Culture Report: A Sitar Legend’s Passing

 

George Harrison dubbed him “the godfather of world music,” and San Diego County claimed him, for a couple of decades at least. Sitar master Ravi Shankar died here last week at age 92. He’d lived in Encinitas since the early 1990s after bringing Indian music to greater popularity in the West.

You can read U-T music writer George Varga’s whole tribute here and hear Varga talking about Shankar’s legacy on KPBS.

“In a career that began when he was 10 and saw him become a star at 15, Shankar made an indelible impact as India’s most internationally acclaimed performer, composer and all-around champion,” Varga wrote.

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

Long Legacy

• Stage director Des McAnuff resurrected the La Jolla Playhouse in the 1980s, then came back in 2000 for a second stint at the helm. In that run he oversaw the creation of some of the Playhouse’s biggest smashes — “Jersey Boys” among them. Now he’s close to stepping down from the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, a prominent theater company in Canada. As his show “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots” closed last weekend, he talked with the U-T’s Jim Hebert about what might be next.

• Since Angie Bunch started the hip-hop dance troupe Culture Shock in the 1980s, she has faced all sorts of challenges. The latest came this fall, when Bunch revealed she may lose the lease on her Hancock Street dance school. She tries to keep class costs low, and last year, 70 percent of her students paid lower or subsidized rates for classes. A day after Bunch’s revelation, Culture Shock’s supporters passed the hat and raised several thousand dollars. CityBeat tells the story of Bunch, and Culture Shock, over the decades.

• Some lesser-known Dr. Seuss paintings are collected in a new book. (KPBS)

Expansions and New Ideas

• Local theater Ion is expanding its space in Hillcrest. The U-T’s Hebert puts that in context: The expansion is “a sign of Ion’s evolving prominence in local theater, with a loyal subscriber base and an annual budget that has reached $250,000 (more than double what it was a couple of years ago),” he writes.

• A Normal Heights shop owner is dreaming up a clothing line featuring local street artists’ designs. (CityBeat)

• If you’re going to the airport this holiday season, make sure to check out nine new temporary exhibits of artwork. (U-T)

• Lamb’s Players’ long-running show inspired by the 1980s will soon close, but not before the U-T’s panel of avid theatergoers had a chance to weigh in. Local actor Daren Scott said, “The show is like the excitement of bumping into an old friend you haven’t seen in a long time, and the thrill of talking about the great times you had with them, and laughing about the things you did together. You sort of become that person again, if only for a few minutes.”

• There are plays other than Christmas-y ones on local stages! (U-T)

• Sandra Benito is on a mission to make the San Diego Museum of Art more welcoming when you walk in the doors. Benito works at the museum in education and engagement programs.

“We get a lot of comments about it not being inviting,” she tells the U-T. “You get inside and it’s so dark; you don’t know what you will find. We are working to fix that.”

• My reporting project on homelessness here continues, with a look at the various deadlines politicians have given themselves to solve problems, and a take on the difficulties of counting people sleeping on the streets. How many people are homeless countywide? And in downtown?

If you’d like to help us, you can send me your questions: kelly@vosd.org. Or you can help us by taking our quick survey to find out what our readers already know about homelessness in San Diego.

A programming note: The Culture Report will be off the next two Tuesdays for the holidays, returning Jan. 8. See you in the New 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.

Disclosure: Voice of San Diego members and supporters may be mentioned or have a stake in the stories we cover. For a complete list of our contributors, click here.

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Kelly Bennett

Kelly Bennett

Kelly Bennett is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. You can reach her directly at kelly@vosd.org.

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