Shot on scene
Photo by James Norton
Bikesters were aplenty at the first-ever Foot Down party—a new official after-party for the Critical Mass rides that happen every last Friday of the month. It went down at the Ruby Room in Hillcrest on Nov. 28, where DJs Huge Euge and Corey Biggs spun while bicycle films were shown throughout the venue and on a projector outside.
Indie-pop lovers rejoice! Kite Flying Society might be on hiatus, but frontman Dustin Illingworth and keyboardist / vocalist Kelly Duley have a new band, Gray Ghosts. Featuring past and current members of The Bloody Hollies, Rookie Card and Down with Leo, the band has posted its first song (the bouncy “Like a Pistol”) on its MySpace page and will play its first show at Soda Bar on Jan. 9. A six-song EP is planned for February 2009.
Turf Club lovers can rejoice, too, because former owners Sam Chammas and Tim Mays are all set to open their new Turf-inspired reinvention, The Riviera Supper Club and Turquoise Room (7777 University Ave. in La Mesa) this Friday, Dec. 5. The swanky décor (they've successfully returned the building to the state it was in during Jamar's Steakhouse & Lounge's heyday in the '70s), huge parking lot, and 60-percent more space is worth the few extra miles you'll have to drive.
Good or bad news depending on your musical sensibilities: Christian rap-metallurgists P.O.D. are alive and well. Despite rumors of a breakup and the cancellation of a U.K. tour with Filter, a post on the band's blog by frontman Sonny Sandoval says that despite the “rumors flying around,” the band is “looking forward to doing what we do best in South America and wherever opportunities may present itself in the future.” Boy's got mad grammatical skills.
The reunion train is running at full steam for The Casbah's 20th anniversary in January. Along with the previously reported Three Mile Pilot reunion, Lucy's Fur Coat, The Dragons, Honey Glaze, The Penetrators and No Knife will all play shows, some for the first time in decades. (No Knife is also scheduled to open for three dates with Jimmy Eat World. As of press time, a full tour has not been announced.)
Finally, in what could be San Diego's very own version of the Kanye-versus-50-Cent-dual-album-release hubbub, vegan death-metal band Cattle Decapitation and pixie-voiced folkie Anya Marina will both be releasing their new albums on Jan. 20. Let the trash-talking begin!—Seth Combs and Kinsee Morlan
Something brewing in P.B.
Erik Jensen, an old-school North Park kind of guy with sweet bushy sideburns and a sort of mad scientist look to him, has been brewing beer professionally for the last 14 years. He's come up with around 35 or so recipes in that time and has worked everywhere from Karl Strauss to La Jolla Brewhouse.
His most recent laboratory is in the small brewery at Pacific Beach Ale House (721 Grand Ave.), a recently opened restaurant and bar that boasts dozens of flat-screen televisions for sports-minded folks, a nice little rooftop deck that's good for impressing out-of-towners thanks to a view of Crystal Pier and some of the finest microbrews west of Interstate 5.
Since opening the restaurant in April, Jensen has tried to add one new beer to the Ale House menu a month. December's creation, St. Sideburn Holiday Ale, is, as Jensen elaborately explains, “a deep copper-colored Belgian strong ale [with] lots of fruit—plum, banana—a little bubblegum in the aroma, really malty and some clovey spiciness.
“It's a really nice one,” he continues, as Grace, his 16-month-old daughter, smiles and giggles while bouncing on his lap.
Jensen's other Ale House creations include a good Hefeweizen, Whitewash Wheat, and a really tasty dark ale, PB Porter, plus four others, all of which can be sampled in 5-once glasses by ordering an $8.95 flight of beer (which isn't on the menu but will be honored if you ask for it).
“That's the best-kept secret in P.B.,” says Howard Solomon, general manager of the Ale House, when he overhears Jensen talking about the flight. Another best-kept secret is the place's Thursday-night special, which offers all house beers for just $2 a pint from 10 p.m. until close.
Sampling Jensen's beers, you'll notice that most are pretty easy to stomach. They're not the kind of craft beers that only beer snobs dig.
“I like good ingredients and balance,” Jensen explains when asked about his secret to good beer-making for the masses. “Balanced beers are really nice. I tend to enjoy beers that I can drink a few of, and there's sort of a trend in brewing these days to brew bigger and bigger and crazier and crazier, and I like those beers, but I don't necessarily want to brew those beers because I feel like I'm brewing for everyone. That's kind of my secret, I guess.”—Kinsee Morlan
View from a stool
Things have changed a bit since Bell Biv DeVoe's heyday. For example, their Sunday concert at House of Blues revealed very few audience members rocking Cross Colours jeans and Air Jordan sneakers. But the crowd's positive reaction to their performance was less a result of cheap nostalgia than a sincere display of enthusiasm.
It would be easy to play off an infatuation with the group as an ironic joke, but that would trivialize the undeniable talent of three accomplished performers—Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins and Ronnie DeVoe, who came together in the late 1980s after the dissolution of teenage pop sensations New Edition.
With a bassist, a drummer, a keyboard player, a DJ and three back-up dancers (think the Fly Girls from In Living Color), they had the crowd rocking to classics like “Do Me!” and “B.B.D. (I Thought it Was Me).” Running through synchronized moves copped straight from old music videos, DeVoe was eager to call out “all the old-school BBD fans,” to which the mass of 30-somethings responded with screaming appreciation.
Having performed in the overtly sexual early '90s has its occasional pitfalls—and Bell's boast that “in Japan, they call me Mr. Licky” was probably funnier than intended. But BBD was always basically a grown-up boy band, with Bell taking the position of token ladies' man.
By the time they finished with a Night at the Apollo-style audience dance-off during an extended rendition of “Poison,” it was obvious that the performers themselves were simply trying to have a good time. As they joked around with aspiring dancers and sang the timeless line “Can't trust a big butt and a smile,” it was hard to deny their appeal, even 18 years since they hit the top 10.—Todd Kroviak
The Enrique Experience
San Diego's transgender community was out in full pomp and regalia Monday at Urban Mo's in Hillcrest for the Miss Mundo 2008 beauty pageant, where the soothing smell of pantyhose was in the air (Glade candle-scent developers take note). “We're looking for grace and elegance, as well as how good they hide their candy,” makeup artist and judge Foxxy Roxxy told CityBeat moments before the show. “I love me some candy, and tonight I'm out to get a cavity.”
The night started with the national costume display, during which six lovely participants paraded in lavish outfits reflecting their cultural heritage. “My name is Serenity, and I am proud to represent the land of the Incas, Peru!” a feather-clad participant said as, for unknown reasons, the Austin Powers theme played. She was followed by Miss Mexico, who drew gasps from the audience after deploying a pop-up satellite-dish peacock-feather collar. Not to be outdone, Miss Puerto Rico one-upped her with a red and gold Velociraptor-like neckband.
“DJ, let's get some swimwear music up in here,” emcee Lady Justice said, and in keeping with the strange-songs theme, “Eye of the Tiger” started to play. Miss Philippines dazzled in a black asymmetrical number while Miss Polynesian Islands drove the crowd wild in a turquoise bikini.
The evening-gown-and-questions portion followed, and in the end, Miss Venezuela, a dance instructor by day outshone them all when asked, if given the opportunity, what would she tell a child?
“That people are like angels and one should always fight ignorance. I remember being a 5-year-old boy and always dreaming about being the woman that I am today,” she answered.
Amid a thunderous ovation, she was crowned the winner as “Dancing Queen,” the night's most appropriate song, blared.—Enrique Limón