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San Diego Events Calendar: January 2020

How to be busy and important this month in San Diego


August Wilson’s Jitney | Photo: Joan Marcus

January 8:

Renowned drummer and guitarist Cedric Burnside brings his hypnotic blues music to UC San Diego’s The Loft.

Irish love story Bloomsday at North Coast Repertory Theatre follows an older couple retracing their steps to rediscover their younger selves (through 2/2).

2016 Tony Award winner for Best Play The Humans, at Lyceum Theatre, explores a spiritual rift at the heart of a modern American family (through 2/2).


January 9:

Musicians have to find their big break somewhere. And for 40 almost-famous acts, that’s exactly what they’re hoping for at Springboard West Music Festival. See all the hand-picked, emerging artists across four stages in Ocean Beach.

Springboard West Music Festival | Photo: Sydney Prather


January 10:

San Diego Symphony’s season-long celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday begins with Emanuel Ax: Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 1, through the weekend at Copley Symphony Hall.


January 11:

Say cheers at the San Diego Brew Festival in Liberty Station, featuring music, food trucks, and unlimited brews.


January 18:

Illusion: The Magic of Motion

Walk, don’t run to MoPA’s newest exhibit, because it’s already been captured in a flash. Illusion: The Magic of Motion, on view from January 18 through 2021, is all about crystallizing the moments within movement. It comprises stills from contemporary photographers and pioneers of the medium, like Harold “Doc” Edgerton, whose image “Moving Skip Rope (1952)” is shown here. The electrical engineer and MIT professor got his nickname “Papa Flash” for pioneering flash photography—he invented a tube that produces extremely short bursts of light using xenon gas. To see it or not to see it? Your move!

Star musician and social activist Chance the Rapper takes the mic at Pechanga Arena.

August Wilson’s Jitney at The Old Globe tells a story of unlicensed cab drivers in 1970s Pittsburgh who fight to save their business in a gentrifying neighborhood (through 2/23).

Rock band Los Lobos performs a benefit concert at Spreckels Theatre in support of the nonprofit Doors of Change.

Admire paintings of bunnies, butterflies, and tropical birds in the exhibit Hunt Slonem: A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Madison Gallery (through 3/20).

Make your voice heard in Women’s March San Diego, kicking off at Waterfront Park.


January 19:

Stand up for civil rights at the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade along Harbor Drive.

Dine out for eight days during San Diego Restaurant Week, when foodies can score special deals at more than 180 participating restaurants.


January 22:

The Great Leap at Cygnet Theatre tells the dramatic story of an American college basketball team traveling to Beijing for an exhibition game in 1989. The playwright, Lauren Yee, is a UC San Diego alum; our theater critic called her most recent work, Cambodian Rock Band, one of the best plays he saw in 2019, so this one’s at the top of our list for the new year. (through 2/16).

Martha Graham Dance Company

Time magazine named her “Dancer of the Century,” and her namesake 94-year-old dance school, Martha Graham Dance Company, is bringing its contemporary choreography to Civic Theatre.


January 23:

Discover the magic as Disney on Ice Presents Mickey’s Search Party for four days at Pechanga Arena.

Watch top names in professional golf compete for millions as the four-day Farmers Insurance Open tournament returns to Torrey Pines Golf Course.

One-Minute Guide

Farmers Insurance Open


Leave the car behind

Instead of paying an arm and a leg to park or getting stuck with a four-mile walk to the course, use a rideshare service or park at SeaWorld or the Del Mar Fairgrounds and take the shuttle to the tournament.

Know what not to bring

Backpacks, seat cushions, pets, video cameras, posters, noisemakers, and outside food or drinks are all prohibited. Concessions sell food, drink, and merch, plus there are sunscreen stations.

Wear comfortable shoes

Plan for the worst case scenario—walking over 14,000 yards while making your way through this massive course.

Practice proper etiquette

Be silent when a player gets ready to swing, applaud after they take their shot, don’t cross fairways, and watch for golf carts when crossing cart paths.

Beat the pros to the holes

If Tiger Woods is on the third hole, go to the fifth. Stand near the putting green or tee box and watch other groups play through until Woods arrives—when he does, you’ll be up close to watch him make history... again. —Jenna Miller


January 24:

Expect lion dances, fashion shows, and traditional Vietnamese music during the three-day San Diego Tet Festival at Mira Mesa Community Park.

Travel back in time to ancient China with the dance and music company Shen Yun, through the weekend at Civic Theatre.


January 25:

Raise a glass for Pure Project’s fourth anniversary party at the brewery’s Miramar location.

Catch the hit TV comedy Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live: The Great Cheesy Movie Circus Tour! at Balboa Theatre.

Celebrate the Year of the Rat during the two-day Chinese New Year Festival at Balboa Park’s International Cottages.

Ring in the Year of the Rat with a 10-course dinner at the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum’s Chinese New Year Banquet, including traditional entertainment and a live auction.

Paddle it out—on a canoe, kayak, surf ski, stand-up paddleboard, and other vessels—for the Hanohano Huki Ocean Challenge on Mission Bay.

By the Numbers

Hanohano Huki Ocean Challenge



anniversary of the event, one of the longest running paddle-sport races in California


paddlers expected to traverse Mission Bay


course types: a 1,000 meter kids’ race; 5-mile flatwater intermediate race; and a 9-mile open-ocean advanced


the year the organizing nonprofit, Hanohano Outrigger Canoe Club, was founded by Egon and Rena Horcajo


competitors’ ages, from professional athletes to beginners


January 27:

Legendary songwriter and record producer David Foster stops by California Center for the Arts, Escondido with his wife and special guest Katharine McPhee.


January 30:

There’s a genre for everyone—comedy, drama, documentaries, horror, and even music videos—at the San Diego Black Film Festival, screening African American and African diaspora cinema for five days in various locations.

Heat things up in the five-day Big Salsa Festival at San Diego Marriott Mission Valley, including dance classes, live music, performances, and Latin dance parties.

Eclectic dance group A.I.M by Kyle Abraham puts on a high-energy performance at Balboa Theatre.

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