Like most disgruntled, progressive hipster types who are too old for the club scene, too young to hang up their going-out hats and too broke to pay for double-digit-covers—yet graduated from dive bars that smell of soured beer—sometimes CityBeat is at a loss as to where to get its drink on. Luckily, the downtown bar scene seems to be reaching out to folks like us—that's why we're throwing a holiday bash, our first-ever Red List Holiday Party, at Side Bar, 536 Market St., at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13. To help convince you to make the trek downtown, we'll be giving away prizes and hosting a fashion installation featuring stylings by local boutiques that just might help you with some last-minute gift ideas. We need to get a headcount, so send your name and your plus-one, too, to firstname.lastname@example.org. 619-281-7526.
These days, tons of new businesses start with the lowest overhead possible, saving money by keeping their storefront virtual and launching online. New business is welcome in all forms, but there's something nice about a small biz that opens its doors—it's real doors—to the community. From 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, Tecolote Guitar Works opens with a celebration that includes live music, refreshments and an art show featuring wooden guitars decorated by local artists and musicians. Owners Bill Meyer and Kathryn Kirby have put on their thinking caps for this business venture, using their space to the fullest by offering guitar repair and restoration services plus a fine-art gallery. It's all at 1231 Morena Blvd. in Linda Vista, www.tecol oteguitarworks.com or 619-276-1677.
Who knew the microflakes of oxypolyvinylchloride could be so beautiful? Artist and scientist Cris Orfescu knows, and he's been slowly but surely gaining worldwide recognition for what's now being called “nanoart.” Orfescu takes images of chemical and physical processes that scientists see through scanning-electron and atomic-force microscopes, enlarges and digitally enhances them, and then prints the abstract, layered images on canvas and giclée prints. At 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13, NanoBioNexus (NBN), an organization that researches and showcases nanotechnology, will celebrate the art of Orfescu and host a forum featuring top researchers and practitioners of nanotechnology at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center's Goldberg Auditorium, 3855 Health Sciences Drive in La Jolla. Bring $55 ($30 if you're a teacher) for registration—a portion of which will go to NBN outreach programs—and a new, unwrapped toy for Toys for Tot. www.nanobionexus.org.
Bigger than big
Even though we might think Otay Ranch is kinda like “Stepford Wives: The Mall,” we're still pumped about the new AMC 12-plex that's opening there Friday, Dec. 14. Why? Well, it's all digital, which means super-crisp visuals with sweet audio; every house has stadium seating, and two of the 12 theaters will be just massive. Plus, during the opening weekend, each ticket you buy nets you a large popcorn, not to mention the swag giveaways for Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Alvin and the Chipmunks, The Perfect Holiday, Sweeney Todd and Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem. Hell, on Sunday, Dec. 16, the theater will even pick up the tab for the toll road. Otay Ranch 12 is located at Otay Ranch Town Center, 2015 Birch Road in Chula Vista. www.amctheatres.com/otay.Another option: If hitting a mall like the one above sounds like your version of Hell, then the film for you is What Would Jesus Buy, a documentary about Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping. The good Reverend kicks things off on Black Friday, taking on the Shopocalypse at such consumer institutions as Mall of America and Wal-Mart. Produced by Super Size Me's Morgan Spurlock, it's the sort of film that might make you rethink your gift list. What Would Jesus Buy opens Friday, Dec. 14, at Downtown's Regal's Horton Plaza. www.wwjbmovie.com.
Remember the first time you saw Back to the Future and you couldn't believe how futuristic Doc Brown's Delorean looked? If you think that was cutting-edge, be prepared to have your mind blown by some truly progressive car designs during the opening of High Art: Concept Cars and Automobile Design, starting at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15, at the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park. The new exhibit kicks off with a panel discussion featuring speakers from several major car manufacturers, where you're certain to get a preview of forthcoming automotive trends. www.sdautomuseum.org or 619-231-2886.
For those of us who still own CDs, cassette tapes and a boom box (remember those?), here's an opportunity to put them to good use in our MP3-dominated world. Composer Phil Kline's Unsilent Night asks participants to walk the streets of the Gaslamp Quarter while playing specially provided CDs and tapes. The goal is to combine the sounds produced by the stereos to create an interactive ambient soundscape. Now in its sixth year of performance in San Diego, the event has become a holiday tradition—or, at the very least, it's a chance for people who can't sing to finally go Christmas caroling. Meet at 6:40 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 15, at the Gaslamp Trolley Station on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Harbor Boulevard. www.philkline.com or 619-299-5371.
Naomi Alpert's work is neither freakishly good nor too abstract for non-art experts to judge. Unlike other supposed child prodigies, the 13-year-old and her parents don't try to sell the paintings as undiscovered works of a genius. They're simply good paintings and collages done by someone who has yet to reach high school. To see a fresh, innocent and unpretentious perspective you don't often find in the art world, head down to Naomi's opening from 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, at Java Jones, 631 Ninth Ave., Downtown. www.myspace.com/javajonessd.