March 28 2012 11:18 AM

Our top three picks of San Diego events this week

Edgar Allen Poe

Quoth the raven… 

April seems an unlikely month to celebrate the life of a writer who, says the website, “brings to mind images of murderers and madmen, premature burials and mysterious women who return from the dead.”

Though, the weather has been gloomy enough to complement the month-long Shades of Poe series of events. Thanks to a National Endowment for the Arts grant, part of the nationwide “Big Read” campaign, local group Write Out Loud—talented actors who bring stories and poems to life through live readings—has planned something Poe-related for almost every day in April. The point of the Big Read, Write Out Loud co-founder Walter Ritter says, is to appeal to “lapsed and reluctant readers” between the ages of 12 and 24.

OK, so why Poe?

“What we found was that population of people was highly responsive to Edgar Allen Poe,” Ritter says, “for reasons that probably do not mystify you.”

That doesn’t mean the events are just for young folks, Ritter emphasizes. The Poe goings-on include film screenings (two Roger Corman-directed classics) and talks about Poe’s influence on language and modern-day horror stories. There’ll be high-art events, like a discussion with the San Diego Opera’s Nicholas Reveles about the music of Poe, and a street-art event with the creative folks behind graffiti-art collective Writerz Blok.

Kicking things off at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 1, and continuing each Sunday through April at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park, San Diego Civic Organist Carol Williams will play music inspired by Poe to accompany readings of his poetry. At 7 p.m. Monday, April 2, stop by the Lyceum Theatre at Horton Plaza to see what local high-school and college students came up with when asked to creatively interpret Poe. See a full list of events and locations at

Bike right

If you find yourself yelling “Get off the road!” to a bicyclist as you honk your horn and speed by, do us a favor: Slap yourself across the face. Harder! Bicyclists belong on the street, and while it can be annoying to get stuck behind a slow-moving rider, getting angry isn’t the solution. More bike lanes could help. That’s just one of the topics that’ll be discussed at the San Diego Bicycle Coalition’s Bicycle Summit, happening from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, March 31, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 1, at the Omni Hotel (675 L St. in East Village). On Saturday, attendees will discuss issues and brainstorm ideas to make San Diego more bike-friendly, and, on Sunday, the group will put together a strategic plan. Your input is encouraged.

Passion song

Sacra / Profana, a genre-bending 24-person vocal ensemble that mixes classical and contemporary styles, will perform the San Diego premiere of The Little Match Girl Passion. Ameri can composer David Lang, who earned a Pulitzer Prize for the piece, used Bach’s St. Matthew Passion for inspiration but, instead of Jesus as the main character, he used instead Hans Christian Andersen’s young heroine who tries to stay warm—but ultimately freezes to death—using the matches she’s supposed to be selling. One Pulitzer juror described the piece as “unlike any music I know.” The free performance is at 5 p.m. Sunday, April 1, at Torrey Pines Christian Church (8320 La Jolla Scenic Drive N. in La Jolla).

Does your event deserve to be in our top three? Email our events editor, Alex Zaragoza. You can also bug her on Twitter.