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Culture Report: Art Deco in City Heights


A rundown structure blends in with the other beige, discount furniture-selling buildings near the corner of University and Euclid avenues in City Heights. But, as Speak City Heights’ Brian Myers and Megan Burks suggest, look up:

Elegant art deco curves on the second level begin to tell a story of 1930s glamour, couples reuniting at postwar dances and visits from music legends like Kitty Wells — if you can look past the peeling paint and ragged curtains.

Myers and Burks detail the buildings’s awkward state of limbo [1] after the fall of redevelopment, and the video and story is sparking an interesting discussion in the comments section [2].

You’re reading the Culture Report, our weekly compilation of the region’s arts and culture news.

Local Roots

• In storm drains, potholes and bumpy sidewalks, some artists find inspiration. My colleague Liam Dillon rounds up some notable artistic takes on the underbelly of infrastructure [3].

• Local writer Dave Hampton weaves a fascinating story of an anti-war protest, a mysterious clay sculpture [4] and a story surrounded by myths on the UC San Diego campus. (KPBS)

• Maps and details of the mayor’s proposed Plaza de Panama plan [5] are up on the Balboa Park website.

• The founders of a puppet company with productions for adults [6] are moving into the arts collective Space 4 Art in East Village for their next performance, this Friday.

• That company and others will feature prominently in a new local Fringe Festival [7] inspired by a festival for emerging theater and performance in Scotland, coming in July. (U-T)

• Maxine Mahon, the woman who founded San Diego’s oldest professional dance company, was a state accordion champion “until a career-ending waterskiing injury [8],” I was fascinated to learn in a U-T profile of Mahon and the California Ballet.

• A noted scene designer [9] who’s worked on a number of big-deal theater productions locally will be the La Jolla Playhouse’s artist in residence. The designer, Robert Brill, went to UC San Diego and co-founded the erstwhile Sledgehammer Theatre, a popular local company for many years. (U-T)

• The latest appraisal of Tijuana’s burgeoning cultural identity highlights the role locals play. From the Los Angeles Times [10]:

“The tourists weren’t coming, and so we had to take over empty spaces,” said Jesus López, a Tijuana native, DJ-producer and promoter. “That’s the thing with TJ: I’ve seen it change completely three or four times. I don’t know where it’s going to land, but I know it is shifting.”

• One of the latest artists to make a mural for a collection in La Jolla said before this opportunity, he’d sworn off public art — too much time and bureaucracy to deal with [11], he said. (La Jolla Light)

• A film centered on the U.S.-Mexican border that won a critics award at Cannes Film Festival in 2012 is screening for a couple more days at the Media Arts Center San Diego [12].

• Keep an eye out for the high-schoolers competing [13] for performance scholarships from The Old Globe. (U-T)

• Rogue knitters made an Etch-A-Sketch sweater for a rec center sign in Clairemont, imploring passersby to “PLAY.” City workers didn’t quite take the mission to heart; they took the piece down [14]. (U-T)

Free Stuff:

• This is the fifth year Target has given the New Children’s Museum $50,000 to grant free admission on the second Sunday of every month [15].

• The Pacific Arts Movement’s mobile movie operation, Drive-by Cinema [16], will screen a skateboarding film this Friday on El Cajon Boulevard.

• Jory Herman, a bassist with the San Diego Symphony, recently made a recording of Bach music and will celebrate its release with a free concert at a monastery in Carmel Valley [17], next Monday. Herman played his bass as part of his Meeting of the Minds [18] presentation at Horton Plaza last summer.

• Another “Meeting of the Minds” connection, another free concert: Chamber music group Art of Elan will perform on Wednesday, May 29, [19] at the Malcolm X Library in Valencia Park. We featured Art of Elan’s atypical concert format [20] at our first Meeting of the Minds.

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I’m Kelly Bennett, reporter for Voice of San Diego. You can reach me directly at kelly.bennett@voiceofsandiego.org [22] or 619.325.0531.

Follow @kellyrbennett [23]

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