East County Nightlife: Calling All Guerrilla Artists

Live music and stand-up comedy not hard to find this weekend in East County.

While this column has long sung the virtues of oft-overlooked East County (by the rest of the county, that is), certainly many residents were overcome with envy at the news this week that the infamous had once again been festooned with the hilarious antics of local guerrilla artists. The envy is understandable; seriously, is there anything more quintessentially East County than well-meaning hoodlums causing a nighttime ruckus to the amusement of everyone (city officials included)?

We might not have an iconic/widely derided statue to use as a blank canvas, but anything that is decorated with such glorious imagination would certainly become an overnight sensation. Potential ideas: the Granite Hills High School eagle; the Grossmont High School mountainside “G”; the Mount Helix cross—nah, too touchy. But we can think of something.

So, to all those artists in residence, instead of going to another bar or concert or stand-up comedy show this weekend, perhaps consider spending a night in East County bringing infamy to the area—at least a different kind than we usually get.


Where/when: Nan Couts Cottage, 5054 Memorial Dr., La Mesa, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Why Go: It might not have the eclectic flavor of an Ocean Beach drum circle (aka Bums with Drums), but it is definitely a music-in-the-moment event worthy of your percussive skills.  RhythmWorx and the Ready…Set…Live Well Community Wellness Initiative invite everyone to join, regardless of skill level, and a variety of drums will be available for use.

Price: Free.


Where/when: Town Center Community Park, Santee, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday.

Why Go: As mentioned in last week’s column, the delicious buffet of outdoor concerts that East County has blessed us with all summer is running out of offerings, and the vintage rock ‘n’ roll from the Cat-illacs marks the end of Santee’s . The park’s new outdoor amphitheater might be an unwitting host to impromptu performance art throughout the year until next summer, but it just won’t be the same.

Price: Free.



Where/when: Prescott Promenade, El Cajon, 6 to 8 p.m. Friday.

Why Go: While much of El Cajon’s series has featured a variation of rock, country or blues, Novamenco promises to bring a heaping helping of spice to downtown El Cajon with its signature flamenco/gypsy fusion sound.

Price: Free.

Where/When: Spacebar Internet Café, 7454 University Ave., La Mesa, 8 p.m. Friday.

Why Go: Would it be fair to classify humor as an art form, considering you have to pay as much for a comedy show as you would for a concert or play or movie ticket? Perhaps, but laughs are still free where you can find them, such as Spacebar’s stand-up event this Friday hosted by Gina Manning and Kathleen Finney.

Price: Free.

Where/when: ¡Muévete! Dance Studio, 3338 Main St., Lemon Grove, 7 to 10 p.m. Friday.

Why Go: Burning calories need not be an ordeal, so instead of tedious gym routines or risky jogs around the patches of questionable East County, try dancing, which is a fantastically fun way to get in shape.  ¡Muévete! hosts this free night of Mexican folk dancing and music every third Friday of the month.

Price: Free.



Where/when: Cosmos Coffee Café, 8278 La Mesa Blvd., La Mesa, 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday.

Why Go: Witness the sweet combination of folk and pop music during this collaborative show between longtime San Diegan Jim Hinton and eerie Paul McCartney lookalike (and British transplant) Dave Humphries during Cosmos Café’s for local acoustic music.

Price: Free.

Where/when: Second Wind Santee, 8528 N. Magnolia Ave., Santee, 9 p.m. Saturday.

Why Go: Monsters of Rock is not just another classic rock cover band—their choices have a decidedly metal slant, with tributes to AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest in addition to favorites from Led Zeppelin, Queensryche, The Cult and more.

Price: No Cover.


Where/when: Hooley’s Rancho San Diego, 2955 Jamacha Rd., El Cajon, 9 p.m. to midnight Saturday.

Why Go: Local San Diego band Private Domain has taken advantage of rock ‘n’ roll’s broad parameters during their decades of existence, opening for a wide swath of famous acts such as James Brown, Bonnie Raitt, Chris Isaak, the Doobie Brothers and more. Check out their extensive catalogue of originals at Hooley’s this Saturday.

Price: No cover. 



Where/when: Dreamcatcher at Viejas Casino, 5000 Willows Rd., Alpine, 6 to 10 p.m. Sunday.

Why Go: Checking out a cover band at a local bar is one thing—seeing several compete against each other for a share of $40,000 is quite another (to say they’ll be stepping it up a bit is an understatement).  This Sunday’s lineup includes Todash, Damaged Goods, The Tighten Ups, Hey Ho Let’s Go and the pun-tastic Allison Chains.

Price: Free.

Where/when: Prospect Avenue Baptist Church, 8836 Prospect Ave., Santee, 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Why Go: Described as a “homegrown guitar virtuoso,” recent college graduate Ben Owens will perform solo and along with several musical friends, playing a variety of bluegrass, gypsy jazz and swing music.  Plus, free, fresh-baked homemade treats and coffee will be available.

Price: Free. 


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