June 2011 Performing Arts Portal

By: Marc Emmelmann

Who is Jon Block? That question has a nice ring to it. No thanks to Ayn Rand’s famously mysterious fictional character, Jon Galt, in Atlas Shrugged. Although Block has never read the 1,000+ page novel, he’s fascinated by the concepts therein. “Who is Jon Galt?” was the hot question emphasized throughout the entire book.  Galt was a philosopher, a mover and a shaker, an inventor, and a man who symbolized the glory of man’s ability to think and reason; and in essence, be a “producer” in society or even a “productive genius.” Galt was all about artists, businessmen and inventors who were productive. He was also very much about individual rights and making life better. But, so is Jon Block. You can’t answer the question “Who is Jon Block?” in one brief statement, so the entire sentiment of the performing arts portal this month is dedicated to San Diego’s very own Jon Block.

When I say “Who is Jon Block?” in a drama-enthused theatrical way, goose bumps may arise, but table subjective feelings contemplate this guy’s recent contributions to the performing arts, visual arts, and fashion and music industries. You may have heard already: Jon Block prides himself on the values of creating community and blazing a trail of creativity. His aspiration is to be the Steven Spielberg of events. That’s a tall order, but he is well underway.

As for creating community, he has collaborated with Roar Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Queen Bee’s, Kava Lounge, Radio Room, Birch North Park Theatre, San Diego Music Foundation, Art Month SD,  JeansforJustice, and Traveling Stories, just to name a few! Block especially relishes his experiences of working with Anjela Piccard, Danielle LoPresti & Alicia Champion, Alan Ziter, Ann Berchtold, Jim Yuran, and Gregory Page.  Block recently shared, “When I’m putting a production together, I have a vision I’m passionate about. Then I cast the best people in the roles. It’s very exciting to see it come together.”

Over the past three years, Jon would admit it’s been an arduous journey and that change has been the only consistency for him, his business, and his vision. Now, more confident, Jon shares, “Many promoters try so hard to control their circumstances: ‘If I book x band and pay them x dollars, they will draw x heads and I will make x at the door.’ I think you lose something by being that calculated. It’s kind of soulless and the public can smell that, particularly with arts events; which, like art, are about touching lives.”

Jon weaves together performing arts, visual arts, film, music and other playful experiential events. HERE & NOW is an event Jon birthed last year and round two is coming up again at the Lafayette Hotel on Sunday, June 26, 2011. This year’s HERE & NOW formula is “A Convention on Capitalism, Spirituality, and Other Playful Endeavors.”  The intriguing HERE & NOW will feature a massive exhibitor hall and four break-out areas where attendees can experience interactive exhibitions and seminars sharing new approaches to careers, romance, health, fitness, religion, and anything else that matters. Music, circus acrobatics and an art show will accompany. Visit www.jbcreationsonline.com for the latest details.

Last year, Jon executed an impressive outdoor fashion and art event themed around La Jolla Playhouse’s theatre production, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”  His event, LOVE STRUCK, was an official extension of LJP’s Performance + Cocktails series. He also produced ICONS in 2010, a fundraiser for Jeans4Justice at Horton Plaza next to Arts Tix, which ran during Comic Con and featured film screenings, panels and performances, and a “geek-inspired runway fashion show.”

More recently, Jon Block has taken the position of resident manager at the new ArtLab in Normal Heights. ArtLab is a place for artists’ activity — networking, studio space, and galleries, all on the same block in Normal Heights.  It got started when three businesses (Andrea Rushing Art Academy, Visual Art Supply Store and Ego Id Medial Printing & Design) wanted to integrate a strong arts presence into their community. Search “ArtLab Tour for ccMixter” on YouTube to see a video showcasing the space. Jon is also producing VOICES, a “second Fridays” event showcasing underground talent in performing and visual arts. Get more details at his website.

His flagship event has been SIGHT & SOUND, which he co-produces with Adam Rosen. Both are excited for May 21st since the event has been on hiatus since July 2010. The May event is featuring Roar Theatre, Republic of Letters, Kevin Martin, Todo Mundo, Hip Hop from Destructo Bunny, Group Art, Interactive Drum Circles and more. S&S is all about live music, art, film, theatre, dance and comedy. The next S&S is happening August 20, 2011.

San Diego has somewhat of a clean and pliable cultural canvass and it needs more Jon Blocks. In Atlas Shrugged, Jon Galt wanted to make things better. Jon Block loves improving things and improving things he has! He not only brings the collaborative creative genius to the table, but he has the personality and integrity to back up his business. Add him on Facebook; he’s got about 1,359 friend vacancies left. At least you’ll have his events conveniently located on your events link for those days where you actually check your event invites. You can also “Like” Jon Block Creations too!

What do you think about the future of San Diego and its ability to be a thriving cultural hive?
Many people are not aware of our city’s powerful music and arts scene, and also the rising consciousness scene. In both cases, the awareness is growing and that’s something JBCreations is catapulting to the forefront. They’ve been overshadowed long enough by our weather and beaches.

What’s at the core of your vision for San Diego?
Igniting passion. When we’re living from our passion, that’s when the people around us benefit the most. And living in passion does NOT equal living in squalor. On the contrary, live from your passion, accept smart feedback, and be fiscally responsible; the world around you will become much more exciting.

What do you think about the local vs. national marijuana/hemp movement and controversy?
I stand up for any lifestyle choice; anything as long as it doesn’t hurt others. The anti-marijuana faction is not much different from the anti-homosexuality faction. They’re projecting their views on what a person’s life “should be,” and are not interested in listening to the other side and actually getting their world. It’s annoying in most cases and very damaging in others.

bringing you that fire! stay tune for more posts.

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