At least one nonprofit group renting space in the former Naval Training Center is refusing to pay extra rent to cover the tax surprise we wrote about last month.

Jan Giacinti, CEO of the group Kids Included Together, said she paid her normal April rent to the NTC Foundation. But she wouldn’t pay extra to cover the foundation’s decision to apply for federal tax credits, which triggered property taxes on the buildings.

“I’m not going to be paying the increase because I don’t believe it’s our responsibility to bail out NTC for their errors,” she said.

In other news, Mayor Jerry Sanders said he prioritizes arts funding over libraries in his recent budget proposal because, he claims, arts creates more jobs.

From my colleague, Liam Dillon:

Sanders isn’t reducing the $6.4 million the city plans to spend on arts funding next year. The arts money helps finance dozens of nonprofits and programs, including the La Jolla Playhouse, San Diego Opera Association and San Diego Air and Space Museum. But conservatives such as City Councilman Carl DeMaio and former mayoral candidate Steve Francis have argued that the city can’t afford arts during a budget crisis. To put it in context, proposed cuts to the Library Department total $7.4 million, including 77 positions.

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Countdown to Curtain:

Over the last week and a bit, we dove into the backstage efforts behind mounting an opera production. Writer Roxana Popescu and photographer Sam Hodgson captured glimpses for us all the way up until the curtain rose on Saturday night.

You can catch up on all of the installments here. Some highlights from the week: A look at the costumes and the work to illuminate the stage. What happens when someone calls in sick with pneumonia the week the opera is supposed to open and why the chorus sings from a tiny room four floors above the stage. And, finally, Saturday was opening night.

Did you see the performance? How’d you think it all came together? Tell us here or on Facebook, where one reader said it was “a wonderful opera, well staged and sung.”

Sam organized all of the photos he took for the series in a gallery in our photo store.

Elsewhere, the opera’s “Faust” performance Saturday caught a pointed review from critic Marcus Overton writing for the Union-Tribune, though veteran opera-goers wrote in the comments they thought Overton was too negative. Other reviews, rounded up in San Diego Opera’s blog, sent more praise, and some more especially for Greer Grimsley as Mephistopheles.

More news:

• The city of San Diego’s contract with the city’s organist, Carol Williams, came up for review last week, sparking discussion about where the money should come from. (Union-Tribune)

• KPBS asks: Should the city pay for the organist? What do you think?

• Three theater companies teamed up to bring a notable healthcare-related theater piece by Anna Deavere Smith to San Diego, at “a time when co-productions are becoming more popular around the country as a way to spread out costs and risks.” (U-T)

• UCSD star neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandra, who has worked among other things to explain the brain’s approach to art, was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world. (Time)

• Which of these art pieces do you think the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego should acquire? (U-T)

• Local artist James Hubbell has designed schools, nature centers and other park features and has an exhibit up in honor of his 80th birthday at the delightfully named Elfin Forest Interpretive Center in Harmony Grove. (North County Times)

• The annual ArtWalk happens in Little Italy this weekend. (NCT)

• Also this weekend, more than 100 artists working with cut flowers and plants will make arrangements inspired by paintings in the San Diego Museum of Art’s collection. (NCT)

• “After decades” of watching and writing reviews of dance, U-T dance critic Janice Steinberg takes the stage as an extra with the Trey McIntyre Project.

• Street artist Chor Boogie dubs his work “street romantic voodoo.” (CityBeat)

• See what hip-hop dance company Culture Shock is all about in this video from KPBS and a story from CityBeat.

• I’ll leave you with this video we captured last week: A group of teenagers worked on light and shadow presentations for a performance through the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

I had to dust off my philosophy; the teens were talking Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and studying the story of Icarus, contemplating the warnings and challenges therein. A bit more complicated that the bunny rabbit shadow puppets you might’ve made as a kid.

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I’m the arts editor for VOSD. You can reach me directly at or 619.325.0531 and follow me on Twitter: @kellyrbennett and at

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

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