Dec. 5 2012 12:03 PM

Our top three picks of San Diego events this week

“Sunbathe Barbie at Bombay Beach” by Jen Trute

1 Jen Trute’s legacy

On her website, Jen Trute explains the inspiration for “Sunbathe Barbie at Bombay Beach”:

“We pulled into the village… and drove around this godforsaken trailer-ville that looked like a modern day ghost town…. The beach was lined with layers of orange and turquoise and chocolate colored foam. Where you could see into the water, pinky beige gunk waved back. There were lots of rotted out houses and trailers submerged out in the lake to about the 4-foot level. A rusted out delivery truck was sunk in sand up to the dashboard. Dead fish lay along the water’s edge.”

Trute was a passionate environmentalist, says longtime friend Patricia Frischer; scenes of environmental degradation fill her paintings.

“It can look like it’s anime or surreal, but… the underlying passion in her life was that,” Frischer says.

Trute died on July 23, 2011, after a long battle with breast cancer. She left her paintings to her friend and fellow artist Dennis Paul Batt, and Batt started making plans for a retrospective exhibition at the Oceanside Museum of Art (OMA), where Trute had shown work in the past. But, on Jan. 30, Batt died suddenly. His sister, though, made sure the exhibition moved forward, Frischer says.

Enviroscapes: Jen Trute Retrospective opens with a reception at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, at OMA (704 Pier View Way) and will be on view through April 21.

Trute’s body of work is small, Frischer says. The artist spent much of her life in a great deal of pain.

“She was very conscious of how much energy she had and how she had to use it very wisely. She couldn’t afford to waste any time and she knew that.”

“Sweetness and fear,” Frischer says, imbue Trute’s work.

“She captured that so perfectly; it was so her…. Pop art, surrealism, she took all these things and made them her own.”

2 Wax nostalgic

Memories have profound effects on us, and the process of creating them by taking in the surroundings is equally compelling. This idea will be explored at A Spit of Wax, a work-in-progress dance performance by Somebodies Dance Company on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 7 and 8, at Space 4 Art (325 15th St., Downtown) as part of the venue’s performance series, Color Blank Space. Choreographers Kyle and Gina Bolles Sorensen are attempting to explore and juxtapose the internal process of remembering and the external process of recording through full-bodied movements and moments of quiet intimacy. Dancers will interact with objects and the audience to convey the experience. Shows begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 ($5 for students).

3 Ale mania

We give Pacific Beach grief for its bro population, but in our heart of hearts, we really do adore the neighborhood and all its beach-blanket glory. While the East Coast goes straight from tropical storms to winter blizzards, we get to chill smugly in our board shorts and sandals and drink cold beer on still-warm days. On Saturday, Dec. 8, CityBeat is proud to sponsor Bikes, Boards and Brews, aka Pacific Beach Beerfest. For $30, you get 10 tasters of craft beer from brewers like Ballast Point, Stone, Green Flash and Amplified Ale, with food pairings from Woodstock’s Pizza, Duck Dive, California Kebab and other local restaurants. The fest runs from noon to 4 p.m. at the Catamaran Hotel (3999 Mission Blvd.). Get discounted tickets in advance at

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