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April 2015 Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Page 3 Columbia • Core/Civic • Cortez Hill • East Village • Gaslamp/Horton Plaza • Little Italy • Marina


ArtWalk reaches out CLIENT




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Up close and personal Padres’ new highdefinition video board promises heightened experience

Kids in the woods

➤➤ FEATURE P. 16

ArtWalk returns for its 31st year, bringing a bustling art and music festival to the streets of Little Italy, with a keen eye on the importance of art in all children’s lives. (Courtesy ArtWalk)

Artists and attendees help share the gift of art car2Go upgrades

➤➤ NEWS P. 20

High-flying art

➤➤ MUSIC P. 27

Morgan M. Hurley | Editor Mission Federal’s annual ArtWalk, an art festival extravaganza taking place in Little Italy April 25 and 26, is more than a place where for 31 years, artists of all genres share and sell their wares and music fills the air from five different stages. It is also a place that for nearly a decade has helped support a nonprofit on a mission to spread the joy of art to children who other wise would not have it in their lives. ArtReach was launched in 2007 by two art-loving sisters, Judy Silbert and Sandi Cottrell, the current managing director of ArtWalk. ArtReach is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that offers basic art programs to schools and children in need. Silbert is its executive director, and in the eight years since she first filed the paper work to get it started, ArtReach has literally reached into the hearts and minds of over 30,000 children in San Diego County.

Their first pilot workshop in 2007 at Garfield Elementary in North Park included 470 students; in 2015, Silbert projects that number will be 9,594. That is a staggering number for a nonprofit with a two-person staff, consisting of Silbert and her workshop and curriculum coordinator Sarah Holbach, and six full-time contracted artist / workshop facilitators. ArtReach provides art workshops free of charge to the schools out of their own fundraising efforts and through various grants and sponsorships that they, or the individual schools they support, receive. The children ArtReach connects with come from “Title 1” elementary schools throughout the county, schools considered to have limited resources and a large percentage of children that receive free or reduced lunch programs, Silbert said. In other words, children who would not have art in their lives at all if it were not for ArtReach and its programs. Jefferson Elementary in North Park is an example

see ArtWalk, page 4

Putting the spotlight on Earth Day New and returning events emphasize importance of caring for the planet Dave Fidlin | Contributor

Pedaling up and down

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Two 2014 attendees marvel at a 16-inch replica of the planet that features NASA satellite imagery. (Courtesy EarthWorks)

Two events — one celebrating its silver anniversary, the other taking place for the first time — are among the Earth Day-themed programs planned this month in San Diego. San Diego EarthWorks, which has roots going back to 1989 as the San Diego Earth Day Coalition, will hold the 2015 edition of its EarthFair program in mid-April with a mixture of tried-andtrue favorites with a touch of a few new surprises. Carolyn Chase, co-founder and CEO of San Diego EarthWorks, said she and other organizers aim to

see EarthDay, page 11

Petco’s new video display board is set to thrill fans. (Courtesy San Diego Padres) Dave Schwab | Contributor Padres fans will see something new at Petco Park in 2015 — major left field renovations, the centerpiece of which is a new, towering, highdefinition (HD) video-display board. Club officials said the new display board, the third largest in the major leagues and the largest in the National League — measuring 61.2-feet tall by 123.6-feet wide and covering 7,564 square feet — is going to improve the fan’s viewing experience. “With state-of-the-art technology and the largest screen in the National League, I think that the fan’s engagement will be like never before at Petco Park,” said Matt Coy, the Padres senior director of Game Day Entertainment. “More cameras and more replay angles are all part of what ownership has given us in this new high-tech upgrade.”  The video board, made by Daktronics, is nearly five times the size of the previous video screen — which measured 30-feet tall by 53-feet wide and 1,590 square feet of surface area — and had been in place since Petco’s 2004 inaugural season. The new all-HD board can be run full-screen to show live action or video replays, or it can be split into sections for statistical information, graphics and animations. Padres President and CEO Mike Dee said the new video board, which is the first of its kind in San Diego, and left field seating enhancements are part of the ball club’s multi-year plan to improve Downtown’s major league baseball stadium.

see VideoBoard, page 13


San Diego Downtown News | April 2015



San Diego Downtown News | April 2015

Only the finest wineries are allowed to participate at the annual Liberty Station event. (Courtesy VinDiego)

on the vine David Fraschetti and his wife Lynn launched the popular wine event in 2013. (Courtesy VinDiego)

Tasting success with VinDiego Morgan M. Hurley | Editor When David Fraschetti walked away from his lifelong career as a sales executive to work for himself, his friends thought he was crazy. But he said he just kept reminding himself of that infamous line in the

1989 film, “Field of Dreams”: “If you build it, they will come.” For decades, Fraschetti was in pharmaceutical and dental equipment sales and he traveled all over the country meeting clients, organizing large sales meetings and managing trade shows.

Today he produces the annual VinDiego, a two-day wine festival taking place April 10 and 11 at NTC Liberty Station. “It’s all about logistics,” he said. He and his wife Lynn have always enjoyed attending wine shows and once he got the idea in his head to launch his own festival, they spent two and a half years doing their due diligence in market research. “We attended 18 different festivals … up and down the coast, and from Arizona up to Washington state,” he said. At each festival, they approached the wineries in attendance and asked the people pouring the same two questions: What would you change, and, what did you like about the festival?” He said they got the same answer about what the wineries would change every single time. ‘“Get rid of the beer and the spirits,’” he said they told him. ‘“We’re tired of dealing with a bunch of drunks that don’t even know what the heck they’re drinking.’”

The entrepreneur said it is clear that many wine festival organizers try to be everything to everyone, often including craft brews, tequila, rum, scotch and even vodka. “One shot of tequila and your palate is shot,” Fraschetti said, adding that usually by the time attendees get around to the wine booths, they are too inebriated to appreciate what is being poured. “The wineries all call them ‘drunk fests.’” Avid wine lovers themselves, the Fraschettis noticed that same trend in San Diego’s wine scene, where too many spirits and food vendors were diluting the whole concept of a wine festival. As a result, many wineries weren’t seeing the benefit and were pulling out. “It’s a new crop of wineries all the time, year after year, because they all say ‘heck with it,’” Fraschetti said. He and Lynn, a full-time fashion recruiter, decided to change that. VinDiego is built on several important premises: 1) there are no spirits, just a limited number of great wines;


2) only the finest wineries are chosen to participate; 3) there is a cap on attendance; and 4) the number of food vendors are also limited. The focus at VinDiego is on wine, wine, and more wine. With that formula and a business model in hand, Fraschetti said he makes a promise to each winery. “VinDiego is going to be a high class, high-end event, not a typical drunk fest,” he said he tells prospective clients. “You’re going to find that our attendees — because we’re not going after the super young demographics who are just there to get hammered — are people who enjoy wine; whether they be serious sommeliers or people who just want to have a great glass of wine and learn more about it.” He’s definitely doing something right; VinDiego’s first year sold out at the Port Pavilion on Broadway, and they doubled in size the second year, relocating to Liberty Station. Now in its third year, he has a 72 percent return rate on the wineries, something he calls “unbelievable,” but not when you consider those wineries are continually thanking him for keeping his promise. “It’s a small operation and it’s amazing what we can accomplish and get done,” he said. “It’s a lot of work, but man oh man, it’s rewarding to see how popular it’s become.” You can sense his enthusiasm for his new career, though Fraschetti still travels the country throughout the year meeting with clients. His visits are something the wineries tell him is unusual, claiming they are the ones doing the traveling to get included at such events. “It is important because they truly are my partners in this,” he said. “I can’t do it without them. I’ve

see VinDiego, page 25


San Diego Downtown News | April 2015


Two artists of very different genres will be taking their wares to Mission Federal’s ArtWalk April 25 and 26.

ArtReach team members (l to r) Sarah Holbach, Judy Berman Silbert, Jessie Keylon, and Jack White with handmade photo props. Children will have the chance to make these at KidsWalk this year. (Courtesy ArtReach) of a school that was receiving ArtReach’s traditional free workshops and recently received a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) grant that allowed ArtReach to extend their services. Each free program allows six classrooms — for example, three first grade classes and three second grade — on any given campus, five lessons each. “That’s how we’ve decided best allocates our funds,” Silbert said. ArtReach’s artist/teachers each offer a different focus for their curriculum; in addition to traditional artists, there is an expressive arts therapist; a plein air painter; a graphics designer/photographer; and one who focuses on textile art. “I go into the classrooms when I can,” Silbert said. “But my job is to write grants and create fundraisers and talk to the media to find the funding to support our free

workshop programs.” ArtWalk’s support has been instrumental in the expansion of ArtReach’s programs. “The mission of ArtReach is at the core of the work we do to produce these large art festivals,” Cottrell said. “We believe art education is not a luxury in schools, but rather a necessity.” Every year since 2009, ArtWalk has given the nonprofit booth space to share their story and gather donations. ArtReach also participates in KidsWalk, the interactive section of ArtWalk set aside for children and their families. For the last three years, ArtWalk has also established the “Artists Give Back” program, where every artist who participates at ArtWalk can voluntarily sign up to give a portion of their weekend sales to ArtReach. Thirty-five have chosen to this year.

ELLEN DIETER Ellen Dieter is one of this year’s featured artists, hosted by the new Adelman Fine Art gallery, located at 1980 Kettner Blvd., in Little Italy, where her art is also on display. Dieter, who lived and studied abroad in France for a decade, moved to San Diego in 1989 and has enjoyed watching the local art scene grow. In 2007 she participated in Alexander Salazar’s month-long “Artist in Residence” program next door to his Downtown gallery. “It was a turning point for me,” she said. “I had to show up and paint every day and I just didn’t think I could do it; but I just worked through it and it changed me.” Dieter said she still paints every day and now splits her creative time between San Diego and Honolulu, Hawaii. “I love ArtWalk, and what I enjoy about the event is the people, the art, the energy, the music, all of it,” she said. “This year is special, though, I’ve been selected to be one of the ten featured artists and I am beyond thrilled.” Dieter, whose primary genre is abstract oil and acrylic painting, said she plans on doing live ArtWalk is taking their support of the nonprofit a step further in 2015 with “Salute to Balboa Park.” A separate booth will be set up adjacent to the ArtReach information booth, with the artwork of 30 different artists all inspired by the Balboa Park Centennial on display. Juried by the San Diego Art Institute, 25 percent of the sales from the “Salute to Balboa Park” artwork will go to ArtReach. “It has been a rewarding journey, helping ArtReach grow since its inception,” Cottrell said. “Our team and our participating artists will continue to find new ways to fundraise for ArtReach and to

painting while she is active in the Adelman booth and plans to also spend time meeting people at the nearby Adelman gallery during the event. “I hope I am growing too, inspired by fellow artists — and there are many,” she said. “I learn and grow as San Diego grows.” Visit Dieter’s photo blog at ellendieterartist. or find her work at ALDRYN ESTACIO This San Diego native has a degree in graphic arts and a career in technology, but his love has always been photography. He recently took his work to a higher level — literally — when he found out he could attach his GoPro camera to an aerial drone. Since then his work has skyrocketed and he’s assembled a collection of his San Diego works for a coffee table book called: “San Diego, Aerial Drone Photography, Vol. 1,” which will be available for purchase at ArtWalk along with some of his individual photography prints. He’ll have a drone on hand for visual purposes, but the focus will be on his art, so he has no plans to take flight in Little Italy that weekend. Estacio launched a website to support his new hobby-turned-artistic endeavor, flytpath. com. Read more about Estacio on page 20.

educate the community about the importance of art in schools.” ArtReach has other creative ways of raising funds to support their free programs, such as special events and through their website, where those interested can donate enough for the purchase of specific art supplies and know where their funds are being used. ArtReach is also partnering with Bodhi Tree Concerts for an upcoming Latin Jazz concert, and in June are holding a fundraising evening at 57 Degrees in Midtown called, “Paint Your Heart Out.” “Our main point is just to get art experience to kids,” Silbert said. “It’s all about creativity and

being comfortable with solving problems creatively and I think we really help kids do that. Then those students become confident and it leaps the boundaries from art class to other areas. Teachers see their students in a different way and peers start seeing those students differently, too.” ArtWalk takes place from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., April 25 and 26 on India Street, between Ash and Grape streets. Attendance is free. For more information, visit —Morgan M. Hurley can be reached at

San Diego Downtown News | April 2015



San Diego Downtown News | April 2015


Correction In our March issue’s cover story, “Repurposed for a purpose,” [Vol. 16, Issue 3], Brennan Hubbell was identified as working for Mooch Exterior Designs. However, Mr. Hubbell works for himself and was charged with the design and installation of the belly-up counters installed around the tree planters. Mooch handled the rest of the outdoor designs. This was an editor oversight and we regret the error.

Letters Quiet zone still not quiet years later I’m still hearing train horns at 2 a.m. [See “Railway ‘Quiet Zone’ still stifled but moving forward,” July 2012, Vol. 13, Issue 7]. I just moved here five months ago and this is awful. When is this going to end? Or is this fully executed now and the railways aren’t following regulations? Who is monitoring this? —Ell via sandiegodowntownnews. com

Props for wellness programs

A+ on corporate wellness [See “Health, productivity and more” Vol. 16, Issue 3]! Please check out my corporate wellness programs that are evidence-based and have shown amazing results: I’m a FIT member in Solana Beach. —Dr. Brian Alman via


Homeless need more than homes

Health or safety concerns? Renters have options By Alan Pentico Recent news coverage of the local landlord who has had numerous code compliance complaints filed against him by tenants concerned about health and safety violations is unsettling. Many of those renters had to wait months or years for the violations to be corrected. But there is clearly no legitimate reason why anyone should be forced to live in substandard conditions. All renters, when faced with an intractable repair issue that affects health or safety, should be aware of their options — because the law is on their side. California law states that rental units must be “habitable.” That basically means that the unit must be fit for people to live in. To be habitable, an apartment must meet state and local building and health codes related to health and safety. Some repairs take longer than others, while some necessitate a higher priority. Property owners and renters each have responsibilities for certain kinds of repairs. Cleanliness of a unit, for example, is the responsibility of the tenant. It is the responsibility of the property owner or manager, however, to ensure the property is habitable. When faced with a habitability issue, renters generally have seven options. You can: 1. Notify your landlord or property manager of needed repairs. Make a call and send a letter. If you send an email, be sure to follow up with a written letter. Make sure to clearly identify yourself and the specific problem, and include the date of the communication. 2. Make the repairs yourself (or hire a professional to do it) and deduct the cost from your rent. Exercise this option if you don’t get a response from your landlord within a reasonable amount of time. Legally, you can deduct no more than the amount of one month’s rent. This remedy covers serious conditions that impact health and safety, such as a no hot running water or a gas leak. 3. Abandon the unit, if the problem is severe or life threatening. You might consider this remedy if fixing the problem would cost

more than one month’s rent. Before you do this, you want to be sure you’ve given the landlord a reasonable amount of time to fix the problem. 4. Withhold rent until the repairs are made. To use this method, the defects or cost to repair them must be more serious than would justify use of the above options. 5. Seek arbitration or mediation. Some landlord-tenant disputes can be resolved through dispute resolution centers or mediation services. The goal here is to settle disputes without having to resort to the courts. 6. File a lawsuit. Depending on the amount of money involved, this would happen in small claims court or Superior Court. Keep in mind that you can sue without first trying any of the above options, but there are issues to consider, including costs and delays. 7. Contact your city’s Code Enforcement Division. The city of San Diego suggests you utilize the complex manager, homeowner association, mediation services, or the civil courts to resolve disputes before you go to them. San Diego’s code compliance complaint form can be found If you find yourself exercising options 2 – 4 above, remember that you must give the landlord notice in writing. The letter should clearly explain the problem. Don’t forget to sign and date the letter and keep a copy. The California Department of Consumer Affairs has more information on these options at problems.shtml. For more information on habitability, visit /landlordbook/repairs.shtml. Remember, no one should ever be forced to live in an uninhabitable rental property. There are several steps you can take. Read your lease and see if repair requests are specifically addressed and what the process entails. If corrective steps are taken, please make sure you document everything. In other words, take the time to make copies of letters, save emails, make copies of checks, etc. Everyone deserves to live in a safe and clean home. Anything short of that is unacceptable. — Alan Pentico is executive director of the San Diego County Apartment Association. For more information about them visit

Actually, simply providing someone with a home doesn’t help them beyond giving them dignity in their dysfunction [See “Homeless for the Holidays,” Dec. 2014, Vol. 15, Issue 12]. Ask Project 25. They gave people homes, offered them assistance and some of the homeless were still bound to the idea they needed to collect recycling … There needs to be more than merely roofs over heads, there need to be people who can help folks make healthy food choices, think about the future and learn that the old way of life wasn’t necessarily good. —Edward Anderson, via

When is a park a park?

I love this article and fully support these efforts [See “Downtown Partnership News: Wide-open spaces,” Vol. 16, Issue 3]. Yet, I must respectfully disagree with the sentence, “An empty stretch of grass is not a park.” I explore natural parks like Tecolote Canyon and Switzer Canyon regularly and not only enjoy, but prefer natural and wild settings as opposed to a developed park, as useful and great as they are. I would love to see some natural wild space left preserved, not just on the edges, but right in the middle of Downtown as well, if ever possible. —Chris Forte via You failed to mention the Piazza Famiglia project in Little Italy: —Melissa Lamoureux via

They love our civic organist

I think you’re fantastic and your talent is second to none [See “Civic Organist News: An introduction to the organ,” Vol. 16, Issue 2]. You make my love of the pipe organ even greater, but I have not been able to see you in live performance. Would you be performing anywhere between Pensacola, Florida and Tallahassee, Florida in 2015? —Timothy FC, via

see Letters, page 7

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OPINIONS/LETTERS: San Diego Downtown News encourages letters to the editor and guest editorials. Please email either to morgan@ and include your phone number and address for verification. We reserve the right to edit letters for brevity and accuracy. Letters and guest editorials do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher or staff. SUBMISSIONS/NEWS TIPS: Press releases and story ideas are welcomed. Send press releases, tips, photos or story ideas to morgan@ For breaking news and investigative story ideas contact the editor by phone or email. DISTRIBUTION: San Diego Downtown News is distributed free on the first Friday of every month. COPYRIGHT 2015. All rights reserved


Notes from Toni Toni G. Atkins | Assembly Speaker San Diego is America’s Finest City — and we’ve got a lot going for us. We’ve got the best weather in the state, craft breweries galore, the best Mexican food this side of the border, and of course ComicCon, which attracts thousands of visitors each year from all over the world. Think of all the great and unique activities here: scuba diving, visiting underwater graves in La Jolla, surfing, free concerts at Spreckels, kayaking in Coronado, pandas at the zoo, and hiking at Torrey Pines. You’ll never be bored here. Maybe that’s why so many great industries picked San Diego to be their home. From biotech to the Navy and Marine Corps — San Diego is where industries grow and flourish. Last year, San Diego County added more than 30,000

DowntownBriefs DOWNTOWN’S OH! JUICE LAUNCH KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN Readers know local entrepreneurs Hanna Gregor and Anna Duff’s OH! Juice from a recent profile in Downtown News, as well as their consistent presence at The Dailey Method located at 1230 Columbia St., and their weekly juicing at Little Italy Mercado. Gregor and Duff have grown their raw, organic, cold-pressed juice business so much in the last year that they need a new kitchen to meet their consumer demands and better equip them for their recent USDA organic certification. On April 1, they launched a month-long Kickstarter campaign to assist them in meeting these goals. Though they live and run their business in and around the Downtown area, their first kitchen was in Vista, which, though necessary at the time, caused a lot of headaches and gas bills running back and forth. The new kitchen will be in Carlsbad at Gateway Center and with a goal of $55,000, the new space will also give them a storefront, something they have yet to have in their two and a half years of operation. Their campaign page explains their humble beginnings. “With the little to no money in our pockets you can imagine the stress, to keep everyone on payroll and to keep the customer’s juice flowing. Doubts and worry try to trump our thoughts constantly, but we have to push that all aside to keep going. Being

new jobs in nearly every category of employment! At 5.3 percent, our unemployment is among the lowest in the state and country and local economists expect that it’ll dip below 5 percent sometime this year. And why wouldn’t businesses choose our city? We attract a highly educated workforce through our great university system and we’re the innovation hub for industries as diverse as life sciences and software development. The last couple of years have been hard on everyone but San Diego has weathered the recession and we’re in full recovery. Now is the time to make investments in infrastructure, housing, business, and education to ensure a brighter future for all San Diegans. These are challenges we must meet to keep prospering, but as we’ve shown before, no problem is insurmountable. I might be a little biased, but I believe that one of California’s first cities is its best city. Around the District and the

Capitol I will welcome local Girl Scouts to Team Toni this month as we volunteer at Feeding America San Diego on April 25 to help San Diego County residents who might otherwise go hungry … Last month, I was happy to celebrate the Work for Warriors program at an event aboard the USS Midway Museum. This collaboration, between the California National Guard, along with the California State Assembly, has led to nearly 4,000 returning veterans finding jobs … I also was grateful to accept the San Diego County American Legion’s Legislator of the Year Award. Coming from a military family, I understand the sacrifices our veterans have made and am proud to continue to honor their service.

vulnerable and asking for help is a very difficult thing but we’ve had no other choice but to be resourceful and find what OH! Juice needs to thrive.” For a complete explanation of what the funds will go to, watch a video of their venture, read profiles of the two owners and to see what you will get in return for your generous pledges, visit and click near the bottom to go directly to their Kickstarter page. The campaign will last for 30 days. For more information about OH! Juice, visit

poses to create better connection between the new interim shelter and the Neil Good Day Center program, eventually bringing both operations to the St. Vincent de Paul campus, according to a press release by Father Joe’s.


Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Councilmember Todd Gloria earned the City Council’s unanimous approval this week for a plan to create a year-round indoor interim housing shelter in lieu of temporar y tents erected during the winter each year. The plan was based on a recommendation by the San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) to repurpose 350 beds at Father Joe’s Villages’ St. Vincent de Paul campus Downtown for use in the year-round shelter. The program is slated to begin July 1 and will cost $1.9 million annually. According to SDHC’s recommendation, the shelter will provide at least 350 beds each night and also calls for 40 percent to be set aside for homeless veterans, as well as 24hour residential and security services and 45-day lengths of stay for residents. The plan also pro-

For more information, please go to my website, where you can sign up for my enewsletter or get the latest news on legislation and other activities. You also may follow me on Twitter, @toniatkins.v


The annual “Taste of Hillcrest,” sponsored by the Hillcrest Business Association (HBA), will bring the neighborhood’s top chefs and their cuisine together for the 15th year on April 18. “We are very excited about the 2015 Taste of Hillcrest,” HBA Executive Director Benjamin Nicholls stated in a press release. “It’s the perfect place to experience a unique culinary adventure and enjoy an afternoon here in San Diego’s finest neighborhood.” The self-guided tasting tour will span approximately 12 blocks through the business streets of the neighborhood and include more than 40 cafes, bistros and dining establishments. Checkin will be at the corner of Fifth and Robinson avenues. Tickets are $30 and available at fabuloushillcrest. com under “events.”

SPRECKELS ORGAN TO BE WORLD’S LARGEST BUT NEEDS MORE DONATIONS TO COMPLETE FINAL PHASE San Diego has an impressive pipe organ on display and operating on a regular basis at Balboa Park’s Spreckels Organ Pavilion.

see Briefs, page 10

San Diego Downtown News | April 2015 FROM PAGE 6

LETTERS Carol, if there were more organists like you, more people would attend organ programs! Plus, anyone who rides is OK in my book. —Evan Jones via Carol came to Augusta, Georgia recently and was just fantastic!
Her fingers and feet just danced along the keys and she has a delightful personality. She is an utter joy to watch! —Fay Clymer, via

Golden West feedback

I stayed at the Golden West in 1996 and 1997 [See “Gaslamp Historical News: The Golden West Hotel,” Vol. 16, Issue 2]. While it did have a certain charm and it provided a roof over my head, I wouldn’t recommend it as a tourist stop. The rooms are substandard and the place is dirty. Some of the residents were in sad shape and in need of help of all kinds. It was in a word a flophouse. San Diego should do something about it if they want to present it to the public as a landmark —John Nyman, via

Two sides of the taxi coin

Yes, you do speak for all of the taxi drivers in San Diego [See “Editorial: The impact of ride-sharing,” Vol. 16, Issue 2]. I am one of them and they are destroying a business that


people like us depend on full time to pay our bills. The way they are operating is just lame and I can’t believe it. Lawmakers, cops, and sheriffs have continued to just stand by and watch without doing anything. Once they have over-saturated the market to the point that no one can make money anymore ... what then? No one will even want to provide transportation anymore and there are already too many cars on the roads at night with no end in sight because they won’t even cap the number of vehicles that are allowed to operate under these so-called technology network companies. —Joshua Bishop via Taxi cabs have been taking advantage of people for too long. I’m glad we finally have an option to get decent transportation for a decent price. —San Diego Citizen via

Listening to our bodies

Thanks Scott Markey, for touching on a topic that can and does happen to all athletes, yet we all fail to listen to what our bodies are telling us [See “Coping with a fitness layoff,” Vol. 16, Issue 2]. You are also so right about people working out next to me with severe colds and even the flu! They should be home in bed. Nice read, Scott. —Bill Lavery via sandiegodowntownnews.comv


San Diego Downtown News | April 2015


San Diego Downtown News | April 2015


The Embarcadero’s Visionary Plan incorporates John Nolen’s ideas (Photo by Delle Willett)

The Serra Museum stands alone high above the future Presidio Park in this 1929 photograph. (Courtesy San Diego History Museum)

Planning San Diego Art on the Land Delle Willett At the end of the 1800s the city of San Diego was not like any other major U.S. city. Enormous in acreage, the streets were still unpaved. With miles of oceanfront, there were no beaches south of Point Loma. Introduction of the railway gave San Diego a tremendous boom and bust, but the city’s population grew less than 1 percent in the decade following the bust. By 1907 the population was less than the 40,000 it had been in 1886, and although San Diego was connected to Los Angeles by train and to San Francisco by ferry, it was still difficult to reach and didn’t have much to offer. Nevertheless, San Diego’s climate and scenery made it stand out above all other communities. Tasked to turn San Diego into a nationally competitive city on both an economic and cultural level, the City of San Diego established the Civic Improvement Committee (CIC), created under the auspices of the City’s Chamber of Commerce and Art Association. In 1907, the committee hired landscape architect and urban planner John Nolen of Harvard, Massachusetts, to complete a comprehensive plan for the city’s development. They called him back again in 1924 to update his initial plan. Nolen was one of several men in the U.S. who sought to mitigate the effects of the rapid urbanization that was creating numerous ills of city life. He pioneered for clean air, the needs of children, and access to beautiful things for all. He also advocated for cities to grow and expand, always with guidelines and goals in mind, developing in synchronization with its population growth instead of before its time, or, even worse, after the chance for planning had passed. Nolen completed and published “San Diego: A Comprehensive Plan for its Improvement” in early 1908. Though the plan was never fully utilized, it had a significant effect on the development of San Diego’s future planning policies. His extensive plan addressed the unique possibilities that existed for development and the mistakes that had already occurred; it outlined the major issues that demanded atten-

tion; and discussed the practical and financial nature of implementing his recommendations. Nolen warned that if planning San Diego’s growth were to be done haphazardly, it would lose many of the advantages that nature had gifted it. He admonished the city for having a plan that was “not thoughtful. But on the contrary, ignorant and wasteful.” He criticized the destruction of San Diego’s unique, natural topography, the leveling of hills and mesas. The massive grading that had destroyed its picturesque canyons and valleys in an attempt to create straight streets. He believed that addressing these main points would rectify past mistakes and allow San Diego to meet its full potential. Nolen’s first recommendation focused on the need for a separate public plaza and civic space — a grand European-style plaza surrounded by civic buildings between Date and Cedar streets, with a wide boulevard that would have connected Balboa Park to the Civic Center and the bay. He went into extensive detail on how and where the plaza should be erected and argued that a noteworthy plaza was essential for both aesthetic reasons and as a space for official and leisurely gatherings. Nolen recommended construction of a Great Bay Front that would fulfill both the commercial and leisure needs of the city. The development of a multiuse water-

front, he explained, would give residents an aesthetically pleasing open space. This waterfront would feature an 11-mile drive next to the bay, running from the southern boundary of the city, past Downtown and the County Administration building, past a suggested airport and on to the Naval bases in Point Loma. He also proposed the historic restoration of Old Town, dredging the bay, the use of reservoirs for recreation, and the preservation of beaches. Nolen believed that public and municipal spaces had to be set aside while the land was still undeveloped; that if his plans for the public plaza, civic center and bay front were implemented, then population and traffic would surely increase. He reiterated his belief that cities should not be built according to preordained guidelines but designed after the consideration of the city’s particular physical circumstances and social needs. In his chapter on street planning he said a city’s health, just like a body’s health, is dependent on good circulation. His plan included five street types that responded to different functions. He solved the problem of gridiron plans by proposing a curvilinear street pattern where residents would be able to embrace the topography, not just tolerate it. He designed specific treescapes for residential and business streets, boulevards and thoroughfares. The type of tree and its placement, he suggested, would aid in deciphering the use of the street and ultimately improve traffic flow. Nolen called for palm trees,

explaining that the plantings aim to dress up the street and relieve its barrenness yet avoid shading the houses. He recommended that planners recall the city’s history and utilize the Spanish language in street names and residential developments. He was particularly concerned about improving the health of the city’s inhabitants. He implored the CIC to address the lack of small open spaces that might be used for recreation and recommended a system of parks dedicated to the preservation of natural features. By nature a play city, San Diego should have its own playgrounds, he believed. Nolen also addressed the problem of rectilinear subdivision planning which resulted in awkward intersections, steep roads and oddly shaped blocks. Although he was not directly responsible for designing Mission Hills, it is an excellent example of a community that followed his recommendations: a variety of street types, curvilinear streets that respond to the contours of the canyons and cliffs, heavily landscaped parkways, a community name and street names that reflect the history of the land and its location, the use of uniformly placed Queen Palm trees, slow growth and quality control.

While many of his ideas and recommendations were not implemented, we can thank Nolen for the development of Morley Field, Shelter and Harbor islands, the County Administration building, Harbor Drive, Lindberg Field and the landscape plan for Presidio Park. His dream of a connection from Balboa Park to the bay is nearly fulfilled with Park Boulevard, extending from the Park to Petco Park. Although not like some of the world’s iconic plazas Nolen envisioned for San Diego, his recommendation is close to being realized with the renovation and expansion of Horton Plaza Park on the south side of Broadway between Third and Fourth avenues. The new plan includes revival of the existing 20,000-square-foot historic park as well as the creation of a new, approximately 1-acre public plaza created by the removal of the former Robinsons-May building. Combined, the new Horton Plaza Park will cover 1.3 acres. We can also thank Nolen for the historic restoration of Old Town, dredging the bay, the use of reservoirs for recreation, and the preservation of our beaches.

see Willett, page 17


San Diego Downtown News | April 2015


BRIEFS The organ has been expanding its number of pipes in phases over the last two years, helped along by generous donors. At 4,859 pipes, the organ is currently one of the largest in the world. Recently the Spreckels Organ Society announced that its fifth and final phase is about to be complete, adding the 8-foot Crommorne and an 8-foot Solo Vox Humana, each with 73 pipes, equaling 146. That number gives the 100-year-old Spreckels organ a total of 5,005 pipes, causing it to edge the 4,948 pipe Heroes Organ in Kufstein, Austria as the largest. Each rank costs $25,000, and donations are still needed. Robert Palmer, an organ enthusiast and a recent member of Spreckels Organ Society, was the donor that put the “Drive to 5,000” campaign in its final stretch, while an anonymous donor has offered to match ever y donation, pipe by pipe, to allow completion of the final phase. To donate, visit “With the goal in sight, it is our hope to announce the completion of this exciting project before the end of the Centennial Summer International Organ Festival in August 2015,” stated George Hardy, president of the Spreckels Organ Society in a press release. “Ever y pipe sponsored gets us that much closer to that objective.” Balboa Park’s Centennial celebration was the impetus for the Drive to 5,000 campaign, which has so far consisted of four funding phases: Centennial Tuba, for which $72,826 was raised; Gamba and Gamba Celeste, $41,578; Percussion effects, $15,500; and the 8-foot Geigen Celeste and 4-foot Violina Celeste at $41,996. When the $50,000 for the fifth phase has been reached, a total of $221,900 will have been raised to expand the total number of pipes in the Spreckels Organ. An additional $20,000 has also been raised to restore the organ’s iconic gold pipe façade. For more information about the organ, the organ society, upcoming special events as well as the schedule for spring and summer concerts at the organ pavilion, visit


The City Council approved a bond-financing plan March 24 that will budget $120 million toward street repairs, fire stations

and libraries throughout the city. More than 40 percent of the funds will pave the way for new streets. “San Diegans who want their streets repaired will find a lot to like in this package,” Mayor Kevin Faulconer stated in a press release. “We’re moving full steam ahead with improvements to neighborhoods throughout San Diego. This plan will fund critical projects — from street repair to fire stations to libraries — in the communities that need them the most.” Faulconer, who unveiled the plan following his “State of the City” address earlier this year, said street repairs are the top priority for San Diego’s infrastructure needs. In addition to street repairs, $22 million will go toward improving storm drains and $43 million will help with design work and construction for facilities.


Recommendations to the city’s Undergrounding Program were considered and approved by the City Council this week. The recommendations were developed by the Utility Undergrounding Advisory Committee — comprised of community members and representatives from AT&T, Cox Communications, SDG&E, Time Warner Cable and the City. The group was created over a year ago to advise the City Council on undergrounding utility boxes, which many residents say they view as an eyesore in their communities. A press release from Councilmember Todd Gloria’s office outlined the approved updates to the program: Improve coordination between the mayor’s office, City Council offices, Utility Undergrounding Program (UUP) staff, utility companies, and the community through a formalized process to establish local preferences prior to the start of engineering design in each affected neighborhood; revise UUP documents to ensure consistent language; expand UUP website with current program and project information, illustration of utility company above-ground equipment and city-owned equipment, graphic depiction of where above ground equipment may be located, design options, and a flow chart of community participation in the design process; provide public information support from the city’s Communications Department and UUP staff; revise and simplify public notice mailers; create design options; examine innovative equipment design and sizing; implement quality control and Council training.v

BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT Bodhi Massage & Wellness Center 3678 Fourth Ave. San Diego, CA 92103 619-274-2744 | For almost 10 years, Bodhi Massage & Wellness Center has served San Diego as a respite and neighborhood sanctuary. Located in a century-old craftsman home and nestled under a Sacred Ficus or “Bodhi” tree, the ambiance is set before you walk in the door. The aroma of hand-crafted candles and essential oils entice all who enter and compassionate staff greet you with smiles and refreshing spa water. With services ranging from deep tissue to Thai yoga massage and couple’s treatments, there is something for everyone. You can also addon reflexology, aromatherapy, a deep scalp treatment, or a radiant face renewal treatment to any session. Our practitioners are of the highest level of talent and handpicked based on education, experience, and the ability to provide results for our clients. The Bodhi team is dedicated to serving you with simply the best massage, acupuncture and bodywork available for many years to come.


Young actors venture ‘Into the Woods’ at the Lyceum Leigh Scarritt stars alongside students Jeremy Ogul | Contributing Editor Just a few months after a film adaptation of “Into the Woods” debuted to smashing success on movie screens around the world, the young actors of the California Youth Conser vator y Theatre (CYC) will bring the Broadway hit musical to Downtown’s L yceum Theater April 10-18. The average age of the CYC Theatre cast is 17, with ages ranging from 5 to 20-something, but this isn’t your typical youth theater production, said producer and director Shaun Evans. “[Audiences] can expect to see ever y bit as good a production of ‘Into the Woods’ as they would see anywhere, on any stage, in San Diego,” Evans said. That’s because CYC puts its young participants through a rigorous program of auditions, rehearsals and performances that are designed to reflect the experience the actors would have if they were working union

A scene from the California Youth Conservatory Theatre's 2014 production of "The Secret Garden." (Courtesy Shaun Evans) professionals, Evans explained. “The environment is anything but childish,” he said. Unlike most youth theater companies, CYC Theatre hires professional actors to play top roles in the show and work alongside the student actors. In this presentation of “Into the Woods,” Leigh Scarritt, famous for her prolific work on San Diego stages, stars as the witch. Award-winning pros Tom Andrew and Br yan Stanton also have leading roles. But Evans said his goal is that

the audience won’t be able to tell the difference between the professionals and the students. “The leads and principals who are students, they are damn near every bit as good as these professionals,” he said. As a result of CYC Theatre’s approach, many students end up going on to have professional careers on stage. Three alumni of the CYC Theatre program over the past 11 years have even made it to Broadway, while another three have appeared

see Actors, page 16

Westminster Manor receiving a facelift Renovation slated for completion late this year Dave Fidlin | Contributor Patty Connell readily admits she was not enthusiastic when the news first broke. Connell, 74, is among 120 seniors displaced as Westminster Manor, a 16-story high-rise apartment building at 1730 Third Ave., Downtown, undergoes an extensive renovation. But Connell and many of the other seniors living in the 43-yearold complex soon discovered a silver lining. As they await an opportunity to return to fully refurbished living quarters, they are taking up temporary residence at one of two Downtown hotels: the Residence Inn San Diego Downtown/Gaslamp Quarter and the Lafayette Hotel. “I’m like a different person,” said Connell, who has been living at the Residence Inn the past few months. “This is a different transition than I imagined. They’re doing a great job here [at the hotel]. They cannot do enough for us.” The complete overhaul of Westminster Manor is slated to wrap in September and comes as a new owner enters the scene. Carlsbadbased Chelsea Investment Corporation purchased the property in December for $28.65 million. Since the transaction was closed, Chelsea’s owners are working with the property’s former owners and operators, Westminster

Manor of San Diego Inc., to refinance and redevelop the building, which is tailored to serve lowincome seniors, age 55 and up. “This iconic building fits into our mission to provide housing solutions for people in search of a quality place to live at affordable rates,” Jim Schmid, Chelsea’s founder and CEO, stated in a press release. “By working with civic leaders and community organizations, we are able to help residents meet their needs.” Westminster Manor, which features 152 studio and one-bedroom units, is being renovated internally and externally. All told, the work carries an estimated $12.5 million price tag. Since Westminster Manor has a subsidized housing component, several pieces of the puzzle had to come together before the renovation work took place. Financing for the renovations came from a variety of sources, including Union Bank as a construction and permanent lender and The Richman Group as a tax credit investor. The San Diego Housing Commission also had a role in the planning phase because tax-exempt bonds were issued. Before the renovations began, the San Diego City Council formally signed off on the bond awards. Kathy Breedlove, a project

BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT Papa Luna’s Empanadas 1050 Columbia St. San Diego, CA 92101 619-236-8400 | Born out of a love for empanadas, Papa Luna’s mission is to bring our fresh, handmade empanadas to the people of America’s Finest City. With over 15 varieties of unique flavors everyone is sure to love, we combine the best of Latin American style with Southern California cuisine. Papa Luna’s also offers a fresh take on tossed salads like our aboveaverage house salad and unique side dishes like our black rice and mango salad or fresh catch ceviche.

Westminster Manor prior to renovation (Photo by Lyudmila Zotova) manager with Chelsea, is overseeing the renovation. Breedlove said talks of sprucing up the complex have been in the works the last couple of years. “The previous owners were looking at a way to first get a development partner on board,” she said. “We’ve been working very diligently on the project ever since then.” Breedlove said the work is being undertaken in phases. The initial portion of the project was completed in late February and entailed abating the complex of any asbestos, in addition to upgrading fire sprinklers, fire alarms and other important infrastructure. The second phase, currently underway, will focus on a specific section of the apartment complex. Breedlove said plans are in motion to begin moving residents back into Westminster Manor in a phased approach, starting in early- to mid-May and through the end of the year. “It’s been a challenging project, but I’ve enjoyed being part of it, personally,” Breedlove said. “I think we have a great team working on this, and we’ve developed quite a level of trust with the residents.” When Westminster’s occupants do return to their apartment units, they will be greeted to a number

see Renovation, page 16


San Diego Downtown News | April 2015

erational event with a number of hands-on exhibitors.” By virtue of its location and mission statement, the museum’s Earth Day on the Bay event will put the spotlight on the importance of water conservation. Gallant said her idea for the program started small, but quickly swelled as she put out feelers and received a flood of responses from related organizations interested in partnering with the museum. “The evolution of this event really happened organically,” she said. “We’re excited.” While Gallant and other museum staffers remain in a “waitand-see” mode, she said the goal is to make Earth Day on the Bay an annual event.


EARTHDAY offer visitors a different experience each year. The upcoming EarthFair will offer such stalwart activities as the kick-off parade, a wide range of exhibitors and entertainment. But this year’s program will offer a number of new features as well, including a demonstration and food-sampling event — spearheaded by the nonprofit organization San Diego 350 — called the Garden of Eating. In addition to spotlighting the benefits of adopting a plant-based diet, leaders of San Diego 350 will discuss how livestock agriculture impacts climate change and water consumption. Another new feature this year will put the spotlight on the emerging craft beer brewing phenomenon in San Diego. For the first time, EarthFair will include a beer garden, and a number of local brewers will be on hand to share their brews. The EarthFair 25th anniversar y happens to be the same year as Balboa Park’s centennial celebration. Chase said the coincidental intermingling has provided for some unique opportunities, including an activity entailing planting greener y in select areas, such as the butterfly gardens. “You don’t get to help Balboa Park very often, so this is a really unique opportunity,” she said. San Diego EarthWorks also is teaming up with another nonprofit group, the Art Bench Project, to commemorate Balboa Park’s milestone birthday. The two groups will give attendees an opportunity to paint park benches. They will be on display throughout the remainder of the year.


San Diego EarthWorks’ 25th anniversary EarthFair will take place from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. April 19 at Balboa Park, centered on the Plaza de Panama. For more information, visit earthdayweb. org or call 858-272-7370. Admission is free.

(above) EarthFair 2014 attendees participate in an activity known as the Sea of Plastics demonstrating the dangers of polluting public waterways; (right) There are many activities for kids. (Photos courtesy EarthFair) “I’m a person who’s long believed we need more park benches, not fewer,” Chase said. “They’re social places. They’re urban furniture.” San Diego EarthWorks holds assorted events throughout the year. Since its introduction in 1990, EarthFair has been the organization’s marquee program. While Ear thFair is perhaps, one of the most well-known Ear th Day events in the area, Chase readily admits there are other events and activities taking place throughout the community that help remind people of the impor tance of adopting sustainable practices.

“We don’t own Ear th Day,” Chase said. “But we do encourage people to recognize it in any way possible.” For the first time, San Diegans can also celebrate Earth Day along the shores of the Pacific Ocean this year. The Maritime Museum of San Diego is teaming up with more than a dozen organizations for its inaugural Earth Day on the Bay program. A sampling of partnering groups include the Living Coast Discovery Center, San Diego Coastkeeper, Sea World San Diego and the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve. Robyn Gallant, the museum’s

events director, said she began planning for an Earth Day-themed event about six months ago out of a perceived need in the community. “While there is a lot of attention out there on the importance of composting and recycling, there isn’t much out there with a water component,” Gallant said. “Our goal is to have a fun, intergen-

The Maritime Museum of San Diego’s first-ever Earth Day on the Bay takes place April 26, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. along the Embarcadero at 1492 N. Harbor Drive. For more information, visit sdmaritime. org or call 619-234-9153, ext. 101. Admission is free. —Dave Fidlin has been a professional journalist for more than a dozen years and has contributed to a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites across the nation. He has a special affinity for San Diego and its people. Contact him at dave.


San Diego Downtown News | April 2015

Making a little STEAM Little Italy News Christopher Gomez Little Italy San Diego is more than just incredible food and sights for visitors; it also offers local families a rich and multicultural educational system for the neighborhood’s children at Washington Elementary, a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) Magnet School. Washington Elementary has been educating the children of the community since 1914, making it the oldest elementary school in Downtown San Diego. Today, through the support of the Little Italy Association (LIA), the Italian Embassy, the Washington Elementary Foundation and the STEAM magnet grant, the school is proud to offer an innovative curriculum that honors traditions and customs of the past while embracing ideas that form the future. Little Italy provides a safe and cultural backdrop for the school; students can engage in culture and history by learning to play bocce ball in Amici Park or visiting monuments like Piazza Basilone, Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church, or the San Diego Firehouse Museum — all within a few blocks from the school. Additionally, the Little Italy Association loves to include its local elementary school in annual festivals and events. Last October, the students got involved with Little Italy’s annual FESTA!, creating an 8-foot by 8-foot Gesso Italiano (Italian Chalk) drawing on West Date Street. The students will also contribute to April’s iconic Mission Federal ArtWalk in Little Italy by giving the public a sneak peak look into the school’s “Van Go” event debuting this June — an engineering, science and arts exhibition for the children, which will include a movable sculpture race of business sponsored soap-box cars. Washington Elementary STEAM Magnet in Little Italy provides an incredible educational opportunity for kids and a chance for them to get involved in their community. The school is a historic part of the neighborhood and is significantly important to the residents of Little Italy. For more information about how to get involved in the Little Italy community or about Washington Elementary, please visit —Christopher Gomez has been Little Italy’s district manager for the past 15 years. Reach him at chris@


San Diego Downtown News | April 2015


Fan Fest

The redesign for the new video board allowed for other changes in Petco’s left field. (Photo by Andy Hayt/San Diego Padres) FROM PAGE 1

VIDEOBOARD “[The new video board] will significantly enhance the fan experience, while also providing the opportunity to update the left field seating area,” Dee said, adding that the Padres’ senior leadership team is “committed to continued innovation and to offering our fans the best game-day experience in sports.” Wayne Partello, the Padres senior vice president and chief marketing officer, said the new HD video board is just the start of future planned high-tech updates. “This ownership group has been committed from the beginning to constant improvements to Petco Park,” Partello said. “Last year, we saw a complete overhaul of the sound system, as well as the installation of a new video board at Park at the Park.” The new left field video display board’s install design also allowed several simultaneous improvements to the left field seating area, including the addition of 171, 19-inch side seats in two new rows to the front of the Left Field Lower Box, spanning several sections. Removal of another 110 fixed seats from the back rows of these sections made way for barstool seating. Other structural changes also included a new LED ribbon on the left field grandstand fascia, which will feature game information viewable throughout the park. Finally, the removal of 610 fixed seats from the top of the Left Field Reser ved sections will now be a social group space accommodating up to 270 people standing. “With the All-Star Game coming to Petco Park in 2016, we expect to have the ballpark at its finest,” Partello said. “There are some plans in the works to make sure it’s ready for the international spotlight. “The new video board and other ballpark renovations are part of a significant investment funded by our ownership group,” Partello continued, referring to the financial backing of these and future renovations. “This group has been committed, since the ver y beginning, to setting aside funds not only to get Petco Park’s deferred maintenance up to date, but to

also go a step further in funding innovation that will make this a best-in-class facility.” Padres administrators are promising new programs and features to go along with the stadium’s new physical upgrades. “We definitely will be utilizing the video board to integrate new and exciting features this season and in the years to come,” Partello said. “Social media will play a big part with fan engagement on the new big screen this season.” “Four-thousand videos will be utilized on the video board for eye-popping content that will enhance the fan’s experience each and ever y game,” Coy said. “Interactive features and videos will be shown along with some new and fun fan cams to make sure that fans can see themselves up on the largest video board in the National League.” The new HD video board will also allow the team to engage more player interaction and the opportunity for more onscreen profiles. “Features with each player will be displayed on the board this year with new and interesting questions that allow fans to get to know each player’s personalities,” Coy said. “There will be some fun and energetic videos along with more dramatic and inspiring pieces throughout each game.” Coy said the overall goal in providing these top-of-the-line technological tools for the fans is to offer them a much greater experience. “Ever y fan will find that we are treating their whole game day experience with a new and revitalized passion from an entertainment standpoint,” Coy said. “The new video board will accentuate the overall engagement of ever y fan to support the Padres more than they ever have before.” The Padres home opener for the 2015 season will be against the San Francisco Giants on Thursday, April 9. For tickets, visit —Dave Schwab came to San Diego 30 years ago with a journalism degree from Michigan State University and has worked and freelanced for numerous dailies, weeklies and other regional publications. He can be reached at

The free annual preseason FanFest event, presented by State Farm Insurance, will feature the San Diego Padres vs. the Diablos Rojos del Mexico, on Saturday April 4 at 2 p.m. This is the chance for fans to see what’s new and exciting at the ballpark. Access to the park for season ticket holder (aka members) begins at 8 a.m., general fan admission begins at 9 a.m. Parking is free at the Padres Parkade (Seventh Avenue) and Tailgate Park (Park Boulevard at Imperial Avenue) but first come, first served basis. FanFest is sold out; access to the stadium is free but you must have your reserved and pre-printed FanFest voucher for admission.

Opening Day

Though the Padres will play their first game of the season in Los Angeles against the Dodgers on Monday, April 6, the first home game for the Padres at Petco Park will be Thursday, April 9 at 3:40 p.m. This home opener starts a four-day series against the San Francisco Giants, followed by a three-day series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, beginning April 12. For more information and tickets, visit

Special promotions for the 2015 season

The opening series April 9 – 12 will include giveaways, a Party in the Park, postgame laser show, KidsFest and Military Opening Day. Various giveaways throughout the season, mostly on Saturdays, will include a magnet schedule, calendar, hoodie, reuseable bag, replica jersey, beach towel, throwback jersey, Petco Park replica, Knockaround sunglasses, Dri-Fit t-shirt, grab bag, and a Padres team photo.

Weekly recurring events:

Taco Tuesday College Night Way Back Wednesday Beer Fest Party in the Park KidsFest Military Appreciation Days First Responder, SDPD, American Red Cross salutes

Special events:

Fiesta in the Park Dog Days of Summer Cocktail Fest Post-game concert Winefest

To get your tickets and see the full promotional schedule, visit


San Diego Downtown News | April 2015

Wild Wedne$day$ Hurry… the very last Wild Wednesday, April 8 Locals receive 20 percent of f with par ticipating EVA member businesses. Just show an ID with a San Diego County zip (driver’s license, librar y card, voter registration, etc) to get

your 20 percent discount. Restrictions apply. Wild Wednesdays may not be combined with happy hour, coupons, discounts, or any other special offers or deals. Dine in only. Subject to change. Notes below: 1. Dinner only; 2. Dr y cleaning only; 3. $1 off a pint; 4. For small wares or select items only; 5. Excluding Pendleton flannels and art supplies.

Wild Wedne$day$ East Village participants • Bean Bar, 1068 K St. • Bootlegger, 804 Market St. • Bub’s at the Ballpark, 715 J St. • Común, 935 J St. • Dragon’s Den, 315 10th Ave. • East Village Tavern + Bowl, 930 Market • 5&A Dime, 828 G St. • Hart Lounge, 734 Park Blvd. • Knotty Barrel, 844 Market St. • Jeanne-Michelle Skin Care, 425 10th Ave. • Level 9 Rooftop Bar in Hotel Indigo, 509 9th Ave. • Lotus Thai, 906 Market St. LotusThaiSD.com1 • LoungeSix at JSix, 616 J S. • Lucky’s Lunch Counter, 338 7th Ave. • Ma Cherie Boutique East Village, 425 10 th Ave. MaCherieBoutiqueEastVillage • MAK Cleaners, 1031 Mar-

ket St., MAKCleaners.com2 • Mission Brewer y, 1441 L St. MissionBrewer y.com3 • Monkey Paw Pub & Brewer y, 805 16th St. • Paper Doll Boutique & Scissors, 626 8th Ave. Facebook. com/PaperDollSd • Salad Style, 807 F St. • San Diego Restaurant Supply, 1202 Market St. SDRS.com4 • Style Lounge Salon, 540 Sixth Ave. • Table 509 in Hotel Indigo, 509 9th Ave. • The Blind Burro, 639 J St. • The Deck at Moonshine Flats, 335 6th Ave. • The District, 1021 Market St. • The Librar y Shop, 330 Park Blvd. SupportMyLibrar Librar y-Shop • Tribal Gear, 465 17th St. TribalGear.com5 Fifth annual East Village Opening Day Block Party Thursday, April 9, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. J Street between Sixth and 10th avenues The East Village Association is stepping up to the plate again

at the fifth annual East Village opening day block party, Thursday, April 9th, 2015 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on J Street between Sixth and 10th avenues. The free, family-friendly community event has become a San Diego tradition where locals and visitors celebrate opening day at Petco Park and explore East Village, San Diego’s largest livable urban neighborhood. This year’s MLB season opening game at Petco Park will feature the San Diego Padres vs. San Francisco Giants. Tickets to the ballgame must be purchased separately. EVA is excited to offer a limited number of exclusive ticket packages to the game with premiere seating and all you can and drink! Sponsor and exhibitor spots are filled on a first come, first ser ved basis. All sponsor and exhibitor opportunities sold out last year so act quickly. Sponsor and exhibitor questions should be directed to Jenna Thompson, McFarlane Promotions, Inc., 619.233.5008 or jenna@

SHOUT IT OUT Party Fundraiser Friday, April 24 at SILO Urban Discover y Academy (UDA) is making the big move to their new school location in the exciting IDEA District. Their newly formed Foundation is throwing a big bash and we want you to join in the fun. Join them for the UDA Foundation’s SHOUT IT OUT party fundraiser on Friday, April 24, 6 – 10 p.m. at SILO at Maker’s Quarter located at 705 15th St. The SHOUT IT OUT Party Fundraiser will feature food, music, and a night of dancing! This is your chance to discover all kinds of creative, rewarding ways to support the new school facility. From personalized tiles, to lobby sculptures and donor walls, you can find your own special way to make sure you are an integral part of this new, innovative, inspiring urban school. Big ideas need a lot of big, supportive backing. We are working toward a $750K goal and we’re excited to put the last amazing touches on the new facility. • $20 admission • For tickets visit eventbrite. com/e/shout-it-out-fundraisertickets-16148164595

BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT Family Gym 101 17st St. San Diego, CA 92101 619-231-7800 | At a time when it seems like you have to already be in shape to join a gym, Family Gym is a breath of fresh air to the San Diego area. Real people, real instruction and real workouts — without the glitz and glamor that seem to be the hallmark of some clubs around town. Family Gym is a place where you’ll find ever ything you need to keep your New Year’s resolution intact; and feel comfortable doing it. Family Gym offers group fitness classes ranging from Body Combat to Yoga; including the popular Zumba, Ritmo Latino and Baile styles to make getting in shape entertaining and fun. And all classes are free with membership. Free babysitting is available, too, if you have to bring the little ones with you. With five locations in the San Diego area, there’s likely a Family Gym right in your neighborhood. Instruction in Spanish and English is available in all clubs.


San Diego Downtown News | April 2015



San Diego Downtown News | April 2015


(l to r) A Gen2 and a Gen3 Car2Go electric vehicle parked side by side at a public EV charging station in Balboa Park. (Photo by Morgan M. Hurley)

Car2Go enhances its San Diego fleet Morgan M. Hurley | Editor Car2Go burst on the San Diego scene in October of 2011 and just recently celebrated its third anniversary with a big member appreciation party at the North Park Theatre that included live bands Fences and Bear Hands and 400 Car2Go members. “It was a great event and I got to go out and announce the bands,” said San Diego Location Manager Will Berry. “I’ve never done that before, so that was very, very fun.” Since their launch, the Germanbased company — a wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler, established in 2006 when Daimler acquired Smart — has amassed hundreds of members in San Diego, a high number of those living in or commuting to Downtown neighborhoods.

While Car2Go was not the first European car-sharing company to hit the market, its unique business model came about as a result of a perfect storm in technology availability. “They took car sharing to the next level from being station-based to this free-floating model which required that GPS enablement and led to the collaboration of the phone app,” Berry said. “Without all that, it never would have happened.” The first location was in Ulm, Germany, near Daimler Headquarters and the birthplace of Albert Einstein Berry said, in 2008. The first North American location was in Austin, Texas, in 2009, where Car2Go’s U.S. headquarters reside, then Vancouver, British Columbia, before rolling into San Diego in 2011.

Why San Diego? According to Berry, San Diego County is one of the hotbeds for electric vehicle (EV) ownership around the country. In fact, San Diego County ranks within the top four EV-friendly counties in the U.S. San Diego can also boast about being the only 100 percent all-electric fleet. Austin and now Portland, Oregon, have always had fleets with internal combustion engines and just a smattering of electric cars. Fast forward to 2015, and the smartphone-interactive electric vehicle company is undertaking a huge rollout in San Diego of its third generation Smart cars to replace its current fleet, and they are doing it in a little at a time, but should complete by year-end. With 380 Generation 2 (Gen2)


ACTORS on “American Idol.” “Into the Woods” actually got its start in San Diego, premiering at The Old Globe in 1986 and then moving to Broadway in 1987 for a nearly two-year run. The 2014 film adaptation has grossed more than $204 million worldwide, according to figures posted by the website Box Office Mojo. Mission Hills resident Alice Rickless, 14, is part of the ensemble in this production, her first with CYC Theatre. Though she has experience on stage in school plays, her experience so far with CYC Theatre has been an “eye-opener,” she said. cars to be replaced with 400 new Gen3 cars, it will be a bit of a shuffle, Berry said, because they want to keep the total number on the street at any time balanced. “It’s not just an infleeting, but also a defleeting of the old cars,” Berry said. “We don’t want to put out 400 cars while we still have the 380, so it is a one-for-one swap; we’re taking 10 off the road and putting 10 back on by the end of the day. “It’s like an orchestra to try to get all the moving pieces to come together,” he said. To the undiscerning eye, the cars look exactly the same, but if you look a bit closer and then step inside, Berry said, you’ll know. “There are a couple of ways you can visually tell that you are in a Gen3 car as opposed to a Gen2,” he said. “One is that the overall size of the Car2Go symbol [decal] on the front is almost double the size of the Gen2; there is also some instrumentation on the dash that’s a little bit different. “If you miss those two visual clues, the way that you would really tell is the moment you hit that accelerator,” he said, laughing. Old cars will be recycled; some will have components removed for spares and reuse, such as tires, while other parts will need to be destroyed or recycled, and the frame can be resold and reused in other vehicles. The Gen2 batteries, for instance, were manufactured by Tesla and contain proprietary knowledge, which must be stripped before the core is recycled. As a business focused on sustainability by nature, Berry said it is important to Car2Go that every aspect of the Gen2 cars are being properly recycled, and they have contracted with a local company with the expertise required to manage the process.

“That’s the walk the talk piece,” Berry said. “You can’t do lip service to that and you really have to look out for it.” Car2Go partners here in San Diego with several providers of publicly available EV charging stations, such as EVGO, Charge Point and NRG, the most prominent of which is Blink Network, mainly because as a network, Blink has more public stations available than their competitors. As for coverage areas, Car2Go now has 45 total square miles; 1 mile on the San Diego State campus, 12 square miles in Chula Vista and 32 square miles in and around the center of San Diego proper. You can drive your Car2Go outside any of those areas or between those areas, but you cannot start or stop a rental unless you are within the boundaries. A coverage map is located inside each vehicle for easy reference. The Car2Go headquarters Downtown, located at Ninth Avenue, has had many lives past and its design, by Paul Basile of Basile Studio on 11th Avenue, won an Orchid from the San Diego’s Architectural Foundation for its perfect mixture of industrial, oldschool warehouse aesthetic reflecting its East Village neighborhood and the “cool comfortable feel” required of every Car2Go city headquarters. Behind the walls of the customer service lobby facing Ninth Avenue is first the “employee den” and then the maintenance shop, which faces 10th Avenue. This is where all the magic happens. Watch for part two of this series in our next issue, when we go behind the scenes at Car2Go headquarters Downtown and take a Gen3 for a ride. For more information about Car2Go, visit —Morgan M. Hurley can be reached at

“Because I’ve never really done a show before — like a big show — I got myself out there, and I realized that I could do so many more things than I thought I could do,” Rickless said. The rehearsal schedule is demanding: three to∆1 five hours a day, up to four days a week for two and a half months. That kind of commitment leaves time for little else, but Rickless is not complaining. “It’s worth it to be a little stressed out, because what you get out of it is so much more than what you lose,” she said. Tickets range from $22 to $28 for adults. Visit for tickets, showtimes and more information.


—Jeremy Ogul can be reached at

—Dave Fidlin can be contacted at dave.fidlin@thinkpost.netv

RENOVATION of changes, including new kitchens, energy-efficient appliances and wall heaters, as well as new flooring, paint, window coverings and bathrooms. While Connell and other Westminster Manor residents are eager to see their new apartments, they also are savoring the experiences within their interim living quarters. “[The hotel staff] know us by name when we walk in,” Connell said. “One of the gals at the front desk told me I’m her adopted grandma — that’s how special they are to us. “We’ve discovered a whole new world around here,” she said.


WILLETT Nolen’s suggestion that San Diego have a Great Bay Front is coming alive with the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan, the recent opening of Phase One and the Waterfront Park at the County Administration building. San Diego is still working on Nolen’s recommendation that we have many small public parks and spaces: Currently in Downtown people are enjoying the Park at the Park, Children’s Park, Ruocco Park, Tweet Street Linear Park, Embarcadero Marina Park, and the Waterfront Park with its unique and hugely popular playground. Nolen’s legacy has lived on through the San Diego Planning Department and CCDC as well as individual landscape architects who include: Vicki Estrada (Estrada Land Planning); Marty Poirier

San Diego Downtown News | April 2015


and Andrew Spurlock (Spurlock Poirier); Mike Singleton (KTU+A); Glen Schmidt (Schmidt Design Group); Mark Johnson (Civitas); Harriet Wimmer and Joseph Yamada (Wimmer Yamada); and George Hargreaves (Hargreaves Associates). As stated on the city’s website, planning in San Diego has a long and proud history, dating back to John Nolen’s path-breaking plans for the city in 1908 and the Balboa Park Exposition in 1915. San Diego has become a leader among cities for its visionary approach to planning. The innovative strategies it has created have received local, state, and national awards, and made San Diego a model for other cities to follow. —Delle Willett is a PR consultant and a freelance journalist. She does pro bono work for organizations that empower women and work to end world hunger. Reach her at

(above) Construction continues at Horton Plaza Park (Photo by Delle Willett); John Nolen (Courtesy San Diego History Museum)






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San Diego Downtown News | April 2015

Imagining the future Downtown Partnership News Kris Michell More than two years ago, the Downtown San Diego Partnership asked communities throughout the San Diego region to “Imagine Downtown.” And, boy, did they ever. With the support and financial backing of The San Diego Foundation’s Malin Burnham Center for Civic Engagement, the Downtown Partnership implemented an extensive outreach effort that included 38 town halls — 26 held outside of Downtown — and an online survey. Through this process, more than 6,000 San Diegans weighed in on the future of Downtown San Diego. Coupling that feedback with best practices from around the globe, the Downtown Partnership developed “Imagine Downtown,” a 20-year strategic vision to revitalize our urban center. Released in October of 2013, “Imagine Downtown” serves as a to-do list on how to best create a world-class Downtown that serves and advances the aspirations of the entire San Diego region. In the year and half since it released “Imagine Downtown,” the Downtown San Diego Partnership has worked hard to ensure that this vision isn’t some plan collecting dust on a shelf. We have made tangible progress in delivering on its overarching goals as well as on the nuts-and-bolts tactics. Here are some highlights of our accomplishments to deliver a worldclass Downtown like no other. Build your business The Partnership has begun to implement a robust economic development strategy to grow and attract businesses to Downtown, especially in the innovation sector, as well as position Downtown as a hub for our bi-national mega region. Those efforts include: • Helping lure new tenants to Downtown including Bumble Bee Foods, Kleinfelder, AECOM, Cy-

press Insurance, Southwest Strategies, and • Commissioning UCSD Extension to conduct a comprehensive demographic study of Downtown, with the first phase to be released this spring. • Sponsoring a variety of educational forums on to highlight emerging industry clusters in Downtown including digital marketing, tech startups and cybersecurity. • Developing “San Diego Innovates,” a comprehensive economic development strategy for growing Downtown’s innovation sector, and working with Mayor Faulconer on those efforts. • Holding events that connect business and tech entrepreneurs on both sides of the border to bolster our bi-national economy. Made to move Making Downtown easy to get to and around was another key priority for the Partnership. Our work to improve mobility Downtown includes: • Working with Civic San Diego to create a real-time parking app, which is scheduled to launch in spring 2015. • Partnering with Civic San Diego to develop an on-demand circulator system that will help move people in and around Downtown, which is scheduled to launch by the end of summer 2015. • Offering discount transit passes to participating Downtown businesses to encourage the use of public transit to and from Downtown. Create the vibe To deliver a vibrant and engaging Downtown, the Partnership worked to implement a comprehensive placemaking strategy to activate public spaces and has helped foster a distinct arts and cultural scene. Highlights of these efforts include: • Launching the first-ever “Sounds of Summer” pop-up concert series, offering performances by local musicians on street corners and in parks and plazas throughout Downtown.

TOWN VOICES • Implementing an extensive and decorative tree-lighting initiative, lighting more than 500 trees through the Clean & Safe program. • Working with design firm RAD Lab and property owners HP Investors to create the “Pocket Park” at 13th and J Street to provide a unique community gathering spot in the East Village. • Launching “Healthy Living in the City,” a Downtown wellness initiative with Scripps Health, that offers free lunchtime strolls, cooking classes and yoga sessions in unique urban locations. The inaugural yoga class was held on the flight deck of the USS Midway Museum and attracted more than 400 participants. Make your place The Partnership has also worked hard over the last year to ensure that Downtown’s distinct neighborhoods are safe and attractive with a mix of housing and education options to encourage diversity. Those efforts include: • Developing a multi-faceted anti-panhandling campaign called “Make Change Count” centered around Downtown’s donation stations, or red meters, to reduce panhandling and raise funds for programs to address homelessness. • Preparing to welcome Urban Discovery Academy — an awardwinning charter school serving grades kindergarten through eight — for the 2015-2016 school year. • Expanding our beautification efforts, installing planters and hanging baskets in Downtown neighborhoods as well as landscaping medians with drought-tolerant plants. Those are just a few highlights of what we’ve accomplished in the last year. We look forward to working with the community in the coming year, to not only continue to imagine Downtown but also deliver real results. —Kris Michell is the president and CEO of the Downtown San Diego Partnership, a nonprofit, member-based organization that serves as the leading advocate for the revitalization and economic health of Downtown. To learn more about the Downtown Partnership, visit

A cheesy but organic organist pean Union, with only 465,000 inhabitants; a ver y small countr y with a huge culture. It is also the 20th smallest of the 194 independent countries in the world. And here’s a totally useCheese, yes glorious less tidbit of fun info ... Luxemcheese. I shall never forget the bourg has won the Eurovision intense taste of cheese from Song Contest five times 1961, the farmers market in Luxem1965, 1972, 1973 and 1983 — a bourg City. We were filming feat only surpassed by Ireland a ver y long “TourBus” for the (Kerr y cheers, “go Ireland!”). King of Instruments video Yet, Luxembourg still DVD and one of the chapters is remains a charming place with a visit to this wonderful farmfamily values that one associers market on one cool, sunny ates with the 1950s. Not that morning. We glided from stall I was around in the ’50s mind to stall, sampling a piece here you, but that’s what I’m told. and there with Kerr y, my husI recorded two CDs on this, band, and camera in tow. one of my most favorite organs The vendors were fun in the world (don’t mention people and so willing to share this in front of the Spreckels samples of organ, she their craft. gets terribly I eventually jealous). This decided that organ resides this cheese in St. Marwas even more tin’s church superior to UK just outside cheese — and the city of that, my dear Luxembourg friends, is sayin an enchanting something. ing little Castle from the sky (Courtesy town named I’ve visited Luxembourg Dudelange. many times and made some The church is a local icon with really great friends. This visit many beautiful ornate reliwas to do battle with some of gious relics inside. The town’s the great organs in the area. imposing City Hall and square Over a two-week period we is a place where the Church were taken to 10 pipe organs dominates the whole place. around Luxembourg and Many different small shops Germany and given demonstra- line the high street (naughty tions by their respected ver y pastries), delicatessens, fine organists; at he Cathedral, vegetable stands, a butcher, the Philharmonie, Echternach baker, candlestick maker, and Abbey, and St. Alphonse, the people bustle about on narrow Conser vatoire, Chapel of the sidewalks by the cobblestone Knights (the small Buckingroads. ham Palace organ was removed We love the architecture. during the war), and an interCafes selling strong coffee lude section where we visited where smoking is encouraged. the United States Cemeter y We would walk and obser ve and the German Cemeter y during the daytime when I (ver y touching moments). had free time. My rehearsals All in all a monumental started about 11 p.m. and went on until the early hours of the TourBus DVD, five hours long morning. The nearest loo (toion four discs. What a wonderlet) was in the cafe next door, ful experience it was. Kerr y which stayed open ver y late. got to use his broken French This organ has a power like no and savored some of the finest other with acoustics of bell-like meats in the world. We took resonance. The instrument a private plane ride to film could growl like a lion or purr castles and drove through great forests. Our friends there like a cat. Nothing could sound bad on this instrument.  were gracious and generous. So what’s the connection to Luxembourg is the least cheese? Nothing, really, I’m a populated countr y in the Europlanet-loving organist who is a vegetarian, likes cheese and will be performing for you free on Earth Day, which is coming up. Join me for a totally organic Sunday concert on April 19, at 2 p.m., celebrating Earth Day at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park.  Stay calm and “like” me on Facebook. 

Civic Organist News Dr. Carol Williams

—Civic Organist Carol Williams is proud to serve as an ambassador of San Diego’s ar ts and culture arena. Through her concer t per formances at home and abroad, Carol of fers a fresh take on the classical organ concer t. She is committed to illuminating San Diego’s color ful romance with the “King of Instruments,” always seeking to bring the organ to new audiences. For more information visit


Using a training diary Get Fit Scott Markey When most people hear the term “training diary,” they think of a workout log — exercises, sets and reps. But you know as well as I that fitness involves much more than what you do in the gym, and that›s what you should use a diary for — all aspects of your life — workout routines, diet and any emotional states that might affect your fitness goals. For some, keeping a training and diet journal is critical — especially if you are just starting out. You might need to keep a record and track the things you do in and out of the gym. I even know elite athletes that keep training journals to see how much they have progressed over the years, and to see what works and what doesn’t work for them. When you sit down to write in your diary after a day’s program, you should analyze everything: how you performed, how it felt, and by the time you finish, you will always have a personal record of whether your workout was better or worse than the previous workout. Whether it is another rep or a slight increase in weight, a gain or loss in body weight, it can be something minor or major, but write down what you did that day. This includes training, cardio and diet. Tape measures are not enough. You can decrease your body fat and gain muscle mass and never measure a change. I rely on the mirror to see if everything’s balanced and what improvements I might have made. The mirror does not lie, so when you write in your journal, it should always be accompanied by notes on visual observations as well. But the training analysis is only the beginning. Next, you should get into such things as whether you got a good sleep the night before, how many hours it was, whether you ate well that day, had any appointments — either business, personal or doctor — anything that might have prevented you from having the meal you should have had. Ask yourself if you were tired, sore, drained, disappointed, or even elated. Note any and all changes, as insignificant as they might seem, then

analyze and compare them. Sometimes, even the smallest of details are revealed. These small details can add up to big improvements in your overall fitness level. For some, just writing in a diary is not enough. If not, take pictures of yourself in various stages. This way, you can compare photos from different times and discover exactly what might have changed. Then check to see how your workout might have differed during that time. One of the greatest benefits of a diary is also to prevent overtraining. If your intensity is phenomenal and you are really hitting your workouts hard and all of a sudden you see that the weight is dropping, you have plateaued for too long and you’re not making progress, or simply start to lose interest in going to the gym or performing your specific workout, you are most likely overtraining. I find that I make good, steady gains by listening to my body and never forcing a workout. If you are really tired, skip the workout that day; it will actually benefit you. You’ll come back the next day feeling better, both physically and mentally. If you don›t feel like carrying your diary or journal to the gym, then just sit down when you get home and go over some details. It only takes about 10 minutes, depending on your fitness level and your specific workouts and diet. Now if you are an elite athlete or a competitor, writing everything down before a contest or specific event will also help you improve on each outing. You will see things in your diary that you might want to change or improve. You may think you have it all in your mind, but even the most experienced athletes benefit by keeping a diary. You will soon discover that there is no other way you can remember, let alone organize and compare, everything. Stay healthy everyone, and feel free to email me with any questions you might have. I get a lot of emails, but I try my best to get back to everyone. —Scott Markey has over 25 years in the fitness and health industry. He has graced dozens of magazine covers and specializes in physique management, training and nutritional consultation. You can find him on Facebook or reach him at

Exploring Balboa Park Johnny McDonald Music through the years The distinctive sounds from a keyboard instrument noted from the Baroque musical period will be heard on April 16 at the Museum of Art as an entertainment feature of its Centennial Art of Music monthly series. The music will come from the harpsichordist artistry of Takae Ohnishi, a chamber musician and continuo player who will present a concert of early Baroque music, paired with contemporary compositions from Asia. Reputation coordinator Austin Henson remarked that “Classics Today” described Ohnishi’s performance as “masterful,” and praised its “vitality and impressively differentiated articulation.” The Art of Music concert series, curated by Jann Pasler, professor of music at UC San Diego, is described as a versatile intersection between music and art. The series will continue throughout the year on the third Thursday of each month.  “As for the actual music within the Museum, these performances are specific to certain galleries, so it won’t be piped around the whole building,” Henson said. Ohnishi has been the principal harpsichordist at Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, as well as being a soloist with the Berlin Philharmonic Scharoun Ensemble, Gardner Chamber Orchestra, and continuo player with Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, and Bach Collegium San Diego. She has performed at the Boston Early Music Festival, the American Academy in Rome, and took part in the complete Brandenburg Concertos at the Gardner Museum directed by Paula Robison. As a performer of contemporary music, Ms. Ohnishi appeared as a guest artist at the Summer Institute for Contemporary Piano Performance held at the New England Conservatory of Music. Ohnishi graduated from Toho Gakuen School of Music,

San Diego Downtown News | April 2015 and holds a master’s degree in music from the New England Conservatory of Music and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from Stony Brook University. Since 2007, Ms. Ohnishi has been Lecturer of Harpsichord and Baroque Chamber Music at UCSD. Tending to 90 car clubs Once a month officials of the San Diego Association of Car Clubs conduct meetings at the San Diego Auto Museum to determine show dates, handle insurance needs and tend to a host of other details for the county’s 90 car clubs. Although board members are there for a formal session, the room can fill with visitors. “Anybody who wants to attend can,” said Steve Lordigyan, president of the SDACC. “The first Tuesday of the month we field all sorts of questions. They want to know about joining a club, how to prepare a car and meet the specs. We have even had people seeking a job or a shop owner announcing a grand opening. We’re there to help them.” Lordigyan, who lives in Ramona, keeps a busy schedule himself, as a show promoter in Pacific Beach, at Belmont Park and 25 times a year on the main street in El Cajon. His East County shows begin April 22 and continue each Wednesday night through September.

Elsewhere in the Park — The Old Globe will celebrate its 80th anniversary as part of the Centennial Celebration with its full roster of regular season plays and a summer season featuring Shakespeare on stage and in film. … On another musical note, Berkley Hart Selis Twang will perform April 17 in another Rock in the Park musical series at the Fleet Science Center. Eve Selis and Marc Twang will join folk circuit mainstays Berkley Hart to merge their instrumental, vocal and writing skills to create an album full of memorable songs from the easy lilt of West Coast country-rock to bluegrass-styled Appalachia. —After an award-winning, 38year sports-writing career with the San Diego Union and authoring three books, Johnny McDonald now considers writing a hobby. You can reach him at

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San Diego Downtown News | April 2015


BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT San Diego City College’s community open house day Brand new at 101 years old! Voted Best College/University, San Diego City College is celebrating its historic campus transformation with an open house day, Thursday, April 14 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Visit the five new state-of-the-art classroom buildings, the planetarium, the Luxe photography galler y and the just opened fine arts city galler y. The esthetician program is offering free mini-facials, cosmetology free hair and nail ser vices, and nursing students will provide blood pressure checks. After walking through the beautiful Seeds@City Urban Farm and outdoor classroom, learn about the 200 associate degrees and certificates offered to City College’s 17,000 students. Learn more at Savor your lunch on the outdoor AH/BT plaza and enjoy miniperformances of two of our upcoming visual and performing arts productions during the open house. The 280-seat Saville Theatre showcases the 1950’s musical “Grease” April 10 – 26, and “An Evening of Dance,” May 8 and 9. Visit City College is located at 1313 Park Blvd., Downtown.

An eye in the sky Aldryn Estacio with his DJI Inspire drone rig at the Silent Electric Flyers of San Diego Field off of Sea World Drive. (Photo by Morgan M. Hurley)

Local photographer soars above San Diego with his drone KC Stanfield | SDCNN Intern If you wanted to take a picture from the sky 10 years ago, your options were limited. You were either required to fly in a plane or helicopter, but photographer Aldryn Estacio is using a new way: drones. Drones have gotten some bad press in recent years, not only because of their role in warzones, but because some hobbyists are not as conscientious as others when it comes to privacy violations; Estacio hopes to enhance the reputation of drones and he’s well on his way to doing so. The San Diego native will be showcasing both his work and his book, “San Diego Aerial Drone Photography, Vol. 1” — the first of its kind — at the upcoming Mission Federal ArtWalk on April 25 – 26. His first volume is a very high-end product, but he is working with some publishers to make the book more affordable for future printings. “Most people shoot just to share online, but I photograph knowing I’ll be going to print,” he said. “I’m an old-school designer and feel like actual prints are an art form that people just don’t do anymore because of social media. “When I first got my Phantom [drone], my goal was to create a tangible household coffee table book with my photos.” The lay-flat style book contains his stunning aerial works of major San Diego landmarks; there are the major beaches, La Jolla and Del Mar; and universities, USD and SDSU; plus Mount Soledad; the Carlsbad Flower Fields; all four piers; and areas of Balboa Park. In addition to the book, he will have large format acrylics of his work on display at ArtWalk, all of which were taken by his drones. A drone will be there for visual purPUZZLE SOLUTION FROM PG. 19

poses, too, but Estacio said he wants the focus to be on the art rather than the technology. His passion for aerial drone photography was cemented in late 2013 with the DJI Phantom 1, but he originally caught the photography bug in the late 1990s working as an event photographer. Soon he began photographing people and places professionally and did so for 10 years while keeping his technologycentric day job. He jumped on the GoPro bandwagon when his first child was born and then saw an ad for a drone/GoPro setup. He tested it once and was hooked for life. “You get to be a little kid again, but with big boy toys in a way,” he said. Estacio currently owns two drones; the Phantom and his latest, a significantly more advanced quadcopter called the DJI Inspire 1, which his young son named Spider Bytez after the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” villain. This model shoots 4K video, 12-megapixel photos and can be managed from a control box connected to a handheld mobile device. Estacio uses an iPad, which he attaches to a lanyard around his neck for ease of use and as a precautionary measure. The Inspire also has a gimbal, which stabilizes the camera even if the craft itself is swaying back and forth due to wind or piloting error. “I get really steady footage with it,” he said. “I use it as a tripod in the air; it’s that stable.” Besides, photographing with a bird’s eye view is incredibly appealing. “That’s what’s pretty amazing about it,” he said. “I’ve lived here my whole life, and now I get to see everything in a 360-degree view, which is awesome.” Estacio estimates that Spider Bytez can withstand 30 mph winds. The drawbacks are its fairly large size and 12- to 15-minute battery life, but he believes the benefits greatly outweigh them. So far the biggest challenges have been airspace issues. Changes, based on government regulations, are made to the software all the time. He recently photographed the new Downtown waterpark [see the February Downtown News cover photo, Vol. 16, Issue 2] and

returned two weeks later for more footage but FAA had deemed that area too close to the airport’s flight path by then and it impacted his ability to take off. “I went to Torrey Pines recently,” he said. “There’s no restrictions in height, yet there’s ’copters and personal pilots going 100 feet in the air, so who has the right of way? That’s what we don’t know. That’s the problem with it; we’re all trying to share this air space.” Shortly after his first drone took flight, Estacio created his brand Flyt Path, designed a logo and launched the website. There, his hobby has transcended to a potential source of income and a main focus in his life. For future photos, Estacio plans on taking his drone to the wide open areas of East County and beyond, where it’s less populated and he hasn’t spent as much time exploring. In April he’ll be traveling to Hawaii to take some shots around the island of Oahu. Because of the Inspire’s large size, he’ll be taking his more portable Phantom model. Despite the different angles and various government regulations, Estacio said aerial drone photography still shares many aspects with regular photography. You still need to do the usual photographer checklist, he said, like taking sunlight into account. The DJI Inspire 1 has a fixed aperture, but it allows you to set the ISO and even has bracketing. Unlike a normal photographer, however, Estacio carries a second GoPro around on his chest as back up, but not for photo-related reasons. He films everything he does when he is out with his drone; not only as documentation for the manufacturer in case of malfunction, but the camera’s presence also keeps people on their best behavior. Whether he’s approached by officials or bystanders, he needs proof of the interaction; especially since people have been known to assault drone photographers while thinking their privacy is being violated. “I’m not trying to piss people off,” he said. “I just want my shot, then I’m out of there.” At, he shares how he got into drone photography, offers tips to other enthusiasts, displays a portfolio of his work and sells some of his fascinating photographs, taken of places we all know but from angles we’d never imagined. He has also recently taken to interviewing big name experts in the business, asking the questions anyone new to or wanting to learn more about drone photography could use the answers to. A recent interview was with Eric Cheng, DJI’s director of digital imaging. “We are rediscovering our world with each flight,” Estancio states on his blog. “Technology has advanced so much these past couple of years that what was once impossible is now accessible to everyone. “You will normally find me at a couple hundred feet with my flying tripod.” Though he has only been doing aerial drone photography for less than two years, the technology has already changed so much that even if the FAA puts limits on where his drones can take him — the sky is literally the limit for where his art can. Check out Estacio and his work at ArtWalk and visit his website, Make sure you poke around in all the nooks and crannies of the site, just like a drone would. —KC Stanfield is an editorial intern at SDCNN. Editor Morgan M. Hurley contributed to this report. She can be reached at

Fashion Files Diana Cavagnaro Back to the basics Exhibit Ambush presented “Back to the Basics” on March 7 at the Women’s Museum of California in Liberty Station. Organizer Antoinette Ransom was on hand to greet all the guests. Fashion designers for this pop-up event used nonconventional or recycled materials to create their collection, which were displayed

TOWN VOICES / SUMMER CAMPS Fashion Redux! 2015 San Diego History Center and the fashion program at San Diego Mesa College presented the fourth annual Fashion Redux! finale party on Friday, March 6. Guests enjoyed the historic ambience of viewing then and now fashions, music, and mingling. This year, historic garments were designed from the time period of 1915 in keeping with the 100th anniversary of the 1915 PanamaCalifornia Exposition in Balboa Park. Four inspirational pieces were chosen from the San Diego History Center archives, and stu-

whose creations came down the catwalk in the center of the shop. WishNow featured hair and makeup artist, Michael Harris. Though Oseas Villatoro is both a women’s and men’s ready-towear designer, he chose to show his edgy women’s collection on the runway. Many of the designs featured black and white stripes with brilliant colors interspersed in between and were accented with bold jewelry and belts. WishNow is an imaginative brand created by Victoria Roberts. The collection is perfect for date night, parties, prom nights, or even bridal. Each one of these fantasy creations is a piece of wearable art that puts a smile on your face. Both Villatoro and Roberts are alumni from Fashion Week San Diego, and Allison Andrews, CEO of FWSD, was a special guest at the event. Body by Blo Body by Blo is a new blow dry bar. At this salon there are no haircuts or color but it is a great place to come for blow outs, makeup and brows. They also have a nail service using Morgan Taylor polish. March 20 was the grand opening and owner Laura Alexon was busy greeting all the guests. The 50-location franchise is the concept of Gwyneth Paltrow and hairstylist David Babaii. Blo Gaslamp is located at 435 Island Ave. Email them at Upcoming events April 10 | Viper — This bikini fashion show and charity event will feature NOIA resort wear summer-spring 2015-16 on the rooftop of the Hard Rock Hotel, 207 Fifth Ave., in the Gaslamp. A percentage of the proceeds will be donated to the San Diego Arts Foundation. 7 – 9 p.m. For tickets visit

(clockwise from top) Fashion by Alaina Rose Lee at the “Back to Basics” event; Stephanie Castro with her first place design; Carolina Hernandez at “Back to Basics” (Photos by Diana Cavagnaro) on mannequins. Carolina Hernandez of Veteran Couture made an intricate collection from Pennysaver newspapers. Each one meticulously folded to create an amazing look. Alaina Rose Lee opted to make one design from 40-year-old potato sacks. The other creation was made with frozen orange juice lids, mesh from the sacks that tangerines come in, bath luffahs, and shredded paper. Jacqueline H.A. Bunting was the third designer who created a collection using a variety of seeds, including green lentils, red lentils, French lentils, crushed corn, and Beluga caviar with each dress weighing about 3 to 5 pounds. All the creations were very impressive. The majority of the proceeds were donated to Hidden Treasure Foundation, which helps victims of sex slavery and human trafficking in San Diego. For more information visit: Exhibit Ambush will have four or five more pop-up events throughout the year ending with a finale at the Port Pavillon. To follow these events visit

dents used these as their starting point for design. The fashion designers welcomed the guests while their designs were modeled throughout the event. The first place winner was Stephanie Castro, second place was Yan Yin, and third place was Serenite Sao. An honorable mention went to Obed Aquino. Attendees were given a chance to cast their vote in the special ‘People’s Choice’ award which was given to Stephanie Castro. The party culminated with an illustrated fashion lecture by Mesa fashion professor Susan Lazear. For more information about the San Diego History Center, call 619-232-6203, ext. 129. Experience Fashion Night Experience Fashion Night was held at an unexpected venue on Feb. 28, at Dragonfly Auto Shop on Pacific Highway. The inside looked like a converted warehouse with various artwork on the walls. Guests arrived dressed to impress. Booths were set up for shopping and a dessert truck with yummy treats was on hand for everyone. Highlighted designers were Oseas Villatoro & WishNow,

April 25 | Sensual Sadness – C Pardo presents the Sensual Sadness fashion and art show at the La Bodega Gallery located at 2196 Logan Ave., in Barrio Logan. 7 – 10:30 p.m. A portion of the proceeds will benefit sexual abuse prevention charity. Pre-order tickets at May 8 | Golden Scissors — 33rd annual fashion and awards show held at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina, 1380 Harbor Island Dr., at 5:30 p.m. hosted by San Diego Mesa College. Tickets at May 12 | Celebrating Couture — this Globe Guilder’s luncheon and fashion show is presented by Neiman Marcus and features the designer Naeem Khan at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. Proceeds benefit The Old Globe. Reservations May 15 | Couture & Cocktails — annual fashion show featuring the Lizz Russell Collection in the Westgate Hotel’s Versailles Ballroom, 6:30 p.m. A portion of the proceeds to benefit the GBS/CIDP Foundation International. Reser vations at —Diana Cavagnaro is an internationally renowned couture milliner based in the historic Gaslamp Quarter. Learn more about our hat designer, teacher and blogger at

San Diego Downtown News | April 2015

Summer Camps! Liberty Station to host summer camp open house Liberty Station, the Naval Training Center-turned-cultural hub, will host a free open house April 18 to showcase “Camps at NTC: Where KIDS Get Creative.” From 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., families can explore summer camps targeted toward children ages 4 – 17, with programs featuring music, dance, theater, creative writing, and arts and crafts. Overseen by the nonprofit NTC Foundation, the camps are supported by 10 local cultural organizations, including the San Diego Ballet and the Theatre Arts School of San Diego. During the open house, the organizations will display information about their summer camp offerings. The programs will run throughout the summer, with schedules and pricing depending on the individual camp selected. The open house will take place at the Dick Laub NTC Command Center, 2640 Historic Decatur Road, 92106. For more information, visit Weight-loss camp offers summer scholarship A new scholarship will offer San Diego youth an opportunity to have their health and wellness summer camp experience funded through a social media-based photo contest. The contest, run by Wellspring Camps, invites children to create an Instagram post using the #MyWell-


Summer hashtag showing “what healthy living looks like to them.” The local winner, one of five nationwide, will receive a full scholarship for a four-week program at the Wellspring La Jolla location. To enter, visit wellspringcamps. com/scholarship, fill out the form online, follow @wellspringcamps on Instagram, then post a photo using the aforementioned hashtag. Examples of posts could be a photo of a favorite fitness activity, healthy meal or inspirational quote, but creativity is paramount. Wellspring requests no photos of yourself or others. The contest will remain open until April 18, when 50 semifinalists will be selected. These semifinalists will then be asked to write a short 100- to 300-word essay, which judges will use to determine the five winners nationwide. Zoo Camp returns Beginning in late June, the San Diego Zoo will once again host its summer and art camps for children entering grades K – 12. The daily, six-hour camp will offer one- or two-week long stints for children to learn and explore alongside the diverse array of animals housed in San Diego’s worldfamous zoo. In addition to up-close animal encounters, kids will be able to learn about wildlife conservation efforts in a unique atmosphere. Grades K – 7 have specialized curriculum catering to each year, while grades 8 – 12 attend the Epic Teen Adventures camp. For more information or to register, visit content/summer-camp or call 619718-3000 for reservations.v

BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT Renaissance Village Academy 9988 Hibert St., #301 San Diego, CA 92131 858-564-9622 | “School’s borrrrrrring.” How many times have you heard that from your child? Rote drill, work sheets, test, test, test. Evenings spent overseeing the seemingly endless homework. Renaissance Village Academy is different; a private, nonreligious school for parents interested in challenging their bright children. RVA is designed to meet the unique needs of gifted, profoundly gifted, and highly motivated students in a caring environment. The format is open and flows with the needs and interests of the students, while maintaining high academic standards. Placement in each subject is based on individual needs, not age. RVA’s philosophy is that learning should be done at school, where the children can get the help they need, so work isn’t sent home. To accommodate this, the school day is longer … and yet our biggest problem is getting the kids to leave at the end of the day. RVA: Where students rediscover the JOY of learning.


San Diego Downtown News | April 2015

As the ongoing remodel of Gaslamp Tavern nears completion, its owners are preparing to open Quad Ale House a floor above in late April. The space will make way for more than two dozen taps reserved exclusively for craft beer along with a menu of salads, sandwiches and house-roasted meats. 868 Fifth Ave., 619- 239-3339 In honor of Mexico’s long-celebrated National Children Day (El Dia Del Nino), kids and teens 18 years or younger can land a free ice cream sundae from 11 a.m. to midnight, April 30 at Don Chido in the Gaslamp District. 527 Fifth Ave., 619-232-8226. What was long ago The Marble Room will become Rustic Root, an ambitious new project headed by the team that recently opened Don Chido and has stakes in other downtown businesses: the RMB Group (Fluxx nightclub), Ken Lovi (Knotty Barrel Gastropub) and Don Chido’s chef, Antonio Friscia. Their latest venture will present Gaslamp crawlers with “rustic American” cuisine and a bevy of classic and contemporary cocktails available in shots as well as full glasses. A rooftop to the structure is currently being created, complete with gas-lamp lighting as the 2,500-square-foot main dining at street level gives way to life-size animal topiary. Rustic Root is expected to open in May. 535 Fifth Ave.,


RA’s “blushing geisha” (Courtesy The Nth Element)

Whether the government has given you money or wants more of it, RA Sushi is the place to celebrate (or skimp) on April 15 during its “Tax Day happy hour.” The entire, regular happy-hour menu will be available all day. Items include hot sake for $3.75, fizzy “blushing geisha” cocktails with Skyy Raspberry Vodka for $6 plus salmon nigiri and other plates starting at $4.49. 474 Broadway St., 619-231-0021

A restaurant with a theme we haven’t seen before in San Diego is coming this fall by restaurateur Michael Rosen and Chef Richard Blais, both of Juniper & Ivy. On the same block they will be launching The Crack Shack with a menu that’s all about chicken and eggs made every which way. The free-range, non-GMO proteins will be sourced from local farms in addition to produce accompanying the dishes. A “bread program” is also planned for the restaurant, which will go into a vacated mechanics shop at the corner of Juniper and Kettner streets in Little Italy

Organic eggs will be spotlighted in a new restaurant coming to Little Italy. (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.)

Last year’s local scholarship recipients from Chef Celebration at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa, California (Courtesy Chef Celebration) A group of top chefs from Downtown and the surrounding areas are taking part in a series of dinners and drink pairings to raise funds for Chef Celebration, a nonprofit organization established 20 years ago that provides scholarships to local, aspiring chefs. Each event involves several chefs cooking either five-course meals at various restaurants or crafting small dishes for a master beer tasting at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens in Liberty Station on May 3. Among those taking part in the month-long series are: Sara Polczynski of The Blind Burro for a dinner at Terra American Bistro on April 7; Chad White of Comun Kitchen & Tavern for a dinner at Tom Ham’s Lighthouse on April 14, which also includes in-house chef Lance Repp; Tim Kolanko of Coronado’s Stake Chophouse & Bar (and Leroy’s Kitchen + Lounge) teaming up with Amy DiBiase at Tidal on April 28, plus more. Last year, the annual Chef Celebration dinner series sent 12 area cooks to a weeklong training course at the Culinary Institute of America Greystone in Napa, CA. Since its inception, it has raised more than $150,000 in scholarship monies. For a complete schedule and prices, visit The latest and greatest releases from Santa Rita Hills Wine Growers Alliance in Santa Barbara County will be the focus at Marina Kitchen for two winemaker dinners on April 11, plus a seminar and “grand tasting barbecue” on April 12. The latter is scheduled from 3 to 5 p.m., and will include tastings of 25 different wines along with various barbecue samples for $100. For further details and ticket information, call the restaurant. 333 W. Harbor Drive, 619-699-8222.

Allison McGrath and husband John Clute are launching a creperie at 721 Eighth Ave., a block away from their beloved Café Chloe in the East Village. The venture, still unnamed, is slated to open in fall of this year and will feature a quaint dining room as well as a walk-up window. “We were always looking to expand in a gentle way and this seemed like a good next step,” says McGrath, adding that the newly acquired space will be used for private parties until the creperie opens. The 10-year-old Café Chloe is located at 721 Ninth Ave., 619-232-3242. —Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at v


San Diego Downtown News | April 2015


A fresh take on

Italian classics

(clockwise from left) Stuffed focaccia; fettuccine with shrimp; fettuccine al Burro with shrimp roasted cauliflower in tomato-garlic sauce (Photos by Frank Sabatini Jr.)

Restaurant Review Frank Sabatini Jr. I’ve dined at zillions of Italian restaurants and in my earlier years ate my way throughout Italy, mostly in people’s homes. Yet every once in a while I’ll encounter dishes from the Mother Country that seem novel but really aren’t, which keeps affirming Italian cuisine is boundless in its history and regional origins. Helming the kitchen at Toast Enoteca & Cucina is Chef Martin Gonzalez, who has become a frequent traveler to Italy over the past 15 years since opening Acqua al 2 in the Gaslamp, which offers an identical menu as its parent restaurant in Florence. In his more recent venture at Toast, however, he takes a neoclassical approach with modern Enomatic wine-dispensing machines while injecting chic twists into recipes with rustic roots. An antipasti of prosciutto di Parma, for instance, is paired with pineapple instead of melon. The tropical fruit appears also in a kale salad tied to Italy by its robust Pecorino cheese and extraordinarily refined, imported balsamic vinegar. Tasteful and seemingly innovative to American palates, Gonzalez plays on Italy’s love of pineapple used in summer fruit salads. And it worked for us. Italians do marvelous things with cauliflower, which Gonzalez spotlights in another appetizer by serving it roasted in a simple, lovely bath of thin tomato sauce, Chardonnay and garlic. A few shavings of Grana Padano cheese on top clenched the deal. Rarely do I see red cabbage incorporated into Italian dishes. In our final

starter, it was braised and stuffed into puffy “focaccia riplena” along with excellent house-made Italian sausage and ultra-buttery mozzarella. Resembling a jagged calzone, the pleasing creation occupies a large plate and constitutes as a full meal. Had we been visiting for dinner instead of a workday lunch, the ever-changing wine inventory would have snagged us. It’s everywhere you look, starting from an iPad list presented upon arrival to the modern dispensing machines rigged throughout the dining room and behind the bar. Italy is naturally well represented. And volume options allow for 1-ounce pours, half or full glasses and whole bottles. Pasta is made daily on the premises. In the case of fettuccine, the tender and ribbony noodles are presented “al Burro” style — or what Americans equate to Alfredo. But in the true Roman way, the cream is omitted as to not obliter-

ate the flavors of the butter and Parmesan. We ordered it with the addition of shrimp, and not for a second did we miss the cream, although a little less salt in the dish’s making would have raised it to perfection. Bavettini is another cut of house-made pasta, which resembles linguine. Here, a tad of cream factored into the basil pesto sauce, which exemplified its herbiness but without necessarily adding heaviness. In both dishes, the pasta was cooked al dente, sparing their sauces the starchy interference that occurs when cooked too soft. Unable to resist a pizza, we ordered one mainly to go, a pretty thing topped scantily with Pomodoro tomato sauce, colored sweet bell peppers, red onions, pine nuts and mozzarella. A few plops of Gorgonzola cheese spread across the thin-crust pie added tang while micro bursts of rosemary emerged from underneath the toppings. It hit all the marks you’d expect from a fashionable Italian restaurant such as this.

Toast’s newly consolidated menu features paninis and $8 lunch specials (available from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.). The paninis reveal trendy fillings like kale, pork belly and freshly sliced tenderloin. Other items from the regular menu include seafood risotto in seaweed sauce, pork belly lasagna, sagesautéed beef, fresh fish and charcuterie boards. In addition, happy hour was recently introduced, from 3 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. For $5, customers can seize a glass of wine along with Brussels sprouts au gratin, sautéed Italian sausage or mini pizzas for the same price per item. The bargains extend also to $3 draft beer. —Frank Sabatini Jr. is the author of “Secret San Diego” (ECW Press), and began his local writing career more than two decades ago as a staffer for the former San Diego Tribune. You can reach him at

Toast Enoteca & Cucina

927 J St. (East Village) 619-269-4207 Prices: Antipasti, soups and salads, $6 to $17; pizzas, pastas and entrees, $12 to $24. Lunch specials: $8 to $12.


San Diego Downtown News | April 2015

Joven Sibug pedals packages and important documents around town. (Courtesy Pedal Pushers)

Bike messenger service puts pedal to the metal Alex Owens |Contributor In a world where photos, documents and other important messages can now be transmitted just by pressing “send” on a smartphone, is there a place for an old fashioned messenger service? Joven Sibug believes there is. Sibug, 26, is a co-owner of Pedal Pushers Courier Service, a bike messenger service that started up in November to serve both Downtown and Uptown San Diego. “Old school messenger work may have gone to the wayside, but certain legal documents, bank receipts and other documents still need to be delivered in their original form,” Sibug said. “Escrow documents can’t be done with e-signatures and computers don’t have big enough screens to show architectural blueprints.” Although Sibug is only in his

mid-20s, he’s an old soul in the bike messenger world. He estimates he’s delivered more than 30,000 parcels in a 10-year career as a selfproclaimed two-wheeled badass. Sibug worked in San Diego for five years until plying his trade in San Francisco and New York, two cities where bike messengers are a normal part of the urban landscape. “San Diego isn’t as congested or as aggro as San Francisco or New York,” he said. “There are some hills here, but after riding 40 hours a week, I’m used to them.” Other courier services in town use cars, but Sibug is hoping to convince locals of the benefits offered by bike messengers. “It’s the fastest way across Downtown traffic,” he said. “We can weave in and out and not worry about finding parking.” It’s not easy, and the risk of injury is real, but Sibug says he has

FEATURE developed a sixth sense for cycling. “I compare it to surfing,” he said. “Just like you can tell after a while what a wave is going to do, you can tell how a car or pedestrian is going to react.” The company has divided both Downtown and Uptown into four zones and charges based on distance biked and how soon a parcel must be delivered. For example, a document delivered from the County Courthouse on Broadway, to say, East Village, would cost $9 if delivered in a four-hour period and $17 if it needed to be there in 30 minutes. Delivering that same document up to Hillcrest would cost a dollar more, while two bucks more would get it to Kensington. Since the bulk of documents are delivered between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Sibug is also contracting with local businesses to deliver meals and other items during the lunch and dinner rushes. “We contract those out so there is only a $3 delivery charge added to the bill,” he said. Two of the restaurants that are now riding with Pedal Pushers include Rare Form Deli on J Street and Lefty’s Chicago Pizzeria in Mission Hills. Lefty’s General Manager David Eskra is a fan. “We hadn’t figured out the best solution to our restaurant’s delivery needs until now,” Eskra said. “It’s a fast and efficient way for us to offer delivery to our customers. And the fact that they are on bikes is definitely a plus!” Carlos Franco, owner and florist at Green Fresh Florals in Hillcrest, is also happy to deliver flower petals via bicycle pedals. “It’s awesome because they staff a fleet of cargo bikes to get even the biggest job done when we need it,” Franco said. “I mean, what is more romantic than getting flowers from your sweetheart on a bicycle?” While Pedal Pushers is only a few months old, the reaction and response to his two-wheeled endeavor has Sibug optimistic about the future. “San Diego is becoming more bike friendly. There’s a new cycling culture blooming,” he said. “I can see us as part of the fabric here.” That said, Siburg admitted there is still more work to be done. “I do wish people would use their blinkers more,” he said. Pedal Pushers Courier Service is located at 330 A St., # 215. For more information, check out or call 619-456-8589. —Alex Owens is a San Diego-based freelance writer. He can be reached at

Taking a bite out of Downtown Edward Deull (center) leads Bite tour attendees on a tour of Downtown. (Photo by Kai Oliver-Kurtin)

Culinary walking tour details region’s history Kai Oliver-Kurtin |Contributor What better way to learn the history of a city than through its food? Bite San Diego hosts culinary walking tours to highlight historical points of interest of local San Diego neighborhoods in between stops to various local restaurants. Launched in 2011, the Downtown/Little Italy route was the company’s first venture and the tour covers interesting tidbits about the buildings, streets and humble beginnings of early San Diego. The local tour company has since expanded into other neighborhoods, and now offers walking tours in Hillcrest, Coronado, La Jolla, Encinitas and Pacific Beach, to name a few. The Downtown tour, offered on both Fridays and Saturdays, includes stops at five or six restaurants and usually sells out. The mostly flat route is approximately two miles long, starting in the Gaslamp Quarter and ending in Little Italy. It generally lasts four hours with up to 20 minutes between each stop. The route, historical tidbits, and included restaurant stops change often, so return trips are highly encouraged. Edward Deull has been a professional tour guide since 2007 and has been leading tours for Bite San Diego since its inception. He also conducts Segway tours for Another Side Of San Diego Tours, where he received thorough training about the area from their extensive research. Deull said he now culls most of his historical knowledge from the local history section of the new Downtown Central Library, as well as other tour guides. Pedicab drivers and other people who work Downtown often stop him to share additional historical tidbits after overhearing his spiel to tour groups. “There’s a big difference between a tour guide and a historian,” Deull said. “If you’re just spitting out names, dates, facts, etc., then you’re going to lose people. You have to weave it into a story and put it in a more digestible form, especially today with people’s short attention spans and iPhones.” Bite San Diego stresses to participants that their tours are not meant to be a five-course meal, but rather bites and sips at each stop. Tours are capped at 15 participants, and the Downtown route is available to ages 16 and up. Other tours are designated 21 and up, due to requirements of some tour stop locations, though alcohol is not included in the price of the tour. It is available for purchase at most restaurant stops, however. “Any Bite tour is amazing because you’re sampling a neighborhood,” Deull said. “You’re sampling different restaurants and food in the area, you’re getting a sample of the history, a layout of the land, and — lately — you get a sample of the locals as well, because you’ll meet them on the tour and in the restaurants.”

Deull said about 60 percent of tour participants are San Diego residents, many from East County and North County. “This is a great tour for locals,” Deull said. “One of the most common things I hear from people is, ‘I’ve lived here for 20 or 25 years and I’ve never heard half of that stuff.’ It’s the human condition that we’ll do stuff on vacation that we’ll never do in our own backyard, including figuring out our city’s history.” Deull tells historical anecdotes about various people and places from Downtown San Diego’s past, such as: Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo; Alonzo Horton; Wyatt Earp and the red-light Stingaree district; Horton Grand Hotel; Pocket Park and the William Heath Davis House; the namesake Gaslamp streetlights; the origins of the fishing industry in Little Italy; the 1915 Panama-California Exposition; Madame Cora’s Marble Room; Louis Bank of Commerce; The Keating Hotel; Hotel St. James; the Balboa Theatre; The US Grant Hotel; and much more. “One of the perks of this job is that I’m constantly reminded to not take San Diego for granted,” Deull said. Phoenix residents Chris and Laura Coughlin discovered Bite San Diego tours while searching for activities on As frequent visitors to their second home in San Diego, they have now been on both the Bite La Jolla and Downtown/Little Italy tours. “We signed up for the La Jolla tour to try the different restaurants, but after we learned so much history on the first tour, that’s what we really wanted to come back for,” Laura said. “And we wanted the walk!” added Chris. The list of participating restaurants typically change a few times per year but are always located along the historical route, and are never so crowded that they can’t accommodate a large tour group. Current participating restaurants include Berkeley Pizza, Davanti Enoteca (Friday only), Magnolia Tap & Kitchen, Napizza, Royal India and Zymology 21. Participants assume responsibility for parking Downtown during the duration of the tour, but several pay lots are available nearby and public transportation via bus or trolley is also an option. Since the tour doesn’t end at the original meeting destination, many people arrange for alternative transportation or walk back on their own. Tickets for any of the tours are $45 per person and must be booked in advance at or by calling 619-634-8476. Private tours can also be arranged. For more information on neighborhoods, dates and reservations, visit their website or bitesandiego. —Kai Oliver-Kurtin is a local freelance reporter who also works fulltime doing social media marketing for the U.S. Navy. She enjoys covering events, restaurant news, culture and entertainment. Contact her at kai.


The fairest lady of them all Theater Review Charlene Baldridge Make no mistake: Cygnet Theatre has yet another musical comedy hit on its hands in Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s 1956 Broadway musical, “My Fair Lady,” which continues through April 26 in Old Town. The classic musical was adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s 1912 play and Gabriel Pascal’s 1938 motion picture, “Pygmalion.” Shaw (1856-1950) hated the idea of turning the work into a musical, and during his lifetime refused to allow it. Director Sean Murray, who is artistic director of Cygnet Theatre, cast himself as Professor Henry Higgins, as he did when Cygnet was in Rolando. The role suits him to a tee and he plays it with great ease and understanding, singing much more than Rex Harrison, the original musical’s Henry. Murray sets his production in 1936. One supposes fashions in 1936 take up much less room than those of an earlier era. Additionally, the show makes do with only 10 performers plus six exceptional instrumentalists (strings, keyboard, woodwinds, and percussion) including music director/ conductor Patrick Marion. Higgins encounters Eliza Doolittle (Allison Spratt Pearce, a soprano who loves singing) at Covent Garden, where she is a flower seller. The same evening he also encounters Colonel Pickering (Tom Stephenson), a fellow language expert. When Eliza’s cockney grows too much to bear, Higgins bets Pickering he could pass her off as a duchess if given six months to teach her proper speech. A ménage a trois ensues, with the two middleaged men who have nothing but language in mind and a young woman intent on the promise of self improvement and independence (“I Could Have Danced All Night”). Murray’s directorial secret involves excellence and depth of the company, something for which he’s strived but never before achieved to this degree. As one would expect, Ron Choularton delivers nicely in his reprise of Alfred P. Doolittle, Eliza’s canny father, who against his will rises to the top as a homely philosopher (“Get Me to the Church on Time”). Also, Stephenson delivers quality in his reprise of the kindly Pickering. Others in the company — experienced musical theater stalwarts all — are Bryan Banville, Katie Whalley Banville, Charles Evans, Jr. (as Freddy Eynsford-Hill, who sings “On

(above) “My Fair Lady” castmembers (Photo by Ken Jacques); (right) Allison Spratt Pearce is Eliza Doolittle (Photo by Daren Scott)

the Street Where You Live”), Ralph Johnson, Linda Libby (as Henry’s appalled mother) and Debra Wanger. All double, whether as Eliza’s Covent Garden friends, Doolittle’s drinking buddies or Ascot races aficionados. It’s an amazing array of talent splendidly utilized. When it’s time for Eliza to have her own life, Higgins ruefully admits, “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face.” Whether Eliza, now a consort battleship, remains depends upon one’s interpretation of the amorphous, romantic ending. We know what Shaw would have said. Adding to the enjoyment are scenic design by Andrew Hull, costume design by Jeanne Reith, lighting design by Chris Rynne, sound by Matt Lescault-Wood, wigs and make up by Peter Herman, and choreography by David Brannen. Syd Stevens is responsible for props. The hat Eliza wears for her initial arrival at Higgins’ is memorable — and so is it all. — Charlene Baldridge has been writing about the arts since 1979. You can follow her blog at or reach her at

“My Fair Lady” Through April 26 Cygnet Theatre 4040 Twiggs St. Old Town State Park 7:30 p.m. Wed. & Thurs 8 p.m. Fridays 3 & 8 p.m. Saturdays 2 & 7 p.m. Sundays Tickets or 619-337-1525

San Diego Downtown News | April 2015 FROM PAGE 3

VINDIEGO been in sales my entire career. I know how important customer service and that relationship is. They need to know who I am and the VinDiego story and what we are creating here.” Though Temecula has a burgeoning wine country right in our backyard and a number of wineries are popping up in Ramona that are trying to establish themselves, Fraschetti has only chosen a handful of wineries from all of San Diego County to participate, because he wants his attendees to have a oneof-a-kind experience. “We are very, very selective as to whom we allow to come to VinDiego to pour,” he explained. “Our tickets are not inexpensive and we want great quality wine; unless that winery can show us and demonstrate to us that they consistently produce great wines, they’re not invited. I don’t even reach out to a lot of wineries for that same reason.” VinDiego started as a oneday event in 2013, but last year they added a special fundraising element on Friday night called the “Sunset Rare and Reserve Tasting.” It will take place April 10 from 6 – 8:30 p.m. at NTC Liberty Station’s McMillin Event Hall and include less than a third of the wineries on hand for Saturday’s Grand Tasting event. With Brad Perry from KUSI emceeing and only a maximum of 350 tickets available to ensure it remains intimate, Fraschetti said for $125, attendees will enjoy live music, tray-passed hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction, and tastings of the very top end wines that these 20


wineries produce — none of which will be poured on Saturday. Proceeds from Friday night’s silent auction and a portion of the tickets sales will go to Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Bank. Tickets for the Grand Tasting on Saturday are $95, with VIP $125, which gives ticket holders admission an hour earlier. Groups of 10 or more will pay $70 each for general admission. Fraschetti recommends attendees “scour” the VinDiego website before they arrive, since links to all 75 participating wineries are readily available there. Wineries at the Grand Tasting will be organized geographically by region: Paso Robles; Napa; Sonoma; Santa Barbara County including Santa Ynez Valley; Santa Lucia in Monterey County; Oregon; and a few small wineries from Lodi and San Diego County. In addition, a special Paso Robles CAB (Cabernet and Bordeaux) Collective will be on hand to share their best wines. Food, while not the focus, is indeed a necessity at an event like this, and Fraschetti has signed up a diverse group of 17 food vendors. “Good food pairs with great wine and that’s what we are all about,” he said. “I’m just like a little kid when I’m at VinDiego. I look around and see smiling faces and I have to pinch myself.” VinDiego’s Grand Tasting is Saturday, April 11, from 4 – 7 p.m. with a special “Rare and Reserve Tasting” fundraiser for Jacob and Cushman San Diego Food Bank on Friday, April 10, from 6 – 8:30 p.m. at NTC Liberty Station. For more information or to buy tickets, visit —Morgan M. Hurley can be reached at



San Diego Downtown News | April 2015

DOWNTOWN CALENDAR FRIDAY – APRIL 3 ‘Mamma Mia’: The hit musical opens tonight with additional performances on April 4 and 5. 7:30 p.m. Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave., Downtown. Visit SATURDAY – APRIL 4 2015 Charger Girls Auditions: A chance to try out for the San Diego Chargers dance team. 9 a.m. Jenny Craig Pavilion, University of San Diego, 5998 Alcala Park, Bay Park. Visit ‘Stretch Yourself’ yoga classes: A twice monthly yoga class and outdoor locations throughout Downtown. 9 a.m. The Headquarters, 789 W. Harbor Dr., Marina District. Visit ‘Buyer & Cellar’: Previews start tonight for this off-Broadway hit directed by Ron Lagomarsino. Opens April 9, runs through May 3. Sheryl and Harvey White Stage, Old Globe Theatre, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park. Tickets start $29. Visit or call 619-234-5623. SUNDAY – APRIL 5 – EASTER SUNDAY Easter egg hunt: Hosted by Mosaic San Diego, this free Easter egg hunt is followed by a worship gathering at 11 a.m. and a celebration at noon. 9 a.m. Quartyard San Diego, 1102 Market St., East Village. Visit Grunion run: These events start tonight following high tides when the grunions come for a mating ritual on shore. $14 for members, $16 for the public. 9:30 – 11:30 p.m. Birch Aquarium, 2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla. Visit MONDAY – APRIL 6 Film Forum: Free screening of “Kill the Messenger” starring Jeremy Renner. 6:30 p.m. Auditorium, San Diego Central Library, 330 Park Blvd., Downtown. Visit TUESDAY – APRIL 7 San Diego Shakespeare Society: First Tuesday of the month. Acting workshop night. Anyone can join in or just listen. Informal café-style seating. Tonight – “King Lear.” 6:45 – 8:30 p.m. Upstart Crow Bookstore and Coffeehouse, 835C W. Harbor Dr., Seaport Village. Free. Visit or call 619-333-0141. WEDNESDAY – APRIL 8 Wine and Canvas: Step-by-step instruction and materials included,

create 16-by-20-inch gallery-wrapped canvas painting. Tonight: “Night Light.” No outside food or drinks — both available for purchase. $35 per person. 6 – 9 p.m. Fifty Seven Degrees, 1735 Hancock St., Mission Hills. Visit Cake and Whiskey: A nonnetworking event for businesswomen with cake, small batch whiskey, raffles and more. 6:30 – 8 p.m. Tradesmen 21 16th St., East Village. Visit facebook. com/tradesmenpourhouse.

THURSDAY – APRIL 9 Fifth Annual East Village Opening Day Block Party: Free event to celebrate the beginning of the San Diego Padres 2015 season. Tickets to game against the San Francisco Giants sold separately. J Street between Sixth and 10th avenues. 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Visit San Diego Padres home opener: Come watch our Padres battle the San Francisco Giants at 3:40 p.m., and get a 2015 schedule cling. Petco Park, 100 Park Blvd., East Village. Tickets at FRIDAY – APRIL 10 ‘Freud’s Last Session’: Previews start tonight for this long-running off-Broadway production. 8 p.m. Lamb’s Players Theatre, 1142 Orange Ave., Coronado. Visit lambsplayers. org. Lunchtime shop and stroll: Free, 30-minute guided walk held twice monthly by San Diego Downtown Partnership. Begins at noon at Wells Fargo Building, 401 B St., Downtown. Visit SATURDAY – APRIL 11 Monster Drawing Rally: Over 150 artists doing their artwork live, live music performances and more highlight this event. 5 – 10 p.m. San Diego Art Institute, 1439 El Prado, Balboa Park. Find the event on Facebook. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”: Presented by the California Ballet Company with an additional performance on April 12. 7:30 p.m. Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave., Downtown. Visit SUNDAY – APRIL 12 Yoga + Art: Free yoga class on the second Sunday of the month with instructors from Hale Holistic. All levels. 11 a.m. – Noon. Garden patio, San Diego Central Library, 330 Park Blvd., Downtown. Visit

MONDAY – APRIL 13 Film Forum: Free screening of “The Double” starring Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowski. 6:30 p.m. Auditorium, San Diego Central Library, 330 Park Blvd., Downtown. Visit facebook. com/freelibrarymovies. TUESDAY – APRIL 14 Free Cone Day: Ben and Jerry’s annual Cone Day from noon – 8 p.m. Find your participating Scoop Shop at Cakes 101 baking class: Hands-on lesson on the fundamentals of baking, crumble-coating and finishing a three-layer cake. $75. 6 – 8:30 p.m. Bake Sale, 815 F St., Downtown. Visit WEDNESDAY – APRIL 15 Painting and Vino: Local professional artists instruct attendees on painting a masterpiece. Today – “Purple Sunset.” 6 – 9 p.m. 21+ up. $45, all supplies included, registration is required. You may bring your own wine for a $15 corkage fee. 98 Bottles, 2400 Kettner Blvd., Suite 110. For more info, visit THURSDAY – APRIL 16 “Recipe for a Healthy and Delicious Spring” cooking class: Free monthly class by Scripps nutritionists. 6 p.m. Jimbo’s… Naturally!, 324 Horton Plaza, Downtown. Visit Live music – Takae Ohnishi: Part of the “Art of Music” concert series by the San Diego Museum of Art in conjunction with an exhibition of the same name. Harpsichordist Ohnishi will present a concert of early Baroque music and contemporary compositions. 7 p.m. San Diego Museum of Art, 1450 El Prado, Balboa Park. Visit FRIDAY – APRIL 17 Rock in the Park: For the second year, this concert series will bring a variety of bands to Reuben H. Fleet Science Center once a month. This show features Berkley Hart Selis Twang with Michael Tiernan opening. 7:30 p.m., 1875 El Prado, Balboa Park. Visit SATURDAY – APRIL 18 Fighting Parkinson’s Step-byStep 5K walk/run: Annual event by the Parkinson’s Association. In addition the race there will a medical expo, health and fitness village, music, a beer garden and more following the event. Registration starts at 7 a.m. NTC Park, 2455 Cushing Road, Liberty Station. Visit SUNDAY – APRIL 19 San Diego Great Books: Free discussion group, open to the public. This month’s book: “Swann’s Way” by Marcel Proust. 2 – 4 p.m. Room 221, San Diego Central Library, 330 Park Blvd., Downtown. Visit

MONDAY – APRIL 20 Spring wine and dinner series: This installment explores California wines including chardonnay, pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon. 6:30 p.m. Stake Chophouse, 1309 Orange Ave., Coronado. Visit Grunion run: These events start tonight following high tides when the grunions come for a mating ritual on shore. $14 for members, $16 for the public. 10 p.m. – 12 a.m. Birch Aquarium, 2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla. Visit Film Forum: Free screening of “Capital” starring Gabriel Byrne. 6:30 p.m. Auditorium, San Diego Central Library, 330 Park Blvd., Downtown. Visit TUESDAY – APRIL 21 Children’s book club: This month, the children’s librarians will be discussing “The One and Only Ivan” by Katherine Applegate; crafts related to the book. 4 – 5 p.m. San Diego Central Library, 330 Park Blvd., Downtown. Visit WEDNESDAY – APRIL 22 Cookies 101 baking class: Lesson on preparing three or four types of cookies with decorating tips. $75. 6 – 8:30 p.m. Bake Sale, 815 F St., Downtown. Visit THURSDAY – APRIL 23 ‘Stretch Yourself’ yoga classes: A twice monthly yoga class and outdoor locations throughout Downtown. 6 p.m. Waterfront Park, 1600 Pacific Highway, Downtown. Visit Little Italy Residents Association meeting: The group will welcome San Diego District 3 Councilmember Todd Gloria. 6 p.m. Arrive early to be seated. Firehouse Museum, 1572 Columbia St., Little Italy. Visit Balboa Park 1915 Exposition Virtual Tour Part 2: A presentation by preservation architect and author David Marshall focuses on the quirky exhibits and thrill rides of the exposition. 6 – 7 p.m. Auditorium, San Diego Central Library, 330 Park Blvd., Downtown. Visit FRIDAY – APRIL 24 Lunchtime shop and stroll: Free, 30-minute guided walk held twice monthly by San Diego Downtown Partnership. Begins at noon at El Cortez Hotel entrance, 702 Ash, St. Downtown. Visit San Diego Padres Beer Fest: Come watch our Padres battle the Los Angeles Dodgers. Admission to Beer Fest is free with ticket. Samples start

at 5 p.m. and are $5. Game starts at 7:10 p.m. Petco Park, 100 Park Blvd., East Village. Tickets at Book signing: One of two events for “Waking the Beast” by Dustin Hall — a well-received science fiction/ horror novel. 7 p.m. Upstart Crow Bookstore and Coffeehouse, 835C W. Harbor Dr., Seaport Village. Visit

SATURDAY – APRIL 25 Mission Hills Community Garage Sale: Today maps and addresses of homes participating will be available at Coldwell Banker, 1621 West Lewis St. 8 a.m. – noon. Visit Paranormal Investigation: Once a month, these investigations visit the “most haunted house in the Gaslamp.” The tour lasts two hours and guests can bring cameras and video and digital recorders but no professional media equipment. Limited to 20 people. 10 p.m. William Heath Davis House, 410 Island Ave., Gaslamp. Visit SUNDAY – APRIL 26 Book signing: The second of two events for “Waking the Beast” by Dustin Hall — a well-received science fiction/horror novel. 3 p.m. Upstart Crow Bookstore and Coffeehouse, 835C W. Harbor Dr., Seaport Village. Visit MONDAY – APRIL 27 Film Forum: Free screening of “Nightcrawler” starring Jake Gyllenhaal. 6:30 p.m. Auditorium, San Diego Central Library, 330 Park Blvd., Downtown. Visit TUESDAY – APRIL 28 San Diego’s Funniest Person Contest — semi-finals: The fifth annual contest is coming down to the wire. 8 p.m. Mad House Comedy Club, 502 Horton Plaza, Downtown. Tickets are $9. Visit WEDNESDAY – APRIL 29 Painting and Vino: Local professional artists instruct attendees on painting a masterpiece. Tonight – “Starfish Beach.” 6 – 9 p.m. 21+ up. $45, all supplies included, registration is required. You may bring your own wine for a $15 corkage fee. 98 Bottles, 2400 Kettner Blvd., Suite 110. For more info, visit THURSDAY – APRIL 30 Live Comedy: Big Jay Oakerson will perform his story-based style of standup for three nights. 8 p.m. American Comedy Company, 818 B Sixth Ave., Gaslamp. Tickets $30 —Please send items for inclusion to Editor Morgan M. Hurley at morgan@



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789 West Harbor Drive | San Diego | CA | 92101 | 619.235.4014 |

Open: MON–SAT 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; SUN 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. | Restaurant hours may vary


Hills Like Elephants

strip down Hills Like Elephants return to the Casbah April 10. (Courtesy Hills Like Elephants) Dustin Lothspeich | Contributor Bands have it pretty rough when you get down to it: Far too often, groups that don’t abandon their stylistic approach from one album to the next are criticized for not “maturing” and those that do face an equal amount of criticism for not staying true to whatever sound got them there in the first place. It’s nearly always a lose-lose situation. For local quintet Hills Like Elephants, the fact that they’ve flipped the script and detoured from the ever-expanding electronic experimentalism of their last two albums to the no frills, what-yousee-is-what-you-get indie rock-pop of their upcoming fourth studio effort, “Tell Tales,” is simply a testament to the band’s fearless, trend-bucking attitude. “Some people would say we’re digressing but I disagree,” said the band’s frontman Sean Davenport over coffee at North Park’s Caffe Calabria. “I really think that it’s just a matter of us simplifying. I suppose some people might think of it as us not wanting to take the time to add all sorts of synths and electronic things but we really meant for it to sound stripped down. It just has a lot of energy that overly dressed stuff covers up.” Produced by the band — which, in addition to singer/keyboardist Davenport is comprised of guitarist Andrew Armerding, bassist Daniel Gallo, multi-instrumentalist Greg Theilmann and drummer Michael Hams — over the last several months, the back-to-basics sound of “Tell Tales” reigns in the electrothemed sonic exploration of 2013’s “Feral Flocks” and especially last year’s “Bedroom Colonies” EP for a predominantly more upbeat vibe akin to the bustling pop of Talking Heads and Roxy Music. The album’s seven tracks vary in dynamics, similar to their previous records, but there’s a concerted urgency to these new batch of songs: Lead off track, “Backwards,” lurches out of the gate with an audible virility — all stutter beat, crackling percussion and everbuilding post-punk propulsion. It ends unexpectedly with a somber, haunting coda of piano and Davenport’s cavernous, echoed wails. “Note to Self” finds Hills Like Elephants in full-on seduction mode, with their singer’s writhing falsetto warbling over Armerding’s short electric guitar stabs and Gallo’s touch ’n go bass line. Obvious single, “Misquote,” is foot-tapping pop genius that oozes a certain ’80s-esque buoyancy with

its sprightly pep and fun melody, while “Chance” and “Wildabeast” deliberately stomp along with a locked-in drum and bass punch. Truth be told, the band’s uncanny knack for building songs with huge, bursting-at-the-seams climaxes has become their live show calling card — and usually finds Davenport flailing around the stage with his keyboard halfway up his back — and until now, has never been properly committed to tape. It’s a common theme in the musical community since the invention of recording equipment: How exactly do you capture the elusive onstage energy — driven by nerves, sweat, volume and spontaneity — that comes with a live performance?

“A lot of the criticism on some of the stuff we’ve done in the past is, ‘They’re really good live but sometimes that gets lost on the album because of all the overdubbing,’” Davenport explained in between sips of iced coffee. “So this time around, we just said, ‘Let’s just record it as we do it,’” he said. “For whatever reason, when we were doing ‘Feral Flocks’ or ‘Bedroom Colonies,’ we were listening to a lot of electronic music but this is the first album that we don’t have any electronic drums on. Not to mention it’s the first album with our new drummer, Mikey, who’s been the best thing that’s happened to us in a while.” Indeed, the group’s had a rather

San Diego Downtown News | April 2015 rough go of it for the last year or two, after a falling out with their management and a tug-of-war with the studio/label they recorded “Tell Tales” with. Not to mention having to overcome several intra-band struggles like new jobs, medical issues and personal relationships gone bad. “In the last year alone, a lot of our lives changed,” Davenport confided. “There’s a whole world of stuff that happened … so we never really know what the game plan is. We continue to write and we have new songs in the mix. We just got back from South By Southwest and we have shows in and out of town lined up after our album release.” Davenport said the band would like to play the East Coast at some point this year and have even branched out to Tijuana. “We’ve been playing places like the Mous Tache Bar and the reaction is insane down there … and you know, being international never hurts,” he said, laughing. Neither does selling out the Casbah, Midtown’s infamous rock club on Kettner Boulevard. The band, which is preparing for their record release show there on April 10 with Schitzophonics, Wild Wild Wets and Gloomsday, have sold it out once before — at last year’s “Bedroom Colonies” release — and, admittedly, it came as a shock. “When we did that show, it was the first time we had headlined the Casbah,” he said. “We were wrecks going into it, thinking, ‘What if, like, 20 people show up?’” Shortly before they took the stage, however, staff informed them they were closing the doors. Davenport said they had to explain to the surprised band that nothing bad happened, it was due to capacity. Since then, the turnouts


Their latest album cover (Courtesy Hills Like Elephants) have only continued to grow and if their past events are any indication, they’ll have plenty of folks on hand to help them celebrate “Tell Tales” in all its stripped-down glory. “Selling out last year’s show kinda ups the ante for this one a little bit but I think we’ve prepared for it the right way — we’ve got Lucha Libre catering it,” Davenport said, laughing. “So if you don’t go for the music, then at least go for the food.” —Dustin Lothspeich is a local freelance music writer. Reach him at

THE CASBAH 2501 Kettner Blvd. Friday, April 10 Tickets are $10 Hills Like Elephants Wild Wild Wets Schitzophonics Gloomsday


San Diego Downtown News | April 2015

San Diego Downtown News - April 2015  
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