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

Back to profile

Stories by Matthew Lickona

Ostrich meat from Bear Valley, melancholy journey of Ramona steer, duck hunting near Chocolate Mountains

Long Neck, Low Fat David Stepp waits for an ostrich craze A 220-pound bird has got about 85 pounds of meat. And the meat is red meat. Two of the muscle groups taste exactly like ...

March 1, 2021
The soundtrack of our lives

A moment: a cloudless Saturday afternoon, Balboa Park, just in front of Cabrillo Bridge, maybe 200 people — couples, families, friends — lounging on the grass in the spreading shade of the Moreton Bay fig ...

February 24, 2021
Stadium sayonara

I saw my first rock concert in 1987 — U2 played the Carrier Dome in Syracuse as part of their tour for The Joshua Tree. Time magazine put them on the freaking cover, with the ...

February 10, 2021
Apple Tree's produce man talks, writer joins Gulf Coast Grill cooks, donut immersion

Banana Man Across the aisle, is another table like yours neatly stacked with oranges, grapefruits, pineapples, papayas, and other fruits. That table, as well as the rack against the wall, are refrigerated. Your table is ...

January 31, 2021
Couching my approach to 2021

My boys found a couch by the side of the road that was neither falling apart nor inundated with animal hair, and so they carried it home. We don’t have room for it, but never ...

January 27, 2021
What chefs themselves eat, San Diego homeless remember their moms, roadside graves, will we be together forever?

Sweat Cuisine "Let's say you have a banquet. Chicken Kiev and vegetables and potatoes, 600 people. An hour before the banquet starts, you find out it's down to 500. You've got 100 leftover half-cooked chickens, ...

January 10, 2021
2020, signing off

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a sign that’s been cropping up around my neighborhood of late. A few days ago, I spotted a rejoinder. On the one hand, I tend to agree that ...

December 23, 2020
Why to write Christmas letters, Catholic newlywed confesses, Truman Capote

Christmas Letters The letters sent during her children's early years offered tales of Bud's rise through academia, each new pregnancy, larger home, additions to those homes, children's grade-school successes, vacations. When the boys began to ...

December 12, 2020
Sign of the times

“I’ve seen it around,” says my neighbor Nick about the sign in his front yard, “and every time, I liked it, because it pretty much says what I believe. We’re all just human beings, and ...

November 25, 2020
Garbage thinking with Ben Wheatley

In The Simpsons: Season 7, Episode 3, “Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily,” Homer and Marge lose custody of their children and have to attend a parenting class in order to get them back. At one point, the ...

November 25, 2020
UCSD’s The Koala: no longer endangered

Artist Andres Serrano’s 1987 photograph Piss Christ served as my proper introduction to the meaning of free speech. Serrano, a Catholic, intended it to be a comment on the commercialization of Christian icons — the ...

November 4, 2020
San Diego Reader's Best Of issue

Look for the online list of Best Of voting winners soon. We have printed and re-stocked extra copies of this week's print version where the Best Of voting winners are listed. Best place in San ...

October 21, 2020
Joseph Mitchell’s and Joe Gould’s Secret

I started writing for the Reader 25 years ago; Joseph Mitchell is one of the big reasons why I wanted to do so. The summer before my senior year of college, I visited Thidwick’s Books ...

October 14, 2020
What happens when all the world’s a stage?

Just under a year ago, I was given the honor of working as the Reader’s theater critic. For a while, I joked that God was so horrified at the prospect that he killed the entire ...

October 14, 2020
The Chargers crowd, the Padres crowd, where old Chargers are

Cheerleading Is More Dangerous than Fighting Cage-fightin’ rock stars. It’s Wednesday at 1:00 p.m., and I am waiting for amateur mixed martial arts fighter Jaime Reyes at the Lakeside Cafe. When he walks past me, ...

October 11, 2020
Golden State dreams

Winding my way up La Mesa’s Mount Nebo on a Sunday morning, I wound up on the Summit Drive cul-de-sac. All but one of the houses sported a tasteful Biden/Harris 2020 sign in the front ...

September 30, 2020
Tagging Renoir

The pale blue, two-story stucco and cinderblock building squats in a parking lot along Broadway in Lemon Grove between a Walgreen’s and an Eyeglass World. It houses Rock Liquor (Beer Wine Grocery) and a Western ...

September 30, 2020
De Anza Cove terrorized, La Jolla Cove cesspool, doomed life in Eastlake, South vs North Park, displaced persons in City Heights

The Ugly Trailer Park Across the Water Beauty and the blight on Mission Bay. Cityzella terrorizes humble trailer folk at De Anza Cove. By Ollie, Sept. 14, 2011 | Read full article What am I ...

September 28, 2020
Religion in Christmas movies, Yellow Deli a cult?, San DIego Sikhs, Christmas without Jesus, Hare Krishnas

Church on Sunday? If not, did you ever wonder why people do? One man's search for Christianity's core. By Matthew Lickona, April 8, 2009 | Read the full article Joy to the Screen Isn’t the ...

September 26, 2020
Chalk talk for Chief David Nisleit

On August 27, San Diego’s chapter of Black Lives Matter held a protest in the Poway cul de sac that is home to San Diego Chief of Police David Nisleit. The “black women and femmes” ...

September 16, 2020
BrainLeap helps kids pay attention with The Attention Arcade

“What I was doing before wasn’t nearly as cool,” says Jeff Coleman, CEO of BrainLeap Technologies, the company he co-founded with his wife, UCSD researcher Leanne Chukoskie and her colleague, UCSD professor Jeanne Townsend. “This ...

September 16, 2020
Amy Lowell, Matthew Lickona, Truman Capote, Jack Kerouac

Amy Lowell: Selected Poems "I've had amazing experiences since I started working on this, saying to people 'Amy Lowell,' and they say, 'Oh, I love Amy Lowell.' Or, 'When I was young, I always read ...

September 7, 2020
OB drum circle of life, or death, or what?

“Right now, people who come here with no masks, with no distancing, are being irresponsible, and they could get sick — deathly sick — and die. We have to get tough, and I’m telling you, ...

September 2, 2020
Death, destruction and rebuilding in La Mesa

Maple muse “Things fall apart; the center cannot hold.” — W.B. Yeats, “The Second Coming” “And you know something’s happening, but you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?” — Bob Dylan, “Ballad ...

July 29, 2020
La Jolla – a shoreline and a mountain

What Windansea surfers said about Tom Wolfe Eight summers have drifted by since Tom Wolfe (author of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test) traveled to California to write a series on “The New Life Out There” ...

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

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 From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — 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 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