As literary scenes go, San Diego's has long been obscured by the shadows of L.A. and San Francisco, even though we'll always be able to claim Raymond Chandler and Dr. Seuss. But there's been an encouraging level of literary activity lately, thanks to events and organizations like So Say We All and Dime Stories. You can add to that list the Non-Standard Lit Reading series. Formerly known as the Agitprop Reading Series, Non-Standard highlights contemporary poets and authors in San Diego and beyond. The second installment will feature readings from, among others, Keith McCleary, co-author of The Gothickers, and Mark Wallace, author of The Quarry and the Lot. The free event takes place from , at Gym Standard in North Park (2903 El Cajon Blvd.).---
Cruising the bay is a quintessential San Diego experience-something most folks living here probably don't do too often (or ever). Hornblower Cruises is luring you seaward with its (don't call it a booze cruise) Sights & Sips Cocktail Cruise that kicks off , and runs Fridays and Saturdays through October. The two-hour tour boards at at the San Diego Navy Float (970 N. Harbor Drive, Downtown), leaves the harbor at 6 and returns by Your $41 ticket includes a glass of champagne upon boarding and passed hors d'oeuvres and a buffet for noshing, plus specials on cocktails, wine and beer during the cruise. As always, especially when there's a boat involved, drink responsibly.
The beauty and wonder of life meets the sadness of death in Ila Rose's watercolors. The artist's work is extremely detailed, which allows her to pack a dense narrative into every piece. Rose, an illustrator, painter and musician who recently relocated to San Diego from Portland, Ore., includes themes of mortality and rebirth in her work while also directing the viewer's attention toward those suffering silently from mental illness, an issue that's affected her own family. Verdant Decay, Rose's first San Diego solo show, opens at Low Gallery (3779 30th St., North Park) from . The alternative gallery may be small, but curator Meegan Nolan doesn't let the square footage limit the ambitious scope of these consistently good art shows.