They are the moonlighters. A lawyer who studied acting in college and now plays parts in community theater productions. A researcher whose piano gathers more dust than she’d like but who still has chops. A city councilman who sings mariachi. A computer programmer who spends her nights as a DJ.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the last four years writing about what people do for work. Sometimes that nine-to-five encapsulated their passion; sometimes the job was a means to an end. In the latter group, those ends were often artistic or creative.

What is it about that nights-and-weekends, avocational pursuit that is so vital for the person doing it that it doesn’t fall by the wayside? For Ivor Royston, a pioneer in San Diego’s considerable biotech sector, that vitality is the escape he finds in musical theatre. Royston — who’d be busy enough as an oncologist and entrepreneur — has earned a Tony award for his work as an investor in Jersey Boys, which got its start at the La Jolla Playhouse.

For him, life isn’t complete with only scientific, objective fact. He watched cancer patients die and needed art to connect him to his feelings about life and emotions.

“There was a great need to escape from this world,” he tells us in a Q&A.

Maybe I’m interested in moonlighting because I do it: I am a journalist by day, violinist by night. I’m in Idyllwild, Calif., this week with my band, recording an album. If you know any moonlighters I should know about, I’d love to hear from you.

In other news:

• Mayor Jerry Sanders announced last week he wanted the city to cut funding for a public art program while the city budget is in desperate straits. The night before his announcement, San Diego 6 News reported that at the same time the fire department is facing a massive budget cut, two fire station projects are planned to include hundreds of thousands of dollars in public art.

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• Such a cut riles people. Some readers cheered the move, seeing it as an example of something the city spends money on it doesn’t have. Others lamented the memo as “short-sighted.” I corralled some of the reactions in this post. See anything you agree with? Disagree with? Add your voice.

• Speaking of ongoing sagas with the arts community and the city, there are 26 buildings in the former Naval Training Center that the city set aside for arts and culture uses. I scratched the surface last week to learn that seven buildings are done, nearly full with 42 organizations and artists’ studios, and there are 19 more to go.

• Street art is popping up in all sorts of sanctioned ways, from the Viva La Revolución show to this spot in southeastern San Diego where people can paint graffiti legally. Check out our audio slideshow for this story, too.

• The La Jolla Playhouse premiered a new musical Sunday night, Limelight, the story of Charlie Chaplin. In a dispatch from History Man, Randy Dotinga brings us a San Diego murder mystery involving Chaplin and newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst.


• It’s almost autumn, a huge season for arts. The Union-Tribune’s fall arts preview highlights the San Diego Symphony’s centennial season featuring heavy-hitters like Yo-Yo Ma. The paper shares its picks for highlights in the region’s classical music, jazz, dance, theater and visual art.

• A taste of opulence: Visiting artist Timothy Horn is living and working at Lux Art Institute in Encinitas this month. The North County Times checks in with Horn, who sculpts ornate chandeliers and even a carriage from rock sugar, rubber and glass. His art weaves together that opulent style with the forms that nature creates in coral, seaweed and lichen. KPBS also checked out Horn’s work and posted beautiful photos of the work.

• CityBeat stops in to that redone ice factory in North Park and tells more about the four guys whose work will be featured there this fall. (We wrote about one of them, Joseph Huppert, a bit more than a week ago.) Talk about moonlighters: these guys know what it’s like to work all day and then funnel their artistic passion into the wee hours to produce their work.

• Friday was PARK(ing) Day, an international event meant to rally support for more open spaces and to disparage reliance on cars. People take over parking spaces and set up temporary parks. Creative-types rallied by local arts orgs Sezio and Holiday Matinee plugged the meter and set up shop in a space in Little Italy. The U-T showed up just in time to watch the authorities come by to see what was going on. Police let the group stay as long as they moved down the street. Another crowd headed to City Heights, but they were in a private lot.

Think turf, guitars and lawn chairs. Now there’s an easy artistic statement to get behind.

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Please contact Kelly Bennett directly at or 619.325.0531 and follow her on Twitter: @kellyrbennett.

Kelly Bennett is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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