PODCAST: Long Beach Opera’s Divalicious ‘UnGala,’ LB Open Studio Tour

On Episode #17 of “CAN YOU HEAR ME, LONG BEACH? “Arts” can be a pretty daunting, dandy world, rife with black ties and velvet ropes. At the beginning of this, National Arts Month, we spoke with two groups looking to make their particular corner of the art world more accessible, more understandable and more fun.

Long Beach Opera is hosting a Divalicious Drag-Off on Sunday at Hamburger Mary’s. Opera singers will be paired with drag queens to perform as teams: the Opera Diva will first perform an aria, followed by a lip-synced number by the Drag Queen (think “Un Bel Di” followed by “I Will Survive”) to be judged on originality and fabulosity.

We spoke with LBO’s executive director Jennifer Rivera and singer Joanna Ceja about the show. We asked Rivera how the search for a new artistic director is going. We asked Ceja to sing. They both obliged.

Next, artist inhabit a sometimes mysterious world of creation and cleaning supplies. To wipe away a bit of the mystery, encourage a dialogue with the public, not to mention a chance to spend some art dollars in town, the Arts Council of Long Beach has put together Open Studio Tours.

The Council’s Tina Burnight spoke with us about this four-weekend event Oct. 5 – Oct. 27 that features artists all over Long Beach opening their art studios to the public; some studios are inside the artists’ homes (so it’s kind of like a home and garden tour!), some are in their garages, some are co-ops with several artists sharing space. It’s really a great way to see, in person, what local artists constantly chirp about, that there are just so many of them that call Long Beach home, and so few spaces (galleries) for them to show. The tour starts this Saturday and Sunday in the Zaferia/Eastside area with eight different destinations for tour-goers to check out. And, support your local artist!

0:24 Asia’s beaming experience watching opera and drag together

2:25 Opera and drag with executive director Jennifer Rivera and singer Joanna Ceja

3:00 How do you pronounce “UnGala”

14:53 Bonding with a drag queen through a makeup tutorial

21:45 You don’t need a lot of money to go to opera (discounts)

34:42 Joanna sings opera with a big voice in a tiny room

35:00 Long Beach Open Studio Tour is every weekend this month

36:42 The Open Studio Tour and artist origins with Tina Burnight

43:11 Is it okay to walk into an art gallery if you aren’t looking to buy?

46:36 Is a picture of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson art?


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Steve Lowery began his journalism career at the Los Angeles Times, where he planned to spend his entire career. God, as usual, laughed at his plans and he has since written for the short-lived sports publication The National, the L.A. Daily News, the Press-Telegram, New Times LA, the District and the OC Weekly. He is the Arts & Culture Editor for the Post, overseeing the Hi-lo.