The La Jolla Playhouse is getting a bigger dose of Latino flavor. The world renowned theater has never shied away from producing plays that touch on the Latino experience. This year alone, it produced the groundbreaking site-specific production “El Henry,” a futuristic Chicano twist on Shakespeare’s “Henry IV” that features dialogue in both English and Spanish.

With the appointment of Jaime Castañeda as associate artistic director, it’s safe to say we can expect even more diverse storytelling at the legendary playhouse. San Diego theater doesn’t have a ton of minorities in leadership roles, unfortunately. Back in August, I reported on theater makers and groups pushing for more diversity in theater, both on stage and behind the scenes. The addition of Castañeda to this leadership role is a step in the right direction.

KPBS reports that the 33-year-old Texas native is known for bringing “young, emerging talent to the stage, especially the work of Latino artists.” Castañeda himself confirmed his plans to bring more Latino voices and creative minds to the stage in his new role. We can’t wait to see what he has in store.

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

Public Art, New Colors and More Visual Art Stuff

• The city of Carlsbad is rolling out a new public art master plan to the Carlsbad Cultural Arts Office in hopes of further transforming the community.

“The public art master plan will outline priority projects and provide a framework of policies and procedures that will guide future art acquisitions, recommend policy changes to reflect the best practices in the public art field and propose strategies for implementing policy and identifying resources to acquire art,” according to a release. Once the plan is approved by the Carlsbad Cultural Arts Office, it will be sent to City Council for approval.

• Things are looking up for the Unified Port of San Diego’s public-art program. After suffering major slashes to its budget, the money allocated for the program next year will go up by $117,000, reports CityBeat. It’s a long way from the $2.1 million-plus profit it used to work with, but still.

• The L.A. Times reviews three local art exhibitions showcasing abstract art.

• Apparently, there is a crackable code to creating awesome art. (KPBS)

• In totally fascinating news, a Mission Hills artist sees colors the rest of us can’t. Scientists are studying her genes and eyes to try to understand how and why. (KPBS)

• A Pacific Beach photographer shares his new book made of images of America’s barber shops. (U-T)

Leadership, Ballet Brothers and More Music and Performance Tidbits

• What’s going down with the leadership of San Diego arts boards, man? The U-T breaks it down.

• Chronos Theater is teaching folks the techniques and archetypes of Commedia Dell’arte, a style of theater from the 16th century that birthed slapstick comedy. (KPBS)

• The Diversionary Theater has a new chief, who admits to falling in love with San Diego pretty much since arriving. The city will do that to ya. (U-T)

• Two Cuban brothers escaped their home country and made a home at the San Diego Ballet. (U-T)

• A Carlsbad exhibition showcases pieces of the Berlin Wall that have been turned into works of art. No evidence of David Hasselhoff’s keyboard scarf, though. (U-T)

Not-So-Secret Santa and More Culture Goods

• CityBeat introduces us to your friendly neighborhood Santa Claus, who tells us the business of being the North Pole’s most famous resident.

• Despite Amazon reigning like a dark overload over the book industry, local bookstores are managing to thrive. KPBS talks to the co-owner of Mysterious Galaxy about this great news.

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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