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Culture Report: The Vinyl Resurgence Is Real

Could art be the key to making elevator rides less awkward? Plus: Arts boosters are relieved by the mayor’s budget, San Diego’s first-ever weed fest is happening (guess what day) and more in our weekly digest of the region’s arts and culture news.

Brendan Boyle San Diego

Brendan Boyle and his partners are gearing up to open a new record store and community space in City Heights. / Photo by Kinsee Morlan

Brendan Boyle has a plan for every inch of his new 2,500 square foot record store in City Heights.

Boyle and his partner Harry Miller are gearing up to launch Jupiter Records & Tapes at 3610 University Ave. They hope to open in May, maybe June at the latest. Boyle has thousands of used records piling up in what’s become an eclectic collection. He’s looking forward to letting the public dig through it all. The plan is to price most everything in the store – including cassette tapes, CDs and even 8-tracks and music ephemera like old posters – at a $5 flat fee.

“This is my moment of letting it all out,” he said.

Record Store Day is Saturday, April 21. Boyle is using the event promoting vinyl-buying to start cranking up excitement about the new spot.

This won’t be Boyle’s first ride in the record-store rodeo. He bought Folk Arts Rare Records in North Park about three and a half years ago. That small shop has become a destination for locals and tourists looking for a diverse collection of hard-to-find records.

Interest in vinyl and other outmoded music media continues to rise. More and more people are bypassing a virtual collection of MP3s and building themselves a tangible, real-world music library of records, CDs or cassette tapes.

Boyle said the vinyl resurgence is real. He said it’s not uncommon to make $2,000 to $3,000 on a busy Saturday.

“Business is good,” he said. “My business has definitely increased in the last six months to a year.”

Jupiter Records & Tapes will be more than a record store. Boyle said he hopes to make it a community space. There’ll be listening stations encouraging people to hang out, and Alejandra Frank from nearby Teros Gallery will be curating art exhibits in the space, using the record store as an extension of the gallery.

And then there’s the part of the shop Boyle’s most excited about: an in-store DJ setup that’s open to anyone who signs up. He imagines people from City Heights and all over San Diego coming in with their own records and playing music for the entire shop.

“The acoustics in here are pretty sweet,” Boyle said. “And there will be no rules. I want to encourage all walks of life to play their music.”

He’s also going to host regular DJ classes and workshops so he can teach people how to spin records.

Boyle said record stores should be about a lot more than just selling vinyl. They can sell a unique musical experience that can end with someone asking for recommendations and walking out of a shop with an album they’ve never heard. Boyle said getting people to get out from behind their computers and other electronic devices and get involved with a community space built around music is a big part of what’s driving him to open the new spot.

“My business model is very much anti-internet,” he said.

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

Elevating Art in an Actual Elevator

Elevators can be super awkward. People are forced to stand close to one another, but they mostly avoid eye contact and conversation by either looking at their phones or staring at the glowing elevator buttons.

Artist Lauren Siry, who runs 1805 Gallery, is making the elevator ride at Porto Vista Hotel in Little Italy much more pleasant.

Lauren Siry san diego

Lauren Siry, an artist and founder of 1805 Gallery in Little Italy, is filling Porto Vista Hotel with art. A piece by San Diego artist Daniel Barron Corrales hangs in the background. / Photo by Kinsee Morlan

She commissioned San Diego artist Daniel Barron Corrales to create an art installation inside the elevator. Corrales just installed the work, and it’s a cool James Turrell-inspired piece that really jazzes up the small space with color and light projections.

“I think it just jolts people out of their traditional experience in the hotel,” Siry said. “Even just having a work in a small elevator, artists can create a conversation, and create interaction. It really does bring people together. When I lurk in the elevator now, I do see that people feel more comfortable to talk to each other.”

The elevator art is just one small piece of a new art program Siry is launching at Porto Vista, a hotel her family owns. She’s installed other works by Corrales in the hotel lobby and work by artist Samantha Louise Marett in the restaurant inside the hotel. An opening reception for the show is happening from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday.

She says this is the first hotel-wide art exhibition, and there will be more. She has plans to invite artists to do installations in the hotel’s stairwells, rooftop patio and courtyards, and she’d like to launch a residency program and invite international artists to stay at the hotel and make work while they’re in San Diego.

The hotel has set aside a small budget for the program. She says here family understands the value of having art that makes a lasting imprint on hotel guests.

“It’s just changing the experience of how people navigate through the space and the hotel,” Siry said. “And it’s also about having them interacting with local artists, too.”

An artist herself, Siry said she’s aware of the dearth of opportunities for visual artists in San Diego. She’s also closely watching the development boom that’s making it even harder for local artists to find room to make or show their work.

Siry said she wants to help, so she’s doing that by creating exciting opportunities for San Diego artists to experiment.

“The hotel is like a playground for artists,” Siry said. “It’s a chance for them to kind of go outside of the norm and really push the limits of their practice.”

Mayor’s Proposed Arts Cuts Not Too Deep

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is out with his proposed budget for the year, and arts advocates are collectively sighing with relief.

The mayor is proposing a 2 percent cut to arts funding, based on the Commission for Arts and Culture’s actual budget last year, rather than the much lower base budget he first proposed (I explained why that was a worry in a past Culture Report).

Arts groups and supporters protested the mayor’s proposed arts cuts in 2017. / Photo by Kinsee Morlan

While arts advocates are glad the mayor didn’t propose more drastic cuts to arts funding, they still would like to see the City Council’s adopted Penny for the Arts plan be fully funded.

The mayor’s current proposed arts budget is nearly $14.5 million, which represents 5.9 percent of the city’s hotel tax fund. The Penny for the Arts plan recommended that the commission’s budget be 9.5 percent of the total hotel tax.

Tim Mays’ Indie Music Cred, Mother Artists and More Arts and Culture News

Tim Mays is a legend in the local indie music scene. The entrepreneur helped open The Casbah in Little Italy, Krakatoa coffee shop in Golden Hill and a handful of other businesses that the local cool kids love. Hear how he did it all in a new episode of “I Made it in San Diego,” VOSD’s podcast about local businesses and the people behind them.

The San Diego Art Institute is opening a new exhibition exploring representation, sexuality, gender and other sociocultural issues.

Alanna Airitam art

Artist Alanna Airitam’s photograph “Saint Sugar Hill” is in a new exhibition opening this week at the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park. / Photo courtesy of the San Diego Art Institute

• The annual San Diego EarthFair is happening in Balboa Park Sunday.

• The Museum of Man’s “PostSecret” exhibition is open. Preview it here, here and here. (Times of San Diego, Union-Tribune, KPBS)

• “Bijou” is a roving public art project that’s popping up this week in Presidio Park.

An art gallery in La Jolla is hosting an exhibition benefiting Syrian refugees.

• The annual Chicano Park Day celebration is happening on Saturday in Barrio Logan.

• A timely and poignant exhibition featuring artist Sadie Barnette opens Thursday at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

An artist walked from Tijuana to a gallery in Los Angeles to make a point about the long, difficult journey many immigrants make. (LA Weekly)

The Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation announced two new artists in its artist-in-residence program. Macedonio Arteaga and Gina M. Jackson will be tasked with engaging the community in southeastern San Diego through the arts. 

• To celebrate Women’s History Month, the Women’s Museum of California brought historical women to life by exploring some of the women artists featured in Balboa Park.

• La Jolla Playhouse’s Without Walls series – its ongoing traveling showcase of experimental theater – is bringing veterans’ stories to the Challenged Athletes Foundation in Sorrento Valley. (Union-Tribune)

• “Israel: 70 Years of Craft & Design” opens at the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park Saturday. (Union-Tribune)

• La Jolla’s Madison Gallery is opening another location in Solana Beach.

• Andrea Chung and Alessandra Moctezuma are among the mothers featured in a new KCET Artbound mini documentary profiling artists working to dispel the myth that women who have kids can’t also have a successful careers as artists.

The 23rd annual San Diego Jewish Book Fair is happening this week. As part of it, Found Magazine creator and “This American Life” contributor Davy Rothbart will be in town doing his thing. (CBS 8)

• A new weekly arts and crafts market recently opened in the Gaslamp District.

• Local literary nonprofit So Say We All partnered with Reality Changers, a City Heights organization that works with disadvantaged youth, to help kids craft stories about themselves. Hear the results at 4 p.m. Saturday. 

• The meaning of being Jewish, the pressures and influences that guide all of our lives and other important themes are explored in a world-premiere piece showing now at The Old Globe in Balboa Park. (Union-Tribune)

• The Old Globe, by the way, is celebrating William Shakespeare’s birthday with a community-wide celebration Saturday. (Broadway World)

• Singers and dancers are working together for this new “Mashed UP” performance happening this weekend.

Food, Cannabis, Beer and Booze News

Talk about a sign of changing times: San Diego’s first-ever weed fest is happening on Friday (that’s, um, April 20, folks). Of course, smoking or selling weed at a public festival is not legal, but those in attendance will be celebrating cannabis culture. Another celebration of marijuana will be happening at Balboa Park Sunday at the “Cannabis Village” section of the annual EarthFair event.

Check out this rad mobile ecosystem making its way through the Carlsbad and Encinitas school districts.

A bus was converted into an educational mobile ecosystem. / Photo by Ryan Hack, courtesy of The Ecology Center

• Eat your way through Liberty Station Wednesday evening.

• A CityBeat food writer ate and compared the burgers at In-N-Out, Shake Shack and Burger Lounge, and seems a bit conflicted about who to dub the best.

• This is your weekly food-fest alert: There’s one focused on tacos and tequila, and another that’s all about mac and cheese.

• Ballast Point teamed up with the folks at the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation to create a new brew they’re calling “Made in San Diego.” 

VOSD Podcast Network show “San Diego Beertalk Radio” is recording a live episode featuring women in craft beer.

• Get a side of science with your food and drink in The Fleet Science Center’s taste of science festival.

• Two local breweries are among the fastest growing in the nation. (10News)

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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