San Diego County is bursting with creative people doing interesting things, but it can be hard to learn about them. Our sixth “Meeting of the Minds” hopes to counteract the sprawl and disconnect between San Diego’s neighborhoods and art niches — and spark some conversations about the cultural side of this county we live in. It’s the latest in our series that’s taken us up to the rooftop at Horton Plaza and into a historic bakery-turned-arts-space in Logan Heights.

Join us Sept. 18 in East Village’s new Silo at Makers Quarter, a lot at 15th and F streets, for the event. You’ll learn about San Diego’s “mutant-punk underground,” a local notable scenic designer for plays and musicals, the work of using art to heal a neighborhood and more. The event is for VOSD members, but we’ll be offering a discounted membership rate to join us that evening. Learn more about the six presenters and let us know you’re coming. I can’t wait.

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

Happening Here

• VOSD fact-checked the former director of the now-shuttered San Diego Film Commission on her claim the group attracted “up to $100 million in direct production spending” annually in San Diego.

• Leaders at the Museum of Man in Balboa Park are “very optimistic” they’ll be able to reopen the iconic California Tower to public access in time for the 2015 celebration in the park. Visitors haven’t been admitted since 1935. (U-T San Diego)

• Check out the sandcastles sculpted this past weekend downtown. (NBC 7 San Diego)

• The owners of Mixture, a furniture and home design store in Little Italy, are selling their store after 10 years to relocate near family. (U-T)

• This Thursday is the 13th anniversary of a toy piano festival at UC San Diego’s Geisel Library. Admission is free, but the U-T’s Jim Chute warns concert-goers to “be prepared to sit on the floor (with the performers).”

• A junior football player for the San Diego State University Aztecs is a theater minor, who says his size stands out in a room full of his thespian classmates. (U-T)

• “It’s not every day that someone gets grumpy trolley patrons to clap along to a hip-hop song,” writes CityBeat’s Ryan Bradford about a new episode of “A Trolley Show,” a web series where local musicians perform on San Diego Trolley trips.

• New plays by local playwrights will be presented in Cygnet Theatre’s “Playwrights in Process” festival in November. (Broadway World)

• San Diego has its first “parklet,” a parking space in front of North Park’s Caffe Calabria converted to space for seating 20 people. (VOSD)

Local Roots

• “This house — it has very large breasts,” reports KPBS’s Angela Carone in a look at La Sirena, a five-story work in progress in Mexico. The house is shaped like a mermaid from the waist up, and its sculptor, Armando Muñoz García, lives and works there.

• Derrick Cartwright left the San Diego Museum of Art in 2009 to lead the Seattle Museum of Art, and now he’s in charge of the art galleries at the University of San Diego, re-immersing himself in San Diego’s art scene. “I loved my time in Seattle and really enjoyed the people there, but I deeply missed this community,” he tells the U-T.

• Jazz pianist Geoffrey Keezer, who lives in North Park, recorded his latest album on a 9-foot Steinway grand piano that belongs to philanthropists Irwin and Joan Jacobs. Keezer tells the U-T:

On one of the two nights we were recording, Irwin came in about 10 p.m. and said: ‘I just got home from the White House; I had dinner yesterday with President Obama.’ And I said: ‘That’s fantastic. I just went to In-N-Out Burger for a cheeseburger!’

• A fixture as a director for many San Diego Opera productions, Lotfi Mansouri died last week at the age of 84. He was general director for San Francisco Opera. (San Francisco Chronicle)

• A local film-watching society turned 30 last month. (U-T)

• Tijuana’s arts scene is evolving, says stencil graffiti artist Acamonchi in a new episode of ArtPulse TV.

• Via Atlantic Cities: San Diego Zoo’s resident pandas are better at reproducing than those at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

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

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