Despite what our local radio stations may lead you to believe, San Diego isn’t all chill vibes laid on thick by Sublime, Jack Johnson and 311. We have a vibrant underground music history that’s not as sunny as our palm trees might suggest.

It’s documented in “It’s Gonna Blow: San Diego’s Music Underground, 1986-1996.” The film, directed by local filmmaker Bill Perrine, narrates our city’s roots in the hardcore and punk music scene in all its violent, thrashing glory. San Diego was on the cusp of musical greatness, on par with Seattle during its grunge era. That was thanks in large part to bands like Rocket from the Crypt, Drive Like Jehu, Heavy Vegetable, Trumans Water and Unbroken and venues like The Casbah and the Che Café.

But then, something happened – or rather, nothing happened. All these amazingly talented artists were on the brink of mainstream popularity, but couldn’t quite break through. San Diego was stuck with Blink 182 and Jewel as the musical ambassadors to America’s Finest City. No slight to Blink and Jewel, but no. Just no.

The documentary provides an in-depth narrative through the city’s exciting, effervescent history in underground music. The film is insightful and funny with a DIY quality that suits it perfectly.

“I hope people enjoyed it!” Perrine said to me after a screening at Victory Theater last week. “I can’t look at the damn thing anymore so I was out back smoking. I’m just really happy to see people come out. It’s a big reunion.”

And it was. Many of the musicians featured in the film were at the sold-out screening, laughing and hollering at parts that were especially memorable. The vibe was similar to the one throbbing at last month’s Drive Like Jehu show at Balboa Park, where we all knew we were witnessing something special, and that our rebellious youth was getting the recognition it deserves.

Perrine will be taking “It’s Gonna Blow” on tour on the West Coast, with another local screening set for Nov. 8 as part of the Point Music Film Festival.

You’re reading the Culture Report, Voice of San Diego’s weekly collection of the region’s cultural news.

Mission Valley Mall Murals, Connecting With Veterans and More Visual Art Goods

• Art San Diego founder Ann Berchtold is helping transform the local art scene and our city streets with several plans under way, including the Open Walls Project, which will bring art to local billboards. (CityBeat)

• Balboa Park’s Art of Science Learning project combines art with science in a way that’s creating real world change. (U-T)

• Mission Valley Mall unveiled a series of new murals that pay homage to the city’s many vibrant neighborhoods, including Normal Heights, Kensington and North Park. (KPBS)

• The San Diego Museum of Art’s latest exhibition Gaugin to Warhol highlights some of the 20 century’s finest art and artists. According to KPBS, it’s the only West Coast stop of the exhibition.

• The Oceanside Museum of Art has found a creative way to connect with veterans. (CityBeat)

• The San Diego International Airport isn’t just a place to drink Bloody Marys at 7 a.m. before your flight. It’s also a stellar place to see some art. The Reader takes a tour.

• A bunch of artsy babes found a home. (CityBeat)

Martinis Above Fourth and a Film Buff Fest in Music and Performing Arts Gems

• Martinis Above Fourth has become one of the best spots in town to catch comedy, theater, cabarets and more, all while drinking martinis that will knock your socks off. Get to know their upcoming lineup with the U-T.

• As I mentioned, there will be a music documentary film festival on Nov. 8. Perfect for the local music snob. Count me in! (U-T)

Centennial Lectures, Scares So Good and More Culture Crannies

• The San Diego History Center will hold a lecture series that discusses the 1915 Balboa Park Exposition and its impact on San Diego to coincide with the coming centennial. (U-T)

• October isn’t just pumpkin-spice-everything season. It’s also a time for fun scares. The U-T shares some of San Diego’s best spooky haunts.

• What do zombies and neuroscience have in common? One UC San Diego professor explains. (KPBS)

• Parklets and the Open Walls Project are all examples of tactical urbanism, a movement of civic innovation that’s gaining momentum in the city. KPBS welcomed a few experts on the topic to discuss the ins and outs of tactical urbanism on Midday Edition.

• Hot Wheels are still a hot commodity for collectors who aren’t currently holding court in a sandbox. (Reader)

Alex Zaragoza is a freelance writer covering arts and culture in San Diego and Tijuana. She also writes the column "There She Goz" for San Diego CityBeat,...

Leave a comment

We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.