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Thirty-Five Years Ago
One might begin to enumerate the virtues of the Old Globe’s Much Ado About Nothing by talking about the lighting. Lighting designers tend to be among the least noticed — and often enough what they do is not worthy of much attention. They direct that the lights should be turned down to show it is night and turned up to show it is day; their work has the pleasantly dull character of all things merely utilitarian. But none of these comments can apply to John McLain, whose lighting design for Much Ado is in itself an exquisitely refined work of art, as fully expressive as anything else in the production.
“EXCEPTIONAL TASTE,” Jonathan Saville, July 3, 1975

Thirty Years Ago
How does Eleanor Widmer love Casa de Bandini?

Let’s see: she loves the crisp concha shells filled with guacamole; she loves the margaritas but is dubious about their long-term effects; she either loves or does not love the fish-minus-sauce, ditto the rice; she loves the succulent shrimp in the pineapple, but not the pineapple; she loves the lush gardens, mariachis, and general festive atmosphere.

The real reason I wrote is to ask, would her Uncle Louie like to meet my Aunt Golda?
LETTERS: ”ALL RELATIVE,” Laura Walcher, San Diego, July 3, 1980

Twenty-Five Years Ago
The first indication that the Smiths’ San Diego gig would not be another play-by-numbers concert was the band’s choice for an opening number. [T]he Smiths could have been expected to honor traditional rock and roll precepts by opening with a high-octane rouser guaranteed to plant the hook already swallowed by an enthusiastic audience. Instead, Marr eased into the loping rhythm of the band’s “Meat is Murder.”
“A SMITHS JONES,” John D’Agostino, July 3, 1985

Twenty Years Ago
Days of Thunder may indeed be Top Gun on the ground, or Top Gun without wings, or Top Gun without guns. But it is also a Crowd Roars or — closer in every respect — a Red Line 7000 for 1990, just as Top Gun was a Dawn Patrol or a Ceiling Zero for I forget now what year. That’s what makes it and its aerial mate so uncommonly disappointing, as distinct from commonly not disappointing because hopeless to begin with.
MOVIE REVIEW: “HEAVY WEATHER,” Duncan Shepherd, July 5, 1990

Fifteen Years Ago
When the National Park Service started charging admission to Cabrillo National Monument in 1987, it struck a blow to local tourism. Annual visitorship, which had peaked the year before...began a rapid descent. And all of a sudden, what San Diego boosters had once boasted was the most visited national monument in the United States, surpassing even the Statue of Liberty, wasn’t even a contender.

Now, a proposal is on the table to charge admission to yet another venerable peninsula tourism attraction: the Point Loma tidepools.
CITY LIGHTS: “RISING TIDE CARRIES NEW FEES,” Thomas K. Arnold, June 29, 1995

Ten Years Ago
A San Francisco acupuncturist refers to any procedure requiring many needles as “The Full Frida Kahlo.” He assumes his patients are familiar with Kahlo’s self-portrait, Diego on My Mind, in which wiry tendrils radiate from her head, or The Broken Column, in which flathead nails stick out all over her head and body. A woman I know once went to a costume party dressed as Frida Kahlo, no explanations needed. Imagine going dressed as Helen Frankenthaler or Grace Hartigan or even Georgia O’Keefe. That would keep them guessing.

Five Years Ago
All this poker on TV has ruined my poker group. We used to play games like No Peekie, Baseball, Seven-Card Stud, Cincinnati, Pig in a Poke, Omaha, King Low, Acey-Deucey, Guts, and Five-Card Draw. But TV only airs Texas Hold ’Em tournaments, and when my friend Joe got a new set of poker chips for his birthday, he decided he’d host a Hold ’Em game. It was a $25 buy-in. We were handed five pages of instructions at the door.
CRASHER: “POKER 101,” Josh Board, June 29, 2005

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