Even the losers will toddle off the field with a fat check as a salve to bruised bodies and egos, a far better fate than the ultimate cut--decapitation--that once awaited selected participants in a pre-Columbian ball game.
Played for 2,500 years in parts of Mexico and Central America, the ancient and deadly spectator sport is the subject of a small exhibit at the San Diego Museum of Man in Balboa Park. "Losing Your Head over Sports: The Ancient Mexican Ball Game" is one of many entertainment and cultural events especially planned for Super Bowl week in San Diego.
The events run the gamut from a consciousness-raising temporary public art exhibit on San Diego Transit buses to a rah-rah civic pep rally by the San Diego Symphony.
At 5 p.m. Saturday at Symphony Hall, the orchestra will play a repertoire of fight songs, light classical and pop favorites, including "Les Toreadors" from "Carmen," Khachaturian's "Sabre Dance" and the themes from movies such as "Star Wars" and "Rocky."
"The Super Bowl is a special occasion, and the symphony wants to be a part of it," spokesman Les Smith said. "We'll have the first ever 'wave' in Symphony Hall," Smith added, referring to a form of stadium cheering.
A 3:30 p.m. tailgate / block party with hot dogs, cheerleaders and gymnastics, along 7th Avenue outside the hall, will precede the community rally. Tickets to the pep rally are $5.
Three artists have created a controversial Super Bowl-related arts activity, a temporary public artwork portraying the rarely told role of undocumented aliens in San Diego's tourist industry.
Funded in part with San Diego hotel and motel bed tax money and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the artists designed a photographic triptych suggesting scenes of undocumented workers being arrested and at work. They chose to run the purchased space on 100 buses during the month of January specifically because national attention will be focused here due to the Super Bowl.
Though civic and tourist industry leaders objected to the posters' message, "Welcome to America's Finest Tourist Plantation," the bus space was legally purchased and will run throughout Super Bowl week.
Other arts and entertainment activities this week include:
- Whoopi Goldberg, the actress-comedian nominated for an academy award for her role in "The Color Purple," will unveil her latest one-woman show, "Living on the Edge of Chaos," Thursday and Friday at the Lyceum Theatre in Horton Plaza. Proceeds will go to the San Diego Repertory Theatre, where Goldberg played such roles as the title part in Bertolt Brecht's "Mother Courage." Performances will be both nights at 8 and 10 o'clock. Tickets are $35 and $50 for the first three performances. Tickets for the 10 p.m. Friday show and gala midnight reception are $100.
- Frank Sinatra and Liza Minnelli will sing two benefit concerts at 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the San Diego Sports Arena for the San Diego State University Aztec Athletic Foundation. The performances will be sung "in the round." Tickets are $35 and $50 for the concerts, which will be the third time the two singers have performed on the same stage.
- Artworks created by Krzysztof Wodiczko will be projected from 6 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Friday onto the California Tower at the San Diego Museum of Man in Balboa Park, and from 7:30 p.m. to midnight Saturday on the Centro Cultural Tijuana's 100-foot high Omnimax Theatre in Tijuana. Wodiczko creates 50-to 75-foot projections, frequently with an accompanying sociopolitical commentary about the buildings on which they are projected. The projections will be made as part of the current Wodiczko exhibition at the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art.
- Two "Super Soul, Super Bowl" concerts presented by Progressive Communications Network will be performed at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday at the San Diego Sports Arena. Tuesday's rhythm and blues concert will feature artists such as Cab Calloway, Johnny Brown, Gerald Wilson and his Big Band, O.C. Smith, Alfreda James, Lorenz Alexandra, "Papa" John Creach, Lionel Hampton, Della Reese, Dorothy Donegan, Ernie Andrews, Trina Parks, Marva Josie, the Jonah Jones Quartet and Barbara Cole.
Wednesday's gospel concert will offer Tramaine Hawkins, Rev. James Cleveland and Choir, Della Reese, the Fire Choir, the Barrett Sisters, Commissioned, the Jackson Southernaires, the Gospel Keynotes and non-gospel performer Roy Ayers.
- Comedian Jay Leno and Otis Day and the Knights will appear at a benefit Super Bowl party from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Thursday at the La Jolla Marriott, official host of the AFC champion Denver Broncos. Proceeds from the $100-ticket event that kicks off the Steve Garvey Celebrity Golf Classic will benefit Say No to Drugs Inc. and the PACE Center for Career Development.
- Public artwork posters by five local artists will be temporarily exhibited on the side panels of 25 San Diego Transit buses through Jan. 31. Works by artists Eric Blum, J.P. Werger, Walter Woytjla, Holly Weston and Jean Cornwell were selected by the City of San Diego's Public Arts Advisory Board, which sponsored the exhibit. The board also sponsored temporary murals by Armando Alvarez and Myra Boecker-Woodward, which are on exhibit at the Community Concourse.
- Super Bowls, an exhibit of handcrafted bowls by contemporary artisans along the theme of a super--meaning big--bowl, open through Feb. 20 at Gallery Eight.
Twenty bowls, fabricated from wood and fiber, clay, aluminum and plastic are on display at the gallery, 7464 Girard Ave., La Jolla.
- Super Fiesta Tijuana. Mariachis and folkloric dance groups will perform nightly Wednesday through Saturday on Avenida de la Revolucion between 3rd and 7th streets, which will be closed to vehicle traffic.
- Old Town Super Fiesta, free performances by folk musicians and dancers, will be given from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday in the streets and plazas of Old Town State Park. Among the performers are Kumara, a five-member combo that plays South American folk music; flamenco dancing by Rayna's Spanish Ballet, and folk dances by the Hispanic Mexican Ballet.
- Gene Locklear, the former San Diego Padre-turned-artist, will sign limited-edition prints and posters of his art from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the La Jolla Fine Arts Gallery.
- Sports portraits by official NFL artist Merv Corning will be included in an exhibit opening Thursday at the Circle Gallery in Old Town.
- Super Sunday Concert, an organ recital by civic organist Robert Plimpton, will be given at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. Plimpton will play music by Sousa, Ives, Vierne, Widor and others.
Also, Bob Hope will headline a one-hour television special, to be broadcast live from the Civic Theatre at 7 p.m. Saturday over the USA Cable Network.
A benefit for the NFL's "Hope for a Drug-Free America" anti-drug organization, the show will feature actor Jimmy Stewart, country singer Reba McEntire and actor Corbin Bernsen of the "L.A. Law" television series. NFL Alumni Assn. player awards and tributes to Buzz Aldrin and eight other Apollo astronauts will be made during the show.
Admission comes with the purchase of a $1,000 ticket to the NFL Alumni Assn. dinner that follows the show at Golden Hall. The San Diego Hall of Champions will be a co-beneficiary of the dinner event.