Nov. 20 2013 10:44 AM

Our top three picks of San Diego events this week

Mercy Killersforweb
Michael Milligan


We’ve all been there: It’s the middle of the night. You wake up in a hot sweat. It feels like your stomach’s running laps. You decide to consult WebMD. After a clicking around, you find your symptoms and—good lord!— looks like you have flesh-eating bacteria. Panic sets in. Does your insurance cover cannibalistic microorganisms? Oh wait, you don’t have insurance.

Then, after you’ve spent a couple of sweat-soaked hours fretting, you remember the five bags of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos you consumed the night before.

It was a similar-albeit-more-serious experience that inspired actor and playwright Michael Milligan to create the one-man play Mercy Killers, which he will perform at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22, at the First Unitarian Universalist Church (4190 Front St. in Hillcrest).

“I was without insurance for the first time of my life two years ago, and I started to pass kidney stones,” Milligan says. “I did what a lot of Americans do—diagnosed myself on WebMD. I thought I had kidney failure. It was extremely painful. Next, I Googled how much is this gonna cost?

“I never went [to the hospital],” he adds, “just toughed it out.”

The plot of Mercy Killers follows Joe, a Libertarian who lives at the edge of Appalachia. His wife is diagnosed with cancer. As he struggles with the situation, he must come to terms with his own worldview.

Although Milligan’s a champion of healthcare reform, he insists that the performance isn’t intended to push any political agendas.

“The goal is to show the healthcare system from a place of compassion and empathy, instead of ideological,” he says. “When we debate these issues, we trigger ideological issues, and not have conversations. When we do the play, with our hearts open, and then have a conversation, we can get around ideologies and discover new places of agreement.”

Admission is $10 at the door. A discussion panel on healthcare will follow the performance.


Not all contemporary dance is the same. Just ask Katie Lorge, of Odd & Even, a dance company that’s pushing the boundaries of experimental performance. Lorge is curating a series of dance concerts at Space 4 Art (325 15th St. in East Village) called Particular Proposition: Liminality in Performance. For the first installment, at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 22 and 23, Lorge will welcome choreographers Terry Wilson and Sadie Weinberg, who are known for taking a more improvisational, inventive approach to dance. They’ll present three pieces featuring themselves and a small company of others exploring the infinite possibilities of dance through full-bodied, often abstract movement. Tickets are $10 ($5 for students).


A new, collaborative art show is crowdsourcing funding for local street artists, muralists, graphic designers and photographers. While it’s free to check out the art at The Broker’s Building Gallery (402 Fourth Ave., Downtown), organizers hope the quality of the work will inspire donations to help underground artists keep on keeping on. The Spent Art Show opens from 7 p.m. to midnight Friday Nov. 22, with a live performance by electronic-music producer Foxy La Tigre. Artists on hand will include Michelle Ferrera, whose impressive figure drawings find a home on wood canvases, as well local painter Stefanie Bales, who juxtaposes realism and surrealism in her mixed-media art. The show runs through Friday, Dec. 13, and is open to all ages.

Does your event deserve to be in our top three? Email Kinsee Morlan.