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.

Billionaire Democrat's Balboa Park plan revived by GOP mayor

Cash from Clinton-backing Jacobs family greases city hall wheels

Irwin Jacobs, master of the big-money art of acquiring political influence, is looking to have his best-ever year in 2016. The billionaire La Jolla Democrat, cofounder of Qualcomm, was one of the first to fund ...

Beautiful disgusts after some masterpieces

By the 18th Century, mighty Venice had become what Goethe called “the drawing room of Europe.”

Many of us seek and cherish essences when traveling to foreign places: a food, a shop, a fall of light, an open-air market, the peculiar curve or steep of street or hillside, the play of ...

Save Starlight

Weed-pulling party June 25

I first went to the Starlight Bowl in 1980 with two pieces of advice: arrive early and try to put up with the planes booming down to Lindbergh Field. I got to Balboa Park early ...

Fewer marchers against Monsanto

Corporation clashers minimized — maybe by appearances elsewhere by Bernie and Bill

Hundreds of people gathered in Balboa Park on Saturday (May 21) to participate in San Diego's March Against Monsanto, an annual event targeting genetically modified food in general and specifically the Monsanto Company, a leader ...

Botanical Garden — heck, Balboa Park itself— in desperate need

100 years later, that crumbling sound is getting louder

The Botanical Building in Balboa Park is one the largest lathe structures in the world, according to David Lundin, cofounder of the Balboa Park Heritage Association. The association was formed in 2014 to help create ...

Rain falls on the Old Globe stage

We all want new lives

“She’ll be starved and tortured...I want her to accept the punishment of man as a sacrifice to God.”

Pet project

Commemorating Beach Boys classic Pet Sounds at San Diego Zoo

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the San Diego Zoo and the 50th anniversary of the classic Beach Boys album Pet Sounds. Local history professor and music writer Steve Thorn has a pet project ...

If you like Bernie, you'll want Caballero

Council District 7 candidate's headquartered on his kitchen table

Jose Caballero has no problem that his race to unseat incumbent Republican Scott Sherman in city council District 7 isn’t thought to be “contested.” He says the media, pundits, and political bosses all seem to ...

4518 pipes call to the "Starman"

Organist Carol Williams pays tribute to David Bowie in Balboa Park

After other organ tributes went viral online, another “breathtaking” performance took place to honor the late David Bowie at Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. City Organist Carol Williams, with the sun setting to the ...

Bands for Bernie

San Diego bands lineup at WorldBeat in Balboa Park to back Bernie Sanders

The five organizers of Saturday’s fundraiser for presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders are amateurs. They have never promoted a music event or fundraiser before. “We did a [pro-Bernie] rally called ‘Enough Is Enough’ at the fountain ...

Brunch was a lie...and then, Tobey’s

Toss back too many ’mosas and check out the best pisser view in town

If you’d have asked me about brunch a few years ago, I would have laughed in your face. Brunch is just breakfast with booze (hardly a novel concept). Brunch is where saps take new girlfriends ...

Phew. No fees for SOHO

Judge says preservation group not required to pay opponent's legal fees in Balboa Park case

The lawsuit challenging Balboa Park's Plaza de Panama renovation project is officially over, with a judge issuing his ruling that Save Our Heritage Organisation, the group that challenged the legality of the proposal, was not ...

Sex and psychedelia at the intersection of sight and sound

Listening station invites you to interpret a Miles Davis tune with paper and pens

San Diego Museum of Art’s Art of Music exhibit welcomes visitors with a giant ceramic auricle and protruding ear trumpet that, upon detecting the voices of passersby, proceeds to emit Beethoven’s “Grosse Fuge.” It’s a ...

Concerts choke the first weekend in December

You thought Black Friday was crowded?

The first weekend in December is stacked with concerts. 'Tis the season to make a choice because many of these promising events conflict. Sunday is like a battle to the death, with no fewer than ...

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

Wunderbar!

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 ...

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