July 11 2012 12:39 PM

Our top three picks of San Diego events this week

Body painted super heroines from San Diego Body Art Playground.
Photo by Tom Yip

1 Comic craze 

Comic-book mania is sweeping San Diego, making the climate just right for adults to tap into their inner kiddo for the megapop-culture convention Comic-Con's four-day romp. Aside from granting every nerd socialite status, the Con is appealing to the masses with enough festivities to bring out everyone's Kanye West party ethic. Forgo sleep and instead dedicate yourself to finding the freshest costume duds for strutting at bashes like the Museum of Photographic Arts' Con edition of POP Thursdays, a costume contest and cocktail party happening at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 12.

To kick off MOPA's regular after-dark event, enjoy street food provided by Alchemy in South Park—they'll be out front of the museum dishing up tacos. Once inside, sip craft cocktails slung by the restaurant's spirits-wizards, and ogle models as they undergo a live body-painting transformation that'll be an homage to comic art. If skin isn't your thing, check out a screening of Sin City in the museum's theater. DJ Gabe Vega will also be in the house, spinnin' it up, and the museum's gallery will be open for perusal.

Among all the visual-art activities to take in, stop at the comic-book cover-portrait-studio area; each guest gets to take home their photograph, provided by Skin Tight Body Art. On top of snapping action-figure pics and creating a Lichtenstein comic pattern on one of the models for guests to behold, Briana Chaney's art troupe, San Diego Body Art Playground, will have three months' worth of photographs revealing the private painting sessions of fantasy-inspired body art.

"The No. 1 question people ask is, ‘Can you paint me?'" Chaney says. "It's so stimulating to paint live. Everyone loves it." $10 admission, $8 for students.

2 Say ‘si' to cerveza

San Diego has some great breweries; there's no denying that. But if you're tired of the same IPAs and feel like taking your liver and taste buds on an exploration far away from the chaos of Comic-Con, there's the Baja Beer Fest. More than 40 Baja breweries will be pouring their wares on Friday and Saturday, July 13 and 14. Local bands will provide entertainment, and there'll be delicious street food for sale to help soak up the alcohol. It goes down on Avenida Revolución between Seventh and Eighth streets in downtown Tijuana starting at 1 p.m. on both days. We recommend that you park your car at the border, walk across and cab it to the location for about $5. Admission is $5.

3 'Toon it up

When it comes to live readings, you usually think heady poetry, some beatnik sitting on a stool breathily over-emphasizing his words to fabricate profundity. That's  exactly what you won't get with The Crazy Rattlesnake Treehouse Gang, a live, projector-enhanced reading of comics and graphic novels from eight independent cartoonists and animators. On the bill: Mad magazine contributor Phil McAndrew, Yo Gabba Gabba animators Becky Dreistadt and Frank Gibson and IDW Publishing artist Tom Neely. Ideal for geeks without Comic-Con passes, the free performance—presented by the omnipresent live-literature organization So Say We All—starts at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 12, on Space 4 Art's outdoor stage (325 15th St. in East Village).

Does your event deserve to be in our top three? Email our events editor, Alex Zaragoza. You can also bug her on Twitter.


  • The renowned Mexican black and white photographer presents an exhibition exploring the principal themes within three groups: "Bestiarium"," Fantastic Women" and "Silent Natures."
  • Presented by Pacific Arts Movement, the sixth annual mini film fest features 14 film programs from 10 countries that includes everything from docs to romantic tearjerkers. See website for full lineup and...
  • Debunk some of the stereotypes surrounding cannibalism at this new exhibition that takes a hands-on approach to the subject. Includes video games and interactive activities where patrons will have to decide...
  • The former local boy and creator of the highly influential blog, Advanced Style, will be signing and discussing his third book, Advanced Style: Older and Wiser, which features inspiring pictures and stories...
  • C.J. Chenier and Bonsoir Catin headline this annual Cajun inspired festival. Also enjoy 10,000 pounds of crawfish, dancing and cooking demonstrations. Held at Spanish Landing Park, across from the...
  • A Cinco de Mayo party featuring $2 tacos, cocktails and live music from Bostich+Fussible, Javiera Mena and Gepe
  • A spoken word showcase hosted by English instructor Karla Cordero and her City College students. There will also be a special reading from poet Mercedez Holtry, as well as an art and photography show....
  • Widely known as host of "Weekend Update" on Saturday Night Live and for his role in the Showtime dramedy Weeds, Kevin Nealon brings his unique humor back to the stand-up stage
  • New works from over a dozen UCSD undergraduate students. Participating artists include Charity Algarme, Richard Lin, Joseph Maas, Ignatius Nguyen, and more
  • This video art exhibition from UCSD MFA candidate Stefani Byrd features two installations that explore the themes of breath, mediation, and the nature of time. Takes place in the VAF Performance Space,...
See all events on Thursday, May 5