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July 14 – 27, 2017 Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Pride Guide inside!

Old Town • Mission Hills • Bankers Hill

Hillcrest • University Heights • Normal Heights • North Park • South Park • Golden Hill • Kensington • Talmadge

CrossFit Hillcrest to rebrand itself, change its name


By Margie M. Palmer

Homeowners love city's Digital Archives

Furry friends

➤➤ DINING P. 11

A girl who participated in July's “Read to a Therapy Dog” event reads to Boo Boo and volunteer Ellen Fleischman at Mission Hills Library. (Photo by Sara Butler)

‘Read to a Therapy Dog’ provides educational and emotional support for kids By Sara Butler Walk into Mission Hills Library on a Saturday morning and among the rows of bookshelves, you may just find a fluffy friend or two. The library boasts a calendar full of activities aimed to

South Park’s vegan haven

➤➤ THEATER P. 13

encourage reading, but “Read to a Therapy Dog” is not your average program. The monthly event invites children to interact with furry special guests: therapy dogs. Branch manager Steve Wheeler brought the program to the library when he joined

the team in 2010. Since then, the event has offered an educational and emotional sanctuary for children. "Therapy dogs help create a very comfortable, non-threatening environment in which

see Therapy dogs, pg 19

Advocating for Hillcrest Ken Williams | Editor

Marx Brothers back on stage

➤➤ FEATURE P. 15

Play video games at exhibit

Index 6

Opinion Classifieds




Business & Services




As chair of the Hillcrest Town Council (HTC), Kath Rogers leads a civic-minded volunteer board that provides a public voice to the neighborhood’s residents and their concerns. Rogers joined the HTC as a board member in 2014, not long after moving from Chicago to San Diego. She is a native of the Windy City, growing up in the Old Town historical neighborhood on the North Side. After earning a degree in history from University of California San Diego, Rogers went on to earn a law degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law. She works today as an attorney and an adjunct professor, and advocates for social change on issues such as climate policy and the rights of the homeless. Rogers served as vice chair of the HTC until Luke Terpstra stepped down as

see Profile, pg 8

Kath Rogers has been chair of the Hillcrest Town Council since March 2016. (Photo by Kaimipono Wenger)

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Editorial/Letters 619-961-1952


San Diego Community News Network

see CrossFit, pg 9

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The University Avenue business district in Hillcrest will be getting a new tenant in early August. The building that once housed Wine Steals is being transformed into a place that’s designed to help transform bodies. What’s notable about the new leaseholder, Hillcrest Athletic Club, is that its members are largely credited for turning their dreams of a larger workout space into a reality. Hillcrest Athletic Club is the parent company of CrossFit Hillcrest (CFH) and America’s Finest Bootcamp (AFB). CFH opened in May 2013, owner Mike Stoll said, adding that between its fast-growing membership base and the April 2017 startup of AFB, the current Sixth Avenue location was becoming a tight fit. “To be honest, we’ve been looking for a right-sized space since 2012,” he said. “Sixth Avenue was always an imperfect stopgap but it’s been hard to find 4,000 square feet with nonwood floors and 12-foot-plus ceilings in the heart of Hillcrest.” In early May, Stoll emailed the gym’s clients to let them know a new space had finally been secured, and he also asked for help transforming it. “If we wanted to turn Wine Steals into anything resembling our vision, volunteer help was the only way we were going to succeed,” he said. Within hours, more than 30 members reached out, including a general contractor, a commercial electrician, a property supervisor along with a myriad of others who were eager to help in any way they could. To date, nearly two dozen members have volunteered their time; some have come by almost daily. Stoll said he has been touched by the response. “When you set out to build something vaguely defined as a ‘community’ it’s really hard to measure success, and then recognize it when it happens,” he said. “Seeing the level of response made me realize we’d succeeded.”

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San Diego Uptown News | July 14 – 27, 2017

Gila Rut turns 25, celebrates from the heart

Salon to give mini-makeovers to families at Ronald McDonald House By Margie M. Palmer

Gila Rut salon owner Keri Davis-Duffy has always believed in giving back. This year, in honor of the salon’s 25th anniversary, Davis-Duffy and her team will be venturing to the Ronald McDonald House to offer 25 mini-makeovers to the girls and their families. Gila Rut will also be holding a month-long fundraising drive at the salon, located in the HUB shopping center in Hillcrest. First-time customers can receive a $20 blow-dry service and repeating customers can opt for $10 luxury hand treatment, scrub, additional massage or mini-facial. All proceeds from these services,

Davis-Duffy said, will be donated to Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego, located near Rady Children’s Hospital. “We’ve actually been working with Ronald McDonald House for many years. Before they built their new 22,000-square-foot home five years ago, when we’d go up there we’d rent a van or little bus and bring people to our salon,” she said. “When they built the new facility, they put in a four-chair salon so now it’s easy to go there and offer services.” Providing mini-makeovers to some of the families who are receiving services from Ronald McDonald House, she added, allows the salon team to provide some beauty and

nurturing during a highly stressful and emotional time. It’s a feel-good day in the middle of a bad situation. “I have the chills even talking about it,” Davis–Duffy said. “They’re so grateful because they are there with a child that’s terminally ill and they don’t know how it’s going to turn out. They have to be strong for their kids. For people to come in and nurture them and touch them — it’s very emotional to hear their stories and it’s very humbling. It’s been very well-received, even from the fathers, who can get a haircut and a massage. It’s a reprieve for them.” This year’s event will take place on Monday, July 25, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Davis-Duffy said her team

It's the silver anniversary for Gila Rut salon in the HUB shopping center in Hillcrest

members have been lining up to help. “We had a big staff meeting to talk about this, and during that meeting I showed a five-minute video about what Ronald McDonald House does, who they are, and some real-life stories,” she said. “After [the video] Keri Davis-Duffy (Photo by Alexander Irving) was done, they were wiping their faces, all in tears. Right now, we have more business can survive and thrive than a dozen people who have and continue to grow without signed up.” community support? Over Vince Speitel, Ronald the years we’ve worked with McDonald House’s volunteer co- a number of organizations, ordinator, said they’re thrilled including the Boys and Girls that Gila Rut is coming back. Club and the Make-A-Wish “Them coming here to see Foundation and when we were our families is tremendous talking as a company about because it brings normalcy to how we wanted to give back families. Many of these famto celebrate the anniversary ilies get to the hospital only it just felt like, that for some with the clothes on their back reason, it had to be Ronald and Ronald McDonald House McDonald House,” she said. tried to take the edge off by “This is our way of giving providing a home away from back and saying thank you.” home,” Speitel said. “Having For more information, call Gila Rut come out to do what 619-299-5750. they do, it helps bring normalcy during the tough times.” —Margie M. Palmer is a Davis-Duffy said she’s happy San Diego-based freelance writto help. This, being their 25th er who has been racking up byyear in business, is all about lines in a myriad of news pubthe community. lications for the past 10 years. “This is just such a time of You can reach her at margiep@ reflection for us because what

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San Diego Uptown News | July 14 – 27, 2017


Politicians hand out awards at Summer Social

(l to r) Attending Hillcrest Town Council’s Summer Social are Benny Cartwright, David Vance, Assemblymember Todd Gloria, Mary McKenzie, City Councilmember Chris Ward, Jae Mohr, Andrew Dugger, Kath Rogers and Luke Terpstra. (Photo by William Pontius)

By Mary M. McKenzie Assemblymember Todd Gloria was the guest of honor at the second annual Hillcrest Town Council Summer Social on July 6 at Uptown Tavern in Hillcrest.

Assemblymember Todd Gloria awarded certificates of recognition for leadership and spirit of volunteerism to Hillcrest Town Council members, including its secretary, Mary McKenzie. (Photo by Benny Cartwright)

Gloria had just arrived from Sacramento and shared some of his achievements with the crowd, such as helping to pass a balanced state budget, and allotting more money for higher education and for the homeless, especially homeless youth. The social was co-sponsored by the office of City Councilmember Chris Ward. After seven months in office, Ward noted that June had been a particularly difficult month dealing with the city budget, the Convention Center expansion and “SoccerCity.” (Ward supported delaying a public vote on the project until fall 2018.) Andrew Dugger, chair of the HTC’s Neighborhood Improvement Committee, worked closely with Uptown

Tavern to provide finger foods and an extended happy hour. Gloria awarded HTC board members certificates of recognition for their leadership and spirit of volunteerism. Ward presented an HTC LION award (Let’s Improve Our Neighborhood) to outgoing board member David Coben for his dedication to the neighborhood. State Sen. Toni G. Atkins and U.S. Rep. Susan Davis were represented at the social, and the new executive director of Pride, Eric Heinritz, was introduced. Hillcrest Town Council meets the second Tuesday of every month at the Joyce Beers Community Center in the HUB shopping center, across from Trader Joe’s on Vermont Avenue. Meetings are open to the public.



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Who’s ready for musical improv? By Margie M. Palmer The San Diego improv scene has grown quite a bit in the past several years and now a year-old musical improv group Beserkus is taking the local scene by storm. Among the group’s six players are North Park residents Justin Robers and Missy Gurga along with South Park resident Dean Sage. The trio acknowledges that while the members are as diverse in their professional backgrounds as they are in age, the chemistry between them as performers is undeniable. “We had [it] from the start,” Gurga said. “It’s so rare to meet people that you feel like you’ve known forever, and that’s how I felt from the first time we were all together. We knew when we were done with classes that we would stay together.” Robers, who is also the guitar accompanist of the group, said those who are unfamiliar with musical improv can think of it as resembling the scenes in a comedic musical. “There may be silly characters in weird situations and at some point, they will break out in song,” he said. “But the whole thing is improvised; we get the audience to suggest a title for our show and they we


Starring Dean Sage, Missy Gurga, Justin Robers, Seamus Scanland, Martha Barnette and Salma Solimon Facebook: (Logo provided by Beserkus)

make up the dialogue, music and lyrics on the spot.” Their sets typically include anywhere from six to nine scenes, Gurga said, noting that if audience members are especially lucky, they may get to experience a rap battle. Beserkus may only have been together a short time, but Sage said he feels things are going better than expected. The group continues get more and more attention, he said, which has been combined with positive feedback and attention from audience members and the improv community alike. “It’s not always usual for a new group,” Sage said. “In the past year, we’ve grown individually and collectively. Our

skills have improved and our chemistry, which has always been great, has solidified more. We’ve found our rhythm with each other when we perform together; it’s almost like a mind-meld of what we’re doing and the direction in which the scene might go.” Gurga agrees. “We take a lot of pride in our shows. We’re playful, fun and always try to make each other laugh, hoping the audience will follow suit,” she said. “We hit the stage hard and do our best to support our teammates’ choices and just play together.” Those interested in checking out an upcoming show are in luck. Beserkus is the reigning champion of the Cage Match series at Finest City Improv, located at 4250 Louisiana St. in North Park, and they will be defending their title on July 14 at 10:30 p.m. They will make a return visit on Aug. 3 at 8:20 p.m. at Finest City Improv. Beserkus will also perform on July 23 at 7:15 p.m. at the Old Town Improv Co., located at 2415 San Diego Ave., Suite 103. —Margie M. Palmer is a San Diego-based freelance writer who has been racking up bylines in a myriad of news publications for the past 10 years. You can reach her at margiep@

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San Diego Uptown News | July 14 – 27, 2017

DIY history at home

City Clerk’s website offers a wealth of information On May 18, Saving Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO) awarded a well-deserved Outstanding Public Service Award to San Diego City Clerk Elizabeth Maland. What does that mean to you? If you own a historical-age home, the odds of finding your home's birth year and the people involved in that blessed event are now much higher. And if you are interested in the history of San Diego, there

are hours of amusement waiting for you on the City Clerk's Digital Archives website at The three groups listed under the Collections button on the website are: Document Collections, Land Records, and Special Collections. The time span extends from 1850 to 1966. Records available in the Document Collections include the Burial Registry for Mt. Hope, the municipal cemetery, from its beginning in 1869 to 1970. Mt. Hope is the final resting place for many of early San

Classical Ionic columns enhance the Alonzo and Sophia Finley House on Louisiana Street south of Landis Street. (Photos by Katherine Hon)

Fancy half timbering, brackets and corbels adorn the facade facing Landis Street.

Diego's most prominent citizens, such as Alonzo Horton, considered the father of modern San Diego; and George Marston, who helped organize the YMCA and San Diego Public Library System and established the Serra Museum as well as his famous department store. The Land Records collection contains documents created by various city departments related to lands, taxes, purchases, sales, assessments and planning. There are deeds from

1876 to 1947, a USGS map of the city from 1904, and four volumes of Abstracts of Pueblo Lands, which record transfers of Pueblo Lands to individuals prior to 1888. Of great value to anyone searching for their home's birth year is the collection of Lot Books. These large books recorded land ownership and assessed value from 1873 to 1930. The first Lot Book only lists the names of landowners of blocks and lots within different tracts in 1873. This

reflects some of the earliest subdividing in the city, including for Roseville, New San Diego, Horton's Addition and Sherman's Addition. Not surprisingly, the names Louis Rose, A.E. Horton and M. Sherman appear frequently in Lot Book 1 as owners of whole blocks. Lot Books for later years provide more information. The pages on the left in these Lot Books list the names of

see Past Matters, pg 5

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PAST MATTERS landowners as of Jan. 1 in each year, and the pages on the right present columns for assessed value of “Real Estate” (vacant land) and “Improvements” (a structure). A number recorded in the “Value of Improvements” column indicates a structure had been built on that lot. The information is organized by block and lot within each tract. (Tract, block and lot are shown on property tax bills and deeds for individual properties.) As an example, Lot Book 100 lists owners and assessed value for individual lots from 1908 to

1911 within various tracts including Pauly's Addition, Park Villas and West End. These tracts encompass the area in North Park between University Avenue and Upas Street from Alabama to Boundary streets. The time frame of Lot Book 100 reflects the beginning of urbanized development in those North Park tracts. In Pauly's Addition, very few lots have structures on them as of 1911. But some of these earliest homes still stand with much of their historic integrity intact. F.L. Edwards owned the house with the highest assessed value in Pauly's Addition in 1911 ($880). This rambling bungalow at the northeast corner of Texas and

San Diego Uptown News | July 14 – 27, 2017


Landis streets retains its original elegance with ornate windows, scrolled rafter tails and rustic brickwork. Seven modest homes built in 1909 on Arizona Street south of Landis Street still exhibit elements of their American Foursquare charm. On Louisiana Street south of Landis Street, A.A. Finley's graceful 1911 home with its fluted columns and Victorian roofline has been historically designated. In Special Collections, the city has compiled documents related to various topics, including A.E. Horton, Balboa Park and Kate Sessions. In addition, historical City Directories from 1926 through 1954 can be viewed here. These valuable

The sign by the door says “Circa 1909,” and Lot Book 100 confirms that is the actual birth year of this American Foursquare home on Arizona Street south of Landis Street. (Photos by Katherine Hon)

Clinker bricks and embellished windows distinguish this 1911 home at the corner of Texas and Landis streets.

research tools list names, addresses and occupations of residents and businesses. After 1926, the City Directories include a “reverse” listing by address, which is very useful for finding who lived in a particular house, or what business occupied a particular building. There is also a special 1874 directory published by the San Diego Chamber of Commerce with a business directory and lengthy discourses on climate, resources and wildflowers of the area. The City Clerk's historical official documents such as Minutes, Ordinances, and Resolutions from 1817 to 1966 are also in the Digital Archives. The Historical

Photo Gallery rounds out the information conveniently available online. There are photos of the 1915-16 and 1935-36 Expositions, Balboa Park, Downtown San Diego, and many other places and people. So go online, have fun researching, and join the North Park Historical Society in thanking City Clerk Elizabeth Maland for leading the Archives Access and Preservation Project that made such a wealth of information easily available. —Katherine Hon is the secretary of the North Park Historical Society. Reach her at or 619-294-8990.v

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San Diego Uptown News | July 14 – 27, 2017


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EDITOR Ken Williams (619) 961-1952 CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Jeff Clemetson, x119 Morgan M. Hurley, x110 WEB & SOCIAL MEDIA Sara Butler, x118 COPY EDITOR Dustin Lothspeich CONTRIBUTORS Toni G. Atkins Blake and Gwen Beckcom Sara Butler Andy Cohen David Dixon Katherine Hon Dr. Ink Jean Lowerison Mary M. McKenzie Margie M. Palmer Frank Sabatini Jr. Jess Winans EDITORIAL INTERN Jess Winans SALES & MARKETING DIRECTOR Mike Rosensteel (619) 961-1958

ADVERTISING CONSULTANTS Andrew Bagley, x106 Annie Burchard, x105 Michele Camarda, x116 Heather Fine, x107 Sloan Gomez, x104 John Watson, x113 ACCOUNTING Priscilla Umel-Martinez (619) 961-1962 WEB DESIGNER Kim Espinoza SENIOR INTERN Jennifer Gottschalk INTERNS Madhu Chandnani Alex Ehrie Czarina Greaney Eric Guerrero Angel Rodriguez PUBLISHER David Mannis (619) 961-1951

AWARD-WINNING JOURNALISM: San Diego Uptown News won third place for general excellence at the 2016 AFCP Annual Publication Award. This category is the top award in the annual competition, which received more than 1,400 entries from free community newspapers across the U.S. and Canada. Parent company San Diego Community News Network won a total of six awards. OPINIONS/LETTERS: San Diego Uptown News encourages letters to the editor and guest editorials. Please email submissions to 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: Send press releases, tips, photos or story ideas to For breaking news and investigative story ideas contact the editor by phone or email. DISTRIBUTION: San Diego Uptown News is distributed free every other Friday. © 2017. All rights reserved.


Some habits are good Notes from Toni Toni G. Atkins This is beginning to be a habit — a good one for the people of California: For the seventh year in a row, the Legislature on June 15 passed a state budget that is balanced and forwarded to the governor on time. The 2017-18 budget is strong, prudent and progressive. As in recent years, it saves more money for a rainy day and at the same time invests in programs that will help our residents succeed. I was proud to vote for it. When I was Speaker of the Assembly, I fought hard for the creation of a state-level Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to supplement a federal EITC, which is a proven way to combat poverty. The state EITC was created as part of the budget in 2015, and last year it helped 385,000 working Californians with tax refunds worth an average of $519. The just-passed budget expands the state EITC, increasing the eligibility ceiling from roughly $14,000 to approximately $22,000 and adding self-employed people to the program. Tens of thousands of San Diego County workers will be newly eligible. There had been some talk of eliminating the Middle Class Scholarship, but the new budget preserves the program,

meaning our families will continue to receive help in sending their kids to college. We’re continuing to invest in education. The new budget increases K-12 funding by $3.1 billion over last year, including $1 billion more than what was proposed by the governor in January. Never before has California invested more money per student than it’s investing now. Thanks to the voters who last year passed Proposition 56 to raise the cigarette tax, California is able to allocate more than half a billion dollars to enhance access to health care. Specifically, $465 million will go toward raising reimbursement rates for doctors and dentists who accept Medi-Cal patients, and $50 million will raise Medi-Cal rates for Planned Parenthood providers. Raising rates will only increase chances that providers will take part in in Medi-Cal, which means access to care grows. More families will be eligible for childcare assistance, as we were able to spend $25 million on increasing the income eligibility limit. Now, those whose pay has gone up because of the increase to the minimum wage will still be eligible for help. Also, another $31 million will help our foster families who have urgent need for childcare services. Due to the federal government stepping up immigration enforcement, we’ve allocated $30 million to the

OneCalifornia program to help residents who are facing deportation. We want to make sure that immigrants who have become important parts of our communities and our economy are treated fairly, and we want to do as much as we can to keep families together. Meanwhile, State Sen. Toni G. Atkins this budget allocates $2.8 billion toWhen you include our ward repairing our state regular reserves, we now highways and local roads. have $9.9 billion socked Residents will begin to see away. real results for the contriProgressive and prubutions they are making. dent. Since the end of the Our roads will become safGreat Recession, California er, and we’ll begin to pay has made tremendous inless for repairs to our cars. vestments in its residents We were able to do all of and its programs while this while still contributalso guarding against the ing to our state’s reserves. next downturn. Our state This budget adds $1.4 is heading in the right billion to our Rainy Day direction. Fund, bringing the total to $8.5 billion since it was —Toni G. Atkins repcreated just three years resents District 39 in ago. It is scheduled to the California Senate. grow to more than $12 bil- Follow her on Twitter @ lion by fiscal year 2020-21. SenToniAtkins.v


Hearing from our veterans Congressional Watch Andy Cohen Too often the articles we read — in general, but about politics specifically — can be considered entirely negative in nature. In this column I have often highlighted the negative actions/positions/ statements of San Diego’s members of Congress — usually our Republican members of Congress, but occasionally our Democratic members as well. And while I try to fi nd more positive events to discuss, the unfavorable tends to be far more common. Happily, this month is different. On June 24, U.S. Rep. Susan A. Davis (D-53) hosted a Veterans Town Hall at the Ronald Reagan Community Center in El Cajon. This was not your typical town-hall format, where constituents are offered the opportunity to directly hear from and ask questions of their member of Congress. This event was entirely geared toward active and former members of San Diego’s extensive military community. What also made this event different was that rather than Davis, the veterans were the center of attention. It was billed as “a chance to hear, fi rsthand, from someone who has served in a combat role,” and an “opportunity to hear how that has affected them and how they relate to their family, friends, and community differently in some cases after those experiences,” according to press releases announcing the event. Serving in a combat arena changes a person, sometimes for the worse; but, as some of the stories indicated, often for the better. However, it not only affects those who serve, it also impacts the families and friends who are left behind during deployments. And as one vet pointed out, the more recent confl icts are vastly different than the nation’s efforts during World War II: Back then, everyone had “skin in the game,” as a large section of the national economy was dedicated to supporting the war effort. Today, with an all-volunteer military and only 1 percent of the population serving, it is easy for the average American to go about their daily lives without giving much thought to those serving in combat zones. This was an opportunity for the public to hear some of their stories. Several discussed the horrors of war and the difficulties of transitioning back home; how a soldier in a combat zone is expected to kill the enemy, whereas once they return home they are expected flip a switch and not kill, and the kind of toll the adjustment to “normal society” can take psychologically. But there is also some beauty in war, as one speaker noted. He told of the unconditional

love that members of a unit have for one another, being “willing to lay down your life for the man on the right and on the left of you, often someone you may not know very well.” One active servicemember told a story of a mission in Afghanistan. As his convoy passed by a village, they encountered a boy who decided to attack his truck with a rock. This servicemember, a former minor-league baseball player who asked not to be identified, watched as the boy wound up and fi red the rock right into a heavily fortified windshield, cracking it. Impressed with the boy’s form and arm strength, he decided to do something about it. Upon returning to base, he gathered up all the baseball equipment he could fi nd, including a bucket of balls he happened to have. The unit members climbed back into their trucks and returned to the village. Approaching at high speed, the convoy turned suddenly off the road and screeched loudly to a halt, terrifying some of the villagers. Village elders approached the soldiers, furious at the seemingly violent disruption. As the men climbed out of their vehicles carrying

the baseball equipment with them, they calmed the villagers down, saying that they only wanted to get their attention. As soon as the men set the gear on the ground to speak to the elders, it disappeared into the hands of the growing crowd of boys who had rushed out to see what was going on. The next thing you know, baseballs were flying through the air, gloves adorning heads, laughter surrounding them. Then there was the story of Air Force 2nd Lt. Christina Prejean, who served for a year as a security escort for visiting NATO VIPs in Afghanistan. She had a command role for a unit of 50 servicemembers, but was one of only two women in the unit. Prejean noted the importance of her just being there, carrying out her duties and giving orders, especially to men. Her mere presence, she said, provided an example and gave hope to local Afghan women for whom female authority figures are non-existent. Her presence, she said, made a difference for those women. And while women in the military have made enormous advances, with increased stature and authority throughout

San Diego Uptown News | July 14 – 27, 2017 the ranks, the reality is that the military is still not a completely safe place for women. While she felt she had the respect of those around her, she said that while in that country, she was afraid to get up and go to the bathroom at night for fear of being raped by a fellow servicemember. Military sexual assault victims, she said, are not getting the care and attention they need. We’ve come a long way from the days when Vietnam veterans returned home to jeers and derision for their role in that protracted conflict. Today, our military are welcomed home with gratitude for their service and sacrifice, despite what the populace thinks of their mission. Today people are able to separate the individual service man or woman from the orders they are directed to carry out. But the burdens of war today are carried by so few, it can be a very lonely and isolating experience upon return home. Events like these, Rep. Davis said, allow these men and women to share their experiences with the entire community so that they do not have to bear those burdens alone. —Andy Cohen is a local freelance writer. Reach him at


Rep. Susan Davis, D-53 2700 Adams Ave. #102 San Diego, CA 92116 Local: 619-280-5353 Washington: 202-225-2040 Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-50 1611 N. Magnolia Ave. #310 El Cajon, CA 92019 619-448-5201 202-225-5672 Rep. Darrell Issa, R-49 1800 Thibodo Road #310 Vista, CA 92081 760-599-5000 202-225-3906 Rep. Scott Peters, D-52 4350 Executive Dr. #105 San Diego, CA 92122 858-455-5550 202-225-0508 Rep. Juan Vargas, D-51 333 F St. #A Chula Vista, CA 91910 619-422-5963 202-225-8045

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San Diego Uptown News | July 14 – 27, 2017

‘I walk’


PROFILE chair. She was elected chair in March 2016. Here are five questions with Rogers.

Fitness Together

1. What are your duties as chair of the Hillcrest Town Council, and what kind of influence does the organization wield in the neighborhood? As chair of the Hillcrest Town Council, I lead our monthly public meetings, which provide a forum for neighbors to get involved in the community, learn about civic issues, and take a stand. Speaking of which, I would like to extend an invitation to readers to attend our next community meeting! It is Tuesday, Aug. 8 at 6:30 p.m. at Joyce Beers Community Center, 3900 Vermont St. There is always a section for public comment, an update from public representatives, and a discussion of one or more

Often when conversing with someone, the small talk generally leads to “What do you do for a living?” I always find that to be an interesting topic due to the myriad and variety of occupations and careers that abound in our society and I am generally all ears. When it comes time for me to end questioning and begin clarifying what we do as fitness professionals, invariably one of the questions that comes up is, “Are you exercising?” Nine out of 10 times the answer is, “Well, I walk.” Now let’s think this through. As a form of exercise, walking is better than doing nothing, but how long have you known how to walk? That’s right. You learned that skill back when you were a wee lad or lassie at the ripe old age of about 2. Walking feels effortless and is thoughtless in that you look to where you want to walk and off you walk with ease. Perhaps not at 2 years of age, but as you perfected the movement, you mastered it and no longer require conscious thought to execute steps. So when folks say to fitness pros: “I walk,” we have to then dig in to the “how.” If you are on a leisurely pace, talk-ably filling in a walking partner or getting filled in on the latest gossip, your walking pace is too slow to give you any real aerobic benefit. But, still better than sitting on the couch. If you can talk, you are not moving fast enough. If you are walking solo with your dog(s) and they tend to smell everything and cannot stay on task, chances are you are walking too slowly to have an aerobic impact, but still this is better than doing nothing. We have four little Chihuahuas that are a handful, but amazingly their little legs, courageous spirits, and bossy and demanding personalities have them out front towing the line as to who will lead our pack and who will follow. Hence at

Blake and Gwen Beckcom

Kath Rogers loves spending time in the outdoors, especially with her beloved pooch. (Photos by Kaimipono Wenger) timely topics. All people and all viewpoints are welcome. My other duties include working with our board on the organization’s strategic planning, communications, neighborhood events and clean-ups, policy goals, etc. The HTC’s goal is to magnify the voice of our neighborhood, and to make our neighborhood even more fantastic. We are highly effective because we have strong relationships with elected officials, we are led by a team of dedicated volunteers, and we are always willing to speak out and take a stand.

Hi Kathy: My partner and I have decided to move to Civita in Mission Valley as many of our friends have purchased there and they have nicknamed this master planned community “North Hillcrest”. I have always heard that the pricing of homes in gay neighborhoods increases in value. Is this just because of stereotyping or is it true and/or factual? John B. Hi John: Your question could not have had better timing as we honor diversity and gay pride this month of July 2017. Yes John, there is actual truth and information based on studies showing that “homeowners in the housing market for 2012 had to pay an average premium of almost 29% or almost $209/square foot to live in communities with a higher share of gay, lesbian, and bisexual residents.“ ( There are also other studies posted according to Trulia that America’s gay neighborhoods recover faster than non-gay neighborhoods. Trulia teamed up with OKCupid to establish a “Neighborhood Pride Score” which uses US Census data to locate gay couples. These researchers would then compare the data and analyze what the housing prices were. What they discovered is that the highest premiums for gay neighborhoods were in West Hollywood, the Castro district in San Francisco, Uptown in Dallas, Hillcrest in San Diego, and Edgewater in Chicago. There are different theories and suggestions for this. Many gay couples have two incomes and no children supporting a higher priced area or money for home improvements. Fewer children and more disposable income attract people to neighborhoods with desirable amenities. Trulia also did a follow up study after 2012 for the next three years following. They specify that gay men neighborhoods have risen in value more price per square foot than gay women neighborhoods. The average gay neighborhoods increased by 23%. Since they cannot account for all neighborhood changes, they calculated the percent of increase in homes in the following areas from 2012-2015 by zip code: GAY MEN NEIGHBORHOODS Palm Springs....................................................................................(92262) rose 65% Noe Valley/Glen Park/Diamond Heights, San Francisco (94131) rose 47% Palm Springs ...................................................................................(92264) rose 38% Pleasant Ridge/Detroit Michigan .............................................(48069) rose 37% Castro San Francisco....................................................................(94114) rose 36% LESBIAN NEIGHBORHOODS Redwood Heights/Skyline Oakland CA ...................................(94619) rose 64% Avondale Estates/Atlanta GA.....................................................(30002) rose 52% Jamaica Plain/Boston ...................................................................(02130) rose 37% Castro/San Francisco...................................................................(94114) rose 36% Guerneville North San Francisco..............................................(95446) rose 24% Trulia then looked at these gayborhoods to see if they outperformed that particular city or area and found that almost all of the gayborhoods had higher increases in pricing than the city that they were located in as a whole. It seems that although gay men neighborhoods increased more in pricing, gay women neighborhoods increased more in growth. Woman gay neighborhoods grow faster and by a larger amount. Another theory is that gay men neighborhoods are in areas that were already high in price so they were not as affected by the housing crash. Also, gay women have about a 2.5% higher chance of having children and thereby gravitate towards areas of good schools. All in all, gay pride is the month to embrace diversity and accept people for who they are regardless of sexual orientation. We are also reminded to stop discrimination and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. We may celebrate gay pride this month but we take pride all year when it comes to our vested interest as homeowners in great neighborhoods. Thank you, John, for this great question and good luck in Civita! Best, Kathy

2. What has changed about the town council since you have been its leader, and are other changes coming in the future? Since I became the chair, our board has started assigning a theme to every public meeting to allow us to tackle important social issues. For instance, we have discussed topics such as homelessness, racially biased policing, immigration, hate crimes, low-income housing, sustainability, small businesses, among others. These are relevant issues that matter to our community. HTC’s board has also become more diverse, and we are more focused on advocacy than in the past. 3. What do you do for a living, and what do you do for fun? I am an attorney in private practice, as well as a Research Fellow and Adjunct Professor of Climate Law & Policy at Thomas Jefferson School of Law (TJSL).

䌀漀渀搀漀 䘀漀爀 匀愀氀攀 䘀甀爀渀椀猀栀攀搀 䰀甀砀甀爀礀

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䌀愀氀氀 䨀攀爀爀礀 䴀挀䘀愀爀氀愀渀搀

For fun, I sing in a rock ‘n’ roll cover band called the Innocent Bystanders. I can also be spotted at Balboa Park doing clumsy yoga in the grass next to my dog, or dancing at Gossip Grill. 4. What are some of your current climate and social justice projects? I just designed a course for TJSL that examines climate policy at all levels. I am also currently working on a paper for my fellowship about how cities can step up their efforts on climate planning in the absence of federal leadership. As an attorney, I have an opportunity to represent causes and clients I believe in. I am currently representing a number of San Diegans who are homeless and have not been treated fairly by the legal system. I hope to leverage this experience to help create much-needed policy change to de-criminalize homelessness. 5. What do you like about living in the Hillcrest area? I love living in Hillcrest because of the great neighbors, inclusivity, diversity, welcoming atmosphere, walkability, nightlife, happy hours, community events, restaurants … I could go on and on. HTC meetings are held on the second Tuesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. at the Joyce Beers Community Center in the HUB shopping center, 3900 Vermont St. For more information, visit —Ken Williams is editor of Uptown News and can be reached at ken@sdcnn. com or at 619-961-1952. Follow him on Twitter at @ KenSanDiego, Instagram at @KenSD or Facebook at KenWilliamsSanDiego.v

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FITNESS TOGETHER the end of our dog walks, we are sweaty and a tad out of breath; a much higher benefit to the “I walk” scenario. I feel the need … for speed. Look at it like this. Let’s say you are heading to a meeting at work and let’s say 300 people will be there. Let’s also say if you are late to the meeting, you have to stand up at the podium and sing for the group, as penance for being late. How fast would you walk to avoid that? Some of you may be able to sing and that’s no big deal, but for the rest of us, we would flat out run to avoid this. The key is your walk pace. Walk as if you are late to a meeting and when you open

the door to the meeting all eyes will divert to your entranced to that meeting … LATE! Now you are walking with pace, purpose and intention, and you will have far better results health-wise, than you will just “walking.” It has been said that those that work out to their own tune — that is, ear buds and personal music choice — have greater workout intensity and greater focus. I can say that from my personal experience, this is hands-down the truth. Pop in your ear buds and jam to your favorites, picking up your walk pace to make the time you are investing more meaningful. Choose different routes: go up hill, downhill, walk a piece of it backwards, skip, bring the dog, leave the dog, and always be “late to a meeting” in thought. Make your walking varietal so it won’t get boring and or your body unable to adapt to it. You have to keep your body guessing to make it adapt to improvement. “I walk” generally won’t get it … but again, “I walk” is better than doing nothing. —Fitness Together Mission Hills offers personal training with qualified professionals by regular appointment in private suites. Exercise and nutritional programs are custom designed to fit your needs and abilities. Call 619-794-0014 for more information or to schedule a free fitness diagnostic and private training session. See what others are saying about us on Yelp.v

San Diego Uptown News | July 14 – 27, 2017



CROSSFIT One volunteer, Bo Morris, said that sense of community is exactly why he wanted to lend a hand. “The owners and the coaches make it easy to come back day after day and when they asked for volunteers, I said ‘hell yes, I’ll help.’ I feel like the new space is going to make a good thing better and you simply can’t beat the location. I also think the new location will help show people who walk past the front door that they can do this, and it’s not that scary,” he said, adding that its proximity to frozen rosé and craft beer will be “great motivation to finish a workout.” CFH member Cathy Lentz said she decided to help because the gym and its members mean a lot to her. “The owners have created a CrossFit family that I love being a part of and I am helping out as much as possible so they succeed,” she said. “I am so excited for the move and many new class offerings.” Stoll said that because of the increased square footage, Hillcrest Athletic Club will be able to offer an Olympic lifting barbell club along with YogaFlex classes — short-duration yoga classes that are aimed at rapidly improving flexibility. Future offerings will include 55-plus fitness classes, specialty weekend seminars and nutrition clinics.

CrossFit Hillcrest members are volunteering to help convert the former Wine Steals location in eastern Hillcrest into the new home of the Hillcrest Athletic Club. (Courtesy of the gym) “We’ve knocked down walls and opened it up to essentially double our current workout area,” he said. “We’re also adding showers, which is a huge benefit to people who work in, but don’t live in Hillcrest. The building is also in the heart of Hillcrest, so now we’ll feel like we’re an integral part of the neighborhood instead of out on the fringes.” For a limited time, those who are interested in CrossFit or Bootcamp classes can do so at a reduced rate. Pride Weekend “open house” signup specials include a group CrossFit fundamentals class for $50. Those who sign up for five months of CFH or

AFB classes will get the sixth month free. CrossFit Hillcrest and America’s Finest Bootcamp are currently located at 3746 Sixth Ave. The new site, which will fully open on Aug. 7 under the name of Hillcrest Athletic Club, is located at 1243 University Ave. For more information on current hours and rates, visit or —Margie M. Palmer is a San Diego-based freelance writer who has been racking up bylines in a myriad of news publications for the past 10 years. You can reach her at


San Diego Uptown News | July 14 – 27, 2017


Hard lemonade dilemma Come On Get Happy! 902 W Washington St. San Diego CA, 92103 te. 619-955-8451 Open for Breakfast 8am-11:30am Monday-Friday with $3 Mimosas. Brunch Saturday & Sunday 9am-2pm with $10 Bottomless Champange with brunch entree purchase | Dinner at 5pm Nightly.





D r. I n k

For those who eschew chain restaurants, Wood Ranch Grill offers a little more style and plenty of breathing space, at least when dropping in for happy hour held on weekdays in the roomy bar lounge. In addition, the drink and food deals cover all bases, starting with a decent craft beer list. All of them — either drafts or by the bottle — are $2 off their regular prices. Cocktails and wines by the glass fall into four price categories, from $6 to $9. And various appetizers range from $3 to $5, with the top tier including a few of the restaurant’s heartand-soul dishes such as an abbreviated portion of baby back ribs or a single beef rib smoked in pecan wood.

A comfortable, affordable place in Mission Valley for happy hour (Photos by Dr. Ink) quietude of the rather stylish lounge, I could hear a couple sitting at the U-shaped bar comparing two different lemonade cocktails they had ordered. Both are on the happy hour menu; the “Ranch” version for $6 and the “Newport” for $7.

Grilled shrimp appetizer

Newport lemonade cocktail

“Would you like some fresh bread?” my waitress asked immediately after handing me an organized listing of the happy hour specials. It’s free, and actually two large rolls that were buttered on the outside and hot and puffy beneath their tan crusts. From my booth against the front window and in the

Initially intent on slugging down a couple of cold craft beers on this muggy afternoon, I read the descriptions for both lemonade drinks while continuing to eavesdrop. The guy, a jock type with an obvious sweet tooth, was effusing about the Ranch lemonade, which is made with sugary raspberry rum, house-made lemonade and fresh raspberries. I love berries of all kinds, but when my waitress indicated with a negative facial gesture that it’s a cloying drink, I decided to pay an extra dollar for the Newport, and was glad I did. It’s made with Ketel One vodka, perhaps a weak pour during happy hour, but wildly refreshing nonetheless when mixed with fresh lemon juice, mint, pureed cucumber and a judicious hint of simple syrup.

Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill 7510 Hazard Center Drive (Mission Valley) 619-764-4411 Happy hour: 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday

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I drank it with embarrassing velocity. An order of five grilled shrimp ($4) went down too fast as well, only because the crustaceans were a couple notches smaller than medium in size. Dressed lightly in balsamic vinaigrette, they sported a nice char flavor and were served on a substantial bedding of super-fresh coleslaw. The cabbage is what ultimately sated my appetite. Wood Ranch is a small but growing chain established 25 years ago in Moorpark, California. It has about 20 locations, with only one in San Diego, which is maybe why it doesn’t feel like a corporate goliath. I’ve had satisfying dinners here, and based on this comfortable and affordable experience in the bar lounge, I’ll be back for more.v



Discounts apply to a solid variety of craft beer on tap or by the bottle. The drink list also extends to several cocktails made with fresh-squeezed juices and so-so wines by the glass. The Newport lemonade with Ketel One Vodka, mint and cucumber is especially refreshing.



Based on a few visits, the food has shown consistently good quality. An appetizer of five succulent, grilled shrimp on the happy hour list was served on a bed of tasty balsamic coleslaw. My only complaint is that the shrimp were kind of shrimpy in size.



You’ll save an average of $2.50 on food and drinks, and up to $3.50 on the hard lemonades.



From the hostess to the waitress and bartender, the staffers were friendly without being overbearing. And happy hour menus were promptly presented upon my arrival.


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The bar lounge is roomy, spotlessly clean and designed nicely without appearing as prefabricated as other chain restaurants.


San Diego Uptown News | July 14 – 27, 2017

Destroying stereotypes


North Mission Hills

Restaurant Review Frank Sabatini Jr. There is much to absorb at Kindred, a bustling plantbased restaurant and cocktail bar that pays exceptional detail to food, mixology and design. Whatever your dietary preference, if you haven’t dropped in for at least a shrewdly crafted intoxicant to wash down Kindred’s eye-popping mascot dominates a portion of the dining room a bowl of popcorn seasoned (Photo by Studio Maha) brilliantly with dill, chives and garlic-chili “cologne,” you’re From a list of five entrees, about three years late — just from curly slices of seitan we were tempted at first by as I was. spiced with oranges and red the beer-battered palm tacos The words “vegan” and chili; a miso cashew “cheese” served with seaweed salad and “mock meat” ball embedded with cubed grilled corn. But my friend are deliberately figs for sweetness; thin hankered for a bigger dose of omitted from disks of golden beets kissed protein, so we agreed to share the menu in an with a touch of smokiness; the smoked tofu lardons. effort to bust the and crostini brushed with The small pieces of faux notion that vegan olive oil. pork fat were strewn throughfood is inferior The condiments were out creamy potato salad or different than equally enthralling: tossed likely in cashew milk. non-vegan food. kale-pepperoncini peComplemented by shaved aspar“We’ve taisto and lemon-tomato agus, grilled yellow squash and lored the menu relish. Nothing on the Cajun-seasoned parsnip strips, with heavy proboard lost our interest it’s a dish that non-vegans in teins and rich flaas we ferociously obliterrural America would easily emvors,” said co-ownated a large bowl of the brace on a summer picnic. er Kory Stetina, herby popcorn, which we We tried a few concoctions who produced popspritzed with an accompafrom the well-stocked bar, up vegan beer dinnying wedge of lemon. including the “deadweight” layners before opening We proceeded to charered with rum, herbal liqueur Kindred with the grilled seitan skewers (Strega), lime and coconut help of acclaimed dressed with harissa, milk. It was as tasty and pretlocal designer horseradish aioli and ty as the non-alcoholic “black Paul Basile. chimichurri. My commagic punch,” which invigoLocated on panion loved the hectic A tropical rum-based rates the palate with blackcurthe corner lot combination of sauces. “deadweight” cocktail rant kombucha, orange juice, where Alchemy I would have preferred ginger, grenadine and crushed stood, the motif (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.) two less for enjoying greets with a the meaty, grilled flavor blackberries. Stetina and head chef Jeremy gorgeously contrasted blend of of the seitan. French Victorian and devious The “emerald” salad is a new Scullin, who came from Vedge restaurant in Philadelphia, are Gothic appointments. Large item featuring soft lettuces encurrently testing windows that open to the street circled by edamame, were also installed. And with farro, fried chicka tatted, pierced and efficient peas, Sriracha staff in place, the vibe nods almonds peacefully to the heavy-metal and music culture as well. apricots. Most impressive is an arIt’s gartistically menacing replica of nished a wolf’s head jutting from a with a wall lined with booths. Its eyes piece of point to a central cluster of outstandThe “deli battle” board chandelier liquor shelves susing sesa(Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.) pended over the marble top bar. me-peanut Behind the bar is a more brittle the traditional feminine touch — pink and kitchen should box and sell. cheese-making white wallpaper that appears With non-dairy arugula tzatzitechniques for producat first glance like it belongs ki dressing the fibrous salad, ing vegan cheeses made from in the bedroom of a Victorian the medley exploded blissfully nut milks. Steina says he hopes house. A closer look at its with creaminess. to roll out the results in a few custom-print insignia reveals Un-ripened jackfruit, which months. sword-fighting eyeballs and six- closely mimics pulled pork, armed girls. Somehow everyone appears between toasted sour—Frank Sabatini Jr. is the feels right at home here. dough with Memphis-style author of “Secret San Diego” My vegetarian dining combarbecue sauce, green chili ai(ECW Press), and began his panion chose the first meal oli, Dijon mustard, onions and local writing career more than course, a board named the “deli house pickles. The combined two decades ago as a staffer for battle.” A riot of flavors were aggressive, but the former San Diego Tribune. novel flavors surprisingly harmonious. Reach him at fsabatini@san. ensued

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San Diego Uptown News | July 14 – 27, 2017

Restaurateur Frankie Terzoli, a former contestant of Bravo’s “Top Chef” (season two) who once ran the long-shuttered Big Easy in Hillcrest, will open a seafood-centric restaurant within 57 Degrees wine and craftbeer bar in Middletown by mid-fall. Tentatively named

Fish Mongers Market, the venture will occupy a front section and back patio of the sprawling structure and serve lunch and dinner. Terzoli also plans on utilizing an existing deli area inside the bar for selling grab-and-go chowders and vacuumed-packed meals. According to 57 Degrees owner, Russ Kindom, the leased venture could potentially soft-open in late August with the introduction of seafood cocktails and raw-bar items. In the meantime, Kindom is using the opportunity to refresh 57’s main space. He’ll start repurposing some of his vast retail area by holding a sale of more than 500 bottles of wine on July 14, from 6 to 8 p.m. The sale coincides with a tasting of four select wines


Chef Frankie Terzoli is opening a seafood restaurant in a wine bar in Middletown. (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.) Looking for brunch with a solid French twist? The ultra-cozy La Bonne Table in Hillcrest, lauded over the past few years for its rustic suppers, has introduced brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays. The menu features $6 bloody marys as well as sweet or savory crepes, steak burgers with Morbier cheese, omelets with goat cheese, and a classic croque Madame sandwich. In celebration of San Diego LGBT Pride, the restaurant will also offer brunch service on Saturday, July 15. 3696 Fifth Ave., 619-260-8039.

originating from France, Spain, Italy and Napa Valley. The cost for the tasting is $25 and $15 for wine locker holders. 1735 Hancock St., 619-2345757,

The new Hundred Proof in Hillcrest serves unique libations and hearty bar food. (Courtesy of Hundred Proof) Slushy cocktails, boozy milkshakes garnished with housebaked doughnuts, and liquor shots paired to beer (boilermakers) rule the day at Hundred Proof, a new establishment in Chef Christian Gomez of Wetstone Wine Bar & Café in Bankers Hill opened Fools and Kings in Mission Hills on July 7 with a globally inspired menu of tapas and share plates. Based on his travels over the years to South America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, some of the items include sumac-braised lamb shoulder, filet mignon skewers, ahi tuna carpaccio and more. The menu is complemented by fine wines, house-made sangria and craft beer. The international theme is reflected also in the restaurant’s design, which shows off Moniker General in Liberty Station — a retail shop, coffee bar and furniture showroom has carved out space for an intimate cocktail hangout that is called

“Hunky Dory” toast with goat cheese, zucchini and turkey at Moniker General in Liberty Station (Courtesy of Moniker General)

La Bonne Table’s new brunch features $6 bloody marys. (Photo by Morgan M. Hurley)

Hillcrest that recently opened in the building that housed S&M Sausage and Meat. The project was launched by team members of nearby Trust Restaurant. They include bar manager Juan Sanchez and executive chef Brad Wise, who is overseeing a menu of “uncomplicated bar food we all like to eat on our days off.” Among his initial dishes are duck confit poutine, crispy chicken oysters, baked crab dip, pork meatballs, pizzas and more. With indoor-outdoor seating, the spacious layout features pub tables and plush booths amid a mix of raw woods and rabbit-print wallpaper. 4130 Park Blvd., 619-501-6404,

Fools and Kings opens in Mission Hills (Facebook) three murals painted by local artist Josh Hunter, plus intricate metal doors, Old World chandeliers and tropical greenery. 4015 Goldfinch St., 619578-2542, The Bar, which is due to open in late July. It will capture the era of the 1950s through glassware and various décor while offering everything from slushy rose wine and beers by the bottle to sparkling wines, assorted varietals and mocktails, all of which can be enjoyed also on Moniker’s new outdoor patio. In addition, the store recently introduced an all-day toast menu featuring thick slices of multi-grain bread topped with sweet or savory ingredients from local purveyors and vendors of the Liberty Public Farmers Market. 2860 Sims Road, 619-255-8772,

Just in time for the summer heat, Holy Matcha in North Park has introduced matcha horchata soft-serve ice cream as well as plain vanilla. The dairy-free soft serve is made with organic coconut milk and takes on a dose of caffeine with mixed with the trendy green tea (matcha). Owner Geraldine Ridaura plans on rolling out other flavors in the coming months. 3118 University Ave., —Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at fsabatini@san.

Matcha finds its way into soft serve. (Photo by Stacy Keck)


‘Animal Crackers’ is bonkers!

Theater Review Jean Lowerison “The world would not be in such a snarl, had Marx been Groucho instead of Karl.” —Irving Berlin Leave your critical and logical faculties at home when you head for Cygnet Theatre’s wild and woolly staging of the classic goofball Marx Brothers musical “Animal Crackers.” Most people know the 1930 film “Animal Crackers,” a truncated version that cut most of the songs. Now, Cygnet Theatre recreates the era and brings back the brothers in Henry Wishcamper’s stage adaptation of the original 1928 Broadway musical. The show offers a paper-thin plot that exists for no other reason than to serve as a playpen for the zany Marx Brothers to play in, around and on. Nine actors play 22 characters; none of the plot makes much sense, and the show consists mostly of jokes — corny, clever, visual, punny, silly — you name it, this show delivers. Set designer Sean Fanning contributes the physical space: the huge, fancy house of Mrs. Rittenhouse, who this evening is giving a party in honor of Capt. Jeffrey T. Spaulding (aka Groucho), a celebrated explorer recently returned from Africa. Also on the dance card is the unveiling of a valuable Beaugard painting newly acquired by Mrs. Rittenhouse. For a public figure, Spaulding (played magnificently by Josh Odsess-Rubin) is a bit of an embarrassment, with his greasepaint mustache and eyebrows, stooped gait and willingness to skewer anybody or anything for a laugh. And there are plenty of characters around to make fun of. Take Russell Garrett as Mrs. Rittenhouse’s officious head butler Hives, who does a splendidly funny song — “Keep Your Undershirt On” — with Mrs. R at the top of the second act. Garrett also plays snooty western millionaire Roscoe W. Chandler, who turns out to have a deliciously low-class secret. Mrs. Rittenhouse (played by Melinda Gilb with great humor and a full range of shocked

San Diego Uptown News | July 14 – 27, 2017


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that connects uncommon people. (l to r) Bryan Banville, Lauren King Thompson, Josh Odsess-Rubin, Amy Oerkins, Chaz Feuerstine, Spencer Rowe (Photos by Daren Scott) expressions as the Brothers get more and more uncontrollable) is beginning to despair of marrying off daughter Arabella (Lauren King Thompson). “I do wish you’d take this more seriously,” she says. “Here you are a debutante. You’ve been out two months and you aren’t engaged to a single person.” Mom has gossip columnist Wally Winston (Chaz Feuerstine) in mind. Not a bad choice — he is pretty cute. He writes for Evening Traffic, the local rag, and is looking for a scandal to report on. He asks Arabella if she can contribute anything. Also along for tonight’s wild ride are Mrs. Whitehead (also played by Thompson) and her friend Grace Carpenter (Amy Perkins), who inexplicably want to ruin the party for Mrs. Rittenhouse. Jealousy, perhaps? This brings us to the other major plot point: the painting that is unveiled is not real, but a faux Beaugard, setting off more hysteria, running around and even the arrival of police Sgt. Hennessy (Feuerstine) to investigate. Who could be responsible? It doesn’t matter, really, but it’s great fun to watch. Samantha Wynn Greenstone’s Harpo (with the fright wig) gets stuck with my least favorite comedy bit: the leg-in-lap bit, usually annoying Mrs. Rittenhouse, but me too after a while. But the scenes with the culinary hardware and with the harp almost make up for it. Spencer Rowe’s Emanuel Ravelli (Chico) is a good pianist with a bad Italian accent and a great deadpan delivery.

(standing) Bryan Banville, Spencer Rowe and Josh Odsess-Rubin; (sitting) Samantha Wynn Greenstone and Melinda Gilb

‘Animal Crackers’

From top: Marcel Spears, Heidi Armbruster and Brenna Coates; photo by Mia Fiorella.

Through Aug. 13 Cygnet Theatre 4040 Twiggs St. (Old Town)


Wednesdays through Sundays 619-337-1525 Bryan Banville’s Zeppo, the youngest Marx brother, doesn’t get much solo comedy to do, but as Groucho’s assistant Horatius Jamison does get a hilarious turn at taking dictation from his loopy boss. And as John Parker, he gets to sing and dance (magnificently) with love interest Mary Stewart (Amy Perkins). Russell Garrett’s choreography is great fun, especially the timely ones like the tap duel between Arabella and Wally and a great Charleston-inflected number that also includes several other ensemble members. And talk about versatility — Garrett is also terrific as Hives and Chandler. Jennifer Brawn Gittings has designed some gorgeous Flapper-era costumes to put under those Peter Herman wigs. Kyle Montgomery’s lighting and Dylan Nielsen’s sound are excellent as well. Another first: The six-man orchestra is onstage rather than in the pit. It’s lovely to see music director Terry O’Donnell and his forces in front of us for a change. There’s just one problem with this show: At a runtime of two hours 20 minutes, it’s too long, and the second act seems to drag to the point of inspiring watch-watching. But how can you do anything but giggle at deathless Groucho-isms like this: “One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don’t know.” Irving Berlin was right. Hooray for Capt. Spaulding! How about Groucho for president? (Never mind that he died in 1977. A mere detail.) —Jean Lowerison is a long-standing member of the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle and can be reached at





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An evening for gay and lesbian theatre lovers and the whole LGBT community. This event includes three drinks from the wine and martini bar, delicious appetizers, and a pre-show mixer. Everyone is welcome. Just $24 per person in addition to your theatre ticket. Call to RSVP at (619) 23-GLOBE or purchase at

Sponsored by Pardon My French Bar & Kitchen and Urban Solace.

Thursday, July 20 at 6:30 p.m. Show Starts at 8:00 p.m. In the Craig Noel Garden, just steps away from your theatre seats!

A Musical Fable of Broadway Based on a Story and Characters of Damon Runyon Music and Lyrics by Frank Loesser Book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows Directed and Choreographed by Josh Rhodes In Association with Asolo Repertory Theatre

Now Playing! Limited engagement through August 13 (619) 23-GLOBE (234-5623) Top: Photos by Bob Ross. Above: The cast of Guys and Dolls. Photo by Cliff Roles, courtesy of Asolo Repertory Theatre.


San Diego Uptown News | July 14 – 27, 2017


Crooning about the Seven Kingdoms

Musical based on popular HBO show to premier Comic-Con weekend By David Dixon

The cast of “Game of Thrones: The Musical” (Photos by Todd Leykamp)

George RR Martin fans can’t complain about a lack of fantasy experiences in July. Not only is season seven of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” starting July 16, but a panel on the show will be taking place at Comic-Con International on July 21. And as the annual comic festival gets underway Downtown, the comedy titled “Game of Thrones: The Musical” will be playing at the Tenth Avenue Arts Center.

As in the HBO series, the story is about the different families who want to rule the fictional continent of Westeros. Many of the major TV characters play important roles in the staging. These include the heroic Eddard Stark, the “Mother of Dragons” Daenerys Targaryen and everyone’s favorite cunningly intelligent dwarf, Tyrion Lannister, played by actor Drew Bordeau during certain performances. Non-viewers of the HBO series are welcome. “A lot of people who don’t watch ‘Game of Thrones’ can’t get past learning about so many different plots and relationships,” said Stephen Parker, the show’s co-producer, co-writer and director. “This is a very fun and comedic way to learn about the world of Westeros.” Helping theatergoers follow events is a fictitious version of Martin himself. “He sits in the balcony and tells you what’s going on in the narrative,” Parker said. While the plot focuses on the first 10 episodes, Parker promises that there are plenty of references to later adventures. “We are constantly revising it based on what’s happening on television,” he said. “There are going to be rewrites after the season premiere with at least several new jokes.”

Drew Bordeau as Tyrion Lannister Prior to this latest spoof, Parker and his producing partner, Steven Brandon, worked on the parody, “Lost: The Musical.” Sometime after that run, the producing duo realized that they wanted to create a musical adaptation of the “Thrones” TV series, based on the first novel in Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” saga, also called, “A Game of Thrones.” Their collaboration led to them working with Erin Stegeman and Ace Marrero. Stegeman is the music writer, while Marrero is the music producer. In addition, they are the music directors, and are both featured in select performances. Two groups of performers, the House Targaryen cast (which is their group) and the House Lannister cast, rotate throughout the four major festival days.

Stephen Parker, writer, co-producer and director Stegeman gets to be the conniving Cersei Lannister and Marrero portrays the complex Dothraki chieftain, Khal Drogo. According to Parker, the most difficult part to cast was Tyrion, given his short height. After Bordeau’s audition, he realized that the comedic thespian would do justice to the role. Bordeau is a part of the House Lannister cast. On another, quite random note, Parker was featured in a pilot, “Testing Bob,” with the Emmy-winning star who plays Tyrion on the small screen, Peter Dinklage. Something that Bordeau originally wanted to avoid as Tyrion was a Dinklage impersonation. “There is a lot of freedom in the way I can portray him,” he said. “I’m able to break the fourth wall a lot, which fits Tyrion’s rule-breaking personality.” One of Bordeau’s favorite musical numbers is Tyrion’s song, “You Can’t Kill Me,” which pokes fun at how Tyrion’s popularity will continue to keep him on the air, even though plenty of other heroes and villains are notoriously eliminated. Tongue-in-cheek humor and irreverent melodies are key to what will be a highly enjoyable summer journey. Since the run is getting more publicity, let’s hope that cast members such as Dinklage show up for potentially hilarious visits to the Seven Kingdoms. —David Dixon has written reviews and features for various print and online publications. You can reach him at

‘Game of Thrones: The Musical’ Tenth Avenue Arts Center 930 Tenth Ave. (Downtown) July 20-23 818-314-0947


San Diego Uptown News | July 14 – 27, 2017


Got their game faces on Video game exhibit debuts at Fleet Science Center By Jess Winans For one boy, who looked to be 7 or 8, something old was something new. He cozied up to a Pac-Man arcade game, studied it for a few moments, and then began playing the classic game trying to munch down on all the yellow dots while attempting to avoid the ghosts that were out to get him. Chances are high that the boy’s parents were playing Pac-Man in their own youth. The arcade game designed by Toru Iwatani was developed by Namco and first released in Japan in 1980. Two years later, it was all the rage in America, and kids and adults alike couldn’t get enough of Pac-Man. Health experts began warning parents that they feared arcade games like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong were addictive, according to a report by CBS News. Addictive or not, video games haven’t lost their appeal in the decades that have passed. San Diegans of all ages were buzzing at the June 29 preview of “Game Masters: The Exhibition,” which is now on view at the Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park. “My favorite thing about video game designing is that I get to create my own worlds for other people to experience," said Eric Svedäng, designer of Blueberry Garden, an indie game released in 2009 that is featured in the exhibit. “Game Masters” definitely allows people to experience alternate worlds. It looks like no other exhibit on view at the Fleet, the space being characterized by dim lighting illuminated by system screens. Besides arcade-style game installations, iPads, tablets and Game Boy devices also flood the exhibit, inviting different generations of gamers to play

through more than 100 games created by 30 designers. “‘Games Masters’ is a great fit for both families and adults,” said Paul Ciborowski, exhibits director at the Fleet. “The exhibition covers the evolution, innovation and science of gaming technology as well as offering a chance to play favorite games.” While they play, visitors will have a chance to learn about the history about the games and the designers A young boy prepares to play Pac-Man, which who created them. became a huge hit when it was released in 1980, long before he was born. (Photo by Jess Winans) The exhibit was developed by the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), which is Australia’s national museum of film, television, video games, digital culture and Through Jan. 15, 2018 art. Located in Melbourne, the museum focuses on bringing Fleet Science Center legitimacy to the video game 1875 El Prado industry. “ACMI is very pleased to be (Balboa Park) bringing the exhibition to its third U.S. venue,” said Chris Free with museum Harris, head of exhibition proadmission duction and touring at ACMI, speaking about the San Diego location. “As a museum of the moving image and digital cul619-238-1233 ture, video games have always been very important to us as cultural artifacts, technical in“Blueberry Garden was an novations, and great design and experiment in interactive storyart pieces.” telling,” said Svedäng, one of 30 The ACMI looked at many designers featured in the exhibfactors when selecting designit. “There are no words or text ers and games to be featured in the game, only gameplay. in the exhibition and wanted to The game is set in a mysterious showcase both mainstream and place with different creatures indie fan favorites, he said. and plants that you have to fig“We wanted to show them ure out the purpose of.” [attendees] the great innovative Video games aren’t just artists that the designers are for fun anymore as video and allow people to see a bit of game design is ranked one of their creative approach, behind the best jobs in America by the scenes, so to speak,” Harris CNN Money. Alternatively, a said. “We also wanted to allow German study concluded that visitors to play these wonderplaying video games could be fully designed games in a mua beneficial method of therapy seum context that took them for mental health patients with seriously, but was also fun.” diseases like schizophrenia, Some games featured in Alzheimer's and post traumatthe exhibit include Asteroids, ic stress disorder. And video Legend of Zelda, Super Mario games are also used by the milBros, Minecraft, Darwinia and itary for training purposes and Vib-Ribbon. in technology development and contracting businesses. “I want to go to the exhibit to see how far along games have come,” said Blane Biel, who works at SAIC, an information technology company with a location in San Diego that uses video game technology in their work. “From the very, very start to the finish here in present day, I just think it’s really cool to see the change.” Regardless of what they're playing for, it's clear video gamers aren't logging off anytime soon.

(top) Children play Nintendo games; (bottom) adults play TT Games created in the UK (Photos by Jess Winans)

Summer’s Sweet Spot. Civita.

‘Game Masters: The Exhibition’

—Jess Winans is an intern at San Diego Community News Network. You can reach her at

All summer long, Civita is a smorgasbord of things to hear, see, and love. Music lovers mark your calendars for Civita’s 4th annual concert series, set to rock in the new outdoor amphitheater. The new 14-acre Civita Park is now open with splash pad, half-court basketball, picnic areas, dog parks and more. Stay tuned for details on new neighborhoods opening this year. Until then, let’s show summer how it’s done. See you at Civita.

Sundown Sunday Concerts 5:00 - 6:30pm


Elektric Voodoo AUGUST 20

Pop Vinyl


Siren’s Crush

Food Trucks from 4 to 7pm

Civita Park is located at Civita Boulevard at Russell Park Way.

Civita is a master plan development of Quarry Falls, LLC. All information is accurate as of date of publication, but information and pricing is subject to change at any time.


San Diego Uptown News | July 14 – 27, 2017

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San Diego Uptown News | July 14 – 27, 2017


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San Diego Uptown News | July 14 – 27, 2017


DIGITAL CINEMA GEMS Short Films: “5 Films About Technology” “The Whole Sky Fit In The Dead Cow's Eye” “Come Swim” “Lucia, Before and After” “Night Shift” “Pussy” “Ten Meter Tower”

SDCCU Stuff the Bus Campaign

Through Friday, Aug. 4

The third annual Stuff the Bus campaign is collecting school supplies for homeless children. Contribute pencils, pens, binders, backpacks and more to donation bins at all SDCCU branch locations and select SDCOE locations. Visit

Sugar Crisp at Bird Park Saturday, July 15

North Park Community Association presents its 15th annual Bird Park Summer Concert Series. This year's second concert features pop, rock and blues band Sugar Crisp. Free and family-friendly. No alcohol, glass, grills or unleashed dogs. 5-7 p.m. at Morley Field, 28th and Upas streets. Visit

Mission Hills Library Book Sale

Saturday, July 15

The Friends of the Mission Hills Library will sell books to support the library. 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m. at Mission Hills Library, 925 W. Washington St. Visit or call 619-692-4910.

2017 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour — Experience seven short films from this year's Sundance Film Festival. Program unrated. Friday, July 14 to Thursday, July 20.

‘The Little Hours’ – A bl a sphem ou s comedy – starring actors Aubrey Plaza, A llison Brie, John C. Reilly and Molly Shannon – follows the rebellious acts of three medieval nuns. R at e d R . F r id ay, July 14 to Thursday, July 20.

A new season of NATtalks kicks off this month. Art and science intertwine with a talk from William Scout, a paleoartist and comic illustrator. Tickets $9-$12 at or 877-946-7797. 7-9 p.m. at San Diego Natural History Museum, 1788 El Prado in Balboa Park. Visit bit. ly/2t0ZmJY.

Inclusive Storytime at Mission Hills Library

Tuesday, July 18

Mission Hills Library and Human Rights Campaign will host a storytime that celebrates the voices and experiences of the LGBTQ community. 6:30 p.m. at Mission Hills Library, 925 W. Washington St. Visit or call 619-692-4910.

Beach Fossils at Casbah

Thursday, July 20

Indie-rock band Beach Fossils will perform at 10:30 p.m. at Casbah, 2501 Kettner Blvd. This is a 21-and-older show. Tickets $20 at

South Park Summer Walkabout Saturday, July 22

Support shopping local at this quarterly community festival! The event will feature South Park businesses, food, live entertainment and a drawing. Walking guides and maps will be available. Free. 6-10 p.m. between Kalmia and Beech streets in South Park. Visit

Swing Out At the Globe Saturday, July 22

The Old Globe is offering group swing dance lessons before its 2 p.m. matinee of “Guys and Dolls.” Dance styles will include Charleston, Jitterbug and more. Free and family-friendly. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on the Old Globe's Copley Plaza, 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park. Visit

Michelle Branch at Music Box

Saturday, July 22

Pop singer/songwriter Michelle Branch will perform at 9 p.m. at Music Box, 1337 India St. This is a 21-and-older show. Tickets are $27-$29 (without fees) at Visit

Mystery Book Group at Mission Hills Library

Wednesday, July 26

Love mystery novels? Stop by the Mystery Book Group's every month to discuss a chosen book in the genre. Contact the library for this month's pick. 6:30 p.m. at Mission Hills Library, 925 W. Washington St. Visit or call 619-692-4910.

‘Bright Lights’ art exhibit Friday, July 28

Experience the local art scene with Art Unites' "Bright Lights" exhibit that highlights San Diego artists. Admission is $10. This is a 21-and-older event. 9 p.m.-1:45 a.m. Kensington Club, 4079 Adams Ave. Visit

‘Last Chance Indies: Band Aid’ – To save their marriage, a couple forms a band and works out their problems through song. Unrated. Friday, July 21 to Thursday, July 27.v

Visit for show times, tickets and information on additional films.


NATtalks: An Evening with William Scout

Tuesday, July 18

‘Hermia and Helena’ – Drama and comedy intertwine in this Spanish film about love, loss and a dash of Shakespeare. Un r at e d . F r id ay, July 21 to Thursday, July 27.

Cinema Under the Stars: Films presented at an outdoor viewing space on various nights of the week. Upcoming films: ●“Funny Face” – Friday, July 14 ●“Some Like It Hot” – Saturday, July 15 and Sunday, July 16 ●“The Graduate” – Thursday, July 20 and Friday, July 21 ●“Dial ‘M’ for Murder” – Saturday, July 22 and Sunday, July 23 ●“Vertigo” – Thursday, July 27 and Friday, July 28 Films start at 8 p.m. $15. 4040 Goldfinch St., Mission Hills. Visit or call 619-295-4221.

San Diego Art Institute Summer Art Camps

Through Friday, Aug. 18

Artistic summer camps will be offered at San Diego Art Institute for children in kindergarten through eighth grade. Each of the six weeks focuses on a different art theme. $300 per week. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. MondayFriday. 3-4 p.m. aftercare available. Visit

Summer Family Mural Project

Through Friday, Sept. 1

Experience art hands-on by painting a group mural while enjoying treats during Food Truck Fridays. Treasure hunt activities will also be offered to highlight museum paintings. 5 p.m. on the first Friday of every month. Timken Museum of Art, 1500 El Prado, Balboa Park. Visit

‘Game Masters: The Exhibition’

Through Monday, Jan. 15, 2018

Fleet Science Center and Australian Centre for the Moving Image will showcase the work of over 30 video game designers. The exhibit also offers free, playable games. Admission $17-$20. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday-Sunday. 1875

El Prado, Fleet Science Center. Visit

‘Brenda Biondo: Play’

Through Sunday, March 11, 2018

Brenda Biondo's photography will be on display at San Diego Museum of Art. The exhibit features 25 of her photographs from her two series: 'Playground' and 'Paper Skies.' 1450 El Prado, Balboa Park. Visit

‘Arts of South and Southeast Asia’

Through Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019

San Diego Museum of Art presents an exhibition displaying images of Hindu deities. View the exhibition on the first floor of Gallery 12 North: Barbara & Norton Walbridge Gallery. 1450 El Prado, Balboa Park. Visit bit. ly/2sXMd1b.


North Park Toastmasters meeting: 6:30–8 p.m., weekly meeting at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 3725 30th St., North Park. 619-694-9148. bit. ly/2tKKk8o. Open Mic Night: 7:30 p.m., the mic is open to you at Lestat’s Coffee House, 3343 Adams Ave., Normal Heights, free. International Summer Organ Festival: Stop by the Spreckles Organ Pavilion for a free weekly concert. This month features Isabelle Demers, Gordon Turk and Ken Cowan. 7:30 p.m. at 2125 Pan American Road in Balboa Park. bit. ly/2roypPD.


Curbside Bites: 5:30–8:30 p.m., gathering of gourmet food trucks at 3030 Grape St., South Park. Tasty Truck Tuesdays: 6–9 p.m., Smitty’s Service Station hosts several food trucks under their welllit shade structure, 3442 Adams Ave., Normal Heights.

Uptown Democratic Club Monthly Meeting: 7 to 9 p.m. every fourth Tuesday, 3900 Vermont St. at Joyce Beers Community Center. July's meeting features speaker Jessica Hayes, the San Diego County Democratic Chair. bit. ly/2tL2tTw.


Wednesday Night Experience: 7–8 p.m., uplifting and spiritually inspiring experiences for all, weekly at Universal Spirit Center, 3858 Front St., Hillcrest, love offering requested.


Uptown Sunrise Rotary Club meetings: 7 a.m., weekly meeting at Panera Bread, 1270 Cleveland Ave., Hillcrest. bit. ly/2pezpnR. Gentle yoga for seniors: 2:30–4 p.m., presented by The Center and Silver Age Yoga Community Outreach (SAYCO) at The San Diego LGBT Center, 3909 Centre St., Hillcrest, free. North Park Thursday Market: 3–7 p.m., at 3000 North Park Way, between 30th Street and Granada Avenue, North Park, free. Kornflower’s Open Mic: Signups at 6:30 p.m., open mic (no poetry or comedy) 7–10 p.m. Family-friendly event at Rebecca’s Coffee House, 3015 Juniper St., South Park, free. Liberty Toastmasters Club: 7 p.m., at Saint Paul’s Community Care Center, 328 Maple St., Bankers Hill. bit. ly/2tKKk8o. Courage to Change – AlAnon meetings: 7:15–8:15 p.m., a weekly meeting for friends and relatives of alcoholics at Christ United Presbyterian Church (in the chapel), 3025 Fir St., South Park. 2017 San Diego Film Series: 7:30 p.m., every third

see Calendar, pg 20


THERAPY DOGS the kids are encouraged to read aloud to someone — a dog — who won't judge them," Wheeler said. The pet-assisted program is possible with help from volunteers who own certified therapy dogs. They must be registered with an official organization, such as the nonprofit Love on a Leash. According to its website, Love on a Leash “is committed to bringing comfort, happiness and healing to more people nationwide by increasing public awareness of pet-provided therapy.” The San Diego-based charity heavily relies on volunteers. Recent volunteers at the library were Ellen Fleischman, who owns a Yorkshire terrier named Boo Boo, and Heidi Badger-Chrisman, a mom to a golden Labrador named Stanza. The June 3 event was hardly hectic. The volunteers sat patiently on the floor, with books for all age levels displayed neatly on a cushion. This quiet beginning was intentional — after all, the program aims to provide a haven for tentative children. “I'll typically try to start small and get the child comfortable being in the same area, slowly working our way up to the child petting the dog if they want to,” Badger-Chrisman explained. After 15 minutes, a toddler stumbled over to Stanza for a big hug. Then his brother approached, a smile emerging on his face as he cautiously petted Boo Boo. One by one, children in the library — many whom were previously engrossed with a craft project happening across the room — trickled in and took turns engaging with the dogs. “A few kids are a little afraid of the dogs at first, but most adults and kids love seeing them,” Wheeler said. “Some kids practice their reading with the dogs. Many others just pet or hug them. Even most of the kids who start out afraid eventually warm up to the dogs.” The therapy dogs can also provide comfort for children who are dealing with the loss of a beloved pet.



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“Sometimes they open up about why they no longer have a dog, how much they miss their dog and how happy it made them to be able to pet Stanza and talk to him,” Badger-Chrisman said. As a father, Wheeler understands the benefit of the program first-hand. His two sons attended the program and developed their reading skills with the help of a nonjudgmental listener. “My younger son needed a lot of extra help learning to read and could hardly read anything at that time, but he loved the dog and would happily turn through the pages of picture books and tell the dog about what was happening in the illustrations,” Wheeler said. Although the event is designed with children in mind, they aren’t the only ones who benefit from the experience. Wheeler said adults also enjoy the activity, whether they attend solo or with their kids. Fleishman added that she met a woman who was learning to read English who practiced in front of Boo Boo. With the dedication of library staff, contribution of volunteers and positive response from the community, the pet-assisted storytelling program shows no sign of halting

San Diego Uptown News | July 14 – 27, 2017


(l to r) Heidi Badger-Chrisman and her therapy dog Stanza, and Ellen Fleischman, Boo Boo and a girl read a book (Photo by Sara Butler)

anytime soon. Fleishman, a regular at the Mission Hills Library, recognizes the importance of making the trip each month. “I love going to the library for pet-assisted storytelling and working with kids because

I want to contribute to the library being a favorite place to go to,” Fleishman said. Mission Hills Library hosts “Read to a Therapy Dog” on the first Saturday of every month from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Contact Wheeler at sjwheeler@ for event updates or information on becoming a volunteer. —Sara Butler is the web and social media manager at SDCNN. Reach her at web@

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San Diego Uptown News | July 14 – 27, 2017


CALENDAR Thursday view a film representative of Italian cinema at the Museum of Photographic Arts, 1649 El Prado, Balboa Park. Kirtan Musical Meditation: 8:30 p.m., chant and sing ancient and contemporary mantras celebrating love and life at Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga, 3301 Adams Ave., Normal Heights. Free – donations welcome.

First Thursday at The Lafayette: San Diego Made presents a new event the first Thursday of every month at the Lafayette Hotel, 2223 El Cajon Blvd.


Memory Café: 10–11 a.m., second and fourth Fridays. Gathering place for those with memory loss, caretakers and those worried about memory problems in the Common Room at First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego, 4190 Front St., Hillcrest. At-will donation. and Square Dancing Classes: 6:30–8:30 p.m., every Friday. No previous dance experience needed. Recital Hall, 2130 Pan American Plaza. $50 for 13 classes. 858-277-7499 or circulators.


Old Town Saturday Market: 9 a.m.–4 p.m., on Harney Street and San Diego Avenue, Old Town, free. Also held on Sundays.

Golden Hill Farmers Market: 9:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m., on B Street between 27th and 28th streets, Golden Hill, free. Ray At Night: 6-10 p.m., second Saturday. Free monthly art walk in North Park. Visit bit. ly/2qpDcyY. Comedy Heights: 8–10 p.m., local comedians take the stage next to Twiggs Coffeehouse at 4590 Park Blvd., University Heights, free.

Hillcrest Pride Flag, Harvey Milk and Normal streets, free. West African dance class: 5:30–7 p.m., Master dancer Djibril Camara from Guinea teaches these classes that are also a great workout for all ages and skill levels at La Vie Dance Studio, 325 W. Washington St., Hillcrest. Visit To view local community organization meeting information online, visit


—Calendars compiled by Sara Butler. Email calendar items to

Hillcrest Farmers Market: 9 a.m.–2 p.m., under the

San Diego Uptown News - July 14 2017  
San Diego Uptown News - July 14 2017