The pros of the Con
Yeah, you heard it right—for the first time ever, Comic-Con was sold out weeks in advance—every single pass. That means a lot of frickin' people are waaaay into comics, video games and whatnot.
Anyway, plenty of people around town have made sure locals have something to do amid the massive nerds-R-us invasion.
From 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, July 24, one of our favorite purveyors of pulp art, David Russell Talbott, will throw an art show and book release party at The Tractor Room, 3687 Fifth Ave. in Hillcrest. Pick up a copy of his limited edition fanzine, see some of his newest works and slug down one of Tractor Room owner Johnny Rivera's killer cocktails.
Also on July 24, from 7 p.m. to midnight, the local art-and-design gurus behind Murphy Art Books will be throwing a SuperHero Exhibition and Party at a warehouse (1616 National Ave.) in Barrio Logan. Wear your favorite hero disguise and prepare to be blown away by the lineup of artists—Luke Chueh, Matt Stallings, Lola and Esther Pearl Watson, just to namedrop a few. Local Beatles-lookalikes The Modlins will provide the live music.
Meanwhile, the lovely pin-up ladies of Dr. Sketchy's Anti Art School will be at The Local, 1065 Fourth Ave., Downtown, from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, July 26, posing for your sketching pleasure ($5 with your Comic-Con badge, $10 without), and The Southern California Cartoonist Society along with the National Cartoonists Society will be hosting a Comic-Con Kick-off Party from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Thursday, July 24, at Buster's Beach House, 807 Harbor Drive, Downtown ($15 cover).—Kinsee Morlan
View from a stool
“I like any band where the singer's neck vein is sticking out,” said my friend Nate. “It means he's really trying hard.”Indeed, midway through Wolf Parade's set at 'Canes on July 20, singer/keyboardist Spencer Krug's jugular practically jutted into the crowd, which pushed against the stage with fervor. Since the band had opened with a classic—“You Are a Runner and I Am My Father's Son,” the first track off Wolf Parade's brilliant 2005 debut, Apologies to the Queen Mary—and continued on with a one-two punch of new (from this year's At Mount Zoomer) and old, the mass of sweaty indie rockers wiggled about in an escalating tribal offering to their Wolf gods.
Local artist and show fixture Harry the Hat abandoned his knitted cap and shook his au natural curls in sync with his grapevine shuffle through the audience. A few people gawked, but most were shimmying right along. At one point, a handful of bearded and flannel-outfitted fellows formed what appeared to be a Hackey Sack ring, but instead they danced. Wait, was that a backspin? Dance, indie boys, dance!
One fan dropped every last trace of personal inhibition and let his body explode in religious rapture. His arms flew in the air, and his knees pumped to his chest. He popped and did the robot. He even planted his hands on the bar that divides the main floor from the rest of the room and pushed himself up in a glorious lift.
There was no practicing, said the dancer, whose name was Phil Donohue (no, seriously, we checked his ID). “I've been saving my moves for this show,” he explained. “We just saw Wolf Parade in L.A., but that was all-ages and there was no alcohol.”
“That was just foreplay,” added his friend Brent Allen. “You know how when you see a puppy and it's so cute you want to squeeze the shit out of it? That's how I feel about Wolf Parade tonight.”—AnnaMaria Stephens
A night at the museum
Spurred on, perhaps, by the success of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego's Thursday Night Thing, more local museums have started their own after-hours events. Last Friday evening, Balboa Park's Mingei Museum hosted Early Evening, at which attendees could, for $10, check out the new Forms in Wood and Fiber exhibit, snack on food from local restaurants like Modus and sip local wine and Karl Strauss beer.
For a museum that generally nails it exhibit-wise (and all the current exhibits are well worth checking out), the event had some rough spots. Co-sponsor Sophie 103.7, for instance, could have put a little more thought into tune selections for the evening's musical backdrop (“Machine Head” by Bush is unpleasant in any setting). In a semi-hidden downstairs room, there was plenty of wine to be had, but anyone who ventured upstairs found only beer and sparkling water, meaning quite a few elderly, well-coiffed art patronesses were drinking their Woodie Gold and Stargazer IPA straight from the bottle. They seemed to be digging it, though, so cheers to Karl Strauss.
If you're into the art-after-dark thing, you're in luck, because there are a handful of worthwhile events happening over the next couple of weeks, starting with the San Diego Museum of Art's Culture and Cocktails this Thursday, July 24, from 6 to 9 p.m., where you can check out Georgia O'Keeffe and the Women of the Stieglitz Circle and Eleanor Antin: Historical Takes (www.sd ma.org). On Thursday, July 31, the Museum of Man holds Tower After Hours, where you can get a sampling of traditional food, drink and art from Colombia (www.museumofman.org). MCASD's Thursday Night Thing happens Aug. 7 to mark the opening of Memory is Your Image of Perfection, which consists of photographic and video works by female artists from Southern and Baja California (www.mcasd.org).
Best bet? The Centro Cultural de La Raza's More than Meets the Mind, which runs Thursday, July 24, through Saturday, July 26, from 7 to 11 p.m. and Sunday, July 27, from 7 to 10 p.m. The fitting accompaniment to Comic-Con weekend includes: graffiti art, comic-book art, “urban vinyl toys,” short films and animation and different DJs each night. See www.centroculturaldelaraza.org for the full line-up.—Kelly Davis
Arguably the biggest local show of the week happens on Friday, July 25, at the Whistle Stop with Writer playing undercard to the CD-release celebration of Swim Party's Pixie Dust on the Blood Range. Other top local shows include The Muslims, Meho Plaza and Wild Weekend at the Belly Up (Wednesday, July 23), Josh Damigo's “CD fundraiser” show at Lestat's (Saturday, July 26) and a multifaceted costume-party show at 4th & B (July 26) with Shark Attack, Harvard Bass, FM 94/9's Tim Pyles and North Carolina's The Villains supplemented by the latest Fieldtrip live art show.
The Album Leaf guitarist Drew Andrews kicks off a mini-tour this week to preview songs from his upcoming solo album, Only Mirrors. Dates include a July 23 show at The Casbah and a July 24 set at Beauty Bar.
All-powerful concert promoter Live Nation held a special promotion on July 18 selling select concert tickets for $10 apiece. That worked well for $30-plus SDSU Open Air Theatre shows like The Raconteurs (Sept. 24) and My Morning Jacket (Sept. 25). But service charges nearly doubled the price, making the discount negligible for shows like the Aug. 14 Warped Tour stop at Cricket Wireless.
More changes are afoot in the world of local radio. After recent lineup shifts at FM 94/9, 102.1 KPRI has followed suit with Oz Medina taking over the KPRI Morning Show, Madison moving from mornings to mid-day and Meg Banta moving to the night slot while also adding a Saturday edition of her Sunday Morning Unplugged show. —Nathan Dinsdale
The Enrique Experience
Another Pride celebration came and went, and aside from one very messy harbor police incident, it was oodles of fun. A sign that read “No video, no glass bottles or knifes, and no animals living or dead” (in bold letters no less) welcomed visitors to the festival in Balboa Park. While most attendees prepared weeks in advance to look their best (body glitter can get lost on a torso that's not freshly spray-tanned), I just rolled out of bed and winged it.
Corporate-sponsored booths and attractions gave it a quasi National Council for La Raza expo feel (see last week's issue of CityBeat), except rainbow flags replaced Mexican ones.
You could brush up on your feline AIDS knowledge courtesy of Irvine's City of Aidsgels group, and do-si-do with the Finest City Squares of San Diego, whose motto is: “This ain't your grandma's kind of square dance!”I told an agent at the Border Patrol recruiting station that I had a fantasy about role playing a wetback-captured-in-a-net scenario, to which he replied, “We can accommodate that.” And in The Crypt-sponsored Leather Realm, I joined in on all-female BDSM lecture. During the Q&A, session I told the group that I was interested in knife play, but that it clashed with my religious beliefs, triggering a full-blown debate. There was a sign-language interpreter translating the meeting for the hearing-impaired and seeing her sign “knife play” while Kenny Chesney blared from the nearby western dance area was, without a doubt, one of the highlights of my life.
The evening's T-dance, sponsored by PNN Radio, lasted well into the night, providing partygoers with non-stop trance beats. At the exit, a rummager was going through the trash bins picking out recyclables. “I better not find no dead animals up in here,” he muttered, glancing up at the sign.
Now that's what Pride is all about.—Enrique Limón