Nov. 30 2011 12:19 PM

Our top three picks of San Diego events this week

Get to the SoNo Fest early to snag the best bowl
Photo by Mark Wallace
1. Bi-’hood confab 

With ongoing cuts to education budgets, parents are having to step up to pay for things that are now seen as luxuries, like art and music programs. Education cuts: Boo! Awesome community-based fundraisers: Yay! Take the SoNo Park Holiday Fest & Chilipalooza, for instance. (The name, as you might guess, merges South Park and North Park. “There will be no more bickering about which community has this or which area is cooler,” organizers say.)

Benefiting McKinley Elementary School, the Sunday, Dec. 4, event, happening from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at and around the intersection of 32nd and thorn streets, involves an ingenious way to try the chili: purchase a bowl for $15, handmade by the folks at the San Diego Ceramic Connection, and use it to hold unlimited tastes of chili. The bowls are pretty cool—tip: get there early to snag a good one. Individuals and restaurants alike will compete for the titles of chili champions, with the latter category including eateries—20 in all—like Alchemy, Hamilton’s, Urban Solace, The Smoking Goat and last year’s winner, Ritual tavern.

After you’ve stuffed yourself with chili— and made sure to avoid the merciless pepper of Quetzalacatenango—check out the craft-fair portion of the event. The list of crafty folks selling their wares is huge and includes some of our faves: Colleen Townend Jewelry, Post Box Press, Lizzy B Vintage, Tecui and My Three Sons Designs. There’s also a beer garden with craft brews from Ballast Point, Green Flash, Pizza Port and others, wine from Fall brook

Winery and two stages of live music featuring performances by Black Hondo, Grand Tarantula, The Creepy Creeps, The Fremonts and more. And, of course, there’ll be song and dance from talented McKinley kiddos, so you can see who’s benefiting from your generosity.

2. The underdog beneath

If you listen closely to the darkest hour of the night, you can hear the distant, devilish pounding of a double bass. That’s the sound of Charles Mingus, the “Angry Man of Jazz,” leading his band in the bowels of hell. If you’re the type of jazz cat who’d cut out your own heart for a chance to shake the paw of the man himself, then you’ll need to see master contrabassist Bertram Turetzky, a UCSD emeritus professor of music, channel Mingus’ spirit during a one-night performance piece, Mingus Live in the Underworld, at D.G. Wills Books (7461 Girard Ave. in La Jolla). Turetzky will partner with poet Chuck Perrin (who manages the jazz space at Dizzy’s) for the show, and they’ll be joined by guest violinist Jamie Shadowlight. The free gig starts at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3. 

3. Sweet Liberty 

Roller derby—at least locally—is dominated by badass ladies with names like Bronze Vixen and Marcy Slayground. But at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, Andrew Gordon (aka Skaterbuilt), Thomas Griffin (aka Tomikaze) and the rest of San Diego Roller Derby’s new Aftershocks men’s team will roll onto the floor at Skateworld (6907 Linda Vista Road in Linda Vista) to host San Diego’s first-ever, all-boy roller derby game. Brett Stang, who coached the San Diego Starlettes women’s team for years, decided to start a men’s team after husbands and referees kept asking if they could play. He made it happen and, after losing their first bout in Bakersfield earlier this year, he says his team is ready to win. $12. Hit up for more info.