Uptown Briefs — May 19–June 1, 2017

Posted: May 19th, 2017 | News, Opinion & News, Uptown Briefs | No Comments

‘Balboa Park After Dark’ returns

The popular Balboa Park After Dark program will be back this summer, starting on Friday, May 26, and running through Friday, Sept. 1.

Select museums in Balboa Park will stay open late — until 8 p.m. on Fridays — as part of the program. They include Mingei International Museum, San Diego Art Institute, San Diego Museum of Man, the NAT, The San Diego Museum of Art and Fleet Science Center. Japanese Friendship Garden and Spanish Village will also stay open late.

Hungry visitors can chow down as the Balboa Park Conservancy renews its Food Truck Friday event, when more than a dozen food trucks will park on Plaza de Panama and the Prado walkway. The food trucks will serve between 4 and 8 p.m.

Visit for details.

Cyclebar has philanthropic goals

A new health environment focused on the popular “spin” exercise regimen has opened in Hillcrest and its owners are also launching a philanthropic arm.

CycleBar Hillcrest — scheduled to celebrate its grand opening at 1040 University Ave., Suite B213 on June 8 — will also introduce CycleGiving, a new philanthropic effort that plans to raise money for local nonprofits while promoting health and fitness.

To help engage the community in its grand opening, CycleBar will be offering 70 free classes over 10 days, which will take place June 8–18.

The new work out center promises a “concert-like atmosphere” for its indoor, high energy workouts in what they describe as a “state of the art CycleTheatre” with specific CycleStar instructors leading 44 riders on the 50-minute workouts, complete with widescreen graphics, a DJ booth and LED lighting. Participants can relax and cool down post-workout with fresh fruit, enhanced water options and an aromatherapy experience throughout the new facility.

“I have been a competitive endurance athlete since college and have been very active in the San Diego group fitness community for the last 10 years,” University Heights resident and CycleBar Hillcrest owner Bob Franzetta said in a press release.

“Hillcrest is such an active, vibrant area and CycleBar fits into our community’s health and fitness lifestyle while making the experience fun for both new and experienced riders.”

For more information, visit

Vine Affair coming June 2

Balboa Park’s newest event, The Vine Affair, will be a stylish celebration of wine, art, beer, artisan food and live entertainment on Friday, June 2, from 6-10 p.m. Five of Balboa Park’s museums will host unique art installations, live music, wine and wine education.

The San Diego History Center will host the wine education series. Celebrated vintners, sommeliers and brewers will reveal the secrets of winemaking and brewing to teach attendees to become true connoisseurs. Master sommelier Maurice DiMarino will guide guests through a blind tasting to help discern the nuances of a wine and fine-tune the palate.

Learn the basics of viticulture, the science, production and study of grapes with Luke Bramon, a specialist in vineyard management. Bramon is bringing wines from his Luke’s Leap Wines, a premium boutique winery where wines are handmade from small-batch and old-vine grapes. He is also a member of the Wilson Creek winemaking team, and lecturer at San Diego State University’s Business of Wine program.

Husband and wife owners Eric and Lindsey Fillion of San Diego’s Pardon My French Bar and Kitchen will educate event-goers on the enjoyment of pairing of a rich French-fusion dessert, Crémeux au Chocolat, with a tasting from their boutique wine list.

As a tasting gallery, the San Diego History Center will celebrate the history and heritage of San Diego’s Jewish Community. Enjoy a double helping of live entertainment, first from San Diego harpist Charissa Barger. Then local klezmer band Yale Strom & Hot Pstromi fuses traditional klezmer, new Jewish music, Gypsy, khasidic, world beat and Balkan music. Food tastings will be comprised of Jewish-inspired food, wines and brews.

The Fleet Science Center will have a British theme in honor of its current exhibition, “Sherlock Holmes and the Clocktower Mystery.” Enjoy Victorian-era London with steampunk group The Velveteen Band, a kaleidoscopic musical sideshow that delivers a wonderland dreamscape, set to capture the imagination with puppets on vocals, a deranged mad scientist, all led by a six-foot trumpet-playing rabbit. Additional entertainment by dance troupe Moreton Bay Fig Morris performing traditional and modern English folk dances. British-themed food, sherry and a wine-style beer round out this tasting gallery.

The San Diego Art Institute’s Eclectic theme will explore wine’s place in popular culture through live performances, such as native San Diego video artist Geoff Pritchard exploring the role of TV and internet featuring viral footage of “The Grape Fall,” a mishap during an Atlanta news segment on a grape stomping challenge at a winery. Artist Charles Snowden will perform a live sculpture. Finally, art exhibit “Extra-Ordinary Collusion” featuring more than 23 artist and scientist collaborations can be perused while event-goers enjoy a rainbow of food and beverage tastings from wine to sake, chocolate to cheese.

The Balboa Park Conservancy, in conjunction with The Prado Restaurant, will honor Balboa Park’s heritage with a Spanish themed tasting room featuring Spanish wine, paella and tapas. Crowds will delight to the true flamenco tradition courtesy of Spanish guitarist Oscar Aragon.

The San Diego Model Railroad Museum features historic railroads from the 1950s and 1960s, and will swing into mid-century glamour. San Diego-native Jason Hanna’s jazz trumpet will keep the joint jumpin’, while attendees marvel at a live-performance painting by Bonnie Chance and sip and taste retro-inspired flavors.

Tickets are on sale now at Unlimited tasting — $65, VIP — $100, designated driver — $35.

Pride’s Stonewall Rally returns to Hillcrest

San Diego Pride and the Hillcrest Business Association are working together again this year to kick off the weekend’s 43rd annual Pride festivities on Friday, July 15. The Spirit of Stonewall Rally, which last year took place at the Pride Festival grounds on the West Mesa of Balboa Park — as it had in the years prior to the construction of the Hillcrest Pride Flag — is returning to the flag area at Normal Street and University Avenue prior to the Pride Block Party.

“Our community and this country could use a little more unity right now. By bringing these two organizations together over Pride weekend to honor our history and celebrate our accomplishments we’re also highlighting all that is possible when we work together,” said Fernando Lopez, director of operations for San Diego Pride.

The Spirit of Stonewall Rally — which celebrates local LGBT leaders, offers an inspirational speaker lineup that serves as a call to action during challenging times, and ends with the ceremonial raising of the Hillcrest Pride Flag — has historically kicked off the weekend’s festivities.

This year, as in years past, the rally will be immediately followed by the Pride Block Party, a neighborhood event held alongside the flag area that includes local DJs, carnival rides, bars and a large dance area all in the street at the intersection of Normal Street and University Avenue.

“I am so happy that the Stonewall Rally is returning to Hillcrest this year,” said Benjamin Nicholls, executive director of the Hillcrest Business Association. “Unity is so important as we go forward in an ever more uncertain and difficult world. I know the businesses of Hillcrest are excited to be part of the kick off of Pride 2017!”

The Spirit of Stonewall Rally, which starts at 5 p.m., is free and open to the public. Advance general admission tickets for the Block Party, which will start immediately after the rally and continue until 11 p.m., are currently on sale for $20, with VIP passes $45. Visit or for tickets and more information.

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