San Diego doesn't really do Mardi Gras quite like they do in New Orleans-nobody in the U.S. does-though just about every corner of the world has some form of carnival celebration. If you're looking to engage in some pre-Lent indulgences on a smaller, more manageable scale, your best bet is Bacchus Night in North Park. A pre-Mardi Gras block party with all of Fat Tuesday's revelry (though probably fewer mammaries), Bacchus Night will feature a crawfish boil and gumbo at Urban Solace, hushpuppies and Hurricanes at True North and barbecued oysters at Bar Pink, plus a prize raffle, drink specials and performances by The Euphoria Brass Band, Billy Lee and the Swamp Critters and Zydeco Patrol. The party kicks off at 5 p.m., Sunday, March 2. Tickets are $40. Ages 21 and up.---
Take in some topnotch theater in true San Diego style-by pre-gaming with food trucks and craft beer. The world premiere of The Who & The What, a play by 2013 Pulitzer Prize winner Ayad Akhtar, is at the La Jolla Playhouse (2910 La Jolla Village Drive) through the middle of March. However, on Friday Feb. 28, starting at 6 p.m., grab some pre-show grub at the theatre's Foodie Friday event. Green Truck (organic eats) and Red Oven (artisanal pizza) will have food available for purchase and Stone Brewing Co. will be serving complimentary beer. Then enjoy this critically acclaimed play, which tells the story of an outspoken Muslim American writer struggling to connect with her family despite not sharing their conservative religious beliefs. Tickets start at $15. lajollaplayhouse.org
What do 150 blossoming cherry trees look like? A little slice of frosted-pink heaven, that's what. *From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 8, the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park presents its ninth annual Cherry Blossom Festival to celebrate the blooming of the sakura trees. The event includes tasty Japanese street food for purchase that you can enjoy"hanami"-style (aka, picnic) under the cherry blossom trees-a tradition in Japan-music and cultural performances, demos and vendors selling Japanese goods. Pocky (the delicious Japanese cookie) is sponsoring the kids area, where there'll be crafts and activities for the little ones, and grown-ups can partake in the beer and sake garden. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for kids and seniors.
Contrails, the linear clouds left behind by aircraft, are actually chemtrails, chemicals put in the sky by evil government agents for the purpose of subduing and controlling the human population. That's what your neighborhood conspiracy theorist would have you believe, anyway. Conspiracy theories are easy to laugh at or simply write off as cray-cray, but San Diego artist Matthew Bradley gives some of the more famous and complex ideas an interesting second look in his exhibition Sacred Geometry for a Profane Existence, opening at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 1, at Helmuth Projects (1827 Fifth Ave., Downtown). The San Diego artist's collection of sculptural objects and video work creatively plays with the notion that the only thing you might truly know is that you know nothing at all. In other words, Bradley sets out to convince viewers not of the truth of the conspiracy theories, but of the value of a healthy dose of doubt and skepticism.
*The Cherry Blossom Festival has been rescheduled from March 1 to March 8 due to the rain in the forecast.