Downtown San Diego Stories

Historic Resources Board hot for Caliente sign

But one dissenting vote decides demolition question

On June 23, the City of San Diego's Historic Resources Board met to decide the fate of three painted murals on downtown’s historic California Theatre at 1122 Fourth Avenue. Bruce Coons, executive director of Save ...

No mashed gristle

Tomato and lettuce are nice and crisp. Cheddar’s sharp, onions give it sweetness.

Hmm... Which whiskey? The Glenfiddich 40-year-old costs $1049 per shot. A jigger of Benchmark costs $1. I hesitate. “Gimme the Gl…Glenfid…d’uh, no. I guess I’ll take the Benchmark,” I say. The $1 Benchmark is part ...

Tragic history for sale at downtown library auction

Mid-century chairs and homeless tables go on the block

Thousands of items of San Diego bibliophilic history are headed for the auction block this coming Saturday, June 11, at the old downtown library at 820 E St. "The Historic San Diego Central Library — ...

Urban Assault via VW

Busted bug driver talks about video that helped cops pop him

“Ultimately [the police] caught me by my name being on the side of the car, not blurring out my license plate, and I didn’t expect the video to go that viral.” Blake Wilkey, 27, was ...

Billy Joel hits a homerun at Petco

For his first visit to San Diego in 20 years, the Piano Man pulls out all the hits

The Piano Man, Billy Joel, played his only 2016 California show at Petco Park Saturday night, May 14. Joel started the show with “Miami 2017” and the sold out crowd of 42,000 sang and danced ...

Skeleton keyed up

Nathan Hubbard's new big band, the Skeleton Key Orchestra, releases Furiously Dreaming

“Writing for a large ensemble in San Diego is just ridiculous,” says drummer/composer Nathan Hubbard, the winner of the 2014 San Diego Music Award for Best Jazz Recording. Hubbard is back in the news with ...

But how many downtown bicycle thefts?

"We hear a lot about Horton Plaza, the 24-Hour Fitness, in front of the supermarket."

Downtown bike shops are hearing more complaints and questions about bike thefts, particularly from so-called “safe rooms” and bike racks in secured parking garages. Employees at a few apartment buildings downtown agreed that thefts have ...

The burrito from Berlin

Spitz, Mediterranean by way of Germany by way of L.A.

In Berlin there aren’t a lot of good places to eat burritos, so people eat döner instead. Also known as döner kebab, the Turkish import has been around for generations, and Germans have adopted the ...

Neil Good Day Center plans to move

"The homeless have been pushed to the edge of downtown."

The Neil Good Day Center for the homeless is planning to move from 299 17th Street, just north of Imperial Avenue, to 14th and Commercial streets, across from the main St. Vincent de Paul campus, ...

Cirque du Nortec

Tijuana electronica duo will make it home from the circus for Cinco

If you are reading this on May 5, there is a good chance that the two main members of the Nortec Collective are flying over your head from Montreal. The Tijuana-based techno musicians are scheduled ...

May Day rally and march downtown

"Economic rights are won through struggle in the streets."

About 250 activists gathered downtown on Sunday (May 1, or May Day) to rally and march from City College to Chicano Park in support of workers' rights, higher wages, reduced immigration enforcement, and lower incarceration ...

Downtown Caliente sign destined for doom?

Councilmembers' seats about to get hot — will they side with developer?

Enrique Limón is on a mission to save the Caliente mural on the west façade of the nearly 90-year-old, decades-abandoned, California Theatre (1122 Fourth Avenue). Limón started a petition on April 22 when he caught ...

Sac town country-rocker Stephan Hogan packs Moonshine Flats

"There was barely room to two-step on the crowded dance floor"

After learning the words to the songs on the EP I picked up when Stephan Hogan and his band played San Diego in February, I was eager to attend their return to town at downtown ...

Sale of 4th&B could mean the end of the venue

Tearing down the house?

The downtown venue that hosted James Brown, Kings of Leon, Black Eyed Peas, X, Snoop Dogg, and TV on the Radio during its 17-year run, and which was slated to be refashioned into a state-of-the-art ...

Lunging into a burger in the People’s Penthouse

Come on, li’l burger

I am the captain of my ship. I stride my bridge deck. I scan the scuddy blue seaway ahead of me. Tallships bob everywhere below. That’s how it feels anyway. Star of India, HMS Surprise, ...

Madama Butterfly is set to open at San Diego Opera

Puccini, the great whore

If I were pushed to make a declaration of my favorite opera of all time I would admit, with some sense of shame, that it is Madama Butterfly. The shame comes in because Butterfly is ...

Parker and the jazzmen

Hip-hop poet Parker Edison joins a couple of local jazz cats on his new project

“I’m doing performances in a trio with me on vocals, jazz drummer Nathan Hubbard, and jazz bassist Harley Magsino,” says Jack King, aka Parker Edison of hip-hop trio Parker & the Numberman. “We’ve definitely had ...

Gaslamp prices, but Lazy Hippo is still a find

In deepest Stingaree for brekky

Mary Smith sat here. So did a lot of her ladies of the night. So did the mayor of San Diego. They say he was a client. But that was the Gilded Age. It was ...

America's finest variety show

Tonight in San Diego kicks off season 4 on Monday, April 11

Local talk show Tonight in San Diego kicks off its fourth season on Monday, April 11, in a new location, the Raw Space Theatre on First Avenue downtown. Organizers recently concluded a successful Kickstarter campaign, ...

Gary Clark Jr.'s guitar speaks volumes

The blues-rock artist returns to play Coachella, Humphrey's in August

Austin-based guitarist Gary Clark Jr. is a man of few words. Rather than waste time with between-song banter, he lets his music do the talking for him, and on this night at House of Blues, ...

Time's about up for California Theatre

“There is significant downtown interest and support for demolishing this blighted site."

The crumbling and leaky California Theatre building, at 1122 Fourth Avenue (at C St.), built in 1927 at a cost of $340,000, has sat vacant since 1990. SOHO (Save Our Heritage Organisation) is fighting to ...

$35 tab for Moores dog-and-pony SDSU stadium show

Scandal-beset university benefactor may try again for "public-private" real estate deal

Taxpayers eager for information on the behind-the-scenes machinations regarding a downtown Chargers stadium and expanding San Diego State University to Mission Valley will have to fork over at least $35 for the privilege. That's the ...

Some things to check on Chargers' stadium plan

Be prepared to cock an eyebrow at this proposal

The plans for a new downtown Chargers stadium should come out Monday (March 28) or sometime during the week. Many of the purported details have been leaked to friendly media, so all San Diegans should ...

There’s always the Hyatt

Market One Café is open around the clock

So it’s like two. In the morning. Everything is closing down, or they’re not happy to see you walk in. But you’ve gotta have a snack before you head home. Gaslamp may have a few ...

Unholy Thursday for janitor treatment

Downtown march sought to open blind eye to low pay and harassment

A group of spiritual leaders assembled by the Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice used the celebration of Holy Thursday to join with organized-labor supporters in a push to publicize ongoing negotiations between commercial building owners ...

Squelch, tang, and crunch at Striders Clublounge

Eat, drink, wager

“Usually, you’ll hear the roar down here, guys yelling when a race is entering the last stretch.”

Life on the top

Get a unit at Downtown’s first residential high-rise

This joint has a separate elevator for tradespeople.

Justice sought for Robert Branch

"Bonnie Dumanis has continued to criminalize black and brown communities of color."

A small contingent of protesters assembled downtown on Thursday afternoon (March 10) in anticipation of preliminary hearings for the criminal trial of Robert Branch, a security-guard accused of assaulting a sheriff's deputy after an apparent ...

It's 311, so why not?

Same old, same old for 30-year-old alt-rock band

For the diehard 311 fans who crammed into the House of Blues for a rare small-venue performance, the band’s extensive merch offerings were a treasure trove of brand-new items ranging from $100 posters to T-shirts ...

Hard out here for a gimp

Wheelchair Sports Camp's handicapable MC rolls hard over social injustice

Themes of racist, classist, and sexist oppression have been central to hip-hop since its conception, but MC Kalyn Heffernan of Denver-based outfit Wheelchair Sports Camp rolls it out even further. “I grew up in kind ...

Resident now brews at Local location

Downtown's new ten-barrel brewhouse is San Diego owned

San Diego's newest brewery has set up shop just a few blocks from its oldest. Resident Brewing Co. started brewing last month, 27 years after Karl Strauss brewpub opened its first location on Columbia Street ...

Is the Chargers' favorite city about to get dirtied up?

Political hitman, illegal city-council gift purveyor, flagging Chicago-owned U-T enliven stadium saga

A flagging Chicago-owned newspaper desperate for sports business, a wealthy NFL owner with an option to relocate the family football team to Los Angeles, a consultant steeped in the dark arts of the campaign hatchet ...

Chargers redeclare wish for downtown stadium

Couple it with convention center, says team lawyer (again)

Chargers spokesman Mark Fabiani sent out an email this afternoon (February 23), stating that the Chargers are shooting for a combined stadium/convention center downtown. No surprise. As the team was trying to get to Los ...

Raiding Lucky Liu’s kitchen to say Happy New Year

Dim sum is a big deal in China. Right?

“Shin-nyen kwhy-ler,” says Dong Ha. “Happy New Year! Mandarin. What they’d say in Beijing.”

San Diego Opera and Puccini's Tosca

The season at San Diego Opera has begun

San Diego Opera has started their season of transition with Tosca by Puccini. It should be noted that all three productions this year were established by the previous regime. This season is not an indication ...

How little the world has changed

San Diego Musical Theatre’s Ragtime as good as it can be

Based on the novel by E.L. Doctorow, the musical tells a fictional story of imagined characters and people from history whose lives intersect in 1902, and who make the musical, which opened in 1998, relevant ...

Ex-baseballer hits it out of House of Blues

Country up-and-comer Chris Lane comes back to town

It was the second time at bat in San Diego for the UNC-Charlotte baseball player who traded his glove for a guitar. Country artist Chris Lane opened for Dustin Lynch at San Diego House of ...

Bánh mì makes it downtown

If you don’t know what that is, Food Shop is a good place to start

Before my friends got paranoid about gluten, we used to make a lot of bánh mì runs. With rare exception, these were always in the direction of City Heights. There are some great options to ...

Gaslamp 15, we hardly knew ye

Downtown revelers will have to find another bathroom

How an art cinema situated in the land of drunken college kids and raucous conventioneers — who only stopped in to use the theater’s restrooms — lasted eight years is in and of itself a ...

Avocado-smooshed toast and sweet, beety beauty

Halcyon and Stella bring the unusual

I was passing 15th and J the other evening. The pinnacle apartment tower was all lit up, advertising rental apartments from $2K to $10K per month. But where do all those gentrified renters go to ...

...and then a politician listened to people in need

Arc of San Diego clients express concerns to senator Marty Block

Individuals with developmental disabilities, their family members, and staff from the Arc of San Diego packed senator Marty Block’s office on January 22. “Finally, a legislator opened the door to us,” said Raquel Vasquez, an ...

You’ve got ramen options, San Diego

Yamadaya brings more noodles to the Gaslamp

It might be getting carried away to start calling San Diego a ramen town, but the recent proliferation of noodle bars suggests our collective taste for this stuff isn’t a trend that will soon pass. ...

Wiggling fish wig

“No. Not alive. They’re just so thin, they wave around in the lightest breeze.”

Running into the god of fertility and foxes in the Gaslamp.

Out of the rain, into some turkey

God’s Extended Hand

It’s 6:30 at night. Dark already. The rain’s dropping in sudden downpours and then disappearing. Tents line the chain-link fence of the vacant block on J Street. And then, in the gloom, you realize those ...

Justice demanded for "stolen lives"

United Against Police Terror San Diego group stages protest

A police watchdog group gathered in front of the San Diego Police Department's downtown headquarters on Monday (January 4) to demand a thorough accounting of what they say are hundreds of deaths at the hands ...

'Tis the season to be nasty

Radio-show hosts have giggles over plight of downtown's homeless

While some local radio stations celebrate the holidays with non-stop Christmas music, hosts on the morning show of Channel 8’s sister station KFMB (AM 760) had their own take on providing yuletide cheer. KFMB’s Armstrong ...

Bob McNair and John Moores: a marriage made in Texas

Super rich Houstonians play king-sized roles in Chargers departure drama

Houston Texans owner Bob McNair made substantial waves in San Diego this week by blasting the mayor and city council's failure to come up with a sufficiently gold-plated stadium proposal to keep the Chargers in ...

City to implement climate action plan

Goal: 100 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2035

Following years of planning and nearly two hours' worth of public comment on December 15, San Diego's city council voted unanimously (8-0, with councilmember Scott Sherman not attending) to approve a final climate action plan ...

Why is sex banned from the concert hall?

Opera may titillate and shock, but classical music as a whole is quite Victorian

Conductor John Mauceri just wrote an excellent piece in the Huffington Post which explores some of the themes we’ve touched upon here in this column/blog. A few of those themes are sports versus classical music, ...

White Buffalo roams in the shadowy parts of life

Jake Smith tours town in support of his latest, Love and the Death of Damnation

The White Buffalo and Jake Smith are one. It’s not an alter ego so much as a nickname that stuck. When he calls the Reader from his home in Los Angeles, I ask him about ...

It's all about the femme

Overcoming, brooding, and human sacrifice at San Diego Symphony

A gentle snow falls at dusk in a pristine Finnish forest. The long arctic night is descending near the winter solstice and a solitary figure wanders the wood, lost in the trees. And so the ...

Emergency memo warns of library security breaches

City auditor hits "non-existent" and outdated "policies and procedures"

Spending and security at San Diego's public library, ensconced in luxurious new digs, is out of control, endangering safety and the city treasury. So indicates San Diego city auditor Eduardo Luna in a December 2 ...

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