Its perch under the flight path means directors at Starlight Theatre had to get creative. They adopted the freeze technique: whatever was happening onstage stopped while planes thundered overhead. Then the action resumed.

Now the operations of the beloved theater are frozen while it files for bankruptcy reorganization. As the Union-Tribune reported recently, the company was about “about $967,000 in the red overall, and had an operating deficit of some $82,000.”

The theater started putting on shows in Balboa Park’s Starlight Bowl in 1946. We’ve been collecting some great stories from people about their nights under the stars watching theater, like William Hamilton, who wonders if his first love remembers their night watching “South Pacific” as fondly as he does. What was your favorite night at Starlight?

You’re reading the Arts Report. We’ve been off for a few weeks but are back with our weekly compilation of the region’s arts and culture news. Some of these links are from the past week; some are big news from weeks past.

More Money Talks

• After months of questioning where the money should come from, the City Council unanimously voted to renew civic organist Carol Williams’ contract to play free weekly concerts on Sunday afternoons in the city’s Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. (Union-Tribune)

• The embattled San Diego Performing Arts League called an emergency membership meeting last week, saying it had terminated its new executive director less than two weeks after appointing one. (CityBeat)

• The San Diego Symphony management and musicians reached a new contract deal last month that provides the musicians with wage increases of about 3.5 percent yearly over the next five years. (U-T)

• Lyric Opera San Diego turned down a $4 million offer to buy the Birch North Park Theatre, hoping for $5 million. (U-T)

• County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price granted more than $100,000 in county funds to arts and community groups last week including San Diego Ballet and the San Diego Bonsai Club. (North County Times)


• Weinstein Co. withdrew from its planned stage production of “Finding Neverland” at La Jolla Playhouse, which was supposed to have its world premiere there in November. The Playhouse will instead mount director emeritus Des McAnuff’s revival of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” which is “rumored to be on the fast track to Broadway.” (LA Times)

• New attempts to combat the ever-graying audience for classical music include encouraging people to post on Twitter at concerts in Orange County. (LAT) What do you think — is that a good idea?

• The artist behind the rogue mosaic “Surfing Madonna” is making a painted version to sell to raise money for the expense of relocating the piece. (NCT)

Character Study

• Juxtapoz magazine posted photographs from a show at Double Break, a new gallery in Bankers Hill that two grads from UCSD’s MFA program opened in June.

• La Jolla’s veteran bookseller Dennis G. Wills has a knack for convincing big-name writers to stop by his beachside shop. He shared a peek at some of the letters he wrote to achieve some of his biggest coups. (CityBeat)

• Local blues-rock duo Little Hurricane swept into the San Diego Music Awards Monday night like a, well, hurricane. The band won three awards including “Album of the Year,” just a year after winning “Best New Artist” at last year’s awards. (U-T)

Other coverage leading up to the awards included a profile of the legacy of The Penetrators, local ’70s-’80s punk rockers who received a lifetime achievement award. Writer Seth Combs wondered in the piece whether the band might’ve gone further if “riot-gear-clad police hadn’t broken up all those shows.” But band members say they wouldn’t have done anything differently. (CityBeat)

• Local jazz powerhouse Gilbert Castellanos is “almost unrivaled as San Diego’s most significant jazz musician-cum-mentor,” the U-T said this weekend.

• Local dancer Peter Kalivas, whose troupe we visited with NBC7 San Diego last month, has a gig teaching Cirque de Soleil dancers in Vegas. (CityBeat)

A note: We recently passed 1,000 subscribers to this weekly arts newsletter. Thanks for reading and for spreading the word. Want to recommend it to someone? Share this sign-up link.

Kelly Bennett is the arts editor for VOSD. You can reach her directly at or 619.325.0531. Or you can keep up with her on Twitter @kellyrbennett or on Facebook.

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

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