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    City wants La Jolla artist’s sculpture removed from yard
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Sep 23, 2016 | 12161 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    La Jolla artist Nasser Pirasteh poses next to his sculpture with a curious onlooker. /  PHOTO BY DAVE SCHWAB
    La Jolla artist Nasser Pirasteh poses next to his sculpture with a curious onlooker. / PHOTO BY DAVE SCHWAB
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    To Nasser Pirasteh, the sculpture titled In Out in his front yard patio in La Jolla is true art. Art or not, the city said it violates municipal codes, particularly setback requirements, and has told Perasteh it must go. “They told me I have two months to get rid of it,” lamented a perplexed Pirasteh recently outside the home he's lived in for 14 years on the corner of Avenida Manana and Nautilus Street. “I'm a public artist, not just a gallery or studio artist. This is my work.” Pirasteh noted he's donated some of his work to Scripps Memorial Hospital and to important institutions including universities. Explaining his unorthodox sculpture, avant-garde artist Pirasteh noted the piece is analogous to the human body. Walking through his structure, he pointed out components inside of it represent two hearts, one of which is pumping. “When you visit my sculpture, you are revisiting your body,” he said. “Time has passed, like sand in the hourglass, and you are checking what you've done.” The sculptor noted In Out's blue color represents the “galaxy of each individual,” adding mirrors of recycled materials in the structure's exterior “tell us we're going through this world.” Pirasteh said the goal of his work is to “get people to relive their lives,” adding his sculptures “are speaking about complexity.” Following up on a complaint lodged against Piratsteh's 10-foot-tall “hut” at 6706 Avenida Manana fronting Nautilus Street, the city's Code Enforcement division ruled it violated the municipal code constituting an unpermitted structure, which does not meet the city's 20-foot setback requirement from the street. “Mr. Pirasteh was found to be in violation of City land development and building codes by constructing an unpermitted accessory structure in his front yard setback and installing electrical wiring without the required permits, inspections or final approvals,” said city PIO Paul Brencick Sr. “Consequently, Mr. Pirasteh was ordered to remove the unpermitted structure from his front yard.” The city's ordered Pirasteh to remove In Out, or comply with the 20-foot setback requirement within two months. Stiff fines amounting to more than $11,000 were also leveled against the sculptor, with the understanding that half the penalty would be stayed if the city's conditions regarding the sculpture were met.  The sculptor insists his constitutional rights have been violated. “This (sculpture) is an expression of my First Amendment rights (to free speech),” he said adding In Out “is not offending anybody, and is not religious.” “I'm a public artist, this is public art,” Pirasteh concluded. “I just have a piece of art. Why should I be punished?”
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    Cross this lawsuit off the list, Mt. Soledad icon to stay
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Sep 23, 2016 | 12401 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The 27-foot cross, built as a Korean War memorial in 1954, will stay on Mt. Soledad. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    The 27-foot cross, built as a Korean War memorial in 1954, will stay on Mt. Soledad. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    The back-and-forth battle over the legitimacy of a towering cross on Mount Soledad in La Jolla is finally over after a 25-year court fight. The 27-foot cross, built as a Korean War memorial in 1954, will remain as it is, where it is. An agreement has been reached to allow the sale of the cross, along with its surrounding memorial granite plaque walls, from the U.S. Department of Defense to the Mount Soledad Memorial Association Inc. The La Jolla veterans group bought the half-acre parcel containing the controversial Mount Soledad cross from the Department of Defense about a year ago. James McElroy, the attorney who represented the late Vietnam War veteran Phillip Paulson who originally challenged the cross, and then the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) who took Paulson's place, is convinced the cross' sale this time is legit. So is all said and done? “I think this is it,” concluded McElroy, adding, “We won at the Ninth Circuit Court. Faced with a court order to come up with another solution other than removing the cross, the U.S, government finally put together something that was palatable to us, that caused the transfer of the cross to a private entity.” The cross has been sold to the Soledad vets previously, but the courts invalidated that sale ruling it wasn't appropriate. “Previously, the city tried to give this property to the Mount Soledad Memorial Association, and I challenged it because it was an unconstitutional government transfer of the property," said McElroy. "It wasn't a level playing field. It wasn't fair market value for the property. It was a sham sale.” But McElroy described the most recent sale as “a constitutionally acceptable remedy.” “They sold it to the vets for $1.4 million, which I think is in the ballpark of a reasonable value, given that it's just a little postage stamp lot under the cross itself and it can only be used for parkland,” he said. MSMA president Lou Scanlon concluded all conditions for the Soledad cross' legal sale have been met. “The government required that it be transferred at fair value, and there is a restriction that it must be maintained in perpetuity as a veteran's memorial,” he said. “So we can't put anything else up there.” News that the opposition was willing to drop its case against the cross after its most recent sale was welcomed by vets. “It's a relief to be able to operate the memorial now without the cloud of litigation that has hung over us and our operations for the last 25 years,” Scanlon said, adding MSMA is now embarking on “a major fundraising campaign to replenish the money that was spent on the cross.” The legality of the Soledad cross has been in question since 1989, when U.S. Army combat veteran Philip Paulson, an atheist, became the lead plaintiff in a series of lawsuits seeking to remove the cross from the mountaintop, arguing its presence constituted an illegal public endorsement of one religion over others. Paulson died of cancer in 2006, but the legal battle continued with the ACLU replacing him. The U.S. Supreme Court has twice denied hearing arguments for and against the Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial cross being an endorsement of religion. The high court remanded the matter back to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Ninth Circuit previously ruled the cross violates the constitutional separation of church and state and must be removed. In 2000, the association expanded the memorial installing six curved walls, which have since been outfitted with black granite plaques. Was the quarter-century pitched battle over the Soledad cross worth it? “It's always worth it to stand up for principles that improve people's everyday lives,” answered McElroy arguing, “It's obvious that cross is a huge religious symbol. My client (Paulson) was right.” Why did it take so long to resolve the issues surrounding the Mount Soledad cross? “Politics got involved, and were involved the entire way,” concluded McElroy. McElroy joked that the court battle over the Mount Soledad cross went on so long that he feared “they might have to bury my ashes up there.”
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    KAABOO delights festivalgoers with 3-day ‘mix-perience’
    by NICK SPENCE
    Sep 21, 2016 | 13769 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    KAABOO festivalgoers watch Lenny Kravitz at the Sunset Cliffs stage on Saturday. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    KAABOO festivalgoers watch Lenny Kravitz at the Sunset Cliffs stage on Saturday. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Ally and Tina from Pacific Beach have fun listening to Third Eye Blind on Saturday at KAABOO. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Ally and Tina from Pacific Beach have fun listening to Third Eye Blind on Saturday at KAABOO. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Lenny Kravitz performs 'Let Love Rule' during his set at KAABOO on Saturday. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Lenny Kravitz performs 'Let Love Rule' during his set at KAABOO on Saturday. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Fans start to gather around the Trestles stage in the paddock for the Goo Goo Dolls concert at KAABOO on Saturday. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Fans start to gather around the Trestles stage in the paddock for the Goo Goo Dolls concert at KAABOO on Saturday. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Situated in the heart of the Del Mar Fairgrounds, the second-coming of KAABOO came and went this past weekend, providing festivalgoers with a cornucopia of live music, interactive art, contemporary food, and comedy performances. This year’s KAABOO featured more than 100 musical and comedy acts during a three-day weekend, including Jimmy Buffet, Aerosmith, Lenny Kravitz, Goo Goo Dolls, Third-Eye Blind, Jack Johnson, Steel Pulse, The Chainsmokers and Steve Aoki, as well as comedy acts such as Dana Carvey, Sarah Silverman, and Cheech and Chong. The massive music festival is quickly becoming a staple of the eclectic San Diego entertainment scene. “I came to the event because I wanted to see some great music and comedy,” said La Jolla resident Nicole Nestojko, who was taking a break from the music and enjoying a cold brew with her husband on Saturday. “And we are also sampling some great craft beer.” The festival, which seeks to redefine the music and arts festival experience, also served up an impressive lineup of nonmusical VIP amenities like swimming pools and viewing stands, as well as infusing a combination of San Diego traditions like local craft beer, upscale dining, and a beach-life atmosphere that KAABOO dubbed its “mix-perience.” The artwork experience showcased an array of contemporary art, including dozens of international, national and regional artists, with art installations and live mural paintings during the weekend. In terms of food, KAABOO offered a slew of local and regional dishes paired with drinks from wineries, craft distilleries and local craft breweries. “It gives you something to do in your downtime,” said San Diegan Dove Kirby. “Instead of just walking around you have somewhere to go.” Although KAABOO hasn’t released official attendee numbers, sources say that on Saturday the event hosted more people than the first KAABOO received during all three days last year. Tickets for KAABOO 2017 have already gone on sale, as event organizers look to take next year’s festivities to new heights.
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    La Jolla Concerts by the Sea needs a hero
    by JENNY WERTH
    Sep 10, 2016 | 26349 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Children dance with bubbles during the last La Jolla Concerts by the Sea. / Photo by Jenny Werth
    Children dance with bubbles during the last La Jolla Concerts by the Sea. / Photo by Jenny Werth
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    A man reads the La Jolla Village News at the a La Jolla Concerts by the Sea. / Photo by Jenny Werth
    A man reads the La Jolla Village News at the a La Jolla Concerts by the Sea. / Photo by Jenny Werth
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    #SaveLaJollaConcerts says it all. After 33 years, the La Jolla Concerts by the Sea will end if financial support isn’t gathered. La Jolla doesn’t want to see the concerts take a final bow. Please support the movement to keep them going. It comes down to one thing: money. Will someone save the concerts? Both web developer for ljconcertsbythesea.org, Edward Sanchez and President of La Jolla Concerts by the Sea, Shirleymae Davis, share their feelings. "What we really need is one community-minded corporate hero to step up and add their name and financial support to save our concerts. It’s a great way to garner excellent name recognition and community gratitude as “the company that saved the concerts!”- Edward Sanchez, web developer for ljconcertsbythesea.org Sanchez’s most recent post clearly paints the picture: “We couldn’t have asked for a better end to our 2016 season… and, possibly, our last show. As many of you already know, due to a number of factors, chief amongst these being a shortage of adequate sponsorship support along with the City of San Diego recently tripling our fees, we find ourselves at the brink. La Jolla finds itself facing the very real likelihood that this institution, bringing family-friendly free concerts for music lovers of all styles and ages since 1984, will be gone.” For more information on saving the concerts visit www.ljconcertsbythesea.org or visit #SaveLaJollaConcerts President of the La Jolla Concerts by the Sea, Shirleymae Davis: “I’m very sad but we are hopeful, guardedly hopeful that someone, perhaps a company in La Jolla or the San Diego area, will be able to come up with enough money to reinstate us because as things stand right now, we consider that the concert the other day was the end.” “We need a five year commitment of $12,000 per season if we continue with individual concert sponsors at $2500 each. Or if a company wanted to be the only sponsor, that we figure would require $30,000 per season. But it must be a commitment of at least five years.” Indeed, she has shed many tears over the concert’s ending. “The concerts are free to the public but they sure aren’t free to us,” she added. Davis encourages any support. Call (858) 459-4053 or sdavis@sdavis-law.com
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    Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla to close for retrofit
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Sep 10, 2016 | 18811 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) La Jolla will close, likely for a couple of years, in January 2017 for an addition/retrofit quadrupling its current gallery space from 10,000 to about 40,000 square feet.
    Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) La Jolla will close, likely for a couple of years, in January 2017 for an addition/retrofit quadrupling its current gallery space from 10,000 to about 40,000 square feet.
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    Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) La Jolla will close, likely for a couple of years, in January 2017 for an addition/retrofit quadrupling its current gallery space from 10,000 to about 40,000 square feet. “La Jolla is our flagship, and now we'll have room to house our permanent collection of more than 4,700 art objects,” said Kathryn Kanjo, the museum's deputy director of arts and programming and soon-to-be David C. Copley director/CEO. “This is really to create a building that matches the caliber of our collections, so people can return time and again and have this art history lesson unfold for them.” Annabelle Selldorf of New York-based Selldorf Architects, has been engaged to lead the museum reconstruction project. Kanjo said the revamped museum will have enough space to have changing special exhibits, as well as a new art park in the current parking lot, and two new outdoor terraces to take advantage of the exquisite ocean views. Composed of both its oceanfront La Jolla campus and three downtown buildings on Kettner Boulevard, MCASD campuses have hosted several contemporary art exhibitions a year, plus other public events and educational programming. The La Jolla building also houses the Sherwood Auditorium, a performing arts venue used by the museum and outside arts groups like the La Jolla Music Society, which has a new music venue, The Conrad, under construction on Fay Avenue. Sherwood will disappear with the refit, giving way to exhibition space. “As we ready ourselves for construction, we will close the La Jolla facility in January 2017 and consolidate our programming to the Copley and Jacobs Buildings at the downtown location,” said Leah Straub, MCASD’s communications and marketing manager. “When the closure occurs in January, we will reduce staffing levels by eight of our 44 full-time positions, and 20 of our 45 part-time positions. A few months ago we communicated this message to employees whose positions will be affected.” What the expansion is doing is really working on the space where our public interacts with the museum and where we present our exhibitions,” said Kanjo noting “The addition of an art park and ocean-view terraces will re-orient our entrance on Prospect Street making the building more user friendly. “Kanjo said at least one structural issue will be “solved” by the retrofit. “This is about properly scaling the physical space of our galleries,” she said adding, “right now all of our current building's ceilings are less than 10 feet high. Contemporary art is often large. We're going to have ceilings in the new building with our many galleries at 16 feet, and our special exhibition hall at 22 feet.” Kanjo added windows will be strategically added to flesh out the facility's space.
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