San Diego CityBeat - Arts & Culture feature <![CDATA[Just the tip - Should we stick a fork in restaurant gratuities?]]> It’s a ritual restaurant diners experience regularly: The bill arrives and it’s time to calculate the tip. But how? Should it be 10, 15 or 20 percent? And a percentage on what: Before or after tax? What about wine? ]]> <![CDATA[San Diego kickboxer battling MS says sport liberated her - Determined to go pro, Ashley Curry hopes to inspire others struggling with the disease]]> Curry was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, or MS, an unpredictable disease that affects the central nervous system, disrupting the flow of information between the body and the brain.]]> <![CDATA[Head Crammers - CityBeat staff dishes out our favorite books, apps and cultural tidbits]]> For voracious readers: It’s been a turbulent time in the journalism business. Newspapers closing, or slashing staff, has been the norm for the last decade or so.]]> <![CDATA[Drew Pollack’s point of service - Acupuncturist donates time for the sick and injured in Mexico]]> Under a bridge near the Tijuana River, Carlos lay in a puddle of his own piss and shit. He was emaciated, too weak to sit up, and his friends said he’d been severely jaundiced in the days prior.]]> <![CDATA[And then there was light - An abridged introduction to near-death experiences]]> The International Society of Near Death Studies meets across the parking lot from the County Psychiatric Hospital, inside the Health and Human Services building.]]> <![CDATA[Helen Redman paints the other side - San Diego artist celebrates life, death and motherhood]]> There are layers upon layers when it comes to the figurative works of Helen Redman. So many stories, so many voices. ]]> <![CDATA[Head Crammers: Our favorite podcasts, TV shows, etc. - Bust your brain with this bunch of cultural baubles]]> There’s an A&E show that’s been on for a couple of weeks called The Returned. Skip it. Instead, watch Les Revenants, the French TV show it’s based on.]]> <![CDATA[Sara Solaimani wants local artists to cross boundaries, both internally and internationally - How a first-generation Iranian-American became a champion for the border arts scene]]> Sara Solaimani isn’t Mexican. Not even close. That might be racially insensitive to point out within certain contexts, but in the case of Solaimani, it’s understandable that some might mistake her for being a Chicana.]]> <![CDATA[Change in the golden age of podcasting - KPBS Explore project reflects the evolving art of public media]]> As the director of programming for both KPBS radio and television, John Decker is the guy to either blame or thank for switching up your local public-media-consumption routine.]]> <![CDATA[FoundationForForm’s hands-on urban infill - Rising stars of San Diego’s architect-as-developer movement mind the little details]]> Standing in the central courtyard of the new North Park Post Office Lofts mixed-use development, the scene is reminiscent of M.C. Escher’s famed "Relativity" print depicting several zigzagging sets of gravity-defying staircases.]]> <![CDATA[San Diego African American Museum of Fine Art lives on - Museum-without-walls rolls carefully into its second year of revival]]> Gaidi Finnie’s the chief operating officer at Bayview Baptist Church, but he has a long background in the arts. He spent a few years at a fine-art gallery in La Jolla before moving to the Museum of Photographic Arts, where he eventually became the director. ]]> <![CDATA[Meet Hatsune Miku’s makers - San Diego filmmaker Tara Knight examines the virtual pop icon and the mass of fans and creators behind her]]> Hatsune Miku, a so-called "vocaloid"—a character that personifies vocal-singing synthesizer software—isn’t just a representation of one person or even the company, Crypton Future Media, that created her. She’s a product of the many people—artists, musicians and other creative fans—who’ve given her a persona.]]> <![CDATA[The standup-comedy renaissance in San Diego - Local jokesters say the scene is bigger than ever, but can it take them only so far?]]> It seems to be an exciting time for the San Diego standup and improv scene. Egan points out that when he first started, there was only one major comedy club and maybe a few coffeehouse open-mics that welcomed comedians.]]> <![CDATA[Death café: tea, cake and talk about the end - All over San Diego County and beyond, people are gathering to talk about what happens when we expire]]> Death café, according to, is a “discussion group where the only topic is death; no agenda, objectives or themes. It is not a grief support or counseling session. At a Death Café, people, often strangers, gather to eat cake, drink tea and discuss death.”]]> <![CDATA[An interview with Marina Abramović - Performance artist talks about navigating fame, selfies and shitting before sunrise]]> Last week, dozens of people lined up outside the University Art Gallery at UCSD. Some might’ve been there to experience Marina Abramović’s rough draft of an audio installation she created with science-fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson.]]> <![CDATA[Rob Greenfield’s small house is packed with big ideas - Environmental activist adds living in a tiny home to his growing list of attention-grabbing, earth-saving stunts]]> Greenfield hasn’t showered since April 20, 2013—he doesn’t want to waste water, so he swims in the ocean instead. He’s almost always barefoot and often clad in outdoor clothing by Patagonia, a company that’s considered a leader in the environmental movement.]]> <![CDATA[A saved Balboa Park centennial? - The vision for the celebration is still evolving]]> After the announcement last March that Balboa Park Celebration Inc. (BPCI), the nonprofit group charged with organizing the centennial, was disbanding and handing the reins to the city after burning through millions of dollars without producing tangible results, Mayor Kevin Faulconer and City Councilmember Todd Gloria introduced plans for a scaled-down event.]]> <![CDATA[San Diego’s best art of 2014 - Work that made a mark locally in the last year]]> For this look back at the most compelling art and exhibitions in San Diego during the last year, I asked a handful of artists, curators and critics to do most of the heavy lifting. But I couldn’t help but jam in a few of my own shout-outs, too.]]> <![CDATA[The business of being Mr. Claus - Santa Glen on real beards, hand sanitizer, minty-fresh breath and the realization that he isn’t completely nuts]]> Five men from the Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas (FORBS) recently set out on an important mission: Find the best location in San Diego for hosting their trade association’s 22nd Annual Santa Reunion.]]> <![CDATA[‘The Nigga Project Experience’ wants to have a talk - San Diego couple continue their modest war against the rise of the n-word]]> Nianda and Boyer have been screening The Nigga Project Experience and hosting community discussions at barbecue restaurants, hair salons, libraries and community centers throughout southeastern San Diego since the beginning of 2014.]]>