Published in KPBS On Air Magazine November 2003

Consider this mind-boggling numbers game: 1100 guests. 70 performance groups. 60 gourmet vendors. A 5th and a 20th anniversary… all adding up to one Big Night.

It’s BRAVO San Diego, the Performing Arts League’s incomparable gathering of arts, business and civic leaders. Mark your calendar (November 22, 6pm-midnight) in red letters.

Put on your glitz and glitter (“artful attire” suggested). Step onto the red carpet that ushers you up to the Westgate Hotel. Pose for paparazzi. Greet theater celebrities (or their look-alikes). Take your pick of epicurean delights — food and beverages from some of San Diego’s best. Make an appearance at the Copacabana cabaret or the rooftop terrace. Wander from ballroom to salon, sampling the smorgasbord of performing arts: on the Symphony Stage, Choral Music Stage, Dance Stage, Cabaret Stage, and any of a multitude of small rooms scattered over three floors of the hotel, where presentations change every 30 minutes.

The fifth annual festival of the arts has become a San Diego signature affair, the largest arts event of its kind in California. This year coincides with the platinum anniversary of the San Diego Performing Arts League, which serves as the primary advocate for 140 local arts organizations. The League is a leader in the field nationwide, offering half-price tickets to local arts events through the ARTS TIX booth in Horton Plaza and ARTS TIX Online; publishing the free, bimonthly ‘What’s Playing’ guide; and organizing arts/business collaborations such as Business Volunteers for the Arts, San Diego Lawyers for the Arts, Technology for the Arts, OnBoard: Arts Board Development Program and a National Arts Marketing Program, all of which are beneficiaries of the BRAVO event.

As Alan Ziter, Executive Director of the League, puts it: “Nothing showcases San Diego’s cultural wealth better than BRAVO San Diego, a sensory feast of performing arts. Where else can you see, in one night, in one place, all the best of our symphonic, choral and cabaret music, as well as modern and classical dance and various types of theater? No other event brings together our business titans, high-powered arts boards trustees, elected officials and civic leaders from diverse neighborhoods. BRAVO is the best gala of the year, an evening worthy of a standing ovation.”

[BRAVO San Diego takes place Saturday, November 22, at the Westgate Hotel. Tickets and information: 619-238-0700 X 120,]

©2003 Patté Productions Inc.