We hope you’ll join us for our upcoming “Meeting of the Minds” on Aug. 1, the third installment of our popular arts and culture event.

Our hope with these has been to cross-pollinate and coax ourselves out of the niches it’s easy to get stuck in. Come hear from six plugged-in speakers about what cultural happening or topic that compels them, including a team of people using technology to search for a hidden da Vinci in Italy, and the work of teaching kids how to play stringed instruments in Chula Vista.

Check out our poster for the event, designed by Chadwick Gantes and our friends at Sezio.

For this one, we’ll be taking over the top “7 Lemon” rooftop level of the Westfield Horton Plaza parking garage. Watch a video and see a photo below of where we’ll be: 

You’re reading the Arts Report, Voice of San Diego’s weekly compilation of the region’s arts and culture news.

Color and Controversy

• A show in development at La Jolla Playhouse is attracting criticism on theater blogs and social media for not including more Asian actors in its cast. “The Nightingale” is based on a Hans Christian Andersen story that takes place in China and centers on a Chinese emperor, but the Playhouse didn’t cast any Chinese actors in the play. (International Business Times and U-T San Diego)

The U-T’s Jim Hebert caught up with the play’s creators on the controversy.

“It’s not about Asia,” writer-lyricist Steven Sater told the newspaper. “What’s really important to the piece is to have completely color-blind casting. Completely multicultural.”

Playhouse artistic director Christopher Ashley took to Facebook to respond. “It was our intention from the onset to create a multicultural cast in a reinterpretation of this Hans Christian Andersen classic fable, blending East and West, past and present,” he wrote.

But he said this is the kind of discussion the Playhouse’s “Page to Stage” workshop program desires, in order to make plays fit for larger productions. He announced a panel discussion about the casting controversy coming up on Sunday, July 22.

Ashley will also be joined by Japanese-American actor Greg Watanabe tomorrow for a discussion about the controversy on KPBS Midday Edition.

• Though “hokey and melodramatic,” The Old Globe’s “Inherit the Wind” worked for Los Angeles Times reviewer Margaret Gray. The play “eloquently sums up the value of freedom of thought — which is still under siege in our country,” she wrote. (LAT)

• Eleven years after he starred in and directed “Man of La Mancha” at North Coast Repertory Theatre, local theater leader Sean Murray is wearing both hats again — this time at his own theater, Cygnet. (North County Times)

• The works you know them for — gates and seawalls and large statues — aren’t the only art that Carlsbad’s public artists get into. A new exhibition at the city’s library focuses on those other mediums and styles they use for their “private” art. And the North County city released an interactive guide to all of its public art in time for the show.

Happening Here

• A group of dancers dedicated to teaching Latin and ballroom dancing to people in wheelchairs began a new round classes at Sharp Grossmont Hospital last week, and the U-T’s John Gibbins has a gallery of photos of the effort.

• As usual, CityBeat has a great roundup of all of the plays currently on local stages.

• Dozens of pieces from the collection of arts patron Vance E. Kondon will be on display in a new exhibit of German expressionist art at the San Diego Museum of Art, opening this week.

Kondon died in 1997, but after his wife’s death in 2011, the museum received a large portion of his collection. The expressionist movement magnetized Kondon. From the U-T: “I love their energy, their non-conformity, their rule-breaking, the way they lived and worked together,” he said in 1984.

• In her blog, local artist Shawnee Barton posted a few things that have inspired her lately, including a great video overview of National City native John Baldessari’s career, narrated by Tom Waits.

• A fandango jam session in the “Son Jarocho” style of Mexican folk music broke out at the U.S.-Mexico border last weekend. KPBS featured the folk music last week on its Midday Edition.

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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.

Kelly Bennett

Kelly Bennett is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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