Downtown San Diego Stories

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 ...

Concerts choke the first weekend in December

You thought Black Friday was crowded?

The first weekend in December is stacked with concerts. 'Tis the season to make a choice because many of these promising events conflict. Sunday is like a battle to the death, with no fewer than ...

Midwest meets Middle East

American by way of Azerbaijan at Cafe 21

If I were visiting from out of town for a week and staying in the Gaslamp, I might pass by Cafe 21 a few times before I gave it a chance because it doesn’t look ...

Timpani and Prieto go gigante

San Diego Symphony tours Mexico, Argentina, and Spain

Never in my life did I expect to hear a timpani concerto, let alone two, and those two in back-to-back seasons. Opening weekend of 2014 included a timpani concerto by William Kraft, and this last ...

Is U-T’s new downtown HQ jinxed?

Newspaper runs apparently altered photo of new home

A downtown office building built as the headquarters of fallen San Diego Republican kingpin Gordon Luce is soon to become a venue for what some media watchers anticipate will be the last stand of the ...

The Oldest Boy demands a parent reconcile East versus West in herself

San Diego Rep's solid show wrestles with how a woman can "think bigger than a mother"

In chapter one of his majestic In Exile from the Land of Snows, John F. Avedon must prove that a two-and-a-half-year-old boy, a thousand miles east of Lhasa, Tibet, is the reincarnation of the 13th ...

Brisk is always better than lugubrious

Painting and music combined to mixed effect in the Symphony's partnership with the Museum of Art

Saturday night’s San Diego Symphony concert was an okay attempt at combining music and art. It was a pretty idea but the execution of the concert was pretty stale. I assume the pre-concert lecture got ...

Not what Thomas Jefferson had in mind

Law students sue school over allegedly false job numbers

Former law students at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law continue their quest to prove that the downtown San Diego school tricked them into enrolling with false employment rates. Instead of lucrative jobs at law ...

Awake and registered to vote

Protesters vow to steer minimum-wage issue to the ballot box

Protesters from the "Fight for 15" movement to boost minimum wages staged a series of events across San Diego on Tuesday (November 10) as part of a larger nationwide action taking place exactly a year ...

These big chunks are swoon-worthy

Had asked for tender. It is tender. Had hoped for tasty. Oh, man...

I knew it the moment I hauled open the door. This. Is. A. Mistake. Could see the businessmen inside cracking their chopsticks apart, flattening down their silk ties. I mean, this is Nobu, right? The ...

The Cult's Ian Astbury checks in from Texas

Tripping over the moment

The Cult, fronted by Ian Astbury, invades House of Blues on November 19, stumping for their new album Hidden City, the final installment in a three-album trilogy. Astbury took questions over the phone — and ...

Who cares about beer week?

The week's big events are all about classical music

I understand that everyone is amped up for beer week but there’s some great music lined up this week as well. Point Loma Opera Theater is giving the San Diego premiere of Nino Rota’s The ...

The best fast food we’ve got

Fried chicken at Tender Greens

One of the many things to like about growing fast-casual chain Tender Greens is that each location features its own executive chef. So while you’ll find a lot of similarities between menus — chicken, steak ...

How to hang out in the Gaslamp

Simon Says makes it easy

For Bad Coffee! That’s what it says at Simon Says, the coffee kiosk at on F and Fifth, the coolest area of the Gaslamp. It’s five o’clock on a Friday night. Everybody’s your friend. They ...

The return of Ryn Weaver

"In New York, I miss what I don’t have in San Diego, but growing up I felt like a black sheep”

Want to see Ryn Weaver’s November 4 show at the House of Blues? You could buy a ticket or you could just ask her mother, Cynthia. “My mom is the worst when it comes to ...

Shame on tuna fishermen and executives

Mermaid calls b.s. on Chicken of the Sea's greenwashing

A group of environmental activists led by a mermaid descended on Chicken of the Sea's headquarters in downtown San Diego on Wednesday afternoon (October 28) to protest what they call a "greenwashing" of the company's ...

Crush the boulder into a pile of rubble

Mythic performance from the Symphony highlights the beauty in repetition

“There is no longer a single idea explaining everything, but an infinite number of essences giving a meaning to an infinite number of objects. The world comes to a stop, but also lights up.” — ...

How Comic-Con spectators combat hotel wars

The overnight Game of Woes

Comic-Con 2016 dates are set for July 21–24 and enthusiasts are bursting with anticipation as they await pre-registration news due out any day now, when 2015 attendees have first draw at badges for 2016. Following ...

Heywood does more convention center math

More numbers to show more convention space is not needed!

Heywood Sanders, professor at the University of Texas San Antonio, and the nation's ranking expert on convention centers, just visited San Diego. He is the author of the book Convention Center Follies, telling how convention ...

Peeper and palate appeal

The Flight Path offers a global selection at down-to-earth prices

Sharing walls with the Stone Company Store in the historic McClintock building by Santa Fe Depot, the Flight Path juxtaposes the 1928 warehouse’s original exposed columns and polished concrete flooring against all-white minimal modern Italian ...

Profundity through repetition in Harmonielehre

John Adams's study is our esoteric pick of the week and an upcoming Symphony concert also

We haven't had an esoteric pick of the week for a while and it just so happens that the San Diego Symphony has selected one for us. They are performing Harmonielehre by John Adams this ...

Got the library — stiff the architects!

Quigley and Tucker Sadler claim the city owes many thousands

Finding the $185 million to pay for construction of San Diego's Central Library was a constant struggle. The city, which at the time was trapped under a structural deficit, relied heavily on private donors to ...

Meat hooks, chandeliers, and prosciutto bruschetta

Good food, questionable decor at Double Standard

“It makes no sense,” David said as he scowled at the room. “There’s just no point to having those books haphazardly placed around on shelves. And those meat hooks randomly on that one chandelier when ...

Technique versus technology

San Diego Symphony's second night of the Masterworks season showcased the power of place and personality

In this day and age of computer-generated sounds and images, as the precious bud of virtual reality starts to blossom upon our consciousness, it’s nice to be reminded that technique often trumps technology. On Saturday ...

Pride and precarity

Excellence in work and fragility of position explored in earnest My Mañana Comes at San Diego Rep

If the new manager of a posh, Madison Avenue restaurant could watch his busboys work in the “back of the house” he’d never cut their “shift pay.” Or would only do it to save his ...

March toward transcendence

The 2015-16 San Diego Symphony masterwork season begins

The overture to Die Fledermaus is usually reserved for New Year's Day but the San Diego Symphony decided to use it on a new season's day. This Viennese war horse, or Lipizzan stallion, as the ...

County sued for ignoring jumper's history

Sheriff's dept. had adequate warning about schizophrenic inmate

The father of a mentally ill inmate who was seriously injured after jumping from a second floor at San Diego's Central Jail has filed a lawsuit against the County of San Diego. Jonathan Thomas jumped ...

The house that Sanford built headed for El Cajon

Jerome to pay the mover (furniture not included)

Jerome Navarra, co-founder and owner of Jerome's Furniture, kept his 2014 promise to move — rather than demolish — the formerly historic Sanford B. Myers Spec House on 16th and J Street on Wednesday, October ...

Last Call: La Cage Aux Folles and Without Walls Festival

Two events must close this Sunday, plus a tribute to Arthur Wagner, giant of local theater

La Cage Aux Folles at San Diego Musical Theatre. You have until Sunday, says our guest reviewer Jon Reimer, to “throw on a wig, put on your best pair of heels, and head on down ...

Provocative and challenging Cell has a socially-conscious pulse

Mo`olelo Performing Arts explores immigration detention and its attendant horrors for the captors and captured

As we enter the Tenth Avenue Theatre space, tall, barbed-wire fences flank both sides. Ushers don black vests with bold white letters across the back: THURSTON. A soundscape rumbles in the background. We are in ...

Kick off with star power

San Diego Symphony prepares to open its 2015-16 masterworks season

The transition begins with the 2015-2016 San Diego Symphony season on Friday, October 9, at 7 p.m. The transition refers to Jahja Ling’s stepping down as the music director for the symphony after the 2016-2017 ...

La Cage Aux Folles will make you want to throw on a wig and heels

Delightfully memorable moments characterize the San Diego Musical Theatre production

San Diego Musical Theatre is transforming the beautiful Spreckels Theatre into a Mediterranean drag club for their current production of La Cage Aux Folles, now through October 11. The musical follows Georges, the owner of ...

Taking care of planet Earth is a moral thing

Pope's climate message to be echoed at multiple-faith gathering tonight

The latest local climate action group to launch, dubbed San Diego Coalition to Preserve our Common Home, gathered on the steps of Saint Joseph Cathedral downtown on Thursday morning (September 24) to cheer on Pope ...

Let freedom sing

San Diego Opera's 2015-16 season began with an exemplar of music's purpose

René Barbera gave his North American professional debut recital at the Balboa Theater on Saturday, September 19. The concert opened San Diego Opera’s 2015-16 season. Mr. Barbera started the concert with a piece by Rossini ...

Last Call: Violet

Catch the exceptional performances before the San Diego Rep show closes this Sunday

The perfect theatrical storm’s a seamless combination of a great production of a great play or musical. The audience goes to unforeseen places and becomes so attuned, as T. S. Eliot wrote, that they “are ...

Best restaurants in the Gaslamp and East Village

Feast! Downtown

The ultracompetitive restaurant landscape around the DOWNTOWN neighborhoods of Marina, Gaslamp, and East Village leaves little room for error in what's already a risky enterprise. The mere fact these restaurants survive recommends them. That they ...

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