Brent Bernasconi

Happy Top Gun Day!

Top Gun Poster

In 1986, San Diego, Oceanside, NAS Miramar, the former Naval Training Center, Kansas City Barbecue and aviator glasses took off into stardom with the theatrical release of Top Gun!

Even though the movie was released on 16 May, today, 13 May, is Top Gun Day! So leave work a little early today, put on your aviator sunglasses, play some beach volleyball, have some ribs at Kansas City Barbecue (which still has the jukebox), and then head over to the nearest bar to order a Hemlock.

For those of you who remember the famous cottage of Maverick’s love interest, Charlie, here is a short video about its long history in Oceanside. Too bad the motorcycle is no longer parked outside.

After you enjoy the day, you should fly on down to the San Diego Air & Space Museum, USS Midway Museum, or the Flying Leatherneck Museum for some aviation history (because 1986 was a long long time ago!).


5 to Try: Art Rules at Museum Month

Nominate San Diego for a social media award in the Shorty Awards!Nominate San Diego for a social media award in the Shorty Awards travel category

Sure, the great weather and beautiful beaches are what San Diego is best known for, but away from the shore are some of San Diego’s real treasures: great art museums.  With Museum Month happening through February 28, now is the perfect time to soak up some color (and I don’t mean by working on your tan).

Swing by any Macy’s store in San Diego County, Imperial County or Riverside County  to pick up your free Museum Month Pass.  The pass is good all month long and will get you and up to 3 family or friends half off admission at more than 40 museums!

From Balboa Park to Oceanside and La Jolla to Encinitas, you’re never far from world class works of art.  Here are 5 San Diego art museums not to miss during Museum Month:

Carlos Amorales from Mexico: Expected/Unexpected

Museum of Contemporary Art

Opening Feb. 5 at their La Jolla location, MCASD presents Mexico: Expected/Unexpected featuring more than 100 artworks from one of Mexico’s most comprehensive contemporary art collections, the Isabel and Agustín Coppel Collection.  Juxtaposing contemporary Mexican artists like Carlos Amorales with more traditional historical figures like Gordon Matta Clark, Mexico:Expected/Unexpected is sure to stir up visitors’ perceptions of how art is categorized and the conversations that different artists and artworks create amongst each other.

Alison Saar at LUX

LUX Art Institute

On view through March 16 is LUX artist in resident Alison Saar.  Saar’s sculpture explores issues of identity in captivating and surprising ways.  Influenced by African and Haitian folklore, contemporary African-American culture, Catholicism, mythology and voodoo, Saar invites viewers to contemplate heavy subjects such as fertility, politics and human vulnerability with a little bit of humor.

Duane Michals from Imagine That!

Museum of Photographic Arts

It’s hard to pick which exhibition will captivate visitors to MoPA more: Imagine That! or Streetwise: Maters of 60s Photography.  Culled from the museum’s permanent collection, Imagine That! showcases photographers who create images beyond just what the eye sees, while Streetwise, opening Feb. 5, includes  documentary style portrayals of life on the street by iconic photographers including Robert Frank, Diane Arbus, Lee Friedlander, Garry Winogrand and more.

Thomas Gainsborough

San Diego Museum of Art

Though he may be best known for his portrait of “Blue Boy,” the San Diego Museum of Art explores how Thomas Gainsborough portrays women’s role in society with Thomas Gainsborough and the Modern Woman.  On view through May 1, the exhibition looks to Gainsborough’s portraits of women as a way to understand art, fashion and gender roles in the second half of the eighteenth century.

Artwork by Michelle Monjoy

Oceanside Museum of Art

On view through May 22 are the breathtaking botanical images of Imogen Cunningham, a pioneering photographer whose work with natural elements emphasize pattern, texture and detail.  And don’t miss Whole: Michelle Montjoy before it closes on Feb. 20.  Montjoy’s unexpected pieces transform old maps, fabric and pieces of clothing into delicate works addressing themes of memory and mapping systems.


5 to Try: Weekend Edition

  1. Head to the desert for the Borrego Springs 45th Annual Desert Festival.  The celebration, themed “Art & Soul,” includes a parade, the Miss Borrego pageant, dance parties, live music, art and craft exhibitions and more.
  2. On October 31, the city of Oceanside hosts the 10th Annual Dia del los Muertos celebration at Mission San Luis Rey.  The mission grounds will transform into a Mexican plaza with thousands of marigolds that create ‘ofrendas,’ and you can enjoy music, dancing, food booths, a retail mercado and the Chalk Cemetery for creating memorials for lost loved ones.
  3. Night crawlers enjoy the annual Monster Bash in the Gaslamp Quarter on October 30.  This annual outdoor music festival takes over the downtown streets with live musical performances on multiple stages, beer gardens and an extreme costume contest.  This ticketed event is for guests ages 21 and older. 
  4. Take advantage of October’s FREE things this last weekend of the month. Kids 11 years-old and younger get free admission into the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and Hornblower Cruises & Events is offering free San Diego Bay cruises for kids 12 years and younger.
  5. And of course, don’t forget to check out many of the Halloween festivities for families, and other Halloween happenings like Scream Zone at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, with its 3-D ghost maze, 25-room house of horror and haunted hayrides; The Haunted Hotel in downtown San Diego where haunts from Hollywood’s favorite horror films fill the rooms; and Haunted Trail of Terror in Balboa Park where you’ll need to run for your life through an outdoor maze.   I ain’t afraid of no ghost!  Ok, that was a lie…

Cinco to Try This Weekend

San Diego is celebrating Cinco de Mayo in a big way; check out these five weekend fiestas: 

Don't forget to wear your party hat

  1. The 27th Annual Old Town Fiesta Cinco de Mayo takes place this Saturday and Sunday in Old Town State Historic Park.  This FREE event features music and entertainment on five stages, a special kids area, delicious Mexican cuisine (may I please recommend Café Coyote’s handmade tortilla – you can buy them hot of the grill for less than $1 and they are so delicious!) and historical reenactments along the area’s main thoroughfare.  The fiesta takes place from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Sunday.
  2. This weekend, SeaWorld San Diego kicks-off its spring Viva La Música concert series with live performances in Shamu Stadium from award-winning Latin artists.  A variety of performances will take place throughout the day from 9:05 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. followed by special performances from Julieta Venegas (8 p.m. on Saturday) and Flex (8 p.m. on Sunday).  Grove to the music, enjoy delicious food and stay late for the Fiesta Fireworks show at 9:15 p.m.  Viva La Música is included with park admission; however, wristbands are required and are only available on a first-come first-serve basis.  
  3. This Sunday is the Third Avenue Village’s FREE Cinco de Mayo & Quinceaňera Extravaganza in Chula Vista.  From 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., over 200 vendors, live entertainment, authentic Mexican food and beverages, arts and crafts, a kid’s zone, rides, fashion shows and salsa dancing contests will take over the city streets. 
  4. This Saturday and Sunday Bazaar del Mundo Shops and Casa Guadalajara Mexican restaurant in Old Town are cooking up a great time with Cino-inspired cuisine and Cincoritas (margaritas in the colors of the Mexican flag).  Additional festivities will include mariachi and folkloric dance performances and arts and craft displays.
  5. Celebrations will also take place this Sunday at the Oceanside Pier Plaza Amphitheatre during the FREE Oceanside Cinco de Mayo Fiesta. The event will feature live entertainment, vendor booths, food booths, music and more from 11:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Katie S.

San Diego Reaches Out to Stranded Visitors

San Diego realizes that many visitors are stranded due to volcanic ash. In support, the following hotels and attractions are offering special rates to accommodate visitors during this time.

Hotel Rates:

Motel 6, 3708 Plaza Dr., 760.941.1011, $39.60 per night.
Motel 6 Downtown, 909 N Coast Hwy., 760.721.1543 $49.99 per night w/ micro & fridge.
Holiday Inn Marina, 1401 Carmelo Dr., 760.231.7000, $99.00 per night.
Residence Inn by Marriott, 3603 Ocean Ranch Blvd., 760.722.9600 $129 per night.
Wyndham Oceanside Pier Resort, 333 N. Myers Street, 40% Off.
Days Inns Days Oceanside, 1501 Carmelo Drive, 760.722.7661. 15% off rack rate.
Sheraton Suites, 701 S Street, 619.696.9800. $79 rate, 5 minutes from airport.


The following museums and theme parks are offering free one-day admission to any tourists stranded in Southern California due to the interruption in international air travel caused by Icelandic volcanic ash:

California Surf Museum, 312 Pier View Way, Oceanside, CA 760.721.6876

All stranded visitors must present a valid return airline ticket with dates from April 20th-April 27th, 2010 or until normal flight schedules return.


5 to Try This Weekend

  1. This Saturday and Sunday, over 300 of the world’s best bodysurfers will be in San Diego for the 33rd Annual World Body Surfing Championships.
    I wonder if he's competing in the Body Surfing Championships?

    I wonder if he's competing in the Body Surfing Championships?

    The event takes place from 6:30 a.m. until late afternoon on both days at the Oceanside Pier and Beach in Oceanside. The public can grab a spot and watch as men and women ages 12 – 65+ surf their hearts out for bragging rights as “the world’s best.”

  2. Enjoy a weekend of family fun and music at the Summergrass San Diego Bluegrass Festival this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The festival features bluegrass bands from around the world, music workshops, kid’s activities and a Kid’s Music camp, food, vendors and even onsite camping. The fun goes down at the outdoor Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum in San Diego’s North County from 3 p.m. – 10 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Sunday, but gates open early and stay open late so feel free to arrive early and settle in. Tickets are $17 – $20 per person or $54 for a three day pass; kids 10 and under get in free.
  3. This weekend, experience a tropical island getaway during the Sunset Luau at the Catamaran Resort & Spa in Mission Bay.  Doors open at 6 p.m., where you’ll receive a lei greeting and complimentary Mai Tai. Dinner starts at 6:45 p.m. and includes a wide variety of Hawaiian and mainland dishes (and even a slow roasted pig), served buffet style. Following dinner is a thrilling fire and knife dance as well as traditional dances from Tahiti, Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand and Hawaii. Tickets are $58 for adults and $25 for children.
  4. This Saturday is the 1st Annual Ocean Beach Summerfest from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. at Dusty Rhodes Park in Ocean Beach. The event will include carnival rides, food, live music, a craft fair and a beer garden. This free event is open to the public, and leashed dogs are welcomed.
  5. Hop aboard the San Diego Ferry and enjoy a scenic ride across San Diego Bay to Coronado Island.  The Ferry departs from downtown’s Broadway Pier or the San Diego Convention Center and costs only $6.50 roundtrip.  Once across the Bay, you’ll be at the Coronado Ferry Landing, where a number of shops, galleries, restaurants and live entertainment await.

Tour The World This Fall In San Diego

This awesome little guy at the Barona Pow Wow is repping the one culture that is actually from here.

So, you think you can dance? Wait til you see this awesome little guy at the Barona Pow Wow.

Warm ocean temperatures, coastal highs in the mid-70’s and crowds back in school make fall one of the best times to visit San Diego’s beaches and world-famous family attractions.   But, in my opinion, an even more exciting reason to visit in fall are all the cool events celebrating the cultures and people who make up San Diego. 

It’s common to hear San Diegans say “everyone here is from somewhere else.”  Well, here’s a chance to dig below the surface and find out where we come from – you might be surprised!

Fall cultural heritage events include:

  • The Pow-Wow Trail of California, celebrating the culture and history of the indigenous people of the state, winds through San Diego in September.  The Barona Band of the Mission Indians holds their annual Barona Pow-Wow Sept. 4-6 at the Barona Reservation in Lakeside.   The following weekend, Sept. 11-13, The Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation holds their Pow-Wow at the Sycuan Reservation in El Cajon.  Both events include traditional singing, dancing, games, arts and crafts, costumes, food and much more.   
  • On Sept. 26-27, the Pacific Islander Festival brings the spirit of the islands to Mission Bay’s Ski Beach with a celebration of the traditional cultures of the indigenous people of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia – an area that includes more than 2,000 unique Pacific islands.  This fall marks the 15th anniversary of the event which brings to San Diego the traditional food, dance, music, art and friendly hospitality of the people of Hawaii, Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti and many more vibrant island cultures. 
  • More than 200,000 people gather in La Mesa during Oct. 2-4 for the largest three-day Oktoberfest west of the Mississippi.  Lovers of German food, music, culture and beer flock to the festivities and celebrate German culture with traditional foods like bratwurst and sauerkraut, frosty brews flowing in three huge beer gardens, hundreds of craft vendors, costumed folk dancers and a children’s carnival.   
  • On Oct. 11, San Diego’s Little Italy Association presents the 15th Little Italy Festa – the largest one-day Italian American festival west of the Mississippi.  A grand celebration of Italian culture, more than 120,000 people gather annually for this traditional street festival that serves up traditional music, authentic foods, specialty crafts and Gesso Italiano, an Italian street chalk painting exhibition.   Sporty types also enjoy the street stickball exhibition games – San Diego is home to 10 stickball teams and visiting teams come from around the region – and can register early to enter the bocce ball tournament on Oct. 12.
  • The San Diego Asian Film Festivalreturns Oct. 12-29 to Mission Valley with programming that has earned an international reputation as one of North America’s top Asian-American film festivals. Last year, it drew a record crowd of nearly 18,000 film buffs and attracted high profile filmmakers and celebrities, including Academy Award-winning director Jessica Yu (short film, Breathing Lessons), Aaron Yoo (Disturbia, Nick and Nora), John Cho (Harold and Kumar), Leonardo Nam (Sisterhood of Traveling Pants), and YouTube sensation Christine Gambito of HappySlip.
  • On Nov. 1, the city of Oceanside brings its Annual Dia del los Muertos celebration to the historic Mission San Luis Rey. The mission grounds are transformed into a Mexican plaza with thousands of marigolds used in the creation of “ofrendas,” or altars, which are memorials to loved ones who have passed. Guests can enjoy music, dancing, food booths, a retail mercado and the Chalk Cemetery, an interactive area where guests use flowers, candles and chalk to create their own ofrendas.