Dec. 31 2013 01:01 PM

Our top three picks of San Diego events this week

The Nutcracker and his army prepare to battle the rats.
Photo courtesy of Ralph Lovuolo Photography

1 Breakin’ tradition

Culture Shock founder and Executive Director Angie Bunch loved seeing The Nutcracker every holiday season with her mom. The Sugar Plum Fairy, the Nutcracker Prince, Russian Candy Cane dancers—she ate it all up.

Decades later, Bunch would take her own daughter to see the beloved holiday tale. Her kid was just 5 years old when she stood up and walked out of The Nutcracker, literally bored to tears.

"I thought, Oh, no, there goes my dream of sharing this experience," Bunch says.

From that moment on, Bunch toyed with the idea of putting on a hipper, more contemporary version of the classic that would involve Culture Shock's talented hip-hop dancers. But because the performance is so long and demanding, the production was something of a pipe dream until grant funding and a successful Kickstarter campaign recently fell into place.

From Friday, Jan. 3, through Sunday, Jan. 5, Culture Shock will present The Nutcracker—A Holiday Hip Hop Dance Theatrical at the Birch North Park Theater (2891 University Ave.). Bunch says the basic narrative is in place, but everything else—from the gender of major characters to the context of the tale—was up for reinterpretation.

Bunch enlisted the help of 25 choreographers for the show. The diversity in the talent pool means just about every style of hip-hop dance and culture will be represented.

"We'll have locking, popping, voguing and whacking," Bunch says. "We've got some crumps, some major athletic breaking and martial arts... We're throwing it all in there—everything but ballet."

Bunch says the battle scene will be epic. Other cool elements include a guest appearance from breakers The Body Poets, relevant pop-culture references and a score that includes about 40 percent Tchaikovsky and the rest a mix of old-school and new-school hits.

"It'll be entertaining, I promise that," Bunch says. "There will be no snoozing."

Showtimes are 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $10 to $20.

2 Scratching the surface

Repetition, rhythm and pattern—how artists use those three things often defines an era. This is especially true of modernism, with its rather meditative simplicity in everything from music to architecture to visual art. But is it really that simple? Opening with a reception from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 4, at Space 4 Art (325 15th St. in East Village), Repetition, Rhythm and Pattern features works by 10 artists, from San Diego, Brooklyn, Pittsburgh and Jackson, Miss., brought together by curator Lindsey Landfried (San Diego is the traveling exhibition's first stop). Their art appears to be influenced by modernism but, when you dig deeper, often reveals complex layers of meaning. The show, a great chance to see up-and-coming talent, will be on view through Jan. 25.

3 Women at war

To augment its current Women, War, and Industry exhibition, the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park has chosen So Proudly We Hail for its Friday, Jan. 3, installment of First Friday Films. The 1943 movie stars Paulette Goddard, Veronica Lake and Claudette Colbert as American nurses sent to the Philippines to serve in World War II and was part of a spate of films depicting a certain interpretation of the war. At 7 p.m., producer / director Gregory Cooke will discuss his documentary Invisible Warriors: African American Women in WW II. So Proudly We Hail begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10, or $5 for museum members, military, seniors and students. You can also go big and order a wine-and-charcuterie package for two for $60.

Does your event deserve to be in our top three? Email Kinsee Morlan.