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For every major city in America, there is a list, large or small, of famous residents who helped put it on the map.

More than 20 years on and Seattle still holds a candle to Kurt Cobain and the entire grunge era through public art pieces, museum exhibitions and the like. Here in San Diego, we seem to have a  neverending need to honor our own diet version of Kurt Cobain: Jason Mraz.

Back in August, Mayor Kevin Faulconer awarded the singer-songwriter his own local holiday. Henceforth, Aug. 19 won’t just be another day on the kitten wall calendar you have by your desk. It’s Jason Mraz Day. Mraz accepted this prestigious honor while donning his best trucker hat, wrinkled flannel and goatee.

San Diego’s chillest Grammy winner has continued to show his Cali love by becoming an arts ambassador to Burbank Elementary, where he’ll help promote arts and music education. The work he’s doing to aid a local school is actually pretty awesome. But seriously, what else can this city throw at the crooner?

A few suggestions: Maybe a bronze fedora statue erected in Ocean Beach? An invitation to perform a ukulele version of the National Anthem at the next Padres home opener? A change to city code that states no shoes or shirts is actually totally chill on all premises, in the name of Mraz? At this point, they all feel like very real possibilities.

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

Selfies with Marina, Creative Catalyst Winners and More Visual Arts News

• Everyone wants a selfie with famed performance artist Marina Abramović, but she’d much rather just chat. Learn more about Abramović in CityBeat’s incredible interview with the “warrior or soldier of performance art.”

• Shot: The San Diego Foundation’s Creative Catalyst Program announced its 10 winning artists who will receive hefty grants to work on special projects. Among the winners are Ron Najor, Noe Olivas and Roberto Salas. (U-T)

• Chaser: With the San Diego Foundation’s arts expert Felicia Shaw gone, concerns are bubbling up about the future of the organization’s arts funding. (CityBeat)

• Art and humor come together beautifully at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla for the exhibition “Laugh-in.” (New York Times)

• The Studio Door has lost its North Park home, as has the San Diego Art Department. (CityBeat)

Super Funding, CoVen and More Music and Performance News

• Qualcomm is hooking up the San Diego Youth Symphony with a major grant to fund a tour in China. Now don’t go spending it all in one place, kids. (U-T)

• When the performers from CoVen play with fire, they don’t get burned. They do, however, amaze audiences with their fire, circus and dance show. (KPBS)

• Lincoln Park rapper Tiny Doo is out on bail, but still faces a long jail sentence if convicted for … rapping. (Reader)

• Daniel Jackson Week kicks off with a slew of killer jazz performances around town, all in honor of the lost local jazz great. (Reader)

Engaging Encinitas, North Park Theatre’s New Name and More Culture Stuff

• A new nonprofit has sprouted in Encinitas with the aim of increasing civic engagement and collaboration in the North County area. Welcome, Engage Encinitas.

• Local writer and musician Drew Andrews will have a book published by Blue Skirt Productions. Keep an eye out for “The Shepherd’s Journals” in March.

• That brings me to an interesting story I heard on KPBS about how this may very well be the golden age of book publishing. You think?

• One woman is hoping to lure Hollywood producers and directors to San Diego and make it a destination for filming movies and TV. (U-T)

• With new direction and fresh funds that aided in saving the institution, the San Diego Opera is making bigger steps to be more inclusive, and it’s paying off. (U-T)

• South Park is getting a new vegan restaurant in the space where Alchemy currently resides. (Eater)

• For its new permanent exhibition “Coast to Cactus,” the San Diego Natural History Museum looked to residents’ own backyards for inspiration. (U-T)

• After a recent purchase, the North Park Theatre shall hence be known The Observatory. But that’s about all that’s changing. (CityBeat)

• Useless information is my jam. I talk about why in the latest installment of my column, There She Goz. (CityBeat)

• Cardiff-based crime novelist Alan Russell calls writing his “fool-time job.” I think all us writers have felt that at some point. More about the author and his latest book in the U-T’s interview.

• CityBeat recently published its first-ever family issue that’s full of great tips and stories for cool parents looking for things to do, people to meet and others to commiserate with.

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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