Downtown San Diego Stories

Last call: The Clean House

Despite its deserved hit-show status, NVA's show about "invisible stuff" must close soon.

Theaters run on such tight schedules, few can extend the run of a hit show. NVA has one — a hit that is, not the run. Their excellent The Clean House must close this Sunday. ...

Hide and seek with a battle axe

Beethoven and Prokofiev at San Diego Symphony.

Who knew that Beethoven was a fan of hide and seek? While that might not be historically accurate, there is certainly a sense of tiptoeing around in the opening measures of his Fourth Symphony. During ...

Fests of all flavors

Sampler Flight of beer events from October 14-20

October 17 | Oktoberfest Celebration: For one über-fantastic Saturday, the gang at Helm’s Brewing Company will do everything it can to convert their nautical-themed industrial suite into a center for Germanic celebration. Deutsch costumes, music, ...

An all-Scottish affair

The San Diego Symphony opens the season with a trio of Scottish-inspired pieces.

Friday night was the first Masterwork concert of the new season. As I sat in the foyer waiting for my dude-date, I didn't observe an abundance of anticipation. It kind of felt like a mid-season ...

King Tut Arrives in San Diego

Top events and things to do in San Diego October 9-October 15

Join the International Bipolar Foundation for a luncheon with Joe Pantoliano, Emmy award–winning actor. After his role in Canvas, Pantoliano was inspired to create a nonprofit dedicated to removing stigma associated with mental illness. The ...

Last call: The Pianist of Willesden Lane and Next to Normal

Two remarkable shows are set to close October 12; don't miss them.

These shows must close this Sunday, October 12. The Pianist of Willesden Lane at the San Diego Rep. Mona Golabek’s “concert drama” is one of 2014’s best. She tells the story of Lisa Jura, a ...

Poop legal

Public restrooms on the way to downtown

More than four years after they were originally promised, a pair of "Portland Loo" public restrooms is on their way to downtown San Diego. City councilwoman Marti Emerald worked with the homeless advocacy group Girls ...

Early October's best

Top events and things to do in San Diego October 2-October 8

The Taste of Downtown is back and healthier than ever, with over 50 eateries throughout the Gaslamp Quarter and East Village. Enjoy restaurants, bistros, and take-outs with a new focus on health and wellness. For ...

Fierce tragedy

Intricate but uneven Scott Joplin’s New Rag at Mo`olelo

Now in its world premiere, Robert Barry Fleming’s 75-minute, “fierce tragedy in one act” pays a multi-media tribute to one of the greats of American music. The complex form uses different kinds of storytelling, from ...

Hahn out, Thayer in

Hilary Hahn has been forced to cancel her Symphony appearance.

The San Diego Symphony is reporting that all-world violinist Hilary Hahn has had to cancel her San Diego appearance. Hahn was to be the featured artist for the Symphony’s opening weekend concerts of October 11, ...

Ballyhoo

Five days and 100 films. That’s the promise made by this year’s San Diego Film Festival. The festival runs September 24–28, with the lion’s share of the screenings to be held at Reading Cinemas Gaslamp ...

Stadium, convention center lies you will hear

Convention center propaganda machine is lubed and ready to spew.

Suppose San Diego spends $2 billion on a stadium and convention center expansion — then goes without adequate water

Familiar story, homegrown feel

Localized The Odd Couple at Teatro Mascara Magica brims with life.

During his pre-show remarks, artistic director William Virchis joked with the audience, “If you don’t enjoy it, I’ll call Neil Simon to re-write it.” Actually, Teatro Mascara Magica has taken a major, often-hilarious, liberty with ...

Gold-standard environmentalism sought

Councilman Gloria touts "near-zero waste policy" at protest

Approximately 1000 environmental activists took to the streets of downtown San Diego on Sunday afternoon, September 21. They — among people at over 2700 sites in 140 countries — demanded a heightened effort from government ...

Basted, Azeri-style

Lamb for $5? Think Gaslamp. think Azerbaijan

Sunset. Goin' with the flow like a pooh stick in a slow crick, sauntering with the crowd down Fifth Avenue. It's the height of happy hour. Conventioneers have been let out and are looking for ...

Navigate the San Diego River

Top events and things to do in San Diego this week, September 18-September 24

Best known as Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update” anchor with his trademark line, “And now the fake news.” He was on the show from September 1994 to December 1997, when he was fired. This year’s ...

Not a lie: minimum-wage ordinance is law

Officials publicize signature-gathering liars — Mayor Faulconer absent

Local and state legislators gathered downtown on Monday morning, September 15, to demand an investigation from county district attorney Bonnie Dumanis and/or California district attorney Kamala Harris into alleged misconduct by paid signature-gatherers seeking to ...

The warmonger Obama

Local veterans protest expansion of Middle East campaign

A handful of military veterans congregated along the Sixth Avenue overpass of Interstate 5 during the afternoon rush hour on Thursday, September 11, to express their dismay over president Barack Obama's September 10 statement of ...

Shame heaped on Justice Scalia

“He’s one of the justices who has consistently voted against women.”

Protesters lined West Harbor Drive in front of the Manchester Grand Hyatt during the lunch hour on Thursday demonstrating against a host of perceived injustices at the hands of the federal Supreme Court. From women’s-rights ...

Downtown jailbreak

Last seen in khaki shorts, slippers, and a blue shirt with a large star on it

Authorities were on the lookout Tuesday evening, December 9, for a 26-year-old that managed to escape from downtown's Central Jail shortly before 6 p.m. Don Andrea Torrillo was arrested in Santee on September 5 for ...

September events in San Diego

Top events and things to do in San Diego this week, September 11-September 17

Celebrity impersonator Michael L. Walters portrays comedy icon Dame Edna Everage. Michael has a stamp of approval from Dame Edna’s manager/creator, Barry Humphries. Featuring hydroplanes, offshore boats, superlight tunnels, and many other classes of boat ...

Simply spoken, wonderfully played

The Pianist of Willesden Lane at the San Diego Repertory Theatre.

A Portrait of the Young Jewish Pianist in World War II. In the 1920s, Lisa Jura’s father was the best tailor in Vienna. But she dreamt of being a concert pianist. She’d debut playing Grieg’s ...

The last word in cheap eats

First up, I’m not an early-morning guy. But on this perfect food day, you’ve got to start at the crack of dawn. Because that’s when the dja kwai are at their freshest at Trieu Chau ...

Dog surfing in S.D.

Top events and things to do in San Diego this week, September 4-September-10

Share a newly finished or in-progress poem, painting, dance, audition piece, or even a blog post. Receive feedback and plan your next steps. Three-session class: Thursdays, September 4, October 2, November 6. Enjoy food and ...

Library book, book, book, book

A San Diego Opera preview concert with young singers.

The book, the book, the book, the book, the book.” Believe it or not, someone was singing about “the book” at the Central Library. That someone was Jennifer Wu, and it was awesome. The Central ...

Overpriced underperformer

Gaslamp sushi contender Full Moon plays at being upscale, delivers mediocre quality at elevated prices

Gaslamp newcomer, Full Moon Sushi, spent extra time in the buildout phase, but that’s OK, since the restaurant ended up with a very chic look. Mid-century American cues combine with Japanese-ish touches, like the shōji-inspired ...

Pretty slick, City

Lawsuit challenges "euphemistically labeled 'assessments'" — taxes!

It's official, expanding the convention center through the use of a special tax on hotel guests is not going to happen. Yesterday, August 27, city councilmembers decided against appealing a court ruling that deemed the ...

Lotsa pork and onions

Ed slurps pork — tender like it’s been through a blender.

Wow. Pointed prow of a big ol’ Navy cruiser knifes right past. In the waters between us and the island of Coronado. It kinda fills the sky. Heading under the bridge and home port. The ...

Wiener Dog Nationals: San Diego Finals

Top events and things to do in San Diego this week, August 28-September-3

More than a dozen majestic windjammers and other vessels from around the world, led by a vessel from the United States Navy, will parade into San Diego’s harbor, part of the 2014 Festival of Sail. ...

Audit notes sex incidents at downtown lockup

Metropolitan Correctional Center gets pass from prison-rape reviewer

Some San Diego County jails may be under the gun, but an auditor for the U.S. Justice Department has found that downtown's Metropolitan Correctional Center is in compliance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act, despite ...

Bar la carte at Fleming's

Ed discovers half-pound, six-buck burgers for Happy Hour

Usually I'd walk straight past. I mean Fleming's? Steaks muy caro. Thirty bucks? At least, probably. This is expense-account land. Plus when you do walk in, into the dark, where you can just make out ...

Unconventional logic

Combined stadium/convention center plan "ridiculous," says expert

Since the convention-center expansion was thumbed down by the appellate court, the corporate-welfare crowd — particularly the Chargers and U-T San Diego — has switched to touting a combined football stadium/convention center. "It's going from ...

NY Times pooh-poohs Comic-Con spending

But U-T says money flows

The headline in a New York Times story this morning (July 28) is "Large Crowds Spend Little at Comic-Con." The story — written by two reporters with help from a third — quotes a panelist ...

San Diego Zombie Walk turns ugly

Woman struck by vehicle suffers broken arm

The annual “Zombie Walk” started at Children’s Park, near the corner of Island and First avenues in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter shortly after 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 26. Soon, about a block away, a ...

Comic-Con spilling over like so many suds

Sampler flight of beer events from July 22 through 28

July 25-27 | 4th Anniversary Extravaganza: Every year, Urge Gastropub goes big with its anniversary, starting with its celebratory burger, which weighs at least a pound and is piled high with exotic ingredients. Ditto the ...

Late latte with Lulu

Ed finds the perfect people-watching spot in the Gaslamp.

Café Lulu is the nearest thing to a Bohemian hangout in downtown's Gaslamp. Great for late-nite lattes, hubble-bubble pipes, and street-life people-watching.

Suds from Santa to Sierra Nevada

Sampler flight of beer events from July 15 to July 21

July 19 | Christmas in July: There’s no chimney, so Santa’s using the roll-up entrance to get into the tasting room at Port Brewing Company / The Lost Abbey and deliver this year’s batch of ...

Everyone's a wiener at Sausage Fest

July 16 event lets foodies try the best of the würst

"Last year Tender Greens won Sausage Fest,” says JSix executive chef Christian Graves. “They haven’t been invited back this year because they peed in the bushes, and jumped in the pool.” Now in its third ...

SD Fringe: 146 Point Flame and word-of-mouth last calls

Hasty, vivid reflections that struggle to be heard and a unique set of recommendations for last-call shows.

146 Point Flame They called a snake in Vietnam “Two-step Charlie.” A rock asp — get bit and you went down in two steps. So you had maybe 10 or 15 seconds to curse or ...

SD Fringe: Ceremony and Nightbird

Entwinement and separation at play in two fine Fringe pieces.

Ceremony, by Michael Kass “Michael,” she said, “it’s not going to work out.” Michael Kass was a 35-year-old white male who, along with other “First World problems,” looked to go zero-for-eternity in relationships. He had ...

Welcome the children

Speakers at vigil for immigrant children blame NAFTA & war on drugs for influx

Hundreds of protesters descended on the plaza outside federal government offices downtown on Wednesday evening, July 9, as part of a nationwide day of action in support of a stream of Central American children and ...

Hoary gents & brandy

Ed’s eyes lock on a knockwurst-on-waffle sandwich.

"Come in, sir,” says this voice. It’s a guy looking through a partition. We’re inside an ancient, 100-year-old building right by the ballpark. I just wandered in here looking for food. We’re in this passage ...

SD Fringe: Getting word of mouth out

The Fringe has been a work-in-progress for everyone, reviewers as well.

Some discoveries: 1 — No non-bionic reviewer can cover everything. Maybe not even a team of pundits, since each day has nine time-slots and usually five shows on at once. That’s 45 shows per day, ...

SD Fringe: The Hideout

Haste delivers a must-see from the "boudoir of Dionysus."

It’s too bad San Diego can’t just adopt the Haste Theatre. Give them a nice, intimate space and let them showcase their fantastical (sometimes tragical) tales. Not only that, the London-based group would give locals ...

SD Fringe: Red, White, and Blacklisted

Tale of the Weavers' exile on Main Street brings out an icon and highlights the power of a space.

Ever hear of the Weavers? No? Well for over a decade the government wanted to keep it that way. The Weavers were a folk music group long before it became popular. They composed and sang ...

Off the chain, in the flow

A rambunctious festivus finishes this year's Mainly Mozart Festival

The final concert of the Mainly Mozart Festival was off the chain. "Off the chain" — what does that even mean? From Urban Dictionary: "Out of control, wild fun. Just like when your pitbull gets ...

SD Fringe: Red Shoes Revamped and other works and Long Way to Midnight

Red Shoes Revamped and other works Though I used to do a mean James Brown (“Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag”) and a so-so “Electric Slide,” I’m no expert on dance. I can appreciate the ...

SD Fringe: Fire in the Meth Lab and Ray’s Last Case

One-off spellbinder from Jon Bennett and a shallow look at Mr. CHON-dluh from Scripps

Fire in the Meth Lab A Fringe frustration: when a group from France cancelled their appearance, the Lyceum Theatre had an open slot. For one hour only, on Saturday Jon Bennett performed a work-in-progress, knocked ...

SD Fringe: Nothing With Nobody, Vucciria Teatro

Passion, tragedy, isolation in one act

Rosaria: “Then I’ll take him by his hand and we’ll jump straight down into the blue sea. He will think it’s a game.” Three characters. Sicily, 1980s. The uncredited lighting for this one-act tragedy from ...

SD Fringe: 7 Deadly Sins

Rare staging of the terse, bitter masterpiece makes the case for the Fringe fest itself.

Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s 1933 “Ballet chante” — sung ballet — encapsulates many of Brecht’s themes in a short, spare piece. The full title’s “The Seven Deadly Sins of the Petty Bourgeoise.” In nine ...

SD Fringe: Dr. Frankenstein’s Traveling Freakshow and The Peacock and the Nightingale

Freako-centric Vaudeville done right, Marilyn and Edith done wrong

Dr. Frankenstein’s Traveling Freakshow, Tin Shed Theatre Company The Fringe’s “Off Broadway” space is the stage of the Spreckels Theatre. Tiers of folding chairs, their backs to the house seats, provide an intimate atmosphere. Tin ...

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