Balboa Park news & stories

The Visceral Surge of Spanish Art

The most memorable pictures often entail misbehavior.

The plummy walls of the San Diego Museum of Art give the exhibition they surround, From El Greco to Dalí, a velvet jewel-case warmth. If the rooms were full of Goya’s ferocious Caprichos or Disasters ...

Human Passing

We’re cognizant of but normally don’t heed the fact that we’re hostages of fortune. I sometimes think photography was invented as a memory aid to press upon us that unhappy fact. The first batch of ...

Goodnight Starlight?

“I tried to rescue the Starlight Bowl because I saw the amazing potential a venue like that had,” says Chris Leyva after learning that managers of the 4000-plus seat amphitheater had recently filed bankruptcy. “I ...

Engaging Shaw at the Old Globe

“George Bernard Shaw” may have been his best fictional creation. The cantankerous genius loved to rant, like a spoiled brat, and turn conventions upside down. He renounced capitalism, organized religion, and social injustice, along with ...

The Tempest at Old Globe; Poster Boys at Diversionary

Since The Tempest opened in 1611, people have wondered where Shakespeare located its strange, enchanted isle. Prospero’s enemies are returning to Naples from a wedding at Tunis. A storm blasts them onto the rocks of ...

San Diego Zoo Loop

For a bit of morning exercise, especially if you’re a local San Diegan, consider this quick jaunt at the San Diego Zoo — a place not normally thought of as a hiking destination. Get there ...

Tracy Letts's August: Osage County at the Old Globe

In the dead of summer, temperatures in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, reach triple digits, with the humidity not far behind. The town, 60 miles north of Tulsa, near the Kansas border, lies along Tornado Alley. But in ...

The Way We Were

The atrium at the Museum of Photographic Arts offers an essay on what we thought we were as a people during the ’50s and ’60s. Constellated images by several photographers tell us that, before anything ...

The Case of the Wandering Charles Fries and Ivan Messenger Oils

Even if it’s at the expense of the public, the City of San Diego wants to ensure that certain employees of America’s finest city have an appreciation for fine arts — or so it seems, ...

Flaunt It: Racy Women from Regal Times at SDMA

As a warm-up before you see the splashy Gainsborough exhibition running at the San Diego Museum of Art, make a pass at Fragonard’s late 1770s Blindman’s Buff in the Timken. In a vaguely bucolic setting, ...

Find Coast Redwoods in Balboa Park

Balboa Park’s trail system is just about complete. After several years of planning and implementation, five trail “gateways” are in place, and a total of 19 trails emanate from those gateways. Throughout the park, sprucing ...

San Diego Set to Put Car Chargers on the Map

Charging stations for electric vehicles are coming to Balboa Park, said Charlie Daniels from the City's parks and recreation division during the April 7 meeting of the Balboa Park Committee. Daniels said three charging stations ...

Balboa Park Bypass Bridge Battle Continues

Since Qualcomm cofounder Irwin Jacobs announced plans to remove vehicles from Balboa Park's Plaza de Panama last August, critics and park preservationists have asked to hear alternatives to the proposal. At the center of the ...

Woodwork by Hodgkin

I’m sitting on a bench in the San Diego Museum of Art, which has just opened an exhibition by the British painter Howard Hodgkin. Pretty quiet here, only four other warm bodies, one of them ...

Save Our Heritage Organisation Stands Up for Cabrillo Bridge

On March 4, Mark Johnson, the lead designer on Balboa Park's Plaza de Panama project, gave an update to the Balboa Park advisory committee. Johnson says that his firm, Civitas, continues to conduct public outreach ...

All in Favor of Balboa Park Preservation...

Rob Steppke chairs the North Park Planning Group. He also sits on the Balboa Park Committee, an advisory committee to the mayor and city council. On February 15, Steppke asked his fellow North Park planners ...

Winds Take Down Three Eucalyptus in Balboa Park

A eucalyptus tree measuring at least 30 feet tall fell over at the Balboa Park Horseshoe Club on Wednesday, February 2. The tree’s roots were uprooted amid gusty Santa Ana winds. Nobody was hurt, but ...

Death of a Salesman at the Old Globe

God created time, an old adage holds, to keep everything from happening at once. If so, then Willy Loman is running out of time. Events from now and yesterday inundate him, often with competing claims. ...

Historical Walk in Balboa Park

The 1915–16 Panama-California Exposition site in Balboa Park is renowned among San Diegans for its incomparably beautiful Spanish-Moorish buildings, its gardens, and the graceful Cabrillo Bridge. That area is the primary destination of the walk ...

East Balboa Park

Balboa Park’s easternmost section, aligned with 28th Street, isn’t well known among most San Diegans, let alone tourists. North Parkians, South Parkians, and Golden Hilliers, along with local golfers, do know of several out-of-the-way features ...

The Lush Life of Toulouse-Lautrec

Don’t get the wrong idea. I don’t frequent adult entertainment establishments. Not anymore. But whenever I drive from the airport to Balboa Park, while going up Laurel I sometimes give a friendly nod to Pure ...

City Council Considers Balboa Park Locales for Winter Shelter

“There is a loophole that would allow [a winter shelter for the homeless] in Balboa Park,” wrote Stephen Hill, policy advisor for councilmember Todd Gloria and consultant for the Land Use and Housing Committee in ...

Hell on Wheels at the San Diego Zoo

Culture is roughly anything we do and the monkeys don’t. — Lord Raglan It was warm and sunny the Friday before Labor Day — a perfect day to go to the zoo, or at least ...

Balboa Park Lily Pond Undergoes Landscape Renovation

A rope fence installed on September 23 keeps visitors from approaching the Lily Pond in front of the Botanical Building in Balboa Park. “Landscape Renovation Project Under Way,” reads a sign on the fence. “Sorry ...

Rock photography at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park

Not being a musician or performer, I have no idea what it’s like to be in a life that lurches from on-the-road lulls between gigs to the raw, over-the-top energy of performance. Like most of ...

Prowling the Park

Summer is a hot time for tourism at Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo, even hotter for thieves prowling the cars along Zoo Drive. From January 1 to July 31, there were 64 reports ...

Look of Death

Carol Williams — San Diego civic organist and artistic director of the Spreckels Organ Society — hates the heat. She also hates it when the wind blows her hair in her eyes and when June ...

Tommy Guns and Classy Tunes

San Diegans hear a show’s “Broadway bound” so much the tag has lost pizzazz. The Old Globe’s recent musicals — The First Wives’ Club, Sammy, and The Whisper House — came decked with Great White ...

Stones and Bones

“We are glorious accidents of an unpredictable process with no drive to complexity.” — Stephen Jay Gould (paleontologist) I told myself I was being magnanimous when I invited my sister and her two sons to ...

Royal Madness

The Old Globe is staging two plays about monarchs gone mad: Shakespeare’s King Lear and Alan Bennett’s Madness of George III. Lear’s is self-inflicted. A seemingly simple test of love has a “butterfly effect.” Families ...

Hero Worship

We usually think of the Greek gods as figures, as human embodiments, but to the Greek mind the gods were also, above all, states or conditions of being. Poseidon is god of the sea, yes, ...

Icon or Abusive Swine?

The males in Shakespeare’s original audience for Taming of the Shrew probably saw Petruchio as a Hercules and Katherine Minola as his 13th labor, far graver than swabbing down the Augean stables or slaying the ...

Words Like Arrows

Adrian Noble has written a valuable book: How to Do Shakespeare. In it, the former artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company teaches a master class on the subject. He sums up the objective behind ...

Census

In the spirit of this census year, we offer this unofficial, informal, and unscientific census of daily life in San Diego. (No census workers were lynched or faked their own lynchings while gathering the following ...

Stage Dads and Dummies

How many people want to be unpaid movie extras, sit in the hot sun all day, and pretend to watch a fake tennis match? For the modestly budgeted Hollywood movie filming around San Diego this ...

Brain Bucketless

Three police cars blocked automobiles from taking the Cabrillo Bridge into Balboa Park at about 3 p.m on May 24. Five more squad cars were parked in the middle of the bridge, where about a ...

Bard-time pay

Balboa ­Park’s Old Globe Theatre escaped the great financial meltdown of 2008 relatively unscathed, at least according to its IRS return covering the 12-month period ending in December 2008 and filed last November 18. The ...

States of Mind

Photography is a great dumping ground of sentimental clichés. Lovebirds, autumn leaves, maternity-ward prune-faces, sublime mountain streams, birthday antics... Fill in the list. Grand illusion-maker that it is, and connoisseur of the uncanny, photography is ...

Earth Lovers and Baby Killers

Thousands of people flocked to Balboa Park on Sunday, April 18, to celebrate EarthFair 2010. This year marked the 20th anniversary of the celebration, billed as "The world's largest annual environmental fair" by event producer ...

Jerry Said “No”

About 75 people attended an April 10 meeting of the San Diego chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) at the WorldBeat Center. "We're going to start pushing a lot ...

Where the Wild Things Are

Zoo: An excellent place to study the habits of human beings. — Evan Esar The sky was clear and the air was an agreeable 68 degrees — ideal conditions for visiting the zoo. When I ...

Clear as Mud

The Balboa Park Task Force met March 15 in the Santa Fe Room of the Balboa Park Club to discuss the future of Balboa Park with regards to fundraising management and governance. All 17 volunteer ...

Rembrandt All Over

In the late 1640s and 1650s, the Netherlands’ prosperous Golden Age dimmed. Hundreds of businesses failed, and a major recession enfeebled the entire society. Even Rembrandt, renowned and rich, hit a wall, partly of his ...

Jazz in the Park Has New Signage

Jazz in North Park is the new name for an old concert series that hopes to pick up where it left off over a year ago. In 2008, Jazz in the Park (as in Balboa Park) went dark when its host, the San Diego Museum of Art, pulled the plug after a seven-year run.

When the Horses Are Gone

I asked Sergeant Bret Righthouse about the bad old days, back in 1994, before a cadre of mounted San Diego Police Department officers began routinely patrolling Balboa Park. Transients and illegal aliens had set up ...

Good Driver Wanted

At about 9:45 p.m. on Sunday, December 13, a driver speeding down Sixth Avenue lost control of his car after taking a sharp turn onto Palm Street. The errant driver’s car hit and smashed a ...

Festival of Car Lights

“December Nights” in Balboa Park kicked off with a lurch, leaving winners and losers in an all-night battle over parking. The two-day event opened Friday; a night to forget, according to a would-be attendee who ...

Good Try, Rock

On October 31, myself and a couple other urban campers went to Balboa Park, at Sixth Avenue and Hawthorne, to take part in a get-together especially for the homeless called “H.O.P.E.” The flyer that was ...

Tony's Friend

Kurt and Tony are friends who travel together for safety. At night they sleep in one of San Diego’s many “cubbyholes,” as the homeless call the spaces behind bushes and buildings. Kurt Wiley said he ...

Another Perfect Day

Snapshots of all sides of our neighborhoods.

BALBOA PARK Another Perfect DayBy downtownphotoguy, June 26Today we were in Presidio Park in the morning and Balboa Park in the afternoon. We were shooting with a variety of lenses and techniques…. It seems everybody ...

Broken Promise

Last month on September 15, the San Diego City Council rejected two sites — an East Village warehouse and a parking lot in Balboa Park — for the annual temporary winter shelter, voting 5-2 (one ...

Stopped in Their Tracks

At about 5:30 p.m. on October 1, cops swarmed the grounds outside Balboa Park’s Sixth Avenue bathroom across from St. Paul’s Cathedral. Soon after, a tall, thin man wearing sweatpants, sneakers, and a baseball cap ...

Join our
newsletter list

Enter to win $25 at Broken Yolk Cafe

Each newsletter subscription
means another chance to win!

Close