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We had a full moon, a full house and a full slate of arts and culture cross-pollination at our “Meeting of the Minds” last Wednesday. We ascended to the 7 Lemon level of the Westfield Horton Plaza parking structure for the third dose of our arts and culture event, featuring six pecha-kucha-style presentations — speakers could pick 20 images to display for 20 seconds each while they spoke.

Check out the photographs and what your friends and neighbors (and our speakers) were saying about what they learned and what they might go check out.

We filmed the presentations and have two up to share with you already: The New Children’s Museum’s Lauren Popp on artist-conceived exhibition spaces all over town, and San Diego Ballet’s Javier Velasco on the contributions of women in local dance and theater. Watch for more posted later this week.

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

Art and Pranks

• A couple of weeks ago, the San Diego Museum of Art hired a performance art and political activist group, The Yes Men, to participate in its Summer Salon Series. The Yes Men are known for their elaborate hoaxes.

They call their projects “identity-correcting” because they often like impersonate spokesmen from entities they don’t like, like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Dow Chemical, and purport to represent a huge change for the entity — one that more closely follows The Yes Men’s ideals and values. In the case of the Chamber of Commerce, it was a position on climate change. For Dow Chemical, it was taking credit for an industrial accident and humanitarian disaster in India.

While The Yes Men were here, they also ran a “Yes Lab” at local arts organization Agitprop. The labs are intended to train activist groups and catalyze the kind of action the group is known for.

Early last week, journalists received press releases purporting to come from the U.S. Attorney’s Office that announced the feds were cracking down on some beach-area pharmacies due to high levels of prescription drug abuse. The emails were hoaxes, sent by medical marijuana activists, but some media took the bait. U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy was not amused.

Reporter Morgan Cook drew the connection between the museum, the Yes Men and the hoax in a story in the North County Times on Thursday night. While the museum didn’t host the lab in-house, one of the Yes Men (using an alias) told the NCT the museum had helped find the activist groups who might be interested.

On Friday, KPBS reported the museum distanced itself from the hoax.The museum denied it’d paid any money toward it, in a statement.

The museum admits to offering groups up to $100 to be put toward expenses for getting to the workshop, like travel. But a spokesman told me that “no group has requested funds nor have any been paid” as of Friday.

• Acclaimed composer Marvin Hamlisch died Monday. He was the principal pops conductor for the San Diego Symphony, among other big U.S. cities’ symphonies. (New York Times)

• Among large cities nationwide, San Diego ranks thirteenth for its concentration of musicians and music-related businesses, according to a new report from creativity pundit Richard Florida. “Cities with vibrant music scenes mimic the process of innovation,” Florida writes. (The Atlantic Cities)

• TV and film star George Takei’s new musical, “Allegiance,”, opens next month at The Old Globe. The musical is about the Japanese American internment during World War II. The Globe will be also presenting Wendy Maruyama’s “Tag Project” in conjunction with the show. Maruyama leads the furniture design and woodworking program at San Diego State University. In our Q&A with Maruyama about the artwork last fall she described how people have reacted when she began researching the internment:

“Some had ‘heard’ about it but did not realize the sheer numbers of Japanese Americans who were actually taken away — others thought the Japanese Americans were ‘paid to go away’, and still others did not even know about it at all.”

• Attempts at FM 94/9 to be different and alternative didn’t pay the bills. Now decision-makers at the radio station are making changes to bring the station into the mainstream. They’re paying special attention to market research, trying to come back from a financial slump that has been losing the station money for several years, CityBeat’s Peter Holslin reports:

“And with the changes comes a new personality: Where 94/9 once broke all the rules, now it resembles the kind of conventional station it once railed against.”

Treasured Escondido artist Scott Kuhnly, who had his studio in the Arcade Building on the city’s Grand Ave. for more than four decades, passed away late last month at 73. (North County Times)

Happening Here

Fun, free Shakespeare in the park: New Village Arts Theatre presents “Much Ado About Nothing” in the park at Pacific Ridge School in Carlsbad nightly through this weekend. (U-T)

• For all of the exciting and dramatic turns in the life of Inocente, a local teen who was homeless and lived through a very challenging childhood, this one’s pretty great:

“Her art has not only given her purpose and attention, it’s provided an income that’s allowed her to escape the shelters and rent an apartment in Golden Hill,” writes James Chute in a profile of the teenager. Her life is the focus of a new documentary that will screen on Aug. 17 on MTV. She learned to process her emotion through art at the nonprofit ARTS: A Reason to Survive.

• Neighbors in Mission Hills are chipping in to pay for large-scale murals and public art projects. (CityBeat)

• Sound and multimedia artist Margaret Noble opens a big project at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego this week, much of it inspired by her childhood in City Heights. That and more in the North County Times’ rundown of arts and entertainment events happening this week.

• Pop culture icon Patti Smith and author David Sedaris will appear in UC San Diego’s “ArtPower” lineup in the coming year. (U-T)

• “Altar Boyz,” a musical about a fictitious Christian boy band opens at Diversionary Theatre this week; you can see photographs of rehearsals here. (Broadway World)

• The back room at 98 Bottles in Little Italy has “become the de-facto jazz hang in San Diego — despite having been open for less than a year,” writes Robert Bush on NBC 7’s SoundDiego blog.

• New art spaces and shops are sprouting up in the alleys and streets of Tijuana, lots of them promulgated by young natives of the city. (Al Jazeera English)

• You can dance with the stars on the waterfront. The Port’s “Big Bay Ballroom” series kicked off last week and continues Friday on Broadway Pier with the national jitterbug champions. (U-T)

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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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