The San Diego waterfront is an absolutely stunner. So gorgeous and Instagram-worthy is the area that insanely rich people are constantly trying to figure out how to capitalize on it. For every Waterfront Park, which is fun and popular while also visually appealing, there’s “Unconditional Surrender,” a public art piece some have called tacky or criticized for celebrating sexual assault (the woman in the iconic photograph that inspired the sculpture was kissed without consent by the sailor who appears with her).

Often the ideas that emerge to beautify an already beautiful area and bring in revenue for the city seem like the imaginings of a hyperactive kid with Scrooge McDuck’s vault at their disposal.

Voice of San Diego’s Randy Dotinga gave us a brief history of the wacky waterfront projects that have been spit-balled by various entities. Among them is a giant Space-Needle-meets-Stratosphere structure known as SkySpire San Diego that would feature a coaster-like ride and rotating restaurant, and a huge Ferris wheel not unlike the London Eye.

Apparently, our waterfront has a very good chance of becoming the Six Flags San Diego Waterfront Paradise of Thrillz ‘n’ Blastz.

If that’s the case, what else could be cool and revenue-generating on the waterfront? How about a 400-foot carousel composed of all of Double Deuces’ rejected mechanical bulls bucking to the tune of “Proud to be an American”? Or a raft ride that shoots you off the Coronado Bridge into a pool of Stone IPA? Let’s not let money or a fear of looking silly stop of us from wildin’ out on ideas.

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

The Year in Art, Refresh at Ray Street and More Visual Art News

• The Reader looks at the year in arts, laying out all the great visual work, performances, theater and other artsy awesomeness in store for 2015. Time to whip out that Lisa Frank calendar and start planning.

• Terri Beth Mitchell’s pop-surrealist art recently appeared on the cover of CityBeat. She talks about her wicked sense of humor and how it ends up on canvas.

• For 14 years, the Ray at Night art walk has been bringing tasty food and fascinating artwork to a small side street in North Park. The area is boasted as an “arts and culture district,” though few galleries remain on the small block. In the last few years, many artsy folks have felt like the event has gotten a bit stale, perhaps as a result of so many gallery closures. The event is now undergoing a refresh thanks to a new organizer. (CityBeat)

• A new mural is slated to take over a large wall under an overpass in Lemon Grove, adding more color to the East County area as part of the San Diego Museum of Art’s Open Spaces project. (CityBeat)

Dancing FTW and More Music and Performance Goodies

• San Diego Story wants every local dance company to keep pirouetting and plie-ing in competitions, because when they do, we all win.

• Last week we told you about musician Drew Andrews’ book, “The Shepherd’s Journals,” being published. The Bit Maps frontman talks to CityBeat about the book and how super excited he is to see it in print.

Hammond, Hamming and More Culture Stuff

• Former “Saturday Night Live” star Darrell Hammond is known for his incredible impressions. In his new play, “The Darrell Hammond Project,” he goes full Sybil, voicing more than 60 people from throughout his tumultuous life, during which he was misdiagnosed for mental disorders. Sixty! The man’s got talent. “The Darrell Hammond Project” is currently playing at the La Jolla Playhouse. (KPBS)

• Staffers at The Sacramento Bee got the Turista Libre treatment, trying TJ’s finest craft beers, the pasajes and more.

• The local comedy scene is brimming with one-liners and dirty jokes. CityBeat talks to a few folks working the circuit about the business of being funny.

• The San Diego Jewish Film Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary of screening films that highlight the Jewish experience and identity. KPBS’s Beth Accomando is serving as a judge and has already chosen a few standouts.

• Because San Diego needs more craft breweries, two more are opening – South Park Brewing and a second location for Bolt Brewing in Little Italy. The Reader talks about the fast expansion at Bolt and also gives us a rundown of the plans for South Park.

• In news that will make you feel like the laziest, most unproductive human in the city, a 22-year-old former SDSU student wrote a sci-fi trilogy that’s been published. (U-T)

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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