1. They're still alive
Since 2008, music fans around the world have flocked to local, independent record stores on Record Store Day—on one day in April—to celebrate and support the brick-and-mortar shops and pick up special, one-time-only releases. Inspired by the enthusiasm, West Coast independent bookstores have now launched California Bookstore Day, and the first one will go down on Saturday, May 3.
In San Diego, five stores will participate: the UCSD Bookstore and Warwick's in La Jolla, Mysterious Galaxy Books in Kearny Mesa, The Grove in South Park and the Library Shop in the new San Diego Public Library in East Village. Each store has special programming planned, all with author appearances (too many to list here) and some with kids' activities, music performances and refreshments, and every location will have special book releases and literary-oriented artwork that can only be purchased on that day. Check each store's website for event hours, schedules and available special releases.
"California Bookstore Day is a day that highlights all the things that an independent bookstore can offer their community that an online retailer or a big box store can't," Seth Marko, a book buyer for the UCSD Bookstore, tells CityBeat in an email. "Storytime for kids, meeting authors face-to-face, helpful booksellers, open-mic readings—all of the scheduled events we're hosting aim to encourage a healthy, two-way discourse on literature, art, philosophy or anything else people want to discuss."
"It's to create awareness that there are still independent bookstores around—that it hasn't all gone online. We're still here, alive and kicking," adds Anne Mery, owner of The Grove, who's especially proud that there are several authors who live in South Park on her store's meet-and-greet schedule. "People are wanting to actually, physically, touch a book sometimes and physically see it."
May 3 also happens to be Free Comic Book Day; check freecomicbookday.com for local participating stores.
2. Straight up
Neko tells it like it is. His paintings are as straightforward and authentic as his personality, often depicting his signature characters, mouths agape as they navigate their urban surroundings with confidence, crassness and a sense of humor. Neko is a fixture in the local art scene, and though he's been out of town recently, his name is synonymous with San Diego street art. His solo show, Paradiso Perduto, opens from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, May 3, at Left Hand Black Gallery (1947 Fern St., Suite 5, in South Park). See new paintings, drawings on found paper, stickers and other things he's made in the last six months. For the show, Neko says he focused on skateboarding, friends, drinking, partying, women and other simple things that once made him happy. lhblk.com
3. Feast for a cause
If you've not been to Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens in Point Loma's Liberty Station (2816 Historic Decatur Road), you're missing out on a quintessential San Diego experience. The restaurant's outdoor space is almost Zen-like, an ideal spot to enjoy the city's near-perfect weather. It's also the venue for the fourth annual Chef Celebration Artisan Food and Craft Beer Festival, a fundraiser where a dozen local chefs will prepare tasty bites (crab-cake Benedict on a pretzel bun with a smoked tomato hollandaise sauce? Yum!) that'll be paired with beers selected by Stone's cicerone, Bill Sysak. Tickets are $55; proceeds will fund scholarships for young chefs-in-training. The event takes place from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, May 4. Buy tickets and see the full menu at chefcelebration.org.
Does your event deserve to be in our top three? Email Kinsee Morlan.