What roles do music and the arts play in the midst of tragedies? Local choir director Patrick Walders, director of San Diego State University’s choirs, brought several local ensembles together last weekend for a performance of a war-inspired composition.

Singer Libby Weber was in a rehearsal for that piece last Monday, the day of the Boston Marathon bombing, and writes about the experience in our “Active Voice” blog. She invokes a quotation from Leonard Bernstein:

“This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.”

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

Local Roots

• Clothing and costume designer Zandra Rhodes has been splitting her time between Del Mar and London since the 1990s and has carved out a niche in opera costume design ever since San Diego Opera chief Ian Campbell enlisted her to design costumes for “The Magic Flute.” The opera company’s current production, “Aida,” features costumes that Rhodes designed. (U-T)

• Su-Mei Yu, a local chef and restaurateur at Saffron in Mission Hills, has filmed a new television show for KPBS about local food, which premieres Thursday. (Eater San Diego)

• The prop master at the San Diego Opera, a 25-year veteran at the company, will retire after this season. Backstage, the opera is “like a knife fight in a phone booth,” Ned Krumrey tells KPBS.

• Word spread quickly that members of the men’s chorus in “Aida” were shaving their heads for the production, to the San Diego Opera’s wig and makeup director’s chagrin. It’s easier to give out pre-painted bald caps than to draw the squiggly lines on their bald heads before every performance. (U-T)

• Coronado Brewing Co. sued a Seattle brewing company over the use of the name “Islander,” a popular Coronado brew for which the local company has the trademark. (San Diego CityBeat)

• A married pair of champion arm wrestlers will be featured in an upcoming reality show about the sport produced by the same crew behind “The Deadliest Catch.” (KPBS)

• A video-game designer at Sony is putting on a street art and graffiti show called “Suicidal Octopuss” on Thursday in East Village. (San Diego CityBeat)

Happening Here

• Retooling its popular Summer Salon Series, the San Diego Museum of Art is announcing a new “Summer Break” in August. The series still ties contemporary art to an exhibit on display at the museum and features live performances, music, readings and more. But this year, the series will run for 10 days in a row in August instead of in weekly installments throughout the summer. Artists who want to their work included can still apply.

• The La Jolla Playhouse announced it’s extending its popular, unusual play, “Accomplice,” which takes playgoers on a roving tour of Little Italy while the drama unfolds.

• A number of San Diego-based actors will star in the Playhouse’s upcoming production, “His Girl Friday.” Writing for the U-T, James Hebert calls the Playhouse’s decision “another sign of what seems to be a sincere and growing commitment to local casting at both the Playhouse and the crosstown Old Globe, San Diego’s two nationally renowned, regional-theater heavyweights.”

• The theater industry’s national conference will be in San Diego in 2014. “The natural beauty, abundant resources and thriving cultural ecology of San Diego make it an ideal location,” the Theatre Communications Groups announced. (Broadway World)

• Three new murals are going up this month in La Jolla, tied to this Murals of La Jolla project.

• Itself a bastion of murals, Chicano Park celebrated its 43rd anniversary last weekend. (U-T)

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I’m Kelly Bennett, reporter for Voice of San Diego. You can reach me directly at kelly.bennett@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0531.

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

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