1. Street of dreams
There's a pretty cool photo archive on the El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association's (BIA) website showing Boulevard landmarks going back to the early 1900s. It's nostalgic and bittersweet, a reminder of the main drag's rich history and what's been lost to time and change.
"It was sort of my platform that El Cajon Boulevard can return to something as great as it was," says Beryl Forman, aka "Ms. Boulevard," the BIA's marketing director. "People love talking about the old drive-in movie theaters and restaurants, and that's just a great story to tell—you speak to the history of El Cajon Boulevard and then reflect on its future of new thriving local businesses."
The Boulevard's indeed experienced a resurgence—from the makeover of The Lafayette Hotel to pedestrian-friendly stretches like the area around 30th Street. To pay homage to El Cajon's past and present and mark the 25th anniversary of the neon "The Boulevard" sign, the BIA's hanging 190 banners from Park Boulevard to 54th Street that feature notable locals, from newer faces like BikeSD's Sam Ollinger to icons like Jim Cooley, who owns the J.A. Cooley Automotive Museum.
"Showcasing people in the community gives a lot of thrill to people, and it's kind of really building the social network," Forman says.
On Friday, April 4, celebrate the Banner Unveiling Showcase in The Lafayette's (2223 El Cajon Blvd. in North Park) Mississippi Ballroom (while a number of banners have been hung, plenty will be on display). The music line-up is stellar: The Amandas, Robin Henkel, True Stories, Gregory Page, legendary jazz man Daniel Jackson and Miss Erika Davies and Stephen Rey. The Little Richards, featuring El Vez, close things out.
Tickets are $10 for the music portion of the evening, which begins at 8 p.m., or $15 if you show up to the 7 p.m. reception, featuring samples of food from Boulevard-area restaurants Mama's Bakery & Lebanese Deli, Flavors of East Africa, Awash Ethiopian, Venice Pizza and Cali Baguette. theboulevard.org
2. Living spaces
The premise of Andreas Dalsgaard's documentary The Human Scale is that a higher and higher percentage of the world's population is settling in urban areas. So, the challenge for planners is to adapt to these increasing numbers in such a way that cities become more pleasant and less nightmarish. Dalsgaard takes his camera around the world and learns how the Danish firm Gehl Architects and others are focusing on how the spaces between buildings can improve urban life. A teaser for the San Diego Design Film Festival coming in October, the movie will be screened at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 8, in the Jacobs Building at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego's Downtown location (1100 Kettner Blvd., west side of the street). Tickets are $15. sddesignff.com, mcasd.org
3. Worthy recipients
Reading through the names of San Diego Art Prize winners is the fastest way to introduce yourself to the city's most interesting artists. Well-known architect and artist James Hubbell and politically charged artists and provocateurs Larry and Debby Kline were named as the 2013 San Diego Art Prize recipients in the established-artist category, earning a place at the annual Art Prize exhibition, which opens from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, April 4, at The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library (1008 Wall St. in La Jolla). As is customary, Hubbell and the Klines each chose an emerging artist to receive the award and exhibit their work. Hubbell picked his son Brennan Hubbell (yay, nepotism!) and the Klines picked James Enos. The 2014 Art Prize winners will be announced at the opening. ljathenaeum.org
*A former version of this article indicated that Brennan Hubbell is James Hubbell's grandson but he is actually his son. We regret the error.
Does your event deserve to be in our top three? Email Kinsee Morlan.