4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Stoke Your Creative Fire

100 Reasons to Love San Diego

Models, drinks, and drawing with Dr. Sketchy’s at the Ruby Room - Image by Matt Hohlfeld
Models, drinks, and drawing with Dr. Sketchy’s at the Ruby Room

Reader writers explore the elements of America’s Finest — water, air, fire, land.

Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School

At Dr. Sketchy’s (held the third Saturday of every month at the Ruby Room in Hillcrest, 1271 University Avenue), the models are burlesque dancers, belly dancers, rollergirls, drag queens and kings, and “rippling hunks of man.” Set to “carefully crafted music playlists,” models incorporate interesting props to complement your creativity. Artists (all levels are welcome) sip grown-up beverages in the casual bar setting. Drawing contests (judged by the models) lighten the mood and lead to free drinks and “fancy prizes.” 858-405-9453; drsketchysandiego.com

Place

North Park Vaudeville and Candy Shoppe

2031 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego

Vaudeville Candy

If you are a fan of all things campy, then the North Park Vaudeville and Candy Shoppe is your place. It’s located off El Cajon Boulevard in the center of North Park. You can purchase Lemonheads, candy cigarettes, jawbreakers, and Black Jack gum to munch on while catching up on of their performances. The theater is intimate, seating only 35, and they often feature plays from local writers (tickets are $20). On occasion, they host musical acts. The Pleasant Cruise of the Carolinas plays the first two weekends in May — it’s an over-the-top melodrama that requires audience participation. In the fall, the Vaudeville hosts the popular North Park Playwright Festival. Upcoming shows are listed on their website. 619-220-8663.

Certify your city

“Nowadays, when a person lives somewhere, in a neighborhood, the place is not certified for him…but if he sees a movie which shows his very neighborhood, it becomes possible for him to live, for a time at least, as a person who is Somewhere and not Anywhere.” — Walker Percy, The Moviegoer. A while ago, I took it upon myself to recreate every still shot that Orson Welles took of Balboa Park for the opening newsreel scene of Citizen Kane. (The park, of course, stood in for Xanadu.) Not every shot was still there to be had, but I got enough to sense what Percy was getting at. You might try it with Some Like It Hot and the Del, or It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World and Pacific Beach, or The Naked Gun and San Onofre, or Born on the Fourth of July and La Mesa, or Demolition Man and the Convention Center, or Almost Famous and lots of places. The list goes on, though Hardcore might be tricky.

Place

Mount Helix Park

4901 Mount Helix Drive, La Mesa

Mount Helix

“Friends! Romans! Countrymen! Lend me your ears!” This could be you, holding forth from the sunken stage of one of the best li’l sky-kissing amphitheaters outside Elysian Fields. We’re talking the amphitheater on top of Mount Helix, 1365 feet above sea level, a place that feels like a recently dug-up ancient Greek open-air theater. Official events happen up there, like the Easter Sunrise celebration, but most of the time it sits in splendid isolation, waiting for creative people like you. Why not put a little spontaneous play together and head on up? It’s an awesome experience. Best time is the hour or so before sunset, when the view out to Hawaii goes all spectacular. Of course, you can’t take any grog, and no blaring sound systems, and people have to be gone by sunset. But this is one of the freest places to find yourself. Or become someone else…Et tu, Brute?

Place

Color Me Mine

10550 Craftsman Way, San Diego

Paint ceramics

Painting your own pottery can be a fun family activity or an adorable thing for couples to do. Color Me Mine in Rancho Bernardo provides unpainted pottery. You pay for what you want (most items are under $35), plus a small studio fee ($10 per sitting for adults, $6 for kids). They also have all the paints and glazes needed to cover the virgin ceramics with whatever design comes to mind. After your masterpiece is painted, the studio will fire and cure the pottery, which will be ready to pick up in a few days.

Place

Inn at the Park

3615 Fifth Avenue, San Diego

Salsa and hot cocktails at Inn at the Park

For those of us who could never fully grasp the enigmatic three-step of salsa, Inn at the Park historic hotel in Bankers Hill offers free classes from 7:00–8:00 p.m. ($5 after 8:00) every second Tuesday in their rooftop Top of the Park penthouse. First, stoke your embers in the downstairs lounge, where bartendress extraordinaire Jersey serves $4 spicy cocktail specials, including the Fire and Ice (tequila, jalapeño, cucumber, lime simple syrup, black sea salt) and the Tropical Heat Wave (blood orange–infused vodka, cayenne, maraschino liquor, grapefruit juice) to the refined melodies of singer/piano duo Roman Palacios and Tommy Gannon.

The original fixie

Ricky Persky is on a mission: to bring back the original fixie, the direct-drive penny-farthing bicycle. With their up-to-six-foot-high front wheels, they’re risky riding at best. How to get going? Persky and lady enthusiast Brandy Lordigyan formed the San Diego Penny Farthing Club and ride every Saturday in Old Town. Club members meet at 1:30 p.m. in front of the blacksmith near the Seeley stables on San Diego Avenue. “Anybody is welcome to come and try,” he says. “I want to get people enthusiastic. So just turn up. I’ll get you riding.” The hardest part — I know, because I’ve tried — is hauling your body weight aloft and onto the seat, while the giant machine wobbles along, waiting to send you crashing earthward. But, for Ricky, no problem: “You can’t beat the view from up here.” Call Ricky Persky, 619-971-6868 or Brandy Lordigyan, 619-495-0448.

Place

Ooh La La Dance Academy

7467 Cuvier Street, San Diego

Burlesque classes

Sexify your humdrum workout routine at Ooh La La Dance Studio in La Jolla. Five days a week they offer beginner-intermediate Burlesque classes. Thursday nights, at 8:30, they host a semi-advanced Latin style burlesque lesson. On the weekends Ooh La La can be rented out for private parties. Geared for bachelorette bashes, birthdays, and ladies’ nights, they have three different packages to choose from. Parties range from $200 for up to 10 participants, to $550 for up to 20. Each package features an hour-long lesson that incorporates boas, chairs, hats, feathers, gloves, and more. The pricier options include a sexy boudoir photo shoot and a 30-minute champagne (bring your own) celebration.

Balboa Park Drum Circle

Every Sunday, in the Southwest section of Balboa Park, the Rainbow Drum circle takes place at 3:00 p.m. Bring a drum to participate, or a blanket and picnic lunch to watch and listen. It’s a family-friendly event. Directions: From the intersection of Sixth Avenue and Laurel Street in Hillcrest, enter the park going east on Laurel (which becomes El Prado). Turn right on Balboa Drive, the last right before the Cabrillo Bridge. Follow Balboa Drive as it loops around and look for drummers near the Pine Grove Picnic Area and the restrooms. 619-677-0882; meetup.com/SanDiegoDrumCircle.

Free market

The Really, Really, Free Market takes place once every three months at local San Diego parks. It’s a giant garage sale, and there’s no entry fee. Bring your junk to swap, or donate, while picking up other people’s trashy treasures. You may find such oddities as a Dolly Parton Christmas cassette, or Cocktail on VHS. The market hosts free classes in politics, art, music, and crafts. On occasion, haircuts are offered. Anything left behind is donated to the Animal Protection and Rescue League. The next Really, Really, Free Market will be held on June 10, the location yet to be disclosed. Join their mailing list at sdrrfm.blogspot.com.

Place

Pearl

1410 Rosecrans Street, San Diego

The Pearl

Every Wednesday evening at 8:00 p.m., sharp, the Pearl Hotel hosts a free “Dive-In Theatre” at their poolside lounge. Campy cult classics are projected on an outdoor 10-by-13-foot screen. The ’50s-inspired oyster-shaped pool is open to hotel guests or anyone that orders a cocktail. Food — their philosophy is “buy local, embrace sustainability, and let the food speak for itself” — is served until 10:00 p.m., with starters from $6–$16, mains $18–$25; the bar remains open until 11:00 p.m. All seating is first come, first served, priority given to parties over six. If you want to go all out, reserve a fancy poolside cabana (ten-person maximum).

Place

Chorus Karaoke and Café

4428 Convoy Street, San Diego

Korean karaoke

If you are a fan of karaoke, head to Kearny Mesa: Convoy Street is home to numerous Korean karaoke bars. Order some Hello Kitty Wine and rent a private room at Chorus Karaoke and Café at 4428 Convoy Street. Choose from rock, pop, or anime songs, in English and Korean. Rooms range in price from $10–$20. If you’d rather bring your own food and alcohol, drive two blocks to J Music Studio, at 4620 Convoy. For $30 an hour you get a room complete with an oversized couch, disco ball, TV, and karaoke machine. Insert dollars into a machine and put on your own private smoke-and-light show.

Place

UCSD: University of California San Diego

9500 Gilman Drive, San Diego

Self-guided tour of Stuart Collection

The Stuart Collection is a series of outdoor art installations spread throughout UCSD’s campus. Download the free Stuart Collection app (for iPhones) for short videos about each piece; it’s meant to serve as a self-guided tour. The installations include vices and virtues flashing and overlapping in giant neon, a 560-foot-long tiled snake path wrapped around the spaceship-shaped library, and a 180-ton stone bear sculpture. The newest addition to the collection (completed after the app came out) is a crooked house dangling off the Jacobs School of Engineering building — as if it landed there after some disaster. Download the app from iTunes. 888-387-1470.

Wedding spotting

San Diego’s mild climate makes it the perfect location for outdoor weddings year round. Plan a patio lunch or dinner at the Prado in Balboa Park on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday at 11:00 a.m., 4:00 p.m., or 6:00 p.m., and you’re likely to spy a wedding in the garden. Walk along Coast Boulevard in La Jolla on a Saturday from April to November, and you might catch a bridal party at Ellen Browning Scripps Park, especially on weekends during the summer months. Don’t forget the beach in Coronado: weekend afternoons are prime time for weddings in front of the Hotel del Coronado, especially in the fall.

Place

Timken Museum of Art

1500 El Prado, San Diego

Timken Museum One-Day Art Workshops

On the second Wednesday of every month, from 10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m., the Timken Museum in Balboa Park and the Losina Art Center come together for a series of workshops aimed at combining art viewing and art production. Each workshop begins inside the museum with a lecture by a docent on a chosen piece in the collection. Then artist Olya Losina guides participants through exercises in painting or drawing inspired by the piece. “Frustration is a productive state of mind,” Losina tells her students; beginners and seasoned artists alike will appreciate her “mistakes are helpful” philosophy. The $70 workshop fee includes all materials. Register ahead of time to reserve a spot. 619-239-5548; losinaartcenter.com.

Place

San Diego Repertory Theatre

79 Horton Plaza, San Diego

Surround Events at the Rep

At the San Diego Repertory Theatre, the show on stage is but one part of an extensive and enriching experience. Listen and take part in panel discussions with members of the production, or, sometimes, experts from fields related to a show’s theme. Prices range from $20–$57. Enjoy art, food-tasting with local chefs, stand-up comedy, and poetry readings — the events change with each production. Turn what many view as a passive experience into an interactive, stimulating affair.

Place

Hipcooks

4048 30th Street, San Diego

Get handy with a blade and play with fire

Hipsters learn to cook at Hipcooks

The San Diego branch of Hipcooks regularly runs cooking classes for wannabe chefs, foodies, hipsters, and enterprising singles looking for a de facto dinner date. The three-hour, $55 classes include instruction and materials and end with eating what you’ve created — dishes like caldeirada (Portuguese seafood stew), goat cheese tart with berry coulis, and wild salmon stuffed with oyster mushrooms. Topics covered range from knife skills to French sauces and are designed to be accessible to people without the skills and experience of professional cooks.

Place

Lestat's on Park

4496 Park Avenue, San Diego

Brave performance anxiety at Dime Stories open mic

First Friday of the month, every month, at Lestat’s on Park, 7:00 p.m. Prepare a short story that takes three minutes to read (hint: that’s about 500 words) and throw your name in the box at the beginning of the show. Next thing you know, you’re reading. The three-minute rule is strictly enforced, so practice, practice, practice or risk being cut off mid-sentence. Any kind of story will do, fiction or non-, but it has to be prose, since there are plenty of other readings for aspiring poets. 4496 Park Boulevard. 619-501-6638; Dimestories.org has the basic information, but it’s easier to check Dime Stories on Facebook for updates. 619-501-6638; dimestories.org.

Place

Two Roses Tattoo

2181 Logan Avenue, San Diego

Get a close shave

Gentlemen, barber Mike Camacho at Two Roses Inc. can shave your face better than you can. It’s probably the only time you’ll spend $20 to have someone hold a straight-razor to your throat, but the coolness of a Depression-era shave isn’t just for the rockabilly crowd. The combination barbershop and tattoo parlor even has a café attached, so a pre- or post-shave espresso is an option.

Outdoor shooting ranges

If, in anticipation of the zombie apocalypse, you want to true your aim without the drive to Ocotillo Wells, here are a handful of open-air ranges that don’t require a membership to visit: P2K range (2082 Willow Glen Drive, El Cajon), $10–$14 first hour (member/non); South Bay Rod & Gun Club (1020 Marron Valley Road, Dulzura), $20 per day, members free; San Diego Police Revolver Club Range (4008 Federal Boulevard, San Diego), $7 per day, members free; Rainbow Range (3139 Rainbow Valley Boulevard, Rainbow), $15; shooting.forsandiego.com.

Place

Upstart Crow Bookshop and Coffee House

835 W. Harbor Drive, San Diego

Shakespeare open readings, the Upstart Crow

Rupert Essinger, who coordinates (and sometimes directs) free monthly readings at Seaport Village’s Bard-friendly bookstore, explains that Shakespeare’s words are best heard and seen, not perused. You don’t have to be an actor, a scholar, or a Bardolater to appreciate the human experience that runs through the Shakespearean canon. No memorization or costumes required: volunteer for parts (anyone can play Hamlet!), or just sit back and enjoy the talent. Sponsored by the Shakespeare Society of San Diego — the president, Alex Sandie, drops by on occasion to watch regulars and newbies breathe life into the Bard’s timeless characters in an informal, lively atmosphere. First Tuesday of every month, 6:45–8:45 p.m. 619-232-4855; sandiegoshakespearesociety.org.

Place

Spanish Village Art Center

1770 Village Place, San Diego

Classes at San Diego Mineral & Gem Society

Learn to make art with gems at the San Diego Mineral & Gem Society in Spanish Village, where classes begin with beading and cabochon cutting (basic polishing and shaping) and progress to faceting, silver fabrication, casting, enameling, rock carving, and sphere making. Price per class is $4 for adults, $1 for juniors, and requires annual membership (adults $30, though you can add an additional adult at the same address for $10; junior membership is also $10). Classes fill quickly, so contact instructors well in advance to secure a spot. 619-239-8812; sdmg.org.

Rodriguez Passage Art and Design Alley in Tijuana

What started out as a search for street tacos on a recent jaunt to Tijuana turned into an unexpected evening of psychedelic art, live music, flamenco dance, and wine in an inconspicuous alleyway between Third and Fourth streets, off lively Avenida Revolución. Two years ago, musicians, photographers, and graphic designers turned 18 storefronts on Pasaje Rodríguez into exhibition studios. These are open during regular business hours but blossom the first Friday of each month into a celebration of regional culture rivaling the best of San Diego’s art walks. Among the artisans, you’ll also find T-shirt printers, bike and skate shops, and a cozy café. pradtj.webs.com

Place

Trinity United Methodist Church

3030 Thorn Street, San Diego

Contra Dance

The American folk tradition of Contra Dance started in the late 17th Century and is continued today by the San Diego Folk Heritage Organization, which meets on alternate Fridays and Saturdays to stomp terra at the nearly century-old Trinity United Methodist Church in North Park. All ages are welcome to join in a beginners’ lesson at 7:30 p.m., followed by a dance with live music at 8:00 ($8, $4 for teens and students with ID). You can also bring your instrument of choice to a rehearsal and join in with the Community Band.

Explore more elements of America’s Finest:

Explore a Water Wonderland

Seek Adventures in the Air

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Models, drinks, and drawing with Dr. Sketchy’s at the Ruby Room - Image by Matt Hohlfeld
Models, drinks, and drawing with Dr. Sketchy’s at the Ruby Room

Reader writers explore the elements of America’s Finest — water, air, fire, land.

Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School

At Dr. Sketchy’s (held the third Saturday of every month at the Ruby Room in Hillcrest, 1271 University Avenue), the models are burlesque dancers, belly dancers, rollergirls, drag queens and kings, and “rippling hunks of man.” Set to “carefully crafted music playlists,” models incorporate interesting props to complement your creativity. Artists (all levels are welcome) sip grown-up beverages in the casual bar setting. Drawing contests (judged by the models) lighten the mood and lead to free drinks and “fancy prizes.” 858-405-9453; drsketchysandiego.com

Place

North Park Vaudeville and Candy Shoppe

2031 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego

Vaudeville Candy

If you are a fan of all things campy, then the North Park Vaudeville and Candy Shoppe is your place. It’s located off El Cajon Boulevard in the center of North Park. You can purchase Lemonheads, candy cigarettes, jawbreakers, and Black Jack gum to munch on while catching up on of their performances. The theater is intimate, seating only 35, and they often feature plays from local writers (tickets are $20). On occasion, they host musical acts. The Pleasant Cruise of the Carolinas plays the first two weekends in May — it’s an over-the-top melodrama that requires audience participation. In the fall, the Vaudeville hosts the popular North Park Playwright Festival. Upcoming shows are listed on their website. 619-220-8663.

Certify your city

“Nowadays, when a person lives somewhere, in a neighborhood, the place is not certified for him…but if he sees a movie which shows his very neighborhood, it becomes possible for him to live, for a time at least, as a person who is Somewhere and not Anywhere.” — Walker Percy, The Moviegoer. A while ago, I took it upon myself to recreate every still shot that Orson Welles took of Balboa Park for the opening newsreel scene of Citizen Kane. (The park, of course, stood in for Xanadu.) Not every shot was still there to be had, but I got enough to sense what Percy was getting at. You might try it with Some Like It Hot and the Del, or It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World and Pacific Beach, or The Naked Gun and San Onofre, or Born on the Fourth of July and La Mesa, or Demolition Man and the Convention Center, or Almost Famous and lots of places. The list goes on, though Hardcore might be tricky.

Place

Mount Helix Park

4901 Mount Helix Drive, La Mesa

Mount Helix

“Friends! Romans! Countrymen! Lend me your ears!” This could be you, holding forth from the sunken stage of one of the best li’l sky-kissing amphitheaters outside Elysian Fields. We’re talking the amphitheater on top of Mount Helix, 1365 feet above sea level, a place that feels like a recently dug-up ancient Greek open-air theater. Official events happen up there, like the Easter Sunrise celebration, but most of the time it sits in splendid isolation, waiting for creative people like you. Why not put a little spontaneous play together and head on up? It’s an awesome experience. Best time is the hour or so before sunset, when the view out to Hawaii goes all spectacular. Of course, you can’t take any grog, and no blaring sound systems, and people have to be gone by sunset. But this is one of the freest places to find yourself. Or become someone else…Et tu, Brute?

Place

Color Me Mine

10550 Craftsman Way, San Diego

Paint ceramics

Painting your own pottery can be a fun family activity or an adorable thing for couples to do. Color Me Mine in Rancho Bernardo provides unpainted pottery. You pay for what you want (most items are under $35), plus a small studio fee ($10 per sitting for adults, $6 for kids). They also have all the paints and glazes needed to cover the virgin ceramics with whatever design comes to mind. After your masterpiece is painted, the studio will fire and cure the pottery, which will be ready to pick up in a few days.

Place

Inn at the Park

3615 Fifth Avenue, San Diego

Salsa and hot cocktails at Inn at the Park

For those of us who could never fully grasp the enigmatic three-step of salsa, Inn at the Park historic hotel in Bankers Hill offers free classes from 7:00–8:00 p.m. ($5 after 8:00) every second Tuesday in their rooftop Top of the Park penthouse. First, stoke your embers in the downstairs lounge, where bartendress extraordinaire Jersey serves $4 spicy cocktail specials, including the Fire and Ice (tequila, jalapeño, cucumber, lime simple syrup, black sea salt) and the Tropical Heat Wave (blood orange–infused vodka, cayenne, maraschino liquor, grapefruit juice) to the refined melodies of singer/piano duo Roman Palacios and Tommy Gannon.

The original fixie

Ricky Persky is on a mission: to bring back the original fixie, the direct-drive penny-farthing bicycle. With their up-to-six-foot-high front wheels, they’re risky riding at best. How to get going? Persky and lady enthusiast Brandy Lordigyan formed the San Diego Penny Farthing Club and ride every Saturday in Old Town. Club members meet at 1:30 p.m. in front of the blacksmith near the Seeley stables on San Diego Avenue. “Anybody is welcome to come and try,” he says. “I want to get people enthusiastic. So just turn up. I’ll get you riding.” The hardest part — I know, because I’ve tried — is hauling your body weight aloft and onto the seat, while the giant machine wobbles along, waiting to send you crashing earthward. But, for Ricky, no problem: “You can’t beat the view from up here.” Call Ricky Persky, 619-971-6868 or Brandy Lordigyan, 619-495-0448.

Place

Ooh La La Dance Academy

7467 Cuvier Street, San Diego

Burlesque classes

Sexify your humdrum workout routine at Ooh La La Dance Studio in La Jolla. Five days a week they offer beginner-intermediate Burlesque classes. Thursday nights, at 8:30, they host a semi-advanced Latin style burlesque lesson. On the weekends Ooh La La can be rented out for private parties. Geared for bachelorette bashes, birthdays, and ladies’ nights, they have three different packages to choose from. Parties range from $200 for up to 10 participants, to $550 for up to 20. Each package features an hour-long lesson that incorporates boas, chairs, hats, feathers, gloves, and more. The pricier options include a sexy boudoir photo shoot and a 30-minute champagne (bring your own) celebration.

Balboa Park Drum Circle

Every Sunday, in the Southwest section of Balboa Park, the Rainbow Drum circle takes place at 3:00 p.m. Bring a drum to participate, or a blanket and picnic lunch to watch and listen. It’s a family-friendly event. Directions: From the intersection of Sixth Avenue and Laurel Street in Hillcrest, enter the park going east on Laurel (which becomes El Prado). Turn right on Balboa Drive, the last right before the Cabrillo Bridge. Follow Balboa Drive as it loops around and look for drummers near the Pine Grove Picnic Area and the restrooms. 619-677-0882; meetup.com/SanDiegoDrumCircle.

Free market

The Really, Really, Free Market takes place once every three months at local San Diego parks. It’s a giant garage sale, and there’s no entry fee. Bring your junk to swap, or donate, while picking up other people’s trashy treasures. You may find such oddities as a Dolly Parton Christmas cassette, or Cocktail on VHS. The market hosts free classes in politics, art, music, and crafts. On occasion, haircuts are offered. Anything left behind is donated to the Animal Protection and Rescue League. The next Really, Really, Free Market will be held on June 10, the location yet to be disclosed. Join their mailing list at sdrrfm.blogspot.com.

Place

Pearl

1410 Rosecrans Street, San Diego

The Pearl

Every Wednesday evening at 8:00 p.m., sharp, the Pearl Hotel hosts a free “Dive-In Theatre” at their poolside lounge. Campy cult classics are projected on an outdoor 10-by-13-foot screen. The ’50s-inspired oyster-shaped pool is open to hotel guests or anyone that orders a cocktail. Food — their philosophy is “buy local, embrace sustainability, and let the food speak for itself” — is served until 10:00 p.m., with starters from $6–$16, mains $18–$25; the bar remains open until 11:00 p.m. All seating is first come, first served, priority given to parties over six. If you want to go all out, reserve a fancy poolside cabana (ten-person maximum).

Place

Chorus Karaoke and Café

4428 Convoy Street, San Diego

Korean karaoke

If you are a fan of karaoke, head to Kearny Mesa: Convoy Street is home to numerous Korean karaoke bars. Order some Hello Kitty Wine and rent a private room at Chorus Karaoke and Café at 4428 Convoy Street. Choose from rock, pop, or anime songs, in English and Korean. Rooms range in price from $10–$20. If you’d rather bring your own food and alcohol, drive two blocks to J Music Studio, at 4620 Convoy. For $30 an hour you get a room complete with an oversized couch, disco ball, TV, and karaoke machine. Insert dollars into a machine and put on your own private smoke-and-light show.

Place

UCSD: University of California San Diego

9500 Gilman Drive, San Diego

Self-guided tour of Stuart Collection

The Stuart Collection is a series of outdoor art installations spread throughout UCSD’s campus. Download the free Stuart Collection app (for iPhones) for short videos about each piece; it’s meant to serve as a self-guided tour. The installations include vices and virtues flashing and overlapping in giant neon, a 560-foot-long tiled snake path wrapped around the spaceship-shaped library, and a 180-ton stone bear sculpture. The newest addition to the collection (completed after the app came out) is a crooked house dangling off the Jacobs School of Engineering building — as if it landed there after some disaster. Download the app from iTunes. 888-387-1470.

Wedding spotting

San Diego’s mild climate makes it the perfect location for outdoor weddings year round. Plan a patio lunch or dinner at the Prado in Balboa Park on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday at 11:00 a.m., 4:00 p.m., or 6:00 p.m., and you’re likely to spy a wedding in the garden. Walk along Coast Boulevard in La Jolla on a Saturday from April to November, and you might catch a bridal party at Ellen Browning Scripps Park, especially on weekends during the summer months. Don’t forget the beach in Coronado: weekend afternoons are prime time for weddings in front of the Hotel del Coronado, especially in the fall.

Place

Timken Museum of Art

1500 El Prado, San Diego

Timken Museum One-Day Art Workshops

On the second Wednesday of every month, from 10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m., the Timken Museum in Balboa Park and the Losina Art Center come together for a series of workshops aimed at combining art viewing and art production. Each workshop begins inside the museum with a lecture by a docent on a chosen piece in the collection. Then artist Olya Losina guides participants through exercises in painting or drawing inspired by the piece. “Frustration is a productive state of mind,” Losina tells her students; beginners and seasoned artists alike will appreciate her “mistakes are helpful” philosophy. The $70 workshop fee includes all materials. Register ahead of time to reserve a spot. 619-239-5548; losinaartcenter.com.

Place

San Diego Repertory Theatre

79 Horton Plaza, San Diego

Surround Events at the Rep

At the San Diego Repertory Theatre, the show on stage is but one part of an extensive and enriching experience. Listen and take part in panel discussions with members of the production, or, sometimes, experts from fields related to a show’s theme. Prices range from $20–$57. Enjoy art, food-tasting with local chefs, stand-up comedy, and poetry readings — the events change with each production. Turn what many view as a passive experience into an interactive, stimulating affair.

Place

Hipcooks

4048 30th Street, San Diego

Get handy with a blade and play with fire

Hipsters learn to cook at Hipcooks

The San Diego branch of Hipcooks regularly runs cooking classes for wannabe chefs, foodies, hipsters, and enterprising singles looking for a de facto dinner date. The three-hour, $55 classes include instruction and materials and end with eating what you’ve created — dishes like caldeirada (Portuguese seafood stew), goat cheese tart with berry coulis, and wild salmon stuffed with oyster mushrooms. Topics covered range from knife skills to French sauces and are designed to be accessible to people without the skills and experience of professional cooks.

Place

Lestat's on Park

4496 Park Avenue, San Diego

Brave performance anxiety at Dime Stories open mic

First Friday of the month, every month, at Lestat’s on Park, 7:00 p.m. Prepare a short story that takes three minutes to read (hint: that’s about 500 words) and throw your name in the box at the beginning of the show. Next thing you know, you’re reading. The three-minute rule is strictly enforced, so practice, practice, practice or risk being cut off mid-sentence. Any kind of story will do, fiction or non-, but it has to be prose, since there are plenty of other readings for aspiring poets. 4496 Park Boulevard. 619-501-6638; Dimestories.org has the basic information, but it’s easier to check Dime Stories on Facebook for updates. 619-501-6638; dimestories.org.

Place

Two Roses Tattoo

2181 Logan Avenue, San Diego

Get a close shave

Gentlemen, barber Mike Camacho at Two Roses Inc. can shave your face better than you can. It’s probably the only time you’ll spend $20 to have someone hold a straight-razor to your throat, but the coolness of a Depression-era shave isn’t just for the rockabilly crowd. The combination barbershop and tattoo parlor even has a café attached, so a pre- or post-shave espresso is an option.

Outdoor shooting ranges

If, in anticipation of the zombie apocalypse, you want to true your aim without the drive to Ocotillo Wells, here are a handful of open-air ranges that don’t require a membership to visit: P2K range (2082 Willow Glen Drive, El Cajon), $10–$14 first hour (member/non); South Bay Rod & Gun Club (1020 Marron Valley Road, Dulzura), $20 per day, members free; San Diego Police Revolver Club Range (4008 Federal Boulevard, San Diego), $7 per day, members free; Rainbow Range (3139 Rainbow Valley Boulevard, Rainbow), $15; shooting.forsandiego.com.

Place

Upstart Crow Bookshop and Coffee House

835 W. Harbor Drive, San Diego

Shakespeare open readings, the Upstart Crow

Rupert Essinger, who coordinates (and sometimes directs) free monthly readings at Seaport Village’s Bard-friendly bookstore, explains that Shakespeare’s words are best heard and seen, not perused. You don’t have to be an actor, a scholar, or a Bardolater to appreciate the human experience that runs through the Shakespearean canon. No memorization or costumes required: volunteer for parts (anyone can play Hamlet!), or just sit back and enjoy the talent. Sponsored by the Shakespeare Society of San Diego — the president, Alex Sandie, drops by on occasion to watch regulars and newbies breathe life into the Bard’s timeless characters in an informal, lively atmosphere. First Tuesday of every month, 6:45–8:45 p.m. 619-232-4855; sandiegoshakespearesociety.org.

Place

Spanish Village Art Center

1770 Village Place, San Diego

Classes at San Diego Mineral & Gem Society

Learn to make art with gems at the San Diego Mineral & Gem Society in Spanish Village, where classes begin with beading and cabochon cutting (basic polishing and shaping) and progress to faceting, silver fabrication, casting, enameling, rock carving, and sphere making. Price per class is $4 for adults, $1 for juniors, and requires annual membership (adults $30, though you can add an additional adult at the same address for $10; junior membership is also $10). Classes fill quickly, so contact instructors well in advance to secure a spot. 619-239-8812; sdmg.org.

Rodriguez Passage Art and Design Alley in Tijuana

What started out as a search for street tacos on a recent jaunt to Tijuana turned into an unexpected evening of psychedelic art, live music, flamenco dance, and wine in an inconspicuous alleyway between Third and Fourth streets, off lively Avenida Revolución. Two years ago, musicians, photographers, and graphic designers turned 18 storefronts on Pasaje Rodríguez into exhibition studios. These are open during regular business hours but blossom the first Friday of each month into a celebration of regional culture rivaling the best of San Diego’s art walks. Among the artisans, you’ll also find T-shirt printers, bike and skate shops, and a cozy café. pradtj.webs.com

Place

Trinity United Methodist Church

3030 Thorn Street, San Diego

Contra Dance

The American folk tradition of Contra Dance started in the late 17th Century and is continued today by the San Diego Folk Heritage Organization, which meets on alternate Fridays and Saturdays to stomp terra at the nearly century-old Trinity United Methodist Church in North Park. All ages are welcome to join in a beginners’ lesson at 7:30 p.m., followed by a dance with live music at 8:00 ($8, $4 for teens and students with ID). You can also bring your instrument of choice to a rehearsal and join in with the Community Band.

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RE: The Really Really Free Market

Just to give you a little more info, our next free market will be on Sunday, June 10th in Teralta Park (City Heights).

Map here.

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May 9, 2012

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