Deputy City Attorney: "San Diego already has an arts and entertainment district."

"Is large-scale conceptual art too difficult for you people to comprehend?"

In response to the pitch from Finwater Advisors to establish a downtown arts and entertainment district stretching north/south from Ash Street to Broadway and east/west from Ninth Avenue to First, Deputy City Attorney Carrie Gleeson has stated that "San Diego already has an arts and entertainment district. It's called the Gaslamp Quarter, and it extends from Broadway to Harbor Drive, and from 4th to 6th Avenue."

"I fear that Finwater's representatives may not be familiar with the conceptual, live-action work practiced recently by performance artist Maria Abramovic at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and currently by the proprietors of the Double Deuce bar on F Street. Abramovic's The Artist is Present invited passersby to interact with the installation by sitting across from her at a table and making eye contact for extended periods of time. Some people retired after only a few minutes. Others lasted hours. All were moved and affected by the encounter. The Double Deuce does something very similar by inviting passersby to interact with a mechanical bull."

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by Walter Mencken

"Of course, installations are not limited to particular venues. The entire Gaslamp is an exercise in cultural displacement, one that tracks the behavior of conventioneers in a temperate location far from home. Have you ever laughed at a tourist from Michigan who insists on wearing shorts in February, just because he's in San Diego? If you have, then you understand the exhibit."

"And let's not forget the Quarter's biggest triumph, one so fantastically successful it's easy to overlook. Every year, over a hundred thousand pop culture fans flock to San Diego to explore the transplanted desire for religious transcendence at Comic-Con. As the serpent said to Adam and Eve, "You shall be as gods. Plus, you'll be able to fly."

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by Walter Mencken


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