their roles in the production. Peeps like art director Tom Duffield and makeup supervisor Ve Neill.

All is not lost, though, for fanboys and girls. This event is billed as cosplay-friendly with guests invited to attend as masked villains or heroes. Tickets are $25.

New venue alert: Snapdragon Stadium

(Tim Mosenfelder / WireImage)

Jimmy Buffett and Jason Mraz will perform this fall at the first-ever concert at Mission Valley’s Snapdragon Stadium, the new home of the San Diego State University Aztecs football team and The Wave FC women’s soccer team. The stadium officially opens with a Sept. 3 season-opening game between the Aztecs and the University of Arizona that will be televised by CBS.

READ MORE:Snapdragon Stadium will host its first concert this fall with a double-header by Jimmy Buffett and Jason Mraz

In other news ...

(Nelvin C. Cepeda/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Catch up on arts and culture with these stories by the Union-Tribune staff:


University of California Televisioninvites you to enjoy this special selection of programs from throughout the University of California. Descriptions courtesy of and text written by UCTV staff:

“How to Feed 10 Billion People”: Human activities are responsible for most of the increase in greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere over the last 150 years. In addition to burning fossil fuels, food production also contributes greatly to greenhouse gas emissions, water and land use, and multiple forms of pollution … leaving a lasting impact on our environment. As climate change continues to accelerate, it will have devastating effects on our ability to feed the world’s ever-growing population. Harvard professor and physician Walter Willett discusses how the global adoption of a new flexitarian diet could not only feed a growing population, but also save the planet in the process.

“Becoming a Doctor and Being Embedded in Community”: Growing up in Los Angeles in a close-knit family with a strong bond to her Cuban roots, Natalie Rodriguez knew she wanted to be doctor from an early age. She shares the story of how she found her way to UC San Diego to study medicine and discusses her work with UC San Diego’s Student-Run Free Clinic Project and the importance of rooting medicine in community. Discover more inspiring stories from the Latinx/Chicanx community in the Mi Universidad series presented by the Education Channel.

“Engagement and Innovation in Education”:A school environment where trust, community and inclusion are valued allows students and their families to thrive. Tony Smith, deputy superintendent of innovation for the San Diego County Office of Education, joins educators Gabriela Delgado and Morgan Appel to discuss how we can work together to support equitable outcomes by fostering conditions that eliminate biases and produce more opportunities for all.

And finally: Top weekend events

Dhora Da Luz, left, and Samuel Shea in Moonlight Stage Productions’ “Cinderella” at the Moonlight Amphitheatre in Vista.
(Fred Tracey)

Here are the top events happening in San Diego from Thursday, June 23 to Sunday, June 26.

Coddon is a freelance writer.