For the past two years, this auxiliary building at the New Vision Christian Fellowship in University Heights has been hosting strictly free shows and art exhibits (though donations are welcome, and 100 percent of door sales benefit artists and musicians). You can browse local works to the live soundtrack of anything from experimental dragcore tuba/vox duo Aquapuke, to Celtic-rock anthems by Lexington Field, to klezmer-punk jams by Di Nigunim. The venue is explicitly drug- and alcohol-free, so leave the flask and pipe at home. I know what you’re thinking, and, no, there won’t be a surprise sermon midshow.
Psychedelic art, live music, flamenco dance, postmodern photo exhibits, and wine — these are probably not the first articles of culture that come to mind when you think of Tijuana. But this inconspicuous alleyway between Third and Fourth streets (off lively Avenida Revolución) gives San Diego’s finest art walks a run for their money. The first Friday of every month, 18 storefronts-gone-studios come to life with installments by musicians, photographers, graphic designers, craftsmen, artists, and dancers. Among the artisans, you’ll also find T-shirt printers, bike and skate shops, and a cozy café.
325 15th Street, East Village
San Diego Space 4 Art
Occupying a 23,000- square-foot warehouse complex in the East Village, S4A has room for over 1000 guests, along with studio space for 30-plus artists, some of whom live on the premises. With all that content being generated, Space 4 Art offers two to three events every week. These range from cutting-edge dance fusion to kids’ puppet shows. The place is open to the public during the day, even when major events aren’t happening.
1863 Fifth Avenue, Bankers Hill
(No longer in business.)
Drawing Jams @Tin Can
Inspired by a similar event in San Francisco, Drawing Jams is hosted by the Double Break gallery adjacent to this popular Bankers Hill venue. For each installation, about ten mostly local artists create drawings in-house that are then pinned to the walls and offered for sale at what co-curator Matt Coors calls “reasonable prices.” It makes for a casual environment in which to mingle, have a beer, enjoy music curated by the venue, chat with artists, and find local art on the cheap. Tin Can recently obtained a liquor license, so you can sip a cocktail with a burger from the house kitchen, Doods Foods.
2236 Fern Street, South Park
The decor at this popular South Park venue is redone every third Thursday during Makeout Weird, when curators and experimental art/music power–duo Monsterpussy and Freak Sauce debut original video loops. Installations have seen everything from cheesy portraits found at Kobey’s Swap Meet by Gabe Serbian (the Locust, Le Butcherettes), never-before-seen pieces by Jason Lane (Crash Worship), and work by renowned street artist Acamonchi. The event’s two-year anniversary party in April saw the Whistle Stop transformed, with 3-D, real-time projections on four screens and genre-defying music pumped live through quadrophonic sound. Try a Weird Guero, the event’s token beverage — a Mexican White Russian, of sorts.
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