JAPANESE BREAKFAST: Live at The Observatory in North Park

Oct. 4, 2021

The Opening Act: Luna Li 

On Monday I attended The Observatory on a rainy night to see Japanese Breakfast. Let me tell you all about it. 

Luna Li, who is from Toronto, was opening and I had never heard of her before. The lead came out on stage with three other bandmates: Hallie Switzer, Char Aragoza, and Braden Sauder.

As Luna Li started playing, I was instantly enchanted with her dreamy-rock sound and angelic voice. I never stopped swaying and grooving to her heavenly sound. Luna was also great on stage, she truly is a garage rock princess, as Mick Magazine calls her. With every song that was played, she did not fail to surprise me. Luna has a diverse skill palette with over 14 years of piano and violin training, and she can also play the harp. Luna whipped out her pretty butterfly guitar and played violin for her song, “Afterglow.” The band meshed so perfectly together, especially with the backup vocals. At one point, she told the crowd to just close their eyes and float away, and I did as she said. Although after a while I did peek to see who else was following orders. My favorite song by them right now has got to be Alone But Not Lonely. 

Hannah Bussiere is the Korean-Canadian artist behind Luna Li. According to Fashion Magazine, Hannah wanted a stage name that she could “step into,” to become her best unapologetic self when performing. She channels divine feminine energy, which is where the name “Luna” comes from. 

The self-proclaimed “moon fairy” expressed how grateful she was to be on tour with Japanese Breakfast because she felt represented by the band, since the lead, Michelle Zauner is Korean as well. 

Now, I am absolutely in love with Hannah Bussiere’s sound and vision. I’m so happy that I got to experience her music live before ever hearing her beautiful music. 

The Main Act: Japanese Breakfast

Not knowing much about the artist, besides her sound, I was eager to see what she’s all about live. As soon as Japanese Breakfast came out they started playing Paprika, an energetic piece which is my favorite song from her new album titled, Jubilee. 

I was blown away and uplifted by her performances. Wow… just wow. I couldn’t stop moving my body and taking it all in, it was quite emotional for me. The night was such a refreshing experience that I haven’t felt since seeing Unknown Mortal Orchestra live a couple of years back. The crowd was so chill and groovy. For the first time, I thought, people don’t have to always be dancing or screaming lyrics in order to gain something from attending a show. 

Japanese Breakfast’s talented lead and visionary, Michelle Zauner, is also a writer and director. I found out that she wrote a memoir about her relationship with her late mother, titled, “Crying in H-Mart.” Zauner is also married to her bandmate Peter Bradley, who she wedded nearly seven years ago, in her parent’s backyard before her mother passed. There was so much love at the show. At one moment, Michelle was introducing a song that she wrote for Peter, then saying that most songs she writes are for him as well. They played so well alongside one another. Aw. 

As usual, the band disappeared into the back and reappeared for an electric encore. What a beautiful night. 

Japanese Breakfast and Luna Li were absolutely breathtaking and incredibly talented. The experience was so elevating and I felt so humbled and full of love at the same time by the end of the night. The Woman That Loves You was my cry song and still remains, along with new pieces that I’ve discovered along the way through that night’s venture. Thank you so much.  

Written by Maya Tomasik

Fall Activities To-Do in San Diego

Fall is officially here, and no matter the season, it’s always sunny in San Diego, which means there are enough fall-themed activities to celebrate one of the best seasons of the year.

Here’s a list of places to visit and things to do throughout San Diego County this fall. 

Apple picking in Julian

Julian Farm and Orchard in Julian, CA, is open on Saturday and Sunday from September 18 to October 31. Visitors will enjoy the apple orchard, hayrides, cider press, farm animals, ax throwing, shopping, and pumpkin picking. For more information, including admission prices and hours, please visit their website here.

Bates Nut Farm Pumpkin Patch

On the weekends, Bates Nut Farm in Valley Center will have live entertainment, BBQ, Kettle corn, food trucks, rock climbing, hayrides, and more, all running from September 18 to October 31. For admission and more information, please visit their website

Photo Credit: Jeremy Lwanga

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Celebrations

Oceanside Dia de Los Muertos Festival
The 20th Annual Oceanside Dia de Los Muertos Festival is scheduled for Sunday, October 24, 2021, from 10 am to 5 pm in Downtown Oceanside. For more information on activities and parking, please visit their website

City Heights Dia de los Muertos

Celebrate the lives of friends and relatives who have passed away the City Heights Dia de Los Muertos. People of all cultures will come together for community altars, face painting, mask making, and prizes for the best Catrina and Catrin contest, plus dancing, singing, and music. For more information on this event, please head to this event page

Carrera de los Muertos San Diego 5k or 10k Run

Looking for a fun run? Look no further. Los Muertos San Diego is a festive and fun 5k run/walk celebrating the Day of the Dead on November 7, 2021. Enjoy a scenic run or walk along the San Diego Bay to celebrate in the park with mariachi, dancers, and comida deliciosa! Join family and friends to remember loved ones who have passed in this rich cultural tradition. You will experience a great sense of community through a bit of exercise, music, dance, face painting, and a lot of fun. Please visit the event page here to purchase tickets and get more information. 

Fall at Balboa Park

Balboa Park will feature a variety of fall activities that are perfect for the family.

  • You can Take A Hike with volunteers from the San Diego Natural History Museum’s Canyoneers. The Canyoneers offer a guided hike in Balboa Park and around the area.
  • Trail of Fears/The Haunted Trail of Balboa Park will have two haunted theme activities to keep you on your toes. One is a mile-long outdoor trail through twisted pines and the other a 3,500 square foot maze. Both will keep you on your toes.
Photo Credit: Ethan Unzicker

Hike to See Fall Colors

Looking to see fall colors around San Diego County? Here’s a list of some great hiking trails to see nature switch to over to fall:

Thunder Ridge and Chimney Flat Loop

19952 State Park Drive, Palomar Mountain, CA

Sunset Trail

Laguna Mountain Recreation Area 10678 Sunrise Hwy Descanso, CA

Volcan Mountain

1209 Farmer Road (at Wynola Road) Julian, CA

Lake Cuyamaca

15027 Highway 79, Julian, CA

Observatory Trail

Cleveland National Forest

35899 Canfield Road, Warner Springs, CA

For more information on the trails above, please visit this website.

Photo Credit: Edgar Soto

Mountain Valley Ranch Pumpkin Patch

Ready to pick out a pumpkin? Let’s go! Mountain Valley Ranch Pumpkin Patch in Ramona is open from September 25 to October 31 from 9 am – 6 pm. The pumpkin patch features a giant corn maze, farm animals, and the ability to launch corn out of a cannon. Yes, please! For all the details, go to their website here.

Oktoberfest in San Diego (21 years and over)

Oktoberfest is a folk festival hosted initially in Munich, Germany. To view location and ticket information, visit their website here.

PB Pumpkin Patch

The PB Pumpkin Patch offers a large variety of pumpkins to choose from and has a free pumpkin carving and painting area. Also, enjoy some free hot apple cider and shaved ice for the little ones. The PB Pumpkin Patch is open from October 1 to October 31 Monday – Friday 10 am to 10 pm, and then Saturday and Sunday 8 am to 10 pm. For more information, please visit their website here.

If you do try some of these fall activities, let me know how it went by sharing your photos with me on socials @MikeStarkCA on Twitter and Instagram 
Written By: Mike Stark | @MikeStarkCA

Where to Watch Fireworks for 4th of July

Fourth of July is tomorrow, and now is the time to finalize (or start making) those Fourth of July plans by scheduling where you will watch fireworks.

Here is a list of some areas where you can check out fireworks to close out the holiday.

San Diego Bay: The Big Bay Boom is back after taking a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The free firework show begins at 9 pm sharp. You can catch this memorable show at one of the four barges off Shelter Island, Harbor Island, Embarcadero, and Seaport Village/Coronado Landing. More information available here.

Santee: As part of their annual Fourth of July event with food vendors, a concert, and a patriotic ceremony, Santee Salutes will conclude their event with Dual firework displays scheduled at 9 pm on July 4.

Oceanside: The Oceanside area will celebrate their firework show a day early, with their display happening on Saturday, July 3 at 9 pm. Activities before the display include music entertainment and food vendors. The viewing area for fireworks is on Rancho Del Oro Drive. For more information on the fireworks, visit their website here.

Sea World (Central San Diego): Sea World will host the Independence Day Fireworks spectacular at SeaWorld. The 15-minute firework display is set to a patriotic soundtrack. For more information, check out the details here.

Camp Pendleton: Camp Pendleton will host a Beach Bash fireworks show beginning at 9:00 pm located at Del Mar Beach. Festivities before the fireworks run 6:00 am – 10:00 pm. The event is open to military families. Additionally, civilians are welcome with authorized personnel.

Coronado: The annual Coronado July 4th Celebration fireworks begin at 9 pm at Spreckels Park, and then the Big Bay Boom will be at Gloriette Bay. The Coronado Times reports that the traffic is heavy, so plan to walk or bike around Downtown Coronado. 

Escondido: Fireworks in the City of Escondido will begin at 9 pm. Traditionally the City has a large-scale event, however, this year will be fireworks only available for viewing from the Woodward Avenue parking lot with Grape Day Park remaining open past dusk, standard regulations remain in effect. Click here for more information. 

Del Mar: San Diego County Fair 4th of July Celebration fireworks light up the sky beginning at 9 pm from the Del Mar Fairgrounds. For more information, check out their website here. 

Vista: The City of Vista 4th of July celebration starts at 9 pm, taking place at Brengle Terrace Park at 1200 Vale Terrace Drive. The park will open at 5 pm with a BBQ dinner taking place from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm. For more information, please visit their website here

Fireworks by Warren Tobias on UnSplash

El Cajon: Fireworks in the City of El Cajon start at 9 pm at Kennedy Park with festivities starting at 1 pm. Kennedy Park located at 1675 E. Madison Ave. Visit their website here for more information. 

Poway: Fireworks in Poway will be at Poway High School and Poway Sportsplex. For more information, please visit their website

Carlsbad: 4th of July at Legoland is back. The Red, White & Boom! Will include an All American family picnic, relay race, live performances, and firework show. To learn more, vist their website

Rancho Bernardo: If you’re in the Rancho Bernardo area, fireworks begin at 9 pm and located at Rancho Bernardo High School. Click here for more information. 

Ramona: Fireworks in the Ramona area will start at 9 pm at Olive Peirce Middle School, 1521 Hanson Lane. For more information, visit the following link

Don’t feel like going out to watch fireworks? You can catch them directly from the comfort of your home. Fox 5 San Diego will have coverage of the Big Bay Boom beginning at 8 pm with fireworks launching at 9pm. For more information, please visit Fox 5 San Diego here

Please be safe and have a great 4th of July.

Cover Photo: Big Bay Boom! By Wilson Ye

Written By: Mike Stark | @MikeStarkCA

Upcoming Shows in San Diego

San Diego is home to some great venues like The Observatory and Soma, so it’s not a surprise that there are some great upcoming shows in 2020.

First, The Observatory in North Park, my personal favorite, holds 1,100 people, so it’s a pretty intimate experience. Here’s who’s on the schedule so far:  

  • Hippie Sabotage: February 27th
  • Dr. Dog: February 28th
  • Olivia O’Brien: February 29th
  • Grouplove: March 23rd
  • Third Eye Blind: March 16th
  • COIN: April 3rd
  • Lovelytheband: May 16th
  • Airborne Toxic Event: July 1st

Next, Music Box in downtown San Diego. This venue holds 700 people, which creates an even more intimate experience than the Observatory. Here’s who’s on the schedule so far:

  • Drama: February 27th 
  • Marc E. Bassy: March 17th
  • Goody Grace: May 14th
  • Nombe: June 5th
  • Peach Pit: June 17th

House Of Blues is also located downtown. The main room holds up to 1000 people, and the Voodoo Room holds 300 people, with a very cozy setting. Here’s who’s on the schedule so far: 

  • Sleeping With Sirens: April 24th 
  • Slenderbodies: May 20th
  • Azizi Gibson: May 22nd
  • Cub Sport: May 30th

Next up is Soma, located in the Midway neighborhood, near the San Diego Sports Arena. It holds up to 2,700 people, and they’ve got some great shows coming this year! Here’s who’s on the schedule so far:

  • SOBXRBE: February 29th
  • Nghtmre: March 5th
  • The Growlers: March 6th
  • Hockey Dad: April 4th
  • Yeek: April 10th 
  • TV Girl: April 24th 
  • Kaytranada: April 28th
  • LP: May 7th
  • Foals: May 19th

One of the bigger venues in San Diego is Pechanga Arena which holds up to 14,800 people. Due to its large capacity, some huge names are coming this year. Here’s who’s on the schedule so far:

  • Blake Shelton: March 6th
  • Tame Impala: March 9th
  • Celine Dion: March 31st
  • Justin Bieber, Kehlani, Jaden Smith: May 26th
  • Camila Cabello: August 11th
  • The Lumineers: August 25th 
  • Harry Styles: August 30th

Next up, Petco Park in downtown San Diego, home of the San Diego Padres. This venue can hold up to 42,000 people! Here’s who’s on the schedule so far: 

  • M3F Fest: Bon Iver, Rufus Du Sol, Stick Figure, The Growlers, LANY, Local Natives, San Holo, and more! March 6-8
  • Green day, Fall Out Boy, Wheezer, The Interrupters: July 24th
  • KAABOO: Lineup to be announced soon. Last year it included artists such as Kings of Leon, Dave Matthews Band, Mumford and Sons, Duran Duran, The Black Eyed Peas, Onerepublic, Mark Ronson, Sublime w/Rome, Silversun Pickups and more: September 18-20

Lastly, Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre, located right in the heart of San Diego State! It can hold up to 4,600 people. And if you can’t afford to go, you can always stand outside the gates and listen 🙂 Here’s who’s on the schedule so far: 

  • Kesha: May 2nd
  • Russ: May 6th
  • Alicia Keys: September 11th
  • John Legend: September 25th
Written by: Delaney Weidner