Tijuana has been undergoing a major revitalization. The prevailing wisdom is that this is the comeback it needed after drug wars all but killed tourism.

But frankly, the city had been fighting a bad rap since long before then, when drunk college kids would cross the border to cause mayhem in the streets. Locals needed their money, but it often felt like that commerce came at the cost of the Tijuana’s dignity.

It’s a different city now. Tijuana is on a major winning streak in border projects and innovation. The violence that drove people away led local artists, promoters and tastemakers to rebuild Tijuana’s cultural landscape almost from scratch. Their hard work will be at the center of our next installment of Meeting of the Minds, Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at The Front in San Ysidro.

We rounded up some info on each of our five speakers and what topic they’ll delve into during their presentation Here’s a quick recap:

• Derrik Chinn will talk about the revitalizing and repurposing of Tijuana.

• Monica Arreola will share insight on alternative art spaces.

• Maria Teresa Rique will explore the Opera de Tijuana.

• Karla Navarro will feed our ears on TJ’s food boom.

• Bennett Peji enlightens on the border wait.

Get your tickets and reserve a spot here.

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

Five Decades of Jack Witten, Billboard Murals and More Visual Art News

• Speaking of Tijuana, the U-T touches on the gorgeous murals being painted in the downtown alleyways that have become the city’s art hubs.

• Jack Whitten built a career around pushing artistic boundaries. The Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla is hosting a retrospective of five decades of his work. (U-T)

• More and more billboard-style murals are popping up around the city, creating opportunities for artists to display their work. (CityBeat)

Opera Progress Report, Lamb’s Season and More Music and Performing Arts Goodies

• So what’s the deal with the San Diego Opera? The U-T has a progress report.

• The Lamb’s Players Theatre unveiled its 2015 season, featuring nerds, Oz and Puerto Rican girls who feel pretty. (U-T)

• After circling the globe a few times, “Jersey Boys” returns to San Diego, where it first premiered 10 years ago. The U-T gives us a mini-history lesson and talks about the new production at the San Diego Civic Theatre.

• Meet the new Grinch. (U-T)

The Che Loses Its Case, Tijuana Grubbin’ and More Culture Crumbs

• It’s not looking good for the legendary Che Café. A judge ruled against the collective/arts venue in its eviction case with UC San Diego (SoundDiego)

• They say the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach. As a person who found love with the help of about a thousand slices of pizza, I can attest to that. It seems that’s also the way toward increased tourism and a better image for Tijuana. (U-T) 

• Get on the TJ grub train at the upcoming Baja Culinary Fest. (San Diego Red)

• KPBS Midday Edition talks with local crime writer T. Jefferson Parker about his new book “Full Measure.”

• The San Diego Police Museum seeks a new home to display its collection of artifacts from local police past. (CityBeat)

• Last week the El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association hosted its first ever Boulevard Market, an evening foodie extravaganza to aid in the revitalization of the notorious street. Spoiler: It was a huge success. DiscoverSD has the full report.

• Rock the vote? More like rap the vote! Local rappers and the ACLU of San Dan Diego and Imperial Counties teamed up to get people in predominately black and Mexican neighborhoods to vote. (KPBS)

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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