Dec. 27 2015 09:47 AM

Our top picks for things to do this week

Cameron Canales at the 2015 Art-A-Thon


Watching someone do live art at a gallery opening can be a fantastic glimpse into the artistic process. But as any artist will tell you, most pieces of art take many hours and are obsessed over endlessly. Sleep is lost and food is often an afterthought when an artist is in the zone.

Distinction Gallery CEO and founder Melissa Walker is an artist and knows the feeling all too well. So five years ago, she started the ArtHatch Art-A-Thon, an art-creating marathon where local artists gather inside ArtHatch (317 E Grand Ave.) in Escondido to create art for 24 straight hours. Yep, that’s right. From noon on Saturday, Jan. 2 to noon on Sunday, Jan. 3, artists such as Kelly Vivanco, Victor Roman, Olga Tenyakova and dozens more will create for an entire day.

“January tends to be a slow month for art shows so I was trying to think of something fun to get everyone out,” Walker says. “A lot of the artists have done the event every year for five years. They prep for weeks so they can create for the full 24 hours.”

While Walker says that participants are “mainly painters,” there will be artists working in a variety of mediums at the event, including sculpture and tintype photography. The works created over the 24-hour period will be auctioned off at a special exhibition on Saturday, Jan. 9 from 6 to 9 p.m. Proceeds benefit ArtHatch’s free teen art programs, which includes an exhibition space, unlimited art supplies and workshops for local youth. Walker says patrons are welcome to stop by the Art-A-Thon at anytime, but some times are certainly better than others.

“People come in at all times, but definitely come within the first 18 hours,” Walker says. “If someone comes at 9 or 10 at night, the artists are probably super excited still, but if someone comes at 6 o’clock in the morning, then don’t be surprised if the artists are a little grouchy by that time.”

Duly noted.

Culture Shock Nutcracker
Photo courtesy of Culture Shock Dance Center


No one wants to see The Nutcracker after Christmas, but we’d make an exception for the Culture Shock Nutcracker. Playing from Friday, Jan. 1 through Sunday, Jan. 3, the local modern dance studio’s original take on the holiday classic stays true to E.T.A. Hoffman’s story and Tchaikovsky’s score, but also features hip-hop inspired dance theatrics. Set in present times, the performance includes lavish sets and costumes, including a Drosselmeyer character modeled after Prince circa Purple Rain and a “Rat Queen” who resembles the Poison Ivy villain from Batman. What does the actual Nutcracker look like? See for yourself. Tickets for the four performances at the Spreckels Theatre (121 Broadway), including two matinee showings, start at $18 at

Idina Menzel in If/Then
Photo by Joan Marcus


They say that when one door closes, two more open. But, then what? In the Broadway original If/Then, Wicked and Frozen star Idina Menzel gets to explore two paths her character’s life could take when she’s faced with new opportunities. Watch newly divorced, Elizabeth (Menzel) run off to New York, giddy about a new job and potential romance, wondering whether she can have both (spoiler alert: she can’t). The musical splits Elizabeth’s life and simultaneously follows their leads, panning out into the life she leads and the life she could have led. In the musical’s first stop on a seven-city tour, cast members LaChanze, Anthony Rapp and James Snyder join Menzel at the San Diego Civic Theatre (1100 Third Ave.) from Tuesday, Jan. 5 to Sunday, Jan. 10. Times vary by day with both matinee and evening options starting at $22.50.


See all events on Wednesday, Dec 7