Downtown San Diego Stories

Certified fat cat at Sevilla

Taking stretch-dollar business to the Gaslamp

It’s sunset on Fifth, Friday night. Gaslamp’s rocking. Pedicabs strain by with tourists squeezed three across in the back and reggae music blasting out. The cyclo guy’s calf muscles bulge as he hauls his load ...

Racy conclusion

Beethoven contemplates but Mozart drives fast

As of June 20, the Mainly Mozart Festival is done for 2015. The final concert was a study in contrasting styles of music. Or perhaps I should say contrasting moods instead of style. The entire ...

Shining, happy people

Mainly Mozart musicians deliver a Biblical experience

“As he [Jesus] was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus...As the ...

John Legend makes the ladies squeal

Neo-soul singer launches his European tour from Copley Symphony Hall

There’s nothing as entertaining as seeing an artist at the top of his game in an intimate venue. Such was the case when nine-time Grammy-winner John Legend made a stop in San Diego prior to ...

Top-notch Mozart by way of Bach

San Diegos request to classical music might just be "talk to us a little"

Saturday night’s Mainly Mozart concert was a wonderful experience of musicology. Conductor Michael Francis spoke before each piece instead of having a printed “Maestro’s Notes” in the program. This is the type of approach which ...

Sinatra suits singer — and so does the suit

British performer Richard Shelton celebrates Ol' Blue Eyes at the Grant Grill

Richard Shelton has a very good reason to keep in shape: he owns a tuxedo once worn by Frank Sinatra — and it fits him perfectly without any alterations. “We’re the same height and weight,” ...

Convention center sails in some choppy financial waters

Ragged condition, ragged balance sheet

There is no way to justify a convention center expansion when the insides are coming apart, and so are the finances. Grand jury, independent budget analyst raise questions.

You need an epic to describe an epic

A Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra experience only Homer can describe

“No more words — he dashed toward the city, heart racing for some great exploit, rushing on like a champion stallion drawing a chariot full tilt, sweeping across the plain in easy, tearing strides — ...

Wide open to interpretation

Talent's not the issue with Everybody’s Talkin: The Music of Harry Nilsson at San Diego Rep

“Goin’ where the sun keeps shining/Thru the pouring rain/Goin’ where the weather suits my clothes…” To those who recall when Midnight Cowboy came out, the lyrics conjure up Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight scuffling down ...

Tomato dominates fish at Mr. A’s

The “fritos” were fun to eat and inspired another round of drinks

I’ve long heard that Mr. A’s has the best view in town, but I’ve avoided finding out for myself. For a while, the jacket-and-tie dress code kept me away (I couldn’t even tell you the ...

Storytime on Broadway

Plans for towers 21- and 41-stories tall on blighted downtown block

Under review before Civic San Diego is a proposal to build two mixed-use towers downtown — one 21 stories and one 41 — on a blighted block along Broadway. The project, temporarily called “Broadway Block,” ...

Voice of understanding

Conductor Michael Francis talks Mozart, "the most fascinating of all musical lives"

The new music director of Mainly Mozart, Michael Francis, hits us with a firehose-stream of knowledge and understanding prior to the opening of the Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra concerts. The interview is so extensive that ...

Mainly better than sliced bread

The Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra starts this week!

I’ve been waiting for this moment for 49 weeks. I’m not even joking. The first of five Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra concerts is this Saturday, June 6, at 7:30 p.m. The venue is the Balboa ...

Rolling Stones set fire to the Gaslamp

Plus four of Daniel Knighton's Pixel Perfect photos from the show

In the hours leading up to Sunday's opening night of the Rolling Stones 2015 Zip Code Tour at Petco Park, the atmosphere in the Gaslamp Quarter was on fire. Every bar, every restaurant was at ...

Raelee Nikole offering her Answers May 29 in East Village

Twenty-year-old singer/songwriter's debut full length

“My best local gig ever happened last year on my nineteenth birthday, when I was a final contestant in the San Diego County Fair’s Singer/Songwriter Competition,” says Raelee Nikole. “Although I only performed two songs, ...

Above the bar, below the legend

San Diego Musical Theatre's Singin' in the Rain a competent rendering of a classic

Aw come on, you mean the movie where Gene Kelly — with a glow-ree-us feelin' — kick-splashes puddles, spins that black umbrella, glides with gymnastic grace, and joy-hangs from the side of a lamp-post didn’t ...

Stanley Cup at the Stout

The most genuinely pubby pub in town

“Oh no!” I hear it from B Street, plus a racket of laughs and arguments and cheers. It must be Stanley Cup time. The fan clans have gathered at Sixth Avenue between B and C, ...

Three of clubs

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

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

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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, ...

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’ the redesigned patio.

"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 ...

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 ...

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