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art labs

art labs

The Art San Diego Contemporary Art Fair was this weekend and we checked out a couple of its (free) related/inspired events downtown Saturday – Barrio Block Party and the East Village Random Acts of Art. While the block party was in name only – most of the activity was inside the warehouses along Main St. in Barrio Logan – it did give us an opportunity to finally have lunch at Blueprint one block over. Usually open for weekday lunches and happy hours only, it was serving a rare Saturday lunch, and we enjoyed a burger and thai salad while chatting with the owner. She said it’s been a struggle in that location, with customer parking hard to come by during weekdays, and little activity at night. As part of the block party they were showing the lowrider photographs of Pedro Rayos.

After Blueprint we made our first visit to Ryan Bros cafe, which had been recommended to us a while back by a friend. It’s a great open space inside, and it was clear why the dark roast Cowboy Coffee was a customer favorite. They recently opened another location in San Marcos.

ryan bros barrio logan

Next door to Ryan Bros, Roots Factory seemed to have the most going on, with vendors in their back parking lot and a dj setting up in one room. In another, this mural was on display from artist Brandon Roth:

roots factory

Across the street, a line of lowriders were in front of new studio The Spot, which moved in from Pacific Beach and performs graphic designs on cars. Inside, the walls were lined with spray-paint cans that had been transformed into art – one favorite was a can ripped open to reveal a bright red heart inside.

the spot barrio logan

After dropping into Glashaus next door and chatting with the very artist Janet McCarty upstairs, we drove over to East Village for the Random Acts of Art event. We hadn’t been to Mission Brewery in the old Wonder Bread building yet, and there was a modest pre-Padres game crowd hanging out in the huge interior – a trek to the bathroom will take you past much of their brewing and bottling equipment. While their IPA doesn’t have the hoppiness you’d find in other brewers’, it was a thirst-quencher on the warm afternoon downtown. Roy de Vries‘ art was on display here. After checking out a couple of other exhibits, including the very cool underwater photography from Jami Leslie, in the community workspace at Hive 770.

The highlight of the art-filled day was the Space 4 Art gallery on 15th Street, a multi-structure space crammed with unique artists. Robert Leathers showed us his amazingly intricate (and trippy) quilt art, along with some twisted, crystallized remnants of his burned house. The space for the artist collective of the San Diego Guild of Puppetry, tucked away down a long hall, contained several downright disturbing puppets, masks, and sculptures (the title of one, “Bone Baby”, gives some idea of the subject matter)… creepy and cool. In the back lot, a stage was set up and several outdoor art installations were on display:

space4art 1

Across the street, the modified crate of a Predator Drone (purchased on craigslist) sat in front of the Adaptable Sites Art Lab:

predator crate

The inside of the crate had been converted into a living space, including sleeping bags and glassware. Behind it were what appeared to be shipping containers converted into mini-galleries, with windows installed. And behind the containers was this wall mural, fitting the lab’s theme of “postindustrial collapse culture”:

adaptable sites art lab

More images from the day are available on flickr. Not a bad first weekend for San Diego’s Arts Month – look for Art Walk on the Bay next weekend.



Based out of Denver, Snooze, an A.M. Eatery, is going in to 3950 University Fifth in “a brand new building with sky high ceilings, all glass fronts and sky lights throughout” (which would actually put it south of Urban Outfitters at 3946 Fifth – say goodbye to the Shepard Fairey mural?). Their hometown location seems to be a bit hit on Yelp, but the brunch competition is pretty tough in its new neighborhood… The owners of recently-closed Trattoria Acqua are opening Brooklyn Girl in the Mission One building in Mission Hills… Stone Brewing’s South Park store is having its grand opening this Wednesday from 4-9 pm at 2215 30th St… San Diego Beer Blog also says Hamilton’s owner Scot Blair is opening Monkey Paw brewpub in the old East Village Jewel Box location… Bottlecraft, a beer shop and tasting room, is open at 2161 India St. in north Little Italy…Mission Brewery’s grand opening this past Saturday in their new East Village spot was a sellout:

LA’s Vintage Cinemas is re-opening the Village Theatre on Orange Ave in Coronado this Friday. It will operate as three theaters – two 45-seaters, and 215 in the main room.

A public meeting is set for Tuesday 6-8 pm at the old Planet Hollywood building in Horton Plaza for the planned “world-class urban plaza comparable to Union Square in San Francisco or Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland”. The space will include an amphitheater and host 200+ events a year. The UT article mentions three layout options for the plaza; I prefer the linear design shown here that mimics downtown’s grid.

The San Diego Museum of Art’s Stickley exhibit began this weekend and runs through September:

The exhibition examines Stickley’s contributions to the American Arts and Crafts movement and provides new insights into the artistic, commercial, and social context of his entry into the Arts and Crafts realm. Focusing on the years 1900 to 1913, Stickley’s most creative period, the exhibition illuminates the vibrant identity of the “Craftsman” style that Stickley developed and furthered through his furniture and household goods.Stickley offered customers a complete lifestyle based on his philosophy of simple design and quality materials, a philosophy disseminated both through his magazine, The Craftsman, and in his stores.

We had lunch next door to the museum this weekend at the Sculpture Court Cafe, which gave us time to ponder what a car-free plaza in front of the museum could offer. Take out the parking spots and you could extend the cafe’s tables right out into the lot; fill up the other half of the lot with food trucks. Move it all out for special events. Why not close off the lot one weekend and give it a try?

children’s park makeover

children’s park makeover

The park and water feature north of the convention center are set for a re-do to make the area more kid-friendly. A new play area will complement the existing Children’s Museum Park across Front Street, new seat walls will be added, and a restroom and food vendor (I like the rotating food truck option) will be onsite. The northern half of the existing pond will be reduced in depth to a quarter inch and LED lights will be installed.

Heading east on Harbor, in front of Tin Fish, the perpetually-broken water fountain at Gaslamp Square Park will be removed. It will be repaved with bricks, creating a new public gathering space complete with benches. It’s good to see two neglected areas in this high-profile location getting some attention.

Night on Adams is this Saturday evening, neighborhood businesses will be offering various specials… there’s a benefit for victims of the Japan earthquake and tsunami at the Kyocera that day from 9-3. Check out the San Diego Coffee Roasters event there:

* coffee & tea sales
* brewed coffee & tea by the cup (tea to be confirmed)
* coffee flights of single-origin coffees
* Japanese pastries
* home coffee roasting kits (roaster+green coffee beans) for sale or silent auction
* *** featuring a Behmor 1600 one pound coffee roaster, ($300 value!)
* home coffee roasters on display
* green coffee beans on display

– After 20 years in the making, construction has begun on the Rose Creek Bikeway in Mission Bay. It will run between Campland on the Bay and Mission Bay Golf Course, providing an alternative to cyclists and pedestrians to the speedway out on Grand Ave. Here’s the city project summary; map image below. Construction should be complete in February or March of next year.

View Larger Map

More bike-related news: Bike the Boulevard returns on May 21st:

This event is supported by and for businesses and bicycle riding folks along El Cajon Blvd from around 47th St. to 21st St. with scheduled stops at Till Two with a kick-off party from 12 to 2, Bike Oasis sponsored by the Bike Union from 2 to 3, , Eleven for $1 off craft beers (ride responsibly folks!), Bedouin Vintage for Art from 4 to 5, Lafayette Hotel for pool side cocktails (more responsible riding, right?) and then to Live Wire from 7 to 8 for Indie Bicycle Flicks and $1 off local craft beers.

Mission Brewery has opened a brewing operation in the old Wonderbread building downtown. According to their facebook page: “On Padres Game days, (Unless otherwise specified) Mission’s tasting room will be open from 2 hours prior to game start until 8PM that day!”.

– Expanded free wifi is coming to Balboa Park, courtesy of the Jacobs Foundation. Now if the Jacobs would just take heed of the National Trust’s warning that their bypass bridge plan could “adversely affect the integrity of the National Historic Landmark District”. Loss of National Landmark status could cause the park to lose out on federal grants for park rehabilitation projects.