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There have been many, many instances where I’m out there exploring our fair city and I think to myself, “San Diego, you are a beautiful bitch.” We really are lucky to live here, and not just because our winters don’t force us into lockdown.

San Diego Magazine wrote its annual love letter to America’s Finest (foinest), highlighting 20 Reasons to Love San Diego. They named our sunsets the No. 1 reason, though if you have an Instagram account you might feel a bit of sunset overkill stemming from #nofilter #sdsunset overload posts when we have a particularly lovely evening sky.

Other things to love about San Diego, according to SD Mag, are our abundant taco shops (Yes! Give me all the California burritos!), craft beer and spirits (Yes! Put all the tasty drinks in my gullet!), the construction of a bridge linking the U.S. to the Tijuana Airport this year (Neat, as long as we don’t have to wait in line for three hours), budding film director and Point Loma Nazarene alumnus Destin Daniel Cretton and the California Tower in Balboa Park, which will open for the centennial.

We certainly do have it good in this beautiful bitch of a city.

You’re reading the Culture Report, Voice of San Diego’s weekly collection of the region’s cultural news.

Azalea Park, Award-Winning Photography and More Art News

• Azalea Park wants to be an arts and culture center, and people are pretty excited about the prospect. (City Beat)

• Art and activism come together in powerful photographic works that won the Prix Pictet Prize. View 52 pieces from 12 artists at Prix Pictet: Power, an exhibition starting Feb. 1 at the Museum of Photographic Arts.

• Speaking of award-winning photography, Pacific Magazine held its annual photo contest, where pro and amateur photogs can share their best pics of San Diego. Behold the winners!

• More than 50 Christo and Jeanne-Claude pieces from the late David C. Copley’s art collection are on view at MCASD, opening Feb. 2. Definitely a not-to-miss exhibition.

“I’m coming from a Communist country,” Christo tells the U-T from his New York studio, his home since 1974. “I’m very allergic to any art with so-called messages because it can be a religious message, it can be a political message, a romantic message — they are all messages. They are all propaganda.”

• Photographer Michael Jaffe photographs the unseen parts of San Diego we should all be taking time to notice. Not one of them: my bedroom.  He says: “I like to create an image where you have no idea you’re in San Diego.” (Pacific)

• Meet the new curator for the San Diego Public Library. I only just toured the new Central Library over the weekend. I can confirm that it is amazing. (CityBeat)

• Speaking of MoPA, here’s a piece on its current exhibition, “Staking Claim: A California Invitational.”

• What lures you? A few artists venture to guess. For me, it’s a piping hot plate of nachos in front of an HBOGo-enabled television.

• Seven artists who got some love from InPrint Magazine, including Jack Stricker, Eric Wixon and Jimmy Ovadia, will showcase artwork at Artlab on Feb. 1.

• Barrio Logan’s new gallery space, La Bodega, is getting into the swing of things. Their upcoming exhibition of photography by Israel Castillo opens Feb. 1.

• Planet Rooth Design Haus is back in action!

• Viz Cult presents a group art show honoring the greatest creature that walks the Earth (if you ask said creature), cats! Show off iPhone pics of your kitty with the artists at Cat House Tuesday at Basic.

• A Galactic Collision is going down Thursday at disclosed unLocation.

• The Art Speak Salon returns. Talk local art with the movers and shakers.

Patti LuPone, International Guitar Night and More Music and Performance Bites

• Broadway icon Patti LuPone hits the Balboa Theater stage, and every theater geek in the city will need to bring their copy of the Evita playbill to hide their boner. (U-T)

International Guitar Night returns to the Museum of Making Music on Jan. 28. Please God, tell Jack Johnson covers aren’t part of the show.

• Questions go unanswered in Cygnet Theater’s performance of “Maple and Vine,” and when I ask my parents if I was an accident.

• World-renowned bassist and UC San Diego alumnus Nathan East recently hit the stage at the Grammys with Daft Punk and Stevie Wonder. He has also performed with Michael Jackson, Beyonce and – OH MY GOD, DID YOU JUST SAY BEYONCE?? East comes to the Conrad Prebys Music Center on Feb. 1 to slappa da bass for a benefit concert.

• Circle Circle dot dot explore transformation and metamorphosis with “Circle Mirror Transformation,” a play about fur characters in an acting class. Let’s hope it’s better than that actual acting class you took in college.

• Another hat tip to the Casbah as it turns 25. This time it gets the U-T’s Re:Focus treatment in a short doc called “The Casbah: Making a Scene,” with an accompanying Soundcloud playlist with some of the best bands to ever play the iconic venue.  I’m waiting for a doc on the unicorn zebra.

• Your ears can use a break from Katy Perry. Check out the Danish String Quartet for a palette cleanser.

• The Intrepid Shakespeare Company takes a stab at the Bard’s “Macbeth.” I wonder if Lady M finally gets that spot out. Opens Jan. 31.

• A beloved figure at the San Diego Symphony passed away. My condolences to the friends and family of Lisa Baker. (U-T)

• The La Jolla Playhouse is adding two additional projects to its 2014/2015 season: “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and the West Coast premiere of Elizabeth Egloff’s drama “Ether Dome.”

Courtney Love, Taco Fights and More Cool Culture

• A San Diego lawyer called Rhonda J. Holmes sued Courtney Love for defamation, and lost. As with anything involving Courtney Love, the story is weird and there’s talk of controversy.

Love started to cry ten minutes into her testimony about her relationship with Holmes, letting out a loud and abrupt sob when describing the relief she felt walking into her teenaged daughter’s bedroom to announce that Holmes confirmed that people from “the dark side” were conspiring to rob the Cobain estate.



• A new book chronicles the 1915 Balboa Park Expo. (KPBS)

The Balboa Park Organ is getting a facelift. Let’s hope it doesn’t end up looking like Jocelyn Wildenstein.

• The Miramar Air Show is returning after being canceled last year. Time to buy a new pair of ear plugs. (U-T)

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Alex Zaragoza

Alex Zaragoza is a freelance writer covering arts and culture in San Diego and Tijuana. She also writes the column "There...

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