Two decades is a long run for any festival, but the SDCCU Festival of Arts in North Park just seems to get bigger and better every year. And while bigger doesn't always mean better, where some local fests might sacrifice quality for quantity, Executive Director Angela Landsberg says the North Park fest organizers remain committed to the local scene and strive to bring an authentic experience to festival goers.
"It's not just an arts festival. It's not just a beer festival. It's not just a music festival," Landsberg says. "It has quality elements for all those things."
It'd be hard to list all that goes on over the nine blocks along University Avenue near 30th Street, but start with the art. In addition to the dozens of local artists showing off their works, this year there's a live art exhibition where local and national street artists will create works on things such as vans, refrigerators and a giant cow statue. There will also be live music across four stages from big names such as Steve Poltz, The Creepy Creeps and headliners Mariachi El Bronx. Those with children will have a hard time prying the youngsters away from the Kids Art Block area and adults might have the same problem when it comes to the selection of 30-plus beers at the Waypoint Craft Beer Block.
"We take a lot of time to curate the vendors," says Landsberg, who cites a new element this year where there will be an entire block devoted to local crafts and makers. "We don't take just anyone who wants to come in. We turn a lot of corporate vendors down. That allows us to offer artists these booths, because that's really what the fest is about."
It all goes down from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, May 21, and everything is free except the beer block, which is $30 for either of two sessions. Check out the full lineup of events, performers and activities at northparkmainstreet.com.
Mai Tais, Piña Coladas and Polynesian shirts you would never wear in public on any other occasion—Tiki culture is alive and well in San Diego. And while it may be the latest trend in the craft cocktail scene, we like to think we were way ahead of the curve considering our annual TikiBeat party has been going for seven years. On Friday, May 20, drinks dressed with umbrellas will line the bar at Bali Hai Restaurant (2230 Shelter Island Dr.) while Creepxotica plays an eerie surf soundtrack. There will also be food sampling, live tiki chainsaw art, a fire show, burlesque from the Drop Dead Dames and a summer fashion show by local pin-up shop Temptress. The rum-infused revelry runs from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. and tickets are available at sdcitybeat.com for $17.50 or at the door for $20.
The local scene is filled with fantastic poets, but it's a rare occurrence that they're all reading at the same place on the same night. Poetry LP, which happens from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at Whistle Stop (2236 Fern St.), showcases a who's-who of local wordsmiths. Artist Anna Zappoli and podcaster Adam Greenfield (Making Comics Gutter Talk) will both be reading and celebrating the release of their new books, From Somewhere Else and Regarding the Monkey. That's be enough right there, but the afternoon will also include long-play readings from Ted Washington, Sunny Rey, Ola Hadi and CityBeatís own Ed Decker. Fellow renaissance man Al Howard will have his band Dani Bell & the Tantarist playing tunes after the readings. Best of all, itís free. punapress.com