Anchor ads are not supported on this page.

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

A 70-mile walk on San Diego beaches and other ways we'd spend our summer vacation

2024 Summer Fun Issue

Oceanside Pier as it appeared prior to April 25 fire.
Oceanside Pier as it appeared prior to April 25 fire.

A walk on the (whole) beach

A San Diego summer, with all the time in the world, brings up one challenge I’ve tried before and failed to complete: walking our entire 70-mile stretch of Pacific Ocean coastline, as close to the water as possible. I would likely fail again, simply because there are too many interruptions: steep cliffs; bays, harbors and lagoons; and military property where civilians are not welcome. But the glory is in the trying.


My first attempt was in the middle ’80s, when I was young and single and a full-time freelancer. I made a good living because I worked hard, but I also had plenty of free time and set my own hours, so if the sun was out and the weather was warm, I’d often head out to the beach. And one day, as I was putting the finishing touches on another summer guide for San Diego Magazine in which I extolled those fabulous “70 miles” from the border to the Orange County line, I decided to challenge myself by walking it – or, at least, whatever sections I could. I chronicled my adventures in one of my favorite features ever. It included several side stories, ranging from an interview with an old man who had lived in Mission Beach since the ’30s to a ditzy girl in a bikini shop commenting on the latest youth fashions.

For attempt No. 2, I’d start down south, at Imperial Beach, parking at the foot of Seacoast Drive, just north of the border with Mexico. Yeah, I know: sewage from Tijuana keeps making the ocean off limits to swimmers and surfers, and keeps the sparkling white-sand beaches relatively empty. But as a result, there’s a kind of ominous beauty here, especially on a warm blue-sky day, and a detour along the Imperial Beach Pier makes a pleasant diversion. At 1491 feet, it’s the ninth-longest public ocean pier in California. Be sure to walk to the very end, where a large sign proclaims, “You have reached the most southwesterly point in the continental United States.” I don’t know exactly why, but there’s something really cool about that.

Next up is the Silver Strand, parking my car at Coronado Cays Park and walking in either direction as long as the low tide allows. It’s one of the county’s least crowded beaches.

Then I’d drive up a few miles to the Hotel del Coronado and walk north along the wide sandy beach directly to the west of the grand hotel, where Marilyn Monroe romped in the surf while filming 1959’s Some Like It Hot.

From there, I’d drive around San Diego Bay to Point Loma and head south to Cabrillo National Monument. Just past the entry kiosk, I’d turn right on Cabrillo Way to the Point Loma Tidepools, where I’d enjoy a mile-long walk along sandstone pockmarked with little aquariums of sea life: urchins, tiny silver fish, sea stars, and maybe even an octopus or spiny lobster.

And so it would go. Alas, I don’t have space to detail all of it, but here are a few stretches of beach I would most definitely include in my walks:

Sunset Cliffs, from the foot of Ladera Street north to Point Loma Avenue: Yes, the trail winds along a road, but just a few feet away, the cliffs drop to spectacular Big Sur-like scenery and, of course, wondrous sunsets.

Mission Beach, from the jetty on the south end of the neighborhood north along the concrete “boardwalk,” then along the beach past the historic Crystal Pier to the grassy knolls of Palisades Park. The scenery here is equal parts nature and human, and I would make several stops for grub, including the best-in-town gyros at Kojack’s at the foot of Ventura Place, and, about two miles up the boardwalk, the acai bowl (with peanut butter) at Woody’s, best consumed while sitting at the outdoor bar overlooking the boardwalk, sand and surf.

La Jolla, from Windansea Beach to Coast Walk: this is one of the most picturesque coastal walks, even though only a small portion is on the sand. Park near the old pumphouse at Windansea Beach, immortalized in Tom Wolfe’s 1968 novel The Pumphouse Gang, and be sure to snap a photo of the thatch-covered surf shack that’s been a mainstay for years and years. Walk north along the sandstone bluffs past oceanfront mansions once owned by the likes of Cliff Robertson and Mitt Romney, and then enjoy your sole encounter with the sand along Marine Street Beach. More sandstone ahead, then up to the sidewalk along Coast Boulevard all the way north to Ellen Browning Scripps Park, with a stop along the way at Children’s Pool, protected by a concrete breakwater built in 1931 and now a habitat for seals. At the park, follow the walkway as it winds along the coast around La Jolla Cove, then follow the sidewalk up a modest incline to the La Jolla Shell Shop. Stop here for a descent into Sunny Jim Cave, down 144 steps through a tunnel constructed in 1902 by a German engineer. When you get back up, look just past the Shell Shop entrance for the trailhead of Coast Walk, a pleasant clifftop walk with views of La Jolla Shores that will bring you all the way to Torrey Pines Road.

All right, I am past my word limit. Let me squeeze in two proper sand walks – one on Torrey Pines State Beach, nestled below gorgeous Torrey Pines State Park, and the other from Fletcher Cove in Solana Beach all the way north into Encinitas (with a sidewalk detour just before The Cardiff Kook, a lifesize bronze sculpture of a surfer, officially known as Magic Carpet Ride, by Matthew Antichevich).

And let’s not forget the Strand in Oceanside, a tiny road that runs along the beach in north Oceanside for a mile and a half from the foot of Wisconsin Street. Before the recent fire, I would have made sure to take a detour along the pier, the longest wooden pier on the western U.S. coast and home to a pelican that lives on a roped-off perch just past the gift shop.

— Thomas K. Arnold


Finds at the Fringe

Not long ago and about a hundred miles up the road, I found myself in an intimate contemporary theater, listening to a troupe of actors, activists and advocates plead with state legislators to sign a bill that would invest in the survival live performing arts. Rent and construction costs were skyrocketing, and attendances had remained stubbornly lower than pre-pandemic levels. Many theaters had closed their doors, and some never reopened.

The bill was signed into law, but the battle to pass it shone a light on a wider finding: the largest subsidy for the arts does not come from governments or the private sector, but from artists themselves — in the form of underpaid labor.

Perhaps it has always been thus, but these are turbulent times, and I’d hate to see their sacrifice be made vain. Small-scale live art has a power and immediacy that I admire, and so, if I were back home in San Diego between May 16 and May 26, I would spend as much of that time as I could attending The San Diego International Fringe Festival.

The first Fringe Festival was held in the alleys, storefronts and church basements of Edinburgh, Scotland. Eight performing arts groups that had been somehow left uninvited to the 1947 Edinburgh International Festival decided to form their own gathering. The Edinburgh Fringe has since become the largest performing arts festival in the world. Most shows run for 45 to 60 minutes, and there is an emphasis on freewheeling experimentation.

Down in San Diego, says Fringe Festival press person Laura Preble, “We’ve had shows that just blow people away. It could be a magician, a mentalist, a circus act, a comedy, a brand new play or a brand new dance show. … You will be amazed at the things that come through here. People should come in with an open mind and an open heart. It’s not your button-up Globe experience. It’s not a formal theater experience. It’s much more edgy and unpredictable.”

Celebrating its 12th year in San Diego, this edition of Fringe will bring more than 60 acts from around the world to the city’s stages: the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater, LightBox Theater, Centro de Cultural de la Raza, New Destiny Church, No Limits Church, Mockingbird Improv, Finest City Improv, Les Girls, Tap Fever Studios and Wildsong (formerly the OB Playhouse). Tickets are $13 with multi-show passes available. (Required Fringe Tags are a one-time purchase of $7. The event is cashless, and all ticket proceeds go directly to the artists.)

“For the price, you’re just not going to see this level of daring, exciting art anywhere else,” said Mark Vigeant, comedian, performer and winner of the 2023 “Best of Fringe” award. “I would encourage people to take a chance on Fringe because it’s such a unique experience, such a fun experience, and such a delightful group of people.”

Upcoming Event

Fringe Festival: The Best Man Show

  • Thursday, May 16, 2024, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre, 2130 Pan American Road West, San Diego
  • Age Limit: All ages / $13

More


Vigeant’s upcoming Fringe Festival performance, The Best Man Show, is a 60-minute interactive solo comedy directed by Joanna Simmons. It delves into modern love and relationships during a wedding reception wherein the groom’s brother crumbles into an existential crisis. The show will make its U.S. premiere at Balboa Park’s Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater.

Growing up on the East Coast, Vigeant would take the train into New York City and watch improv shows. He went on to become a writer and performer with the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater before leaving to chart his own course. When the pandemic hit, he considered walking away from performing. “I was on the precipice,” he shared. “I just felt this urge to write one more show, to try to return to my roots on stage and make something purely for me, tell my story and explore my feelings.”

The show he wrote, “Mark Pleases You,” debuted in San Diego during Vigeant’s first Fringe Festival in 2023. He said it changed his life, earning him attention and accolades that culminated in an invitation to the New Zealand Fringe Festival. “This country isn’t really set up to support artists who are not superstars,” he said. “The Fringe Festival has an audience, and it’s an audience that is willing to give a shot to people who they’ve never heard of before. … It’s a place for artists to go and share what they’re up to, and get inspired and connect.”

Vigeant said that producing the show has helped him grow and heal relationships within his own life and hopes that it encourages audiences to think deeply about the love in their lives, too.

Janoah Bailin, winner of “Spirit of the Fringe” at the 2022 Elgin Fringe Festival, will bring his immersive solo circus act to No Limits Church, 4931 Logan Avenue, Lincoln Park, at various times from Saturday, May 18, to Saturday, May 25.

Alongside The Best Man Show, Daniel Nodder will present Only Bones, a physical comedy show that tells the history of the universe with upbeat jazz and a “jelly-like performance.” Riot Productions will present Audition Sides, the story of a couple broken apart by a messy affair who become stuck together again in a callback room. Evan Duffy-Ledbetter will present I Need a Beer, a play about the generational development of a family. Janoah Bailin will present MeSSes Solo Circus, an immersive performance and whimsical workshop for all ages that pairs juggling and unicycling with puppetry. And Theatre Group Gumbo will present Forest Of Truth, a fantastical love comedy that places two lovers in a dense forest filled with mythical creatures. Like Shakespeare, except not.

Upcoming Event

Fringe Festival: Daniel Nodder - Only Bones

  • Friday, May 17, 2024, 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Ocean Beach Playhouse, 4944 Newport Avenue, San Diego
  • Age Limit: All ages / $13

More


That’s just a sampling. Preble calls Fringe Festival an incubator for new work. “There are artists who’ve done Fringe Festivals and then gone on to do shows on Broadway or in big theaters,” she said. “New work generally costs money to put up, but this is a way for people to do it where it doesn’t cost them thousands of dollars. Artists can do their show and see what works and what doesn’t and bring an audience in to see them and give them feedback. It’s very personal because the venues are small, so people really get to see the artists kicking the tires.”

Ours is an increasingly digitized and disconnected world. Fringe works against that, using theater to create moments of shared humanity. Attending would be both my bleat of protest against disconnection and my show of support for grassroots artmaking.

— Luke Netzley


Gone fishing

I am a summer person. I do not like cold, I relish warmth, and I especially like being near blue water and great fishing. I have been fortunate enough to enjoy some remarkable times in warm seaside climes. Being born in San Diego and raised in San Diego and Tucson, Baja became a natural choice for my vacations: a place of dramatic Arizona-style desert fronting clear turquoise water on the Sea of Cortez side, and moderate temperatures and a warm San Diego-like feel on the Pacific.

I enjoy traveling down the peninsula and seeking out hidden gems. For me, those gems are usually small fishing pueblos as yet ungentrified by mega-tourism and large expat communities. Don’t get me wrong, I have fished on a few high-dollar yachts running out of the now affluent getaways of La Paz and Cabo, and loved it. Who wouldn’t? But throughout my life, my niche has run much closer to bohemian: I prefer nature, some solitude, and being where I never have to worry about what to wear beyond the appropriate attire for the weather or the task at hand.

I have now spent nearly three decades exploring and fishing in Baja, sometimes for years at a time, and there is still so much I have not done. For instance, there is a particular stretch of coast on the Pacific side where I have had little experience, and so I would spend my ideal summer vacation rectifying that situation. Much of the area is relatively non-touristy: a rugged shoreline spotted by occasional fish camps.

As a mostly surf and kayak angler, desolate and largely untapped inshore fisheries draw me like iron filings to a magnet. Along that stretch of coast, the marine biosphere transitions from something similar to San Diego’s kelp forests — hosting sheephead, calico bass, white seabass, halibut, and yellowtail — to a more semi-tropical fishery, with possible catches including snook, gulf grouper, roosterfish, and jack crevalle. Even tuna and dorado can be found within paddling distance of shore where deeper trenches near inshore high spots full of bait draw the larger pelagic game fish. There, summer is prime time for beach, lagoon, and nearshore fishing.

I lived in Bahia Asunción for a few years, a location still in the cool water trend that keeps summer temps mild. The fishery was not unlike San Diego’s. My little rental was right on the beach at the edge of the small co-op fishing village, and corbina and halibut were readily available a couple dozen yards from my front door. I could stroll down to the beach, work the surf with lures or sand crabs, and usually return with plenty of fish to eat. (Targeting corbina with sand crabs was much more productive for me, as I usually must fish through dozens of surf perch to catch a corbina. In Asunción, there are no perch in the surf, although there are plenty of sand crabs and corbina.)

A bohemian angler’s dream; a chunky corbina caught along a desolate beach on Baja’s mid-peninsula Pacific coast with my wingman tagging along.

During halibut spawns, I could often catch a limit within a couple hundred yards of working along the beach. Occasionally, bonito and even yellowtail would crash on bait right in the surf zone. Still, I found myself looking southward to the mountainous terrain toward La Bocana and imagining how much better the fishing might be along the coast between, or even beyond the lagoons of San Ignacio and Bahia Magdalena.

Northward, from Bahia Tortugas and Punta Eugenia at the tip of the Vizcaino Peninsula, spotfin croaker, halibut, and corbina-laden beaches from Guererro Negro to Santa Rosalilita also sparked my fishing imagination, and I often silently promised myself to check out the area someday.

While in Asunción, my restraints were finances and time, so my explorations were limited to the ten miles up and down the coast from the house, and outside of fishing, the fossil grounds a few miles inland, where I could find a plethora of marine mammal fossils and shark teeth. Plus, for the past nine years, I have had a partner who always goes everywhere with me that is usually not welcome aboard boats or in fancy resorts: my wingman dog, Flash Gordon.

In San Diego, we anglers are fortunate to have a great fishery within reach of the world’s largest live bait sportfishing fleet. I worked as a deckhand in my youth and have taken many rides out on those boats, mostly on trips targeting tuna, yellowtail, dorado and such. Over the past few decades, I have also spent a lot of time along the Sea of Cortez side of Baja, and on the Mexican mainland in more tropical regions, fishing out of Mazatlán and Vallarta. To some, maybe many, I have been fortunate as an angler to have spent a good part of my life in some remarkable bucket list fisheries. But I am older and have no desire to wrestle large tunas or marlin. Given physical limitations, even the kayak is getting tough to handle.

Resorts do not beckon to me. And really, neither do the big boats. I still love fishing, especially from the beach with my wingman tagging along. I would say without hesitation that my dream summer vacation would be to spend the entire summer exploring, camping, and fishing the remote areas along the Pacific coast of Baja from south of El Rosario to Bahia Magdalena with Flash Gordon by my side.

— Daniel Powell


A tour of who’s touring

Sponsored
Sponsored

So many venues, so much music, too many choices! My list of can’t-miss concerts keeps getting larger and longer. Here are the top twelve upcoming music events inked on my calendar due to happen this summer on concert stages all around San Diego.

— Jay Allen Sanford 


Aimee Nolte & Leonard Patton at Jazz Lounge

May 23

Jazz singer Leonard Patton will headline his own La Mesa concert hangout, the Jazz Lounge, for a set of colorfully arranged television theme songs accompanied by Aimee Nolte. Patton has performed and recorded with everyone from Bill Cunliffe and Derek Nievergelt to Duncan Moore, Mitch Manker, Mike Bedard, Ken Dow, Jetro Da Silva, Peter Sprague, Geoffrey Keezer, and others.

Parliament Funkadelic at Beach House Grill

June 8

OG funkmaster George Clinton will bring his longtime lineup of Parliament players to Mission Beach for a career spanning a set of radio hits and obscure deep dance cuts. Among the band members with 30 or more years on the roster are trumpeter Bennie Cowan, sax player Greg Thomas, bassist Lige Curry, and guitarist Blackbird McKnight.

Kolohe Kai at Del Mar Fairgrounds

June 12

Headlining the first concert of the 2024 San Diego County Fair’s Summer Concert Series is Kolohe Kai. The band blends Hawaiian ukulele, roots reggae, R&B, and pop on full-lengths such as Summer to Winter, which topped Billboard’s Reggae Album chart.

Walker Hayes at Harrah’s

June 15

Walker Hayes hit the bigtime with “Fancy Like,” which spent more than six months atop the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart, reached the top five on Billboard’s Hot 100 Songs, and earned him a Grammy Award nomination for “Best Country Song.”

Justin Hayward at Balboa Theatre

June 21

Known as the main singer for longtime hitmakers The Moody Blues, Justin Hayward will bring his Blue World Tour to downtown’s acoustically omniscient Balboa Theater, to perform songs from that band as well as solo hits like “Forever Autumn.” The bill includes Mike Dawes, an English fingerstyle guitar player known for performing multiple parts simultaneously on the guitar a la Stanley Jordan.

Little Big Town at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, June 27.

Little Big Town at Del Mar Fairgrounds

June 27

Given their four-part vocal harmonies and sing-along-friendly hits, Alabama-based Little Big Town is best known for songs such as “Pontoon,” “Boondocks,” “Day Drinking,” and “Girl Crush.” Still sporting its original members after 30 years, the group has won multiple Grammy and Country Music Awards.

Almost Nakey Freedom Fest at Beach House Grill & The Plunge

July 6

Celebrate 99 years of Belmont Park with DJs, a silent disco, and three stages of live music spread out from the Beach House to The Plunge. The festivities will be headlined by hip-hop duo Yin Yang Twins, who are not brothers but who earned mainstream attention collaborating with Britney Spears and Lil Jon.

Hombres G at Del Mar Fairgrounds

July 7

Taking their name from an American gangster movie called G-Men, Hombres G formed in Madrid in 1983 and were quickly nicknamed (mostly by music journalists in other countries) the Latin Beatles. After fifteen studio albums and several concert full-lengths, the group is considered one of Spain’s most prominent pop groups.

13th Annual Beat Farmers Hootenanny at Belly Up

July 13

The Beat Farmers were an alternative rock and country music band that enjoyed a cult following in the ‘80s and early ‘90s before the premature death of lead singer and drummer Country Dick Montana. Surviving members have regrouped in configurations like The Farmers, who’ll pay tribute to their rockin’ roots accompanied by longtime Farmers family friends Albert Lee, Jonny Two Bags, and Sara Petite.

San Diego Bayfest at Waterfront Park

July 20

Downtown’s annual Bayfest island music and reggae festival will stage a reunion concert featuring Sublime, now fronted by Jakob Nowell, the local son of their late frontman Bradley Nowell. The lineup includes Atmosphere, Goldfinger, Barrington Levy, Makua Rothman, and Kyle Smith.

Pallbearer at Brick By Brick

July 27

Formed in Little Rock, Arkansas circa 2008, Pallbearer is one of the most popular doom metal bands on the concert circuit, with five full-lengths to their credit including this year’s newest Mind Burns Alive. Also playing: Inter Arma and The Keening.

King Buzzo & Trevor Dunn at the Casbah

August 2

When Melvins leader King Buzzo (Buzz Osborne) and Mr. Bungle’s Trevor Dunn bring their co-headlining tour to Little Italy, JD Pinkus of the Butthole Surfers joins them.


Shoulda, coulda, woulda

Summer in San Diego is a little like Christmas in San Diego: a children’s fantasy imported from back East, where the seasons hit different. In December, we make fake snow and sing songs about sleighs and pretend it’s cold enough to necessitate cramming Santa into a fur-trimmed suit. In June, we ignore the marine layer and the chilly ocean and pretend that September isn’t our hottest month. Because in September, the kids will be going back to school, and summers are for the boys (and girls). Only for them are the days just packed, as Calvin put it to Hobbes. Only for them are days made for doing things, even if it’s nothing, as Hobbes put it to Calvin. So, back to childhood fantasies (indulged while growing up back East) I go.

Shoulda. I am five years old, an early and voracious reader. I am fascinated by Frances Berres’ Deep-Sea Adventure series, which relates the travails of the diving boat The Sea Watch. I idolize Jacques Cousteau, a man who wanted to dive for long periods of time, and so invented scuba to make it possible. I watch Cousteau’s undersea specials on WGBH Boston, and I resolve that I will be the first person to witness (and film) a sperm whale fighting a giant squid.

Fast forward forty-five years and I am bringing my youngest to La Jolla Shores early in the morning to fill the hours between her waking and her mother’s, and our march toward the beach takes us past crowds of recreational divers, their thickening torsos half-squeezed into their black wetsuits, their cumbersome air tanks and elaborate face masks strewn about the lawn in preparation for submersion. It’s not too late. I am not yet too far gone. I could be one of those people. I live in a town with a 6000-acre underwater park, with a collection of sunken ships known as Wreck Alley. There is nothing stopping me from living that life, except the life I am living.

Coulda. I am fifteen years old. Beetlejuice has just come out, and I see it three times in theaters. There is much that is weird and charming about the movie, but nothing moreso than the idea of two people spending their vacation fixing up their huge old house. Barbara surprises Adam with Manchurian Tung oil, “enough for me to refinish the gateleg table and the cherry wardrobe.” In return, he gives her enough floral wallpaper to cover the guest room. They are so happy. Imagine!

Again, fast-forward forty-five years, and I am listening to my youngest complain to my wife about the yellow and black caution tape that is wrapped around the backyard play structure, now 22 years old and so termite-ridden that it must be destroyed. Or, hear me out, darling — repaired. Restored No, really, I could do it in just a few weekends. Like we did with the playhouse! All the main timbers are still solid; the trouble is mostly the roof and the floor. Think how happy the little one will be. Oh, and just imagine! When our first-born gets married this fall, we can use it as a platform for giving toasts! No, I don’t suppose the maid of honor will want to climb the chain ladder in heels and a dress, but still. Yes, I know we already need to build a bar. Yes, I’ll have time. No, it won’t cost a fortune. There’s a construction site near work with plenty of scrap wood…what?

So much for coulda and shoulda. What about woulda — the thing that really would happen? Not that anyone should need to ask. I just gave two answers based on the result of watching TV and movies. Now I’m gonna give a third, based, you guessed it, on the result of watching a movie on TV, a movie about a working schlub like me: Office Space. In Mike Judge’s portrait of a generation that is not lost, just aimless, thank you, several characters answer the question, “What would you do if you had a million dollars?” And how does our hero answer? “Nothing. I would relax, I would sit on my ass all day, I would do nothing.”

Peter’s buddy replies that you don’t need a million dollars to do nothing. “Take a look at my cousin. He’s broke and don’t do shit.”

Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderley again. Er, Malo.

But of course, there is nothing and there is nothing, and the nothing at a beach house in San Diego is special. I have known this ever since my neighbors granted me and mine a day at their summer spot just off Mission Beach, and started me thinking about wills and how older people sometimes slip in the shower. And I have known it every time we have slipped in among the swells at St. Malo in Oceanside for a rented weekend. This is because there is no haunting sense that the nothing should be something; after considerable struggle and expense, you’ve made it to the place where nothing is precisely the point. The wife is exalted: living, if only for a moment, where she was always meant to live. This will mean trouble later, when it is time to go back to the family hovel, but it’s worth it. The children, confronted by the actual infinite that is the ocean, have their bottomless desire for momentary distraction momentarily numbed. No, not numbed — overwhelmed. Confronted by their own terrifying existential insignificance, they find themselves satisfied with building essentially ephemeral sandcastles and frolicking in the endlessly repeating surf at the edge of the abyss.

A better man — a man who is not always a day late and a dollar short — might get antsy, might start wondering if there is something that could be achieved. Is there a novel to be read? Or better still, written? Look at all that water. Should I finally learn to sail? Or at least bodysurf? Wasn’t there something I always told myself I’d do when I had the time? But not me. Here at the beach house, I know my place, and what the moment requires of me.

—Matthew Lickona

The latest copy of the Reader

Please enjoy this clickable Reader flipbook. Linked text and ads are flash-highlighted in blue for your convenience. To enhance your viewing, please open full screen mode by clicking the icon on the far right of the black flipbook toolbar.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Comic-Con stymied by San Diego hotel room prices

But city wants to raise hotel taxes – not a help
Next Article

German Cultural Minister tried to cancel Wagner

Wagner doesn't appeal to the young because he makes too many demands
Oceanside Pier as it appeared prior to April 25 fire.
Oceanside Pier as it appeared prior to April 25 fire.

A walk on the (whole) beach

A San Diego summer, with all the time in the world, brings up one challenge I’ve tried before and failed to complete: walking our entire 70-mile stretch of Pacific Ocean coastline, as close to the water as possible. I would likely fail again, simply because there are too many interruptions: steep cliffs; bays, harbors and lagoons; and military property where civilians are not welcome. But the glory is in the trying.


My first attempt was in the middle ’80s, when I was young and single and a full-time freelancer. I made a good living because I worked hard, but I also had plenty of free time and set my own hours, so if the sun was out and the weather was warm, I’d often head out to the beach. And one day, as I was putting the finishing touches on another summer guide for San Diego Magazine in which I extolled those fabulous “70 miles” from the border to the Orange County line, I decided to challenge myself by walking it – or, at least, whatever sections I could. I chronicled my adventures in one of my favorite features ever. It included several side stories, ranging from an interview with an old man who had lived in Mission Beach since the ’30s to a ditzy girl in a bikini shop commenting on the latest youth fashions.

For attempt No. 2, I’d start down south, at Imperial Beach, parking at the foot of Seacoast Drive, just north of the border with Mexico. Yeah, I know: sewage from Tijuana keeps making the ocean off limits to swimmers and surfers, and keeps the sparkling white-sand beaches relatively empty. But as a result, there’s a kind of ominous beauty here, especially on a warm blue-sky day, and a detour along the Imperial Beach Pier makes a pleasant diversion. At 1491 feet, it’s the ninth-longest public ocean pier in California. Be sure to walk to the very end, where a large sign proclaims, “You have reached the most southwesterly point in the continental United States.” I don’t know exactly why, but there’s something really cool about that.

Next up is the Silver Strand, parking my car at Coronado Cays Park and walking in either direction as long as the low tide allows. It’s one of the county’s least crowded beaches.

Then I’d drive up a few miles to the Hotel del Coronado and walk north along the wide sandy beach directly to the west of the grand hotel, where Marilyn Monroe romped in the surf while filming 1959’s Some Like It Hot.

From there, I’d drive around San Diego Bay to Point Loma and head south to Cabrillo National Monument. Just past the entry kiosk, I’d turn right on Cabrillo Way to the Point Loma Tidepools, where I’d enjoy a mile-long walk along sandstone pockmarked with little aquariums of sea life: urchins, tiny silver fish, sea stars, and maybe even an octopus or spiny lobster.

And so it would go. Alas, I don’t have space to detail all of it, but here are a few stretches of beach I would most definitely include in my walks:

Sunset Cliffs, from the foot of Ladera Street north to Point Loma Avenue: Yes, the trail winds along a road, but just a few feet away, the cliffs drop to spectacular Big Sur-like scenery and, of course, wondrous sunsets.

Mission Beach, from the jetty on the south end of the neighborhood north along the concrete “boardwalk,” then along the beach past the historic Crystal Pier to the grassy knolls of Palisades Park. The scenery here is equal parts nature and human, and I would make several stops for grub, including the best-in-town gyros at Kojack’s at the foot of Ventura Place, and, about two miles up the boardwalk, the acai bowl (with peanut butter) at Woody’s, best consumed while sitting at the outdoor bar overlooking the boardwalk, sand and surf.

La Jolla, from Windansea Beach to Coast Walk: this is one of the most picturesque coastal walks, even though only a small portion is on the sand. Park near the old pumphouse at Windansea Beach, immortalized in Tom Wolfe’s 1968 novel The Pumphouse Gang, and be sure to snap a photo of the thatch-covered surf shack that’s been a mainstay for years and years. Walk north along the sandstone bluffs past oceanfront mansions once owned by the likes of Cliff Robertson and Mitt Romney, and then enjoy your sole encounter with the sand along Marine Street Beach. More sandstone ahead, then up to the sidewalk along Coast Boulevard all the way north to Ellen Browning Scripps Park, with a stop along the way at Children’s Pool, protected by a concrete breakwater built in 1931 and now a habitat for seals. At the park, follow the walkway as it winds along the coast around La Jolla Cove, then follow the sidewalk up a modest incline to the La Jolla Shell Shop. Stop here for a descent into Sunny Jim Cave, down 144 steps through a tunnel constructed in 1902 by a German engineer. When you get back up, look just past the Shell Shop entrance for the trailhead of Coast Walk, a pleasant clifftop walk with views of La Jolla Shores that will bring you all the way to Torrey Pines Road.

All right, I am past my word limit. Let me squeeze in two proper sand walks – one on Torrey Pines State Beach, nestled below gorgeous Torrey Pines State Park, and the other from Fletcher Cove in Solana Beach all the way north into Encinitas (with a sidewalk detour just before The Cardiff Kook, a lifesize bronze sculpture of a surfer, officially known as Magic Carpet Ride, by Matthew Antichevich).

And let’s not forget the Strand in Oceanside, a tiny road that runs along the beach in north Oceanside for a mile and a half from the foot of Wisconsin Street. Before the recent fire, I would have made sure to take a detour along the pier, the longest wooden pier on the western U.S. coast and home to a pelican that lives on a roped-off perch just past the gift shop.

— Thomas K. Arnold


Finds at the Fringe

Not long ago and about a hundred miles up the road, I found myself in an intimate contemporary theater, listening to a troupe of actors, activists and advocates plead with state legislators to sign a bill that would invest in the survival live performing arts. Rent and construction costs were skyrocketing, and attendances had remained stubbornly lower than pre-pandemic levels. Many theaters had closed their doors, and some never reopened.

The bill was signed into law, but the battle to pass it shone a light on a wider finding: the largest subsidy for the arts does not come from governments or the private sector, but from artists themselves — in the form of underpaid labor.

Perhaps it has always been thus, but these are turbulent times, and I’d hate to see their sacrifice be made vain. Small-scale live art has a power and immediacy that I admire, and so, if I were back home in San Diego between May 16 and May 26, I would spend as much of that time as I could attending The San Diego International Fringe Festival.

The first Fringe Festival was held in the alleys, storefronts and church basements of Edinburgh, Scotland. Eight performing arts groups that had been somehow left uninvited to the 1947 Edinburgh International Festival decided to form their own gathering. The Edinburgh Fringe has since become the largest performing arts festival in the world. Most shows run for 45 to 60 minutes, and there is an emphasis on freewheeling experimentation.

Down in San Diego, says Fringe Festival press person Laura Preble, “We’ve had shows that just blow people away. It could be a magician, a mentalist, a circus act, a comedy, a brand new play or a brand new dance show. … You will be amazed at the things that come through here. People should come in with an open mind and an open heart. It’s not your button-up Globe experience. It’s not a formal theater experience. It’s much more edgy and unpredictable.”

Celebrating its 12th year in San Diego, this edition of Fringe will bring more than 60 acts from around the world to the city’s stages: the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater, LightBox Theater, Centro de Cultural de la Raza, New Destiny Church, No Limits Church, Mockingbird Improv, Finest City Improv, Les Girls, Tap Fever Studios and Wildsong (formerly the OB Playhouse). Tickets are $13 with multi-show passes available. (Required Fringe Tags are a one-time purchase of $7. The event is cashless, and all ticket proceeds go directly to the artists.)

“For the price, you’re just not going to see this level of daring, exciting art anywhere else,” said Mark Vigeant, comedian, performer and winner of the 2023 “Best of Fringe” award. “I would encourage people to take a chance on Fringe because it’s such a unique experience, such a fun experience, and such a delightful group of people.”

Upcoming Event

Fringe Festival: The Best Man Show

  • Thursday, May 16, 2024, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre, 2130 Pan American Road West, San Diego
  • Age Limit: All ages / $13

More


Vigeant’s upcoming Fringe Festival performance, The Best Man Show, is a 60-minute interactive solo comedy directed by Joanna Simmons. It delves into modern love and relationships during a wedding reception wherein the groom’s brother crumbles into an existential crisis. The show will make its U.S. premiere at Balboa Park’s Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater.

Growing up on the East Coast, Vigeant would take the train into New York City and watch improv shows. He went on to become a writer and performer with the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater before leaving to chart his own course. When the pandemic hit, he considered walking away from performing. “I was on the precipice,” he shared. “I just felt this urge to write one more show, to try to return to my roots on stage and make something purely for me, tell my story and explore my feelings.”

The show he wrote, “Mark Pleases You,” debuted in San Diego during Vigeant’s first Fringe Festival in 2023. He said it changed his life, earning him attention and accolades that culminated in an invitation to the New Zealand Fringe Festival. “This country isn’t really set up to support artists who are not superstars,” he said. “The Fringe Festival has an audience, and it’s an audience that is willing to give a shot to people who they’ve never heard of before. … It’s a place for artists to go and share what they’re up to, and get inspired and connect.”

Vigeant said that producing the show has helped him grow and heal relationships within his own life and hopes that it encourages audiences to think deeply about the love in their lives, too.

Janoah Bailin, winner of “Spirit of the Fringe” at the 2022 Elgin Fringe Festival, will bring his immersive solo circus act to No Limits Church, 4931 Logan Avenue, Lincoln Park, at various times from Saturday, May 18, to Saturday, May 25.

Alongside The Best Man Show, Daniel Nodder will present Only Bones, a physical comedy show that tells the history of the universe with upbeat jazz and a “jelly-like performance.” Riot Productions will present Audition Sides, the story of a couple broken apart by a messy affair who become stuck together again in a callback room. Evan Duffy-Ledbetter will present I Need a Beer, a play about the generational development of a family. Janoah Bailin will present MeSSes Solo Circus, an immersive performance and whimsical workshop for all ages that pairs juggling and unicycling with puppetry. And Theatre Group Gumbo will present Forest Of Truth, a fantastical love comedy that places two lovers in a dense forest filled with mythical creatures. Like Shakespeare, except not.

Upcoming Event

Fringe Festival: Daniel Nodder - Only Bones

  • Friday, May 17, 2024, 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Ocean Beach Playhouse, 4944 Newport Avenue, San Diego
  • Age Limit: All ages / $13

More


That’s just a sampling. Preble calls Fringe Festival an incubator for new work. “There are artists who’ve done Fringe Festivals and then gone on to do shows on Broadway or in big theaters,” she said. “New work generally costs money to put up, but this is a way for people to do it where it doesn’t cost them thousands of dollars. Artists can do their show and see what works and what doesn’t and bring an audience in to see them and give them feedback. It’s very personal because the venues are small, so people really get to see the artists kicking the tires.”

Ours is an increasingly digitized and disconnected world. Fringe works against that, using theater to create moments of shared humanity. Attending would be both my bleat of protest against disconnection and my show of support for grassroots artmaking.

— Luke Netzley


Gone fishing

I am a summer person. I do not like cold, I relish warmth, and I especially like being near blue water and great fishing. I have been fortunate enough to enjoy some remarkable times in warm seaside climes. Being born in San Diego and raised in San Diego and Tucson, Baja became a natural choice for my vacations: a place of dramatic Arizona-style desert fronting clear turquoise water on the Sea of Cortez side, and moderate temperatures and a warm San Diego-like feel on the Pacific.

I enjoy traveling down the peninsula and seeking out hidden gems. For me, those gems are usually small fishing pueblos as yet ungentrified by mega-tourism and large expat communities. Don’t get me wrong, I have fished on a few high-dollar yachts running out of the now affluent getaways of La Paz and Cabo, and loved it. Who wouldn’t? But throughout my life, my niche has run much closer to bohemian: I prefer nature, some solitude, and being where I never have to worry about what to wear beyond the appropriate attire for the weather or the task at hand.

I have now spent nearly three decades exploring and fishing in Baja, sometimes for years at a time, and there is still so much I have not done. For instance, there is a particular stretch of coast on the Pacific side where I have had little experience, and so I would spend my ideal summer vacation rectifying that situation. Much of the area is relatively non-touristy: a rugged shoreline spotted by occasional fish camps.

As a mostly surf and kayak angler, desolate and largely untapped inshore fisheries draw me like iron filings to a magnet. Along that stretch of coast, the marine biosphere transitions from something similar to San Diego’s kelp forests — hosting sheephead, calico bass, white seabass, halibut, and yellowtail — to a more semi-tropical fishery, with possible catches including snook, gulf grouper, roosterfish, and jack crevalle. Even tuna and dorado can be found within paddling distance of shore where deeper trenches near inshore high spots full of bait draw the larger pelagic game fish. There, summer is prime time for beach, lagoon, and nearshore fishing.

I lived in Bahia Asunción for a few years, a location still in the cool water trend that keeps summer temps mild. The fishery was not unlike San Diego’s. My little rental was right on the beach at the edge of the small co-op fishing village, and corbina and halibut were readily available a couple dozen yards from my front door. I could stroll down to the beach, work the surf with lures or sand crabs, and usually return with plenty of fish to eat. (Targeting corbina with sand crabs was much more productive for me, as I usually must fish through dozens of surf perch to catch a corbina. In Asunción, there are no perch in the surf, although there are plenty of sand crabs and corbina.)

A bohemian angler’s dream; a chunky corbina caught along a desolate beach on Baja’s mid-peninsula Pacific coast with my wingman tagging along.

During halibut spawns, I could often catch a limit within a couple hundred yards of working along the beach. Occasionally, bonito and even yellowtail would crash on bait right in the surf zone. Still, I found myself looking southward to the mountainous terrain toward La Bocana and imagining how much better the fishing might be along the coast between, or even beyond the lagoons of San Ignacio and Bahia Magdalena.

Northward, from Bahia Tortugas and Punta Eugenia at the tip of the Vizcaino Peninsula, spotfin croaker, halibut, and corbina-laden beaches from Guererro Negro to Santa Rosalilita also sparked my fishing imagination, and I often silently promised myself to check out the area someday.

While in Asunción, my restraints were finances and time, so my explorations were limited to the ten miles up and down the coast from the house, and outside of fishing, the fossil grounds a few miles inland, where I could find a plethora of marine mammal fossils and shark teeth. Plus, for the past nine years, I have had a partner who always goes everywhere with me that is usually not welcome aboard boats or in fancy resorts: my wingman dog, Flash Gordon.

In San Diego, we anglers are fortunate to have a great fishery within reach of the world’s largest live bait sportfishing fleet. I worked as a deckhand in my youth and have taken many rides out on those boats, mostly on trips targeting tuna, yellowtail, dorado and such. Over the past few decades, I have also spent a lot of time along the Sea of Cortez side of Baja, and on the Mexican mainland in more tropical regions, fishing out of Mazatlán and Vallarta. To some, maybe many, I have been fortunate as an angler to have spent a good part of my life in some remarkable bucket list fisheries. But I am older and have no desire to wrestle large tunas or marlin. Given physical limitations, even the kayak is getting tough to handle.

Resorts do not beckon to me. And really, neither do the big boats. I still love fishing, especially from the beach with my wingman tagging along. I would say without hesitation that my dream summer vacation would be to spend the entire summer exploring, camping, and fishing the remote areas along the Pacific coast of Baja from south of El Rosario to Bahia Magdalena with Flash Gordon by my side.

— Daniel Powell


A tour of who’s touring

Sponsored
Sponsored

So many venues, so much music, too many choices! My list of can’t-miss concerts keeps getting larger and longer. Here are the top twelve upcoming music events inked on my calendar due to happen this summer on concert stages all around San Diego.

— Jay Allen Sanford 


Aimee Nolte & Leonard Patton at Jazz Lounge

May 23

Jazz singer Leonard Patton will headline his own La Mesa concert hangout, the Jazz Lounge, for a set of colorfully arranged television theme songs accompanied by Aimee Nolte. Patton has performed and recorded with everyone from Bill Cunliffe and Derek Nievergelt to Duncan Moore, Mitch Manker, Mike Bedard, Ken Dow, Jetro Da Silva, Peter Sprague, Geoffrey Keezer, and others.

Parliament Funkadelic at Beach House Grill

June 8

OG funkmaster George Clinton will bring his longtime lineup of Parliament players to Mission Beach for a career spanning a set of radio hits and obscure deep dance cuts. Among the band members with 30 or more years on the roster are trumpeter Bennie Cowan, sax player Greg Thomas, bassist Lige Curry, and guitarist Blackbird McKnight.

Kolohe Kai at Del Mar Fairgrounds

June 12

Headlining the first concert of the 2024 San Diego County Fair’s Summer Concert Series is Kolohe Kai. The band blends Hawaiian ukulele, roots reggae, R&B, and pop on full-lengths such as Summer to Winter, which topped Billboard’s Reggae Album chart.

Walker Hayes at Harrah’s

June 15

Walker Hayes hit the bigtime with “Fancy Like,” which spent more than six months atop the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart, reached the top five on Billboard’s Hot 100 Songs, and earned him a Grammy Award nomination for “Best Country Song.”

Justin Hayward at Balboa Theatre

June 21

Known as the main singer for longtime hitmakers The Moody Blues, Justin Hayward will bring his Blue World Tour to downtown’s acoustically omniscient Balboa Theater, to perform songs from that band as well as solo hits like “Forever Autumn.” The bill includes Mike Dawes, an English fingerstyle guitar player known for performing multiple parts simultaneously on the guitar a la Stanley Jordan.

Little Big Town at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, June 27.

Little Big Town at Del Mar Fairgrounds

June 27

Given their four-part vocal harmonies and sing-along-friendly hits, Alabama-based Little Big Town is best known for songs such as “Pontoon,” “Boondocks,” “Day Drinking,” and “Girl Crush.” Still sporting its original members after 30 years, the group has won multiple Grammy and Country Music Awards.

Almost Nakey Freedom Fest at Beach House Grill & The Plunge

July 6

Celebrate 99 years of Belmont Park with DJs, a silent disco, and three stages of live music spread out from the Beach House to The Plunge. The festivities will be headlined by hip-hop duo Yin Yang Twins, who are not brothers but who earned mainstream attention collaborating with Britney Spears and Lil Jon.

Hombres G at Del Mar Fairgrounds

July 7

Taking their name from an American gangster movie called G-Men, Hombres G formed in Madrid in 1983 and were quickly nicknamed (mostly by music journalists in other countries) the Latin Beatles. After fifteen studio albums and several concert full-lengths, the group is considered one of Spain’s most prominent pop groups.

13th Annual Beat Farmers Hootenanny at Belly Up

July 13

The Beat Farmers were an alternative rock and country music band that enjoyed a cult following in the ‘80s and early ‘90s before the premature death of lead singer and drummer Country Dick Montana. Surviving members have regrouped in configurations like The Farmers, who’ll pay tribute to their rockin’ roots accompanied by longtime Farmers family friends Albert Lee, Jonny Two Bags, and Sara Petite.

San Diego Bayfest at Waterfront Park

July 20

Downtown’s annual Bayfest island music and reggae festival will stage a reunion concert featuring Sublime, now fronted by Jakob Nowell, the local son of their late frontman Bradley Nowell. The lineup includes Atmosphere, Goldfinger, Barrington Levy, Makua Rothman, and Kyle Smith.

Pallbearer at Brick By Brick

July 27

Formed in Little Rock, Arkansas circa 2008, Pallbearer is one of the most popular doom metal bands on the concert circuit, with five full-lengths to their credit including this year’s newest Mind Burns Alive. Also playing: Inter Arma and The Keening.

King Buzzo & Trevor Dunn at the Casbah

August 2

When Melvins leader King Buzzo (Buzz Osborne) and Mr. Bungle’s Trevor Dunn bring their co-headlining tour to Little Italy, JD Pinkus of the Butthole Surfers joins them.


Shoulda, coulda, woulda

Summer in San Diego is a little like Christmas in San Diego: a children’s fantasy imported from back East, where the seasons hit different. In December, we make fake snow and sing songs about sleighs and pretend it’s cold enough to necessitate cramming Santa into a fur-trimmed suit. In June, we ignore the marine layer and the chilly ocean and pretend that September isn’t our hottest month. Because in September, the kids will be going back to school, and summers are for the boys (and girls). Only for them are the days just packed, as Calvin put it to Hobbes. Only for them are days made for doing things, even if it’s nothing, as Hobbes put it to Calvin. So, back to childhood fantasies (indulged while growing up back East) I go.

Shoulda. I am five years old, an early and voracious reader. I am fascinated by Frances Berres’ Deep-Sea Adventure series, which relates the travails of the diving boat The Sea Watch. I idolize Jacques Cousteau, a man who wanted to dive for long periods of time, and so invented scuba to make it possible. I watch Cousteau’s undersea specials on WGBH Boston, and I resolve that I will be the first person to witness (and film) a sperm whale fighting a giant squid.

Fast forward forty-five years and I am bringing my youngest to La Jolla Shores early in the morning to fill the hours between her waking and her mother’s, and our march toward the beach takes us past crowds of recreational divers, their thickening torsos half-squeezed into their black wetsuits, their cumbersome air tanks and elaborate face masks strewn about the lawn in preparation for submersion. It’s not too late. I am not yet too far gone. I could be one of those people. I live in a town with a 6000-acre underwater park, with a collection of sunken ships known as Wreck Alley. There is nothing stopping me from living that life, except the life I am living.

Coulda. I am fifteen years old. Beetlejuice has just come out, and I see it three times in theaters. There is much that is weird and charming about the movie, but nothing moreso than the idea of two people spending their vacation fixing up their huge old house. Barbara surprises Adam with Manchurian Tung oil, “enough for me to refinish the gateleg table and the cherry wardrobe.” In return, he gives her enough floral wallpaper to cover the guest room. They are so happy. Imagine!

Again, fast-forward forty-five years, and I am listening to my youngest complain to my wife about the yellow and black caution tape that is wrapped around the backyard play structure, now 22 years old and so termite-ridden that it must be destroyed. Or, hear me out, darling — repaired. Restored No, really, I could do it in just a few weekends. Like we did with the playhouse! All the main timbers are still solid; the trouble is mostly the roof and the floor. Think how happy the little one will be. Oh, and just imagine! When our first-born gets married this fall, we can use it as a platform for giving toasts! No, I don’t suppose the maid of honor will want to climb the chain ladder in heels and a dress, but still. Yes, I know we already need to build a bar. Yes, I’ll have time. No, it won’t cost a fortune. There’s a construction site near work with plenty of scrap wood…what?

So much for coulda and shoulda. What about woulda — the thing that really would happen? Not that anyone should need to ask. I just gave two answers based on the result of watching TV and movies. Now I’m gonna give a third, based, you guessed it, on the result of watching a movie on TV, a movie about a working schlub like me: Office Space. In Mike Judge’s portrait of a generation that is not lost, just aimless, thank you, several characters answer the question, “What would you do if you had a million dollars?” And how does our hero answer? “Nothing. I would relax, I would sit on my ass all day, I would do nothing.”

Peter’s buddy replies that you don’t need a million dollars to do nothing. “Take a look at my cousin. He’s broke and don’t do shit.”

Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderley again. Er, Malo.

But of course, there is nothing and there is nothing, and the nothing at a beach house in San Diego is special. I have known this ever since my neighbors granted me and mine a day at their summer spot just off Mission Beach, and started me thinking about wills and how older people sometimes slip in the shower. And I have known it every time we have slipped in among the swells at St. Malo in Oceanside for a rented weekend. This is because there is no haunting sense that the nothing should be something; after considerable struggle and expense, you’ve made it to the place where nothing is precisely the point. The wife is exalted: living, if only for a moment, where she was always meant to live. This will mean trouble later, when it is time to go back to the family hovel, but it’s worth it. The children, confronted by the actual infinite that is the ocean, have their bottomless desire for momentary distraction momentarily numbed. No, not numbed — overwhelmed. Confronted by their own terrifying existential insignificance, they find themselves satisfied with building essentially ephemeral sandcastles and frolicking in the endlessly repeating surf at the edge of the abyss.

A better man — a man who is not always a day late and a dollar short — might get antsy, might start wondering if there is something that could be achieved. Is there a novel to be read? Or better still, written? Look at all that water. Should I finally learn to sail? Or at least bodysurf? Wasn’t there something I always told myself I’d do when I had the time? But not me. Here at the beach house, I know my place, and what the moment requires of me.

—Matthew Lickona

Comments
Sponsored

The latest copy of the Reader

Please enjoy this clickable Reader flipbook. Linked text and ads are flash-highlighted in blue for your convenience. To enhance your viewing, please open full screen mode by clicking the icon on the far right of the black flipbook toolbar.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Thunderheads to the east, add native bulbs to your garden

July is our driest month
Next Article

Fleet After Dark, Lake Street Dive, Comic Con Bar Crawl

Events July 25-July 27, 2024
Comments
Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox Movies@Home — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
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
Close

Anchor ads are not supported on this page.