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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Stories by John Brizzolara

What makes a home in San Diego

Site 151’s Four Million Dollar Mansion Ralph Genovese doesn't use the word "mansion" to describe the three dwellings he will construct on a mountaintop in Rancho Santa Fe. He prefers "estate." He's building one of ...

August 2, 2020
Hillcrest, neighborhood of ghosts

Gayborhood or ghetto? “I still love Jesus, and I’m still a conservative,” Texana R., 17, tells me. “I just am — I don’t care what my mama or my aunt or my step sister or ...

Cross-border kidnapping, German cyclist killed at Camp Pendleton

Street neighbor in the East Village Yes, I was on the street, but I was home-schooling my daughter. By John Brizzolara, July 26, 2013 When Vietnamese people say American they always mean white I grew ...

June 6, 2020
That pesky natural San Diego light

A Single Mother Alone in the World If the child-support check is late, I let it be. I resent having to beg for anything. I used to be on my ex like white on rice, ...

April 18, 2020
Little Italy – will the flavor last?

Tiny rooms in Little Italy On a Little Italy plot where a Victorian house stood for more than a century, construction of tiny apartments is underway. The house, built in the 1890s at the corner ...

San Marcos – still growing

Night people of San Marcos Miss Rincon said it was her habit to spend the night in the public bathrooms at Richmar Park, at the corner of Firebird Lane and Richmar Avenue, around the corner ...

Best Reader stories from 2009

A San Diego Charger football game is one thing, fandom is something else Silva's powder blue coffin was trimmed with gold — Charger colors. His body was dressed in a jersey honoring his favorite player, ...

February 29, 2020
Best Reader stories from 2006

Border angels I wanted to learn about a group called Border Angels that, among other things, sets out water in the desert areas of the 66-mile San Diego sector. Usually, gallon bottles of water are ...

February 16, 2020
Best Reader stories from 2002

He's sad for ships DeRosset doesn’t speak abstractly about his work. He’s a storyteller. “What’s really nice,” he told me before I’d had a chance to see the painting at the church, “is that I’ve ...

February 2, 2020
Best Reader stories from 1995

I've got Perry Mason on board! In early 1960, the man who created Perry Mason was introduced to an Imperial Beach resident named Francisco Muñoz. Erle Stanley Gardner had many friends, and he particularly liked ...

January 11, 2020
Poway – city in the country

I Crawled Inside Brenda van Dam's Head and Tried to Guess What Went on in There Dad’s is probably the most famous barroom in America, at least this week, and what goes on here is ...

Best Reader stories from 1993

In time for the morning glass For a few years back in the '60s, Mike Doyle was the hottest surfer in the world. With an unusual combination of power on big waves and stylistic grace ...

January 4, 2020
Best Reader stories from 1992

Notes from Underground San Diego's Free Press (later renamed the Street Journal) was defunct by the end of 1970; the San Diego Door came and went with the Nixon Presidency, 1968 to August 1974.The O.B. ...

December 29, 2019
Best Reader stories from 1991

Satan chasers San Diego has many experts in the field of Satanism who say the county is a hotbed of Satanic activity. The hidden canyons of the back country, Ramona, Santee, Escondido, even Oceanside, are ...

December 28, 2019
Best Reader Christmas stories

Sister Santa’s once-a-year smile I fell in love with America for the first time on a sweaty night in a Bangkok refugee center in March 1991. “In America people have meat with every meal,” my ...

December 24, 2019
Best Reader stories from 1990

The Hale blinks Twilight has ebbed to a fringe of lapis on the western horizon, and the stars spin slowly as the dome of the 200-inch Hale telescope on Palomar Mountain blinks awake. Bob Thicksten, ...

December 22, 2019
More than one point of view on Thanksgiving

The ideal hipster Thanksgiving As I’ve pointed out before, no holiday lacks the potential for a hipster makeover. Thanksgiving is no exception. Not only is it nestled comfortably between epic Halloween costumes and ugly-Christmas-sweater parties, ...

November 26, 2019
Street neighbor: at God's Extended Hand

A man leaning against the façade of God’s Extended Hand at 1625 Island Ave. — a religious soup kitchen — will talk to me. He will not reveal his name but a mutual familiarity with ...

Street neighbor: Down on 13th, the East Village

Todd is camped out with his woman. They, along with another ten or so “campers,” are situated along the wall of the closed business, Central Graphics, on 13th Street. When that business opens, they and ...

Interview: street neighbor in the East Village

East Village along the top of the Market Street hill, just past the Park and Market trolley stop, is a fine place for a memorable date or simply a night out with friends: wine-and-cheese bistros, ...

The Hood

After the sun goes down, the fists and sushi start flying.

September 26, 2012
San Diego's successful Thrift Trader

Author John Brizzolara interviews thrift-store magnate Jeff Clark.

August 8, 2012
John Brizzolara’s Last Column

This will be the last “TGIF” column. It has been a great 12-year run. Well, mostly. Lord knows there were some turkeys in there over the years, but you can’t hit ’em all out of ...

March 21, 2012
This Reminds Me of December

Associations with December: too many. I will economize on my reflections. My birthday is in December, as is that of my good friend, writer and elementary school teacher Elizabeth Cullen, as well as historical and ...

December 14, 2011
I call spare change “spange”

I am constantly revising my own rules regarding panhandlers. I can’t seem to stick to one policy with any consistency. For a time, my rule was to give some money — never a great amount ...

November 30, 2011
Gross-Out Contest

So, Thanksgiving. I’m guessing I’ll have my son bunking here, and I don’t know how to roast a turkey. Going out to dinner sounds like unnecessary stress. I’ll see if he will go for a ...

November 22, 2011
It Was Supposed to Be a Suicide

This is a true story. This was told to me by a man I’ll call Tom Fuller. The story came to me outside of a meeting hall where an anonymous group meeting had been held. ...

November 16, 2011
A Happy Chorus of Small Voices

“I was walking through the park/ goosing statues in the dark/ If Sherman’s horse can take it so can you.”

November 2, 2011
“San Diego is not a town for heavy thinking.”

I have always enjoyed writing about Halloween and/or Day of the Dead, but I’d like to take a slightly different approach this time. For all I know both may have passed by the time this ...

October 26, 2011
City Heights, now East North Park

“I vowed long ago never to move east of route 805!” my friend C.C. admonished me when I told him I was looking for an apartment in an affordable area. My first choice was North ...

October 12, 2011
A Bit of This, a Bit of That

I intend to take the shotgun approach to this column. To be more descriptive, let’s say the scattergun approach. No single topic seems burning for my attention today, but there are several items of interest. ...

October 5, 2011
A Pig’s Orgasm Lasts 30 Minutes

Growing up in the Midwest, in or around Chicago, I would hear the phrase “Indian Summer” annually and about this time of year. As a kid, I approved. After all, the word Indian was just ...

September 28, 2011
Need Lets Art Breathe

Attending the Art Institute of Chicago in 1968 was a combination of weed-laced fun (commonly called just “grass” in Chicago then) and maddening constraints, if you had any ideas about being a fine artist. At ...

September 21, 2011
Where Ya Been, Mr. B.?

It is still August, and I have resumed work after a summer hiatus during which I lounged on the deck of my condo in Maui, jetted to an island off Malta, where I keep my ...

September 7, 2011
Toys and Props to Inspire

I once read that Ray Bradbury surrounded his work area — a basement, I think — with toys, mementos, bric-a-brac, movie posters, and odds and ends of curiosities so he did not have to look ...

August 10, 2011
Free Fun in the Summertime

“Summer’s here and the time is right for dancin’ in the street.” And today is as summer as you get in this city. Pop lyrics are triggered, which is a major improvement on heat rash ...

July 27, 2011
Pet Peeves

We all have them — just like opinions and that other thing to which opinions are often compared. I’m speaking of pet peeves. You may deny it, like Debra Johns, 26, of Chula Vista, who ...

July 20, 2011
The Noir Side of Our City

One of my favorite reviews — that is, reviews of my own work — came in 1987, from Art Salm for the Union-Tribune (or possibly the Union; they were two different papers not long ago) ...

July 6, 2011
Where's the Thrill in Surfing the Web?

In the nascent days of this column and for several years into the new millennium (gah, that’s the first time I’ve used that word in 11 years, and it recalls its constant repetition back then, ...

June 29, 2011
Novels for Spring into Summer

One sometimes finds oneself slightly off balance when approaching a topic that may have short-term and changeable elements. I’m experiencing that somewhat this morning; the changeable element is the weather, not often that changeable in ...

June 22, 2011
How to Fill a Weekend

This would be a Friday night some weeks back, the most recent Friday the 13th, technically not a full moon but close enough for rock and roll. I was walking along C Street, downtown, past ...

June 15, 2011

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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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