Oct. 26 2011 02:00 PM

Our top three picks of San Diego events this week

A piece that'll be produced by the screen-print "factory"
1 Smart art 

It’s gotta be one of the more interesting event titles this year, maybe even this decade: Art(ist) in Context II: or How I learned to Scrub the City of Undesirable Elements and InScribe Economic Viability onto the Urban Landscape. Happening at Agitprop Gallery (2837 University Ave. in North Park) on Friday Oct. 28, the performance-based piece is an encore of one of the experimental “art labs” that Agitprop put together for last month’s Art San Diego art fair.

The collaborative work, which combines the talents of six artists—Melinda barnadas, Tae Hwang, Andrew Printer, Jessica Sledge, Eddie Miramontes and Agitprop founder David White—explores the evolution of a neighborhood (in this case, North Park) amid the process of gentrification, yet it also provides a larger commentary on industrialization and civic engagement. Agitprop lacks a formal stage, so this’ll be a sort of gather-around-and-observe experience.

Printer provided us with a brief synopsis: The performance will open with a scene of a card game in an old-school speakeasy— except the cards, designed by barnadas, are works of art on their own, depicting the area’s indigenous plants. From there, the scene will morph into “this factory-type space where bells will go off and activity will happen and machines will start turning on,” Printer says, as he, Sledge and Miramontes “manufacture” a series of screen prints, some of which the audience can take home. The whole thing will reach a crescendo when White steps in, playing the role of “Cultural Developer.”

Sounds wild, huh? The performance starts at 8 p.m., will last a half-hour or so and be followed by an informal reception, during which you can check out new work by Printer (creative updates to old-school workplace posters), take a closer look at barnadas’ playing cards and other items from the performance.

2 Death is a cabaret

Pepper Mills and Play It Again Sam were vaudeville performers more than 80 years ago until they died in a theater fire. Now they’re back from Purgatory with Dead from New York: It’s Pepper and Sam!, billed as a 90-minute “rock ’n’ roll vaudeville review,” running now through Sunday, Oct. 30, at Diversionary Theatre (4545 Park Blvd. in University Heights). YouTube has clips of them doing an over-the-top renditions of songs like Elton John’s “Daniel,” Weezer’s “Buddy Holly” and The Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star,” and Diversionary’s website promises tunes by The Beatles, Cab Calloway, Queen, Tupac Shakur, Green Day and No Doubt. Looks and sounds like good cabaret fun to us. Admission is $20, or $29 with a cocktail and a reserved seat.

3 Fully clothed fun 

Halloween is upon us again. For those who don’t feel like hittin’ da club swarming with “sexy pirates,” “sexy remote controls” (yes, it exists) or dudes dressed as any character Will Ferrell has ever played, there are some alternatives. Double Break (1821 Fifth Ave., Bankers Hill) will hold Pumpkinfest 2011: Fade to Orange from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28, where a bunch of local artists will carve pumpkins. There will also be a pumpkin-pie contest. Then on Saturday, Oct. 29, The Roots Factory will celebrate Dia de los Muertos, the spooky Mexican cousin to Halloween, from 2 to 9 p.m. There will be cool altars to the dead and artwork by local artists, music from Agua Dulce, live screenprinting and other activities.