San Diego County Arts Writer

The best-laid schemes of mice, men and public art often go awry, to paraphrase poet Robert Burns.

Just ask John Edwards, one of six local artists to have their work exhibited at the Charles C. Dail Community Concourse in a city-sponsored rotating sculpture show. During the exhibition, one of his sculptures was destroyed when a storm knocked it from a perch atop the Civic Theatre.

Edwards' stainless steel mobile, titled "The Wind Seeker," found the wind and reaped the whirlwind. No one was hurt in its nose dive. It was "a total loss," Edwards said. But he harbors no ill feelings.

"I don't blame anybody but myself," he said. "I'm a little chagrined this was so public. I should have gone to further measures to ensure the stability." A 150-pound base wasn't enough, he said. Edwards will absorb the cost of making the sculpture--$1,500--plus "a lot of work . . . and charge it off to experience."

His next project? He will continue "The Wind Seeker" series with a piece evocative of . . . a thunderstorm.

TUG, TOO: "Don't All the Girls Get Prettier at Closing Time?" Mickey Gilley has warbled to the delight of thousands of country and Western fans. Doubtless, when Gilley comes to the Del Mar Fairgrounds for his 4:30 p.m. Jan. 18 concert, he will be singing about a "Room Full of Roses," another of his 1974 hits. But will he "Talk to Me" and you after the big Tug O' War Tournament? Gilley's concert and an all-day tug tournament at the fairgrounds are planned for the benefit of San Diego's Assn. for Retarded Citizens.

Male and female teams of no more than five members can take a crack at $1,000 prizes in the top "Fireplug Tug" contest by paying a $100 entry fee. However, the men's total weight can't exceed 1,000 pounds. Women, presumably more fragile, must max out at 750 pounds. Deadline for registration with the Assn. for Retarded Citizens is Jan. 10. But you don't have to be an "urban cowboy" for this event. Admission to the contest is $2. Children shorter than a yardstick get in free to the tug matches and the concert. Tickets to hear Gilley croon hits such as "Fool for Your Love" are $10.

GASLAMP TOO: You might call it Victorian high tech. That's what the Gaslamp Quarter Theatre's new stage will offer when it opens this fall. Located just south of the Gaslamp Quarter Theatre on 4th Avenue, the new structure will combine mid-19th-Century architecture with 1980s technology, serving as office building, stage and 250-seat conference center.

The building, containing a proscenium-arch stage, will provide direct access to a restaurant and bar in the adjacent Horton Grand Hotel, a bed and breakfast facility, now being rebuilt, that will sleep 110. The cost of the new theater building is $3.3 million. A 35-member limited partnership, Horton Grand Offices Ltd., closed equity last month on the 1912 vintage building, formerly the Paper Box Factory. Developer Dan Pearson is general partner. Ground-breaking is scheduled for February.

ARTBEATS: The San Diego Unified Port District's arts advisory board meets Monday with attorney Nancy Flick, a new member on the board. Flick was assigned in the wake of the Ellsworth Kelly sculpture uproar after port commissioners felt the advisory board would benefit from the advice of a non-art expert. Agenda items at the 4 p.m. meeting include selection of five sites for new sculptures. . . .

A homeless Imperial Valley theater troupe will appear in San Diego beginning Jan. 10. The Repertory Company of Imperial Valley will perform Neil Simon's comedy "Chapter Two" at the Theatre in Old Town Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. through Jan. 26. . . . Playwright Eric Overmeyer will be in residence at the Old Globe today through Jan. 25 for the local premiere of his play "On the Verge, or the Geography of Yearning" Jan. 25 through March 9. . . .

Junior and senior high students may want to apply for the Summer Theatre Institute of the Children's Theatre Company of Minneapolis. Auditions will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. and from 7 to 10 p.m. Jan. 18 in the Green Room of the Dramatic Arts Building at San Diego State University. Applications for the June 22 to July 27 training program--which includes acting, music and movement classes--should be requested from the theater in Minneapolis. . . .

The 1925 silent film comedy "Hands Up!" featuring Raymond Griffith, will be screened with piano accompaniment at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 15 at the Carlsbad Community Cultural Arts Center, 3557 Monroe St. A $2 donation is requested.

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