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There’s suspense in the halls of Copley Symphony Hall today as auditions for an assistant principal French horn seat continue.

It’s an intriguing and largely secret process. Musicians stand behind a black curtain to play so their identities don’t help (or hurt) their chances with the committee of orchestra members listening to their audition. Even their footsteps are muffled by a strip of carpet on the stage to guard against gender being revealed with the tap-tap-tap of women’s shoes.

It’s to keep the process as pure as possible the symphony’s chief operating officer, Robert Wilkins, told me. There aren’t that many jobs out there and to win a seat is usually to have a job in a symphony until you don’t want it anymore. So the committee takes it seriously. “They want to make damn sure that the process is right to hire the right person,” he said.

So for the players behind the curtain, the pressure’s on. I talked to one horn player from Salt Lake City who told me it’s hard not to stew over your performance.

“You know that the next three to five minutes of your playing is going to determine whether you’ll move to the next round,” he said. “And that will determine whether you’ll be gainfully employed as a musician. It’s a lot of stress to deal with.”

You’re reading the Arts Report, our weekly roundup of the news and debates happening in local arts.

Nudity, Propriety and Electricity:

• A cancelled exhibition of nude paintings stirred up a discussion of artistic suppression and mixed-use diplomacy in one of the buildings at the NTC Promenade, the arts district in Liberty Station. (CityBeat)

• This week: A Swedish nyckelharpa concert, a Beatles tribute show, a comedy about a 17th-century playwright and a black-light party in the Gaslamp. (North County Times)

• Centered on a “revolutionary electrical appliance,” San Diego Repertory Theatre prepares its upcoming production of “In the Next Room (or the vibrator play).” (U-T)

• “For a specialist in long-dead artists, it’s really scary working on an artist who’s alive,” says Julia Marciari-Alexander, deputy director for curatorial affairs at San Diego Museum of Art, of speaking about the museum’s Howard Hodgkin exhibition. (U-T)

• “Two small but exceptionally beautiful displays in San Diego:” Local gallery owner and UCSD grad student Drew Snyder reviews the museum’s Hodgkin show and a Hodgkin collection at a Little Italy gallery. (Art Ltd.)

San Diego Roots:

• Tom Waits will become the fourth musician with San Diego roots to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame tonight. (U-T)

• Local artists stewed while their pieces were scrutinized and given either a yellow sticker (selected) or a green (rejected) for a show on display now at the Museum of the Living Artist in Balboa Park. Our guide from the inside blogger, Dani Dodge, waited among them and described the “keyed-up” scene.

• Oceanside-born spray paint artist Chor Boogie wrapped up a vibrant mural on the 7 Lemon floor of the fruit parking structure at Horton Plaza last night (don’t get lost looking for it!).

• More photos of that new mural and one going in on Park Blvd. (CityBeat)

• In an op-ed, the executive director of downtown’s New Children’s Museum recounts her chance to take the museum’s story to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last month. (U-T)

• Critics have been venturing out over the last few weeks to see La Jolla Playhouse’s newest musical, “Little Miss Sunshine.” We stopped in last week to hear reactions from a different perspective — yours. Here’s what a few audience members found to be the strengths and weaknesses of the musical with Broadway aspirations. Agree? Disagree? Add your take.

Coming Up:

• La Jolla Playhouse artistic director Christopher Ashley confirmed Monday he is working to develop a “Freaky Friday” musical, backed by Disney, but he’s not sure “when or how it will come to the Playhouse.” (North County Times)

Concerts on tap for SummerFest, La Jolla Music Society’s annual chamber music festival, August 3 to 26. (U-T)

• San Diego will be the only U.S. venue for a “Spanish Masters” art exhibition opening in July. (U-T)

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

Kelly Bennett

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

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