Move over Bertrand at Mr. A's. The iconic California Tower in Balboa Park is about to once again become the best 360-degree view in San Diego.
With city permits finally in their pocket, Balboa Park's Museum of Man has started a fast-paced renovation and upgrade of the tower, which has been closed to the public for 80 years. The museum expects to have things ready to go as soon as January, just in time for the 2015 Balboa Park Centennial Celebration.
Aside from the stellar views, here are 10 fun things you should know before climbing up that gorgeous, soaring beast:
The cool thing about Ramona's growing winery scene is the diversity. While many of the region's grape growers are posted up in cozy, rustic mom-and-pop shops, others are much more sophisticated, polished and refined.
After a new partnership and expansion, Salerno Winery sits comfortably in both camps. Herman and Rose Salerno, the couple who've run the place for years, recently struck a deal with Jaime Chaljon, and the vineyard has since been spruced up and filled with more than 30 sculptures from his personal art collection.
Chaljon is a wealthy Mexican businessman with an obvious addiction to large-scale, high-end sculptures, mostly by Mexican and other Latin American artists. The collection includes pieces by brothers Jorge and Javier Marín, a life-size chess board by Fernando Pereznieto and works by Tang Da Wu, Julián Bravo, Pedro Cervantes and others.
Here's a small sampling of the works that wine-sippers can see on a visit to the new, improved Salerno:
CityBeat throws all kinds of parties throughout the year, but the celebration that goes hand-in-hand with our annual Best of San Diego issue is always—well, the best. This year’s party, A Night at the Besties, will be the first one thrown at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park, from , the day after our Best of San Diego issue hits the street. There’ll be performances by Little Hurricane—the blues-rock duo whose record Gold Fever won the Album of the Year honor earlier this month at the San Diego Music Awards—and the Steph Johnson Band. The event also marks the triumphant return on the Fern Street Circus, which will perform throughout the evening. As usual, there’ll be lots of great food from local restaurants and an open bar, and this year’s visual-art component will feature the Dream Machine Arts Collective, Dave Ghilarducci and Miki Iwasaki and his Woodbury University architecture students. Coin-Op bar will host a mobile arcade, and you can peruse the Science Center’s current exhibitions. Tickets cost $25 ($30 the day of the event), and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the San Diego Center for Children.
Neil Young plucked out the score for Jim Jarmusch’s cinematic classic Dead Man while he was watching the film, resulting in a spontaneous, magical score. Here in San Diego, Blind:Deaf II brings that same inspired formula to a live venue with a lineup of San Diego musicians performing over silent, short videos produced by local artists. The musician-filmmaker duos include experimental keyboardist Michael Zimmerman (pictured, photo by Xavier Vasquez) live-scoring Ash Eliza Smith’s haunting images of the Jonas Salk Institute in La Jolla, minimalist guitar player Steve Flato pairs creating music for Nathan Hubbard’s slow-moving imagery, and noise guitarist A Eugene LeGrow providing the soundtrack for Marcelo Radulovich’s surreal collages of the grotesque and bizarre. The show’s from , at Moxie Theatre (6663 El Cajon Blvd., Rolando). At $6 a person, it's way cheaper than the mind-numbing Hollywood blockbuster you were considering.
If you want to see two actors working their butts off, look no further than the Old Town Theatre, where Francis Gercke and Manny Fernandes are co-starring in Sam Shepard's brutish drama True West. It's the grittier, more physical of the two plays comprising Cygnet Theatre's "Shep Rep," which presents Shepard's Fool for Love and True West on alternating nights. Gercke and Fernandes attack each other, virtually destroy every prop on the stage and writhe on debris-strewn floor throughout Shepard's unrelenting story about two brothers at odds, the mythology of Hollywood and toast. Yes, toast. It plays a supporting role in True West. As for the play itself, Shepard's been overpraised for this one, which props up two completely unsympathetic characters and asks us to give a damn. Truth is, we don't.
True West and Fool for Love run through Nov. 2.
Outdoor art, wine and beer
More than 150 artists, including paper sculptor Sue Britt, photographer John Maher and pop painter Sarah Stieber, will be showing their work at this year’s La Jolla Art & Wine Festival. Happening from , and , along Girard Avenue between Prospect Avenue and Torrey Pines Road in La Jolla, the fest's artists were selected via a jury process, which means most of the work is better than you might expect from an outdoor festival. There’ll also be plenty of craft beer and fine wine from the likes of Rancho Santa Fe’s Gen 7 and other vineyards from grape-growing hotspots like Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe. Entertainment includes live music and the quirky San Diego Circus Center. New to the free fest, which is bigger by an entire city block this year, is the Bravecort Brew Fest, a 21-and-up beer-tasting party from .
The San Diego Architectural Foundation's annual Orchids & Onions awards were announced Thursday. "Orchids," of course, indicate accolades for eye-catching architecture, planning and urban design in San Diego County. Onions, on the other hand, are meant to bring attention to opportunities lost and projects gone wrong.
Folks familiar with the program will also notice a new (or old, depending on how long they've been following the awards) category called "Planted Bulb."
"We pulled this out of the O&O history books as an option for the jury to consider during their deliberations," writes Craig Howard, one of the volunteers who help organize the event and a designer at De BARTOLO + RIMANIC DESIGN STUDIO. "A Planted Bulb defines a project as something that can be truly great with time or something that is a great first step towards a larger scope. The Parklet, for example. The jury awarded it a Planted Bulb instead of a regular Orchid award, because the city needs more Parklets, more of these urban interventions, and the jury wanted to let the city and future restaurant developers know that these parklets are public gathering spaces and we want more of them in the city."
In case you missed the awards or the smattering of media coverage that followed, here’s the final list of award winners:
That the elderly couple seated in front of me walked out 10 minutes into the show tells you that Next to Normal is not your normal San Diego Musical Theatre offering. Those unfamiliar with Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt's award-winning musical about mental illness in the suburbs may have bought tickets expecting lighter fare more customary to SDMT, like, say, Annie Get Your Gun.
Next to Normal is Diana Get Your Pills. I wouldn't call Next to Normal a "rock musical." It doesn't rock that hard, but it's not a stagey, ballad-heavy "Broadway musical" of the type San Diegans eat up like chocolate truffles. Excepting the anthemic song of hope at the finale, Next to Normal is a brave, occasionally upsetting story of a woman's terrible battle with bipolar disorder and how profoundly it impacts her family.
Bets Malone is outstanding in the lead role, underplaying when a lot of actors wouldn't resist the opposite. Just as impressive is 16-year-old Lindsay Joan, singing and acting way beyond her years in the part of Diana's understandably messed-up daughter, Natalie.
Anyone who suffers from bipolar disorder, or who loves someone who does, should see Next to Normal. You'll know that answers aren't easy and that life can feel unfair, but also that you're not alone.
Next to Normal runs through Oct. 12 at the North Park Theatre.
Other than the San Diego View Art Now APP, there's not much competition when it comes to local smart-phone applications dedicated to the arts.
Enter ArtPin, a new(ish) website and app that has some lofty goals when it comes to helping build and connect the arts in San Diego. Here's a quick Q&A we did via email with Jessie Hale, a co-founder of ArtPin: