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Stories by Ian Pike

Best Reader stories from 2016

Tijuana destroys Spanish and English “Tengo que ir hacer laundry, then I have to study en la biblioteca,” I’m paraphrasing what the Latina students in my college sounded like. My first real encounter with Spanglish ...

March 22, 2020
The Reader's 2018 burger issue

The most complicated of sandwiches The Friendly, Born and Raised, Balboa Bar, Viewpoint, Mishmash, Currant, Bleu Boheme By Mary Beth Abate We’re burger rich, y’all Craft House, Gourmet Sandwiches, Salud, Ty's, Bunz, Hamilton's. Chinatown Bar ...

I fear no burger

I eat them rare. I eat them piled high with toppings that range from the conventional to the absurd. I eat them with forks and knives like a perfect gentleman; or I eat them with ...

September 12, 2018
San Diego Reader 2018 Feast issue

When dinner is a gift El Jardin, Cowboy Star, Coasterra, Born & Raised, Charles + Dinorah, Nine-Ten, Juniper & Ivy By Mary Beth Abate I burst with hometown pride George's, Himitsu, Kokoro, Starlite, Gelato Vero ...

I burst with hometown pride

Time was I would eat out plumb near every night, always chasing the hottest trends. Thousands of meals later, my perspective has shifted, and I now prefer to patronize a few, favored spots when I ...

August 8, 2018
The jokes hold up in Old Globe's Importance of Being Earnest

I laughed myself into a coughing fit after only fifteen minutes of the Old Globe’s production of The Importance of Being Earnest. In fairness, I also cracked up over the film version where Reese Witherspoon ...

February 21, 2018
San Diego Reader writers dig deep into Christmases past

Every Power Rangers toy known to man The exact moment the sleigh bells stopped jingling — by Chad Deal Sister Santa’s once-a-year smile I adored American Christmas — by Tam Hoang We were ruthless Christmas-letter ...

Dandelions are not the most Christmaslike plants

Last year, my wife and I hosted my entire family for a week over the Christmas break. All told, we had eight people in the house: me and Sara, my three brothers, my younger brother’s ...

December 20, 2017
Monsters that prowl the shadowy corners of memory

I like that Ichabod Crane believes in ghosts. Tom Zohar plays Ichabod in Backyard Renaissance Theatre Company’s debut production of Adam Wachter’s Tarrytown — with Katrina (Kay Marian McNellen) and Brom (Bryan Branville) similarly borrowed ...

December 13, 2017
Reindeer Monologues at OB Playhouse

We get the conceit of Santa’s eight reindeer from the reindeer husbandry practiced by the indigenous people of Fennoscandia. In Siberia, the locals shave curlicues of meat from frozen reindeer steaks, which they eat raw ...

December 6, 2017
American Carnage in City Heights

When the world as we know it ends, will it be our fault? Broadly speaking, dystopian sagas diverge into two camps. On the one hand, you have your bleak future in the vein of Fahrenheit ...

November 22, 2017
Tenth Avenue Art Center’s Evil Dead: the Musical

My wife and I saw Tenth Avenue Art Center’s Evil Dead: the Musical this year, because Halloween. We did not sit in the front row “splatter zone,” where spectators enjoy periodic soakings in fake blood ...

November 8, 2017
Lest we be lost in the long black night

On account of inexcusable ignorance, I initially thought that Cygnet Theatre had produced a contemporary drama with Paul Zindel’s The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds. To my ear, the title fit a short ...

September 21, 2017
Un-burgers, breakfast burgers, Ur-burgers, taco burgers

What makes a burger? Obviously, ground meat enters the equation, and there must be some sort of presentation beyond slapping a griddled patty down on a plate, but it’s hard to qualify exactly what a ...

Hamlet, and wacky theories

Following in the rich tradition of worldwide dads, my father has been known to entertain a bevy of wacky theories, often encapsulated in simple pronouncements that sound absurd on the face of things, but ultimately ...

September 1, 2017
10 Things I love about roof decks

Method Center Actors’ production of William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, directed by Jasmin Haddad, makes use of the rooftop performance space at the Tenth Avenue Arts Center. The company intends to make “Shakes ...

August 16, 2017
Game of Thrones, a musical?

My neighbor thought sure she saw John Bradley-West standing discreetly in the shadows at the 10th Avenue Art Space during Game of Thrones: the Musical, but it turned out to be some rando who looked ...

August 4, 2017
Young studs and dowager duchesses

If you’re feeling charitable: Loves and Hours opens with a May-December marriage. If you’re feeling more cynical: rich, egotistical old man, Harold (Paul Maley) gets himself a smokin’ hot gold digger of a trophy wife, ...

June 30, 2017
Infantile America

Early on in O.B. Playhouse’s production of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, Tara Sampson, playing one of many, interchangeable female characters in this musical revue of love and dating, leans heavy on the ...

June 20, 2017
San Diego Reader 2017 guide to tacos

Taco means tiny taste of temptation. Satisfaction by a thousand different cuts of meat and veggies. Is it just me, this wacko taco love affair? I don’t think so. Every San Diegan has a secret ...

Taco secrets waiting to be whispered

TJ Oyster Bar It’s hard to put my finger on exactly what makes the TJ Oyster Bar fish taco superlative, but I think it comes down to the batter. It always manages to remain light ...

UCSD students achieve something important in Spring Awakening

In no particular order, here are five things that struck me at closing night of UCSD’s 2017 Muir Musical, Spring Awakening: One, I didn’t see a lot of cell phones flashing in the darkness, which ...

April 25, 2017
Hottentot Venus

It’s not every day you get an off-the-cuff reference to the Hottentot Venus, but there it is, casually worked into the dialogue during the first-half of Red Velvet at the Old Globe. One of the ...

April 12, 2017
The other shoe never dropped

I cynically spent the entirety of Laura Eason’s Sex with Strangers, which played last month at San Diego Rep, awaiting the other shoe. It never dropped. Ethan (Connor Sullivan) blogged about picking up girls in ...

April 4, 2017
Plays — like Abundance — can take you to weird places

At some point, while I’m sitting there immersed in Backyard Renaissance’s production of Abundance, I start thinking about Westworld. I know it’s wrong of me to be distracted from this harrowing, heartbreaking tale; but I ...

March 28, 2017
Don’t be like me, people. Make good choices. Attend the theater.

Till last Saturday, I had never seen Eve Ensler’s famous play, The Vagina Monologues. Since last Saturday, I have still not seen it. I began le weekend with America’s Finest Intentions. A friend would score ...

March 7, 2017
Find the Easter egg hidden in Urinetown

Following O.B. Playhouse’s production of Urinetown: The Musical (directed by Jennie Gray Connard), I could ramble about the ins and outs of the real-life Malthusian trap on the edge of which we, the global population, ...

February 22, 2017
Margie's plight

One of my biggest fears in life is to wake up someday in more or less the same circumstances as Margie Walsh from David Lindsay-Abaire’s Good People (now playing at Scripps Ranch Theatre through February ...

February 2, 2017
Relative hate

If I were a member of the Feygenbaum/Haber extended family circle that figures so prominently in Joshua Harmon’s Bad Jews, I would dread get-togethers (funereal or otherwise) at least as much as Daphna (Danielle Frimer) ...

January 17, 2017
Back to the 1940s

Not a lot of people know this, but I wasn’t actually around in the 1940s. It’s true! I was still waiting for my parents to get born so that I could get born; but I’ve ...

December 20, 2016
I stole my best friend's girl

The playwright Bash Doran has come right out and said in interviews that The Mystery of Love and Sex is a play partly about race, partly family, and mostly sexuality; but that doesn’t mean we ...

December 14, 2016
What do you think about the kid thing?

At some point in American history, somewhere between Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Sarah Gubbins’s The Kid Thing (playing at Moxie Theatre through December 11), parenthood became both super public and super discretionary. Back ...

November 30, 2016
Brush up on your Shakespeare

Watching Measure for Measure — performed as part of the Old Globe’s “Globe for All” program, which injects free productions into unconventional venues all over town — I got deja vu listening to Angelo, the ...

November 16, 2016
Why burn happy memories?

Lately, I’ve waded into murky, nostalgic waters more than I prefer. I blame the dwindling sunlight of the waning summer, something about the way the shorter days call out the ephemeral and fleeting nature of ...

November 2, 2016
Chinese achievers, American idiots — La Jolla Playhouse stages Tiger Style!

Mike Lew’s Tiger Style! is a kind of 21st-century bildungsroman for sibling protagonists, Jennifer (Jackie Chung) and Albert Chen (Raymond J. Lee), and it tells its story largely by holding popular stereotypes up to the ...

September 21, 2016
San Diego’s most overrated burgers

Salt separates the bland patties from the ones that sing hymns of meaty goodness. Thus, in the salty spirit, while my brilliant colleagues (each one infinitely more well mannered, and supremely more qualified than me) ...

September 14, 2016
Screaming down the plains

If you have half a heart, you’ll leave New Village Arts’ Oklahoma! happily humming “Oh What a Beautiful Mornin’” while visions of scurrying chicks and ducks paint a picture of pastoral grandeur second to none. ...

September 7, 2016
Here's to you, crabby old bitches

There’s a scene in the first act of Avenue Q (playing through August 28 at the O.B. Playhouse) where Kate Monster (Catie Marron) argues with her boss, the ancient Lavinia Thistletwat, voiced and performed by ...

August 24, 2016
The aesthetic of popular restaurants is in flux

For those who didn’t catch Barbarella’s take on Et Voilà in June, here’s the TL;DR version: she found the restaurant charming, (i.e. “a ‘nice’ establishment, yet you don’t feel out of place if you happen ...

San Diego’s only dedicated chicken-and-waffles restaurant

If you want to know about Da Chicken Coop, there is only one question that matters: How does it stack up against Roscoe’s? Aw, stop groaning. You have to ask. There is no other metric ...

Restaurants worth treating as occasions

Amid a vibrant social dining scene like ours, it’s easy to take restaurants for granted. Their very existence becomes a matter of convenience. We are either too busy or too lazy to cook, and keeping ...

August 3, 2016
You should've taken a break from Pride to see The Twentieth Century Way

Nothing says “equality and an end to homophobia” quite like garbage in the streets and drunk, sunburned straight people enjoying an excuse to slip on a tutu and some sequined leggings.

Hipster sensibilities

It’s not every day that a musical adaptation of English Regency drama comes chock full of hipster jokes. But, Paul Gordon’s Sense and Sensibility at the Old Globe, directed by Barbara Gaines, made me stop ...

While you were disco-napping...

Congratulations, Pride attendees! By all accounts, Pride weekend was a huge success. Tens of thousands enjoyed the music festival, parade, parties, and (of course) the endless day-drinking. The corporate sponsors must be so happy to ...

July 18, 2016
What is “San Diego-style” barbecue?

So much is (justly) made of barbecue styles. It’s the ultimate sign of a culinary asshat to say, “You can’t get good XYZ-style barbecue outside of XYZ place.” But there’s a nugget of truth in ...

Audiences eat up cutesy pie

Last month, New York–based dance troupe, Monica Bill Barnes & Company put on a single performance of Every Night’s a Show Night, a self-styled work-in-progress, at San Diego Dance Theatre. To the tune of excellent ...

July 13, 2016
How is dictatorship still a thing?

Unless you saw it at SD Fringe, none of you reading this will see Qaddafi’s Cook, which dramatizes the life of a Mexican chef who tripped on Ayahuasca and took a job as one of ...

July 6, 2016
Skip this Gaslamp barbecue

I give new barbecue joints the widest berth of all restaurant debuts. In my experience, really getting the production schedules dialed in takes a lot longer for barbecue, and the first few months tend to ...

Are you theater people?

A rich and tricky question. Ask it of yourselves before and after attending Matt Thompson’s The Complete History of Theatre (Abridged) at the Point Loma Playhouse. As the play’s second act finally delivers the titular ...

June 22, 2016
If this place vanished off the face of the Earth…

In the past, I’ve relied upon summing up any restaurant’s worth with a single question: Would I eat here again? I’ve considered that a foolproof barometer, an easy either/or situation for whether I could recommend ...

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