RAW: San Diego’s Natural Born Artists Show Review

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In San Diego’s elegant Gaslamp district, the hotel Andaz’s chic nightclub Ivy, played host to a special event last month.

On April 27th, local artists and performers came together for RAW: Natural Born Artists, a showcase devoted to San Diego’s most creative minds.

The organization has branches in 17 different cities across the nation and holds monthly events in Hollywood, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Sacramento, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Denver, Chicago, Minneapolis, New York City, Philadelphia, Nashville, Austin, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.

San Diego holds it’s monthly exhibition on the last Thursday of every month. I spoke to the director of San Diego’s branch Sarah Wilwerding, who explained to me that the events are meant to provide some exposure and publicity as well as serving as a forum for these emerging artists to not only share their works but to meet each other and learn from the other. It is a project that boosts communication and support within San Diego’s creative community.

Along with providing a valuable service, RAW also throws an excellent party. The event at the Ivy was impressive to say the least. Held in the basement of the club, the venue kept to true Gaslamp form by creating a cool, urbane space that was part lounge and part club. Black and white photographs in jaunty wooden frames hung from the ceiling, illuminated by the bar that was stationed right across from the exhibit.

Every corner of the room housed a collection of works by a local artist. The theme of the works that night seemed to be ghostly images mixed with a street art sensibility and a fascination of the macabre.  There were a number of performances as well; spoken word artist Gill Sotu delivered a stirring series of passionate monologues. His performance was followed by a stand up set by local comedienne, the brilliant Jiavani Linayao, who used both song and improv in her stand up routine. After the laughs came local musicians from all different genres.

The performance that really got the crowd on their feet was Kobra Kai, (like the name of the villainous dojo in The Karate Kid). This hip hop trio hails from Los Angeles and is comparable to artists such as People Under the Stairs stylistically.

Closing the event was a fashion show by Moonlit Jewelry, a locally based company which makes pieces that evokes a deep connection with nature and natural beauty.

There is a timer on the RAW website that counts down until the next event, INCITE, which returns to the Ivy on May 26.

This month’s showcase will undoubtedly be impressive, with a new group of showcasing artists and performers. Don’t miss the opportunity to discover the incredible talent that San Diego is harboring right in its own backyard.

For photos from the April RAW San Diego event, click here to view SD Entertainer’s gallery.

(all images taken by author)

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