Taking full advantage of our convention-friendly city, Theatre Communications Group will descend upon San Diego this weekend for its national conference. Around 1,000 artists and jazz hands-loving theater folk from all over the country will meet to discuss the state of the biz in their areas and congregate with their fellow lovers of the art form.

Despite so many cultural institutions trying to stave off closure this year, San Diego theater has managed to thrive in front of a diverse audience and remain profitable for the city. It’s a testament to the amazing work being produced here that local theater companies, large and small, have been able to maintain a high level of success.

If you’ve been in the dark about our local theater companies and the innovative and introspective work they produce, get a mini-crash course here from the U-T.

The U-T also rounded up six company leaders who will attend the conference to get their thoughts on the local theater scene.

Sam Woodhouse of the San Diego Repertory Theatre called our city a “hothouse of creativity,” while the La Jolla Playhouse’s Christopher Ashley tipped his hat to the emerging theater-makers producing noteworthy performances.

“What has made the last decade even more exciting is the proliferation of newer theater companies that — though smaller and younger — bring enormous talent and even more diversity to our town,” Ashley said. “Couple that with the staggering number of adventurous and committed audience members and supporters, and it’s impossible to debate San Diego’s vitality as a theater city.”

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

Flaming Beards, Mass Creativity and More Visual Art News

The work of Geofrey Redd (aka Yarns & Noble) has plenty of strings attached. (CityBeat)

• CityBeat delves into the border-inspired work of Jamex and Einar de la Torre, which is on view at The Front in San Ysidro through Aug. 28.

• MCASD whipped out the crowdfunding collection plate and is looking to raise $20,000 by Wednesday. Unfortunately, they’re not very close to reaching that goal. (U-T)

Mass Creativity will break out on June 28. (U-T)

• Sculptor Beverly Penn kicks off her residency at Lux Art Institute in Encinitas. See the artist work through July 5. Her intricate bronze sculptures will be on view through July 26. (U-T)

• The La Jolla Festival of the Arts comes to UC San Diego’s Warren Field Saturday and Sunday. Nearly 200 artists will showcase their work, with live entertainment throughout.

• CityBeat held its annual photo contest, asking readers to send in their coolest photograph to be crowned winner. This year’s top honor went to Jason Bang for his shot of The Marsupials lead singer Douglas Thompsonx with his beard on fire. Yup, you read that right. Check out that photo and more.

• The seemingly sleepy city of Vista is growing into a hip art destination with the help of a new collective. (CityBeat)

Tijuana Opera, Live From La Jolla and More Music and Performance Stuff

• The California Center for the Arts in Escondido and the Poway Center for the Performing Arts are shooting to increase attendance and visibility with exciting line-ups in the coming season. (U-T)

• Saturday Night Live alum Darrell Hammond will hit the La Jolla Playhouse stage in February. Let’s hope he pulls out his classic Alex Trebek-hating Sean Connery impression. (U-T)

Get a taste of the Tijuana opera scene, which has far less drama than its San Diego counterpart, at the 11th annual Opera in the Street Festival. (San Diego Red)

• Patricia Rincon Dance collective brings its “Salon Dances” back to the Encinitas Library on Sunday. Catch the show while you return your tear-stained copy of “The Fault in our Stars.”

Krav Maga, Goodbye, Che Café and More Culture Bits

• We said goodbye to a legend this week with the passing of Tony Gwynn, who lost his battle with cancer on Monday at age 54. The San Diego Padres right fielder earned the nickname “Mr. Padre” thanks to his 3,141 hits made in his 20-season career and great attitude off the field. He’ll be sorely missed by baseballs fans locally and nationally. ESPN shared some of Gwynn’s finest moments, and we’ve rounded up some of the reasons he meant so much to the sport and our city.

• The iconic Che Café was handed an eviction notice. The student-run collective has 30 days to vacate the UC San Diego building it’s called home for 34 years. It’s truly a sad day for local music and culture. (U-T)

• NBC News shares heart-wrenching stories told by border children on why they came to the United States.

• The latest installment of my CityBeat column, There She Goz, discusses misogyny and violence against women, and how Israeli combat training known as Krav Maga helped me confront fears stemming from these issues.

• Little Fish Comics Studio not only produces original comics, but also teaches the art of creating and loving comics to adults and kids alike. (KPBS)

• Finest City Improv makes comedy gold out of audience suggestion. (KPBS)

• From jet packs to Baja adventures, the Reader has your summer to-do list in its special “Things To Do” issue.

Barrels be smokin’ at Planet Rooth! (DiscoverSD)

• Tijuana’s Pasaje Rodriguez continues to boom with art, music and nightlife. If you didn’t know, San Diego Red informs.

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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