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Letters

Bouncers, Side Two

I take great exception to the article “Bouncers” by Michael Hemmingson (Cover Story, January 8). He portrays club bouncers in almost romantic, heroic terms. I have lived in San Diego since 1975. I have had and been witness to numerous incidents with bouncers here. For the most part, they are uneducated losers who have no employment skills, and many of them cause more incidents than they “solve.”

Recently, I was cutting up boxes at my house in OB and saw my neighbor in front of a nearby bar. I went over to tell him to stop by and pick up some mail that had been misdelivered when I was confronted by one “doorman” who had been trying to start a fight with me for several weeks. I have no idea why, except that he’s an idiot. He had tried to throw me out a week before when the bartender, a friend of mine, told him to chill out. I wasn’t a problem.

On this night he ran to the door, confronted me, and stated, “Let’s deal with it now” and grabbed me. He and two of his cowardly co-losers jumped on me, threw me to the ground, kneed me in the ribs several times, and put their knee on my neck and back. They told police I had “pulled a knife” on them. After talking with witnesses, cops could see they were lying and let me go. I haven’t decided yet whether to sue.

This is typical of the type of incident I have witnessed over the years. There may be a few professionals, but they are the exception, not the rule. Most of the article was one-sided garbage.

Terry H.
Ocean Beach

A Fool And His Trademark

Jay Allen Sanford notes that there’s no provision in U.S. copyright law for a “poor man’s copyright” of the name “Kayo” (“Blurt,” January 8). Well, more to the immediate point, there’s no provision in law for any sort of copyright of short names. Names, instead, may be trademarked. The underlying reason to allow names to be trademarked is to protect second parties from deception; otherwise, allowing people to make any sort of claim on brief strings (which any fool or computer could quickly generate) would make no sense.

Backing up to the general idea of a “poor man’s copyright,” where one uses a notary or some such to time-stamp a claim, it’s not a wholly useless notion. Copyrights may be claimed on work that was never registered with the U.S. Copyright Office; in a dispute over authorship, a court would look at the evidence provided by a “poor man’s copyright.” (However, the victim can only claim actual damages if the work was registered with the Copyright Office.)

Daniel Kian McKiernan
via email

Next, A Republican Party

Kudos to Josh Board and his partying until drunk (“Crasher,” January 8)! How about topping this off by going to a gay party and participating like a “gay”?

Fernanda Ramirez Velasco
via email

Feel Refreshed

Terrific story, SDReader! “Gangbangers to College Students” (Cover Story, December 24) is the most refreshing thing I’ve read about San Diego — and a San Diegan — in a long, long time. Christopher Yanov is the real deal. His imagination and willingness to act are proof that social problems are better solved by well-educated young men and women than by old, broken, corrupt systems like mayor’s offices and lumbering school districts. Thank you, Mr. Yanov, for your vision. Thank you, Jorge and Edgar, for your courage. And thank you, Ms. Davenport, for some good news and a fine, clean piece of writing.

Alex Finlayson
via email

Word Out!

I’m the music director at KKSM-AM (1320) Palomar College Radio. I just read your article about local radio in San Diego, and I thought it was fantastic (“Why Local Radio Is No Longer Local,” Cover Story, December 31). Just wanted to let you guys know, hopefully for future consideration in an article, that we are a totally local, college-funded station that plays alternative music mostly, but really we have no boundaries. We play what we think is good, and we are far from a cookie-cutter radio station. Our signal is sort of weak (working on that), but it comes in great in North County and is available online at palomarcollegeradio. com.

If your readers are looking for a local, fun station, then look no further than to good ol’ AM radio! Thanks for reading this far if you did! We need all the help we can getting the word out that we are here!

John Deskovitz
via email

Locals Only

Your writer Thomas Larson overlooked one radio station that is both legal and 100 percent local: KSDS-FM (“Why Local Radio Is No Longer Local,” Cover Story, December 31). We program mainstream jazz and blues 24/7. While our license is held by the San Diego Community College District, we are professionally operated. We serve as an adjunct to the Radio/ Television Department at San Diego City College.

We are locally programmed by Claudia Russell. Our deejays are each responsible for “pulling” their own show from our music library of over 200,000 songs (not including the vinyl). We even have an all-request show that is truly programmed by our listeners’ phone calls.

People across San Diego County listen to us at 88.3 on the FM dial. People around the world listen to us at jazz88.org. All our programming, events, and education information is available online at the same Web address.

Local programming is alive and well in the form of public music radio.

Ann G. Bauer
Jazz 88.3

Sociopaths In Charge

Being a native-born third-generation San Diegan, local radio has played a major role in my cultural evolution (“Why Local Radio Is No Longer Local,” Cover Story, December 31). My father had a radio and TV repair shop back in the ’50s, which exposed me to the media from birth, literally. I can still remember the first color TV broadcast out of L.A. Radio was always on, everywhere I went, every house, in the car, and on those portable transistor radios. I heard every major artist, from teenybop pop to high classical, jazz to country, R&B to psych-o-delic, comedy, and spoken word. It was a marvelous exposure and nourished my soul for decades.

Now, San Diego radio has become some brainwash tool in the hands of sociopaths. All the richness of our American musical heritage has been diminished to short playlists on “oldies” stations (do people really want to hear Gary Lewis and the Playboys over and over, every day?). Various genre-based stations, adult contemporary and hip-hop/dance, indie-music (it’s not independent at all), clutter up the airwaves on FM. While AM is so overwhelmed with talk radio, 99 percent ultra-right-wing irrational, hysterical propaganda and “Christian” stations (primarily fundamentalist Bible Talibanesque stations that go hand in hand with neocon philosophy).

My heart is broken by this devolution of the art form of radio. I really feel sorry for the Gen XYZs who have been robbed of the golden eras I experienced on the radio, growing up in this town without pity. Political agendas have ruined the art of radio, and I see no light on the horizon. Hopefully, the Internet will find a way to undermine the established Clear Channel behemoth and force them to serve the public as a source of edification, enlightenment, and true entertainment.

If those of you really want radio to change (no one I know likes radio anymore), then boycott their sponsors and flood them (Clear Channel or any other clone network) with emails and calls of utter contempt.

One more statement: San Diego does not need six TV news channels all saying the same thing over and over all day, every day. What the hell is that about?

Thanks for the soapbox.

Lord Chris
via email

Old Stogie

“Why Local Radio Is No Longer Local” (Cover Story, December 31) was emailed to me by a longtime friend and current media consultant/financier (call him “Woodie,” real name Dave). We also attended Ithaca College’s broadcasting degree program back “in the day,” mainly the late ’60s, in an Ivy League town (Cornell) where our professor for “Creative Writing for TV” was Rod Serling! We also had a great college radio station, WICB, where I took a turn as program director, which is still on the air and just won a “Woodie” award for college radio. Creativity wasn’t tolerated — it was mandatory! We played Quicksilver Messenger Service, Spirit, Santana, Fleetwood Mac, the original Pink Floyd (with Syd Barrett before he went mad), Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, Lenny Bruce, as well as the Beatles’ nonhit LP tracks, Rolling Stones’ nonhit tracks, and anything else that made the college administration hate us. It was the original home of Doug Tracht, later the infamous “Greaseman.” So don’t cry for me, Argentina — I was there, baby, and smokin’! There was a certain “aroma” associated with that period that lingers to this day.

For those of you who remember the great 30-minute “Recycling Promo” that preceded the demise of KGB “BOSS RADIO,” I was one of the founding fathers of the new progressive KGB-AM/FM back in 1972, along with the great Ron Jacobs (who has his own Internet radio show available at whodaguyhawaii.com). At that time it was inconceivable that the FCC would ever allow owners to have more than one AM, one FM, and one TV in the same market. It was every man for himself, and the competition (you call Hudson and Bauer a golden heyday? They were hacks!) was fierce.

KGB-AM (1360) was the first “progressive” AM station in San Diego (I was with KRLA when they tried it in Los Angeles under Shadoe Stevens in 1970) that played “FM” music. Very few people had FM radios in their cars at that time, so it was immediately a hit with the “hip” (read that “OB”) crowd. Larry Himmel was on the late, great (real) KPRI-FM 106 as part of the Doobie and Roach (he was Roach) morning show and later came over to KGB as Baba Cruz. I was Captain Billy along with Brad Messer and Brent Seltzer at KGB AM/FM, and in 1972 we were number one with the 18–35 demographic in the morning.

Every great program director, from Ron Jacobs to Jack McCoy to Buzz Bennett, took a shot at San Diego. It was the bright center of the radio-programming universe, and every great jock of the era, like Lee “Baby” Simms, Live Earl Jive, the “Silver Surfer” Gabriel Wisdom, Bob Coburn, and on and on had their day in San Diego. It was a test market for every new format and an acid test of a jock’s ability to get an audience. At KGB, Ron Jacobs and I invented the HomeGrown albums, the true source of today’s local music scene (there was zip at that time), and it unfortunately led ultimately to American Idol (instant fame beats paying your dues!).

Later, in the late ’70s and early ’80s, KGB-FM became the single biggest phenom on the West Coast, with monster ratings in every day part. By then, I had morphed, at Gabriel Wisdom’s urging, into The Hergon Breakfast Club with the great Jeff Prescott, and we went from a 3.3 share in morning drive to an 8.8 in less than a year. Why? Because we were San Diego. It would not have worked in any other market in America. Consultants from out of town thought we were so arcane that they could not figure out why the station was so huge — and thus the success was never duplicated anywhere else. You can’t transplant local, by its very nature!

So everything you say in the article is true — it just lacked the historical perspective of someone who was there and fought the good fight when radio had to be local. Oh, and one other thing, it used to be fun!

As for today’s radio, I don’t bother. KIFM is wall-to-wall station promos with “liner reader” jocks (has anyone ever told Jay Weidenheimer that he sounds exactly like T.J. Thyne of Bones?), so I tune out as soon as they start talking, and I put AM radio on if I need a traffic report.

As for Rush Limbaugh, well, folks, the real reason for his success is, as alluded to above, because he is a seasoned professional radio broadcaster who knows every trick in the book to keep you hooked.

I worked with Casey Kasem when we started American Top 40 in 1970 (which, by the way, aired first in the nation here in El Cajon on KDEO radio on July 4 weekend in 1970), and he was the master of getting you to hang in there as we “counted ’em down to number one.” A pox on Ryan the Moron Seacrest. He couldn’t shine Casey’s shoes. That anyone pays any attention to this jerk is a testament to the fact that we, as a culture, have forgotten — or, worse, repudiated — true originality and creativity.

As for reinvention, or “life after radio,” well, that’s a tough one. I have finally found a business where I am the sole proprietor, answer to no idiot program director, and have nothing to do with the radio broadcasting business whatsoever — and I’ve never been happier, have fewer wrinkles, and don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn! (If some of you old-timers are guessing that this is Bill Hergonson writing, give yourself a cigar.)

Bill Hergonson
via email

Crescent Confusion

The restaurant review titled “2008: The Year in Food” (December 31) is most interesting. But I can’t find any information on the Crescent Grill, mentioned under “Best New High-End Restaurant.” There is no further information in the article on the website. Please clarify with the exact name and location. Any relation to Crescent Heights or Crescent Shores Grill?

Brad Bruce
via email

Naomi Wise responds: Mea culpa. With an early copy deadline for the New Year’s Eve issue, somehow or other the name of an L.A. restaurant seeped into my mind instead of the local one. The proper name is Crescent Heights Kitchen and Lounge, at 655 West Broadway, downtown, 619-450-6450.

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Bouncers, Side Two

I take great exception to the article “Bouncers” by Michael Hemmingson (Cover Story, January 8). He portrays club bouncers in almost romantic, heroic terms. I have lived in San Diego since 1975. I have had and been witness to numerous incidents with bouncers here. For the most part, they are uneducated losers who have no employment skills, and many of them cause more incidents than they “solve.”

Recently, I was cutting up boxes at my house in OB and saw my neighbor in front of a nearby bar. I went over to tell him to stop by and pick up some mail that had been misdelivered when I was confronted by one “doorman” who had been trying to start a fight with me for several weeks. I have no idea why, except that he’s an idiot. He had tried to throw me out a week before when the bartender, a friend of mine, told him to chill out. I wasn’t a problem.

On this night he ran to the door, confronted me, and stated, “Let’s deal with it now” and grabbed me. He and two of his cowardly co-losers jumped on me, threw me to the ground, kneed me in the ribs several times, and put their knee on my neck and back. They told police I had “pulled a knife” on them. After talking with witnesses, cops could see they were lying and let me go. I haven’t decided yet whether to sue.

This is typical of the type of incident I have witnessed over the years. There may be a few professionals, but they are the exception, not the rule. Most of the article was one-sided garbage.

Terry H.
Ocean Beach

A Fool And His Trademark

Jay Allen Sanford notes that there’s no provision in U.S. copyright law for a “poor man’s copyright” of the name “Kayo” (“Blurt,” January 8). Well, more to the immediate point, there’s no provision in law for any sort of copyright of short names. Names, instead, may be trademarked. The underlying reason to allow names to be trademarked is to protect second parties from deception; otherwise, allowing people to make any sort of claim on brief strings (which any fool or computer could quickly generate) would make no sense.

Backing up to the general idea of a “poor man’s copyright,” where one uses a notary or some such to time-stamp a claim, it’s not a wholly useless notion. Copyrights may be claimed on work that was never registered with the U.S. Copyright Office; in a dispute over authorship, a court would look at the evidence provided by a “poor man’s copyright.” (However, the victim can only claim actual damages if the work was registered with the Copyright Office.)

Daniel Kian McKiernan
via email

Next, A Republican Party

Kudos to Josh Board and his partying until drunk (“Crasher,” January 8)! How about topping this off by going to a gay party and participating like a “gay”?

Fernanda Ramirez Velasco
via email

Feel Refreshed

Terrific story, SDReader! “Gangbangers to College Students” (Cover Story, December 24) is the most refreshing thing I’ve read about San Diego — and a San Diegan — in a long, long time. Christopher Yanov is the real deal. His imagination and willingness to act are proof that social problems are better solved by well-educated young men and women than by old, broken, corrupt systems like mayor’s offices and lumbering school districts. Thank you, Mr. Yanov, for your vision. Thank you, Jorge and Edgar, for your courage. And thank you, Ms. Davenport, for some good news and a fine, clean piece of writing.

Alex Finlayson
via email

Word Out!

I’m the music director at KKSM-AM (1320) Palomar College Radio. I just read your article about local radio in San Diego, and I thought it was fantastic (“Why Local Radio Is No Longer Local,” Cover Story, December 31). Just wanted to let you guys know, hopefully for future consideration in an article, that we are a totally local, college-funded station that plays alternative music mostly, but really we have no boundaries. We play what we think is good, and we are far from a cookie-cutter radio station. Our signal is sort of weak (working on that), but it comes in great in North County and is available online at palomarcollegeradio. com.

If your readers are looking for a local, fun station, then look no further than to good ol’ AM radio! Thanks for reading this far if you did! We need all the help we can getting the word out that we are here!

John Deskovitz
via email

Locals Only

Your writer Thomas Larson overlooked one radio station that is both legal and 100 percent local: KSDS-FM (“Why Local Radio Is No Longer Local,” Cover Story, December 31). We program mainstream jazz and blues 24/7. While our license is held by the San Diego Community College District, we are professionally operated. We serve as an adjunct to the Radio/ Television Department at San Diego City College.

We are locally programmed by Claudia Russell. Our deejays are each responsible for “pulling” their own show from our music library of over 200,000 songs (not including the vinyl). We even have an all-request show that is truly programmed by our listeners’ phone calls.

People across San Diego County listen to us at 88.3 on the FM dial. People around the world listen to us at jazz88.org. All our programming, events, and education information is available online at the same Web address.

Local programming is alive and well in the form of public music radio.

Ann G. Bauer
Jazz 88.3

Sociopaths In Charge

Being a native-born third-generation San Diegan, local radio has played a major role in my cultural evolution (“Why Local Radio Is No Longer Local,” Cover Story, December 31). My father had a radio and TV repair shop back in the ’50s, which exposed me to the media from birth, literally. I can still remember the first color TV broadcast out of L.A. Radio was always on, everywhere I went, every house, in the car, and on those portable transistor radios. I heard every major artist, from teenybop pop to high classical, jazz to country, R&B to psych-o-delic, comedy, and spoken word. It was a marvelous exposure and nourished my soul for decades.

Now, San Diego radio has become some brainwash tool in the hands of sociopaths. All the richness of our American musical heritage has been diminished to short playlists on “oldies” stations (do people really want to hear Gary Lewis and the Playboys over and over, every day?). Various genre-based stations, adult contemporary and hip-hop/dance, indie-music (it’s not independent at all), clutter up the airwaves on FM. While AM is so overwhelmed with talk radio, 99 percent ultra-right-wing irrational, hysterical propaganda and “Christian” stations (primarily fundamentalist Bible Talibanesque stations that go hand in hand with neocon philosophy).

My heart is broken by this devolution of the art form of radio. I really feel sorry for the Gen XYZs who have been robbed of the golden eras I experienced on the radio, growing up in this town without pity. Political agendas have ruined the art of radio, and I see no light on the horizon. Hopefully, the Internet will find a way to undermine the established Clear Channel behemoth and force them to serve the public as a source of edification, enlightenment, and true entertainment.

If those of you really want radio to change (no one I know likes radio anymore), then boycott their sponsors and flood them (Clear Channel or any other clone network) with emails and calls of utter contempt.

One more statement: San Diego does not need six TV news channels all saying the same thing over and over all day, every day. What the hell is that about?

Thanks for the soapbox.

Lord Chris
via email

Old Stogie

“Why Local Radio Is No Longer Local” (Cover Story, December 31) was emailed to me by a longtime friend and current media consultant/financier (call him “Woodie,” real name Dave). We also attended Ithaca College’s broadcasting degree program back “in the day,” mainly the late ’60s, in an Ivy League town (Cornell) where our professor for “Creative Writing for TV” was Rod Serling! We also had a great college radio station, WICB, where I took a turn as program director, which is still on the air and just won a “Woodie” award for college radio. Creativity wasn’t tolerated — it was mandatory! We played Quicksilver Messenger Service, Spirit, Santana, Fleetwood Mac, the original Pink Floyd (with Syd Barrett before he went mad), Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, Lenny Bruce, as well as the Beatles’ nonhit LP tracks, Rolling Stones’ nonhit tracks, and anything else that made the college administration hate us. It was the original home of Doug Tracht, later the infamous “Greaseman.” So don’t cry for me, Argentina — I was there, baby, and smokin’! There was a certain “aroma” associated with that period that lingers to this day.

For those of you who remember the great 30-minute “Recycling Promo” that preceded the demise of KGB “BOSS RADIO,” I was one of the founding fathers of the new progressive KGB-AM/FM back in 1972, along with the great Ron Jacobs (who has his own Internet radio show available at whodaguyhawaii.com). At that time it was inconceivable that the FCC would ever allow owners to have more than one AM, one FM, and one TV in the same market. It was every man for himself, and the competition (you call Hudson and Bauer a golden heyday? They were hacks!) was fierce.

KGB-AM (1360) was the first “progressive” AM station in San Diego (I was with KRLA when they tried it in Los Angeles under Shadoe Stevens in 1970) that played “FM” music. Very few people had FM radios in their cars at that time, so it was immediately a hit with the “hip” (read that “OB”) crowd. Larry Himmel was on the late, great (real) KPRI-FM 106 as part of the Doobie and Roach (he was Roach) morning show and later came over to KGB as Baba Cruz. I was Captain Billy along with Brad Messer and Brent Seltzer at KGB AM/FM, and in 1972 we were number one with the 18–35 demographic in the morning.

Every great program director, from Ron Jacobs to Jack McCoy to Buzz Bennett, took a shot at San Diego. It was the bright center of the radio-programming universe, and every great jock of the era, like Lee “Baby” Simms, Live Earl Jive, the “Silver Surfer” Gabriel Wisdom, Bob Coburn, and on and on had their day in San Diego. It was a test market for every new format and an acid test of a jock’s ability to get an audience. At KGB, Ron Jacobs and I invented the HomeGrown albums, the true source of today’s local music scene (there was zip at that time), and it unfortunately led ultimately to American Idol (instant fame beats paying your dues!).

Later, in the late ’70s and early ’80s, KGB-FM became the single biggest phenom on the West Coast, with monster ratings in every day part. By then, I had morphed, at Gabriel Wisdom’s urging, into The Hergon Breakfast Club with the great Jeff Prescott, and we went from a 3.3 share in morning drive to an 8.8 in less than a year. Why? Because we were San Diego. It would not have worked in any other market in America. Consultants from out of town thought we were so arcane that they could not figure out why the station was so huge — and thus the success was never duplicated anywhere else. You can’t transplant local, by its very nature!

So everything you say in the article is true — it just lacked the historical perspective of someone who was there and fought the good fight when radio had to be local. Oh, and one other thing, it used to be fun!

As for today’s radio, I don’t bother. KIFM is wall-to-wall station promos with “liner reader” jocks (has anyone ever told Jay Weidenheimer that he sounds exactly like T.J. Thyne of Bones?), so I tune out as soon as they start talking, and I put AM radio on if I need a traffic report.

As for Rush Limbaugh, well, folks, the real reason for his success is, as alluded to above, because he is a seasoned professional radio broadcaster who knows every trick in the book to keep you hooked.

I worked with Casey Kasem when we started American Top 40 in 1970 (which, by the way, aired first in the nation here in El Cajon on KDEO radio on July 4 weekend in 1970), and he was the master of getting you to hang in there as we “counted ’em down to number one.” A pox on Ryan the Moron Seacrest. He couldn’t shine Casey’s shoes. That anyone pays any attention to this jerk is a testament to the fact that we, as a culture, have forgotten — or, worse, repudiated — true originality and creativity.

As for reinvention, or “life after radio,” well, that’s a tough one. I have finally found a business where I am the sole proprietor, answer to no idiot program director, and have nothing to do with the radio broadcasting business whatsoever — and I’ve never been happier, have fewer wrinkles, and don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn! (If some of you old-timers are guessing that this is Bill Hergonson writing, give yourself a cigar.)

Bill Hergonson
via email

Crescent Confusion

The restaurant review titled “2008: The Year in Food” (December 31) is most interesting. But I can’t find any information on the Crescent Grill, mentioned under “Best New High-End Restaurant.” There is no further information in the article on the website. Please clarify with the exact name and location. Any relation to Crescent Heights or Crescent Shores Grill?

Brad Bruce
via email

Naomi Wise responds: Mea culpa. With an early copy deadline for the New Year’s Eve issue, somehow or other the name of an L.A. restaurant seeped into my mind instead of the local one. The proper name is Crescent Heights Kitchen and Lounge, at 655 West Broadway, downtown, 619-450-6450.

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