Oct. 3 2012 12:21 PM

Our top three picks of San Diego events this week

SDMA converts into a dark cabaret for Culture & Cocktails.
Photo courtesy: I.D.E.A.

The San Diego Museum of Art is getting into the Halloween spirit a few weeks early with the kickoff of its ongoing event series Culture & Cocktails on Thursday, Oct. 4. For this installment, attendees are asked to dress as their favorite monster to go along with the current exhibition, The Human Beast.

The Human Beast features German expressionist paintings from the first half of the 20th century by the likes of Max Beckmann, Gabriele Münter and Otto Dix and freaky expressionist-film classics including The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Nosferatu played on a loop. It’s an exhibition with dark subject matter, featuring scenes of war and twisted human figures. But that doesn’t mean the party will be a downer.

“It is a little heavy, so we went light with [Culture & Cocktails] because it’s a fun event,” explains special events manager Sarah Grossman. “During that time of German expressionism, the cabaret culture was really big. So, we took a spin off of that and went with a sexy circus cabaret for this. We wanted to stay true to the time period.”

If you don’t have time to put together a scary Frankenstein or Nancy Grace costume, there’ll be mask-and necklace-making activities led by Party Hats Group and museum educators. Once you’re looking freaky, dance it up to tunes from DJ Scot Roberts and check out wandering circus performances and an aerial show by L.A.’s Cirque Berzerk.

“They have an edgy twist, which is why they fit perfectly with this event,” Grossman says.

The event goes from 6 to 9 p.m., with a Club Cabaret after-party in the museum’s Sculpture Court Cafe for the night crawlers. The cocktails will continue to flow until the witching hour. Tickets for the whole shebang are $15 (free for museum members). sdma.org

2 Look away

The San Diego City College International Book Fair has been going since Monday, but there are still several days to get in on the free annual event—it runs through Saturday, Oct. 6. There are interesting-looking panel talks and readings throughout the week—check sdcitybookfair.com for the schedule—but Saturday’s focus on censorship looks awesome. From noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Saville Theatre, college faculty and staff will read from and discuss various banned books, and from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., there’ll be readings and book signings with authors whose works have been banned specifically in Arizona: Rudy Acuña (Occupied America, Anything But Mexican and Corridors of Migration), Matt de la Peña (Mexican White Boy, Ball Don’t Lie and We Were Here) and Herbert Sigüenza (Culture Clash: Life, Death and Revolutionary Comedy).

3 Yearning love

The U.S.-Mexico border is something that invokes a great deal of reflection and emotion—particularly for those regularly impacted by it. On Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 9 and 10, hear poetry and stories about the border from Manuel Paul López at The Yearning Feed, two evenings of poetry and music presented by Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company at 10th Ave Theatre (930 10th Ave., Downtown). López was awarded  a grant by the San Diego Foundation to complete a book-length manuscript of his border pieces (also titled The Yearning Feed) and will be sharing them for the first time at this event. Joining him is poet Luivette Resto and Latin musician Bill Caballero. Both events start at 6 p.m. and are free with a reservation. moolelo.net

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