You can vote for the community project you think deserves $5,000 in our annual Idea Tournament, and a few of the ideas have artsy angles:

A refurbished entrance sign for Ocean Beach. Ten multicultural community murals. New reading chairs in the North Park Branch Library. New signs for the Mission Beach boardwalk. Read about all 25 ideas and cast your vote by 11:59 p.m. this Friday. The winner will be announced at our upcoming Politifest on Aug. 3.

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

Local Roots

• Spenser Little didn’t think seriously about making his wire sculptures a source of income, but when he left pieces on street signs around San Diego, he began seeing notes left by people hoping to buy his work. ArtInfo features Little’s sculpture in a video.

• The guy who runs the Southern California detachment of Comic-Con-bound Storm Troopers (the 501st Imperial Stormtrooper Legion) knows he has an exacting eye, as KPBS reports:

“…did they paint the trapezoids on the helmet correctly, are the tube stripes the correct colors, is the frown the correct color and cut out with the appropriate number of teeth, did some of the stripes on the side ears of the helmet get painted correctly, are the ab buttons correct and did they close up the armor correctly in the right places.”

• Speaking of Comic-Con, at a time when San Diego could use a few reminders on proper interpersonal behavior: Wired magazine’s guide to proper etiquette with fellow Con-goers. And U-T San Diego rounds up some exhibits and parties at local arts organizations.

• Eleven sustainable-food-centered entrepreneurs pitched their projects and hoped for some investment at an event last week.

• Baghdad-born artist Doris Bittar tells the U-T her North Park gallery attracts quite a crowd: “labor activists, Muslims, Arabs, Iranians, artists, leftists, peace activists, civil rights people, professors.”

• San Diego-bred “singer, rapper and yoga instructor” Gonjasufi makes an appearance on Jay-Z’s latest album. Writing for the online magazine The Passion of the Weiss, former CityBeat music editor Peter Holslin appraises the Gonjasufi addition. He brings an element of a San Diego “dirty” aesthetic, Holslin writes — in the lineage of:

“a tight-knit community of San Diego MCs and beatmakers [who] got down in the muck to create a dark, wild, sometimes-minimalist, always-gnarly aesthetic all their own.”

• The wine specialist whom many credit with a renaissance of the mule cocktail in San Diego (via her work at Starlite in Mission Hills) left her mark on the new cocktail list at Counterpoint, a neighborhood spot in Golden Hill. (San Diego Magazine)

• Mira Mesa teen Iman Usman grew up Muslim and she’s a lesbian. “There’s this bright light on marriage and things like that,” she told KPBS. “But there’s a shadow where I am.”

• A play inspired by a real-life rainmaker (whose skills were credited for a dousing San Diego got a century ago) is onstage now at The Old Globe. (U-T)

• Debi Beard sells her own creations and vintage goods out of a historic cottage in the Cedros Design District in Solana Beach. (CityBeat)

Happening Here

• Share your props and disdain for the new buildings and spaces around the county — nominations are open until Aug. 1 for Orchids and Onions. Catch up on previous Orchids and Onions via gorgeous photographs by Darren Bradley.

• An opportunity to party with Oprah Winfrey is the prize for an auction to benefit the La Jolla Playhouse. The Playhouse wouldn’t say how that connection happened. (La Jolla Patch, U-T)

• “There is no better way to see connections between diverse plays and characters than by seeing them in rotating repertory,” writes our arts blogger, Libby Weber, in her look at The Old Globe’s summer Shakespeare festival.

• A decades-old story about a group of San Diego drug smugglers tied to Coronado High School has new life thanks to journalist Joshuah Bearman, who also wrote the article that inspired the film “Argo.” Bearman struck an interesting three-pronged publishing deal for the story, the L.A. Times detailed.

• The Carlsbad Music Festival is a few hours — and a few hundred bucks — away from meeting its Kickstarter fundraising goal for the 10th anniversary of the adventurous music confab.

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Kelly Bennett

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

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