Downtown San Diego Stories

Lift-off achieved

Expectations are met with West Side Story at San Diego Musical Theatre

On the difficulty of making a musical, Brooks Atkinson wrote: “No one would undertake the intricate, painful, gargantuan, hysterical task… unless he had more enthusiasm than most people have about anything.” Imagine a musical conceived ...

Quad AleHouse coming to Gaslamp

Fifth Avenue address was a former Navy locker facility

The term “quad” can mean several things. My favorite reference is to the burliest, highest-alcohol of the Monastic Belgian abbey-style ales, the quadrupel, but it also refers to central meeting places such as those found ...

Instant pour convenience

Local coffee roasters have arrived downtown. The West Bean has been keeping regular hours at its new central Broadway location since soft opening in late January, serving a short roster of its own beans via ...

Greatness abounds

Two excellent and celebrated pieces will be played at two major venues this weekend

The Great Symphony — it's not the title that Schubert chose, or would have chosen, but it has stuck. The nickname was intended to differentiate this C major symphony from the Little C major Symphony ...

Cavemen ate these

Get stuffed on Meze-Greek’s fusion foods

Two ancient tastes and methods, one downtown fusion joint.

Cirque Du Soleil’s Varekai leaps into San Diego

The event includes a lion dance, lamp offerings, first incense offering for the new year, homage to thousand Buddhas service, and you can make a wish for the new year. Enjoy craft beverages from California ...

Schiff, Giovanni and death

The weekend is ripe with world-class classical-music concerts

Andras Schiff has been knighted for his ability to play the piano and he’s going to be giving a concert this weekend at Sherwood Auditorium in La Jolla next the Contemporary Art Museum at 8 ...

Mardi Gras, the Lunar New Year, Brewbies, and Dawdling Doodles

Take an exclusive after-hours tour of the exhibition American Visions and then let your creativity flow as you create a work inspired by Asher B. Durand’s The Catskills. Local artist Jessica Oh will guide you ...

More than a late-night munchies spot

Veg-friendly student favorite good enough for all

I'd actually never been to Pokéz, though I've heard about it repeatedly over the years. Everybody I know who went to college in this town seems to have fond memories of the "vegetarian Mexican eatery." ...

Upscale harem

Ed skips the hookah and inhales a panini

“Hookahs are definitely cheaper there,” she says. “But you get less of a head-rush from them.”

The Kodo Drummers of Japan return

Humorist and author Garrison Keillor makes a rare San Diego appearance. America’s favorite storyteller will entertain with comic monologues and anecdotes delivered with his signature “down comforter voice.” The Kodo Drummers of Japan return with ...

Balboa Park: The Magic City

Your San Diego Week: January 28-February 4

Patricia J. Graham, Ph.D., will discuss the themes of her new book, Japanese Design: Art, Aesthetics, & Culture, exploring the characteristics of Japanese design and the religious and cultural factors that contributed to its creation, ...

City council's secret high-rise deal

Did lobbyists and campaign cash pave way for snap purchase?

A lot of San Diego's city business is done at a snail's pace, inching slowly through city hall before reaching a city council committee and then the full council for final consideration before an often-contentious ...

Weekend scramble

The classical schedule is a little different for January 29-31

With conductors canceling and the San Diego Symphony doing double duty at Symphony Hall and the Civic Theater, it’s time to shuffle things around this week. I want to talk first about Opera on the ...

San Diego Opera happy

But this year’s saviors will need to come through in the future

The San Diego Opera, which went through death throes last year, then recovered, is starting its 50th season in remarkably good shape. Saturday night’s opening of Puccini’s La Bohème was sold out, and Sunday (Super ...

Stop and see the flowers

Nick Thune’s last solo show before his “Very Tour! Much Comedy!” tour with Kate Berlant and Ben Kronberg hits up 13 cities on the East Coast over two weeks. Thune has recently performed on The ...

Bring in the big cats

Chinese Historical Museum to install guardian lion statues on sidewalk

Civic San Diego is expected to approve the installation of two guardian lion statues at the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum downtown. The statues, about ten feet tall including pedestals, will stand on the sidewalks ...

Howl at the moon… -light or -shine

Sampler flight of local beer events happening January 20-26

January 23 | Deconstructed Anniversary Ale Night: O’Brien’s Pub is inviting Jeffers Richardson, director of Firestone Walker Brewing Company’s Barrelworks division, to taste through the numerous barrel-aged beers which were blended together to produce the ...

Stars of 2014

SD Performing Arts League will honor volunteers at a special ceremony.

The San Diego Performing Arts League announced the volunteers it will honor at the 22nd Star Awards Ceremony, on January 26. Every year, 40 arts organizations select a volunteer for special recognition. SCPAL President D. ...

Prairie Style architecture in Mission Hills

First, a private tour of the exhibition China’s Lost Civilization: The Mystery of Sanxingdui, with rare objects from one of the greatest archaeological sites ever unearthed in China. Next, view Heavenly Horses: Two Thousand Years ...

Intermittent pleasure

Steal Heaven unrealized, but earnest

Earnest intentions, not fully realized. There’s about 35 minutes of solid entertainment and edification in Herbert Siguenza’s 90-plus minute tribute to Abbie Hoffman, activist, co-founder of the Youth International Party (aka. the “Yippies”), and media ...

"That was good" — yes, very good

San Diego Symphony and Edo de Waart play nice together

As mentioned, Edo de Waart made his San Diego Symphony debut this past weekend. I attended the Sunday afternoon concert of January 11. The format of the concert was typical: overture, concerto, large symphonic piece. ...

Nice soup, but where're my wontons?

Rainy day delivery works out, with a hitch

Rainy days are bad enough, but when it's both a cold and rainy evening I respond like any self-respecting Southern Californian: by ordering Thai soup delivery. This time I opted for the Horton Plaza-adjacent Mint ...

Inconsistent beauty at Rama

Attractive setting and a standout dish doesn't justify Gaslamp upcharge

I love Thai food almost as much as I love Mexican, but both cuisines suffer from the same problem: It’s really good and (often) really cheap, which makes it hard to justify shelling out more ...

Sir Neville out, de Waart in

Neville Marriner was to conduct the San Diego Symphony but is ill

Sir Neville Marriner, known to many as the founder of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, was supposed to be conducting the San Diego Symphony on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of this week. ...

The Last Unicorn daintily gallops in to San Diego

Over 80 sailboats of all shapes and styles will compete — kiteboards chase catamarans and schooners sail with sleds. Great views along the parkways of Shelter Island and Harbor Island. A drawing workshop with objects ...

San Diego’s best Christmas and NYE events

Executive chef Pascal Vignau offers breakfast items such as cinnamon French toast and thick-cut applewood smoked bacon, plus a chilled seafood display with Alaskan snow crab claws, tuna sashimi, and smoked salmon. This event brings ...

Your Week: Christmas Eve on the Bay

Top events and things to do in San Diego December 18-December 24

U.S. Army veteran Capt. Luis Carlos Montalván and his service dog “Tuesday” will discuss their memoir Until Tuesday, which portrays the bond between a man and his dog during desperate times. From 1500 to 1800, ...

Six-foot orgasm

Rachmaninoff's symphony of requited love.

During intermission I exchanged the awkward tight-lipped smiles symphony goers give each other. I texted a few friends about the David Bruce piece which, by the way, was entitled Fragile Light. Then the lights went ...

Just let it go, old man

David Bruce guides us toward the light in world premiere.

An old man sitting behind me said, "Gil Shaham is good" to the lady accompanying him. God help me to stop being that guy. If we ever go to a concert together and I try ...

Run Run Santa

Top events and things to do in San Diego December 11-December 17

The Grinch will be at the UC San Diego Bookstore for a story time for kids at 11 a.m. and noon on the first-floor Kid’s Corner. They will be reading Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch ...

Dessert followed by veggies

San Diego Symphony ends the concert with the vegetable dish.

Sometimes we’ve gotta eat our veggies after we have dessert. I’ve never tried it, but it’s basically what happened during the last half of the San Diego Symphony concert on Saturday night. The first half ...

Kate Smith sings again

Stephanie Blythe to sing standards for San Diego Opera.

Stephanie Blythe is bringing her one-woman show about Kate Smith, "We'll Meet Again: The Songs of Kate Smith," to the Balboa Theater on Thursday, December 11 at 7 p.m. Blythe was here last April to ...

Last call for Les Miz at SDSU, Enron, Honky

Three strong shows must close by December 7 — don't miss them.

Before it begins to look a LOT like Christmas, there’s still time to catch three shows that must close Sunday. 1.) Les Miserables in Concert at SDSU. Lamb’s Players did a minimalist version of the ...

Place for picky eaters

Kid-friendly health-food spot sets up at the New Children's Museum.

I started out as a picky eater, one of those kids who plucks the olives off his pizza, or fishes the onions out of his goulash. I suppose I'm still fussy, though my pickiness has ...

Earn your turkey in O’side on Thursday morning

Top events and things to do in San Diego November 27-December-3

“Move your feet before you eat” this Thanksgiving at Oceanside’s 9th Annual 5 mile or 5K run/walk. With a costume contest, largest-teams competition, live entertainment everywhere, and finisher medals for all participants. The Headquarters at ...

Mahler Seventh? No problem.

San Diego Symphony capably delivers Tchaikovsky and even Mahler's "problem child."

“It’s kind of like a road trip, you’ve gotta at least try.” I was trying to be jocular during intermission on Saturday night but the gentleman I was trying to engage with my humor stared ...

Mahler's problem child

Maestro Ling discusses Mahler's Seventh Symphony.

Let’s talk a little more about Mahler. His Seventh Symphony is this weekend at San Diego Symphony and I was able to speak to non other than Maestro Ling about Mahler’s “problem child”. We spoke ...

Words as weapons

Honky at San Diego Rep animates a conversation about "demographics."

“Sup now?” Peter wrote an ad for a basketball sneaker, the Sky Max. Told to target “urban” youth from 14 to 24, he assumed that meant young black men and invented the expression “sup now?” ...

Paint Poppies in Oz

Top events and things to do in San Diego November 13-November 20

Today we take the birth-control pill for granted, but author and former Wall Street Journal reporter Jonathan Eig will share the story of its tumultuous origins and how four forward-thinking people — a feminist, a ...

Timpani and GTOs

San Diego Symphony revs it engine.

There is a quality about Leonard Bernstein’s music which has kept it fresh and cool for decades. Saturday’s Opus 2014 Gala Concert opened with Three Dance Episodes from On the Town. I wonder if someday ...

Equal parts sun and shade

Liz Miela crafts Encore's Champagne Lemongrass Mojito

Mixers and historians of the dram are both debating: does the Mojito derive its name from the spiced Cuban citrus seasoning known in those parts as mojo, or from the Spanish word mojadito (“a little ...

Old Hollywood Style in San Diego

Top events and things to do in San Diego October 30-November 5

In 1986, Chinese archaeologists working at Sanxingdui in Sichuan province excavated two large pits that contained monumental bronze figures of humans and imaginary creatures, throwing the narrative of Chinese history into confusion. This lecture explores ...

Rachmaninoff is a rose, is a rose, is a rose

Lola Astanova plays Rachmaninoff and Chopin at San Diego Symphony.

Authenticity happens when your actions reinforce your beliefs and ideas — you know, those beliefs and ideas that you won't shut up about. The ones your family roles their eyes at while you protest, "Hey, ...

Le Parfait Paris open Downtown

French pastry and minimal style from a local caterer's new brick-and-mortar

Totes-adorbs, Euro-chic café, Le Parfait Paris, grand opened for business in the Gaslamp earlier this month. Depending on one’s viewpoint, the decor is either cold and cheerless, or stylish and minimal. One thing is certain: ...

Richly concentrated

Third-wave neighborhood spots set to break over the next month.

Several established local roasters have been building out new storefronts this month, giving third-wave coffee drinkers plenty of new neighborhood options going into November. Dark Horse Coffee Roasters is just about set to open a ...

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 ...

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