LIVING ON A DINE
While living with HIV is no longer a death sentence, it's easy to forget this wouldn't be the case if so many people hadn't started events to raise awareness as well as much-needed funds for HIV/AIDS charities.
"It hasn't changed much, which is unfortunate. People are still getting diagnosed," says Ian Johnson, director of events at the LGBT Community Center and an HIV test counselor. "The stigma is still so strong that people are afraid to get tested, and that's because people still aren't talking about it."
That's why events like Dining Out for Life are still so important. Originally started 26 years ago in Philadelphia, the concept of the event was simple enough: For one night, local restaurants and bars would donate a portion of the night's sales to local HIV/AIDS services. Patrons could enjoy a night out and know it was going to a good cause. Now held in more than 60 cities, San Diego will be celebrating its tenth year on Thursday, April 28.
When it first started, the event was held in about 30 restaurants. This year, diners can choose from more than 70 with some, such as Barrio Star and Waypoint Public, kindly donating half of their sales that night. Some, such as Adams Avenue Grill, will be donating sales from Thursday all the way through Sunday.
"There's over 20,000 people in San Diego living with HIV," says Ian Johnson, who is one of the organizers of Dining Out and is HIV positive. "Many of them are women and children and people of color, so it's good to see people get out because it brings up the conversation again."
What's more, all the funds raised at Dine Out stay in San Diego and help go toward programs such as the Center's Youth Housing Project and the HIV Funding Collaborative. Johnson mentions that some of the restaurants, especially the ones donating 50 percent of sales, tend to get packed so make reservations if it's not too late. Times vary. Check out diningoutforlife.com for a full list of participants.
Stretching all the way from University Heights to Kensington, the fifth annual Adams Avenue Unplugged has to be one of the best ways to see some of the top local acoustic acts. More than 150 acts will be playing the two-day music fest including headliners Cactus Blossoms, Sam Outlaw and Augie Myers, as well as tons of locals like Gregory Page, Tomcat Courtney and Euphoria Brass Band. The musicians will be spread out over 22 stages inside local bars, coffee shops and galleries, spanning two miles of Adams Avenue on Saturday, April 30, from noon to 10 p.m. and Sunday, May 1, from noon to 7 p.m. The event is free, but brew lovers can taste local crafts on Saturday for $19 via this year's "Unplugged Untapped." adamsavenueunplugged.com
Pacific Arts Movement (the brains behind the San Diego Asian Film Festival) are already known for movie marathoning at its finest and the sixth annual Spring Showcase is no exception. Eight days, 14 films, and a whole lot of live music. With the theme of melodies and vibrations in Asian cinema, the showcase will be presenting some exclusive films. The Music of Strangers follows an assembly of musicians brought together by Yo-Yo Ma, while China Now is a documentary about the country's underground film industry. Sweet 20 is everything you want in an age-swap movie and is centered on a feisty Vietnamese grandma. The showcase will take place Thursday, April 28, through Thursday, May 5, at Mission Valley Ultra Star Cinemas (7510 Hazard Center Drive). Tickets are $9.50 to $15. festival.sdaff.org/spring2016.