David Dodd 10:27 a.m., June 19
It was a sad day for clowns when, last July, antiquated zoning regulations forced Technomania Circus to shut down their backyard performance space in Barrio Logan after seven years of operation.
Determined to continue juggling regular productions, the group leased a Logan Heights space up the street – a church dating back to the late ‘50s - and christened it after the location’s 1913 given title, Victory Theater.
After a good amount of refurbishing and artistic touch-ups, Technomania relocated the Center for the Amusing Arts to 2558 Imperial Avenue with a show in August and, a few months later, received the City’s blessings to operate as a theater in lieu of paying an estimated $17,200 in permitting fees.
Victory Theater is now home to monthly Technomania productions and has been rented out for events including traveling circus acts, the third annual San Diego Burning Man Film Festival, all-ages experimental shows, and a Santana cover band.
“It’s a synergistic effort,” says Bruce ‘Dr. Techno’ Cartier, one of Technomania’s foundational members since 1999. “We have all sorts of crazy stuff to keep us entertained, and hopefully the community too.”
One way the theater amuses the community is the Fun House Days series running through May 20, when the public is invited to play around in the theater's outdoor sculpture garden, which was inspired by East Jesus in Slab City.
Fun House Days (Wed-Sun, noon-3 and 4-6, $2-5 donation) feature hourly circus acts, music on a giant organ, mini golf, carnival games, shadow puppets, and a flea circus.
Victory is also gearing up to host monthly music events, such as the new Bad Music night held every first Monday (8 p.m. - $5).
"I want the bad music night to function as a 'safe' space for anyone who wants to perform some material that is new and might not work at all,” curator Sean Francis Conway told Reader contributor Bobby Bray earlier this month. “The audience is expecting you to be bad from the start, so that is a much different kind of atmosphere to enter as a performer."
The event has seen performances from Conway, Randy Chiurazzi, Reggie Costa, and Sasha ‘MC Salsa Surrender’ Syeed.
Syeed, who performs as a one-man band under the alias Nothingful, is continuing a monthly of his own with his second show at the venue tomorrow night (Friday, April 27 - $7) featuring:
8:30: Odd & Even
9:15: Adams and Eves
10: Primitive Noyes
11: A Nothingful Band
“I love the venue and like how it is this unknown, magical, large space,” says Syeed. “It feels like it’s our little secret. The acoustics in there are great. It holds a couple hundred people. The venue offers a unique concert/performance experience that is very special, and a very welcome alternative to the loud, late bar experience and the sometimes stuffy and/or small art gallery experience or sweaty and police-threatened house shows.”
Maria Cochina of art rock outfit Vaginals is curating a mini-fest at Victory Theatre on Saturday, May 12 with Shiva Trash, The Natives, Interrobang, Vaginals, Pal&Drome, Mystery Cave, Killer Swan, Technikcolor Twins, and L.W.D's.
“[The theatre] has a beautiful old school venue vibe,” Cochina says. “It really feels a lot like the way the Ken did in the 80's. I hope they gain some support from our law enforcement as the all-ages scene in SD needs a place like that to keep a local music culture/community thriving. Also, almost all of the all-age venues are run by Christian groups, vegan straight-edgers, or reside in remote locations. This is a secular establishment that is fully open to diverse opinions and resides in the heart of the city. This is really amazing potential for the kids. I hope it will continue to gain love and support from the community.”
Show some love and check out an upcoming Victory Theatre production.