Born in Canada, James Verbicky was awarded an "Extraordinary Ability" green card from the U.S. government for his artistic talent and went on to become, in 2008, one of only 12 American artists selected to show work at the Louvre in Paris as part of the Société Nationale des Beaux Arts exhibition. Last year alone, you could see his work in Boston, L.A., Berlin, New York, San Francisco and at La Jolla's Madison Gallery. Verbicky returns to the gallery (1020 Prospect St., Suite 130) for Era, a solo exhibition of his colorful, sculptural artwork composed of pieces of bright-colored vintage paper that he selects not just for color and pattern, but also for the fragments of text the papers contain. When finished, the piece becomes as much a work of art as a cultural snapshot. Check it out at the opening reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19. Era will be on view through Feb. 19. ---
It's going down animal style at The Gift Shoppe, an art-auction charity event happening at Whistle Stop Bar (2236 Fern St. in South Park) from 6 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16. A dozen local artists-including MRDVICE, Abel Guzman and Carrie Anne Hudson-will be auctioning off their work, with proceeds benefitting the Helen Woodward Animal Center. The event is being produced by Billy Barnes and Terryn Sundy, whose Feral Factory Publishing Co. is celebrating the release of Barnes' The World Through 8 Creepy Eyes and Sundy's intriguingly named You're Not a Ninja, and No You Can't Spend the Night!: Tales of Late Night Trysts, Monsters, Bad Behavior, and My Undying Love for Candy and Ketchup. There's no cover, free raffle tickets for donated goodies from local businesses and $1 off drinks until 8 p.m.
Those restaurants where you eat in pitch-black darkness always seemed like the dumbest idea ever. What if a bug falls onto your plate? While dinner in darkness has its issues, there's something to be said about dining in a restaurant where candles are the only source of light. If you're feeling romantic, and want to recall that glorious September day in 2011 when San Diego we were all forced to talk to our neighbors, go to Sea Rocket Bistro's (3382 30th St. in North Park) special Blackout Dinner on Sunday, Jan. 20. The electricity will be turned completely off and candles will be lit up throughout the restaurant. There will be four courses developed by Chef Tommy Fraioli, including lamb cheeks and butterscotch bread pudding, all paired with a craft beer from Mother Earth Brewing Co. The dinner costs $60 per person. Call 619-255-7049 to make your reservation.
To San Diego-based science writer Alex Boese, the archetype of the so-called "mad scientist" has an irresistible gravitational pull-"their unabashed freedom to explore new ideas, no matter how wrong such ideas may seem to the rest of us." So he writes in his latest book, Electrified Sheep: Glass-Eating Scientists Nuking the Moon and more Bizarre Experiments, which delves into some of history's most audacious experiments, from the scientist who placed his own daughter in an electrified growth chamber to the doctor who extracted his own appendix. Boese will discuss his work at Upstart Crow Bookshop and Coffee House (835 West Harbor Drive in Seaport Village) on Thursday, Jan. 17, at 7 p.m. He's also the curator of the Museum of Hoaxes, an online debunking resource, so feel free to bring along some urban legends. (He's especially well-versed in pareidolia, which is when humans see things, like the face of Jesus, in random patterns.)