GLASHAUS AND MATT DEVINE: Surprises in Barrio Logan   Leave a comment

Today after lunch in at the Blueprint Cafe in Barrio Logan I came across a warehouse sheltering Glashaus, sandwiched between downtown Barrio Logan and the industrial waterfront. Inside I found an art show, Terry Dickson, and Matt Devine’s sculpture studio. In his business, MakeFab (, Terry produces fine custom metalwork for architects.

Next door the artist Matt Devine produces mostly large metal artwork that’s been used in public spaces all over San Diego. The three photos above show some of his recent pieces.


Posted March 7, 2012 by vblocker in Uncategorized

THE FAR EAST: San Diego’s Mountains and Desert   2 comments

The same bright sun as at the beaches, but a landscape with no hint of the coast forming the county’s western edge.

The view plunges a full mile downward from the crest of the Laguna Mountains into the desert stretching to the Arizona state line.

The mountain scenes are poignant with stillness and subtle coloration.

Less than two hours from downtown San Diego and still well within the county boundaries, the vegetation exudes a distinctive light, sweet scent that I find only in the mountains.

Posted February 28, 2012 by vblocker in Uncategorized

LA JOLLA: Quiet Beauty   2 comments

La Jolla, California is where I am fortunate enough to live.  How many places pack such a mosaic of people, sea animals, activities, and landscapes into such a small space?

Of course, La Jolla is well known for its seafront, but there are also unobtrusive nooks of eccentric charm, like this quiet alley scene below with its beautiful light. Having grown up in the Middle West and Northeast of the U.S., I am still charmed by the juxtaposition of palm trees with telephone lines in alleys.

Many people in La Jolla live in old, modest frame buildings located in less public streets like this one.

Posted February 2, 2012 by vblocker in Uncategorized

VOICE OF SAN DIEGO: “We don’t do a story unless we think we can do it better than anyone else or no one else is covering it.”   Leave a comment

San Diego residents outside in the dark during last year’s massive power outage (photo credit: Sam Hodgson).

This photo comes from the photoblog on the website of Voice of San Diego (  VOSD is a politically unaligned nonprofit online newspaper with a special mission: highly professional in-depth and investigative reporting on the San Diego area.  It’s lively but serious and keeps me in touch with major public issues–while shielding me from the fluff that pads many competing media.

VOSD is a fascinating initiative, backed by such prominent figures as Bill Stensrud and Buzz Woolley, among others.

Posted February 2, 2012 by vblocker in Uncategorized

“SO SAY WE ALL”: Creation, performance, and education in the literary arts in San Diego   Leave a comment

For live, rollicking literary events, go here: So Say We All.

“You are your story” is this young movement’s truer-than-we-know tagline.

I’ve joined SSWA’s advisory committee to help out with the fundraising.  That said, they’ve done nicely without me so far, with a “Creative Catalyst Grant” from the San Diego Foundation and other support that recognize SSWA’s innovative and effective programs to foster literary culture at the grassroots.

On February 2 SSWA holds its Greenroom Writers Workshop: “History Repeating”:

“Are you watching in horror as you become your parents? Are you struck by a sense of deja vu? Are you fascinated or obsessed with recurring themes in your life? Well then this is the writing session for you. All of this has happened before and all of this will happen again, but only on Thursday Feb 2nd will we be writing about it.”

To sign up, go to Greenroom Writers Workshop

Posted January 29, 2012 by vblocker in Uncategorized

Food and restaurant scene also revives in TJ   Leave a comment

The January 30 issue of The New Yorker magazine features a fascinating “Letter from Tijuana.”  In it Dana Goodyear profiles Javier Plascencia, a groundbreaking chef in his own restaurant, Misión 19.  Goodyear weaves Plascencia’s personal and professional story into TJ’s extremely dramatic ups and downs over recent years.

You can find information about the restaurant at Misión 19.  The site contains a link to a review published in The New York Times.

Perhaps the worst down was the 200-a-month murder rate in 2008, a catastrophic situation that has pretty much tapered off since.

The cuisine served at Misión 19, which uses regionally grown products and breaks radically with the stereotype of Mexican food, is part of a Tijuana trend that includes the concept of “Baja Med” (“Med” for “Mediterranean”).  This makes a lot of sense to me, since our region is so similar to many Mediterranean areas in climate, topography, and agriculture.

Anyhow, on our January 2 cross-border excursion my son and I just happened to have lunch at El Taller (“The Shop”) restaurant, and it was great.  As you can see from my photo, the restaurant’s tagline is “Baja Med Cocina”

What was actually more surprising about eating that day in Tijuana was the McDonald’s across the street from the Centro Cultural Tijuana.

The taste, elegance, and selection of food items in this fast-food establishment had little in common with its cousins across the border.>

(By the way, if you click to enlarge any of the photos, you will see more interesting detail.)

Posted January 29, 2012 by vblocker in Uncategorized

Live music scene revives in TJ   Leave a comment

Tijuana may be in a foreign country, but in a very real sense it’s a San Diego suburb.  Or maybe San Diego is a suburb of Tijuana!  Depends on your perspective.

Something like 100,000 people cross the border between Tijuana and San Diego every day.

Last January 2 my son and I spent a sunny, warm day in TJ, guided by our new friend, Omar Foglio, a Mexican documentary film producer and general creative guy. Omar and his team have created a fascinating film about the centuries-old pottery tradition in Mexico and the effort to get the artisans to replace their toxic lead-based glazes with lead-free ones.  The film’s English title is “Brilliant Soil.”

Omar told us that after a period of decline, the TJ music club scene is coming back, centered around the intersection of Sixth Avenue and Avenida Revolución.  Here’s my photo of one of Sixth Avenue’s gritty but colorful little clubs (click to enlarge and see interesting detail):

Posted January 28, 2012 by vblocker in Uncategorized