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    Filmatic Festival, ArtPower!'s mini Comic-Con, is set
    by MARTIN JONES WESTLIN
    Apr 18, 2014 | 2644 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Legend 3D, a Del Mar firm that produces many Hollywood 3-D movie projects, outgrew its first campus before construction was completed. Platt College, a premiere digital media design school in San Diego’s Rolando area, graduates its kids at rates well above the national average at similar places. San Diego has five video game design schools. Big brother and world film capital Los Angeles has four. As the world digitizes itself before our eyes, and amid greater demand for spectacle among moviegoers, our region holds its own as an educational and commercial industry center. It was only a matter of time before a local resource picked up on the idea of a public film event that speaks to the changing tastes that accompany the digital revolution — and Thursday, April 24, marks its opening. Give it up for the inaugural Filmatic Festival, a four-day excursion into the changing face of cinema, in which lines between artist and audience are far less distinct and thus encourage everyone’s creativity. ArtPower!, an artistic development arm at UCSD, conceived and oversees the festival, which will center at the university’s Qualcomm Institute through April 27 and features interactive screenings, karaoke jams, lectures and media workshops in charting the course. The festival is the first of its kind in the state. It’s kind of a mini Comic-Con, an immersive object lesson that curator Rebecca Webb sees as a marker in film’s next step. Audiences, she said, are looking beyond the divisions between patron and provider — standing on the sidelines isn’t enough as technology drives the masses to movies playing on items as innocuous as their cell phones. “I’m really interested,” Webb said, “in creating a relationship between spectator and spectacle. It’s this idea that the audience can be creative and artistic in the way they’re participating with the end product. It makes them artists. It’s collaborative. It’s not isolationist. [Audiences are] taking advantage of what’s going on in social media trends and bringing them to a theater space, a collective space. “There’s also this idea of taking a passive traditional moviegoing experience, which is becoming antiquated on some level. Ticket sales have gone way down. I’m really interested in creating this interactive experience.” Webb said she plans to make the Filmatic Festival an annual event. By comparison, live theater seeks its own interaction with audiences — it’s been said that anyone who’s ever seen a play is as vital a participant as the cast. Why attend Filmatic when plays (which pepper the UCSD campus to boot and incorporate their own technological advances) are just as interactive? Webb said Filmatic’s stress on physical participation is designed to address that. “Even just walking within these walls and being open to a variety of possibilities,” she explained, “leaves you open to the festival’s intent. In a live theater, you’re often not engaged with the person next to you. In the festival, you are. Both of you are manipulating and relating to the two-dimensional image in front of you. “And the technical people who are orchestrating this behind the scenes are very present,” Webb continued. “They are participating with the audience as well as the two-dimensional [film]. It’s a layered experience, even more so than live theater, because you’re playing with all these various dimensions.” The schedule features gaming museum tours (games get a museum already?), technology that captures images at several thousand frames a second, a language invention seminar and media works by students, faculty and international artists. Meanwhile, no surprise that the festival’s subtitle is “Movies of the Future.” Tickets range from single-event admission ($5-$25) to four-day passes ($50-$175). One-day passes are priced at $21 to $53. For more, call (858) 534-TIXS or see filmaticfestival.com.
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    Filmatic Festival, ArtPower!'s mini Comic-Con, is set
    by MARTIN JONES WESTLIN
    Apr 18, 2014 | 366 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Legend 3D, a Del Mar firm that produces many Hollywood 3-D movie projects, outgrew its first campus before construction was completed. Platt College, a premiere digital media design school in San Diego’s Rolando area, graduates its kids at rates well above the national average at similar places. San Diego has five video game design schools. Big brother and world film capital Los Angeles has four. As the world digitizes itself before our eyes, and amid greater demand for spectacle among moviegoers, our region holds its own as an educational and commercial industry center. It was only a matter of time before a local resource picked up on the idea of a public film event that speaks to the changing tastes that accompany the digital revolution — and Thursday, April 24, marks its opening. Give it up for the inaugural Filmatic Festival, a four-day excursion into the changing face of cinema, in which lines between artist and audience are far less distinct and thus encourage everyone’s creativity. ArtPower!, an artistic development arm at UCSD, conceived and oversees the festival, which will center at the university’s Qualcomm Institute through April 27 and features interactive screenings, karaoke jams, lectures and media workshops in charting the course. The festival is the first of its kind in the state. It’s kind of a mini Comic-Con, an immersive object lesson that curator Rebecca Webb sees as a marker in film’s next step. Audiences, she said, are looking beyond the divisions between patron and provider — standing on the sidelines isn’t enough as technology drives the masses to movies playing on items as innocuous as their cell phones. “I’m really interested,” Webb said, “in creating a relationship between spectator and spectacle. It’s this idea that the audience can be creative and artistic in the way they’re participating with the end product. It makes them artists. It’s collaborative. It’s not isolationist. [Audiences are] taking advantage of what’s going on in social media trends and bringing them to a theater space, a collective space. “There’s also this idea of taking a passive traditional moviegoing experience, which is becoming antiquated on some level. Ticket sales have gone way down. I’m really interested in creating this interactive experience.” Webb said she plans to make the Filmatic Festival an annual event. By comparison, live theater seeks its own interaction with audiences — it’s been said that anyone who’s ever seen a play is as vital a participant as the cast. Why attend Filmatic when plays (which pepper the UCSD campus to boot and incorporate their own technological advances) are just as interactive? Webb said Filmatic’s stress on physical participation is designed to address that. “Even just walking within these walls and being open to a variety of possibilities,” she explained, “leaves you open to the festival’s intent. In a live theater, you’re often not engaged with the person next to you. In the festival, you are. Both of you are manipulating and relating to the two-dimensional image in front of you. “And the technical people who are orchestrating this behind the scenes are very present,” Webb continued. “They are participating with the audience as well as the two-dimensional [film]. It’s a layered experience, even more so than live theater, because you’re playing with all these various dimensions.” The schedule features gaming museum tours (games get a museum already?), technology that captures images at several thousand frames a second, a language invention seminar and media works by students, faculty and international artists. Meanwhile, no surprise that the festival’s subtitle is “Movies of the Future.” Tickets range from single-event admission ($5-$25) to four-day passes ($50-$175). One-day passes are priced at $21 to $53. For more, call (858) 534-TIXS or see filmaticfestival.com.
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    Veteran lifeguard tapped to finish out remainder of Faulconer’s term
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Apr 18, 2014 | 429 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    It took two ballot rounds for the San Diego City Council to select Point Loma resident Ed Harris, a longtime lifeguard and former Marine, to fill the District 2 seat vacated by now-mayor Kevin Faulconer over the next eight months. “There were numerous highly qualified and inspiring candidates in the field, and I’m very humbled by the council’s decision,” said Harris after his April 7 appointment. “I look forward to working directly with community leaders to strengthen District 2 neighborhoods.” The diverse field of candidates for the temporary District 2 post included a TV producer, a retired judge, a disabled-persons advocate, an attorney and an architect, among others. Harris was immediately sworn in after being selected by the council. His candidacy drew the support of councilmembers Sherri Lightner, David Alvarez, Mark Kersey, Scott Sherman and Lorie Zapf, who will run to become the next full-term District 2 councilmember in the June primary. In appointing Harris, who is head of the city’s lifeguard union, his council supporters said they were familiar — and comfortable — with his leadership style. “I support Ed Harris,” said Alvarez. “He really has the ability to get things done and that’s what it’s going to take. He’s well prepared to take the job. Ed is the right choice today.” Lightner agreed. “I am supporting Ed Harris because I have known and worked closely with him for the past six years and believe he is best suited to come in and hit the ground running as a councilman,” she said. District 9 Councilwoman Marti Emerald was of like mind. “Ed Harris is a hero, flat out, a U.S. Marine, a lifeguard who puts his life on the line every time the bell rings, and he’s been an incredible partner here at the city,” she said. Other candidates receiving votes to fill the temporary District 2 seat were: Chris Cramer, CEO and co-founder of Karl Strauss Brewing Company; Gretchen Kinney Newsom, of LeSar Development Consultants, which works with the chronic homeless; and Howard Wayne, a deputy attorney general and former three-term state assemblyman. All 17 candidates had three minutes to address the council and present their qualifications. Harris told the council that protecting the safety of the public and the environment topped his priority list. “I know how to work with labor and managed the city’s most fiscally responsive department (lifeguards),” Harris said. Harris added that he’s worked to set up and administer Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) set aside along San Diego’s coastline to protect fish species in no-take areas, allowing them to repopulate. Also a Point Loma soccer coach, Harris started a real-estate investment company in 2002 and has now purchased and renovated properties in Ocean Beach and Point Loma for nearly two decades. He said he understands “the business perspective and the need to improve small business in the city of San Diego.” He said he’s a renewable energy proponent. His home is totally solar-powered. “I believe renewable energy starts in your backyard,” he said. A 25-year resident of District 2, Harris became a San Diego lifeguard in 1989 after serving in the Marine Corps. His most current post was as a lifeguard sergeant and a dive-team supervisor answering high-profile emergency calls. Harris said he initiated a deal with Toyota for 34 new lifeguard vehicles that saved the city $1.1 million. He is also a member of the Livable Streets Coalition, striving to make San Diego a more walkable and bike-friendly city. He also started the annual “Fill the Fin” campaign in 2011 to raise money for swim programs in San Diego’s poorest neighborhoods. “As City Council representative, I will be the ‘voice for the coast’ at San Diego City Hall,” said Harris in his council application. Harris will be the District 2 representative until that district’s newly elected councilmember is seated on Dec. 8 or Dec. 10.
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    Beach lifesavers ask for budgetary boost for staff, equipment needs
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Apr 18, 2014 | 760 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    A LITTLE HELP? The city’s Lifeguard Services is looking to boost its budget over the next five years to, among other things, bolster staff, maintenance and equipment in Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach, South Mission Beach, Windansea and Mission Bay.       	Photo by Jim Grant
    A LITTLE HELP? The city’s Lifeguard Services is looking to boost its budget over the next five years to, among other things, bolster staff, maintenance and equipment in Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach, South Mission Beach, Windansea and Mission Bay. Photo by Jim Grant
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    The lifeguards responsible for the lives of 20 million-plus beachgoers along San Diego’s 17-mile coast who made more than 5,000 water rescues in 2013 are asking for a little more than $5 million over the next five years from the city during budget deliberations. “The main thing is to look ahead and have a plan ready so that, as funding is available, we know where we want to be (operationally) and can act on those opportunities,” said San Diego Lifeguard Services Chief Rick Wurts. “We recognize the city is still going through its recovery in the budget and that there are many important needs throughout other departments like police and fire. The list of needs we’ve submitted are our top priorities.” Wurts’ recent budget proposal to the city asked for about $5.28 million over the next five years. This includes $1.77 million in fiscal year 2014-15, to add personnel and address maintenance and equipment needs. Wurts said his department’s budget proposal was projected over five years “to take a comprehensive look at areas where we felt we could augment operations to be able to continue to provide even better service in all aspects of our operations.” On Monday, April 14, Mayor Kevin Faulconer released his proposed budget, which will be vetted by the public and City Council in budget deliberations over the next couple of months. The budget will be finalized sometime in June for the new fiscal year starting July 1. The lifeguard budget proposal requests 15 additional lifeguards and support staff. Faulconer’s budget calls for a $500,000 increase in the city’s current $19.2 million annual lifeguard services expenditures. “We have 97 full-time lifeguards working year-round, and in the summertime we bring in about 200 seasonal, part-time lifeguards,” Wurts said. New lifeguards would reportedly be added to La Jolla, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, South Mission Beach, Windansea and Mission Bay for the boating-safety unit. Though the lifeguard’s flotilla of watercraft is small — totaling 11 vessels, including two fire boats and nine patrol/surf-rescue vessels — it’s integral to the department’s lifesaving mission. “We have a cliff-rescue vehicle that sorely needs replacement,” Wurts said. “That’s currently being constructed and we hope to get that delivered to us sometime in January 2015.” Wurts said another big-ticket item, replacement of a fire boat, is going through vendor selection. “We’ll hopefully get that boat about 12 months from now,” he said. “We’re setting chunks of money aside over the next 20 years or longer so when a boat comes due for replacement, there’s money that’s been set aside. “Our goal is to pre-plan for when these things start coming due,” he said. There’s also funding set aside in the lifeguards’ five-year plan to expand lifeguard headquarters at Mission Bay. “We’ve shared that facility with the Park and Recreation Department for decades,” said Wurts. “We need some additional lifeguard headquarters for things we want to do,” he added. One way lifeguards could be getting more space is through the conversion of a carpenter garage used by Park and Rec at Quivira Basin into a boating safety unit locker room and sleeping quarters. “’It’s a really big footprint (garage) and used by only one person,” Wurts said. “We’re in the process of identifying another space to relocate all that shop equipment. “We’re hoping to build out that same space into a large locker room and sleep facilities for our emergency lifeguards who work 24-hour shifts.” Wurts noted supporting lifeguards is important, not only for their rescue function but for the “preventative” work they do. “Last year, we made more than 251,000 preventative actions,” said Wurts, pointing out such actions involve activities like “lifeguards seeing people too close to a rip current and warning them to move further north or south. “There is a tremendous amount of activity that goes on along the coastline to make sure that our beaches are safe,” he said.
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    Has U-T's Papa Doug lost his appetite for print?
    Apr 18, 2014 | 269 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    In a recent editorial, we suggested U-T San Diego owner/publisher Doug “Papa” Manchester, who has been gobbling up local independent newspaper publications like corn flakes, had his own — and not print journalism’s — best interests in mind. In noting that there’s a “battle for freedom and independence going on” in the local print-journalism industry, we intimated that Manchester’s machinations were more land grab than altruistic acquisition. We suggested that what Manchester is doing in the short-term —attempting to buy out his competition — is bound to be detrimental to the print journalism industry in the long run. We think his try-and-buy approach will ultimately turn into cut-and-run. In truth, the Manchester “era” in local journalism could come to an unexpectedly quick end. In San Diego, word on the business street, now rebounding among a number of daily publishers around the country, is that the ownership of the San Diego Union-Tribune, renamed U-T San Diego, wants out. Rumor has it that “Papa Doug” wants to sell and that he’s directed U-T CEO John Lynch (who has publicly been talking about wanting to purchase more papers) to find a buyer. We know Manchester is working on plans to redevelop U-T’s existing Mission Valley headquarters site, creating an estimated $200 million, pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use project offering residential, office and retail in twin towers with 200 residences, a parking garage with a rooftop swimming pool, a gym and tennis courts and a San Diego River trail. This sounds like the “Papa Doug” Manchester we all know, not the wannabe newspaper publisher but the real estate baron credited with being the driving force behind development of the San Diego Convention Center, the man who made his fortune building some of San Diego’s tallest hotels and office buildings. Why is Papa Doug interested in acquiring print publications losing money in a troubled industry during rapidly changing times? Could it be he’s not actually interested in improving the print product or moving it forward but, rather, making a quick buck on the real-estate end before moving on? Noting that the current print journalism trend has been toward national markets with a global audience, many industry experts are now saying the print industry is due for a reversal, that increases in the next five to ten years will be local. They also are pointing out that the local digital opportunity is “real,” while cautioning that advances on that front will be a slog fit only for those in it for the long and not the short term. Something tells us Papa Doug’s not a long-termer. We think he’s already getting indigestion from the debt he’s absorbed appeasing his appetite for print. Our hunch is, once the U-T headquarters redevelopment is done and over with, Papa Doug will collect his profits, divest himself of debt (print), and move on to his next “project.” -- San Diego Community Newspaper Group
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    News
    Birch Aquarium to party down for Earth Day
    Planet Earth is home to 7 billion people, which translates to an increase of 3,500 percent over the last 500 years. That kind of growth can’t help but put a crimp in nature’s resources, which is wh...
    Apr 18, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Sports
    Southwestern Yacht Club’s multiple-event Benefit on the Bay to raise funds for ElderHelp
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    Mar 26, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Opinion
    EDITORIAL: Extremism on either side should not drive SeaWorld debate
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    Apr 03, 2014 | 1 1 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Arts & Entertainment
    Lawrence Galleries sets Kostabi reception, sale
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    Apr 04, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Business
    Tourism Authority marks 60th year with new determination, initiatives
    On the heels of its largest seasonal marketing campaign in history, the San Diego Tourism Authority (SDTA) says it anticipates significant gains in the city’s tourism economy in 2014. To that end, ...
    Apr 04, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Obituaries
    Janice Thompson, 87, nature enthusiast
    Janice Thompson, a longtime teacher at the private Evans School, passed away peacefully at her Pacific Beach home on Saturday, April 5, surrounded by family. She was 87. When once asked what her dr...
    Apr 16, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend
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