Culture Report: Pushing Past Socialites and Stereotypes - Voice of San Diego

Arts/Culture

Culture Report: Pushing Past Socialites and Stereotypes

Picturing Balboa Park, debating the reputation of East County, finding cities to brew beer in and more in our weekly culture roundup.

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If you appreciate our in-depth investigative reporting, offerings like this Culture Report and events like Meeting of the Minds, please consider making a year-end contribution to support our efforts. As a non-profit, member-based news organization, we depend on the support of people like you.

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What does Balboa Park look like at one specific moment? We tried to find out. More than 50 of you pitched in to try our photo experiment over the weekend. Here are the results.

And not to rub it in, but if you missed our Meeting of the Minds tied to Balboa Park last Wednesday, you missed a really fun, interesting night.

Not to worry, though! You can see (and those who were there can relive) highlights. Read what people were saying, see photos of the crowd in the San Diego Natural History Museum after-hours and watch the first three videos we’ve posted from the event:

Maren Dougherty featured 20 behind-the-scenes and notable people from the park in her presentation. Jose Ysea was our guide to the landfill in the middle of it, and Marlene Williams talked about her big backyard.

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

Players and Shakers

• Sam Ersan, the founder of a detention personnel company, plays a huge role in funding chamber music in San Diego. But he doesn’t appear to be in it for the status or the parties. “Ersan is the rare patron who has an encyclopedic knowledge of classical music and a well-developed ear,” writes the U-T’s James Chute in a profile.

“My enthusiasm is for public access without the necessity of being a socialite,” Ersan tells Chute. “Music is, or should be, accessible to everybody and enjoyed by everybody.”

• Local writer Justin Hudnall talked on KPBS about an East County-inspired collection he worked on of writings, photographs, poetry and artwork called “The Far East.” Hudnall, who noted to the U-T he grew up in East County, said the project arose in part as a way to answer the question, “How do you tell the story of a city?” Hudnall posits, “You don’t. You get out of the way and you allow all these different, myriad perspectives that East County embodies to tell their own story, even if they contradict.”

• The editor of East County Magazine, for one, begs to contradict Hudnall’s team’s effort. In a very long rebuttal published in her magazine, Miriam Raftery takes them on. The project, she writes, “fails to live up to its promises to show the ‘soul’ of East County. While some of the writers clearly have talent, the book’s slanted approach overall is offensive.” There’s a really interesting conversation raging under her piece in the comments section.

• On her way out of office, Pam Slater-Price designated a final swoop of grant money to non-profit organizations, including $296,000 to arts and culture groups. Her passion and interest in funding arts has sometimes been controversial. (U-T)

Since the late 1990s, she’s directed more than $10 million in county funds to arts and culture organizations.

• L.A.-based artist Alison Saar was named a fellow by United States Artists — a designation that comes with $50,000. Saar spent a month in North County last year in residence at Encinitas’s Lux Art Institute. Read our story about Saar’s time here.

• Reader Darlene Gould Davies shared a tribute to Diane Sinor, The Old Globe’s longtime education director. In our comments section, Dianne Parham shared her own memories. “She was so enthusiastic and gracious,” she wrote. “We don’t have enough people like that.”

Happening Here

• The fallout from Orchestra Nova cancelling its season impacted more than just that ensemble’s musicians. Sacra/Profana, a choir scheduled to perform Handel’s “Messiah” with the orchestra, had to scramble, but cobbled together a mini-orchestra to perform the choral work this season. Their second performance is this weekend. (KPBS)

• “Theater exists on the shifting sands of time,” Des McAnuff said in a conversation among theater artists and accomplished local science minds. McAnuff’s the director and co-creator of the La Jolla Playhouse’s “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.” UCSD-TV posted video of that conversation this week.

• Tijuana’s Xolos team took the Mexican soccer championship title over the weekend. (U-T)

• A cowboy boot salesman discovered by accident his ability to sculpt sheet metal. Now his larger-than-life sculptures appear along Highway 79, a route for desert-dwellers to get to Temecula and San Diego. (KESQ, Temecula Channel 3)

• San Diego County’s craft beer scene goes over better with some local cities, like San Diego and Vista, than others, like El Cajon, which invested $645,000 last year in a brewery that filed for bankruptcy in October. (U-T)

• The company that runs the San Diego Civic Theatre got a new 50-year lease to continue operating it from the city of San Diego and wants to undertake a $30 million renovation. (City News Service)

• Visual artist Marienela de la Hoz lives in Vista. An exhibition of her work is on display now at the San Diego Museum of Art, and others of her drawings and paintings will be up at Noel-Baza Fine Art gallery in Little Italy next week.

She told a blogger at Artlarking she wakes up every morning at 5 a.m. to sweep the floors. Here’s how she described it in the blog:

When you are an artist, you are one 24 hours a day. Every morning I wake up at 5am and sweep the floors. It is there while sweeping the floors, I meditate about the projects I want to create. Around 9am, I start painting. I paint about 10 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 1 year.

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Kelly Bennett is the arts editor for VOSD. You can reach her directly at kelly.bennett@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0531. Or you can keep up with her on Twitter @kellyrbennett or on Facebook.

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