A rundown structure blends in with the other beige, discount furniture-selling buildings near the corner of University and Euclid avenues in City Heights. But, as Speak City Heights’ Brian Myers and Megan Burks suggest, look up:

Elegant art deco curves on the second level begin to tell a story of 1930s glamour, couples reuniting at postwar dances and visits from music legends like Kitty Wells — if you can look past the peeling paint and ragged curtains.

Myers and Burks detail the buildings’s awkward state of limbo after the fall of redevelopment, and the video and story is sparking an interesting discussion in the comments section.

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

Local Roots

• In storm drains, potholes and bumpy sidewalks, some artists find inspiration. My colleague Liam Dillon rounds up some notable artistic takes on the underbelly of infrastructure.

• Local writer Dave Hampton weaves a fascinating story of an anti-war protest, a mysterious clay sculpture and a story surrounded by myths on the UC San Diego campus. (KPBS)

• Maps and details of the mayor’s proposed Plaza de Panama plan are up on the Balboa Park website.

• The founders of a puppet company with productions for adults are moving into the arts collective Space 4 Art in East Village for their next performance, this Friday.

• That company and others will feature prominently in a new local Fringe Festival inspired by a festival for emerging theater and performance in Scotland, coming in July. (U-T)

• Maxine Mahon, the woman who founded San Diego’s oldest professional dance company, was a state accordion champion “until a career-ending waterskiing injury,” I was fascinated to learn in a U-T profile of Mahon and the California Ballet.

• A noted scene designer who’s worked on a number of big-deal theater productions locally will be the La Jolla Playhouse’s artist in residence. The designer, Robert Brill, went to UC San Diego and co-founded the erstwhile Sledgehammer Theatre, a popular local company for many years. (U-T)

• The latest appraisal of Tijuana’s burgeoning cultural identity highlights the role locals play. From the Los Angeles Times:

“The tourists weren’t coming, and so we had to take over empty spaces,” said Jesus López, a Tijuana native, DJ-producer and promoter. “That’s the thing with TJ: I’ve seen it change completely three or four times. I don’t know where it’s going to land, but I know it is shifting.”

• One of the latest artists to make a mural for a collection in La Jolla said before this opportunity, he’d sworn off public art — too much time and bureaucracy to deal with, he said. (La Jolla Light)

• A film centered on the U.S.-Mexican border that won a critics award at Cannes Film Festival in 2012 is screening for a couple more days at the Media Arts Center San Diego.

• Keep an eye out for the high-schoolers competing for performance scholarships from The Old Globe. (U-T)

• Rogue knitters made an Etch-A-Sketch sweater for a rec center sign in Clairemont, imploring passersby to “PLAY.” City workers didn’t quite take the mission to heart; they took the piece down. (U-T)

Free Stuff:

• This is the fifth year Target has given the New Children’s Museum $50,000 to grant free admission on the second Sunday of every month.

• The Pacific Arts Movement’s mobile movie operation, Drive-by Cinema, will screen a skateboarding film this Friday on El Cajon Boulevard.

• Jory Herman, a bassist with the San Diego Symphony, recently made a recording of Bach music and will celebrate its release with a free concert at a monastery in Carmel Valley, next Monday. Herman played his bass as part of his Meeting of the Minds presentation at Horton Plaza last summer.

• Another “Meeting of the Minds” connection, another free concert: Chamber music group Art of Elan will perform on Wednesday, May 29, at the Malcolm X Library in Valencia Park. We featured Art of Elan’s atypical concert format at our first Meeting of the Minds.

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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

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

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