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Culture Report: 'Rad Lab' Gets a Last-Minute Boost

Crunching the numbers on SD’s art institutions, baristas go head to head and more in our weekly culture roundup.

With just moments left in their crowd-sourced fundraising campaign, the architecture students behind a plan to transform a vacant, city-owned lot into a temporary outdoor urban park raised $60,067 in seed money. Ten minutes counted down on the all-or-nothing Kickstarter clock as the NewSchool of Architecture + Design graduate students used social media to score the last $400 to meet their goal.

” The Kickstarter campaign has been an exciting step towards making our project a reality,” wrote Rad Lab CEO Philip Auchettl in an email to me. “Not only have we been able to raise the funding required to move forward, but the amount of community support we received during the process has been truly overwhelming.”

The cash, Auchettl said, will go toward a conditional-use permit, other city fees, site improvements and the installation of AstroTurf on the barren lot that sits at the corner of  Park Boulevard and Market Street in East Village. When VOSD covered the bold idea in August, the students described the 28,000-square-foot Rad Lab as an “experiment in flexible temporary urbanism.”  The plan includes a large beer garden, a dog run, food-truck stalls, cultural event space, movable furniture and indoor spaces for a communal kitchen/bar and retail.

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

Ups and Downs of Art

• Economic woes are no longer plaguing many of San Diego’s arts institutions. U-T ran the numbers and things appear to be looking up from the downturn that nearly took some of the cultural institutions under.

• When Open Arts Collective founder Cara Mia Ciasulli passed away in March, the artists she inspired over the years responded by organizing the same ‘Do Art Daily’ challenge the tireless arts promoter brought to the region.  The art-making challenge is running now through Oct. 20 and the resulting work will be showcased in early November.

 “I was in several the art shows [Ciasulli] created and many of us who were a part of that just didn’t want to let go of that amazing influence she had in the art community here,” said artist Michelle Coltart.

• There’s a new chief operating officer at the helm of the San Diego Museum of Art. (U-T)

• The newly renovated downtown home of the San Diego Symphony was officially named the Jacobs Music Center. (KPBS)

• The Oceanside Museum of Art is opening its first satellite gallery in Del Mar with an exhibition featuring work by artist/designer Herbert B. Turner and the late photographer Helen Montgomery-Drysdale. (U-T)

• San Diego filmmaker Destin Daniel Cretton continues getting thumbs up for his newest movie, “Short Term 12.” Variety and Hollywood.com report that the young movie-maker is in early negotiations with Lionsgate to direct the adaptation of “The Glass Castle.”

• The Living Coast Discovery Center in Chula Vista (formerly The Chula Vista Nature Center) is set to close its doors for good. A local docent would like San Diegans to step up and stop that from happening:

“There are many influential and/or wealthy people who call San Diego and its surrounding communities home,” writes the U-T commentator. “I hope that they and all of us can now help save the Living Coast Discovery Center.’

• Anonymous surf-inspired street artist BERT stopped by San Diego and left his mark in Pacific Beach. (Surfline)

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Food Thinking and Beer Buzzing

• The New Children’s Museum wants kids to play with their food. The freshly opened interactive exhibition balances some serious food-for-thought (sustainability, scarcity, health and more) with plenty of opportunities for fruitful play. (VOSD)

• Thoughts on food were the centerpiece of last Saturday’s March Against Monsanto in Balboa Park. Thousands of San Diegans converged to share their distaste for GMOs, colony collapse disorder and other food-related ills they blame on the agricultural biotech giant. (KCET)

• Football and food are as complementary to each other as chips and dips.  U-T’s “superdiners” round up a few local eateries where pigskin is both on TV and the menu.

• Local baristas will battle it out by brewing up their best batches of pour-over coffee Thursday night at the Coffee & Tea Collective in North Park. (Eater)

• San Diego is halfway closer to its first-ever whole-animal butcher shop.  The Heart & Trotter Kickstarter campaign is under way and, so far, supporters have pitched in almost $25,000 of the $50,000 goal.

• Beer geeks can slim down their ever-expanding collection of growlers, which has likely grown just as quickly as San Diego’s booming craft-beer scene. AB 647, a new law allowing beer drinkers to reuse their growlers from brewery to brewery, was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last Thursday. (VOSD)

• San Diego breweries brought home 15 medals from the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colo., last weekend.

Music Notes

• The edgy chamber music organization Art of Élan opens its seventh season Tuesday night at the San Diego Museum of Art. Co-founder Kate Hatmaker tells the U-T she’s been pleasantly surprised to see the young arts organization grow:

“It’s been interesting to see this sort of mom-and-pop operation really turn into a sustainable arts organization,” she said.

• Good luck searching for San Diego musicians on Bandcamp. So many bands are using the digital album-release method, it’s hard to find quality rather than quantity. San Diego CityBeat does the heavy listening for us, rounding up some of the better new albums out there.

• A downpour caused last week’s San Diego Music Awards to be postponed until this week. (NBC San Diego)

• Drag queens stuck in the Australian outback belting out disco classics —  what more could you ask for in a musical? (U-T)

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