10 West Gallery: The Nature of Things

Ben Riddering "Whorl," reclaimed wood from the fires, 58 x 16 x 35 tall, on view at 10 West Gallery.

Ben Riddering “Whorl,” reclaimed wood from the fires, 58 x 16 x 35 tall, on view at 10 West Gallery.

The Nature of Things opens on Thursday, May 31, at 10 West Gallery in downtown Santa Barbara.

On view until June 25, with an artist’s reception on Thursday, June 7, from 5-8 p.m., this exhibit features work from guest artist Ben Riddering, who shows his large abstract sculptures, made from the unburned hearts of trees lost to wildfire. Also on view is work by guest artist Lynn Brown, who shows embellished/repurposed masks from around the world. Guest artist Jim McKinniss shows black and white photography of a surreal nature.

Lynn Cunningham Brown, "VaVaVaVoom," vintage Balinese hand-carved wood mask embellished with studs, Swarovski crystals, tacks, weasel fur, glitter, Chinese rooster and jungle cock feathers, 10x7x4 inches, on view at 10 West Gallery.

Lynn Cunningham Brown, “VaVaVaVoom,” vintage Balinese hand-carved wood mask embellished with studs, Swarovski crystals, tacks, weasel fur, glitter, Chinese rooster and jungle cock feathers, 10x7x4 inches, on view at 10 West Gallery.

In addition, the exhibition includes work by 10 West members Penny Arntz, Rick Doehring, Maria Miller, Lisa Pedersen and Iben G. Vestergaard.

10 West artwork can be seen at www.10westgallery.com and the gallery (including participating guest artists) is also represented on the international web site: www.artsy.net/10-west-gallery.

Brad Nuorala, "Urban Life," acrylic on canvas, 50" x 42" on view at 10 West Gallery.

Brad Nuorala, “Urban Life,” acrylic on canvas, 50″ x 42″ on view at 10 West Gallery.

Iben Vestergaard, "Cross Section," 48x36, silicate and mixed media on canvas, on view at 10 West Gallery.

Iben Vestergaard, “Cross Section,” 48×36, silicate and mixed media on canvas, on view at 10 West Gallery.

Penny Arntz, "Filament," acrylic on panel, 24 x 24, on view at 10 West Gallery.

Penny Arntz, “Filament,” acrylic on panel, 24 x 24, on view at 10 West Gallery.

Maria Miller, "Escaping the Present Moment," limited edition digital collage 1/5, archival pigment inks on fine art paper, 30x20 inches, on view at 10 West Gallery.

Maria Miller, “Escaping the Present Moment,” limited edition digital collage 1/5, archival pigment inks on fine art paper, 30×20 inches, on view at 10 West Gallery.

Closed Tuesdays, the gallery (10 W. Anapamu St., Santa Barbara, 805/770-7711) is open daily from 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and from noon-5 p.m. on Sundays.  

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on May 30, 2018.

Brian Culbertson

Brian Culbertson, courtesy photo.

Brian Culbertson, courtesy photo.

Brian Culbertson brings his Colors of Love Tour to the Lobero Theatre on Wednesday, May 30 at 7:30 p.m.

With love, romance and his recent 20th wedding anniversary serving as his inspiration, Jazz and R & B Pianist Culbertson crafted 13 new songs that were released as Colors of Love on Valentine’s Day. The seduction begins with the first single, the amorous title track, which is a sensual R&B groove illuminated by lyrical acoustic piano melodies typical of the collection’s contents.

A nearly three-month-long U.S. concert tour will bring “Colors of Love” to life in a vivid theatrical production, incorporating video elements in a major way.

The Lobero Theatre is located at 33 E. Canon Perdido St., Santa Barbara. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit lobero.org.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on May 27, 2018.

INSIDE: Photographs of Decommissioned Australian Prisons by Brett Leigh Dicks

Port Arthur, part of INSIDE: Photographs of Decommissioned Australian Prisons, by Brett Leigh Dicks.

Port Arthur, part of INSIDE: Photographs of Decommissioned Australian Prisons, by Brett Leigh Dicks.

“Empty prisons are eerie places where the walls do speak. Etched into the stone is the passing of successive generations of inmates all with their own stories. Each prison has its own history, character, and tales to tell and so too does every cell. But old prisons are not just a reminder of the past—they also help guide the future,” says Photographer Brett Leigh Dicks.

Opening on May 18, INSIDE: Photographs of Australian Decommissioned Prisons by Brett Leigh Dicks is an exhibition at the Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara of compelling, black and white images documenting Australian prison facilities that have surpassed their use-by dates.

Parramatta, part of INSIDE: Photographs of Decommissioned Australian Prisons, by Brett Leigh Dicks.

Parramatta, part of INSIDE: Photographs of Decommissioned Australian Prisons, by Brett Leigh Dicks.

Dicks, a Santa Barbara-based writer/photographer has spent the past 30 years photographing various natural and urban landscapes etched with traces of human history.

His work has been exhibited in Australia, Europe and the United States and hung beside photographers as diverse as Ansel Adams, Jeff Bridges, Max Dupain, Lewis Morley, Yoko Ono and Hiroshi Sugimoto. Dicks’ prison photographs currently sees him as a finalist in the 2018 Sony World Photography Awards. He is also a prolific writer and his work has appeared in publications around the world, including in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

Old Melbourne, part of INSIDE: Photographs of Decommissioned Australian Prisons, by Brett Leigh Dicks.

Old Melbourne, part of INSIDE: Photographs of Decommissioned Australian Prisons, by Brett Leigh Dicks.

For the past five years he has turned his photographic scrutiny upon closed-down jails, prisons and penitentiaries throughout Australia, Europe and United States. He returned last year to his Australian homeland, where he undertook the first comprehensive documentation of decommissioned prisons and jails.

“I have been photographing abandoned prisons across the United States for the past decade,” Dicks explains. “In 2016 that work was exhibited at Fremantle Prison where I asked about Australian prisons. Nobody had previously done a comprehensive study of old Australian prisons so last summer I set off with my camera and photographed closed –down facilities all across Australia.”

Maitland, part of INSIDE: Photographs of Decommissioned Australian Prisons, by Brett Leigh Dicks.

Maitland, part of INSIDE: Photographs of Decommissioned Australian Prisons, by Brett Leigh Dicks.

He continues, “I was given access Parramatta Correctional Center where operations were suspended only a few years ago, traipsed around the infamous Port Arthur Historic Site in the midst of a bitter Tasmanian winter and even managed to talk my way into an old jail that’s now an outback police station.”

The exhibition includes both historic and contemporary Australian sites including Adelaide Gaol, Fremantle Prison, J Ward Ararat, Maitland Gaol, Old Melbourne Gaol, Parramatta Correctional Center, Port Arthur Historic Site, Trial Bay Gaol and the Wilcannia Police Station. The subject matter ranges from the empty quietness of once bustling cellblocks and common areas to more abstract contemplations of the interaction between barred windows with the morning light and the poetic twisting of coils of barbed wire.

Fremantle, part of INSIDE: Photographs of Decommissioned Australian Prisons, by Brett Leigh Dicks.

Fremantle, part of INSIDE: Photographs of Decommissioned Australian Prisons, by Brett Leigh Dicks.

While Port Arthur closed in 1877, Parramatta Correctional Center housed prisoners until 2011. Dicks says photographing the two locations offered two very contrasting experiences. “There were still books and televisions and personal items in the cells at Parramatta—the ins and out of prison life remained very apparent whereas Port Arthur featured the haunting remnants of rustic metal and stone. The prisoner experience was obviously very different at each of those locations and so too were the resulting photographs.

Regarding the role photography can play in the afterlife of prisons, Dicks says that every society’s approach to punishment and incarceration should be something that is constantly being reassessed. “As society changes so too does its values. Prisons used to be a place of punishment and repentance, but in the lifespan of some of these prisons they were transformed into places of reform and rehabilitation. Justice and the form it takes should be an ongoing conversation in every community and I think there is a place for photography to illuminate that.

Ararat, part of INSIDE: Photographs of Decommissioned Australian Prisons, by Brett Leigh Dicks.

Ararat, part of INSIDE: Photographs of Decommissioned Australian Prisons, by Brett Leigh Dicks.

INSIDE: Photographs of Australian Decommissioned Prisons by Brett Leigh Dicks is on view at the Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara, 229 E. Victoria St., Santa Barbara, from May 18 – July 12, with an opening reception on May 18 from 5-7 p.m.

Regular gallery hours are Saturdays from 1-4 p.m. and by appointment (please contact Rocio Iribe at 805/965-6307).

Adelaide, part of INSIDE: Photographs of Decommissioned Australian Prisons, by Brett Leigh Dicks.

Adelaide, part of INSIDE: Photographs of Decommissioned Australian Prisons, by Brett Leigh Dicks.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on May 15, 2018.

“Andy Coolquitt: …i need a hole in my head”

L-R: Andy Coolquitt, CAA CAA, 2017, Bathmat on canvas, 55 x 66 in., Courtesy the Artist, Photo: Adam Schreiber. Andy Coolquitt, Modern Hotel Abstraction #1, 2017, Fabric on canvas, 96 x 32 in., Courtesy the Artist, Photo: Adam Schreiber.

L-R: Andy Coolquitt, CAA CAA, 2017, Bathmat on canvas, 55 x 66 in., Courtesy the Artist, Photo: Adam Schreiber. Andy Coolquitt, Modern Hotel Abstraction #1, 2017, Fabric on canvas, 96 x 32 in., Courtesy the Artist, Photo: Adam Schreiber.

Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, in partnership with Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara, presents Andy Coolquitt: …i need a hole in my head, an exhibition featuring a major commission of new works by Andy Coolquitt.

Based in Austin, TX, the artist has generated a body of work that includes paintings, sculptures and video, which he uses to form connections between some of the juxtapositional aspects of a place that is simultaneously private and public, homelike and commercial, an exhibition venue and a hotel.

According to the artist statement, Coolquitt uses the language of geometric abstraction to riff off of Hotel Indigo’s architectural and design elements, incorporating, for example, site-specific hard edge or gestural painting as a tactic to reimagine the lounge, stairwell, or skylight. Other works in the show consist of familiar domiciliary items such as bathmats, chairs, light bulbs, and nylon stockings. The artist elevates the significance of various undervalued ubiquitous objects that enhance our visceral response to interior environments, prompting viewers to consider the dimensions of our attraction to these basic yet undeniably essential things.

The public is invited to an Artist Talk on Wednesday, May 9, from 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. at Santa Barbara City College, Administration Building Room A211, 721 Cliff Dr., Santa Barbara.

Andy Coolquitt: …i need a hole in my head is on view at MCASB Satellite @ Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara from May 18 through March 7, 2021. The Hotel Indigo is located at 121 State St., Santa Barbara. For more information about the exhibition, visit mcasantabarbara.org.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on May 8, 2018.

Poetry as Portraiture: Adam Zagajewski and Andrew Winer

Courtesy SBMA.

Courtesy SBMA.

Santa Barbara Museum of Art presents Poetry as Portraiture: Adam Zagajewski and Andrew Winer on Sunday, April 15 at 2:30 p.m. in the Mary Craig Auditorium (SBMA, 1130 State St., Santa Barbara). (Note: Please enter through the Museum Store or Park entrance during the current renovation project.)

Prize-winning, globally-admired poet Adam Zagajewski writes with precision and wonder about the calm and courage of ordinary life. He says of poetry that it “is like a human face—it is an object that can be measured, described, catalogued, but it is also an appeal.” His most recent book, Slight Exaggeration, is a blend of memoir, essay, and anecdote, and in which he defines poetry as “a slight exaggeration, until we make ourselves at home in it. Then it becomes the truth.” Zagajewski is interviewed by fellow writer, friend, novelist, and Chair of the UC Riverside writing program Andrew Winer. Book signing to follow.

This special presentation is part of SBMA’s Parallel Stories series, a literary and performing arts series that pairs art and artists with award-winning authors and performers of regional, national, and international acclaim. This series functions as a multidisciplinary lens through which to view the Museum’s collection and special exhibitions.

The event is free for SBMA Members, $10 for non-Members and $6 for seniors. Tickets may be purchased at  the Museum Visitor Services desk or online at tickets.sbma.net.

 —Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on April 14, 2018.

The Invisible Hand

Ensemble Theatre's production of The Invisible Hand, April 12-29. Courtesy photo.

Ensemble Theatre’s production of The Invisible Hand, April 12-29. Courtesy photo.

Ensemble Theatre Company (ETC) (in a co-production with the English Theatre Frankfurt) presents a witty and provocative new thriller, The Invisible Hand, written by Ayad Akhtar (Disgraced) and directed by Jonathan Fox. The Invisible Hand begins previews on Thursday, April 12, opens on Saturday, April 14, and runs through Sunday, April 29 at The New Vic, 33 W. Victoria St. in Santa Barbara. The production will then transfer to the English Theatre Frankfurt on May 9.

Set in Pakistan, American investment banker Nick Bright is kidnapped by an extremist organization and held for a $10 million ransom. When his company refuses to meet the terrorists’ demands, Bright convinces his captors that he can manipulate the stock market to meet his own ransom. Capitalism intersects with Islamic fanaticism in a race against time in this heart-pounding thriller by the Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright, novelist, and screenwriter Akhtar.

John Tufts and Mujahid Abdul-Rashid in ETC's production of "The Invisible Hand," photo by David Bazemore.

John Tufts and Mujahid Abdul-Rashid in ETC’s production of “The Invisible Hand,” photo by David Bazemore.

“Pulitzer Prize winner Ayad Akhtar is one of the most compelling writers working today and we are so fortunate to be presenting this high-voltage thriller,” says Ensemble Theatre Company Artistic Director Jonathan Fox. “Our subscribers and audiences are in for quite the ride as money and religious devotion collide with devastating consequences.  We’re delighted that it brings a great cast to Santa Barbara, and to once again partner with the English Theatre of Frankfurt.”

John Tufts, who wowed area audiences in ETC’s 2016 production of I Am My Own Wife (a production that transferred to Laguna Playhouse), returns to Santa Barbara to play the role of Nick Bright. He recently played multiple roles in an acclaimed New York production of Pride and Prejudice. Jameal Ali, who plays the volatile Pakistani kidnapper Bashir, starred in the original New York production.  Rounding out the cast are Mujahid Abdul-Rashid and Sarang Sharma.

There are several special events and promotions associated with the production:

  • Book Club, April 18, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.: Scripts are now available for checkout at the Santa Barbara Public Library, 40 E. Anapamu St. Join other theatre-goers for a lively discussion about the play from a literary and dramatic perspective. FREE! 
  • Pre-Show Talk, April 18 & 25,  at 7:15 p.m.: Join guests in the courtyard of The New Vic for an informative and insightful discussion about the play before you see it, sure to enhance your theatrical experience.
  • Martini Night, April  20, at 7:15 p.m., performance at 8 p.m.: Free to ticket holders. Come early to enjoy a complimentary martini and mingle before the show.
  • Talk Back, April 26: Meet the cast after the show and discuss the production.

Tickets are available here.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on April 11, 2018.

UCSB Arts Walk

UCSB’s Department of MusicDepartment of Theater and DanceDepartment of ArtCollege of Creative StudiesArt, Design & Architecture MuseumMultiCultural Center and Library to host an open house of visual & performing arts

UCSB presents the inaugural UCSB Arts Walk on Wednesday, April 11, from 4:30-8 p.m. at various locations across the campus. The event gives students, faculty, staff and community members the opportunity to visit galleries and studios, watch preview performances and behind-the-scenes rehearsals, and participate in programming designed to highlight the artistic creativity and talent of the UCSB community. Best of all, everything is free of charge.

The Art, Design, & Architecture Museum has several exhibitions on display, including Chiura Obata: An American Modern, UCSB Campus Architecture: Design and Social Change, Jane Gottlieb Photographs France, and Keith Puccinelli. In addition, the museum hosts a Kitchell Architecture and Design lecture at 6 p.m., featuring UCSB Associate Campus Architect, Dennis Whelan. Whelan recounts the history of UC Santa Barbara campus planning and design, in conjunction with the Museum’s exhibition.

Image by Jane Gottlieb, currently on view at UCSB Art, Design & Architecture Museum.

Image by Jane Gottlieb, currently on view at UCSB Art, Design & Architecture Museum.

Highlights from the Department of Music include an open rehearsal of a faculty duet featuring cellist Jennifer Kloetzel and pianist Robert Koenig, plus performances by members of the Chamber Choir, Music of India Ensemble, Flute Choir, Jazz Combos, Middle East Ensemble, Chamber Players, Clarinet Choir, Gamelan Ensemble, and more. Guests can interact directly with performers during Q&A sessions following several of the events, such as a performance of scenes from UCSB Opera Theatre’s February production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro and composition graduate student Brandon J. Rolle’s electro-acoustic music exhibition.

The Department of Theater and Dance also presents a wide variety of performances, open rehearsals, and exhibitions, including an open rehearsal for the department’s upcoming production of Cabaret (May 25-June 3), as well as performances by UCSB Dance BFA students in outdoor spaces surrounding the Theater and Dance buildings. The UCSB Dance Company and Freshmen Dance Company presents a special concert in the Old Ballet Studio (HSSB), while exhibitions showcasing puppets and work by UCSB Design students are also on display. Interactive playwright showcase stations will give guests the unique opportunity to work with student playwrights to compose novelty pieces on the spot.

On view from the Department of Art are multiple exhibitions of student work in the Art Building #534 and at the Red Barn Project Space in the Old Gym, Building #479, (near the bus loop by the Pollock Theater). Highlights include an exhibit of senior artwork in the GlassBox Gallery in Arts 1328, and from 7 p.m. on, Windows—a sampler of videos from Maya Gurantz’s “Intermediate Digital Video” class projected from the second story windows of Arts 2220, overlooking the bike path. In the Red Barn Project Space, UCSB Womanhouse Collective presents SHE-DEN, an intersectional, multi-media group exhibit exploring the place of women in contemporary art and culture.

The MultiCultural Center’s lounge features an exhibition by UCSB graduate student Andrew Morrison, entitled “Indian Heritage,” a Native American art exhibition that compliments his film, Great Walls of Indian Heritage. This exhibit speaks to all walks of life, its genesis is from the red road, and the American Indian Student Association inspires its vitality. The exhibit is on display in the MultiCultural Center Lounge through June 15, with an opening reception on April 12 at 6 p.m.

The College of Creative Studies (CCS), which is celebrating its 50th Anniversary during the current academic year, offers a glimpse into the work of the College’s Art, Music Composition, and Writing and Literature students in the CCS Gallery and the Old Little Theater. An exhibition of student artwork fills the CCS Gallery, while the Old Little Theater’s programming includes performances of Music Composition students’ original pieces as well as readings from Writing & Literature students and faculty.

Event link: https://www.library.ucsb.edu/artswalk

Directions and parking information: https://www.library.ucsb.edu/directions-parking

Campus map: http://www.aw.id.ucsb.edu/maps/ucsbmap.html

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on April 9, 2018.

 

Style File: Coachella Inspiration

Bassnectar's traditional "family photo" taken at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival 2013, by Drew Ressler, courtesy Wikipedia Commons.

Bassnectar’s traditional “family photo” taken at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival 2013, by Drew Ressler, courtesy Wikipedia Commons.

To everything there’s a season, and in the California style scene, Coachella musical festival marks the beginning of warm weather style inspiration. Sure,  it’s a ginormous music festival—but it’s also the place where performers, celebs, and concert-goers alike debut their super-stylish looks.

The Jewelry Junkie, courtesy photo.

The Jewelry Junkie, courtesy photo.

Here’s a little bit of Coachella spring/summer inspiration:

The Jewelry Junkie is female-operated, 100% handcrafted in the U.S. brand offering jewelry pieces that are unique, stylish and affordable.  Boho meets elegance with these handcrafted, southern-inspired collections. Whether you prefer statement pieces or dainty touches, The Jewelry Junkie collections have earrings, necklaces, chokers, rings, bracelets and more. Plus, each piece has a unique touch of leather, gemstones, and beads. In addition, The Jewelry Junkie donates more than 10% of all net proceeds of every sale to local and international charities. 

Agabhumi charms from Bali, courtesy photo.

Agabhumi charms from Bali, courtesy photo.

We love these empowering charms from Agabhumi’s hip, designer collection of impeccably-crafted jewelry imported straight from Bali.  Each piece evokes the Indonesian island vibe and collaboration with the artisans of Bali. Co-founder Regina Kirshbaum created this collection to remind us of our power within, these Agabhumi charms provide a perfect message for the feel good festival. 

By Lilla hair ties that double as bracelets, courtesy photo.

By Lilla hair ties that double as bracelets, courtesy photo.

Warmer weather means getting your hair off your neck, which is even easier—and prettier—when you have a stack of By Lilla designs on your arm. A brilliantly simple idea, hair ties that double as beautiful bracelets, these babies are functional yet fashionable. And you can easily stack them up to share with your friends. 

Tonle calf length vest, courtesy photo.

Tonle calf length vest, courtesy photo.

Every thread matters at tonlé, a zero-waste fashion brand that is one-of-a-kind. The reduce, reuse and recycle ethos makes its way into the fashion world with this Cambodia-based clothing line. The sustainable styles of tonlé use remnants discarded by large manufacturers and create beautiful, comfortable clothes, without wasting a single scrap in the process! In just one year, this bold brand has saved 10,000kg of textiles, 70,000kg of CO2, 200kg of pesticides, and 42,296,600 gallons of water—and they’re just getting started. Check out the calf-length vest, hand-woven from a curated mix of remnant cotton jersey and cotton yarn for a great warm weather throw on piece. No two pieces will be exactly the same, making your look truly one-of-a-kind.

Renpure Black Line Coconut Water Replenishing Treatment Mist, courtesy photo.

Renpure Black Line Coconut Water Replenishing Treatment Mist, courtesy photo.

Keep your hair in tip-top condition and lay the foundation for healthy, nourished hair with Renpure products, like Coconut Water Replenishing Treatment Mist, a great portable option for adding softness and shine. Part of their Black Label Coconut collection, this mist utilizes the innate properties of rich and creamy coconut oil to give sun and product damaged hair the hydrating drink it needs to appear healthier and younger, while controlling frizz and preventing breakage and split ends. 

Naked Truth Beauty products, courtesy photo.

Naked Truth Beauty products, courtesy photo.

Outdoor music festivals are the perfect place to let your natural beauty shine. When chemical and toxic ingredients just aren’t gonna cut it—keep it green and clean with Naked Truth Beauty products.   This socially responsible beauty, the eco-friendly line takes the guess work out of choosing safe products by using only simple, high quality ingredients that are from the earth—stripped down for your skin. Stylish lip and cheek all-in-one colors like “as if,” “promise me, rose,” and “Beauregarde” offer great versatility, as well as products you can feel good about using. 

The 2018 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival begins on Friday, April 13 and ends on Sunday, April 22, with headliners including Beyonce, The Weeknd and Eminem, among many, many others. For complete details, click here.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on April 9, 2018.

 

Delineations at MichaelKate Interiors & Art Gallery

Charlie Patton, “The Woman and The Veil,” oil on canvas.

Charlie Patton, “The Woman and The Veil,” oil on canvas.

Opening March 16, DELINEATIONS at MichaelKate Interiors & Art Gallery (132 Santa Barbara St.) features four Santa Barbara based artists: Jo Merit, Douglas Dafoe, Katarzyna Kociomyk and Charlie Patton and is curated by Jan Ziegler. 

“The delineated characteristics of Jo Merit’s paintings and the fine craftmanship of Douglas Dafoe’s geometric wood wall sculptures drive the title of the show,” writes Ziegler. “Complementing their precise line work, we have Katarzyna Kociomyk’s lush boats at rest on the water and Charlie Patton’s large and small expressive paintings.”

Join the artists for the reception on Friday, March 16, from 5-8 p.m. The artists will speak about their work at 6 p.m.

The show remains on view through May 13. 

—Leslie Dinaberg

Charlie Patton, “Misty Copeland Two Slippers,” oil on canvas.

Charlie Patton, “Misty Copeland Two Slippers,” oil on canvas.

Jo Merit, “At The Dark End Of The Street,” acrylic on canvas.

Jo Merit, “At The Dark End Of The Street,” acrylic on canvas.

Katarzyna Kociomyk, “Cast In Bronze,” oil on canvas.

Katarzyna Kociomyk, “Cast In Bronze,” oil on canvas.

Douglas Dafoe, “untitled,” wood with copper paint.

Douglas Dafoe, “untitled,” wood with copper paint.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on March 16, 2018.

Compañía Nacional de Danza

Compañía Nacional de Danza, photo by Jesús Vallinas.

Compañía Nacional de Danza, photo by Jesús Vallinas.

The illustrious Compañía Nacional de Danza (CND), Spain’s national dance company, returns to Santa Barbara with a work that is a statement of its compelling artistic direction. Presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures for two nights—March 6-7, both at 8 p.m. at The Granada Theatre (1214 State St.)—Johan Inger’s Carmen is a visionary retelling of mythic and universal elements of passion and violence.

This contemporary presentation of Carmen, a classic opera first performed in 1875, had its debut in 2015 and won the coveted Benois de la Danse prize for choreography in 2016. It tells the tale through the eyes of a child, with its heroine a courageous and modern woman, the mountains of Ronda reimagined as poor suburbs, the military now senior executives and the bullfighter recast as a movie star.

This Santa Barbara premiere marks one of only three cities in the U.S. presenting this magnificent story ballet.

Compañía Nacional de Danza, photo by Jesús Vallinas.

Compañía Nacional de Danza, photo by Jesús Vallinas.

When Inger was asked to create a new version of Carmen, himself being Swedish and Carmen a piece with a strong Spanish nature, he faced a challenge. But it was also a great opportunity. He strips tale to its most fundamental themes, introducing the perspective of a child to reveal the universal appeal of the story.

“There is a certain mystery within this character,” explains Inger. “It could be any kid; it could be Don José when he was a boy, and it could be a young Michaela or Carmen and José’s unborn child. It could even be ourselves, with our very first goodness wounded due to a violent experience that, though brief, has had a negative impact in our lives and our ability to interact with others forever.”

For tickets and more information, call UCSB Arts & Lectures at 805/893-3535 or visit ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.edu, or contact The Granada Theatre at 805/899-2222 or granadasb.org.

In addition to the performances on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, the company also presents, in collaboration with Gustafson Dance, a Community Dance Class with Compañía Nacional de Danza on Monday, March 5, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Gustafson Dance, 2285 Las Positas Rd. Observers are welcome. Call 805/563-3262 to register. 

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on March 2, 2018.