He dreamed big and hyped bigger, the architect of a Christmas event that’s become a nightmare for small business owners and arts groups who weren’t paid.

Jamie Sutton’s “A Christmas Tabernacle” festival in Liberty Station last month didn’t draw anywhere near as many people as he’d expected. Now, as our story explores, groups like the San Diego Ballet, a brass quintet, a reindeer owner and even the event’s stage manager are left wondering whether their holiday income will ever appear.

On Twitter, reader Amy Berner said the story provided “a cautionary tale for event professionals & entertainers.” What do you think? Leave us a note.

You’re reading the Arts Report, our weekly compilation of the region’s arts and culture news.


• Will you join us tomorrow night? Our event, A Meeting of the Minds, features six plugged-in arts minds pointing us to highlights around the county, including jazz, dance, sculpture, murals, poetry and music. Learn more about our speakers and watch later this week for reflections on what sticks with our attendees. Doors open tomorrow night at 7 p.m. and we’re expecting a full house, so plan to get there early.

On Twitter, use the hashtag #mindsmeet to participate in the conversation.

• One of our speakers, Lynn Susholtz, will be talking about Eveoke Dance Theatre tomorrow night. Susholtz and Eveoke are in the middle of their collaborative production that highlights six women’s stories, “including Rachel Corrie, a 25-year-old American who was killed by a bulldozer in 2003 while protesting for the rights of a Palestinian family.” (CityBeat)

• Starting tomorrow you can pick up passes at Macy’s to get half-price admission to 40 local museums for the month of February.

• San Diego Opera’s season opened Friday night with “Salome,” and the singers weren’t the only ones whose voices we heard. U-T San Diego published opera-goers’ glowing reactions along with critic James Chute’s more mixed take, though he extolled the performance of soprano Lise Lindstrom. KPBS’s television segment included this rousing appraisal from an audience member: “I thought the beheading was done tastefully.”

I enjoyed flouting the cell-phone-extinguishing rules at the final dress rehearsal Thursday to live-tweet the performance. Here are some tweets and photographs from the night in a timeline. My favorite was high-schooler Austin Balke’s answer to Salome’s rhetorical question:

Why don’t you look at me with your eyes open? BECAUSE YOU JUST CHOPPED HIS HEAD OFF GURL.

Here’s Lindstrom as Salome in a photograph by Ken Howard:

More “Salome:” Watch UCSD-TV’s 30-minute behind-the-scenes look at the production and learn about the severed head Salome kisses. (North County Times)

• Theater critic Welton Jones marvels that a young playwright, just graduated from Juilliard, could grasp nuances that it seems you must live many decades to understand. In his review, Jones calls the world premiere of “The Recommendation” onstage now at The Old Globe “exemplary.” Playwright Jonathan Caren “senses life’s labyrinths before he can have experienced them, and he offers wise observations, if not cautionary guidance, on how best to survive and perhaps flourish,” he writes. (SanDiego.com)

Wheels Turning

• Dizzy’s, a beloved all-ages local jazz venue, is looking for a place to land after suddenly packing up its grand piano and leaving its home of five years in the San Diego Wine and Culinary Event Center downtown. (U-T San Diego)

• A musical about Charlie Chaplin that began here at the La Jolla Playhouse as “Limelight” in 2010 will open on Broadway next season as “Becoming Chaplin.” (Playbill.com)

• Emily Moberly aims to stock bookshelves in countries far away at the same time her team reads to kids in a story tent at the City Heights farmers market. Her Santee-based nonprofit, Traveling Stories, has started libraries in South Sudan, El Salvador and Nicaragua. (U-T)

• An anthropologist-turned-lawyer, Micah Parzen’s at the helm of the San Diego Museum of Man. In our Q&A, he says he sees the institution in a transition: “We will certainly trend away from purely artifact-based exhibits and toward the story of the artifacts and how they relate to how we make meaning out of the world as human beings.”

• The artist behind the fantastical, colorful “Salvation Mountain” in the Imperial Valley desert moved to a San Diego nursing home in December. He’s 80 years old. Angela Carone’s story for KPBS explores the uncertain future for Leonard Knight’s decades-long project.

She talks to Cuervo, a man who lives nearby at so-called “Slab City,” who says he thinks the mountain is beautiful, despite not being fond of the abundant references to Jesus and Christianity painted throughout.

“‘Course, love is nice,” Cuervo says. “I recognize that.”

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Kelly Bennett is the arts editor for VOSD. You can reach her directly at kelly.bennett@voiceofsandiego.org 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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