It’s almost summer, but a bunch of arts groups, small businesses and independent contractors are still out a bunch of money for their performances at a Christmas festival in Point Loma’s Liberty Station. It’d been a few months since our first story about the failed Christmas Tabernacle, so I called around last week to find out if anyone’s gotten any money.

A few of the organizations have begun to receive small checks from whatever cash the organizers had left after the weekend flopped, they told me.

San Diego Ballet, for example, was owed $2,000 for its full production of the Nutcracker. Co-director Robin Sherertz Morgan told me she recently received a check for about $100. She said the organizers’ attorney said she could either sue, but risk not getting anything, or take a small portion of what was left. She opted for the latter.

“So much time has gone by,” she said, “and what am I going to do?”

In the comments, a couple of readers weighed in on our follow-up. Libby Weber wrote:

“The fallout from this cynically marketed and poorly planned fiasco would be entertaining if so many arts groups and small businesses hadn’t lost out.”

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

Music Across Eras and Stripes

• A longtime local Michael Jackson impersonator rehearses in front of a mirror with videos of Jackson concerts reflected in it — she’s trying to make sure her movements look to an audience the same way they would if it were Jackson himself facing them. She’s put together a 90-minute one-woman show about her life as a professional dancer and a practicing Wiccan, and about her 12 years spent incarnating the persona of the man with the white glove. She performed the show last weekend at the 10th Avenue Theatre. (CityBeat)

• Summertime brings music and theatre festivals, and the North County Times’ Pam Kragen’s got a couple of helpful lists for making plans. Here’s her list of Southern California festivals of Shakespeare and other plays, and one for what bluegrass, jazz and indie festivals you can check out close to home.

• Speaking of jazz, there are a couple of interesting concerts coming up this weekend, including a celebration of Miles Davis’s birthday and a who’s-who of local jazz cats performing a tribute to local legend Daniel Jackson. (CityBeat)

D.A. Kolodenko, highlighted Jackson’s legacy in his presentation for our last Meeting of the Minds event.

• The prominent celebrity blog Perez Hilton came to see “Hands on a Hardbody” at La Jolla Playhouse, the new musical about a competition in Texas to win a pickup truck. Perez Hilton gushed about the Playhouse’s legroom and offered this take:

The show could have gone in the direction of camp or mockery, but – instead – we were so pleased to see it be a bittersweet tale of humanity. People doing and trying and hoping and believing. A show with great laughs but also sincerity. It’s a show with so much heart!

• Symphony bassist Jory Herman is performing unaccompanied Bach pieces in a free concert tonight at the First Presbyterian Church downtown.

• There’s a lot of Tchaikovsky in town these days. Our own symphony’s playing him. The New York Philharmonic played him earlier this month. The Royal Philharmonic played him in January. The San Diego Symphony’s Melvin Goldzband wrote a commentary for the U-T San Diego about the Russian master. Goldzband resists conductors’ inclination to over-sentimentalize the music, but proclaims: “I am not one of the anti-Tchaikovsky churls.” Have you heard any of the Tchaikovsky performances in San Diego this year? What’d you think? Leave us a comment on our Facebook.

• Baja California-trained performers took the stage in Tijuana last weekend to perform the opera “Madame Butterfly.” The U-T’s Sandra Dibble said she felt “a certain thrill” to watch the performers, all of whom she’d seen when they were young vocal students in Tijuana. (U-T)

Happening Here

• An art museum in Balboa Park is swapping out its halogen light bulbs with colored LEDs, reducing the cost of lighting fivefold, using $170,000 in grants from the city and SDG&E. (San Diego Reader)

• Another interesting project from High Tech High Media Arts teacher Margaret Noble: Students chose an adult they admired or wanted to know more about, and then conducted a 45-minute interview with him or her. They worked together to critique and hone the resulting footage into three-minute films. “Through this process, students learned to carefully find and craft a meaningful story,” Noble said. You can see the students’ films on Noble’s website.

• The Timken Museum in Balboa Park is borrowing a Goya masterpiece from Cleveland’s Museum of Art while the Timken’s prized “Saint Bartholomew” by Rembrandt goes around the country in a traveling exhibition. It’s always free to go to the Timken; you can see the Goya through Sept. 9. (U-T San Diego)

Also, there’s an interesting back-and-forth in the comments invoking a long-running battle: Those who love the Timken’s modernist architecture and those who deem it, as commenter Mark Roberts does, “an awful scar” on the park.

• Jessica Sanchez from Chula Vista is one of two singers left in the American Idol competition, which kicks off its two-part finale tonight. She’s got Mayor Jerry Sanders’ support. But can she beat contestant Phil Phillips? (L.A. Times)

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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

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

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