Balboa Park news & stories

Your source for news and stories about Balboa Park in San Diego. For more on Balboa Park, including events, museums, photos, and more, visit the Balboa Park section.

Chainsaw-carrying maniac par for the course

Lawsuit for injuries incurred on Haunted Trail thrown out

If you pay money to go through a haunting experience and are warned it may scare you, you can't sue when it does. On October 23, the Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, upheld a ...

Trolley Dances brings site-specific dance from Waterfront to Balboa

More walking than riding, but the annual event is still worth it

After many years of ogling cool images of dancers performing in unexpected locations, and even spreading the word both in this magazine and on the radio, I finally got the chance to experience the San ...

German Currents Film Festival descends on Balboa Park

We Are Young, We Are Strong and About a Girl among the offerings

The 5th Annual German Currents Film Festival adds a new, somewhat surprising name to this year’s roster of theaters. Jack kicks things off on Saturday night at Balboa Park’s Natural History Museum, while across the ...

The game has changed for San Diego jazz scene

Gilbert Castellanos talks about his double-the-jazz jam at Panama 66

“I found out my jam session at Seven Grand was being canceled with just one week’s notice,” trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos related to the Reader over breakfast at Swami’s in North Park. “I mean, the manager, ...

Style and substance run Full Gallop at the Globe

Diana Vreeland adores artifice, even vulgarity

“...It’s a way of life. Without it you’re nobody. And I’m not talking about a lot of clothes.”

It's fixed. No running, and no peeing in Bud's pool

Morley Field municipal pool ready for swimming, more repairs to come

On Monday (September 28), San Diego's oldest community pool reopened to the public after getting the thumbs up from the County Department of Environmental Health on September 23. The Bud Kearns Municipal Pool was originally ...

Frustrating delight

In Your Arms at the Old Globe presents variations on the theme of star-crossed lovers

2015 may be one of the gutsiest years ever in San Diego theater. I can’t ever remember so many world premieres. Even though the word on staging them is: do not. They’re too risky, can ...

Is it worth the wait at Panama 66?

“When my sandwich arrived, all of my irritation faded away.”

Two women who work from home walk into a bar, find a huge crowd, and suddenly realize it’s Friday. “I usually avoid going out on Friday nights,” I say, as we take in the long ...

Passionate energy just this side of anarchy at San Diego Museum of Art

Coney Island was designed to overcome

Coney Island: Visions of the American Dreamland, 1861–2008 is a game, splashy exhibition.

Find a return to yesterday in the heart of the city

150 acres of coastal sage scrub provide an important habitat for wildlife

That dropped Ping-Pong ball song would be the wrentit.

The tragedy of the Starlight Bowl

A plan afoot to save the Balboa Park classic

The School for Creative Careers and its founder Steve Stopper is suing the City of San Diego for allowing the historic Starlight Bowl in Balboa Park to fall into disrepair. Built in 1935, the 3500-seat ...

The Rep plays Violet fast and loose and the Globe plays a thin Comedy of Errors

Bus ride to salvation

Violet studies faces. She even sketches their features in a book. For her own, she’d like a composite: Rita Hayworth’s skin, Ingrid Bergman’s cheekbones, and Grace Kelly’s petite nose. Violet’s obsessed with facial features. When ...

Gregory Page and friends to perform free Balboa Park concert

"This is a gift from us and the city of San Diego."

While a Balboa Park centennial committee blew through $2 million before it was disbanded after coming up with nothing, a group of accomplished acoustic artists are banding together for an old-timey, low-tech, free-admission concert Saturday ...

No pool party at Bud Kearns this summer, kids

Morley Field facility revamp delayed until 2016 (at least)

Kathy Taylor watched her eight-year-old son blossom after joining the swim team at Bud Kearns Municipal Pool last summer. Her son was excited about being on the swim team again this summer…but the "Closed Until ...

Last Call: Kiss Me, Kate, and the Fringe winners are...

The Old Globe’s mega hit must close Sunday and the most Fringelicious selections for 2015

Kiss Me Kate. The Old Globe’s mega hit must close Sunday. No if’s, and’s, or could we start again please’s. In 2013, Darko Trasnjak, former artistic director at the Globe, brought us a gem of ...

Two-act magic show

Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery at the Old Globe Theatre is not about the mind or mystery, but the execution itself

How to characterize Ken Ludwig’s take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous mystery? It’s not an all-out spoof, since it wades through pages and pages of exposition about the monster hound haunting the moors of ...

Duet for organ and canine

Summer Organ Festival brings a true outdoor flavor to Balboa Park

I try to make it down to the Spreckels Organ Pavilion at least once during summer. There is a concert at the Organ Pavilion every Monday night at 7:30 p.m. through August 31. On Monday ...

Sparky, hectic, unmediated inventiveness on display

This way to Radium Girl!

The Self-Taught Genius exhibit at the Mingei, artifacts from their conversation with the world

Kiss Me, Kate's brassy, unfettered swagger


When Patricia Morrison and Alfred Drake began rehearsing Cole Porter’s latest effort, they weren’t impressed. “We were using just a piano,” she recalled. “It was so disjointed we didn’t think we had a hit.” Then ...

Girls will be boys in the Old Globe's Twelfth Night

Energy's external

Production takes Shakespeare’s night of revels out of doors.

Stunning but remote physicality in Essaydi’s women

The poses matter.

Essaydi’s women don’t “present” to the viewer: each has an inner life made visible but unavailable to us.

Old Globe defends use of Victoria's Secret models in summer production of Twelfth Night

What a piece of work is (wo)man; in action, how like an Angel, in apprehension, how like a god!

"It's common knowledge that in Shakespeare's time, even the women's roles were played by men," says Old Globe artistic director Bart Delistein. "It's 2015. Frankly, we feel it's high time the ladies got a little ...

San Diego Flag Girl, 1921

Everyone was in a patriotic mood 94 years ago...

My paternal grandmother Elizabeth Long was San Diego's Flag Girl in 1921 for a Daughters of the American Revolution event. San Diego had recently decided to preserve Balboa Park after the Panama–California Exposition of 1915. ...

July is busting out all over!

Theater preview for the month to come

T’is the season. Count some of the ways: NOW PLAYING: La Jolla Playhouse: Come From Away. The world premiere musical, by Irene Sankoff and David Hein, creates a comedy within a tragedy. On the morning ...

Young Lions roam

New generation jazz jam led by Gilbert Castellanos moves from Croce's to Panama 66

Trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos sent out a press release on June 4 announcing that his mentoring program, the Young Lions Series, would be entering its final month in residency at Croce’s Park West, after a 16-month-long ...

Horses**t in the air at climate-change rally

Paul Revere and his steed bring message of impending World War CO2

A national day of action calling for "the urgent WWII-scale national mobilization we need to prevent catastrophic climate disruption" kicked off early, with a midnight rally in Balboa Park early Sunday morning, June 14. The ...

Bring the healing

Michael Francis talks Mainly Mozart in Balboa Park

There is a unique event coming up on Sunday, June 14th, at 3 p.m. — a free concert at Balboa Park's Plaza de Panama. What is the event? I’ll let Maestro Michael Francis tell us ...

Press 1 for Spanglish

English resistance

“The Desert at Night” is the Natural History Museum’s attempt to engage Spanish and English speakers at the same time.

Rich Girl finds little purchase at the Old Globe’s theater in the round

Contested territory

The only time it happened was at the old Old Town Theatre. I was watching a production of The Heiress, where a complete and total jerk courts rich, innocent, young Catherine. He was so obviously ...

George Bernard Shaw pays a rare visit to the Old Globe

A Shavian rinse

Arms and the Man succeeds despite an antsy itch to entertain.

Last call: The White Snake and My Fair Lady

The final opportunity to see these notable shows is fast approaching

Two beautifully performed shows must end their runs this Sunday. The White Snake, Old Globe Theatre. Mary Zimmerman does theatrical adaptations of literary works, among them The Odyssey, The Arabian Nights, and The Notebooks of ...

Babs for a day

One-man Buyer & Cellar takes on Barbra and Alex at the same time

Alex Moore, struggling actor, not only works at Disneyland, he’s the “Mayor of Toontown.” He hates it so much he calls the “happiest place” on earth “Mousechwitz.” The drive from his Los Feliz studio apartment, ...

Centennial suds

A second collaboration beer to celebrate 100 years of Balboa Park

In January, I reported on a beer commemorating the 100th anniversary of Balboa Park named Centennial IPA. Karl Strauss Brewing Company brewmaster Paul Segura and Automatic Brewing Co. owner and head brewer Lee Chase collaborated ...

The White Snake slithers into the Old Globe

Believing is seeing

"Sir, you are married to a snake!” the holy man Fa Hai tells bewildered Xu Xian at the Golden Monastery. “You are coiled in the snares of a snake demon.” His wife and her sidekick ...

The ol' climate action plan push thing

Activists and councilman urge persistence, discourage passivity

A group of environmental activists organized by the Environmental Health Coalition and San Diego 350 gathered Monday, March 2, in Balboa Park to urge the city to "start here, start now" by fast-tracking implementation of ...

The Old Globe stages The Twenty-Seventh Man

Fellow travelers

Their crime: they compose in Yiddish, “from right to left on the page.”

Fungi wanted for fungal library

To contribute specimens to the herbarium isn’t all fun and foraging

San Diego is so arid, it can leave mushroom hunters foraging for irrigation. Try parks and cemeteries, some suggest. Or go see local species on display at the annual Fungus Fair in Balboa Park on ...

Lightweight, miniature musical

Fluffy, undersized Murder For Two outruns the audience

Murder for Two, a musical/detective story, would be a lot more fun in an intimate, cabaret setting: clinking glasses, lubricated laughter, face-to-face interaction. But on the Old Globe’s Donald and Darlene Shiley mainstage, the two-hander ...

Classical California gold

Notable classical music events in San Diego, January 15-16

Here’s a quick rundown of some upcoming classical music events of note. The San Diego Museum of Art is holding the first a monthly series of concerts on Thursday, January 15 at 7 p.m. The ...

Happy 100th "beer"thday, Balboa Park

Local brewers celebrate iconic centennial with 100-IBU IPA

The 100th anniversary of Balboa Park is a pretty cool thing. You know what would make it even cooler? A beer brewed to commemorate that milestone. But not just any beer. How about a San ...

Centennial stroll

A deliberate trek through Balboa Park, 100 years later

Visit Balboa Park during the 100-year celebration of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.

Local gift guide: Lady edition

San Diego spots provide great options when shopping for her.

Christmas shopping can be such a hassle. I have the tendency to avoid malls during the entire month of December. Parking is a nightmare and sales people are overworked and grumpy. Luckily for San Diegans ...

Food Waste Fiasco

"We could be feeding another 10,000 people."

Rob Greenfield returned to his home in Ocean Beach about three weeks ago. He’d been on a five-month tour of the country, by bicycle, raising awareness of food waste in many grocery stores along the ...

March of time

20th Century icons from an old art museum in Buffalo are at the Museum of Art.

“I have always liked hot music. There’s something wrong with an American who doesn’t.”

Last Call: Black Sunday

Some fine productions, including one of the city's all-time best, must close November 2.

These shows must close this Sunday, November 2 — aka “Black Sunday,” given their high quality. The Royale, Old Globe Theatre One of the year’s best directed shows is so well done you’d think Marco ...

Ritualized conjuration

Knockout theatricality saves Old Globe's The Royale.

Take away the spectacular theatricality and Marco Ramirez’s The Royale would be a thin-ish script that makes some important points. The characters stand as much for a position in a debate as for themselves. But ...

German Currents flow back to Balboa Park

The German Currents Film Festival returns this weekend to Balboa Park for its fourth annual two-day, four-film celebration. This year, the festival doubled its venues by holding its opening-night gala at the Natural History Museum, ...

Southern woe

Bright Star may be too sweeping for its own good.

Billy Cane is home from World War II. He wants to follow his “bright star” and write for the prestigious Asheville Southern Journal. The editor, Alice Murphy, works with the Southern Renaissance headliners: Faulkner, Eudora ...

Children, children everywhere

October's Kids Free family deals

For the fourth year in a row, the San Diego Museum Council and Time Warner Cable present “Kids Free in October,” which means kids under 12 have a free pass (more specifically, two kids per ...

Nothing stank with Balboa Park Celebration, Inc.

Some contracts awarded sloppily, but audit found little fault

City auditor Eduardo Luna's report of what went wrong at the fizzling of Balboa Park Celebration, Inc., points few fingers According to a report released today, October 1, the committee got $3.08 million in funding, ...

The Two Gents Template

If you didn’t know who wrote it, you’d swear the author of The Two Gentlemen of Verona, currently at the Old Globe, stole every Shakespearean device he could find. Two Gents is “early” Shakespeare. The ...

My fantasy food day

My day always starts with coffee from Cafe Moto (2619 National Avenue), whether it ends up being a dream day or not. It’s usually in my own kitchen, but my fantasy morning would have me ...

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