May 19 2014 06:06 PM

Our top three picks of San Diego events this week

San Diego Jazz Fest performer Maxwell

1. Some R&B with your jazz?

Brian Culbertson doesn't just play his keyboard—he kind of seduces it. The contemporary-jazz musician takes his genre decidedly less seriously than did his traditional-jazz forefathers. He's a skillful musician; there's no question about that. But he wants people who show up to his live performances to have fun. If that means being a bit wacky and weird while he plays, then so be it.

"I really try to make the live experience much different than listening to a record," says Culbertson, who recently released a new album and is crisscrossing the globe on his 20th-anniversary tour. "I'm changing the arrangement and making them much more exciting and interesting to the audience... I'm extremely animated when I play, and there's plenty of other creative ways to keep people interested."

Culbertson will be playing the San Diego Jazz Fest along with R&B and contemporary-jazz stars like Jill Scott, Maxwell, Charlie Wilson and Robert Glasper. The two-year-old fest will happen at Omni Resorts La Costa (2100 Costa Del Mar Road in Carlsbad) from Friday, May 23, through Sunday, May 25.

Billed as more than a straight-forward music fest, the weekend includes after-parties, a Gospel Sunday Brunch, casual poolside shows, hotel-lobby performances and more. While the name of the festival suggests a lineup of mostly jazz, Culbertson, who played the inaugural San Diego Jazz Fest last year, says the event packs in more R&B than expected.

"Mixing those genres is really working, and I think they totally fit," Culbertson says. "A lot of the music I play, if you put vocals on it, it's R&B. And if you take the vocals in an R&B song and replace them with a sax solo, suddenly it's contemporary jazz."

Tickets start at $50. Check for the full lineup and all the details.

2. Bring on summer

CityBeat throws some great parties, if we do say so ourselves, and few have topped the annual TikiBeat shindig at the Lafayette Hotel in North Park (2223 El Cajon Blvd.). The throw-down, a celebration of the Summer Guide issue you're reading right now, features live music from Creepxotica and Ivan & The Divine Lights, tiki music by DJ Old Man Johnson, a summer-fashion show, a burlesque show, a spanking booth (!), Polynesian dancers and drummers, a Tiki Oasis art show and a mini-arcade courtesy of Coin Op North Park. It goes from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Friday, May 23. The cover is $10 at the door. Go to and click on "Events."

3. Best estuary ever

Despite its name, the Tijuana Estuary isn't in Tijuana. Nope—it's in Imperial Beach, and, according to the California Department of Parks and Recreation, it's the "largest coastal wetland in Southern California." The visitor center there (301 Caspian Way), designed by architect Rob Wellington Quigley—the same guy who designed the snazzy new central library—opened 20 years ago and, from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 28, will be the site of a 20-year-anniversary celebration and rededication. Light refreshments will be served, and you can check out the restored watershed-map mural by artist Robin Brailsford, Wick Alexander's paintings of Dulzura (which is in the eastern part of the watershed) and explore the estuary's stunning biodiversity.

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