Jan. 11 2012 02:07 PM

Our top three picks of San Diego events this week

Artist Ian Ross

Performance art 

Remember that daytime TV show featuring an older guy, painter’s palette in hand, who’d demonstrate how to paint idyllic scenes like a tree-lined lake or the sun going down over the ocean? It wasn’t exactly high art, but it was kind of cool to see how a tree or sunset were rendered with just a few brush strokes. Elevating the live-art thing is Artists @ Work, a new monthly series that kicks off from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12, at the Oceanside Museum of Art (704 Pier View Way) and features artists and arts collectives creating large-scale works on-site.

First up is Ian Ross, a muralist whose works range from street art to a commissioned piece at the Facebook headquarters’ cafe that he installed over six days, using the sound and energy of the place for inspiration (you can see a video of the process on Ross’ website, ianrossart.com).

“He’s a talented mural artist,” says Danielle Susalla, the museum’s director of exhibits and communication. “We thought it would be a good way for visitors to engage with the creative process through watching him.”

Indeed, Ross is a mesmerizing painter, using layers of color and broad, sweeping strokes. After he’s done, he’ll discuss his process and the audience will get the chance to ask him questions. Tickets to the event are $20 and include appetizers from Harney Sushi, beer and wine. Ross’ creation and some additional pieces of his work will be on view at the museum through Jan. 29.

On Feb. 9, the museum will host Benjamin Lavender, who creates large-scale sculptures using recycled wine barrels. “We’re trying to vary the mediums, so it’s not all painting,” Susalla says of the series. “So, you see sculpture, you see fiber art—a variety of things.”

Reservations are suggested, but not required. To purchase tickets, call 760-435-3721.

Mid-century sounds

When you walk through San Diego’s Craft Revolution, the exhibition at Mingei international Museum in Balboa Park that’s running through April 15, it’s easy to imagine a soundtrack for the mid-century furniture and objects—maybe a little Miles Davis or Stan Getz. But what if someone asked you to come up with a soundtrack of locals making great music at that time? At 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, SDSU ethnomusicologist Kevin Delgado will give a presentation on contemporary music in San Diego from the 1940s through ’70s and discuss musicians like Harry Partch, Sam Hinton and Harold Land in a talk titled Sounding the Craft Revolution. Exhibition curator Dave Hampton and SDSU musicologist Eric Smigel will join in and help make connections between music and the local lifestyle of the time. $14.

Mummy dearest 

Hollywood has produced plenty of mummy movies since the early days of cinema, from 1932’s The Mummy starring Boris Karloff to the Brendan Fraser popcorn flick also titled The Mummy in 1999. But are the big-screen characterizations of mummies anything like the real thing? Find out at Unwrapping the Mummy: Hollywood Fantasies, Egyptian Realities, a lecture happening at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, at the Museum of Man (1350 El Prado) in Balboa Park—part of the current exhibition ModeDay Mummy: The Art and Science of Mummification. UC Santa Barbara anthropology professor Stuart Tyson Smith will lead the talk and provide insight into the history of mummies both on and off screen. Free with museum admission ($8-$12.50).

Does your event deserve to be in our top three? Email our events editor, Alex Zaragoza. You can also bug her on Twitter.