Culture Report: The Closing of the Ken

Arts/Culture

Culture Report: The Closing of the Ken

Another big blow to the arts community this week, what to snag at the Spring Valley Swap Meet, Record Store Day and more in our weekly culture roundup.

Oh, boy. It’s been a tough week for the San Diego culture scene.

First we found out the San Diego Opera is definitely bowing out on April 29, despite many last-ditch efforts to save the institution. A few members will continue to search for other opportunities to keep the opera going in some way. How that will be, exactly, is still uncertain.

It’s a bummer for sure, and the city’s culture vultures are still grieving. They were also hit by another Wiffle ball to the crotch with the announcement that the Ken Cinema, San Diego’s only remaining single screen theater, is closing after 50 years.

San Diego CityBeat reported the closure comes after an agreement on a new lease agreement couldn’t be reached between Landmark Theatres, which operates the Ken, and the building’s landlord. As a result, it’s goodbye to those awesome midnight showings as of April 27.

The news was tough to take for the community at large. Maybe it’s because so many of us have a special memory set to the backdrop of the theater, or because the Ken was a place accessible to all, unlike the opera.

While I was saddened by the loss of the San Diego Opera, I have to admit that this one, well, this one really stings.

Many shared their memories of first dates, weddings and celebrity encounters at the Ken on social media.

Theater manager Sophia Verbiscar posted the following message on her Facebook page:

“Things are complicated right now, but no matter what happens the pride and honor I have as The Ken Cinema [manager] is indescribable. Please share and I hope to see you all at The Ken!”

Feeling all the sad-face emojis right now.

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

Swap Meet Art, Special Songs and More Visual Art Goodies

• While you’re at the Spring Valley Swap Meet this Saturday digging through old records, packs of socks that fell off a truck and awesome velvet paintings featuring Jesus or Selena, make sure to check out “Just a Little Bit Longer,” an art exhibition that uses found objects. (CityBeat)

An artsy scavenger hunt to help save bees, via Buzzfeed. Yes, bees and Buzzfeed. Kinda perfect.

Stop and smell the roses at San Diego Museum of Art’s “Art Alive” exhibition. Really though, it smells amazing in the galleries. (CityBeat)

• A review of SDMA’s exhibition, “Spanish Sojourns: Robert Henri and the Spirit of Spain.” (ArtPulse)

The SongStream Project collects stories on how people connect to certain songs. Oh man, I could tell you some good ones involving the 2 Live Crew music catalog but they’re all NSFTW (not safe for the world). (CityBeat)

• Artist Bridget Rountree is hard at work creating new pieces, thanks to some help from the Creative Catalyst Fund. (CityBeat)

Dave Mustaine’s Symphonic Fail, Soul Train Lines and More Music and Performance Bits

• Music journo (and the man solely responsible for keeping the jorts industry afloat) Peter Holslin wrote a fantastically funny piece on Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine’s recent concert with the San Diego Symphony for Noisey. Spoiler alert: The show wasn’t good.

Soul Train is coming to the stage? Uh, sign me and my sick Roger Rabbit moves up! (U-T)

• So how did that final performance at the San Diego Opera go? Boy, the opera’s Ian Campbell is getting a whole lotta side-eye. Maybe it’s something to do with the “generous contracts” he and his wife are receiving.

Then the New York Times jumped into the opera fight.

• And here are your theater reviews! “Mandate Memories” is mandatory viewing, “To Kill a Mockingbird” has as some script issues and “Time and the Conways” fascinates.

San Diego Opera singers are calling Judge Judy. (KPBS)

• The Fresh Sound music series returns with the Chris Speed Trio.

Malashock Dance teams up with Art of Elan for Lifeblood Harmony, a live music and dance concert sure to make you feel ashamed of your robot skills.

A Blast from the Past from Mojalet Dance Collective will remind you how embarrassingly you danced and dressed over the years.

Golden Hill Makeover, Record Store Day and More Culture Crannies

Golden Hill is going to get a $1.7 million makeover. So long as no one messes with Luigi’s, Humberto’s, Panchita’s Bakery and the Turf Club, we won’t have any problems. (Reader)

My good friend Ryan Bradford took a tour of the recently renovated Harrah’s Resort Southern California, and as things usually go when they involve Ryan Bradford, hilarity ensues. (CityBeat)

• In today’s non-news, San Diego has the best beer. Need further proof? Local breweries took home 11 medals at the World Beer Cup. Suck it, everywhere else. (Reader)

• The latest installment of my column, There She Goz, takes a stab at the insufferable Gwyneth Paltrow, who tried to steal my breakup thunder. Uh uh, not on my watch. (CityBeat)

It’s Record Store Day this Saturday! Otherwise known as the day I stare at cute music nerd dudes. And, you know, buy a few records. You can see the full list of special RSD releases here.

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