Winter done right
Yep, it's still 75 degrees outside and it's the end of November. Good ol' San Diego. We Southern California folk don't like to be bothered by snow and cold. If we do have a hankering for a freeze, we throw parties like Beanies & Bikinis, an annual snowboarding/bikini competition at Belmont Park, on the corner of Mission Boulevard and West Mission Bay Drive in Mission Beach. Beanies & Bikinis III happens from 3 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, and features 22 tons of freshly manmade snow, amateur and pro male and female snowboarders competing for cash and, later, at the official after-party at the Wave House Bar & Grill, the official Sun Diego Boardshop's 2008 bikini contest. The snow show is free, but it'll cost you $10 to see the babes. www.belmontpark.com or www.wavehouse.com. 858-228-WAVE.
Knock it off
George Clooney and Brad Pitt have nothing on Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Freakin' poseurs, with their Ocean's Eleven and its mind-numbing sequels. Sinatra has chunks of guys like Clooney in his stool! (Thank you, Phil Hartman.) Back in the day, the Rat Packers knew that one film was more than enough. See for yourself, as the original Ocean's Eleven--complete with Frank, Deano, Sammy, Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop and the rest--screens at The Pearl Hotel's Dive-In Theater, 1401 Rosecrans St. in Point Loma. The film kicks off at 8 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 21, but get there early for a good seat. The pool is for guests only, but let's face it, Frank and Dean wouldn't let that stop them. www.thepearlsd.com.
Only you can help
Last December's It's a Wonderful Life was called San Diego's only must-see holiday show for a reason. The movie classic came to the stage as a radio play--the 'studio' was warm and inviting, not unlike George Bailey, whose friends rally around him at the 11th hour and deal the money-grubbing Mr. Potter the biggest defeat of his financial life. And how 'bout those sound effects? We were admonished to close our eyes for the maximum result as Foley artist Scott Paulsen worked his magic--thing is, watching Paulsen was as fun as listening to the colors he created. We get to do it all again this year as Cygnet sets out to make this show a holiday tradition. And only you can help. It opens in previews Friday, Nov. 23, at the venue, 6663 El Cajon Blvd. in the College Area. $22-$35. 619-337-1525 or www.cygnettheatre.com.
From the woods
Jay Johnson has been charming the San Diego art scene for decades. His recent works, meticulously carved wooden wall sculptures, continue to capture the interest of the art elite, partly because a gallery transformed by Johnson's installations is a must-see sight, but mostly because his rows and rows of unique little figures are startlingly reflective of the experience of the individual in society. A solo show of Johnson's work opens from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, at the Quint Contemporary Art, 7739 Fay Ave. in La Jolla. 858-454-3409 or www. quintgallery.com.
When the Abu Ghraib prison scandal hit the news, the impact of torture accusations against U.S. soldiers undoubtedly helped to shift the public's opinion of the war. While many of us have seen the notorious photos, few people know what really goes on in a military prison. Filmmaker Rory Kennedy's feature-length documentary, Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, attempts to clear up the motives and surrounding events behind these dubious acts of inhumanity by examining the situation from the sides of both the soldiers and their captives. Be prepared to confront some horrible truths during a free screening at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25, at the Mission Valley Library. Light refreshments will be served. 2123 Fenton Parkway. 619-223-8074.
For some people, Christmas shopping is not unlike having your face set on fire and putting it out with battery acid. It's painful--horribly painful. But it doesn't have to be. In fact, it can be kind of fun if you go to places like FusionGlass Co. in La Mesa, which, from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, is celebrating the opening of its new gallery/studio space, where it'll be exhibiting locally made jewelry. For the opening, FusionGlass will show off its specialty, NASA-developed dichroic glass pieces, as well as pieces made from pearls, crystal, sterling silver and precious gems. It's a one-stop shopping kind of situation with promises of free booze and door prizes to boot. www.fusionglassco.com or 619-461-4440.
Any true fan of jazz knows that a musician's worth is often judged amid the company he keeps. If you've played sessions with Miles or Monk, your credibility is intact. If you've played with Kenny G, then you've got some explaining to do. During his '70s heyday, unheralded saxophonist Azar Lawrence worked with such greats as Elvin Jones and McCoy Tyner, ensuring his place in jazz history. For all you cats wanting to catch the real deal, his quartet is playing with a special guest, harpist Tony Hackley, in a tribute to John Coltrane and Coltrane's wife and fellow musician, Alice, who passed away earlier this year. It goes down at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23, at the WorldBeat Cultural Center in Balboa Park. 619-230-1190 or www.worldbeatcenter.org. $15.
For most, turkey day means jetting home for a quick visit filled with lots of eating, a little football, perhaps a movie and a forceful and intense jog of memories, both good and bad. Singer/songwriter Jana Losey knows what that last part is like--she recently moved back to her hometown of Lawrenceville, Penn., where she recorded her new album in the house where she was raised. Hear her sometimes sweet, sometimes sorrowful new songs at the live music venue no one knows is a live music venue, The Brass Rail, 3796 Fifth Ave., Hillcrest, at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28. www.janalosey.com or 619-298-2233.