1. Funny business
How does one become a comic legend? Fans of the now-iconic sketch-comedy troupe Monty Python have celebrated its co-creator and star John Cleese for decades. But have more causal fans ever stopped to wonder where the now-75-year-old comedian came from? The answer starts in the southwest of England in a lower-middle-class family, and it's all laid out in vivid detail in Cleese's new comical memoir, So, Anyway....
Cleese is currently touring in support of the book, and San Diego is one of only roughly a dozen stops in the United States—Cleese will bring his sharp wit to the University of San Diego's Shiley Theatre (5998 Alcala Park) at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 20. Reflecting on a career that spans generations, he'll discuss his book and his politically incisive humor and engage with fans.
"He's only going to a few cities, and the fact that we were able to get him, we're thrilled," said event organizer Julie Slavinsky of Warwick's bookstore. "I think this appeals across generations. You've got middle-aged Monty Python aficionados, and you've got the next generation just finding that comedy."
While on tour, Cleese will appear in conversation with various comedians. In San Diego, the comic and author will be interviewed by Bob Odenkirk, well-known for his work on HBO's Breaking Bad, as well as the sketch-comedy series Mr. Show, which drew heavily from Cleese's work.
"Each city that hosts him is going to have a little bit different experience," Slavinsky said. "It's not going to be that canned, 'This is what the book's about.' Every city has different interviewers asking different questions."
Tickets are $30 and include a signed copy of the book. Doors open at 6 p.m., and seating is first-come, first-served. warwicks.indiebound.com
2. All for one
Dance might not be in your wheelhouse, but if any group can convert the mildly interested to the wildly enthusiastic, it's Pilobolus Dance Theater. Widely considered the superstars of contemporary dance, Pilobolus is the type of genre-blurring performance troupe that gets invited to give talks at the official TED conference or perform live on Oprah. The interest and attention stems from the artists' and choreographers' ability to create and perform original dance pieces that are so unified, it seems as if it's one huge, organic entity on stage rather than several individuals working together. Pilobolus will do its thing at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15, in the concert hall at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido (340 N. Escondido Blvd.). artcenter.org
3. Get in the zone
If you want to make any part of town seem cooler, give it a name—like Historic La Jolla Cultural Zone. From 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 16, tour the area and take in eight architecturally and culturally significant institutions, including the 101-year-old Bed & Breakfast Inn, designed by Irving Gill; The Cuvier Club, formerly a World War II USO hall; the La Jolla Historical Society's Wisteria Cottage Galleries, (where you can see a photographic exhibition of Gill's work); and St. James by-the-Sea, with its cool stained-glass windows and Austin pipe organ. The event is free, including admission to the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, which is offering tours (at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.) of the current exhibition, Jack Whitten: Five Decades of Painting. mcasd.org/events
Does your event deserve to be in our top three? Email Kinsee Morlan.