Opening of "Through the Eyes of a Monarch" exhibit. Credit: Kat Orozco / Mustang News

With the fall quarter approaching, new faces and an exhilarating nightlife are bringing the streets of San Luis Obispo back to life. Read on for KCPR’s guide to the events and performances of the season. 

Art Exhibits and Markets

“Through the Eyes of a Monarch” 

SLO County Arts is collaborating with the Shanbrom Family Foundation, the Western Monarch Trail and the Central Coast State Parks Association for a compelling exhibit, Through the Eyes of a Monarch. The show illustrates the monarch’s charming intricacy and the challenges that climate change and deforestation bring for pollinators. The art on display aims to showcase life through the perspective of the endangered species. Viewers can attend the exhibit at The Bunker SLO until Sept. 30. 

Prior to its remodel in 2019, The Bunker was formerly an artist studio space that was inaccessible to the public. When doors opened on March 28 of this year, gallery manager and event coordinator, Kalae Neves dedicated herself to supporting non-profits and creating an inclusive community atmosphere. 

“It’s really important to us that we give local non-profits a place to call their own,” she said. “They should have a spot to host events, show artwork and do fundraisers.”

For the month of September, The Bunker chose to highlight the Central Coast State Parks Association as they move into monarch season. This show was curated to bring awareness to the decline of the Western monarch.

“It is important to me that people from out of the area and students have an awareness of what is happening in nature,” Neves shared.

Artist Giovanni Oretga grew up in the deserts of California, which they describe as “the same absent environment monarchs live in.” 

“Untitled” (left) by Giovanni Ortega. Credit: Kat Orozco | Mustang News

After a wildfire, known as the Bobcat Fire, damaged the region they called home, Ortega felt stagnat. However, their stillness swiftly transformed into creativity and they began working on their untitled piece pictured (left).

“When I was working on this piece I was reflecting on the individual and the distance that we have to travel mentally to get to our goal, which is change,” Ortega said. 

Ortega finds humans and monarchs to be similar in their determination for survival. Despite the shifts in long-term climate trends, monarchs have remained persistent.

“This piece was really fitting for the show because monarchs, too, have births and rebirths,” they said. “At the same time, we are also going through changes as we figure out ourselves.” 

For the remainder of the year, The Bunker will host SLO County Arts’ Open Studios Art Tour and showcase photography from Justin Snead, a storm chaser who captures extreme weather conditions in the Midwest. 

“The real change is with action. Not by just envisioning, but by doing,” Ortega said. 

“More Than What We See”

More Than What We See is a collection of the late John Barrett’s finest paintings. Barrett’s interest in art developed in the 1960s when he was gifted a set of oil paints from his grandmother. The California-raised artist painted to capture fleeting moments, aspects of popular culture and political occurrences. This exhibit successfully documents the mundane and extraordinary instances of life simultaneously. More Than What We See is currently showing at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art until Nov. 27.

Mission Plaza Market 

Makeshift Muse is a women-owned and operated market centered in San Luis Obispo and Los Angeles. Their pop-up shops allow local creators to expand their businesses and shoppers to enjoy one-of-a-kind products. Not only does Makeshift Muse assist the local economy, but the market also encourages sustainability and community building. 

Courtesy of Angie Boyd

Founder of Makeshift Muse, Angie Boyd, hosted her first pop-up event in 2018. At the time, Boyd was unaware of how the business would transform her life and the lives of local enterprises. 

“There is so much creative & entrepreneurial talent in SLO, and this platform has allowed me to tap into that network. I feel so proud to be surrounded by so many inspiring and like-minded peers,” she said. 

The mission of Makeshift Muse is to cultivate prosperous businesses while providing free, inclusive community events. Boyd credits the success of her business to the passion of its vendors and the dedication of its customers.

A graphic from Makeshift Muse. Courtesy of: Angie Boyd

“Shopping at our events is a great way to invest back into your community and consume more intentionally,” she said. “A healthy, thriving economy depends on successful small businesses, and that’s why I care so deeply about this work and this platform.”

Boyd looks forward to coordinating markets at Mission Plaza and Madonna Inn this year while expanding her business and reaching new faces.

“I think what makes Makeshift unique is that we are always growing and evolving. We have worked with over 20 venues in SLO and have been able to create these experiences up and down the coast,” she said. 

The market’s next SLO-based event, the Mission Plaza Market, will take place Downtown on Oct. 7 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Art After Dark 

The first Fridays of the month are not like any ordinary night in San Luis Obispo. SLO County Arts’ Art After Dark program invites its visitors to immerse themselves in the local art scene and admire the artistry of SLO’s creators. The free, self-guided art walk is held across several venues, galleries, restaurants and shops in SLO. These establishments exhibit original visual, performing and literary work from 5-8 p.m. The next Art After Dark will occur on Oct. 6.

Sunset Drive-In Swap Meet 

Every Sunday, the Sunset Drive-In takes a break from the big screen and holds a community flea market. From as early as 5:00 a.m., vendors can set up booths that contain a variety of products including vintage clothing, furniture, jewelry, antique goods and produce. These vendors range from individual garage sellers to local businesses. Doors are open for customers from 6-11:30 a.m. with a $1 entry fee per person or $3 to park inside. 


Tanukichan at SLO Brew Rock 

Hannah van Loon, the voice and instrumentalist of Tanukichan, is an artist who draws influence from older generations but adds a modern twist. Alongside Toro y Moi’s Chaz Bear, van Loon produces music that finds harmony between shoegaze and dream pop, grittiness and softness.

Van Loon and Bear began working together in 2016 and have released two studio-length albums, “Sundays” and “GIZMO.” While “Sundays” consists of sweet pop melodies and prioritizes tone and atmosphere, “GIZMO” introduces roaring guitar textures and punchy percussion. Tanukichan began touring shortly after “GIZMO’s” release in March of this year. She will be performing at SLO Brew Rock on Oct. 22 with opening band Wishy.

STRFKR at the Fremont Theatre 

STRFKR’s sound is partly responsible for the creation of the unfiltered, nonconforming indie scene of the 2000s. The Portland-based musicians started writing and performing synth-heavy dance-pop music in 2007, providing lively songs for folks to move to. 

The band consists of frontman Joshua Hodges and multi-instrumentalists Shawn Glassford, Keil Corcoran and Patrick Morris. From climbing the Billboard charts to being featured in television and film, the band has come a long way since their self-titled debut album. STRFKR’s catchy and carefree sound is a product of its time, yet the musicians manage to transform alongside new generations of dancers. Their fall tour takes place this October, with the four-piece band performing at the Fremont Theatre on Oct. 26.

Joyce Manor at the Alex Madonna Expo Center 

Joyce Manor caused an uproar in the California punk scene when they emerged in 2008. The Torrence rock band is commonly recognized for their raw, straightforward distribution of pop punk and uniquely brief songs that aim to get stuck in listeners’ heads. 

The band formed naturally when singer Barry Johnson and guitarist Chase Knobbe met and bonded over their love for Blink-182. Shortly after, bassist Matt Ebert joined the lineup and the band released their debut album, “S/T” in 2011. In the band’s most recent LP, “40 oz. to Fresno,” the musicians perfect their consistent, well-established sound while reminiscing on what makes Joyce Manor, Joyce Manor. 

Johnson told Epitaph Records that the album was crafted to capture the liberating feelings of early tour life and the simple moments a band shares together after a 15-year run. The musical group will be performing at the Alex Madonna Expo Center on Oct. 18 with Tigers Jaw, AJJ and Smoking Data Guns

Alice in Chains at the Vina Robles Amphitheater 

The Seattle rock band Alice in Chains has sold over 30 million records worldwide, earned 11 Grammy Award nominations and has had five No. 1 songs on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart. They achieved rapid recognition during the grunge or Seattle sound movement of the ’90s for their intriguing uniqueness. 

Whereas grunge music combines elements of punk and metal, Alice in Chains stands out among other bands because of their heavy metal origins. Guitarist Jerry Cantrell and former vocalist Lane Staley’s metal backgrounds are responsible for their thunderous riffs, striking vocal styles and overall distinction. Alice in Chains will be stopping in Paso Robles on Oct. 7 for their fall tour. 

KCPR is giving away tickets to the following shows. Information on how to enter the giveaways can be found on Instagram @kcpr913.

Concert dates

Jawny at the Fremont Theatre — Sept. 22 

Roosevelt at the Fremont Theatre — Sept. 30

Kurt Vile and the Violaters at the Fremont Theatre — Oct. 4 

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets at the Fremont Theatre — Oct. 5

STRFKR at the Fremont Theatre — Oct. 26

Unknown Mortal Orchestra at the Fremont Theatre — Nov. 4

Durand Jones at the Fremont Theatre — Nov. 11