Downtown San Diego Stories

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 ...

Homeless camp cleanup downtown

"It's not a cold and callous operation. We put up notices three days in advance"

Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol cleared homeless camps around the Highway 94 off-ramps and I-5 overpasses next to downtown on Friday morning, September 4. Around morning rush hour, homeless people gathered downhill from the ...

New convention center study likely to fail test

Consultant's dubious track record ignored by San Diego leaders

The consulting firm of Convention, Sports and Leisure International has come out with a $90,000 study telling San Diego that if it builds a contiguous convention-center expansion, it will gain $157.1 million in direct convention-attendee ...

Tchaikovsky menagerie

The Pops concludes this weekend

Suddenly Labor Day Weekend is upon us. The ship is turning. Summer is slipping toward the western horizon and frivolous activities are being replaced with serious endeavors. The pastoral Major League Baseball begins to yield ...

Himalayan Dine Inn's herbs and lentils could start a knife fight

This food should be a spread for a crowd to share, fight over

"My name is Bhim. The name means ‘bravery.’” Bhim’s as tall standing as I am sitting, but he’s stocky, fit-looking, and confident. He’s wearing a Nepalese-style cap, with a little replica of two crossed knives ...

The Rep plays Violet fast and loose and the Globe plays a thin Comedy of Errors

Bus ride to salvation

Violet studies faces. She even sketches their features in a book. For her own, she’d like a composite: Rita Hayworth’s skin, Ingrid Bergman’s cheekbones, and Grace Kelly’s petite nose. Violet’s obsessed with facial features. When ...

All are welcome in the Yours Truly family

Anaheim-based rapper Phora gets real in the Voodoo Room

Phora connected with fans, his “family” to use his words, with intimacy in the House of Blues’ Voodoo Room. At a time in hip-hop when artists are preoccupied with describing often fictitious material possessions and ...

Beer hall and study hall overlap in the Gaslamp

Prime vantage point to witness Gaslamp bedlam

What’s this? Craft beer on Fifth? That’s right. Our downtown strip is straying further from its time-honored formula of tourist traps and EDM cesspools to bring West Coast suds to the Gaslamp. Nearby establishments such ...

A trolley view and Brazil's latest export — the tapioca crêpe

Jungly flavors

"Tapioca is just healthier. And it’s our native food. Tapioca is a Brazilian plant.”

Prices paid for San Diego public loos

Annual cleaning tab is $99,720 for two; in Portland, six cost less than $105K

A lot has, and hasn’t, happened in the decades since downtown’s public restroom shortage came to light. Two grand jury reports and vast sums of money have been aimed at the problem, the homeless population ...

Spend it before San Diego schools can!

Civic San Diego has until December to find a use for $28M

One good thing about the dissolution of redevelopment tax in San Diego: tens of millions of dollars seemingly appear out of thin air. The most recent pot of redevelopment gold was discussed at an August ...

Filipino cuisine gets contemporary

Ocean Pacific Grille reads “of the moment”

Filipino cuisine has been tabbed by food experts and national magazines as “the next big thing” for several years now. While San Diego does offer a number of restaurants serving traditional dishes such as lumpia, ...

Get on it!

Move fast if you want to do a half marathon in August

If you’re thinking about doing a half marathon event this month, you better get on it. The Stairway to Heaven trail half-marathon is already sold out but it looks as though the America’s Finest City ...

Last Call: Kiss Me, Kate, and the Fringe winners are...

The Old Globe’s mega hit must close Sunday and the most Fringelicious selections for 2015

Kiss Me Kate. The Old Globe’s mega hit must close Sunday. No if’s, and’s, or could we start again please’s. In 2013, Darko Trasnjak, former artistic director at the Globe, brought us a gem of ...

Music Box winding up, Avalon on the horizon

Latest news on the San Diego nightclub scene

After being dark for two-and-a-half years, the Little Italy space formerly known as Anthology has been renamed the Music Box and crews are racing to have the remodeled restaurant/bar/music venue opened in time for the ...

Last Call: The Quality of Life & Fringe Fest best

The Fringe Festival ends this Sunday. As does one of San Diego’s best dramatic productions in years. The Quality of Life. Intrepid Theatre Company mounted Jane Anderson’s heart-wrenching, gut-busting play at the Carlsbad Village Theatre, ...

Will CivicSD approve Trump-like sign for old Sempra HQ?

Manchester Financial Group seeks vanity sign

Manchester Financial Group now owns 49 percent of the downtown building that formerly housed Sempra Energy, at 101 Ash Street. It bought the minority share in the property for $20 million, reported the San Diego ...

Full disclosure

Brace yourself for a gratuitous personal plug. With all due respect to my esteemed colleague, Jeff Smith, I thought my “review” of Kiss Me, Kate would mark a first and last move away from cinema. ...

San Diego Fringe: Big Kitchen: A Counter Culture Musical

Big Kitchen: A Counter Culture Musical. San Diego should confer the equivalent of knighthood on its special ones — those who have devoted decades to making some part of “America’s Finest City” approach that inflated ...

San Diego Fringe: The Other Don Quixote and 120 Years

The Other Don Quixote. Three clowns – replete with red noses – represent three after-hours workers at a film studio. The set, like most at the Fringe, is rudimentary, made up of bare bone essentials: ...

San Diego Fringe: Yellow Heaven and A Date with Death: Hollywood Confidential

Yellow Heaven. “One performer’s journey” — that’s the way, according to the old joke, you refer to a show about which you’re uncertain of the specifics. Yellow Heaven, performed by author Debi Ham, has sympathy ...

San Diego Fringe: Scenes From Mars One: Now With 68% Less Gravity! and Los Dorados (The Golden Ones)

Scenes From Mars One: Now With 68% Less Gravity!. Mars One Productions’ Scenes From Mars One is an irreverent spoof of disastrous theatrical experiences. A depressed director puts on a never-before-produced show, written by his ...

San Diego Fringe: Falling Man and Hikari

Falling Man. In his one-man, completely improvised dance/theater piece, Leonard Cruz tackles topics that range from 9/11 to his own days as a troubled frat guy searching for acceptance at UCLA. Wildly different themes? Sure. ...

San Diego Fringe: Blamed: An Established Fiction and Work Schmerk

Blamed: An Established Fiction. In Rose & Rue Theatre Company and the La Habra Theatre Guild’s new play, a troupe of ladies, dressed as if fresh off the boat at the turn of the 20th ...

San Diego Fringe: ¿Y Tú Qué?

¿Y Tú Qué? When the prima ballerina couldn’t use her legs, she created a “dance on wheels.” Rossana Penaloza performed in Peru (her home country), Havana, Cuba, and Mexico City, always to robust applause. For ...

San Diego Fringe: So Small a Thing and Breaking Waves Festival

So Small a Thing. Even tragedy can be played for comedy. Dominique Salerno’s scripts opens years following the gruesome events in Euripides’ Medea. Stuck together on an elevator for the deceased, the angry Medea (Jennie ...

San Diego Fringe: Bodies Are Not Borders and Men and Juliette

Bodies Are Not Borders. A woman and two men sit with their backs against a stark orange fence patched by sheets of corrugated steel. A second woman, on her back, slides out from a doggy-door-like ...

San Diego Fringe: The Hustle, A True Historie of Prince Prospero, and The Golden Age of Burlesque

The Hustle. Lion Fludd, from Las Vegas, Nevada, may start out nervous in his one-man magic act. But he eases into his most impressive skill, his humor. His concept is street-style hustling magic, from card ...

San Diego Fringe: Put Your Face On and Train of Thought

Put Your Face On. Touted as a parade into the complex human psyche, Put Your Face On is The Great Borealis & Pisces Dance Project’s two-part modern dance expose of the dark emotions that bubble ...

San Diego Fringe: 84 Gradini and Jay & Charlie Get Drunk

84 Gradini. Kinetic Giuseppi Mortelliti tells his story as much with his body as his words. His character, Fabrizio, learns that “life is made of stairs, of obstacles, of ups and downs.” But he has ...

San Diego Fringe: Tears of the Knife and My Mother’s in the Audience

Tears of the Knife. Ah, the Fringe Festival! Where else in San Diego can you walk into a theater and see a hanged man, his head in a gunny sack, looming above the stage? And ...

Bust those eyeballs!

11 days, 430 events: the third-annual San Diego International Fringe Festival is here

There’s that eyeball-buster logo again! The third annual San Diego International Fringe Festival begins Thursday, July 23 and runs through August 2. That’s eleven days. As fans of the first two found out, they go ...

No to Starbucks, yes to Calabria

Calabria expands in leisurely Italian style

Later this summer, longtime North Park coffee roaster Caffé Calabria will launch its first offsite expansion in 15 years, opening a satellite coffee bar in a ground-floor storefront at the 1 Columbia Place high-rise in ...

Comic-Con rocks!

The Reader breaks down the Con's companion concerts

Comic-Con-themed music events around town on Thursday include Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions at Embarcadero Marina Park South, with orchestral arrangements performed to visuals drawn from video games. The House of Blues will host its annual musical ...

Swanky 22nd-floor loft in the heart of downtown

Beds: 3 Baths: 5 Current Owner: Eleanor Jaffe Asking Price: $4,900,000 On the block this week is an “alluring, stylish, and swank” 22nd-floor loft in the heart of downtown, featuring three bedrooms, five baths, and ...

Iron Chef Vietnam comes to San Diego

The fancy and flavorful at Sovereign Kitchen & Bar

I’ve tasted my way around gỏi cuốn (salad rolls), phở (rice noodle soup), and lemongrass chicken; I’ve sampled “classic dishes” such as ca kho to (fish in a clay pot), and several versions of bánh ...

Delivery.com needs more restaurants

The service works, but it’s short on options

I’m amazed how many restaurant delivery apps and web sites have sprung up in San Diego the past few years. Read about some of them here, here, and here. As I dig deeper into available ...

July is busting out all over!

Theater preview for the month to come

T’is the season. Count some of the ways: NOW PLAYING: La Jolla Playhouse: Come From Away. The world premiere musical, by Irene Sankoff and David Hein, creates a comedy within a tragedy. On the morning ...

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