1. Noir del sur
David Klowden thought he'd seen just about all the noir films there were to see. For the last five years, he's hosted screenings at his house of rare and hard-to-find noir flicks, but then a trip to Mexico made him realize there was a whole new subgenre to explore.
On Saturday, Dec. 6, Klowden's showing two of his favorite Mexican noir films—Aventurera (1950) and Sensualidad (1951) at Mexican Film Noir at Digital Gym Cinema (2921 El Cajon Blvd. in North Park). Tickets are $17 for both films and a 7 p.m. pre-show party—with beer, wine, margaritas, the Famoso taco truck and live music—or $12 for the films only (screenings at 8 and 10 p.m.) or $7 to see one film.
Klowden says Aventurera is considered "one of the best Mexican films across any genre." As for Sensualidad, he thinks this might be its first public screening—or, at least, its first public screening with subtitles. He subtitled the film himself with the help of Final Cut Pro and some bilingual friends.
Both films are directed by Alberto Gout and star Cuban-born actor and dancer Ninón Sevilla, who recently celebrated her 93rd birthday. Klowden says he's become kind of obsessed with Sevilla's work. Recently, he was at Caffe Calabria in North Park working on subtitling Sensualidad when another customer glanced at his computer screen.
"I know her," she told him. She explained that her parents are artists in Mexico and would have Sevilla over for dinner. Klowden took the coincidence as a sign.
"OK, this was a calling," he remembers thinking. "Not only am I going to share this movie with my friends, but if I get a chance, I'm going to share it with a wider audience."
Klowden says he has plans for future screenings at Digital Gym with hopes of bolstering San Diego's film-noir scene.
"These films are enduring, and people still respond to them," he says. "And I think part of the reason is they just stand the test of time." digitalgym.org
2. Full weekend
Two big annual events packed into one short blurb! Woot! First, December Nights kicks off from 3 to 11 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5, and continues from noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6, in Balboa Park. It's a holiday-themed orgy of people, food from around the world, cultural performances and free museum entry (from 5 to 9 p.m.) And what's this? A 200-foot "December Flights" zipline? Yep. Then, the SoNo Fest and Chili Cook-Off will occupy your time from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7, at 32nd and Thorn Streets in North Park. Local eateries compete for your chili-lovin' affection (five tastes and a take-home ceramic bowl for $20). Also, local craft beer, at least nine live bands on two stages and gift shopping. balboapark.org/decembernights, sonofestchilicookoff.com
3. Goods of yore
There's nothing like a little rust, dust and wear when it comes to inspiring creativity; at least that's the opinion of the sisters-in-law behind Stitched, a mobile vintage market. The treasure-hunting duo will sell their refurbished decor, antiques and other handmade goods at Stitched.MARKET from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6, at the Ramona Town Hall (729 Main St.). They've also invited a handful of other local, vintage-oriented vendors to share their stuff, turning the event into a one-stop-shop for charming and cutesy things like upcycled jewelry, paper arts, bath and body products and more. Sure, Ramona is a bit of a drive, but the small-town setting is perfect for the retro-obsessed crowd looking for a little homey nostalgia this holiday season. stichedmarket.com
Does your event deserve to be in our top three? Email Kinsee Morlan.