Oct. 12 2015 02:39 PM

Our top picks of things to do in San Diego this week

Piper Kerman
Photo by Carolyn E. Brown / Flickr

The success of a show like Orange is the New Black is understandable. The Netflix dramedy, set in a New York women's prison, has a fantastic cast, engrossing characters and unpredictable plot twists. Part of the show's success, however, may be how it subtly touches on issues of prison reform.

Fans of the show see the cast not as criminals, but as people who've made mistakes.

“They're cheering for them and they're rooting for them and, by the way, these characters are also prisoners,” says Piper Kerman, whose 2010 memoir, Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison, inspired the show. “I think that's a very different way of thinking about the millions of people who we've locked up.”

Kerman could have easily rested on her laurels after her book became a bestseller. Instead, she's testified in front of Senate Committees on the issue of prison reform. On Saturday, Oct. 17, she'll be the keynote speaker at Orange is the New Black: The Real Story with Piper Kerman, a benefit for Second Chance at Irwin Jacobs Qualcomm Hall (5775 Morehouse Drive, Sorrento Valley).

“Second Chance is exactly the type of organization that I want to lend a hand to,” says Kerman, who says she was impressed with the local organization's reentry programs which focus on job placement, skills training and behavioral health.

“The question of reentry is so important. There's 700,000 people coming home every year from prison or jail, and we all need to have a more vested interest in making sure people have a safe and successful return home. Because that's what will make our communities safer and more prosperous.”

Along with a 30-minute talk and Q&A from Kerman, the event also includes a one-act play from Second Chance graduates and musical performances from Sharon Hendrix and Carol Dennis-Dylan. Tickets are $30 for students and $75 for everyone else.

Molcajete tacos from Tacos el Paisa
Photo by Liliana Garcia-Rivera


Sometimes it seems like there's a "Taste of [insert neighborhood here]" event every week, but two in one week? Well, when it's two of our favorite neighborhoods, we can't help but be psyched. The seventh annual Taste of North Park runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 17. It features 30 renowned eateries offering up bites of signature dishes. North Park has a long-established reputation for being a dining destination, but the third annual Taste of the Diamond from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 15 will allow patrons to try nine places they may have otherwise never tried. We highly recommend Bonnie Jean's Soul Food and Farida's Somalian Cuisine. Passes for Taste of the Diamond are $20; Taste of North Park is $35.


San Diego isn't only composed of sun-drenched beaches and beer fests. Another claim to fame is the suspense-ridden genre of noir literature, thanks to one of the movement's founding fathers and former La Jolla resident Raymond Chandler. As part of the San Diego City College International Book Fair, City Works Press is releasing Sunshine/Noir II: Writing from San Diego and Tijuana, the sequel in a contemporary collection of dark thrillers in both the fiction and nonfiction genres. Mainly focused on the border region, highlights include contributions from Justin Hudnall, Doug Porter and Marilyn Chin. It also includes poetry, photography and visual art. Starting at 6 p.m., the release party will feature readings from contributors, an art exhibit, tacos and music. It happens Friday, Oct. 16, at the Glashaus art building (1815 Main St. B, Barrio Logan).


See all events on Friday, Oct 21