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The state of the arts is always a major topic in any large city, but this year it’s been especially fraught within San Diego’s creative community. Much of that is a result of so many institutions finding themselves in danger of closing due to financial issues: San Diego Opera, Ken Cinema, Kensington Video and Art Pulse. Not all of them made it out alive.

The U-T rounded up a list of some of the top cultural institutions in the city and took a look at their funding. They include the Old Globe Theatre, San Diego Symphony and many others. Writer and art critic James Chute found that while many of these institutions are in the clear, they’ll need to focus on gaining more endowments to continue their operations.

If the movie “Hustle & Flow” taught me anything, it’s that it’s hard out there for a pimp. Same goes for arts organizations. Getting on that hustle game (i.e. finding endowments and grants) can be daunting. Often they need someone on staff with that as a full-time priority, but budgets doesn’t always allow.

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

Freaky Nights, New Americans and More Visual Art Pieces

• Artist Mark Patterson, who created the famed “Surfing Madonna” piece, unveiled his latest mosaic piece. (U-T)

• Things are getting freaky this Friday at Oceanside Museum of Art for “Art After Dark.” The museum’s ongoing arts event series is credited with bringing about greater cultural consciousness in the North County town. (U-T)

• The New Americans Museum is reopening in Liberty Station after a four-year hiatus. (CityBeat)

• The grounds at Ramona’s Salerno Winery were majorly dolled up thanks to a series of new sculptures by various Latin American artists. CityBeat shares photos of the beautiful pieces. Please don’t spill any Merlot on them.

The Bard, the ‘Back and More Music and Performance Chunks

• Balboa Park’s Old Globe Theatre is getting down with the Bard for its upcoming “Globe for All Program,” where actors perform some of Shakespeare’s works out in the community. (U-T)

• When I was 12, I watched the Disney version of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and I remember thinking it was kind of racy. Upon rewatching it as an adult, I can confirm it was weirdly sexy. Anyway, the La Jolla Playhouse is staging a musical version of the Disney film to get you all awkwardly hot. (U-T)

• Bonus: The soundtrack to the epic and kind-of-hot musical will be performed by the SACRA/PROFANA (Latin for “sacred/profane,”) choir ensemble, which should send a few chills down your arms. (San Diego Magazine)

• The La Jolla Playhouse has proven to be a breeding ground for some of the finest theatrical shows being staged today. Another example of the playhouse’s strong footing is the success of the play “Memphis,” which got its start on the La Jolla stage. (U-T)

• The Reader sits down with accomplished classical pianist Lola Astanova.

• For its 70th anniversary, the San Diego Youth Symphony heads far east on tour. (U-T)

California Tower, Novels and More Culture Crumbs

• Miss last week’s Meeting of the Minds? How tragic. Get the recap here. (Voice of San Diego)

• Balboa Park’s California Tower will finally be open to the public as of Jan. 1. Put on your stair-climbing shoes and get ready! (U-T) CityBeat has 10 fascinating facts about the tower to get you in the mood.

• Local author, Jim Ruland, sat down with KPBS Midday Edition to talk about his latest novel “Forest of Fortune”, a dark tale set in a casino. I’ve seen a few casinos in my day, or at least casino buffets. Things can get pretty nasty in there.

• CityBeat released its annual “Best of” issue, this time sharing the very best mom-and-pop shops in town. Among the family-owned businesses highlighted are Border X Brewing (my contribution to the issue), Bates Nut Farm, Sister Pee Wee’s Soul Food and La Loupe Vintage.

• Bali Hai still reigns as king of the Tiki. (Reader)

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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