March 21 2012 12:33 PM

Our top three picks of San Diego events this week

Ilya Kaminsky and Katie Farris

His-and-her poetry 

Poet Ilya Kaminsky has a unique vocal delivery, presumably attributable, in part, to the fact that he’s hard of hearing and Russian. His cadence alternates quickly back and forth between higher and lower registers. Admirer Katie Farris describes it as “almost like singing, or religious chanting.”

“It’s strange, but people respond to it really well,” she says. “I’ve listened to him read for 12 years, and I still get goose bumps when I hear him. I guess I’m a little bit biased.

Farris is biased because she’s Kaminsky’s wife. She’s also a poet, although she says a better descriptor might be “short-fiction writer.” And they’ll both be reading their work during the next edition of the Poetry & Art Series at 7 p.m. Friday, March 23, at the Museum of the Living Artist (1439 El Prado in Balboa Park).

Husband and wife are professors at San Diego State University, as well as writers. Farris published a book of short stories last year called BOYSGIRLS. Kaminsky has published two collections of poems, Musica Humana and the multiple-award-winning Dancing in Odessa.

Farris’ themes gravitate toward feminism and mythologies and deal in the fantastical. “They’re sort of like fairytales for grownups,” she says of her stories. “There’s maybe a little bit more sex than your average fairytale.”

The book Kaminsky’s currently working on, Far ris says, is “about war and about how people live their day-to-day lives in a war zone. I’m sure he’ll be reading portions of that. [It’s] based on his own experiences, not in the center of, but adjacent to, the Balkan crisis that was happening in the Soviet Union while he was living there in the early ’90s, and also inspired, of course, in part by the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

An open mic will follow their readings (email to sign up). Refreshments will be served. Bring snacks or wine to share if you like. Admission is $5 at the door.

Cash for Caliente

A few months ago, Art Fist Collective launched a petition to save the Agua Caliente Racetrack mural painted on the California Theatre building Downtown. The mural was in danger of being painted over with a beer ad, but the city has agreed to take another look at the value of the piece, partially because of the public outcry and the efforts of Save Our Heritage Organisation, which works to preserve San Diego’s historical structures. From 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, March 23, Art Fist will hold My Little Art Show, a benefit to help SOHO’s efforts. Artists like Bret Barrett, Sean Brannan, Pamela Jaeger and Toygami will modify and re-imagine My Little Pony toys, which will be on view and for sale at Quality Social (789 Sixth Ave., Downtown).

It’s dynamite

Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s Thursday Night Thing is back on Thursday, March 22, with TNT: Ten Thousand Waves. The event, at the Downtown location (1100 and 1001 Kettner Blvd.) brings art, music and culture together in celebration of the museum’s exhibitions, Isaac Julien: Ten Thousand Waves, Ai Weiwei: Zodiac Heads / Circle of Animals: Gold and the newest one, Iconic: Gifts from the Kondon-Giesberger Collection. View sections of the exhibitions and hear gallery educators discuss the works. MIHO Gastrotruck will serve tasty nibbles, and there will be craft beer and cocktails for sale. After you’ve seen some art, knock back a drink while bluesy rockers Little Hurricane and folksy rockers The Howls lay down some sounds. It all kicks off at 7 p.m.; admission is $10.

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