April 11 2012 10:21 AM

Our top three picks of San Diego events this week

Andrew Carnegie by Exist 1981
Photo by Jeff Durkin / Breadtruck Films

Staging on steroids 

When real-estate pros really want to impress potential buyers with a piece of property, they typically hire a home-staging company and give the place a cozy, lived-in vibe. Not Greg Strangman of L.W.P. Group, Inc., the developer behind The Pearl Hotel, Onyx and other local hotspots.

If you were among the hundreds of hipsters who attended Strangman’s Community @ Martin Building opening in Bankers Hill in 2009, you know that he takes his property openings to the next level. Rather than fill the vacant apartments with static furniture and cheap art prints, he handed over the empty rooms to San Diego artists and let them hang their works or create site-specific installations.

“It’s an opportunity to do something completely different for San Diego,” Strangman said. “It’s a more intimate and unique experience, and it forces you to explore a little bit.”

From 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, April 14, the public is invited to explore COLLIDE, the building-wide event marking the opening of Strangman’s new Community @ Carnegie building (corner of Ninth Avenue and Broadway in East Village). The nonprofit arts group Sezio curated the artists who’ll be showing in rooms spread out across the building’s five floors. Exist 1981 and Spenser Little are among the local artists Strangman commissioned to do permanent installations, and other artists showing at the event include Michael Delaney, Neko, Louis Schmidt, Wes Bruce, Christina Tsui and Mike Maxwell.

Double Break and FEELIT will set up pop-up shops, and Stone Brewing Co., Karl Strauss, El Dorado and MIHO Gastrotruck will keep you satiated.

“It’s a cool opportunity,” said Zack Nielsen of Sezio. “I mean, how often can you take over a whole apartment complex for one night?” The $5 cover charge will go directly to Sezio.

Forever Ray

Ray Charles is one of those legendary voices in American music that have shaped people’s memories. Even the Cosbys’ lip-synced performance of “Night Time is the Right Time” on The Cosby Show gives us a case of nostalgia. To honor the late singer, the San Diego Symphony will put on a Tribute to Ray Charles at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 13 and 14, at Copley Symphony Hall (750 B St., Downtown). EGOT (that’s Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony) winner Marvin Hamlisch will conduct the symphony as it accompanies Ellis Hall, a former Charles protégé, on piano. Hall will perform classics like “Hit the Road Jack” and “Georgia on my Mind.” And you can stay after for a dance party. Tickets range from $20 to $85.

Heavy petal 

In the natural world, there’s something called pseudocopulation, whereby a flower mimics the characteristics of a female insect to attract male bugs for pollination. For the last 30 years, the San Diego Museum of Art (1450 El Prado, Balboa Park) has employed a similar technique to attract patrons with its Art Alive exhibition and fundraiser. This year, 65 different floral interpretations of classic works of art will be on display beside the genuine articles, by artists such as El Greco, Degas and Monet. The exhibit will be open from Friday, April 13, through Sunday, April 15, for $15. There will also be a series of tie-in events, including a “Flowers after Hours” cocktail party from 7 to 11 p.m. on Friday ($60 admission). Click here for the full list.

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