When the iconic Ken Cinema came under the threat of closure earlier this year, a heartfelt outcry ultimately saved the day. It was hard to imagine our city without its oldest cinema there to offer late night viewings of “The Big Lebowski” in uncomfortable old seats. When it was saved, thanks to new investors and a deal struck with Landmark Theatres, we all cheered and made a mental note to visit the Ken more.

But the Ken’s little brother just a few doors down, Kensington Video, wasn’t quite so lucky. After 30 years in business, the owners of the independent movie rental shop decided to call it quits. Kensington Video will close its doors in February.

“We’ve had a great run for 31 years,” said Guy Hanford, co-owner of Kensington Video. “Like many things, technology or changes in our lifestyles have changed the way we shop and that’s what happened to the mom-and-pop video store.”

Hanford purchased more than 75,000 titles for the shop over the years, all of which still line the walls. The advent and popularity of Netflix, Hulu+ and other streaming services may have been the ultimate cause of death for Kensington Video, but there’s no bitterness from Hanford.

“There’s no resentment whatsoever,” he said. “I understand it. Times change, and I’m a big believer in technology. I do feel saddened because with technology you lose something about the way you used to do things. The days of the mom-and-pops are slowly dying. A lot of people have come to us and felt embarrassed or ashamed that they didn’t visit us more but we don’t resent it. We’ve had a great ride, watched a lot of great movies and I was able to put my children through college while working here.”

Instead of succumbing to the big technology monster, however, Hanford said Kensington Video will remain online. They’ll keep many of their titles (others will be sold) and plan to start an online rental service.

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

Fall Arts, Cross-Collabs and More Visual Art Goodness

San Diego CityBeat released its annual Fall Arts issue, previewing the awesome arts events and projects coming to our fair city once sweater weather officially hits. Among them is a raucous pajama party/reading from cult author Chuck Palahniuk, San Diego Museum of Art’s exciting upcoming modern art exhibition, a daring new theater company producing classics old and new, a huge breakdance competition returning to its home in Chula Vista, the cinematic future of ArtPower! and the Athenaeum’s lineup of the finest jazz musicians scattin’ and hep cattin’ in town, or whatever they call it nowadays.

• Stickers tell the story of one artist’s changing homeland. (U-T)

• More than 20 pieces of art created by local art icon James Hubbell are being removed from their former home at the Beach House Restaurant in Cardiff-by-the-Sea. Before you go pulling your hair out at the injustice of losing such artful treasures, the pieces are being restored and auctioned in December.

• Borders are obliterated at Beyond Limits: Postglobal Mediations, an exhibition and lecture series opening this Friday at San Diego Art Institute, though the event is global. Learn more in CityBeat’s write-up.

• Cross-cultural collaboration is also the focus of “Dimensions of Color,” an exhibition featuring sculptures and photography by San Diego artists with roots in Iran and Iowa. (CityBeat)

• Renowned landscape photographer Peter Lik is opening a new gallery space in Mission Beach. LIK SAN DIEGO will open its doors Nov. 7.

• A new mural was just unveiled in downtown Carlsbad. The city teamed up with the Boys & Girls Club of Carlsbad and commissioned local artist Skye Walker to create a mural that depicted the spirit of the North County town. The result is “Great Futures Start Here,” the brightly colored seascape mural at the Boys & Girls Club on Roosevelt Street.

Photo courtesy of the city of Carlsbad
Photo courtesy of the city of Carlsbad

• In more mural news, the Murals of La Jolla project installed its latest addition, “Opening” by William Wegman. The mural is a playful image of a dog, can be seen at 1162 Prospect St.

• In more Carlsbad news, the city of Carlsbad is going hard with National Arts Month. All October the city will host cool, artsy events around town, including film screenings, concerts, lectures and exhibitions. North County is looking like the spot for art! See the full lineup at carlsbadca.gov/arts.

New Seasons, New Leaders and More Music and Performance Pieces

• The San Diego Symphony is kicking off its 2014-2015 season with a new chief executive officer. Martha S. Gilmer comes to the symphony from the prestigious Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

• The Old Globe Theatre will be celebrating its 80thth birthday next year during the Balboa Park Centennial celebrations. To commemorate its foray into octogenarian-hood, it’s announced the 2015 summer season, which includes “Twelfth Night,” “Kiss Me, Kate” and a series of free Monday night films. A full lineup is on the website.

British conductor Michael Francis has been named music director of the Mainly Mozart Festival. (U-T)

• A local actor shares his dream roles with the Reader, including Hamlet and not including the role of “drunk Irish guy #5” in a St. Paddy’s episode of “The Big Bang Theory.”

‘Grammable Goodness, Border Waits and More Culture Goodies

Instagram is basically a black hole of followable feeds. You like puppies? Follow @dailypuppy to get your fill of cuteness. Wanna see hot dads hanging out a Disneyland? May I recommend @dilfs_of_disneyland? Looking for a good streaming movie to watch, rated by how much wine you should consume while watching? Then definitely follow @wineflix. CityBeat clues us in to some awesome Insta feeds from local retailers that will have you ogling their cool and cute products. P.S. I invented Wineflix.

• Fascinating fact: Did you know Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, created many words, including the word “nerd”? (U-T)

• As someone who spent many years crossing the San Ysidro border every single day for school or work, I relate to this piece by Matthew Suarez.

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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