“Local writers get drunk and spill their guts”: So reads the chalkboard sign outside of the Whistle Stop Bar in South Park every month for literary and performance nonprofit So Say We All’s VAMP live reading events.

That’s a damn good sell, right? Slightly inebriated writers revealing years of anguish and awkwardness, the highs and lows, hilarity and mucky stuff in front of a large, live crowd? Great stuff.

The San Diego literary scene is a pretty tight-knit group of people, welcoming and supportive. Among them are Ryan Bradford (full disclosure: We’re friends and both columnists at San Diego CityBeat) and Drew Andrews (full disclosure, Part II: Also a friend). Both recently had novels published. Bradford’s “Horror Business” was released in February and Andrews’ “The Shepherd’s Journals” came out in March.

“The local lit scene is rad,” Bradford said. “Of course I’m biased due to my association with So Say We All, but I’ve experienced better readings in San Diego than I ever did when I lived in New York. Perhaps it’s more concentrated, and writers tend to know each other better, but there’s an intimacy here that breeds a feeling of genuine community. The competition is also healthier – writers can be very two-faced, but I feel that every one here wants everyone else to become successful.”

Nights like VAMP are great opportunities to see some of San Diego’s finest literary talent, Andrews said.

“The quality of the night is tops, and So Say We All just keeps on thriving, always harnessing new talent,” he said. “Gathering a bunch of writers together anywhere isn’t that easy, and by nature, anywhere in the world, some writers can often harbor weird little jealousies (who’s more important, talented, blah blah blah) which is good if it motivates you to dig deeper and get better, and bad if it stops the creative party in its tracks. None of that matters on the death bed; your own gift and voice is what matters – share it, meet others, make friends, get better.”

Andrews and Bradford will be the belles of the ball at a double book release party May 13 at the Whistle Stop. They’ll read excerpts from their books, take some questions and chat about their experiences getting published.

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

ARTrageousness, Incubators and More Visual Art Bits

An arts incubator comes to life in North Park. (KPBS)

A composer is working with folks at UC San Diego to make visual art a musical experience. It’s way, way better than syncing up “Dark Side of the Moon” to “Wizard of Oz.” (U-T)

Sisters Nicole Adelman Brewer and Phylicia Adelman have opened Adelman Fine Art Gallery in Little Italy. (Pacific San Diego Magazine)

Liberty Station’s summer is gonna be totes ARTrageous.

Payouts, Identity Crises and More Music and Performance News

 Getting the boot paid off big time for the former chief of the San Diego Opera. Like, really big. (KPBS)

Moxie Theatre tackles issues of identity and its ties to accent with the theater’s latest play. (KPBS)

Susan Narucki’s experimental ensemble is the product of an avid collecting hobby. (U-T)

 San Diego Symphony and the San Diego Master Chorale will perform a piece that was performed in a Nazi concentration camp in “Defiant Requiem.” (U-T)

Needling Release, San Diego Complaints and More Culture Crumbs

An acupuncturist takes the healing power of needles with him to Mexico. (CityBeat)

The Reader gathered a bunch of complaints about San Diego. My complaint: not enough craft beer festivals. That is sarcasm.

The push to designate cheerleading a sport needs more supporters. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t say they should be aggressive, B-E aggressive. (U-T)

They say you should write what you know. One Escondido cop did just that. (U-T)

A charming little shop in South Park got even more adorable thanks to some cash from American Express. (San Diego Magazine)

A brief history of Russians in Baja California. (San Diego Free Press)

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

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