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Stories by David Kohanyi

Making Milan Djokich’s dream

There was hardly a time in Milan Djokich’s life when he wasn’t building. He was only nine when he started carrying blocks on the construction sites worked by his father, who had himself learned masonry ...

December 22, 2022
Red Fox Room reverie

Like other sentimental San Diegans I was disappointed when I learned that the Red Fox Room was being booted from its home in the Lafayette Hotel — a space that it had occupied for half ...

December 22, 2022
Nicholas Leigh Hunt revisits the Grover Cleveland school shooting with new book

I. “Everyone around San Diego at that time has a memory of the shooting,” Nicholas Leigh Hunt tells me. Hunt, to whom I spoke remotely at his home in Buckinghamshire, grew up in San Diego ...

November 23, 2022
The holy mountain in Valley Center

From Oberlin to the Forest Back in the late 1960s, when Thanissaro Bhikkhu was a college student at Oberlin and was still called Geoffrey DeGraff, he signed up for an inter-term practicum taught by two ...

Jewish Motorcyclists Alliance uses Pavel Friedmann’s “The Butterfly” poem to guide their annual Ride 2 Remember benefit

On Thursday September 8, members of the Jewish Motorcyclists Alliance arrived in San Diego from all over the country to take part in their annual Ride 2 Remember, a three-day event focused on Holocaust education ...

September 15, 2022
Book lover Scott Emerson hunts for Norman Rockwell — and finds him!

Scott Emerson has always loved books. He seems to have come into the world that way, without the influence of parents or peers. And his love of collecting began fairly early as well. “What really ...

September 14, 2022
Where the El Cajon Typewriter Co. sign leads

Anyone who has been in downtown El Cajon has probably noticed the large El Cajon Typewriter Co. sign at 130 E. Main that, alas, no longer announces a real live typewriter shop. Though the internet ...

August 10, 2022
The Lion King stage production is “a magical experience”

When the stage production of The Lion King arrives in San Diego on August 24th, T. Shyvonne Stewart will be arriving along with it. For Stewart, a swing player in the production who also covers ...

August 10, 2022
Renowned Australian didgeridoo player Lewis Burns finds solace at Alpine ranch

Warner Recabaren is telling me one of the Australian origin stories of the didgeridoo, as he remembers it. It begins with a group of guys sitting around a campfire. One of them throws a stick ...

July 27, 2022
The Aware Project: to re-balance the public narrative

“I always have many irons in the fire,” Jarrod Ekengren tells me. “I’m not really a single track-minded person.” Some of those irons, in no particular order: Ekengren is a PhD. student in clinical psychology, ...

July 27, 2022
A spiritural contract with Kambo

It was about a decade ago, in the jungle city of Iquitos, Peru, that Caitlin Thompson first heard about Kambo, a traditional medicine used by some indigenous groups in the Amazon. Kambo is the poisonous ...

July 13, 2022
A cow named India finds sanctuary at Campo’s Farm Animal Refuge

“Trying to bring every animal here would be like trying to empty a river with a teaspoon,” says Jordan Russo, founder of Campo’s Farm Animal Refuge. Because of that, she says, their focus is on ...

June 29, 2022
Date night: try a sensory deprivation tank at flōt on Kettner

On the two date nights a month that we customarily keep, my wife and I typically go out to eat, drink, and talk. But recently, we decided to take a break from that routine and ...

June 29, 2022
Acey Deucey’s ace

Anderson Lawfer, Artistic Director at Fever Originals USA — a clearly enthusiastic and warm character, and the man who oversaw the implementation of creator Cinereal's vision for the Acey Deucey Club — says that he ...

June 15, 2022
A night aboard the Clusterwink

As far as I am concerned, being inside of a submarine for any amount of time would be a form of mental torture. Underwater + enclosure = nightmare. Last Wednesday’s boarding of the Acey Deucey ...

June 15, 2022
Baja by boat: “Kayak to Cabo/ 1050 miles alone/ Aug 4 to Nov 6 /2003”

Recently, I had dinner at a small gathering in Mission Beach hosted by some new friends, Dimitri and Ali Kalemkeris, in a charming cottage that was built in the time of Ali’s grandparents. Soon after ...

Martin Lindsay’s hunt for lost San Diego restaurants

If you happened to be on the internet looking for the “oldest restaurant in San Diego,” or wanted to find some information about, say, “Lubach’s Restaurant”, defunct since 1990, those queries would have led you ...

May 18, 2022
Karaoke love for Taylor Swift at Werewolf

The Lamplighter in Mission Hills is, in its own estimation, “San Diego’s Favorite Dive & Karaoke Bar.” This may be true, and I’ve had a good time there myself, but for the purposes of this ...

Grateful Shred keep the Grateful Dead alive

In 1988, my parents were on their way to become sworn American citizens in Hartford Connecticut when they were surprised by an unexpected throng. Long haired and tie-dye clad, they crowded around the Civic Center, ...

John Edward, peripatetic psychic

I just got off the phone with John Edward, the self-described psychic medium who came to prominence around 20 years ago on the television programs Crossing Over and Cross Country, through his appearances with Larry ...

Daydream MD: Ketamine crusader

I could have interviewed Dr. Arsalan Azam about lots of different things. I could have asked for stories from his nearly 10 years of working in emergency medicine: delivering babies, assessing the schizophrenic and the ...

April 6, 2022
San Diego Mycological Society’s 24th annual Fungus Fair: a mushroom meetup

The mushroom: a symbol of ecological renewal, of alternative medicine, of psychedelic exploration. I see them everywhere these days: on clothing and murals and stickers, in cultivation kits that I can buy at my kids’ ...

March 24, 2022
The Party for Socialism and Liberation stands with “revolutionary optimism”

In the middle of February, the Reader got word regarding an upcoming rally at Teralta Park in City Heights. Kwame from the San Diego branch of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) wanted to ...

March 24, 2022
The living art of bonsai is alive and well

It is nine in the morning on a Wednesday, and within the confines of Balboa Park’s Japanese Friendship Garden, a few bonsai enthusiasts are moving quietly among the birds and the dew, tending to their ...

February 23, 2022
Toasting Cap’n Keno’s

When I worked in North County some years ago, I would regularly drive by Cap’n Keno’s on the 101 and admire it, in the same way I would admire Leucadia’s Log Cabin Apartments or the ...

February 9, 2022
Where the heart of Beyond Van Gogh is situated

Immersive art exhibits have grown in popularity recently, with installments like the recently closed Sistine Chapel Exhibition in Mission Valley now featured all over the world. Here in town, we still have Beyond Van Gogh, ...

Ae Southammavong levels up on Next Level Chef

Ae Southammavong says she always liked cooking. As a little kid in Laos, she learned things in the kitchen at home, and by the time she was about 10, she was helping her parents prepare ...

January 26, 2022
Revisit the Old West at the Olaf Wieghorst Museum

As a rule, I drive slowly whenever I’m not on the freeway, slowly enough that it bothers even my patient wife a bit, But I need to drive slowly enough to allow for my persistent ...

January 26, 2022
Bosko Hrnjak: the midcentury maker

Even if you knew nothing at all about artist Bosko Hrnjak, you could glean a pretty good sense of who the man is and what he cares about just by taking a look around his ...

January 12, 2022
Pondering Impermanence at PHES Gallery in Carlsbad

Carlsbad’s PHES Gallery is an attractive and compact building that sits on a quiet stretch of State St. close to the heart of the Village. While it is a new institution — having opened in ...

December 29, 2021
A visit to Sherman Heights’ Longplay

I am driving slowly down Imperial Avenue, looking for parking. My van’s windows are down, and I can hear the buzz of morning activity. Some barbers are opening their shop, joking about something. Across the ...

December 29, 2021
The master pipemaker behind J. Alan Pipes

Briar boss The dwindling remnants of San Diego’s coastal glow are fading into a mild Autumn dusk as I arrive for my meeting with master pipemaker Jeff Gracik. I find him in the spot where ...

November 3, 2021
San Diego Reader’s Best Of issue 2021

Best Friend to Joshua Trees Is there anything to be done about the plight of the Joshua tree? While state and federal agencies dither over whether the imperiled desert dweller deserves endangered species protections, one ...

October 20, 2021
The Integratron: a tool for soundness

The situation of so many structures in Southern California feels haphazard: buildings plunked down here or there by whim or whimsy. But the Integratron really belongs in its place: an auspicious spot in the Mojave ...

October 6, 2021
Papa Smurf goes electric

I’ve wanted to interview local health practitioner Ryan Smith (www.santesmith.com) ever since an observer at one of his presentations told me, with admiration rather than scorn, “He is like a mad scientist.” Smith himself has ...

October 6, 2021

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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
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