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Home / Articles / Arts / The Short List /  Adams ...
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Wednesday, Apr 18, 2012

Adams Avenue Unplugged, Baldwin New Play Festival and Earth Day Trivia Challenge

Our top three picks of San Diego events this week

shortlist John Bosly (left) and Patty Hall will perform at Adams Avenue Unplugged
- Photo illustration by Adam Vierya

New roots 

The long-running Adams Avenue Roots Festival is going to be a little different this year. In fact, it’s not going to be the Roots Festival at all.

The cost of closing a city street just doesn’t make a street festival worthwhile anymore, so the Adams Avenue Business Association came up with a new plan and a new name: Adams Avenue Unplugged, which runs Saturday and Sunday, April 21 and 22. Adams Avenue will stay open to traffic, with most of the gigs inside restaurants and bars from Texas Street in University Heights all the way to Vista Street in Kensington (with a free shuttle in between).

“We needed to reduce costs, and we also wanted to emphasize more than one area of Adams Avenue,” says Judy Elliott, the business association’s executive director. “To do that, we thought we could do small venues…. That way, people not only get to hear music up close and personal, but see what we have to offer in terms of entertainment, and going through the entire business district, in terms of retail and services.”

Unplugged’s numbers are impressive: two miles long, 24 venues, 150-plus musical performances. And the cost to the folk, country, Americana, jazz and blues fan: Zero. It’s free.

Folk musician Patty Hall (who’ll play at El Zarape at 1 p.m. on Saturday and Kensington Library at 3:30 on Sunday) has been involved in the festival’s various incarnations since the 1960s. Her enthusiasm hasn’t waned with the new orchestration.

“It will be really interesting to kind see how it plays out,” Hall says. “It gives all of us musicians a covered, protected environment to play in, with seats for the audience. Before, there was no place to put them.”

Hall recommends blues musician Robin Henkel, cowboy singer Martin Henry and topical songwriter John Bosley. We further endorse the world’s greatest cover band, Geezer; Styletones frontman Stevie Harris; and fire-eater Murrugun the Mystic. For times and locations, visit

Fresh to the Stage

There’s a fresh crop of plays coming to the stage at the Baldwin New Play Festival, happening from Wednesday, April 18, through Saturday, April 28, in two different theaters at UCSD. The four new plays, written by student playwrights at UCSD’s School of Theatre and Dance, tell stories ranging from a father who loses everything in Gas House Baby by David Myers to a slasher play about college girls being slaughtered by a serial killer in Lauren Yee’s Hookman. There’s also Santa Barbarian, by Sharif Abu-Hamdeh, about Bush II-era college grads figuring out life, and the intersecting stories of people attempting to flee Haiti in 1964 in Jeff Augustin’s Cry, Old Kingdom. Tickets cost $8 to $20 for each play, with discounts available for Cry, Old Kingdom.

Enviro mental 

CityBeat will bring back its popular pubquiz this week, teaming up with San Diego Coastkeeper to raise funds for the group’s environmental advocacy and to support our continued journalistic endeavors. Hosted by staff writer Dave Maass and editor David Rolland, our Earth Day Trivia Challenge at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 19, will draw from pop culture and the natural world and, of course, feature an illustration round. We’ll have a ton of prizes, plus a raffle. And if all that isn’t reason enough to come, this is also the perfect opportunity to check out the new New Zealand-style Raglan Public House (1851 Bacon St., Ocean Beach), which we profiled in our April 4 Food Issue. You’re allowed up to six players to a team, and it costs $10 per player. 

Does your event deserve to be in our top three? Email our events editor, Alex Zaragoza. You can also bug her on Twitter.