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Stories by Matthew Lickona

Legacy International Center: the inverted cathedral

No cross tops the spire attached to the Legacy International Center, Christian evangelist Morris Cerullo’s new, nearly $200 million campus in the heart of Mission Valley. Instead, the spire’s gray façade, set among limestone blocks ...

July 1, 2020
La Mesa Police Department: due process or don't process?

A big white banner hangs on the La Mesa Police Department’s headquarters; the blue letters read, “We are one strong community.” There is something to the claim of community. It was impressive to see people, ...

June 17, 2020
Vet Chris Mavry holds the line between protest and riot

I was late to the protest in La Mesa on Saturday night. I hadn’t intended to go at all — what could I possibly add that social media and TV news would not have covered? ...

June 3, 2020
Common enjoyment à la mode at Somi Somi

Ice cream is a sauce. I’m not going to refer you to Webster’s or any such thing, just so I can hear you protest that sauces are, by definition, fluid. First, because I stopped trusting ...

May 13, 2020
Creating interim solutions with backtoworkaftercovid.com

AV Builder Corp President Tony Madureira is frustrated, and not just because he doesn’t have enough general contracting work for his employees during the shutdown. “I picked up some takeout fast food the other day,” ...

May 13, 2020
Stories hiding in the corners of San Diego

The Ugly Trailer Park Across the Water Cityzella terrorizes humble trailer folk at De Anza Cove. By Ollie, Sept. 14, 2011 What am I doing in Eastlake? I'm telling you it's a trap. And we're ...

May 10, 2020
A close look at religions in San Diego

There Is One God "The equality of all people and all religions is central to our faith. We didn't want to seem as though we were saying, 'No! We're not Muslims! Don't attack us! Those ...

May 2, 2020
Saved by singing at Peter D’s and with the Red Karaoke app

Gather ‘round, my children. I want you to hear what a success story sounds like. It begins with a challenge; sometimes, that challenge is a crisis. “It was supposed to be a simple gall bladder ...

April 29, 2020
Hell is other people in a Zoom meeting

So, my dear family, here we are. We’ve found a limit: the number at which you can’t necessarily hold a single conversation together at table. But I’m going to propose a topic anyway: something you’ve ...

April 15, 2020
Between places with Jordan Kisner

Author Jordan Kisner’s recently released essay collection Thin Places: Essays from In Between takes its title from a Celtic proverb that says, “Heaven and earth are only three feet apart, but in the thin places ...

April 15, 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 ...

All the internet's a stage: the Old Globe goes online

Did you ever hear the one about the guy who started up a new gig as a theater critic right as a global pandemic made public gatherings immoral and possibly even illegal? No? Just as ...

March 31, 2020
Paging Jack London

My wife is afraid of the family dog, a Shih Tzu-Jack Russell named Oreo who arrived 10 years ago after our neighbor rescued Oreo’s pregnant mother and my eight-year-old daughter got a look at the ...

March 19, 2020
Bill Sienkiewicz and the San Diego Comic Fest quest

I spotted the poster for the 2020 San Diego Comic Fest during a visit to Gelato Vero last December. Or rather, I spotted Bill Sienkiewicz’s name on the poster; he was to be this year’s ...

March 18, 2020
In the company of Sweet Charity

Here, in the third show of its ninth season, the Oceanside Theatre Company decided to do something they hadn’t done before, not even during their first-ever musical, last year’s Man of La Mancha: big production ...

March 11, 2020
Loyal to the beautiful game of soccer

My friend Bill used to pay for the NFL Sunday Ticket. Then, “in January of 2017, the Chargers announced they were leaving, the Patriots won the Super Bowl again, and I said, ‘That’s it. I’m ...

March 5, 2020
The transitions of Sylvan Oswald’s A Kind of Weather

Kid, the handsome, frenetic young trans writer surprised by a visit from his father Grey at the outset of Sylvan Oswald’s A Kind of Weather, is not the play’s main character. This is not a ...

March 4, 2020
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
Madeleine George’s Hurricane Diane: devoted to Dionysus

There are many amusing moments in Madeleine George’s Hurricane Diane. That's to be expected, given its premise: sending the Greek god Dionysus — here rendered as the butch lesbian Diane — on a mission to ...

February 26, 2020
Best Reader stories from 2007

Does Christmas offend you? Christmas has to start with the Jews, I guess, no matter where you start. It was Jews who were killed by Herod and Jews who were chased into Egypt by him, ...

February 22, 2020
August Wilson’s Jitney ripples and runs like fabric

Playwright August Wilson is rightly celebrated for his wordsmithing — or maybe word-weaving would be better, or word-spinning. The talk that animates his late-’70s work Jitney (though it wasn’t produced until 1996) doesn’t feel worked-over ...

February 19, 2020
Seeing red at the SD Film Foundation’s Oscar Party

Nobody watched the Oscars on February 9. But lots of people watched Connie Sundstrom at the San Diego Film Foundation’s Oscar Party, held this year in four ninth-floor penthouses at 41 West in Banker’s Hill. ...

February 19, 2020
The Dockside Market: The family misery business

Luke Halmay started fishing with his father Peter when he was still a kid. “He’d take us to San Clemente Island, Catalina. Now, he won’t even go to the beach.” Forty-odd years of commercial fishing ...

February 19, 2020
Lauren Yee returns to her one basic story

Rob Lufty’s “From the Director” letter in the program for Lauren Yee’s The Great Leap notes that “Lauren often talks about how every playwright has one basic story that they are trying to perfect with ...

February 12, 2020
Short takes: Jitney and Italian-American Reconciliation

No full review this week, but I did stop by Jitney at the Old Globe and Italian-American Reconciliation at Scripps Ranch Theatre. Cheers!

February 7, 2020
Sex and violence in La Mesa

Grabby headline, no? Not quite as gloriously specific as “Headless Body Found in Topless Bar,” but still eye-catching. And catching eyes is how you stay alive in these dread latter days of content overload. So, ...

January 30, 2020
Tricky Irish: Bloomsday traces wanderings of James Joyce’s Ulysses

G. K. Chesterton, in his poem The Ballad of the White Horse, famously wrote that “The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad, For all their wars are merry and all ...

January 29, 2020
Best Reader stories from 2000

Rancho Peñasquitos boys, charged with hate crime The teenagers shot at Roman from the Subaru with the BB gun during three or four passes. They took turns shooting at him as they drove by, but ...

January 26, 2020
Stephen Karam’s The Humans gets tense

San Diego Repertory Theatre’s production of Stephen Karam’s The Humans does a good deal of stage-setting before you even take your seat. A display by the box office provides “a behind-the scenes glimpse of the ...

January 22, 2020
Brad Taylor talks Hunter Killer at Warwick’s

Brad Taylor does his homework. Twenty-one years in the Army (including eight with Delta Force) is an education in itself, but it’s research that has helped make his Pike Logan novels bestsellers. “Newsfeeds,” he told ...

January 16, 2020
Mynd: helping you achieve lasting beauty and wellness

On January 10, University of San Diego law professor Steven Smith shared a lunchtime lecture stage at the American Enterprise Institute with New York Times columnist Ross Douthat and novelist/reporter Tara Isabella Burton. The topic ...

January 16, 2020
Jean Genet’s The Maids baffles

Toward the end of the Nervous Theatre’s production of Jean Genet’s The Maids — which, by the time you read this, will have departed for Seattle after a one-weekend run at the Tenth Avenue Arts ...

January 15, 2020
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Star Wars, and me

Permit me a wry grimace as I imagine theatrical legend Alec Guinness’ reaction upon learning that a theater critic’s first memory of him — of any sort of performance, really — came from Star Wars. ...

January 8, 2020
Mission Hills – don't be fooled

Book-lovers chew the fat at the Mission Hills Library His watch tells him 6:45. This Mission Hills branch stays open tonight — it’s Monday. He slaps the book closed, reshelves it, glances to his left. ...

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
Something Fishy at Seaport Village

When Max Robert Daily ran Oslo Sardine Bar inside Logan Heights’ Bread & Salt art center, visitors would ask, “Is this art?” Fair question. Now that he’s setting up in a Seaport Village storefront, the ...

December 19, 2019
David Benardo’s electrified Beetle illuminates memories

“What year is this?” asks the gentleman passing David Benardo on his way into the Bali Hai on Shelter Island. He has noticed Benardo’s pristine white Volkswagen Beetle convertible parked outside, and as he leans ...

December 19, 2019
The Santaland Diaries: more tidings of comfort and joy

Last week, I mentioned the various ways that A Christmas Carol has been tweaked and updated by San Diego theaters in an effort to keep the story from getting lost in its own comfortable familiarity. ...

December 18, 2019
Ebenezer Scrooge’s Big San Diego Christmas Show: Ha! Humbug

The holiday season is a fine time for recalling the way that familiarity breeds…well, if not contempt, then comfort. If a thing sticks around long enough, it’s easy to forget the revolutionary, shocking, or even ...

December 11, 2019
The Frozen 2 Big Golden Book, scrapped

Casually Googling to figure out which one was Elsa and which one was Anna was enough to awaken the Algorithm, and it wasn’t long before I was presented with a sidebar ad from Target that ...

December 5, 2019
A lesson in Latin history by John Leguizamo

John Leguizamo is having a moment. His one-man show Latin History for Morons, which relates his effort to instill a sense of Latin pride in his middle-school-aged son, played San Diego over three years ago. ...

December 4, 2019
Lauren Yee’s Cambodian Rock Band: more than a feeling

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s production of Lauren Yee’s Cambodian Rock Band, currently playing at La Jolla Playhouse, opens like a low-budget rock n roll show: black stage, a few colored lights mounted on steel scaffolding, ...

November 27, 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
Rancho Santa Fe Snakes relocated

“Free snake removal,” read the ad on Craigslist. “I am a lover of snakes and hate seeing them killed. I relocate all the snakes I catch. I am an expert on the snakes here in ...

November 20, 2019
America’s Got Talent in San Diego

On November 10, America’s Got Talent kicked off its latest multi-city audition tour at the San Diego Convention Center. Comedian Sam Brilhart brought the chicken costume he started wearing on the Santa Monica promenade “just ...

November 20, 2019
Globe for All's touring Winter's Tale

Artistic Director Barry Edelstein’s welcome letter for the Globe For All’s production of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale explains that “The Old Globe’s goal is to make theater matter to more people. We want this play, ...

November 14, 2019
Members of P.O.D. and Santana give back with Ruben Torres’ Love Thy Neighbor nonprofit

It’s November 1 as I write this, the Catholic Church’s Feast of All Saints. I’m sitting in Chula Vista’s Lauderbach Park, looking from the vacant community center to the homeless encampment on the hillock and ...

November 7, 2019
Jojo Rabbit: Hilarious Hitler?

There’s a deep and sincere sweetness in the work of writer-director Taika Waititi. It’s a kind of relentless and innocent good cheer that persists in the face of horror — to the point where the ...

October 31, 2019
Cheers to Al Hirschfeld and other cartoonists at Café La Maze

The afternoon sun that tries to slant its way into Café La Maze’s open front door runs smack into a brick wall, but the accompanying breeze does a neat little dogleg and finds me at ...

October 23, 2019
Misadventure & Company: the positive side of a carbon-negative product

Liquid future Bartender Whit Rigali and agricultural economist Sam Chereskin didn’t set out to make vodka. They wanted to make bourbon. But what do you know: bourbon takes time to age into its glory, and ...

October 23, 2019

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