San Diego CityBeat • Apr 12, 2017

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2 · San Diego CityBeat · April 12, 2017



Rendering of Concrete Contractors Interstate’s “icon wall solution” proposal

A pig is still a pig and a wall is still a wall


his past Sunday, more than 100 people gathered at Chicano Park for the unveiling and blessing of its latest mural. The fresh paint, provided by local nonprofit group Border Angels, certainly makes the new mural standout amongst the older ones, but it’s artist Sal Barajas’ imagery that makes the eyes widen. Crying bodies are contrasted among ICE badges and fistfuls of American dollars. The messaging among the interspersed crosses is clear enough: No more deaths! Love has no borders! A few days earlier and just down the street, members of Raices sin Fronteras gathered at the offices of R.E. Staite Engineering. The local construction company is one of a number of local firms who recently submitted a design proposal for Donald Trump’s border wall with Mexico. A video posted on Facebook pretty much said it all. “You think we’re gonna leave you alone?” a protester shouted at the R.E. Staite offices through a megaphone. “You are wrong and whether or not you win to build the wall, we will not let the community of Barrio Logan or anyone in San Diego County forget what decision you made.” Stories like these have been popping up all over the County lately and it’s only going to get worse. Of the 450 companies who submitted proposals to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for the 2,000-mile wall, 20 will be selected and come to San Diego in June to build a 30-feet by 30-feet prototype in Otay Mesa. Um, yeah, what could possibly go wrong with that idea? Some of the proposals are truly farcical, such as Clayton Industries’ five-part obstacle course that includes a trench of nuclear waste and an electric fence. I wish I were kidding. There’s also Mexico-based Otra Nation, who proposed not building a wall at all, but instead building a 2,000-mile, trillion-dollar hyper loop train system that looks like something out of The Fifth Element. I hope that wins, but I’m not exactly holding my breath. And then there’s Poway-based Concrete Contractors Interstate (CCI). Their wall proposal includes a polished concrete wall that will include art made of stones and artifacts that are native to the region in which the wall is located. The company calls it an “icon wall solution” and the rendering appears to be some kind of mosaic-style art that, quite frankly, doesn’t look particularly compelling.


However, is there something to be said for coming to the proverbial White House dinner table with something more than just a big, hulky wall? CCI CEO Russ Baumgartner is on record as saying he wants the wall to be aesthetically pleasing on both sides of the border. That he wants it to be “a piece of art.” “They are open to working with artists on both sides of the border,” says Daniel Springer, who handles marketing and public relations for CCI. “Working with artists and communities to ensure that whatever goes up, that it represents the different cultures and communities who will be doing the wall.” What’s more, Springer says that one of the first things Baumgartner did was make sure that his entire company was on board with such a proposal. Springer says the feedback from CCI’s employees was “overwhelmingly positive.” Springer says that so far the company has not had any protests or received any threats. When asked if the company was worried at all about this in the future or if they win the contract to build the wall, he simply says the company has done what they’ve wanted to do and they’ll see what happens. “[CCI] would never consider building something, to use an analogy, they would never consider building a fence in their backyard without checking with their neighbor first to make sure they were comfortable with it. It’s important to give consideration to both sides of the wall and not just the northern side.” The problem with that analogy is that the neighbor in this scenario has already said they don’t want that, eh, fence in their backyard. Nor are they going to help pay for it. This is an issue where metaphors don’t even begin to convey how much damage this wall will do not only to the environment, but to the economy and to our relations with Mexico. What’s more, people are going to die. Every expert agrees: build that wall and someone will figure out a way to bypass it while putting themselves and others in danger. The rallying cry of “people over profits” seems to be the pervading theme when it comes to protesting the wall. CityBeat readers should and must resist the idea of this wall in whatever way they can. Whether it’s a piece of art or a nuclear waste-filled trench, this particular “fence” is a waste of money, resources and time.

—Seth Combs

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NOT A PRIORITY Seth, you (and CityBeat) might have more success drumming up interest and caring and support (i.e. money) for the homeless if you (and other homeless advocates) didn’t sound so entitled [“If he builds it, will they come?,” April 5]. If fighting homelessness is not a priority for me (and others) that doesn’t make me a bad person. If a ballot issue raises taxes for a convention center, potholes and homelessness (in that order) it doesn’t mean the priorities are wrong. I don’t see you (and CityBeat) and all the others who are passionate about homelessness doing anything other than talking or writing about homeless-

TABLE OF CONTENTS ness. You seem to have no problem spending other peoples’ money, and when that money isn’t enough (“... the expansion will receive more money than both homelessness and infrastructure combined...”) you get indignant. Those who are passionate about homelessness (such are yourself) are free to spend their money to fight homelessness. And I’m not aware of any of the homeless advocates who have actually taken a homeless person into their homes.

David Jankowski Location withheld

Volume 15 • Issue 37

MUSIC EDITOR Jeff Terich WEB EDITOR Ryan Bradford ART DIRECTOR Carolyn Ramos ASSOCIATE EDITOR Torrey Bailey COLUMNISTS Aaryn Belfer Edwin Decker Minda Honey John R. Lamb Alex Zaragoza

CONTRIBUTORS Matthew Baldwin, David L. Coddon, Beth Demmon, Andrew Dyer, Tiffany Fox, Michael A. Gardiner, Glenn Heath Jr., Lizz Huerta, Lara McCaffrey, Scott McDonald, Sebastian Montes, Jenny Montgomery, Kinsee Morlan, Jim Ruland, Ben Salmon, Jen Van Tieghem, Amy Wallen, Ian Ward


PUBLISHER Kevin Hellman

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Beau Odom, Mark Schreiber Jenny Tormey


EDITORIAL INTERNS Jamie Ballard, Sofia Mejias-Pascoe Nicole Sazegar

ACCOUNTING Sharon Huie, Alysia Chavez Linda Lam








Interested in advertising? Call 619-281-7526 or e-mail The advertising deadline is 5 p.m. every Friday for the following week’s issue.

EDITORIAL AND ADVERTISING OFFICE 3047 University Ave., Suite 202 San Diego, CA 92104 Phone: 619-281-7526 Fax: 619-281-5273

San Diego CityBeat is published and distributed every Wednesday by Southland Publishing Inc., free of charge but limited to one per reader. Reproduction of any material in this or any other issue is prohibited without written permission from the publisher and the author. Contents copyright 2017.


From the Editor...................................3 Letters ................................................ 4 News....................................................5 Spin Cycle ...........................................6 Backwards & In High Heels ...............7 Well, That Was Awkward..................8

FOOD & DRINK The World Fare...................................9 Dishing It Out ...................................10 Final Draught.....................................11

THINGS TO DO The Short List.................................... 12 Calendar of Events...................... 12-14

This issue of CityBeat is dedicated to PR Week’s “Communicator of the Year”: United CEO Oscar Munoz. Well deserved, sir.

EDITOR Seth Combs


ARTS & CULTURE Theater.............................................. 15 FEATURE: Omar Lopex..................... 17 Seen Local......................................... 18 Film.............................................. 20-21

MUSIC FEATURE: Mitski ............................. 22 Notes from the Smoking Patio........ 24 If I Were U........................................ 26 Concerts & Clubs........................ 27-29

LAST WORDS Advice Goddess............................... 30



The striking photo of singer/ songwriter Mitski Miyawaki on this week’s cover was taken by Brooklyn based portrait and music photographer Ebru Yildiz. After years of photographing bands and artists such as The Violent Femmes and Ty Segall, Yildiz has learned to research her subjects before shooting them. After listening to Mitski’s music, Yildiz realized she wanted to capture Mitski’s confidence and energy despite the darker tone in her music. “She’s one of those really strong women so that was definitely the thing I wanted to capture with her,” Yildiz says. “Proud of who she is, comfortable with who she is and is her own person.” Yildiz’s pictures have appeared on sites like Pitchfork, as well as The New York Times and Fader.




New heights

Azalea Park fights blight by welcoming LGBTQ homeowners By Emmet Pierce


or nearly 24 years, Azalea Park has successfully waged a war on urban decay by extending a welcome to LGBTQ homebuyers. “I look around and see amazing things that gays and lesbians have done with their properties,” said Linda Pennington, a longtime neighborhood activist. “It was just what we needed.” Pennington was among the community leaders who launched an unusual marketing campaign in 1993 by entering a float in Hillcrest’s 1993 Pride Parade. It was decorated with banners that said “welcome gays” and “canyon homes under $100,000.” Azalea Park is a collection of about 900 houses and apartments within City Heights, a mile and a half east of Balboa Park. Built along winding canyons, most of the homes were constructed from the 1920s through the 1950s. By the time Pennington and her neighbors began their outreach to the LGBTQ community, many of the houses had fallen into serious disrepair. Graffiti and abandoned cars were commonplace. Pennington hoped that LGBTQ people could be persuaded to buy and improve deteriorating homes and that these efforts would trigger a neighborhood revival. A former resident of Hillcrest, she had seen how that neighborhood had been greatly improved by an influx of LGBTQ homeowners. Efforts to introduce Azalea Park to the LGBTQ community have continued over the years. TORREY BAILEY

Linda Pennington About three years into the outreach effort, Karen Bucey was in a Hillcrest bookstore when she found a flyer advertising the low home prices and the supportive attitude in Azalea Park. Bucey ended up purchasing a home that had been repossessed. Although the home was infested with insects and badly in need of repair, it was structurally sound, and given the low price—$89,500—she didn’t mind the need for home improvements. “Lots of people walked through and shook their heads, but I wasn’t scared of work,” said Bucey, who is now project manager for the City of San Diego. “I decided this was a community that I could make a start in.”


Azalea Park’s favorable attitude toward LGBTQ people was unusual in the mid1990s, Bucey recalled. “The environment was different than it is today,” she said. “It was still questionable whether you could be in certain communities with persons of the same gender and be safe.” Pennington recalls that dozens of LGBTQ people began moving to Azalea Park. Today there is much less blight and a stronger sense of community. Residential lots have been cleared of brush and debris. The abandoned cars have been towed away. Jim Martin, a landscape designer, and his partner bought a home in the community in 2010. They had learned about the LGBTQ outreach while attending a Pride Parade in Hillcrest. “They had a banner that said ‘Won’t you be our neighbor?’” Martin recalled. The couple had been looking for a condominium in the North Park area. Their real estate agent told them they should check out homes in Azalea Park. They chose a two-bedroom bungalow that had been built in 1954. Although it was “in pretty bad shape,” the $200,000 price tag was right, Martin said. The couple moved in and began making renovations. Since 2010, the home has doubled in value. “We never thought in San Diego that we’d have a house with a yard,” Martin said. “It was important to us.” Trish Hoffman, a realtor and longtime Azalea Park resident, calls the LGBTQ outreach “a wonderful success story.” In addition to improving homes, gay and lesbian residents became involved with the local neighborhood association and took part in cleanup drives. Attracted by the improvements, people from all walks of life began buying and repairing homes in Azalea Park. “It has become a neighborhood that is welcoming to everybody,” Hoffman said. Among Azalea Park’s 900 homes, Pennington estimates that there are about 100 LGBTQ households. Just as there was no opposition to the influx of LGBT people, there has been no opposition to the home improvements that have raised property values, Hoffman said. Perhaps that’s because the community remains affordable by San Diego standards. Recently, home prices have ranged from $355,000 for a two-bedroom, one bathroom house to $480,000 for a four-bedroom, twobathroom home. Rents also have remained comparatively affordable. “Have some of the prices gone up?” Hoffman asked. “Yes. Are people upset? Quite the opposite. It remains an affordable place and a nice, safe community.” Catherine A. Rodman is the director and supervising attorney of Affordable Housing

A home in Azalea Park Advocates, a nonprofit legal services project that works on housing issues in San Diego County. She said the organization had an office in City Heights, the community surrounding Azalea Park, from October 2010 until mid-January of this year. During that time, no renters complained to the organization about being priced out of Azalea Park’s rental market. “We didn’t have any tenants come into our office who were being displaced,” she said. However, Matthew Jumper, who is board president of San Diego Housing Federation, said while he has heard of no problems arising from Azalea Park’s LGBTQ outreach, he added that the gentrification of older communities typically reduces affordable housing. “It’s a dual-edged sword, there is no doubt about it,” Jumper said. “Usually when properties are improved, values go up. That is good in general. However, the downside is you do force some people out. People of limited means often look to other neighborhoods.”

Azalea Park is a part of City Heights, which is a common destination for people who immigrate to the U.S. Communities that have a mixture of cultures generally are accepting of LGBTQ households, said Jenn T. Grace, a business strategist who specializes in LGBTQ issues. LGBTQ people “are specifically looking for diversity,” she said. “They recognize that when they are in diverse communities it will be better for them.” Glen Brodowsky, a professor of marketing at California State University San Marcos, has observed Azalea Park’s LGBTQ outreach since it began. He said he knows of no other community in the U.S. that has marketed itself so openly to gays and lesbians. The neighborhood has been able to attract this demographic without discriminating against other groups or making anyone feel unwelcome, he added. “I think it was a brilliant move,” Brodowsky said. “It was a win for the neighborhood. It was a win for the LGBT community.”






Faulconer’s Phase III fantasy I always get nervous when people start talking about legacies. —Bill Clinton


hree years and change into the job, Mayor Kevin Faulconer finds himself in that familiar position for most longtime politicians of dubious distinction: How the heck will I be remembered? “Legacy” is a word some local media folks are uttering to describe the mayor’s renewed pronouncement to tackle the political threeheaded monster known as San Diego Convention Center Phase III. For those unfamiliar, that’s the bayside, contiguous expansion proposal that makes downtown tourism honchos quiver in giddy anticipation and opponents sharpen their legal knives. But not only is the expansion in Faulconer’s sights, he also wants a

November ballot measure to take aim at reducing homelessness and potholes to boot. It’s as easy as 1-2-3—as in up to a 3 percent hike in the city hotel tax. “I’m not asking San Diego taxpayers, who are being taxed enough already, to shoulder this burden,” the mayor said last week. “We have an opportunity to move the ball forward on three major issues that are important not only to our tourism economy but to every San Diegan.” Many a Spin column has alluded to our mayor’s penchant for vanillatude and his coldness toward boldness. But ticking off three items on the legacy bucket list? That indeed would be bold, because at the moment—in a city known for molasses-pace decision-making—it sounds more like fiction written for an ambitious pol trying to rally financial support for a 2018 gubernatorial run.


Let us for now bypass the nearuniversal admission that whatever tax scraps remain after financing the expansion will be a tiny revenue stream not up to the dumpsterfire task of solving homelessness or fixing roads. Because if the Convention Center expansion doesn’t happen, the city apparently has no plans to trigger the tax hike. “Any voter-approved tax increase supporting the Contiguous Expansion will, by necessity, only become effective if construction of the Contiguous Expansion is allowed to proceed in the future,” City Attorney Mara Elliott wrote in a March 21 letter to attorney Vincent Bartolotta, who represents the leaseholders of Fifth Avenue Landing, the five-acre hunk of tidelands that Convention Center expansionists covet. The city attorney was responding to two recent blistering letters Bartolotta sent to Faulconer taking him to task for renewing contiguous-expansion talk while his clients seek to build two hotels on the property. “The purpose of this letter is to advise you that your conduct and the conduct of the City and [San Diego Convention Center Corp.] are interfering with FAL’s contractual rights and obligations which FAL is undertaking at significant


Mayor Faulconer makes his expansion pitch. But how’s his control? expense,” Bartolotta wrote on March 16, “and to demand that you, the City and SDCCC cease and desist in any representations or plans to finance or construct a convention center expansion on FAL’s leased premises.” In her letter, Elliott argued that nothing in FAL’s lease, which runs through 2024, precludes the city from its “obligation to its citizens to think long term and to plan for contingencies.” “We also do not believe the… lease prevents the City from moving forward to put a financing mechanism in place to fund its continued efforts, including a potential ballot measure,” the city attorney added. She urged the leaseholders “to engage in serious, in-depth discussion of a potential development project on the site consisting of both an expanded Convention Center and a hotel.” FAL representatives have said that idea is a non-starter because it wouldn’t meet the contractual obligations with their landlords, the San Diego Unified Port District. Local developer Robert Green, an FAL principal, emphatically told a City Council committee last week that the lease is not for sale. The contiguous plan also irks a former port commissioner who is, as he’ll tell you, “the only person in the world that was involved” in all previous phases of the Convention Center’s evolution. David Malcolm—a former Chula Vista Councilmember whose political career came crashing down after a conflict-of-interest conviction that was later expunged— once shied away from the media glare. Now, he talks freely about many topics, particularly homelessness, which has been a focus of his for three decades. Malcolm said he’s not prepared to criticize Faulconer’s ballot measure as it relates to the homeless because “I haven’t seen it.” Whatever the amount proposed, “We’ve got to dedicate it and put it in a

lockbox. If anyone thinks I’m stupid enough to believe that if they say, ‘Trust me, I’ll give this to the homeless,’ no I don’t.” But what really galls him is the contiguous expansion plan. When Phase II was approved back in the ‘90s, Malcolm told Spin, all parties agreed that the property now coveted for expansion would remain open space “to protect the views to the water.” Now for the new phase, he said, “they want to take it away, and I just think that stinks. They wouldn’t let the private sector do that, and the public sector ought to be an example and the leader of this, not a double-crosser.” Without preserving that view corridor, Malcolm said he would have opposed the previous expansion. He wrote to the state Coastal Commission in 2013 to make his case, but commission staff, while not disagreeing with him, said in essence that circumstances had changed. The commission went on to approve the current contiguous plans. Attorney activist Cory Briggs has battled those plans in court for years and foresees several more years of legal wrangling. A Superior Court judge in January tentatively ruled against his legal challenge to the waterfront project, but Briggs said a final ruling has been delayed until May 18 at the earliest. Either way, Briggs said, “This case is going up on appeal anyway.” Briggs said he also plans to file a motion “to have the city booted out of the case” because “the city doesn’t control the property.” That would drag out the case further, unless the city capitulates, “which politically will be bad for them.” Added Briggs: “If we get to election day and the case isn’t over, what the fuck?” Well, for Faulconer, that would be one heck of a legacy. Spin Cycle appears every week. Write to






Reggie and The System, Part 2


ichael Brown, 18, due to be buried on Monday, was no angel… These were the words used by New York Times reporter John Eligon 15 days after Brown was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. This disclaimer led into a victim-blaming paragraph that detailed the 18-year-old’s lack of a halo. Eligon wrote about how the police claimed the teen stole cigarillos from a convenience store. He wrote that Brown “lived in a community that had rough patches and he dabbled in drugs and alcohol.” He also wrote that Brown, shortly before his death, had begun experimenting with rap. Imagine that: An American teen enjoying music that includes both “contemplative and vulgar” language. This sounds like me during the some of my teen years: I regularly stole beer (and sometimes candy) from one of two convenience stores near my high school. I was safely removed from the “rough patches” of my hometown, but I nevertheless dabbled in drugs and alcohol. And I experimented with rap... insomuch as I would rhyme right along with anything on which Tipper Gore would later slap a warning label. I was no angel. This could also be said of Reggie Harmon, the 32-year-old Black man with bipolar disorder who I wrote about in my last column. He is incarcerated at George F. Bailey Detention Center where I met him last month. He’s scheduled to be sentenced at the end of this month under Penal Code 422 for having verbally threatened a cashier at a 99 Cent store after the two exchanged remarks (one of which included a racial slur directed at Reggie). I can already predict certain reader responses reductive of Harmon and deaf to the complex set of circumstances that landed him where he is now. Reggie is documented as a gang member. He has one prior 422 felony conviction from 2007 for which he pleaded guilty; he’s got this one, and then the District Attorney’s office went through Reggie’s file and has decided to file a third felony for another incident. This, even though Penal Code 422 is a “wobbler,” meaning the DA can choose to charge it as a misdemeanor if she/he wants. But for whatever reason, the DA’s office didn’t want to. Perhaps it had something to do with teaching Reggie a lesson. Or perhaps it’s because the DA herself is a former investigator with the Gang Prosecution Unit. No doubt, Reggie has made some bad choices. But does he deserve to be in prison? And what of the thousands of others just like him? Is jail the place to house non-violent criminals with mental health issues? HE DOES NOT BELONG IN HERE!!! That is what I wrote in my journal as Reggie prepared to head back to his windowless cell after our first meeting. He and I didn’t talk much about his case as all conversations are recorded and I didn’t want

to accidentally have him say something that could be detrimental to his case later. The whole system is already designed to be against him; I wasn’t about to be helping bolster the DA’s case. So we chatted about other things—human things—instead. Here’s what I learned about Reggie: He went to the same elementary and middle school as my daughter, just down the block from my home. He is fluent in two languages, able to read, write and speak both English and Spanish. He has held the same job for the last 10 years. He digs old-school R&B; Marvin Gaye and the like. He loves his daughter and his girlfriend’s son, who he raises as his own. Reggie is concerned about and interested in his kids’ education, and he shared a parenting tip on how he deftly draws his son into conversation about books he reads. Of course, there is pain in Reggie’s life. His twin brother was murdered in the fall of 2014 and the loss has been devastating not just for him, but for his mom, his dad and his sister. He’s on medications and sought in-patient treatment several times since his brother died. Since 2002, Reggie has been stopped by police in his community 45 times. The day before the 99 Cent store incident he was held at gunpoint by a police officer in a case of mistaken identity. Imagine the trauma of that for a second, will you? An officer points a gun at him and screams at him to get on his knees. It’s not like everyone and their mother hasn’t seen what happens to Black men in police interactions. The officer, who admitted in court to being nervous, can be seen in body cam footage trembling and looking to his superior for guidance. At the time, he’d been on the force nine days. If a person weren’t already mentally ill, I think 45 stops would push anyone over the edge. The more I learn about Reggie’s past, the more it seems inevitable that he would be where he is. Even if he’d been that perfect angel, he’d have still landed in the CalGang Database because he fit three of ten criteria that allow law enforcement to designate people as gang members. Even if he’d been the most angelic of angels, the relentless stops by police that add up to years of harassment would have a deleterious effect on Reggie’s mental state. This is what goes on in the rough-patch part of our city. It is as if there’s been a long game; a concerted effort among various bureaucracies and individuals that, together, conspired to predetermine Reggie’s fate. And there are thousands and thousands of Reggies out there, forced to plead, marked as criminals, harassed by law enforcement, and over-charged by prosecutors.

Imagine the trauma of that for a second, will you? An officer points a gun at him and screams at him to get on his knees.


Backwards & In High Heels appears every other week. Write to






The transformative power of Medieval Times


efore entering the faux-castle walls of Medieval Times, I have a brief premonition that my life will change forever. For better or worse, it’s undecided. It’s my friend Steve’s 32nd birthday, which is not necessarily a milestone year, but his choice to celebrate at the famous dinner theater in Orange County adds a level of profundity to the situation. My wife and I could turn back now, keep on living our lives— tell Steve that we got in a car crash and died or something—or we could enter the castle walls. We enter the castle walls. A woman whose job it is to place a paper crown on your head greets us. All the women at Medieval Times are vaguely subservient, so accepting this sexist display of reverence feels weird, and I wonder if I should just ask to put on the crown myself or—better yet—outright refuse the paper crown because, after all, I’m a grownass man. But, nope. Not at Medieval Times, I’m not. I wear the paper crown, and despite the strange feeling of infantilization that comes with it, I’m suddenly imbued with a sense of royalty. A faux-Shakespearean lilt enters my speech. I feeleth thine former self begin to slip away. We enter the arena. My God, why have I never dined in an arena before? It’s beautiful. The mass of bodies—sunburnt from their Southern Californian vacations—awaits us. A man greets us, introduces himself as a humble servant—a man who does not quite grasp the Olde English as well as I do—leads us to a section that coincides with our crowns. Hark! The Green section! Obviously the best section in all the land. “Your wish is my command,” the servant says. “Would you like Pepsi, Diet Pepsi or Sierra Mist?” I ask for—nay, demand!—water. Then we ask for beer. Our servant says there will be a bartender coming around shortly to take our drink orders. But… I commanded thee, I think. We look down our row and see Lord Steve. He’s waving a flashing, light-up sword that someone has bought him for his birthday. It’s possible he’s already a few meads in. The lights go down, and the arena fills with smoke. Majestic, white horses emerge onto the playing field and, for a moment, I can’t remember whether I’ve ever seen a horse in my life, and that’s how I cheer. The servant returns with two pitchers of Pepsi and Diet Pepsi. We remind him that we ordered water. “Oh, yes,” he says. In our past life, this would be an annoyance, but the disparity of competence is em-

boldening. It reinforces our royalty. Ah, my poor servant, I think. Your obliviousness amuses me. Now, be gone with you. Lord Chancellor—the king’s advisor, who also serves as the MC—emerges onto the playing field. “Welcome… to Medieval Times,” he bellows. Shivers run up my spine. His accent is remarkable. His words sound as if roared by a lion (a lion that watched a lot of Laurence Olivier performances). Lord Chancellor introduces the knights that will fight on behalf of the respective sections. Each knight rides out on a highly disciplined steed. They show off their control of these beasts, forcing them to leap, dance and perform some majestic “trot in place” move. Obedient squires follow and shovel the horses’ waste. I refer to them as Shit Boys for the rest of the night because that’s the kind of royalty and power I now wield. The servant returns with the Pepsi pitchers. “Oh yeah,” he says before we can even protest again. He returns a third time with the water. I quench my hearty thirst. The Green Knight rides near our section. Pride swells in my heart. He’s stoic, chiseled and composed, and I feel justified in objectifying this human specimen for my entertainment needs. He holds his fist up and our section—the Green section—cheers. A bartender walks by and I demand mead. “IPA, please.” The king emerges on a platform that looms over the arena. “The feast is served!” he announces, and an army of serfs marches out to trumpetheavy music, holding trays of roasted chickens. A huge piece of meat drops onto my plate, nearly obscuring it. Grease drips from the fowl as I tear into it. In the arena, the knights perform feats of cunning and strength. They throw javelins from speeding horses and try to put blunted rods through miniscule rings. The Green Knight is the only one who misses, and I question my allegiance to him. I tip back my plastic mead cup. Farther down our row, Steve pumps his sword in the air. By the time Red Knight defeats the scar-faced villain, my head feels heavy from the grog. Such wizardry! I think. Hoppy, dank wizardry. When we leave, my knighthood sheds off like the roasted chicken skin left on my plate. Was it but a dream? I wonder. Then, I look at the grease on my fingers. That shit will stick around for days—a reminder of my bravery.

‘Your wish is my command,’ the servant says. ‘Would you like Pepsi, Diet Pepsi or Sierra Mist?’ I ask for—nay, demand!— water.


Well, That Was Awkward appears every other week. Write to





ents already simmering in the broth. The combinations on the menu roughly correspond to a series of internationally themed options: Chinese, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Thai and a few with less distinctly national flavors. Optional additions to each dish are on the back of the menu. Making “stinky” sound tasty At the core of Tasty Pot’s offerings are two that are typically Taiwanese. The first is the stinky t’s probably a bad idea to be the first to adopt tofu hot soup, clearly to Western ears the oddest that brand new operating system. Sure, early sounding name on the Tasty Pot menu. But it is adopters get that shiny system first—and the also the best. While the name is earned, the ferinvaluable bragging rights that go with it—but the mentation that results in that supposed “stink” folks waiting for Version x.3 or x.4 are likely to own also gives the stuff a deep, complex flavor that can a more stable system; one that works smoothly and be addictive. But don’t ask yourself how someone sticks around for a while. Tasty Pot (4698 Convoy came up with the bright idea to eat that stuff. Banish the thought and get past that first whiff. It’s St., Suite 107) appears to be an example of that. worth it if only for the way that MICHAEL GARDINER warm, fermented flavor enhances the savoriness of the broth. If you can’t stomach the stink but do like spice try the Taiwanese supreme spicy hot soup. The bowl comes with a remarkable variety of protein of which the cuttlefish rings, fried tofu and sliced pork were standouts. The clams, on the other hand, looked better than they tasted. As for the broth, I was expecting more of a Sichuan-style mala featuring the numbing, flowery peppercorns but got a purer heat, even at the “medium” level. It was a bit monochromatic…until I popped in a few pieces of a spicy fermented tofu add-on. That did the trick. Not everything at Tasty Pot was great. The curry flavor hot soup was ordinary, thin even. And while Stinky tofu hot soup I enjoyed the kimchi dumpling hot soup, it really wasn’t better than I’d get at a KoLast summer I reviewed Boiling Passion. I was excited by its survey of the world of Asian hotpot. rean tofu house down the Convoy. But Tasty Pot It was something new in San Diego; something dif- offers a lot of hot pot flavors in one place, which is ferent and exciting even if, at times, it was imper- a Taiwanese characteristic. At the end of the day, fectly executed with a staff that seemed uncertain no matter how off-putting the notion of “stinky” how to work the equipment. And then, early this tofu is, it is an absolute must-order. Tasty Pot has, not to put too fine a point on it, year, Tasty Pot came along and offered the same done what Boiling Passion set out to do. And Tasty sort of thing with better execution. Tasty Pot describes itself as offering “Taiwan- Pot has gotten it right. ese-style hot pot” with the soups served in individual bowls instead of a communal pot and coming The World Fare appears weekly. pre-loaded with various combinations of ingredi- Write to







COCKTAIL SCENE #3: Killing the pain at The Grass Skirt


rowing up, I had what one might refer to as an “absentee father.” He would disappear for extended periods of time; months, years, only to briefly return, feign some interest in my life, then disappear again. As the years passed, in between years of no contact, my eagerness to make him proud vanished. And so it went, until finally one day I reached out to him. I don’t remember much about that conversation at all, except that when he had found out that I was a bartender, he counterfeited genuine concern for me in the guise of some hobby I had become obsessed with. “Do you know how to make a Painkiller?” he asked. For me, that hobby grew into a career, and in the years in between sporadic conversations, whenever talking about my life, my father would continue to bring up the God-damned Painkiller. I began to associate that cocktail with his phantom parenting, and in turn, I came to ignore it. I refused to try it. I refused to learn how to make it. I refused to answer its phone calls. All the while the people around me raved about what a great drink it was. I, however, refused. After my last article where I wrote about a passion fruit cocktail at Sycamore Den, people kept telling me about a must-try passion fruit cocktail at The Grass

Skirt (910 Grand Ave.) in Pacific Beach. Upon my arrival at the Grass Skirt, I sat at the bar and sifted through the menu only to find that the cocktail in question was none other than a Painkiller: a passion fruit variation of my abandonment issues. I sat for a moment in stubborn refusal, and thought about writing something else. There were plenty of delicious other options on the menu, but ultimately I decided that the addition of passion fruit made this Painkiller cocktail different enough to eliminate any concern I might have of accepting my father’s lack of caring. With my first sip I was hesitant, with my second I was smiling, but with my third I was retrospective. Is this what I have been missing my entire life? When describing food and drink, people tend to throw the adjective “balanced” around like confetti, but this thing was a petite Russian gymnast. This Painkiller was tart, sour and sweet with a lush mouthfeel and a lingering earthy bite that only rum can lend. I came to realize, by my fourth sip, that I love Painkillers. This entire time I could have been enjoying these things, but due to my own irrational insecurities, I refused. I am not sure how much of this realization I owe to the passion fruit, but I guess sometimes a different perspective is what is needed. And with that thought, I began to wonder if I had always been an absentee son, rather than the other way around. If I had really been the one causing the pain. I guess that is something to be contemplated over a future Painkiller. Anatomy of a Cocktail Scene appears every other week. Write to

“PAINKILLER” as found at The Grass Skirt

21/2 oz. of Rum blend (Appleton, Hamilton Navy Strength, Coruba Coconut, Smith & Cross, Kraken, Matusalem, Brujal Anejo)

2 oz. pineapple juice 1 oz. passion fruit purée 1 oz. coconut cream 3/4 oz. lime juice

All ingredients are whipped with pebble ice and poured into a Tiki tumbler. The cocktail is garnished with two pineapple leaves that have a purple skill swizzle through it. Serve with bendy straw.






DRAUGHT Tis the season for saisons

molecular palates. Resident Brewing’s Golden Kiss (5 percent ABV, a Belgian/French saison), aisons are the perfect style of beer, in my not- The Lost Abbey’s Red Barn Ale (6.7 percent ABV, so-humble opinion. By striking a balance be- a spicy and aromatic option) and Amplified Ale tween the sawdusty mouthfeel of a hefewei- Works’ Harmonic Saison (6 percent ABV, a funky, zen and the cloyingly sweet notes of blonde ales, peppery take) also embody the classic saison elsaisons are crisp and refreshing on a hot summer ements without straying too far from the style day, yet malty and robust enough for a cool win- guidelines. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Border ter night. Despite their universally seasonal appeal X Brewing’s Blood Saison (7 percent ABV) chaland mid-range alcohol content (usually around 5-7 percent ABV), they’re often overlooked by consum- lenges the definition of saison with the addition of hibiscus and agave, ers in favor of trendier which give it an unmisstyles like sours or the takable crimson hue not current (much maligned) often associated with the NE-style IPA haze craze. style. Likewise, Council This underrated farmBrewing regularly churns house style finally got its out tart twists on the due when Allagash Brewfarmhouse variety with ing Company out of Portvarious Beatitude bottles, land, Maine spearheaded which range from pasSaison Day on April 8th sionfruit to prickly pear four years ago. (Others (4.5 percent ABV). Keep celebrate the occasion an eye out for its prized earlier in March.) While Les Saisons 2017 release this holiday has yet to be in mid-May. Mother federally recognized—a Earth Brew Company travesty if I’ve ever heard recently revealed a limone—it does mark the united release hybrid colofficial start of springtime laboration with Orange beer drinking, which is arLomaland Saison from Modern Times Beer County’s The Bruery: a guably the best season to dry-hopped saison with enjoy saisons, although I kumquats as part of its “Four Seasons of Mother maintain every season is saison-worthy. Only a handful of local breweries keep this Bel- Earth” series (6.5 percent ABV). Finally, Toolbox Brewing Company is one gian brew on regular rotation, and the various ofof the most saison-savvy breweries in the area. ferings range from fairly traditional to completely At any given time, it offers multiple barrel-aged, unconventional in their approach. Modern Times falls on the old-school scale with Lomaland (5.5 blended or Brettanomyces-laden bottles and taps percent ABV), one of its core cans that’s surpris- for aspiring saisonheads to quaff. Try the barrelingly unsurprising. It’s one of the cleaner, drier aged Grisette (5 percent ABV) for a drier finish or saisons available locally and always worth a try if pick up a bottle of the Saison Rustique Framboise you can resist whatever new brew its just tapped. with raspberries (7 percent ABV) for a tart and elWhite Labs often has a revolving menu of saison evated riff.


and saison-inspired brews—each with a different yeast propagation from its vault—that are best tried side-by-side for those looking to hone their


Write to, check her out on Instagram at @thedelightedbite, or via Twitter at @iheartcontent.











For many of us, dancing is anything but based on letters and notes Díaz writes to himself cerebral. It’s something we do to escape. Something when he’s alone. The next evening, installation artist Anna Katharina Scheidegger will showcase “Enwe do to avoid having to think. Watching others dance, however, is another story. thalpy of Fusion,” which combines film, ice sculpWhile most of the time, it is meant to entertain us, ture and performance to make profound points it can also be meant to make viewers think. Such is about global warming. Other fest highlights include a dual film screenthe case with Live Arts Fest, a multi-faceted dance festival held over 10 evenings from Wednesday, ing and dance performance on Thursday, April 20 revolving around Keith April 12 through SunCOURTESY OF SAN DIEGO DANCE THEATER Glassman’s featureday, April 23. The fest length doc Why Amerifeatures a who’s-who of can Men Dance. Betzi Roe local and international and other local dancers choreographers and inwill tackle another kind cludes performances that of human movement in touch on everything from “Migration” on Friday, immigration to climate April 21. The fest conchange. cludes on Sunday, April “I think people really 23 with Isaacs debuting want and need to talk “Requiem for an Ocean,” about what they saw,” which focuses on ocean says Jean Isaacs, the Artistic Director of San Di“Migration” by Betzi Roe warming and includes an original score by comego Dance Theatre and the curator of Live Arts Fest. “They don’t just want poser Steve Baker. All of the Live Arts Fest performances happen to go and sit in the dark, watch the show and not at 7:30 p.m. at the White Box Live Arts space inside talk to anybody after.” Even if readers missed the opening night perfor- Liberty Station (2590 Truxtun Road, Building 176). mance of “SHE” by Erica Buechner and Lara Segura, Tickets range from $20 for single performances or there are plenty of other options. On Friday, April $120 to see all 10 shows. See sandiegodancetheater. 14, Daniel Díaz will premier “Heart-Driven,” a show org for full lineup and details.





With over 5,000 miles between here and there, chopsticks may be the closest things readers get to an actual trip to Japan. However, a new exhibition at the Mingei International Museum (1439 El Prado) aims to recreate this experience and may provide some insight into the culture. Kanban: Traditional Shop Signs of Japan, which opens Saturday, April 15, focuses on the unique commerce traditions of old Japan and the roots of cultural development in the region. The term kanban refers to signs traditionally used by Japanese merchants to create an identity for their business, and which are often made from a variety of materials such as bamboo and iron. These signs will be installed throughout the exhibit, as well as actual products of some of the vendors and archival photographs. Admission prices vary from free to $10. COURTESY OF MINGEI INTERNATIONAL/ STEVE OLIVER

Kanban: Traditional Shop Signs of Japan 12 · SAN DIEGO CITYBEAT · APRIL 12, 2017



For every literary nerd who writes poems and short stories, the opportunity to have their work published instead of keeping it hoarded on a laptop is a dream come true. So to introduce people to the local literary magazine The Radvocate, COURTESY OF MATT LEWIS which is currently taking submissions, the nonprofit So Say We All is partnering with Tiger!Tiger! and Agents of Change for a benefit event. The Meet Your Local Lit Mag event features readings by authors such as Anthony Martin, Portia Seautelle and more. Plus, books will be sold at low pricThe Radvocate #14 es and 10 percent of food sales will be donated to The San Diego LGBT Community Center. Attendees can also learn more about So Say We All’s first annual literary prize. This all-ages event will be held at Tiger!Tiger! on Thursday, April 13 at 7 p.m. for a $5 suggested donation.

HKanban: Traditional Shop Signs of Japan at Mingei International Museum, 1439 El Prado, Balboa Park. A new exhibition focusing on the unique commerce traditions of old Japan and the roots of cultural development in the region. Opening from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 15. Free-$10. 619-239-0003, Charles Arnoldi at R.B. Stevenson Gallery, 7661 Girard Ave., La Jolla. New paintings and drawings by the Los Angeles artist who is known for intricate geometric and circular patterns. Opening from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, April 15. Free. 858-4593917, HAmericans Seen at Joseph Bellows Gallery, 7661 Girard Ave., La Jolla. A solo exhibition by photographer Sage Sohier showcasing a key selection of Sohier’s black and white photographs from the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Opening from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, April 15. Free. 858-4565621, Trump Won’t Stop Us at Thumbprint Gallery, 920 Kline St., La Jolla. A group art exhibition and fundraiser that speaks out against the current political climate and shows solidarity among local communities, with 85 percent of sales donated to the ACLU. From 6 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, April 18. Free. events/959157007553202/

BOOKS HAustin Choi-Fitzpatrick at Warwick’s Bookstore, 7812 Girard Ave., La Jolla. The assistant professor of political sociology at USD will sign and discuss his new book, What Slaveholders Think. At 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 13. 858-454-0347, HMeet Your Local Lit Mag at Tiger! Tiger!, 3025 El Cajon Blvd., North Park. So Say We All and Agents of Change presents a night of readings and the opportunity for patrons to learn about local literary mag The Radvocate. Ten percent of food sales benefit the San Diego LGBT Community Center. At 7 p.m. Thursday, April 13. $5 suggested donation. 619-696-0363, HVermin on the Mount at Studio Unseen, 4610 Park Blvd., University Heights. Irreverent readings with David Agranoff, Meg Howrey, Jimmy Jazz, Michael Klam, Matt Lewis, Tiffany Scandal and Bridget Quinn. Hosted by CityBeat book critic Jim Ruland. From 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, April 15. Free. Elizabeth Cobbs at Warwick’s Bookstore, 7812 Girard Ave., La Jolla. The bestselling author will discuss and sign her new book The Hello Girls: America’s First Women Soldiers. At 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 18. 858-454-0347, Lisa See at Warwick’s Bookstore, 7812 Girard Ave., La Jolla. The bestselling author will discuss and sign her new novel The Teagirl of Hummingbird Lane. At 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 19. 858454-0347,

DANCE HLive Arts Fest at White Box Live Arts, 2590 Truxtun Road, Point Loma. Ten nights of dance performances spanning modern and postmodern to installation art, including three international artists/ groups. Various times. Wednesday, April 12 through Sunday, April 23. $20-$120. 619-225-1803,

FILM The Wizard of Oz at Copley Symphony Hall, 750 B St., Downtown. A screening

H = CityBeat picks

of the 1939 classic accompanied by a full symphony orchestra playing new transcriptions of Harold Arlen’s scores. Arrive early for a Wizard of Oz costume contest and themed cocktails. At 8 p.m. Saturday, April 15. $20-$65. 619-2350804,

FOOD & DRINK HTaste of Hillcrest at various locations, Hillcrest. Sample more than 35 restaurants at the 17th annual self-guided culinary tour. All proceeds will benefit the Hillcrest Business Association. Restaurants include Gossip Grill, Urban Mo’s, Brick Bar, and more. From noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 15. $30-$35. Mission Valley Craft Beer and Food Festival at Qualcomm Stadium Practice Field, 9449 Friars Road, Mission Valley. More than 30 breweries and 20 restaurants gather for the seventh annual festival, which includes unlimited sampling with each ticket. VIP allows for early entry and 20 special beer tastings. From 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 15. $60-$100. HTaste of Point Loma at United Portuguese S.E.S. Inc., 2818 Avenida de Portugal, Point Loma. Sip and savor your way through Point Loma and Shelter Island during this annual event featuring samples from dozens of area eateries. Shuttle services will be available to attendees throughout the night. From 5:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, April 19. $15-$25.

MUSIC HKjell Nordeson and Oeyvind Brandstegg at Bread & Salt, 1955 Julian Ave, Logan Heights. The nordic duo plays freely improvised music with the use of percussion and Marimba Lumina. Held in celebration of Fresh Sound’s 20th anniversary. From 7:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, April 13. $10-$20. events/611103575760578 Art Meets Jazz at Bread & Salt Gallery, 1955 Julian Ave., Logan Heights. A series that salutes jazz legends with a showcase of music and art that captures the local jazz scene. This time is a tribute to Sarah Vaughan and Clifford Brown. From 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, April 15. $20-$28. HSpringfest at various locations. The annual showcase of the UCSD Department of Music’s graduate program includes an array of diverse musical performances. See website for schedule and details. Through Sunday, April 16. Free-$12.

PERFORMANCE Suicide Girls at The Music Box, 1337 India St., Little Italy. The burlesque group sets out on their largest U.S. tour to perform new pin-up interpretations of Sailor Moon, Westworld, Stranger Things and a Prince/Bowie tribute. Tix for a pre-show meet-and-greet also available. At 9 p.m. Thursday, April 13. $26-$120. 323-6679000,

POETRY & SPOKEN WORD HLong Story Short: Celebrity at The Ink Spot, 2730 Historic Decatur Rd., Barracks 16, Suite 202, Point Loma. So Say We All’s monthly improv storytelling night features five-minute stories with no notes where anyone can take the stage and tell a story about their brushes with fame. From 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, April 15. $5 suggested donation. 619-6960363,



april 12, 2017 · San Diego CityBeat · 13



n the past ten years, vinyl records, cassette tapes and other forms of physical media have reinfiltrated the mainstream market. Regardless of whether this is a lasting trend, the rejuvenation of premillennium mediums signals a pseudorejection of technology. Now, it seems, the trend is creeping into music production, especially electronica. Analog modular synthesizers are pushing aside digital synthesizers, providing a tactile landscape for those uninspired by computerized presets, says John Noble, who produces techno, ambient and other genres on a modular synth under the name prettyhowtown. “Plug-ins, software instruments, software recordings and studios-in-a-box on laptops have not fulfilled its promise for a lot of people,” says Noble. “[The scene] has gotten oversaturated with it.” Noble has seen more producers accessorize their sets with such analog modulars, which are customizable hodgepodges of effects boxes, drum machines, oscillators and other gizmos. These modulars are controlled by flipping switches, pushing buttons and plugging cables to create ever-changing patchworks of sound. “It’s choose your own adventure,” says Noble. “This particular patchwork will never happen again. That’s the other thing. There’s no presets. It’s ephemeral.” Sound generation is unpredictable by nature, which could scare producers from performing live with only a modular, but Noble says he’s attracted to that very quality. “I’ve actually shut down in a middle of

a set because I got into a weird spot. I just shut it down and reset everything. That’s how you know it’s live. Then you fire it back up, drop a kick drum again, four on the floor and everyone goes crazy again.” Aside from producers attracted to its spontaneity and tangibility, modulars are relatively more affordable and widely available than before. Roland and Moog are manufacturing the equipment again and Guitar Center now sells modularcompatible gadgets. TORREY BAILEY

John Noble “The technology is 1960s with 21st century manufacturing,” Noble says. “Knowledge that used to be in a few esoteric books somewhere or in someone’s head, has now all been published. A lot of it is people taking ideas and doing a mash-up of them, adding a twist and some of those twists are pretty magic.” That “magic” will be on display when prettyhowtown plays at Eternal Architecture of Sound 2, a festival in Tijuana from April 28 through 30, which also features Nortec Collective founder Pepe Mogt. “We’re going to point the speakers at the fence,” Noble says. “We’re going to make the border great again.”

—Torrey Bailey

EVENTS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 12 POLITICS & COMMUNITY HTax March at San Diego County Administration Center, 1600 Pacific Hwy, Downtown. A march to Civic Center Plaza to protest Trump, call on Congress to subpoena his tax returns, demand an end to budget cuts on social services and more. Followed by teachins. From 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 15. Free.

SPECIAL EVENTS South Park Easter Scavenger Hunt at Graffiti Beach, 2220 Fern St., South Park. Patrons travel to various South Park businesses to fill up an Easter basket while snacking and enjoying refreshments. From 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 15. $10.

SPORTS HRed Bull Air Race World Championship at Embarcadero, Along Harbor Drive, Downtown. Fourteen of the world’s best airplane race pilots test their precision and skill by navigating a low-level aerial track made up of air-filled pylons 80 feet high. From noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 15th and Sunday, April 16th. $20.

TALKS & DISCUSSIONS HArt Power Presents Kahlil Joseph at Visual Arts Facility, Performance Space, 9500 Gillman Drive, La


Jolla. The video artist will talk about his career trajectory and life as a video director and conceptual artist working with the likes of Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar. From 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 13. Free. Knocking Down Walls at University of San Diego, 5998 Alcala Park, Mission Valley. A conference with keynote speaker Dr. Antwi Akom exploring critical fair housing issues intersecting with homelessness, mental health and people with criminal histories. From 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 13. $20-$50. 619-239-6693, HGene Kelly: The Legacy, An Afternoon with Patricia Ward Kelly at Balboa Theatre, 868 Fourth Ave., Downtown. Gene Kelly’s wife and biographer, Patricia Ward Kelly, tells his behind-the-scenes story using film clips, unreleased audio recordings and anecdotes. At 2 p.m. Saturday, April 15, $18-$45. 858-483-3918, HA Culinary History of the Great Depression at Central Library, 330 Park Blvd., East Village. Culinary Historians of San Diego will present author and historian Andrew Coe, who will explore the intersection of food, politics and culture during the Great Depression. From 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 15. Free. 619-236-5800, HWhat is Happening San Diego?!?!? Anti-Culmination at San Diego Art Institute, 1439 El Prado, Balboa Park. Local artists and organizers discuss the meaning of creating cultural equity and how to achieve it in post-election San Diego. From 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, April 15. Free.


THEATER Lost in translation?



reating the illusion of a road trip is a formidable theatrical undertaking that seldom succeeds. It doesn’t with San Diego Repertory’s production of Into the Beautiful North, a play by Karen Zacarias based on a novel by Luis Alberto Urrea. In the play, as in Urrea’s novel, a girl named Nayeli and her friends from the fictional Mexican town of Tres Camarones make a daring journey across the border. Their quest: to bring home Nayeli’s father and to recruit Mexican warriors to return with them to thwart the thugs who’ve overrun Tres Ca� marones. Nayeli and company have been inspired by the film The Magnificent Seven and its dauntless guns for hire. All fine— for a novel. But on stage, the storytelling is scattershot, episodic and at times grat� ing, with principal cast members Kenia Ramirez, Bryant Hernandez and Jennifer Paredes scrambling about in front of a projection screen, breathlessly transi� tioning from one situation to another, and even singing (to a strummed ukulele) a refrain that really adds nothing to the drama. Much-needed comic relief is supplied by Herbert Siguenza in multiple roles, though his and others’ “border cop” parts are one-note. Catalina Maynard’s Mayor Irma of Tres Camarones also feels underdeveloped. Into the Beautiful North is


Joan, Jonathan Sangster and John Massey) supply dating advice and flashback mate� rial. Except for when the band drowns out the vocals, this all works nicely, like two people meant for each other. First Date runs through May 7 at the Horton Grand Theatre, downtown. $35$60;

—David L. Coddon

Theater reviews run weekly. Write to

OPENING: Travels With My Aunt: Four actors play 20 different roles in this offbeat comedy about an eccentric aunt who changes the life of her stuffy nephew. Written by Graham Greene, it opens April 12 at the North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach.

Jennifer Paredes (left) and Kenia Ramirez in Into the Beautiful North part of a rolling world premiere that includes three other theaters in the U.S. For now though, it isn’t ready for prime time. Into the Beautiful North runs through April 23 on the Lyceum Stage in Horton Plaza, downtown. $38-$65. ••• an Diego Musical Theatre’s First Date is actually a wise choice for a first date. It’s funny, its cast is


universally appealing, and it’s only an hour and a half long, leaving plenty of time to hit a Gaslamp bar or bis���������� tro after� ward. The entire show—written by Austin Winsberg with music and lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner—takes place on a blind date between uptight Aaron (Joshua David Cavanaugh) and beautiful but blunt Casey (Cassandra Nuss). Sup� porting characters (played by Lauren King Thompson, Zackary Scot Wolfe, Lindsay

Margins of Error: In this world premiere drama from Will Cooper, a revered scientist, his wife and two students attempt to break down love and deceit to a science. Presented by the Roustabouts Theatre Company, it opens April 14 at the Lyceum Theatre in the Gaslamp.

For full theater listings, visit “Theater” at under the Culture tab.


16 · San Diego CityBeat · April 12, 2017




Omar Lopex

n Tijuana, everyone is an assistant director without you asking. It’s great.” So says local artist and filmmaker Omar Lopex when asked what it’s been like to shoot and direct his new feature-length film—titled Ana, Who They Pulled Out of the River—on the streets of Tijuana. “It’s perfect because you’ll have random people taking care of business for you,” says Lopex, referring to how the Tijuana locals would often do things like stopping traffic or redirecting other pedestrians so that Lopex could finish the shot. “I think that it has to do a lot with movies because all people love movies. Way more than art projects.” Still, shooting in single takes, guerilla style, on a rather bulbous 16mm, analog camera hasn’t been without hiccups. In one instance, he was trying to get a shot with the film’s main character on a zonkey (the donkeys that are painted to look like zebras, a common site in Tijuana). After spotting a cop car in the alley where he was trying to film, a local Lopex had hired to help on the set decided to take matters into his own hands. “He goes to the cop and he’s like, ‘Hey! We’re shooting a movie over here! Can you move?’” recalls Lopex, shaking his head. “The cop gets out of his car and goes like, ‘what’d you say? What’s going on?’” The cop initially asked Lopex for his permits (which he didn’t have), but eventually bought Lopex’s story that he was simply taking a picture of his relatives. As Lopex prepares to complete Ana, he says the film’s budget now includes funds for police bribes. He doesn’t plan on hiring that assistant again. “He was the worst,” says Lopex. “He’s a sweet guy, but he’s an idiot.” Lopex is already a respected video art-


ist with shows at the San Diego Art Insti- after writer and illustrator Alison Bechdel tute (SDAI), Art Produce and the Oceanside which tests whether or not a piece of fiction Museum of Art under his belt, but Ana, Who can have two female characters that interact They Pulled Out of the River ( without talking about a male), he says that will be his first feature. In many ways, the while he’s happy with the all-female vision, black-and-white film could be seen as an it wasn’t something that first crossed his extension of his 2015 short film Sin Eater, a mind. “I couldn’t pretend to be that guy,” says riches-to-rags story of two sisters set in San Diego during the Great Depression. Around Lopex. “You know, I’m a decent guy, but I ADRIENNE JOY ARMSTRONG don’t have my feminist the same time as that t-shirt. The film is not all film’s completion, Loabout women, but it’s fepex also curated a special male-driven.” screening at SDAI of other Inspired as much by short films by and about comic books like Love and women. Rockets as it is by clasEven with those facts sic episodes of Colombo, and that he was raised prithe film itself is a murder marily by women, Lopex mystery that begins with maintains that Ana is its a woman abandoning her own entity. The fact that daughter on the banks the film features an all-feof the Tijuana River. The male cast that, as he puts it, “doesn’t mention guys” story of Moses is an easy is purely incidental. analogy, but Lopex says “It’s not an anti-guy the story more closely rething. It’s just like they sembles that of The Jungle don’t exist and we don’t Book, in that the daughter even talk about it,” says (Ana, played by Ariadnali Lopex, who also brought Lopex shooting Ana, who they de la Peña) is raised by the pulled out of the river wildness of the city. Lopex on artists such as Toni Larios and Hugo Crosthis reluctant to reveal more waite to help with things like set design. “It’s details about the plot other than when the mythical in this sense that it’s all-women mother shows back up 20 years later to find and it’s in this crazy city, but really what I her daughter working as a clown, and that’s hope is people don’t even notice it until when things really get intense. halfway through the movie or at the end of Still, for a protagonist, Ana has a very the movie. I hope they think, ‘wait there’s no limited amount of dialogue and Lopex says guys in that. Where the hell are they?’” the “meat” of the story comes from dozens When Lopex is asked if he took any inspi- of extras and supporting characters. ration from the Bechdel test (a test named “Anna is the protagonist and she’s the

movie, but we never really jive with her,” says Lopex. “She’s not awful but we jive with everyone else. We, the audience, are pretty much everyone else and we’re all the other characters. I watch it and I think if you’re a decent person, you’ll side with all the other people in the movie. All the ancillary characters.” Lopex says that many of the actresses he cast in these parts were just happy not to be playing what have become stereotypical parts. Even the zonkey scene was cut because Lopex wanted to avoid what he decribes as the “tired tropes” that people often associate with Tijuana. “All the actors we’ve recruited and cast, they love it because everything they ever get pitched is all like ‘I’m a whore,’ ‘I work as a drug mule’ or ‘I’m trying to cross the border,’” says Lopex. “I have feelings about all that stuff but it’s boring, and they’re bored playing those parts. It’s that or they’re playing a zombie.” After a fundraising event in May and some support from SDAI, Lopex says he will complete the film in hopes of shopping it around to festivals and potential distributors. He’s realistic about it though. Given the use of analog, black-and-white film, the all-female cast and the film’s subject matter, he’s knows he’s not working on a blockbuster, but rather a film that will live on in the hearts of a select audience. “You know, it’s not a marketable movie,” Lopex says. “My kids are asking, ‘so when can we go see the movie?’ I always tell them, ‘you realize it’s not going to be in the AMC theatre, right?’” Write to Follow him on Twitter at @combsseth.



SEEN LOCAL TO SEE OR NOT TO SEE: MAY-LING MARTINEZ In this semi-regular department, Seth Combs reviews a notable new art show or exhibition.


t seems strange to call May-ling Martinez ( a mid-career artist. However, given that term’s arbitrary parameters, I do feel comfortable saying that I at least consider the sculptor and paper artist to be hitting something of a creative plateau. This is evident in her new self-titled show at Ice Gallery. While other artists come and go, Martinez has stuck it out in San Diego and has showcased her work in nearly every major gallery in town. I first saw her work back in 2009 at the Luis de Jesus gallery, Seminal Projects. The fan-based sculptures in that particular show (titled Measured Resistance) were much more whimsical than what I’ve come to expect from Martinez these days, but one could see the promise in pieces such as “Learning Device” and “Measured Resistance (Inflated/Collapsed).” For her new show, Martinez used the space as a studio in which, as she puts it, “layers of information collide and overlap in the space in a stream of consciousness.” Illustrated waves are layered through imagery culled from “how-to” books taking up an entire wall of the gallery. On the adjacent side of the space, there is a table with meticulously placed scientific tools and found objects on, above and around the table. It could come across as overwhelmingly OCD;

May-Ling Martinez a methodology within the madness that comes with the step-by-step process of the scientific method. When the table piece is combined with the more surrealistic nature of the wall piece, it’s as if the viewer is seeing two sides of the artistic brain. The part which relies on habits and learned behaviors in order to plan and proceed, as well as the more istinctive and guttural side that would like to see nothing more than for it to all burn to the ground. There’s also a stack of storage boxes that nearly reaches to the ceiling. To be honest, I found that addition to be a bit superfluous, but it didn’t detract from a show that managed to be both hasty and charming. Moreover, it only went to further solidify Martinez’s place as one of the best artists San Diego has to offer. Please don’t take her away.

—Seth Combs



ids should be exposed to arts and culture as much as possible. Even if I’ve consciously chosen to not have children, I’ll be the first one to retweet (or even write about) when schools decide to cut arts programming. It’s important for developing minds to learn the value and importance of creative expression. That being said, I have noticed a particularly annoying trend lately with newish parents taking their kids out to gallery shows that, in my estimation, are not the best places to bring them. Actually, let me rephrase: These shows would be perfectly suitable for them. Rather, it’s that these children don’t seem to have any idea of what they’re supposed to do or how they’re supposed to act once they’re in a gallery setting. There’s been plenty of ink devoted to the standards in which we’re supposed to behave at a gallery. Yes, gallery openings, with their requisite schmoozing and chatting, tend to be a bit more casual and loose, but that doesn’t mean that patrons should just let their kids run wild. Just as with going to the movies or attending a concert, there is a code of decency that we’re all expected to adhere to when it comes to art galleries. And just like those other activities, the art gallery system seems to be breaking down.


Look, I like kids. I really do. But Bread & Salt looked like Lord of the Flies this past Saturday. I saw kids touching and mishandling art that wasn’t meant to be touched. I saw them playing with the mineral ceramics that made up Juan Villa Vicencio’s Natural Systems exhibition inside the Athenaeum Art Center. I saw them rubbing their dirty, grubby hands all over the paintings of Tijuana street artist PANCA. And I saw them using the works of Lael Corbin—a largescale plane and a paraAMY GIZIENSKI / FLICKR chute piece—like they were a jungle gym. And it’s not just Bread & Salt. I’ve seen this type of behavior play out at exhibitions at the Athenaeum in La Jolla and MCASD. It’s not easy to diagnose why my generation’s kids seem to be so unruly. I know my people tend to be on the liberal side and much less likely to be authoritative disciplinarians when it comes to their kids, but there has to be some set of rules a family agrees to before they go to a museum or gallery. Without these rules, parents are just contributing to the degradation of a system of respect that should be afforded to every artist. What’s more, their children won’t grow up to respect or appreciate art. It’ll simply be something colorful they can play around with.



april 12, 2017 · San Diego CityBeat · 19



Monstrous me Anne Hathaway has some leviathan-sized issues in new sci-fi comedy by Glenn Heath Jr.


ight when you thought things couldn’t get any film is as much a hot mess as Hathaway’s frazzled proworse for South Korea, along comes Colossal. tagonist. Certain scenes are charming and comedic, Threats of nuclear war from North Korea and others are sadistic and hateful, mirroring the mood embarrassing government scandals are one thing, but swings of an abusive husband. Vigalondo’s strange it’s a drunken white woman’s guilty conscience that and moving Extraterrestrial from 2011 managed to could be the Asian country’s ultimate undoing in Na- balance these competing forces with greater elegance. Even more disheartening, there’s an indiscriminate cho Vigalondo’s genre hodgepodge. Never underestiabsurdity to Gloria and Oscar’s eventual reckoning mate the city-killing power of millennial self-pity. Unemployed and lazy, Gloria (Anne Hathaway) that disregards very real catastrophic consequences stays out all night partying instead of looking for her on the ground in South Korea. One of Gloria’s liquornext gig as an online writer. Stoic, mannered, posh, fueled tirades ends up killing thousands of people, but British boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens) has had enough Vigalondo lets her off the hook with the equivalent of and kicks her out of their swanky New York City a politician’s “thoughts and prayers” tweet. While not Man of Steel-egregious, this casuapartment. Rock bottom means al decimation of foreigners shows returning to the dreary suburbs that independent genre films, like of her youth to figure out what’s their mainstream brethren, are next. Good thing there’s an empCOLOSSAL not immune to being culturally ty family house just waiting to Directed by Nacho Vigalondo tone-deaf. When Colossal finally be trashed. Starring Anne Hathaway, unmasks the trite origins of GloMinor daily tasks like buyJason Sudeikis, Tim Blake Nelson ria’s trauma, these offenses turn ing an inflatable bed or walking and Dan Stevens even more discernible. down the street seem garganRated R Complicating matters is the tuan for Gloria, who is a cliché fact that Gloria must share equal of stumbling contradictions. A billing with Oscar, as if his petty reunion with old friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis) inspires some much needed inner insecurities and rage are equivalent to her alcoholreflection, but only after spending the entire night ism and anxiety. The two characters are inexplicably boozing at the dank local saloon. Walking home the linked by a trivial past event that only confirms their next morning hungover, she passes through a small core personalities. But to what end? Vigalondo goes to park and has a minor meltdown. At that same mo- all this trouble splicing genres and conventions just to ment, a Godzilla-sized monster ravages Seoul by mak- eventually come back around and reiterate the obvious. Oscar’s most telling line speaks to the film’s cyclical ing the same bratty gestures. Coincidence? Hell nah. To Vigalondo’s credit, he doesn’t spend too much and tired view of addiction: “It’s hard not to get bored. time on Gloria connecting the dots: She realizes pretty I mean there are ways, but none of them are healthy.” Since calling someone’s bluff is a key theme in Coquickly that her morning dalliances coincide with the supernatural clusterfuck out east. But the metaphor- lossal, we must apply that same courtesy to the film heavy travails that her situation inspires quickly be- itself. Destabilizing a foreign nation need not be one come redundant and taxing. Quaint drinking sessions of the ways to cure boredom, especially when it inwith Oscar and his buddies Garth (Tim Blake Nelson) volves angry Americans who can’t move past a simple and Joel (Austin Stowell) turn sour. The characters’ childhood spat. Colossal opens on Friday, April 14, at the Angelika rampant addiction and their complicity in each other’s self-destruction eventually erode the social graces Carmel Mountain Cinemas and Landmark Hillcrest that have been holding back years of pent up anger. Cinemas. If Colossal is ultimately about recognizing your demons and making a change, it can’t quite decide the Film reviews run weekly. best route to reach self-empowerment. Tonally, the Write to




Hello, My Name Is Doris

Necessary counter-programming


here hasn’t been much local programming that has dealt with female experiences and representation on screen. This drought makes the Museum of Photographic Arts’ “Aging Women in Film” series a welcome addition to the pre-Summer arts calendar. Five movies that run the gamut from comedy to international art house will be included, each trying to “reinforce positive images” on a range of subjects that include aging and sexuality. Michael Showalter’s Hello, My Name is Doris kicks off the series on Thursday, April 13, and it’s a worthy opener. Starring Sally Field as a middle-aged data processor who becomes obsessively attracted to a


younger colleague (Max Greenfield), the film explores themes of regret and emotional trauma from an underrepresented perspective while poking fun at hipster absurdity. Despite its relevant subject matter, the series itself doesn’t represent especially daring programming choices. Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones try to spice up their boring marriage in the 1998 comedy Hope Spings (April 21). The French drama Party Girl (April 27) from 2014 poses some nuanced questions about difficult transitions that happen later in life, but is ultimately pretty forgettable as a character study. 2001’s Iris (May 5) and 2016’s Zoology (May 11) close out the schedule.

MOPA has also played host to a monthly film program dedicated to “Famous Firsts.” Previous screenings included Jean-Luc Godard’s electric debut Breathless and John Schlesinger’s Midnight Cowboy, the first and only X-rated film to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. On Friday, April 14 the series continues with 1948’s Drunken Angel, the initial collaboration between Japanese director Akira Kurosawa and the great actor Toshiro Mifune. In this stirring neo-noir, post-WWII Tokyo is a rotting cesspool that swallows up good people. Takashi Shimura’s drunken doctor tries his best to save Mifune’s TB-stricken gangster. While not on par with Seven Samurai or High and Low, it’s nevertheless a prickly exploration of pride that hints at the greatness to come.

Gifted: Single father Frank (Chris Evans) tries to figure out the best course forward after realizing his young daughter is a math genius.

—Glenn Heath Jr.

Their Finest: In Lone Scherfig’s new comedy romance, a British film crew attempts to boost morale during World War II by making a propaganda film after the Blitzkrieg.

OPENING Cezanne et Moi: Two renowned French artists—painter Paul Cézanne and writer Emile Zola—develop a friendship that experiences many ups and downs. Colossal: Anne Hathaway stars as a drunken unemployed writer who realizes she may be controlling a gigantic monster currently ravaging Seoul, South Korea.

My Life as a Zucchini: In this whimsical Oscar-nominated animated film, a young boy who goes by the name Zucchini is sent to a live in a foster home after the death of his mother. Opens Friday, April 14, at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park. The Fate of the Furious: Vin Diesel’s Dominic Torreto gets seduced by a mysterious woman and turns on his crew of hot-rod loving criminals, causing a ripple effect of mayhem. F. Gary Gray directs the eighth entry of this wildly popular Hollywood franchise. The Freedom to Marry: This social justice documentary tells the inside story of the same-sex marriage movement through the eyes of those who led the fight.Opens Friday, April 14, at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park. The Lure: In this shocking horror-musical hybrid, two mermaid sisters become caught in a love triangle when they fall for the same man. Opens Friday, April 14, at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.

Tommy’s Honour: Sam Neill stars in this biopic about the original founders of golf in the United Kingdom.

For complete movie listings, visit F ilm on



MUSIC s a woman of color in an otherwise white-male-dominated industry, Mitski Miyawaki has always had to work a little harder to prove herself. Known simply as Mitski, she released her breakout fourth album, Puberty 2, last year, and some critics seemed desperate to assign her a specific role in the music landscape: that Mitski’s music only existed to rebel against the men in the industry instead of existing alongside them. And when critics recently suggested that her breakout song “Your Best American Girl” was an attempt to “stick it to the white boy indie rock world,” as she said on a social media post last year, she didn’t let this false assumption bother her. While she did discuss it publicly, that was only to establish that her place in the indie-rock world had nothing to do with white boys at all. “I’ve learned the hard way to switch gears and not try to fit into it and just try to pursue exactly the kind of music I want to make and the audience I want to reach,” Mitski says. “And if some white indie boys end up liking my music, that’s great.” In the same way that she stopped trying to mold her music to a specific genre or audience, she also decided to do the same with her identity. Mitski is half Japanese and half American, but doesn’t fully identify with either culture. While some might see that as an identity crisis, Mitski finds freedom in the lack of stability in her background. Since she’s not personally tied to any traditions, neither is her music. “I’m very good at listening to my gut and what I want to make instead of what maybe is expected of me,” Mitski says. Listening to her gut when it comes to her music means creating songs with pop vocal melodies and indie rock instrumentation that range from very soft to very loud. However, it isn’t party music, and going to a Mitski show feels more like a private experience. “I like for my shows to be places where someone can go to reorganize their feelings or go through whatever is inside them and take inventory of their psyche,” she says. Mitski was raised in a family that moved around a lot, and music was one of the few constants in her life. When asked if there was a moment in her upbringing when she decided to pursue a career in music, she says simply that she realized that music was her only special skill.


Mitski breaks out and shakes up the indie-rock scene by just being herself By Nicole Sazegar

Mitski “I realized it was more like I don’t know how to do anything else, I’m not good at anything else and all I want to do is make music,” Mitski says. “So it became kind of like, OK, if I don’t have anything else then I actually have to do this.’” Working on her early material helped her get through her problems with her identity and gave her a sense of purpose and meaning despite lacking a sense of belonging. “I think having my music gave me a reason to be around or just permission to exist,” Mitski says. “Like I’m allowed to be here because I can contribute this one thing.” Her journey into making music hasn’t been easy. Her first two albums Lush and Retired from Sad, New Career in Business were self-released and largely went unnoticed when they first came out. As a beginner in the music industry, Mitski’s naivety became apparent when she hit

a roadblock after putting the songs on the internet. “I was impatient,” Miyawaki says. “I was done with the music and I wanted to put it out regardless of whether I had support from any kind of institutions or not. I assumed that if I just put music on the internet then people would come to it and listen to it. Now I know it’s not as simple as that.” However, even with the hardships that came with self-releasing two albums, Mitski says she learned the importance of independence in the music industry. Ultimately, her biggest challenge has been trying to find respect as a woman of color within that industry. In a quiet tone but with a hint of passionate ferocity, Mitski recalls the times she’s had to sell out 800-capacity venues before she was allowed to play 1,500-capacity venues. She says that she had to do this despite seeing “indie rock bands of four white dudes” being allowed to

play these venues without having to prove anything. “I think a lot of my struggle in music comes from the fact that people can’t imagine someone like me taking charge and writing my own music, performing it and being a solo act,” Mitski says matter-of-factly. “I think people physically can’t imagine my face doing that, so it’s hard to convince people of something they haven’t ever even imagined.” Unfortunately, she also notes that this hasn’t changed much from when she first started out as a musician. “It’s the same hurdles just at a different level with different stakes,” Mitski says, with a sense of resignation in her voice. Even with all the hurdles she’s had to jump through, Mitski’s passion for music has become her primary motivation. She realizes that she’s put all of her energy into her music and can’t give up now. She also accepts that the feeling of being dedicated to one thing and knowing what she wants to do is the best possible scenario. “That’s my driving force,” she says. “If I quit this, I have nothing else.”



april 12, 2017 · San Diego CityBeat · 23




ulti-instrumentalist Nathan Hubbard has announced two new improvisational albums being released via his Castor & Pollux imprint. One, Hunter’s Moon, was recorded in 2016 as a duo with woodwind player Vinny Golia, and the other, Lattice Trust, was performed in 2014 as a quartet featuring GE Stinson, Steuart Liebig and Alex Cline. The former is one continuous piece, while the latter features three separate performances. Both are entirely improvisational, however, which led Hubbard to decide to release them at the same time. “I thought, these two records, maybe they go together,” he says in a phone interview. “It’s kind of organic how they both feature musicians from L.A., they’re both live recordings, they’re both improvised.” The two releases have their share of commonalities, but they’re also somewhat different musically, both because of the ensemble size and because of the approach to each performance. It’s also because each recording features musicians from different backgrounds, or simply the nature of improvisational music not being pre-planned. “They’re both pretty dense,” he says. “Clearly there’s my stamp on them. But they’re both pretty different. There’s some stuff that’s more melodic, and some that’s more like a drone.”

On Saturday, April 22, Hubbard and Golia will perform a record release show at Bread and Salt for Hunter’s Moon. However, after that, Hubbard says he’ll be moving on to the next thing. He says he’s just not the type of musician to revisit music he’s made in the past all that much, and the size of his discography on Bandcamp seems to back that up. ANDREW GOTTLIEB

Vinny Golia and Nathan Hubbard “I have friends that like to revisit things from the past,” he says. “It’s good for some people, but it’s not really what I do. At some point I just have to move on. I’m always interested in pushing on and trying new things.”

—Jeff Terich

ALBUM REVIEW Ash Williams Pulsar (Diet Pop)


here aren’t many bands in San Diego that are quite like Ash Williams. In their own words, via Bandcamp, they’re a “punk band that wishes it were a black metal band.” It’s a pretty apt description, actually. A fair amount of the time they certainly sound like a punk band, with a skate-punk gallop that’s not necessarily foreign around these parts. Yet their songs also often feature some harsh, screeching vocals that wouldn’t be out of place on a vintage black metal record. There’s also a density and ferocity on new album Pulsar that’s far beyond the expected aesthetic of Southern California punk. This is music that hits harder and cuts deeper, and probably cracks a rib or two in the process. The funny thing about Ash Williams is that on first listen, the metal elements could very well go unnoticed by the listener. They’re a punk band first and foremost, and they’re very good at it. But focus your ears a little closer on what they’re doing and it reveals something much more diverse and interesting. On “Dead Planets,” there’s an abrasive, discordant quality and a use of harmonization that, if set to a blast beat, would es-


sentially change the song from punk to black metal with only a few minor moves. It’s a tricky, clever thing that they do here, and it makes their music all the more interesting as a result. With each successive track on Pulsar, Ash Williams moves further away from straightforward punk. “Lycan,” for instance, is one of the darkest and most menacing tracks here. Two minutes in, the band switches gears and sounds more like Bad Religion than Wolves in the Throne Room, but those first couple of minutes are powerful, compelling and ominous. There’s a similar quality to the awesomely titled “Death Echoes,” though the heavy sheets of guitar with a punk drum beat almost puts it closer to crust punk a la Discharge or Trap Them. It’s hard to fully wrap one’s head around Ash Williams’ aesthetic, which seems to want to exist in two worlds at once. For the most part, it works pretty well, and proves that the boundaries that exist between genres are pretty thin when you get down to it.

—Jeff Terich @SDCITYBEAT


april 12, 2017 · San Diego CityBeat · 25



IF I WERE U A music insider’s weekly agenda WEDNESDAY, APRIL 12

PLAN A: SUSTO, Cat Clyde @ Soda Bar. SUSTO’s sound is a blend of fuzzy alternative rock with dreamy folk music, a bit like Fleet Foxes mashed up with Smashing Pumpkins. It’s better than it sounds on paper, if that seems a little off to you. PLAN B: Grace Mitchell, Birdy Bardot, Grizzly Business @ The Casbah. I’m admittedly not a fan of Grace Mitchell, but I did give Birdy Bardot my local “Album of the Year” in 2015 for a reason. If you haven’t seen her yet, go take in one of this town’s best pop talents.


PLAN A: Preoccupations, Porcelain Raft @ The Casbah. Preoccupations, formerly Viet Cong, played a hell of a show the last time they were in San Diego. Their style of dark, arty post-punk is extra urgent and punchy in a live setting, so don’t miss out this time. PLAN B: Ape Machine, Gozu, Nebula Drag, Little Dove @ Soda Bar. Ape


Machine is a stoner rock band, and honestly with the name Ape Machine, what else could they be? But their riffs are rockin’, and their songs are super fun. Count me in. BACKUP PLAN: Dayshell, Silver Snakes, Weight of the Sun, Wolfwaker @ Brick by Brick.


PLAN A: ‘La Escalera Fest’ w/ Hoist the Colors, Russian Girlfriends, Squarecrow @ Tower Bar. This weekend is the annual La Escalera Fest, a showcase of bands on both sides of the San Diego-Tijuana border— most of them punk bands—organized by La Escalera Records. A wristband gets readers into all showcases, and this is the first official show of the weekend. Get in the pit! PLAN B: Shaed, Manatee Commune @

Soda Bar. Shaed is a highly stylized band that uses synths and electronic beats to make atmospheric pop and R&B tunes. They’re still pretty new but they’re making some cool sounds. I think they’re going somewhere with this.


PLAN A: Pond, The Incredible Shagatha and His Moog @ The Casbah. Australian psych-pop group Pond shares members with Tame Impala, which explains why they have a similar aesthetic. Yet Pond’s songs are a bit scruffier and sassier, which makes them a little more fun. PLAN B: ‘La Escalera Fest’ w/ Civil War Rust, Western Settings, The Shell Corporation @ Soda Bar. Keep the punk rock party going this weekend with day two of La Escalera Fest. Stock up on caffeine beforehand so you can make it through the powerchord marathon.

fantastic, and they even do a great cover of “Dancing In the Dark.” Sold! PLAN B: Little Dragon @ Observatory North Park. Little Dragon’s been around for quite a few years now, proving themselves as one of the most reliably cool electronic pop groups around. If it’s a dance party you seek, start here.


PLAN A: Local Natives, Tennis @ Observatory North Park. Local Natives have seemingly been headed toward becoming indie rock’s biggest band since the release of their 2010 debut Gorilla Manor. They’re maybe not quite that big, though their super-catchy, dreamy anthems always sound bigger than the room that they’re playing in. PLAN B: PC Worship, The Dreebs, Polish @ Soda Bar. PC Worship are a dark, noisy, arty punk band who once made a collaborative record with the members of Parquet Courts. However, they’re an impressive enough band on their own, with their fair share of weirdly accessible noise rock dirges.


PLAN A: Downtown Boys, San Pedro El Downtown Boys Cortez @ Soda Bar. Downtown Boys are a politically charged punk group that just signed to Sub Pop and are working with Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto on their next album. That’s certainly got my attention. Their anti-patriarchal anthems are

PLAN A: The Oxen, Palomino, Three Chamber Heart @ The Merrow. The Oxen earned the honor of EXTRASPECIALGOOD in our recent Great Demo Review, on the strength of their fuzzed-out, highly melodic indie pop tunes. They’re one of the best new bands in San Diego, and tonight’s a great night to hear them for yourself.




Jefferson Starship (BUT, 5/25), The Wailing Souls (BUT, 6/6), The Deslondes (SPACE, 6/11), Los Cafres (Observatory, 6/14), The Body (SPACE, 6/17), Nick Waterhouse (BUT, 6/22), Ron Gallo, White Reaper (Soda Bar, 6/26), DIANA (Soda Bar, 7/2), Phora (Observatory, 7/12), Mutoid Man (Casbah, 7/12), The Sword (BUT, 7/18), Beach Fossils (Casbah, 7/20), Steve Gunn (SPACE, 7/30), Petit Biscuit (Observatory, 8/12), Dungen (Casbah, 8/18), The Shins, Spoon (Open Air Theatre, 10/1), Father John Misty (Observatory 10/5-6), The Woggles (Casbah, 10/7), The Black Angels (HOB, 10/17).

GET YER TICKETS Cold Cave (SPACE, 4/21-22), David Crosby (Humphreys, 4/23), Chance the Rapper (Valley View Casino Center, 4/24), The 1975 (Open Air Theatre, 4/25), Kings of Leon (Mattress Firm Amphitheatre, 4/28), Face to Face (Casbah, 5/6), Flaming Lips (Observatory, 5/7), At the DriveIn (SOMA, 5/9), Com Truise, Clark (BUT, 5/12), Conor Oberst (Observatory, 5/14), Brother Ali (Observatory, 5/15), Pallbearer (Casbah, 5/16), Chris Stapleton (Mattress Firm Amphitheatre, 5/18), DIIV (Casbah, 5/18), Thundercat (Observatory, 5/19), Rodriguez (Humphreys, 5/23), Melissa Etheridge (Humphreys, 5/24), Modest Mouse (Open Air Theatre, 5/30), Mount Kimbie (Music Box, 5/31), Little


Hurricane (BUT, 6/2), Dana Carvey (Humphreys, 6/2), In-Ko-Pah 4 w/ Mattson 2, Zig Zags, Mrs. Magician, Birdy Bardot (Desert View Tower, 6/3), Justin Townes Earle (Music Box, 6/4), Elvis Costello and the Imposters (Balboa Theatre, 6/5), Sheryl Crow (Humphreys, 6/6), Brian Setzer’s Rockabilly Riot (Humphreys, 6/7), Valerie June (BUT, 6/8), The Anniversary (Irenic, 6/10), Toby Keith (Del Mar Fairgrounds, 6/10), ‘91X X-Fest’ w/ Phoenix, Empire of the Sun (Qualcomm Stadium, 6/11), TajMo (Humphreys, 6/11), Ziggy Marley (Humphreys, 6/12), Def Leppard (Mattress Firm Amphitheatre, 6/16), Guitar Wolf (Casbah, 6/16), (Sandy) Alex G, Japanese Breakfast (Irenic, 6/17), King Crimson (Humphreys, 6/19), !!! (Casbah, 6/21), The Revolution (HOB, 6/22), Maxwell (Valley View Casino Center, 6/23), Supersuckers (Casbah, 6/24), Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (Civic Theatre, 6/26), Cat Power (Observatory, 7/1), Deftones, Rise Against (Mattress Firm Amphitheatre, 7/7), The Temptations, Four Tops (Humphreys, 7/13), Natalie Merchant (Copley Symphony Hall, 7/18), Hall & Oates, Tears for Fears (Valley View Casino Center, 7/19), Seun Kuti and Egypt 80 (BUT, 7/21), Taking Back Sunday (Observatory, 7/28), Maxi Priest (BUT, 7/30), Huey Lewis and the News (Humphreys, 8/1), Metallica (Petco Park, 8/6), Diana Krall (Humphreys, 8/8), Rag’n’Bone Man (Observatory, 8/9), Incubus, Jimmy Eat World (Mattress Firm Amphitheatre, 8/11), Hans Zimmer (Viejas Arena, 8/12), 311 (Open Air Theatre, 8/20), Bryan Ferry (Humphreys, 8/23), Sylvan Esso (Observatory, 8/26), Pink Martini (Humphreys, 8/26), The Gipsy Kings (Humphreys, 8/27),George Benson, Kenny G (Humphreys, 9/10), Goo Goo Dolls (Open Air Theatre, 9/12), Green Day (Mattress Firm Amphitheatre, 9/13),

Indigo Girls (Humphreys, 9/13), Steve Winwood (Humphreys, 9/14), The Beach Boys (Humphreys, 9/23), Sublime With Rome, The Offspring (Mattress Firm Amphitheatre, 9/26), Alison Moyet (Music Box, 9/26), Depeche Mode (Mattress Firm Amphitheatre, 10/6), Jason Aldean (Mattress Firm Amphitheatre, 10/7), Coldplay (Qualcomm Stadium, 10/8), Carla Morrison (Humphreys, 10/22), Luke Bryan (Mattress Firm Amphitheatre, 10/27), Mogwai (Observatory, 11/20).

APRIL WEDNESDAY, APRIL 12 Broods at Music Box. Father John Misty at Humphreys by the Bay (sold out). Susto at Soda Bar. Grace Mitchell at The Casbah.

THURSDAY, APRIL 13 Suicide Girls Blackheart Burlesque at Music Box. Banks at Humphreys by the Bay (sold out). Lupe Fiasco at Observatory North Park. Ape Machine at Soda Bar. Preservation Hall Jazz Band at Belly Up Tavern. Preoccupations at The Casbah. Dayshell at Brick by Brick.

FRIDAY, APRIL 14 Tiger Army at Observatory North Park. Vanessa Carlton at The Casbah. The Last Waltz 40 Tour at Harrahs SoCal. HONNE at Belly Up Tavern. Shaed at Soda Bar. Good Riddance at Brick by Brick.

SATURDAY, APRIL 15 Pond at The Casbah. La Escalera Fest 6 at various venues. Cash’d Out at Belly Up Tavern.

SUNDAY, APRIL 16 Little Dragon at Observatory North Park. Downtown Boys at Soda Bar. Anders Osborne at Belly Up Tavern.

MONDAY, APRIL 17 Local Natives at Observatory North Park. Steely Dan at Humphreys by the Bay. Toots and the Maytals at Belly Up Tavern. Tech N9ne at House of Blues. PC Worship at Soda Bar. Splavender at The Casbah. Moonshine Bandits at Brick by Brick.

TUESDAY, APRIL 18 Coheed and Cambria at Observatory North Park (sold out). The Wild Reeds at The Hideout. Snoop Dogg, Cypress Hill at Open Air Theatre. Steely Dan at Humphreys by the Bay. Simple Plan at House of Blues. Jack Garratt at Belly Up Tavern.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19 Blossoms at The Casbah. Kaleo at Belly Up Tavern (sold out). Mitski at The Irenic. Spiral Stairs at Soda Bar. Dreamcar at Music Box (sold out).

THURSDAY, APRIL 20 Lila Downs at Humphreys by the Bay. Reverend Horton Heat at Belly Up Tavern. Twin Peaks, Hinds at The Irenic. Califone at The Hideout. Lee Fields and the Expressions at Music Box (sold out). Beach Slang at The Casbah. Lil Wayne at Open Air Theatre. Assorted Jellybeans at Soda Bar. Horisont at Brick by Brick.

FRIDAY, APRIL 21 Trap Them at Brick by Brick. Ab-Soul

at Observatory North Park. Cold Cave at SPACE. Morgan Delt at Soda Bar. Dead Feather Moon at The Casbah.

SATURDAY, APRIL 22 Bayside, Say Anything at House of Blues. The Wailers at Music Box. Ghost Bath, Astronoid at Soda Bar. Cold Cave at SPACE. Cindy Lee Berryhill at The Casbah.

SUNDAY, APRIL 23 Free Salamander Exhibit at Soda Bar. The Unlikely Candidates at The Casbah. Taj Express at Poway OnStage. David Crosby at Humphreys by the Bay. State Champs at Observatory North Park. Anthony Green at The Irenic.

MONDAY, APRIL 24 Vieux Farka Toure at The Casbah. Chance the Rapper at Valley View Casino Center. Jamtown at Belly Up Tavern. Sudi at Soda Bar.

TUESDAY, APRIL 25 Ariana Savalas at The Casbah. Jamey Johnson, Margo Price at Observatory North Park. Asphyx at Brick by Brick. The 1975 at Open Air Theatre. Wrekmeister Harmonies at SPACE. Jamtown at Belly Up Tavern. Kawehi at Soda Bar. The Fresh Brunettes at The Casbah.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 26 Willie Nelson at Humphreys by the Bay (sold out). Leif Vollebekk at The Casbah. Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors at Belly Up Tavern. CJ Ramone at Soda Bar.



MUSIC THURSDAY, APRIL 27 San Fermin at The Casbah. Pile at Soda Bar. DMX at Observatory North Park. Asleep at the Wheel at Belly Up Tavern.

FRIDAY, APRIL 28 Ne-Hi at SPACE. Intronaut at Brick by Brick. Sallie Ford at The Casbah. Dennis Quaid and the Sharks at Belly Up Tavern. Kings of Leon at Mattress Firm Amphitheatre. Eukaryst at Soda Bar.

SATURDAY, APRIL 29 Verigolds at Soda Bar. Foreigner, Cheap Trick at Mattress Firm Amphitheatre. Superjoint at Brick by Brick. The Doo Wop Project at Poway Onstage. The Midnight Pine at The Casbah.

SUNDAY, APRIL 30 Lil Peep at House of Blues. The Wedding Present at The Casbah. Six String Society at Belly Up Tavern. The Walters at Soda Bar.

MAY MONDAY, MAY 1 The Bad Plus at Music Box. Crystal Bowersox at Belly Up Tavern.

TUESDAY, MAY 2 Sorority Noise at House of Blues Voodoo Room. Kiefer Sutherland at Belly Up Tavern. Starlito and Don Trip at The Casbah.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 3 The Drabs at Belly Up Tavern. Current Swell at Soda Bar.


THURSDAY, MAY 4 Dweezil Zappa at Belly Up Tavern. Tim Kasher at The Casbah.

FRIDAY, MAY 5 Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness at House of Blues (sold out). Mariachi El Bronx at Belly Up Tavern. Oddissee at Music Box. The Expendables at Observatory North Park.

SATURDAY, MAY 6 Face to Face at The Casbah. The Weeks at Soda Bar. Diet Cig at Che Café.

SUNDAY, MAY 7 Blue October at House of Blues. Flaming Lips at Observatory North Park. Frank Iero and the Patience at The Casbah.

MONDAY, MAY 8 Lionel Richie at Viejas Arena. The Chainsmokers at Valley View Casino Center.

TUESDAY, MAY 9 Fuel, Marcy Playground at Belly Up Tavern. At the Drive-In at SOMA.


710 Beach Club, 710 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach. Thu: The Holdup, Synrgy. Fri: Kevin Kinsella, Simple Creation, Dub Grammer. Sat: Wheeland Brothers, Tropidelic, Crucial Blend. Tue: CalPhonics.



Watch the progression of reactions that pass over someone’s face when you bring up the name Vanessa Carlton. First, there will be amusement, that “oh yeah!” moment that comes from remembering the singer/songwriter’s 2002 megahit “A Thousand Miles.” Then, watch as a bittersweet melancholy washes over them as they remember the emotional moment in their lives that was soundtracked by “A Thousand Miles.” We all have that Vanessa Carlton moment. Don’t even pretend like you don’t. Vanessa Carlton plays Friday, April 14th at The Casbah.

—Ryan Bradford


MUSIC Air Conditioned Lounge, 4673 30th St., Normal Heights. Wed: DJ Byrd. Thu: ‘Libertine’ w/ DJs Jon Wesley, 1979. Sat: ‘Juicy’ w/ Mike Czech. Sun: ‘Chvrch’ w/ DJs Karma, Alice. American Comedy Co., 818 B Sixth Ave., Downtown. Fri: Mike Lawrence. Sat: Mike Lawrence. Sun: Mike Lawrence. The Bancroft, 9143 Campo Road, Spring Valley. Thu: Triple SP. Fri: Hellfire. Sat: Systematic Abuse, Endless Nameless. Sun: Impuritan. Mon: Tue: Bar Pink, 3829 30th St., North Park. Thu: The Husky Boy All Stars. Fri: DJ Mike Delgado. Sat: ‘Neon Beat’. Sun: ‘Rat Sabbath’. Mon: ‘Motown on Monday’. Tue: The Fink Bombs. Bang Bang, 526 Market St., Downtown. Fri: JR Jarris, Hide and Go Freak. Sat: Lee Curtiss. Beaumont’s, 5665 La Jolla Blvd., La Jolla. Thu: Pat Dowling. Sat: Emotional Rescue. Belly Up Tavern, 143 S. Cedros Ave., Solana Beach. Wed: Justin Froese, Kinnie Dye, Nick Crook. Thu: Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Fri: HONNE. Sat: Cash’d Out, Nancarrow. Sun: Anders Osborne, Elektric Voodoo. Mon: Toots and the Maytals, Leba. Tue: Jack Garratt. Black Cat Bar, 4246 University Ave., City Heights. Thu: Uptown Rhythm Makers. Fri: Crooked, 7th Day Buskers. Sat: Impuritan. Blonde, 1808 W. Washington St., Mission Hills. Wed: ‘Dance Klassique’ w/ Memo Rex. Fri: Harvard Bass, Halo Varga, Cris Herrera. Sat: ‘Lady Lush’. Sun: ‘Silver & Gold’. Mon: Jimmy Whispers, James Ferraro, Chill Pill. Tue: The Ghost In You: Psychedelic Furs tribute.


Boar Cross’n, 390 Grand Ave., Carlsbad. Thu: Grim Slippers. Fri: ‘Club Musae’. Brick by Brick, 1130 Buenos Ave., Bay Park. Thu: Dayshell, Silver Snakes, Weight of the Sun, Wolfwaker. Fri: Good Riddance, Screw 32, Western Addiction, Bossfight. Sat: Up the Irons, Blackout, YYZed. Mon: Moonshine Bandits, Country Rockin’ Rebels. Casbah, 2501 Kettner Blvd., Midtown. Wed: Grace Mitchell, Birdy Bardot, Grizzly Business. Thu: Preoccupations, Porcelain Raft. Fri: Vanessa Carlton, Tristen. Sat: Pond, The Incredible Shagatha and His Moog. Mon: Splavender, Low Points, Slay Dean. Tue: DJ Artistic’s Hip Hop Battle Bot. Dirk’s Nightclub, 7662 Broadway, Lemon Grove. Fri: Nemesis. Sat: TNT. Dizzy’s, 4275 Mission Bay Drive, Mission Bay. Fri: The Benedetti Svoboda Duo. The Field Irish Pub, 544 Fifth Ave., Downtown. Wed: Allen de la Rosa. Thu: The Popravinas. Sat: Blue Jean Simmons. Sun: Black Irish Texas. Mon: Black Irish Texas. Tue: Fiore. F6ix, 526 F St., Downtown. Fri: DJ Ryan Wellman. Sat: DJ Dynamiq. Fluxx, 500 Fourth Ave., Downtown. Fri: Deejay Al. Sat: DJs G-Squared, Brett Bodley. Henry’s Pub, 618 Fifth Ave., Downtown. Wed: Ride the Mule. Thu: DJ Yodah. Fri: ‘Good Times’. Tue: ‘50s/60s Dance Party. The Hideout, 3519 El Cajon Blvd., City Heights. Tue: The Wild Reeds, Blank Range, Kera and the Lesbians. The Holding Company, 5046 Newport Ave., Ocean Beach. Wed: The Red

Jumpsuit Apparatus, Miklo, Groves. Thu: The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Short Stories, Plane Without A Pilot. Fri: The Walking Phoenixes, DJ Mancat. Sat: Quel Bordel, DJ Chelu. Sun: Mechanical Turk, The New Up. Tue: The Love Messengers. House of Blues, 1055 Fifth Ave., Downtown. Thu: El Haragan, La Bestia. Sat: NF, Kyd the Band. Mon: Tech N9ne, Brotha Lynch Hung, Krizz Kaliko, Stevie Stone, Ces Cru. Humphreys Backstage, 2241 Shelter Island Drive, Shelter Island. Wed: The Fabulous Ultratones. Thu: The Groove Squad. Fri: Detroit Underground, Tradewinds. Sat: Wildside, Michele Lundeen. Mon: Backwater Blues Band. Tue: Missy Andersen.

Numbers, 3811 Park Blvd., Hillcrest. Fri: ‘Uncut’. Tue: Karaoke Latino.

Cortez, Bloom. Mon: PC Worship, The Dreebs, Polish.

The Office, 3936 30th St., North Park. Wed: ‘Grand Ole Office’. Thu: ‘No Limits’ w/ DJ Myson King. Fri: ‘After Hours’ w/ DJs Kid Wonder, Saul Q. Sat: ‘Strictly Business’ w/ DJs EdRoc, Kanye Asada. Sun: ‘Uptown Top Ranking’. Tue: ‘Trapped’.

SOMA, 3350 Sports Arena Blvd., Midway. Fri: Candid Dreamer Beyond My Afterlife, Illuminate, Treaded, Vile Creation, Vanguard. Sat: The Thens, Caroline, Fake Tides, Cosmics, Baby Demons, Sempra Sol.

OMNIA Nightclub, 454 Sixth Ave., Downtown. Thu: BRKLYN. Fri: Bassjackers. Sat: Eric Dlux. Sun: Mon: Tue: Panama 66, 1450 El Prado, Balboa Park. Wed: Gilbert Castellanos. Fri: The Midnight Pine. Parq, 615 Broadway, Downtown. Fri: Direct. Sat: Fetty Wap.

Kava Lounge, 2812 Kettner Blvd., Midtown. Thu: ‘ODYSSY’. Fri: ‘Deekline’. Sat: Goopsteppa, Shiny Things, Dink. Tue: ‘Symphonic Frequencies’.

Plaza Bar at Westgate Hotel, 1055 2nd Ave., Downtown. Fri: Gilbert Castellanos. Sat: Allison Tucker. Mon: Julio de la Huerta.

Lestat’s Coffee House, 3343 Adams Ave., Normal Heights. Sat: Campfire Cassettes.

Rich›s, 1051 University Ave., Hillcrest. Wed: DJs Kiki, Kinky Loops. Thu: DJ KSwift. Fri: DJ Dirty KURTY. Sat: DJs Hektik, Luke Allen. Sun: DJs Cros, Drew G.

Loft @ UCSD, Price Center East, La Jolla. Fri: Bomb Squad, Chugboat. Tue: Vindata. Mc P’s Irish Pub, 1107 Orange Ave., Coronado. Wed: JG Duo. Thu: JG Trio. Fri: Street Heart. Sat: Ron’s Garage. Sun: Flipside Burners. The Merrow, 1271 University Ave., Hillcrest. Wed: NoMAMS. Thu: Darks of Heaven, The Iris, Lousifer’s Heart. Sat: ‘SubWOOFer’. Tue: The Oxen, Palomino, Three Chamber Heart. Music Box, 1337 India St., Little Italy. Thu: Suicide Girls Blackheart Burlesque. Fri: Betamaxx, Way Cool Jr. Sat: Poncho Sanchez.

Riviera Supper Club, 7777 University Ave., La Mesa. Wed: ‘Boss Jazz’ w/ Jason Hanna. Thu: Chloe Lou and Davies. Fri: Clint Westwood. Sat: Solo Flight Swing. Seven Grand, 3054 University Ave., San Diego. Wed: Whiskerman. Thu: Jimmy Ruelas. Fri: Trio Gadjo. Sat: Lead Pony. Mon: ‘Makossa Monday’ w/ DJ Tah Rei. Tue: The Gabriel Sundy Jazz Trio. Soda Bar, 3615 El Cajon Blvd., City Heights. Wed: SUSTO, Cat Clyde. Thu: Ape Machine, Gozu, Nebula Drag, Little Dove. Fri: SHAED, Manatee Commune. Sat: ‘La Escalera Fest’ w/ Civil War Rust. Sun: Downtown Boys, San Pedro El

Spin, 2028 Hancock St., Midtown. Fri: ‘Unicorn Invasion 2017’. Sun: Sage Armstrong, Matthew Anthony. Sycamore Den, 3391 Adams Ave., Normal Heights. Wed: ‘Dreams’ w/ DJ Gabe Vega. Thu: Erika Davies and the Men. Sun: The Paragraphs, Shane Hall and the Outfit. Til-Two Club, 4746 El Cajon Blvd., City Heights. Wed: Sadistik, Nacho Picasso, Rafael Vigilantics, Preacher vs. Choir, These Hands Create. Sat: Jason Hanna. Sun: Pants Karaoke. Tower Bar, 4757 University Ave., City Heights. Thu: ‘La Escalera Fest: Pre Show’. Fri: ‘La Escalera Fest’. Sat: Dandy Brown, Fuzz Evil. U-31, 3112 University Ave., North Park. Wed: ‘Wayback Wednesday’. Thu: ‘Thursdaze’. Fri: DJ Junior the Disco Punk. Sat: DJ Qenoe. Sun: EN Young, Irieality. Whistle Stop, 2236 Fern St., South Park. Thu: ‘Retrograde’. Fri: Octagrape. Sat: ‘80s v. 90s’ w/ DJs Gabe, Saul. Winstons, 1921 Bacon St., Ocean Beach. Wed: Psydecar, DJ Carlos Culture. Thu: Jefferson Jay and Twin Fins. Fri: The Expanders, Arise Roots. Sat: The Expanders, Ginger Roots, Dubbest. Mon: Electric Waste Band. Tue: Glostik Willy, Flowpoerty, Downtown Brown.





GODDESS Greed Between The Lines I love my boyfriend; however, I feel bad that he never buys me presents. He did when we were dating, and he buys himself extravagant stuff. But he got me nothing for my birthday and only some trinkets for Christmas because I made a stink. When I’ve brought up the gifts issue, he’s implied that I’m materialistic. However, what matters to me is not the cost but that he’s thinking of me. Is my desire for gifts somehow shallow?

—Coal Digger

Once again, it’s Christmas. Ooh, ooh, what’s that under the tree?! Once again…it’s the floor. Many men sneer at the importance their ladies place on getting gifts from them, deeming it a sign of female emotional frailty. What these men aren’t taking into account is that the differences that evolved in male and female psychology correspond to differences in male and female physiology. To put it another way, women—disproportionately—are into getting gifts from romantic partners for the same reason men (disproportionately) are into watching strippers. (“All the better to pass one’s genes on with, my dear!”) Because, for a woman, sex can lead to pregnancy (and a hungry kid to drag around), female emotions evolved to act as a sort of alarm system, making a woman feel crappy when there are signs a man’s commitment may be waning. (Wanting to feel better makes her take corrective action— pressing him to put up or get out.) However, a man’s being willing to give gifts suggests a willingness to “invest” (beyond 2.6 minutes of foreplay and a teaspoon of sperm). Accordingly, evolutionary behavioral scientist Gad Saad believes that gift giving evolved as a “distinctly male courtship strategy.” Though women do give gifts to romantic partners, they tend to wait till they’re in a relationship and then do it to “celebrate” being together. Saad’s research finds that men, on the other hand, “are much more likely to be tactical in their reasons for offering a gift to a romantic partner”—like, in the courtship phase, to get a woman into bed. (Of course, if a woman wants to get a man into bed, she doesn’t need to give him a present to unwrap; she just starts unbuttoning her top.) Explain the science to your boyfriend. You don’t have a character deficiency; you just want him to show his love in the way that works for you. That’s

what people who love each other do—even if they, say, believe the gift of their side salad at dinner should be gift enough. Besides, you aren’t demanding, “‘Tiara of the Week!’ or I’m gone!” You’d just like occasional little “thinking of you” prezzies and somewhat bigger ones on Official Girlfriend Holidays (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.). Ultimately, these are not just gifts but messages that making you happy is worth an investment of money and effort—beyond what he’s been putting in to run out and get his wallet wired shut just in time for your birthday.

Wussy Galore My fiancée and I were driving my drunk friend home from a party. He was saying rude things to her, but I knew he was just wasted and didn’t mean them, so I didn’t say anything. I thought my fiancée would also shrug it off, but she was mad and hurt that I didn’t stand up for her. Is it that big a deal? Couldn’t she have stood up for herself? —Middleman

Consider what grandpas everywhere call “having character”: doing the right thing—even when that kind of blows for you.


Yes, there’s actually more to being an ideal partner to a woman than being able to unhook a bra with your teeth. A woman today may be perfectly capable of defending herself—with her big mouth or her big pink handgun. However, she has an emotional operating system pushing her to go for men who show an ability and a willingness to protect her. This comes out of how, over millions of years of evolution, certain ladies’ children were more likely to survive and pass on their mother’s genes (and the psychology that rides along). Which children? Those whose mothers chose men who’d do more in an attack than, well, effectively crawl under the car seat and wish all the awfulness would stop. Your fiancée probably still feels resentful and maybe even thinks less of you for how you basically showed all the testosterone-driven fortitude of a geranium. Consider what grandpas everywhere call “having character”: doing the right thing—even when that kind of blows for you. If, in looking back, you would’ve done things differently, tell your fiancée. Then pledge that going forward, you’ll be that kind of guy—and protecting the person who means most to you won’t involve pushing your girlfriend toward the grizzly bear so you’ll have more time to make a run for it. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol. com (



april 12, 2017 · San Diego CityBeat · 31