Last year, our seemingly conservative beach town was gifted the oddball cultural gem known as the San Diego Fringe Festival, a week-long celebration of performance and art modeled after the legendary Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The event gives outsider performance art that relished in unconventionality a platform to be shared and possibly find a home at another venue. Gaining a fringe festival elevated our city to the level of our competitor cultural destinations, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and this year the event has grown in size, scale and weirdness. Yay, weirdness!

This year, the festival kicks off on July 3 and runs for 10 full days. With more dates added, the schedule has grown as well. Among the 400 performances that will be featured is a dark comedy about a couple whose son is born with an oyster for a head, a traveling freak show, a punk rock musical and more delightfully kooky shows. Seriously, this event is a veritable weirdofest. We can use more of that in this town. But for you more traditional folks, the Fringe Festival also offers compelling dance performances, stand-up comedy, buskers and more.

Festival director Kevin Charles Patterson told the San Diego Reader that he believes the growth of the San Diego Fringe Festival gives him hope that it can snowball into an internationally recognized arts festival on par with Comic-Con. And for all you naysayers who doubt the positive financial impact of a large-scale arts festival in this city, the U-T reports that the fest brought just over $1 million to the city, and this year organizers expect to reach $1.5 million. Stay strange, San Diego!

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

Restored ‘Night Visions,’ Scientific Art and More Visual Arts Goodies

• We’ve been following the story of Roberto Salas’ public art installation “Night Visions,” for quite some time now. The city’s Commission for Arts and Culture at one point considered de-installing the 12 pieces that make up the installation, which lines a short thoroughfare along Park Boulevard. After a fight, the pieces have not only been saved but also restored (not without some drama, though). Read all about it in the latest update.

• The Oceanside Museum of art tips its hat to the artists who paved the way in the local arts scene during the mid-century, Bob Matheny, Russell Baldwin, John Baldessari and Richard Allen Morris. CityBeat talks about the upcoming OMA exhibition “Spitting in the Wind: Art from the End of the Line.”

CityBeat recommends that you bookmark artist Steve Gibson’s blog if you’re into seeing cool images of art during your lunch break. I mean, you can still watch a video of a fat cat that can’t get out of a bathtub, but some culture wouldn’t kill you.

An Encintas teen restores my faith in trashy-talking, twerking teenagers the world over by running an art camp for girls living with autism. You get all the high fives, Isabelle Kaplan.

Steve Martin, Summer Pops and More Music and Performance Crumbles

Legendary funnyman Steve Martin talks banjo, bluegrass, comedy and is all-around awesome in an interview with the U-T. Martin plays a show at Humphrey’s on July 1.

• The U-T does its best Buzzfeed impression and gives us 10 things you need to know about Summer Pops. But what kind of sandwich am I, U-T?  I need to know!

• Theater reviews! Get ya theater reviews right here! “Hamlet” is livened up, “Othello” is a majestic mystery tour and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” brings the lolz.

Summer Fun, San Diego Opera’s Optimism and More Cultural Crannies

• Balboa Park’s International Cottages will be growing in time for the Centennial. (U-T)

The San Diego Opera is looking at the glass half full for the 2015 season. (U-T)

• If you’re feeling short on “I like my women like I like my [insert sexist thing here]” jokes, San Diego just got its very own Laugh Factory comedy club in the Hotel Del Coronado. Check out its upcoming lineup of shows.

Get to know a bit about Meb Keflezighi, the Mission Hills resident who dominated this year’s Boston Marathon like it wasn’t a damn thing. (San Diego Magazine)

• Not only does San Diego have one of the highest concentrations of flip-flops and brewery T-shirt wearers in one city, it also ranks high in museums. The Institute of Museum and Library Services ranked our fair city fourth in museums behind Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. Celebrate by catching an exhibition.

San Diego has summer all planned out for you, from pool parties and good food and drink, to theater and music goodness. Good looking out, SD Mag!

My beloved hometown of Tijuana is celebrating its 125th birthday this year, and San Diego Magazine has a few ideas of how you can celebrate.

• The Waterfront Park has – oh God, this is embarrassing – made a big splash (:facepalm:) since opening, though there has also been some criticism about the soggy mess it can be. So mudslinging, if you will (another facepalm). San Diego Magazine talked to landscape architect Glen Schmidt about the park and his vision.

Correction: An earlier version of this post said the city’s Commission for Arts and Culture voted to de-install Roberto Salas’ “Night Visions.” The commission considered de-installing the artwork, but ultimately decided to save them.

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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