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Culture Report: Follow a Live Rom-Com Adventure Down Thorn Street

A Comic-Con center is taking shape in Balboa Park, artists are trying to save murals on the border fence and more in this week’s roundup of the region’s arts and culture news.
circle circle dot dot theatre

A scene from the site-specific play “San Diego, I Love You #SwipeRight,” staged, in part, inside a market on Thorn Street in North Park. / Photo by Kinsee Morlan

Much has been written about the travails of online dating. But a local theater company’s new take on digital romance is as fresh as a pickup line that doesn’t start with the cringeworthy “Sup?

Circle Circle dot dot’s “San Diego I Love You #SwipeRight” takes audiences through a site-specific adventure up and down Thorn Street in North Park. It starts at a brewery then travels to a coffee shop, market and dessert shop before ending at a ceramic studio.

For $15, the audience can follow either a bisexual man or a bisexual woman in two similar versions of the immersive show, which is running at various times Saturday and Sunday.

Last weekend, I followed actress Kristin McReddie as she met up with both men and women through online dating apps. In each scene, her iPhone rumbled with messages and alerts notifying her of possible new love connections, brought to life by an actor dressed in all-white. 

“Your phone is like your best friend,” said Soroya Rowley, who wrote and produced the show. “It’s just this ongoing narrative.” 

Each scene aptly captures various aspects of online dating — both the horrors and the moments of actually building romantic connections. The play is based on interviews that Rowley did with people in San Diego. All the plays that Circle Circle dot dot produces are based on real stories.

“San Diego, I Love You” is now an annual tradition in which the theater company produces immersive plays that introduce audiences to different San Diego neighborhoods while also exploring themes of gender and love. 

Rowley said they wanted the main characters of this year’s show to be bisexual because it’s a perspective not often represented in media. 

“It’s just not a story that’s often told,” she said. “And that’s our mission statement — to tell unheard voices and stories.”

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

Saving Border Murals, Comic-Con’s New Balboa Park Digs and More Arts and Culture News

• A Comic-Con center is taking shape in Balboa Park. In a Q-and-A, I talked to the organization’s new director and a longtime Comic-Con staffer about what we can expect from the new home of popular arts. If you want all the details, you can listen to a new episode of Culturecast, Voice of San Diego’s podcast covering arts and culture in the region.

• A new generation of activists in Barrio Logan are joining the community’s efforts to protect the neighborhood’s culture and identity. VOSD’s Adriana Heldiz’s profiles some of the community’s young activists in a new video.

This week’s VOSD Border Report has a story about an artist collective that’s been beautifying Mexicali by painting on the border fence. So far, they’ve painted 35 murals along the fence. But now the border fence there is being replaced, so the artists want to see if they can save five of the murals that are particularly meaningful.

U.S.-Mexico border

A portrait of Emiliano Zapata, leading figure in the Mexican revolution, painted on the U.S.-Mexico border in Mexicali. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

• Tijuana artist Roberto Romero-Molina has a multimedia exhibition at the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park. The Union-Tribune says the artist uses “video and sound displays and a video painting to demonstrate the ways in which sound can communicate what words cannot.”

• The annual “Dia de la Mujer” exhibit at The Front in San Ysidro is the best way to quickly introduce yourself to the work of women artists in San Diego. La Bodega Gallery in Barrio Logan also hosts an annual all-women art exhibition that’s opening this week.

• Intrepid Theatre is taking its performance project based on the lives of young, local San Diego refugee students on a tour of several schools this year. (Union-Tribune)

• Some of San Diego’s public art ends up in not-so-public places, like secure water treatment plants, because of the way those projects are funded. I’ve questioned this practice, but it continues nevertheless. Two new public art projects are scheduled to be built at water treatment facilities over the next few years. You can view the artists’ proposals here and here.

• Lomaland was a Theosophical community that thrived in Point Loma from 1900 to 1942. CityBeat has details on a new exhibition exploring that history.

The demolition of the historic California Theatre is no longer imminent.

• A muralist in Carlsbad wants to become a city arts commissioner. To do that, he had to give up a city grant that helps him pay other artists to paint murals on the wall of a Mexican food restaurant every few months. He’s now raising money to keep the project going without city funding.

• Paula Brandes, the executive director of the San Diego Automotive Museum, passed away. A celebration of her life is being held March 21.

• On March 12, San Diego City Councilman Scott Sherman will be honoring Dana Springs with a proclamation at City Hall. Springs resigned as the executive director of the city’s Commission for Arts and Culture earlier this year.

• The San Diego International Airport is showcasing a large art installation by San Diego artist Eva Struble. It’s mounted on Admiral Boland Way, between Sassafras and Palm Streets.

• Get to know more about Manuelita Brown, an artist whose work is featured in the “Legacy in Black” exhibit curated by the San Diego African American Museum of Fine Art in collaboration with the San Diego History Center. (Union-Tribune)

• Here’s a new roundup of 10 things to do in Tijuana. (Coleman Concierge)

• Meet California Arts Council director Anne Bown-Crawford in San Diego on March 15.

• “Home of the Brave” is a collection of stories depicting the lives of children in military families. The play is being staged by the La Jolla Playhouse this weekend.

• The effort to refurbish and reopen the shuttered Starlight Bowl in Balboa Park is under way.

The San Diego History Center got a $20,000 grant from the California Council for the Humanities to help fund its community-based oral history program

• A new arts space is opening this month in South Park.

• VOSD Podcast Network show Cura Caos is hosting a live podcast event with SDPD Lieutenant Benjamin Kelso, the head of the local Black Police Officers Association. We profiled him in the past.

Food, Cannabis, Beer and Booze News

• The shuttered Rebecca’s Coffee House in South Park will become Buona Forchetta, the Italian restaurant that’s opening new locations all over the place. (Eater)

• Sample food from some of the eateries on Third Avenue in Chula Vista this Thursday.

The Third Avenue archway in Chula Vista / Photo courtesy of the Third Avenue Village Association

• Chefs will be encouraged to interact with diners at this new restaurant in Hillcrest. (Eater)

Check out this list of hot spots serving up delicious, steaming bowls of ramen. (Union-Tribune)

• This Cardiff kid sure can cook. (The Coast News Group)

• CityBeat launched a new, semi-regular feature where they’ll review the latest cannabis strains, products and merch.

• Follow these local foodies on Instagram if looking at food pics is your thing. (SDVoyager)

• The beloved Albies restaurant is back, but for one night only. (Eater)

Kinsee Morlan is engagement editor at Voice of San Diego. Email her at kinsee@vosd.org with arts and culture news and tips. Want to recommend this culture newsletter to someone? Share this sign-up link. Subscribe to the San Diego Culturecast podcast

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