April 29 2014 05:21 PM

Our top three picks of San Diego events this week

Jincy Willett and Scotch Wichmann
Authors Jincy Willett (left) and Scotch Wichmann will appear at the UCSD Bookstore during California Bookstore Day.

1. They're still alive

Since 2008, music fans around the world have flocked to local, independent record stores on Record Store Day—on one day in April—to celebrate and support the brick-and-mortar shops and pick up special, one-time-only releases. Inspired by the enthusiasm, West Coast independent bookstores have now launched California Bookstore Day, and the first one will go down on Saturday, May 3.

In San Diego, five stores will participate: the UCSD Bookstore and Warwick's in La Jolla, Mysterious Galaxy Books in Kearny Mesa, The Grove in South Park and the Library Shop in the new San Diego Public Library in East Village. Each store has special programming planned, all with author appearances (too many to list here) and some with kids' activities, music performances and refreshments, and every location will have special book releases and literary-oriented artwork that can only be purchased on that day. Check each store's website for event hours, schedules and available special releases.

"California Bookstore Day is a day that highlights all the things that an independent bookstore can offer their community that an online retailer or a big box store can't," Seth Marko, a book buyer for the UCSD Bookstore, tells CityBeat in an email. "Storytime for kids, meeting authors face-to-face, helpful booksellers, open-mic readings—all of the scheduled events we're hosting aim to encourage a healthy, two-way discourse on literature, art, philosophy or anything else people want to discuss."

"It's to create awareness that there are still independent bookstores around—that it hasn't all gone online. We're still here, alive and kicking," adds Anne Mery, owner of The Grove, who's especially proud that there are several authors who live in South Park on her store's meet-and-greet schedule. "People are wanting to actually, physically, touch a book sometimes and physically see it."

May 3 also happens to be Free Comic Book Day; check freecomicbookday.com for local participating stores.

2. Straight up

Neko tells it like it is. His paintings are as straightforward and authentic as his personality, often depicting his signature characters, mouths agape as they navigate their urban surroundings with confidence, crassness and a sense of humor. Neko is a fixture in the local art scene, and though he's been out of town recently, his name is synonymous with San Diego street art. His solo show, Paradiso Perduto, opens from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, May 3, at Left Hand Black Gallery (1947 Fern St., Suite 5, in South Park). See new paintings, drawings on found paper, stickers and other things he's made in the last six months. For the show, Neko says he focused on skateboarding, friends, drinking, partying, women and other simple things that once made him happy. lhblk.com 

3. Feast for a cause

If you've not been to Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens in Point Loma's Liberty Station (2816 Historic Decatur Road), you're missing out on a quintessential San Diego experience. The restaurant's outdoor space is almost Zen-like, an ideal spot to enjoy the city's near-perfect weather. It's also the venue for the fourth annual Chef Celebration Artisan Food and Craft Beer Festival, a fundraiser where a dozen local chefs will prepare tasty bites (crab-cake Benedict on a pretzel bun with a smoked tomato hollandaise sauce? Yum!) that'll be paired with beers selected by Stone's cicerone, Bill Sysak. Tickets are $55; proceeds will fund scholarships for young chefs-in-training. The event takes place from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, May 4. Buy tickets and see the full menu at chefcelebration.org.

Does your event deserve to be in our top three? Email Kinsee Morlan.


  • 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