Downtown San Diego Stories

Three of clubs

The Reader's on the case of all that empty space

The California Theater hasn’t hosted a show since 1989.

Strawberries, jazz, and a woman in the moon

Thursday | 21 A brief survey of silent sci-fi films from 1898 through 1929, followed by a screening of Fritz Lang’s 1929 sci-fi flick (with excellent science). The library’s silent-film ensemble will provide the live ...

Endangered species at the Botanic Garden

Thursday | 14 Celeste Ng will discuss her debut novel about a Chinese-American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Selected by Amazon as their best book of 2014. Friday | 15 A map will guide ...

Spanish music by French guys comes to the Symphony

Sounds like they might punch you or make love to you — or both

I complained about a lack of variety in symphonic programming just in time for the San Diego Symphony to present an entire concert of hidden gems, built around a Spanish theme. Ravel is the most ...

Atmosphere project no longer up in the air

Apartment house will provide 205 affordable residences

On March 25, 2010, the Reader published a story titled “What's Up with the Big Cortez Hole?” The hyped Atmosphere condo development had fizzled and left a giant construction hole between Fourth and Fifth avenues ...

Bacon, crawfish, and mimosas (not at the same time)

San Diego's tastiest events from May 7-13

Thursday | 7 Four days of live music with over 85 musical acts on six stages and 10,000 pounds of crawfish trucked from Louisiana. Cajun and zydeco performers include BeauSoleil, Michael Doucet, the Euphoria Brass ...

Show thief!

Conrad Tao runs away with the entire evening at San Diego Symphony

Conrad Tao stole the show twice on Saturday, May 2, at Symphony Hall. He tore the place apart with the Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 1 and then upstaged that monster with the conclusion of Prokofiev’s ...

"Hot Rod" DeMink firing on all pistons

Local blues man anticipates upcoming Gator by the Bay showcase

Blues guitarist Jerry DeMink has played music professionally for 30 years in front of all types of audiences. Still, he admits being daunted at a recent gig: Playing for the children at an orphanage down ...

No marketing, sharing, or promotion, please!

What if the sparsely attended Symphony realized it was 2015?

Never, ever, record a symphony or opera concert. Ever. If you do, it will be a blatant and vile transgression against the very foundations of what your friends want you to share with them. (And ...

San Diego Rep explores the Uncanny Valley between you and your replicant

Will you be you?

Robots became so human-like that thoughts of playing God plagued their creators.

Living on the edge with no living wage

Another day of action observed, another day of inaction from politicos

Activists pushing for a higher minimum wage through the labor-backed Fight for 15 campaign staged their biggest protest yet on Wednesday. Starting early on the morning of April 15, the protest — timed to coincide ...

Greatest of the great

The 50th Anniversary Gala at San Diego Opera may be a monumental experience

The voice was bouncing off the back wall of the house and echoing back onto the stage. The goosebumps were making their rounds through the assembly. It was obvious that this was going to be ...

What kind of racket is Civic San Diego?

Agency’s backers seek less oversight while one of their boardmembers sues

The Downtown San Diego Partnership, a nonprofit business-minded organization, is stepping up its defense of Civic San Diego, the private nonprofit in charge of permitting in select neighborhoods and handling redevelopment functions throughout the city. ...

Happy hour all day at La Mentirosa by Karina's

Seduced by scallops and sliders amidst a colorful lesson in Mexican history.

It’s not every day you get greeted by a president’s grandson. I’m in this oasis I’ve come across at the empty end of B Street, near City College. It’s called, uh, “The Liar.” Or, because ...

Get your super hero on at Marvel Universe Live

...and other event picks for the week of April 15-22

Thursday | 16 A touring show with special effects, pyrotechnics, aerial stunts, martial arts, motorcycles, and video projections designed to immerse the audience in the action and story. Runs through Sunday. Friday | 17 Josh ...

Next generation of excellence

The second year of Ben Vereen Awards “celebrates excellence in high school musical theater”

Now in its second year, the Ben Vereen Awards “celebrates excellence in high school musical theater.” On April 26, 20 nominees from the local high schools compete to be in the Top Ten representing San ...

Brunch at Searsucker in the Gaslamp

Food win, cocktail fail

When someone invites me to dine downtown, my initial reaction is usually one of dread. I can’t consider meeting up with friends or attending an event in the Gaslamp without first suffering through images of ...

Flaunt it, make cider, and meet some artists

San Diego's top events picks from April 9-15

Thursday | 9 A runway event (with signature cocktails) featuring Scott Rich’s eco-friendly prints in his womenswear collection. Friday | 10 View Helen Redman’s explorations of motherhood plus a series of family portraits that she ...

Samples at the Symphony

The weekend is booked with classical music

The San Diego Symphony is offering a pay-what-you-want sampling of next year's season. The orchestra will be performing sections of the 2015-2016 season. There will be an open bar. I mean, the bar will be ...

The green people are at the door, Mr. Mayor

Citizens show up at city hall to ask for Climate Action Plan specifics

A host of green-minded organizations gathered in front of city hall on Monday afternoon (April 6) to ask mayor Kevin Faulconer to devote additional funding to begin implementing some of the measures in his draft ...

Easter on the beach

And select events for the rest of the week

Thursday | 2 Cafe 21’s Chef Leyla and the team from Suzie’s Farm have created a menu using only Suzie’s organic, local produce. Add a cocktail pairing for an additional $20. Friday | 3 Photographer ...

Immediate masterpiece at San Diego Symphony

Shostakovich's Tenth Symphony was an instant classic at release

"There is no curse in Elvish, Entish, or the tongues of Men for this treachery." I'm going to switch up that Tolkien quote and say, "There is no sufficient honor in Elvish, Entish, or the ...

Last call: Oedipus El Rey, You Can't Take It with You, Baby with the Bathwater

Three very different, beautifully performed shows must end their runs this Sunday.

Oedipus El Rey, San Diego Rep. This isn’t Sophocles’ Oedipus, its playwright Luis Alfaro’s Oedipus Gomez. He rises from prison to become a Scarface-like, L.A. drug lord who has faith only in himself (“God’s ego’s ...

Growler art, shred talks, and asteroids

Thursday | 26 Stories about riding the bus, reading a map, dealing with helmet hair, and whatever else can happen when people move en masse. The VAMP (Visual/Audio Monologue Performance) reading series is an evening ...

Good idea: 365 days of homeless housing

Council to vote on St. Vincent de Paul proposal tomorrow

On Tuesday, March 24, the San Diego City Council will vote on whether to approve a proposal by St. Vincent de Paul Village for year-round "interim housing" for the city’s homeless. But on Sunday morning, ...

Say Goodbye to Kensington Video

The Kensington-Talmadge Community Association is throwing the Hanfords a send-off party in honor of their 50 years. Scott Marks, San Diego Reader film critic, will discuss what the store has meant to San Diego film ...

Unfolding fatality

SD Rep presents marvelous, tragic version of Oedipus El Rey

A young man and an older woman, both naked, make tender love in silk sheets amid a roseate aura. They haven’t known each other long, but found common goals and dreams. A blazing sense they ...

Satisfactory clank!

Total taste heaven in the shape of an artichoke, a burger, mussels

Getting escorted out of Lou & Mickey’s...to the redesigned patio.

Shamrocking in the Gaslamp

A juried art and design exhibition of SDSU student and faculty works exploring food as a fundamental need, modern food production and its relationship to the environment, the culture of eating, and its relationship to ...

"Kissinger" keeps it to a low rumble

The Reader's interview with Patrick Carfizzi continues in part 2 of 3

Nixon in China opens on Saturday March 14th at the Civic Theater. The showtime is 7 p.m. We continue with our interview of big-bad-Kissinger, Patrick Carfizzi. Part 1 of this interview is also available. San ...

Downtown baa-becue

Saltbox's lamb sliders ain't sheepish

If you can get in through the two-ton door, this place has some surprising bargains. It's Friday afternoon around fiveish. I have just resisted the temptations of the House of Blues and its $2 Happy ...

New brewer a “Local” product

Taking a look at the homebrewer hired to man the Local’s brewpub project

Time flies when you’re covering a craft brewing scene that, in the past three years, has seen 78 brewery-owned hospitality venues come online within San Diego County. Of those, 55 were the products of completely ...

Lots of beer events On Tap

Sampler Flight of local beer events for March 3-7

March 6 | Reader On Tap: Kick off a weekend of suds saturation at The Observatory North Park when the San Diego Reader assembles some of San Diego’s best breweries — Ballast Point, Rip Current, ...

The Great? Not at all!

Schubert's Ninth is bad, bad music and the San Diego Symphony is in a slump.

I'm renaming Schubert's Symphony No. 9, known as The Great Symphony. I'm going to call it The Great Tediousness. This symphony goes nowhere, and for what feels like an eternity. I must admit that when ...

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.

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 ...

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.”

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 ...

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. ...

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 ...

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