Celebrate or mourn
After a couple of very long years, the presidential election is finally almost over. No more meaningless predictions, inane pundits dissecting trivial campaign details or e-mails from insane right-wing relatives. If you're looking to celebrate and find out who's going to clean up W's mess (Obama! Obama! Obama!), stop by the Omni Hotel (675 L St., Downtown) for the Election Night Returns party from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday Nov. 4. With drink specials and an election-themed menu featuring things like “poll slider” mini burgers, you can sit with both friend and foe and watch as the future becomes clear. www.omnihotels.com.
POLITICS & COMMUNITY
Wither civil liberties?
With Election Day right around the corner, the American Civil Liberties Union San Diego will host Civil Liberties Under Fire: Election 2008, a big, free community forum featuring speakers from the left, right and center. At 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30, at the Birch North Park Theatre (2891 University Ave.), join former White House Counsel John Dean, nationally syndicated columnist Robert Scheer and Union-Tribune columnist Ruben Navarrette Jr. as they sort through the issues with the help of the moderator, KPBS investigative reporter Amita Sharma. There will be a no-host happy hour next door at Hawthorn's before the event, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. www.aclusandiego.org.
For the museum
From 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 1, Rotaract Club of Downtown San Diego, a young-professionals club, will host its first-ever Mingle at Mingei benefit, with all the money from the $35-to-$45 tickets going to the museum's new “Communtiy Sunday” program for under-privileged kids. The party will give you a chance to check out the current exhibitions, Forms in Wood and Fiber and India Adorned while sampling wine, local beer and food and participating in raffles and a silent auction. The museum is at 1439 El Prado, Balboa Park. www.sandiegorotaract.org.
La Jolla author and journalist Mike Sager, who writes for Esquire and other big-time magazines, penetrates just about every kind of urban tribe in Wounded Warriors: Those for Whom the War Never Ends, his newest collection of up-close-and-personal profiles. In the intro, Sager gives us a peak at what's to come in the following pages: “Near-feral boys in the slums of Philadelphia fighting pit bull dogs to the death. Vietnam vets who moved to Thailand after the war, seeking a cheaper cost of living and plenty of unattached sex. The Rev. Al Sharpton—a man people love to hate. Blue collar tweekers smoking ice in Hawaii. Hip heroin addicts on the lower east side of Manhattan, searching for their muses in bindles of white powder.” The list goes on. Find out more about the book when Sager reads from it at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 5, at Borders Books, 668 Sixth Ave., Downtown. www.mikesager.com.And don't miss these: The Grove, that cute store at Juniper and 30th streets in South Park, will celebrate its fifth anniversary in November, and before the big blowout on Nov. 15, it'll host author Stacey O'Brien (at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 2), who'll be signing Wesley the Owl, a book about a biologist who rescues a barn owl and ends up making important discoveries about the owl's intelligence and communication skills. And over at the Controversial Bookstore (3063 University Ave. in North Park) at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29, author and journalist Eliezer Sobel will read from The 99th Monkey, about the spiritual journalist's experience covering gurus, messiahs, sex, psychedelics and more. And at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 5, at the Saville Theatre at San Diego City College, professor Laurel Corona will celebrate the release of The Four Seasons, her new book about Vivaldi, with a reading and performances of Vivaldi motets and arias by other City College professors. www.thegrovesandiego.com, www.controversialbookstore.com, www.corona4seasons.com.
Don't miss the Sick and Twisted Burlesque Carnival and Masquerade Ball going down at the Ruby Room (1271 University Ave. in Hillcrest) at 8 p.m. Halloween night, Friday, Oct. 31. Featuring circus acts and burlesque shows by a bevy of performers, including L.A.'s Flame Cynders—the former exotic-dancer-turned-burlesque-goddess—the event promises to top whatever Halloween party you went to last year. There's a $15 cover, but you'll have a chance to get it back and then some by winning the best costume contest's $300 grand prize or $100 prizes for the scariest, funniest and sexiest costumes. www.fishnetfollies.com.
One of the best Day of the Dead artists is right in our own backyard. Artist and tattooist Rob Benavides' paintings of catrinas and skulls are beautiful, colorful and borrow heavily from the traditional folk art of the Mexican holiday. Benavides and other artists, including Micah Caudle, Jim Haught, Jackie Dunn Smith and Dominic Vasquez, will show new works in Dia de Los Muertos, opening from 8 p.m. to midnight Saturday, Nov. 1, at Flying Panther Tattoo & Gallery, 2323 Broadway, Suite 101, in Golden Hill. www.flyingpanthertattoo.com.