Culture Report: Slab City Fights to Stay Free

Arts/Culture UNVEILING THE UNSEEN

Culture Report: Slab City Fights to Stay Free

The appeal of Slab City, a makeover for TJ’s iconic statue “La Mona,” White Snake (not the one you’re thinking of) and more in this week’s culture roundup.

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About 140 miles east of San Diego is a place that’s equal parts weird, fascinating and, for some, unlivable. But the latter doesn’t apply to the squatters who call Slab City home.

As KPBS pointed out in its recent look at Slab City residents, the area is considered the last free place in America, mainly because folks live on state-owned land rent-free. For those who haven’t visited the strange, makeshift Imperial County ghost town, it’s like walking into a blazing hot, dystopian hippie land covered in dusty graffiti and art. It’s become a sort of paradise for people who want to escape the confines of city life (or even small-town life), with no electricity or running water. Basically, you’re not going to find a Starbucks anywhere nearby.

KPBS visited with a few Slab City residents as well as the people involved with the East Jesus Art Collective, an artist community and residency program at the edge of Slab City. The articles and accompanying video offer a compelling look at people living on the outskirts of society. Might be time to plan your own visit to East Jesus Nowhere.

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

La Mona’s Look and More Visual Art Goods

Tijuana’s iconic “La Mona” statue received a short-lived makeover. Don’t worry, there’s more to come. (CityBeat)

Painter Keiko Tanabe is a plein Jane. (CityBeat)

The Timken Museum of Art celebrated 50 years of providing free fine art to the city with a fashionable shindig. (Check that alliteration!) (NBC7)

Premieres at the Globe, the Secret Lives of Actors and More Music and Performance Bits

Not quite “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”: Lincoln High School Performing Arts Center will host a play about an ex-con trying to remove the world’s most dangerous tattoos. (CityBeat)

By night, they appear on San Diego’s theatrical stages. By day though, they’re regular folks who make your coffee and design cool stuff. Get to know your local actors’ secret lives. (U-T)

The Old Globe has got premieres for days. (U-T)

There are people who actually run away to join the circus and don’t become creepy carnies. Some, like the men and women behind Circus Collective of San Diego, simply create exciting, body-bending theater. (KPBS)

“The White Snake” is a theatrical tale based on an Ancient Chinese story about snakes that transform into beautiful women, and not a tale of a 1986 white Trans-Am transforming into Tawny Kitaen. (KPBS)

The Germanwings crash last month reminded soprano Lise Lindstrom to appreciate life. (U-T)

Damages to Waterfront Park, Good, Cheap Wine and More Culture Crumbles

BRB, gotta go to Grocery Outlet and buy all the wine. (CityBeat)

Electronic music claims Waterfront Park as its next victim, costing Waterfront Park $64,000 in damages. OK, not the genre as a whole, but you get what I mean. (NBC7)

I worked out with the San Diego Lightsaber Team and felt the burn. Or was it the force? Can’t quite tell. Check it out in my column “There She Goz,” which appears monthly in CityBeat.

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