The Christmas Revels: An Irish Celebration of the Winter Solstice

The Christmas Revels, Dec. 22-23 at the Lobero Theatre.

The Christmas Revels, Dec. 22-23 at the Lobero Theatre.

One of Santa Barbara’s favorite holiday traditions for the whole family is the annual Christmas Revels musical production. This year’s story, An Irish Celebration of the Winter Solstice, is a joyous theatrical production celebrating the spirit and strength of the Irish emigrants who came to America in the early 1900’s to build new lives in a new land. At sea over the holidays, these strangers bond over spinning stories, singing songs, and sharing seasonal traditions; friendships are formed, romance blossoms.

The Christmas Revels, Dec. 22-23 at the Lobero Theatre.

The Christmas Revels, Dec. 22-23 at the Lobero Theatre.

Joining the Revels Company are accomplished guest artists, including award-winning actors and Irish dancers as well as vocal soloists, a brass ensemble and a string and wind quintet.

The Christmas Revels is an exciting and heartwarming entertainment experience for every age and a favorite Santa Barbara holiday tradition created by and for our community for the past 11 years. The show takes place at the Lobero Theatre (33 E. Canon Perdido St., Santa Barbara) Dec. 22 at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 23 at 2:30 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.

Leslie Dinaberg

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

Everybody Dance Now! Holiday Performance

Everybody Dance Now! courtesy photo.

Everybody Dance Now! courtesy photo.

Looking for a fun, holiday performance to take the kids to? Everybody Dance Now! Invites you and your family to the Everybody Dance Now! Holiday Performance on Friday, December 14 at 5:30 p.m. at the Santa Barbara County Education Office Auditorium(4400 Cathedral Oaks Rd., Santa Barbara).

Everybody Dance Now! courtesy photo.

Everybody Dance Now! courtesy photo.

“We are excited to continue building our diverse dance community, transforming our youth through the power of dance, and showing how a strong culture of unity and love can be created through the arts. Anyone who has attended one of our performances can tell you, the night is super high energy! In fact, you probably won’t stop smiling,” say the organizers. “This year we have performances by our weekly youth dance classes, guest dance performances, parent dance-offs, yummy baked goods, activities for the kids, and prize giveaways. This is an event for everyone, so invite your friends and family for a night of dance and holiday cheer!”

Guest artists include  DJ Sparx and MC Omar Khan in what is sure to be a fun, high-energy night of entertainment.

The event is donation-based and is free to attend.  Everybody Dance Now! will allocate all funds raised towards continuing to offer free or low-cost dance classes to hundreds of dancers each week. For more information about the event and this terrific organization, visit www.everybodydancenow.org.

Everybody Dance Now! courtesy photo.

Everybody Dance Now! courtesy photo.

Leslie Dinaberg

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

Paseo Nuevo Holiday Fun

Courtesy Paseo Nuevo.

Courtesy Paseo Nuevo.

Black Friday kicks off the holiday season at Paseo Nuevo on Friday, November 23. Here’s the lineup of this season’s shopping, events and activities:

Black Friday  –The official start to the holiday shopping season, Black Friday on November 23 is getting an early start opening at 7 a.m., although some retailers will open even earlier.  For a full list of store hours, visit PaseoNuevoShopping.com.

On the retail front, new to Paseo Nuevo  this year is Mama Luma, a local children’s wear boutique specializing in beautiful dresses for little girls. Always a great place to purchase locally made gifts, the Yes Store is back again this year with their collection of artisanal items including wood pieces, pottery, jewelry and photographs. New to downtown is the Santa Barbara Night Market located in the former Macy’s department store.  Here you can experience a European-style night market complete with twinkle lights and holiday décor. Shop handcrafted items and holiday gifts or enjoy the food and beverage village. Open Thursday-Sunday from 4-10 p.m.  There’s also a Trinidad3 pop-up shop, in a one-of-a-kind Airstream trailer, outfitted with a denim bar featuring premium denim made in the USA. Trinidad3 is popping-up on Sundays in De La Guerra Place.

  

Courtesy Paseo Nuevo.

Courtesy Paseo Nuevo.

Let It Snow – Check out Santa Barbara’s “best in snow” when nightly snowfall shows take place twice each evening in Center Court as a flurry of white snow falls down on the Christmas tree, singing carolers, and shoppers, a magical tradition enjoyed by the entire family. Snowfall shows will start promptly at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. from Friday, November 23 to December 31 (no shows on Christmas Day).

Silent Night Silent Disco – On Thursday, November 29 from 5:30-7:30 p.m., join Paseo Nuevo for Silent Night, a silent disco holiday dance party for the entire family! Wear your ugliest sweater and be prepared to dance and sing-a-long to your favorite holiday tunes through headphones! Come early to get headsets for the entire family. Jam to your favorite songs and watch the snowfall at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. for the merriest night of the season—and it’s free!

Visit Santa – Santa takes up residence in his Santa Barbara home at Paseo Nuevo’s Center Court starting Friday, November 23. Children will be able to visit him daily through December 24. Santa will be open early on December 2 & 9 from 9-11 a.m. for children with special needs while Tuesday evenings will be open for pet photos where even the furriest family members can snap a photo with Santa. Every child will receive a free gift and Santa’s elves will be on hand to catch the precious moment in a photo.

Courtesy Paseo Nuevo.

Courtesy Paseo Nuevo.

Breakfast With Santa – On December 1 and December 8, from 8-10 a.m., California Pizza Kitchen hosts a breakfast event featuring a special guest, Santa Claus! Breakfast includes a breakfast pizza, drink, and crafts for $10/child, $15/adult. Children under 3 eat for free. Call Evelyn at 805/962-4648 for reservations.

Live Entertainment – It wouldn’t be the holidays without costumed carolers, holiday horns, colossal choirs, and the occasional squeezebox roaming throughout the center filling the paseos with holiday cheer! A robust schedule of over 20 live entertainment ensembles will perform throughout the season daily. For the full schedule of performers, dates and times, visit https://paseonuevoshopping.com/events/holiday-music/


 
https://youtu.be/IzU8dyIpMfo

Win Prizes with #PaseoNuevoMagic –  For a chance to WIN weekly holiday themed contests, guests can snap, share and tag their holiday experience on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with @ShopPaseoNuevo and hashtag #PaseoNuevoMagic. Winners will be chosen every week beginning November 23.

Leslie Dinaberg 

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 20, 2018.

Downtown Santa Barbara Welcomes the Holiday Season

Small Business Saturday, Sampling State, Annual Holiday Parade and Tuba Christmas are among the many special events coming to SB!

Rescue dog Mojo with Handler Tracee Walker, courtesy photo.

Rescue dog Mojo with Handler Tracee Walker, courtesy photo.

Downtown Santa Barbara (DSB) is raring and ready for Holiday shopping, Holiday dining, Holiday Happy Hour, Holiday parties, Holiday strolling, Holiday décor and lights viewing, and last but not least, Holiday events!

“This is our busiest and most anticipated time of year,” says Kate Schwab, DSB Marketing & Communications Director. “We’re looking forward to kids in costumes, music, celebrating our great small businesses and a Parade to remember.”

Courtesy Downtown Santa Barbara.

Courtesy Downtown Santa Barbara.

First up is Small Business Saturday Sponsored by Montecito Bank & Trust, on Saturday, November 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Check out the SBS Welcome Center at Historic Storke Placita (700 State St.) to find Downtown SB booths with block by block information, try your hand at DSBingo, Downtown Trivia, Spin the Wheel to Win and the ever-popular Corn Hole, and enjoy the festive tunes of Holiday Horns.

At 11 a.m., Downtown restaurants will step outside to offer tastes of their fare for Sampling State. “Our goal with Sampling State is that restaurant doors will swing open at the same time, offering small bites from their great menus,” says DSB Business Manager, Erik Krueger.

Downtown Santa Barbara Holiday Parade, courtesy photo.

Downtown Santa Barbara Holiday Parade, courtesy photo.

Friday, December 7 is the Downtown Santa Barbara Annual Holiday Parade Presented by Consumer Fire Products Inc. Starting at 6:30 p.m., check out the big balloons, marching bands, and the Grand Marshal(s) sponsored by Lemos Feed & Pet Supply —four heroic K9 dog teams of Santa Barbara County Search & Rescue. The 66th Annual Downtown Santa Barbara Holiday Parade, Presented by Consumer Fire Products Inc. starts at Sola St. and continues down State St. to Cota St.

Tuba Christmas comes downtown on Saturday, December 15 at noon. Get your oom-pah-pah on with this nearly 30-year-old brass tradition! Tap your toes to the beloved Christmas Brass/Trombone Christmas /TubaChristmas concert in Storke Placita.

“This holiday more than ever, we’re inviting Santa Barbara residents downtown to support all our great local businesses, win a prize or two, enjoy some music and some tastings,” says Schwab. “It’s a fabulous way to kick off the 2018 Holiday shopping season!”

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 19, 2018.

Pianos Jazz Up State Street

Pianos on State, photo by Art Fisher.

Pianos on State, photo by Art Fisher.

State Street’s got some rhythm in its soul this month with the annual Pianos on State interactive musical exhibit on display throughout October.

In its 9th year, the exhibition will extend from October 2-24,  and feature pianos painted by Santa Barbara-based artists—all of which are available for community exploration, impromptu play and group performances.

This year’s panel received a record number of submissions, according to organizers from Santa Barbara County Office of Arts and Culture. The selected artists include Aviel Hyman, Mahina Martinson, Ariana Meyers, Jack Mohr, Amanda Phillips, Melody Rose, Sheryl Schroeder, Lanny Sherwin and Richard Stokes. Additional community partners working with local students and artists to design pianos include Art From Scrap, the Santa Barbara Public Library Central Branch, The Arts Fund and Youth Interactive.

Pianos on State, photo by Art Fisher.

Pianos on State, photo by Art Fisher.

Helmed by the Santa Barbara Bowl, this program represents a unique collaboration that aims to provide arts exposure for residents and visitors of all ages. “The pianos are a beloved tradition that enhances the cultural vibrancy of Santa Barbara and the downtown corridor. It is a way to engage the community by inviting participants of all ages and backgrounds to experience performing arts in a public space,” says Kai Tepper, Santa Barbara Bowl Education Outreach Program Manager. Additional producing partners include the City of Santa Barbara, Office of Arts and Culture, The Arts Fund, Santa Barbara Arts Collaborative, Downtown Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Education Foundation and New Noise SB. Many local sponsors and businesses also help sponsor and underwrite costs.

Isaac Hernandez. Untitled. Acrylic paint on piano. Exhibited outside the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. November 7, 2010. ©2010 Isaac Hernandez/IsaacArt.com.

Isaac Hernandez. Untitled. Acrylic paint on piano. Exhibited outside the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. November 7, 2010. ©2010 Isaac Hernandez/IsaacArt.com.

An opening celebration takes place on 1st Thursday, October 4, from 5-8 p.m. as artists traverse the pianos and the Piano Boys perform at the Library’s piano at the intersection of State and Anapamu Streets.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 3, 2018.

Father’s Day Gift Guide

By Leslie Dinaberg

Dads are notoriously hard to buy presents for, so here are a few Father’s Day gift suggestions that are sure to make him smile.

Daditude by Chris Erskine.

Daditude by Chris Erskine.

Daditude

Beloved Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune Columnist Chris Erskine‘s collection of essays about the joys and absurdities of modern fatherhood are sure to make any dad smile. As the promo says, “This handsome book is the perfect gift for the father who would have everything—if he hadn’t given it all to his kids.” Click here for more information.

Jackalope Beer Soap, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Jackalope Beer Soap, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Jackalope Beer Soap

An intoxicating way for dad to start his day, these Jackalope Beer Soap bars from Little Seed Farm are an all-natural way to give his morning shower a little extra kick! The Bourbon BarBearwalker Beer BarRompo Beer Bar and Thunder Ann Beer Bar are hand-crafted from fresh, raw goat’s milk produced on Little Seed Farm’s own dairy herd, in collaboration with a local distillery and brewery located in Nashville, Tennessee. Spent grains from the brewing process are added to each bar of soap, giving it a nice solid texture he’s sure to enjoy. www.littleseedfarm.com

Broo Shampoo, courtesy @Brooshampoo Instagram.

Broo Shampoo, courtesy @Brooshampoo Instagram.

BRÖÖ Craft Beer Shampoo

Continuing with the beer theme, BRÖÖ Craft Beer harnesses the power of all-malt, freshly-hopped craft beer in the form of a shampoo that dad is sure to enjoy. People have rinsed their hair with beer for ages, and this home-brewed remedy is brimming with B vitamins, proteins, and minerals to make his hair shiny, healthy and strong. broo.com

ZEROWater filter pitcher, courtesy photo.

ZEROWater filter pitcher, courtesy photo.

ZeroWater Filtration Pitcher

Perfect for the environmentally conscious and economically minded dad, eco-friendly ZeroWater filtration devices turn tap water into the equivalent of purified bottled water without the expense or waste of plastic bottles. Available in 8-cup, 10-cup and 20-cup dispensers. www.zerowater.com

DAZI Socks, courtesy photo.

DAZI Socks, courtesy photo.

DAZI Socks

Colorful, fun socks are a great way for even the most conservative dad to jazz up his look—and his mood. Whether he’s relaxing on the weekend, going to work, or dressed up for a night out, help him put his best foot forward with DAZI’s fashionable and comfortable men’s socks. This line features unique designs that are fun, but not over-the-top, to wear with almost any look. www.daziusa.com

Bindle Bottle, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Bindle Bottle, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Bindle Bottle

A clever gift for the dad who likes to travel light. The Bindle Bottle holds 24 ounces of his favorite beverage—keeping drinks hot or cold for hours—along with small necessities such as chapstick, keys and headphones in the bottom stash area. Plus the name is cool: “Bindles” were once used by train hoppers to carry their essentials on their shoulders as they went off on their next adventure—your dad is sure to love this gift as he goes off on his. bindlebottle.com

Happy Father’s Day!

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on June 12, 2018.

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

By Leslie Dinaberg

Still struggling with what to buy your mom for Mother’s Day (or her birthday, or just to say “I love you” any time of the year, for that matter? Stress no more, here are a few things she’s sure to appreciate.

Once Upon a Book Club, courtesy photo.

Once Upon a Book Club, courtesy photo.

Put a new twist on her summer reading with a monthly subscription to Once Upon A Book Club! I loved this gift so much I bought it for both my mom and my mother-in-law (don’t tell …).  The way it works is you sign up for a monthly box to arrive at her front door.  You can do it once, or multiple times, it’s up to you.

Once Upon a Book Club, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Once Upon a Book Club, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

She’ll open the adorable book-shaped box and find the selected book, along with 3-5 perfectly wrapped gifts with page numbers.  They even have shredded book pages for stuffing. It’s so cute! Want to know what is in the gift? They are carefully curated to enhance the book.  For example, one of the characters in the story pulls out a magical stone from a leather bag at a heightened moment in the book. As mom reads this, she is signaled to open one of the gifts: a replica of the described stone (that’s actually a bar of soap) inside a useful/trendy leather purse!  You get the idea. It’s really fun!

Yummy Cupcakes in a Jar, courtesy photo.

Yummy Cupcakes in a Jar, courtesy photo.

Yummy Cupcakes are another favorite recent find. These are not your ordinary cupcakes (which she also probably loves), these are delicious gourmet cupcakes that come stacked four in a jar. The packaging is adorable (almost too pretty to eat), with flavors ranging from brown sugar cinnamon to French toast, nutty red velvet, Snickerdoodle and more. They even have a vegan version. I tried the Vegan Chocolate/Vanilla which was very tasty. And they deliver everywhere! 

 

Dear Heart Designs Jewelry, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Dear Heart Designs Jewelry, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Dear Heart Designs is a beautiful way to give your loved one with a necklace that will remind her how you feel about her every time she puts it on. The company is faith-inspired jewelry brand whose feminine yet minimalist pieces have garnered the attention of celebrity designer Joanna Gaines, among others. The You’re a Gem necklace (pictured) is one of my favorites, and they also have customized versions with the names of your children inscribed, or special messages with scripture verses just for mom.

The PediPocket Blanket, courtesy photo.

The PediPocket Blanket, courtesy photo.

For moms on the go, the PediPocket blanket is great for travel. These lightweight and easy to pack fleece blankets are nearly 6 feet long, so it covers her shoulders and her feet at the same time and a special 20” pocket keeps her feet extra warm and snuggly. With 10 different colors and patterns to choose from, these are actually great gifts for everyone in the family and are perfect for tailgate parties, beach barbecues, and outdoor concerts as well as on her next trip.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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

The Biltmore’s Amazing Gingerbread House

Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara's Gingerbread House, courtesy photo.

Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara’s Gingerbread House, courtesy photo.

With the smoke starting to clear, we’re all in need of a little holiday cheer. I recommend you check out the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara‘s incredible gingerbread house!

To honor the Resort’s 90th anniversary, talented Pastry Chef Javier Franco and the rest of the pastry team created a stunning replica of the Resort out of gingerbread using 70 lbs. of powdered sugar. Pastillage, fondant, cooked sugar, royal icing, chocolate and gingerbread were the main components used for the construction and most of the pottery is made of pastillage, a type of icing that is similar to gum paste. This incredible creation took 1,500 roof tiles, all hand-made and hand-painted.

Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara's Gingerbread House, courtesy photo.

Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara’s Gingerbread House, courtesy photo.

Mini ice cream cones were used to make the pine trees, red hot gum sticks make the entrance driveway and pathways, the windows are made of clear sugar and the 140+ year old Moreton Bay fig tree is made of white chocolate. This masterpiece, along with a beautiful display of Christmas decorations are on display at the resort lobby until New Year’s Eve. All are welcome to stop by and view Chef Franco’s amazing creation.

Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara's Gingerbread House, courtesy photo.

Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara’s Gingerbread House, courtesy photo.

Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara is located at 1260 Channel Dr.

Leslie Dinaberg

Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara's Gingerbread House, courtesy photo.

Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara’s Gingerbread House, courtesy photo.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on December 21, 2017.

La Arcada Christmas Walk

La Arcada Christmas Walk, courtesy La Arcada.

La Arcada Christmas Walk, courtesy La Arcada.

Get ready to get in the mood for the holidays! The spirit of Christmas—both past and present—is alive and well at this favorite annual celebration taking place on Wednesday, November 29, from 5–8 p.m. The charming, historic holiday open house has all the trimmings of the season, including twinkling lights, costumed carolers, refreshments and the chance to tell Santa what a good boy or girl you’ve been this year (and even snap a photo if you’ve been really, really good!).

In its 23rd year, the La Arcada Christmas Walk is a festive way to start the holiday season, and spend time with the whole family in a beautiful setting wandering down the enchanting, tree filled courtyard as it is transformed into a winter wonderland.  Hungry? Andersen’s, Viva, Jeannine’s, La Arcada Bistro, Petit Valentien and State & Fig will all be open for dining that evening.

Waterhouse Gallery, La Arcada, courtesy photo.

Waterhouse Gallery, La Arcada, courtesy photo.

Photos with Santa are FREE, as are fresh popped popcorn, treats in shops and the chance to sing-a-long to familiar holiday tunes.

Retail stores and specialty shops including Socorro, Renaissance, Ace Rivington, Lewis & Clarke, LaTavola Fine Linen, August Ridge Vineyards, The Barber Shop, Bread & Butter, Chocolats du CaliBressan, Coast 2 Coast Collection, Peanuts Maternity & Gifts, Sanford Winery and Urban Optics will extend their hours for this very special evening.  Art enthusiasts will enjoy visiting Gallery 113, Santa Barbara Arts, Waterhouse Gallery and the historically significant permanent collection of interactive sculptures throughout the Historic La Arcada Courtyard.

La Arcada is located at 1114 State St. between Figueroa and Anapamu streets.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 20, 2017.

Dreaming Big: Congregation B’nai B’rith’s 90 Year Celebration

Images from Congregation B'nai B'rith Dreamers Ball. Photos by Leslie Dinaberg.

Images from Congregation B’nai B’rith Dreamers Ball. Photos by Leslie Dinaberg.

Honoring yesterday, today and tomorrow, supporters of Congregation B’nai B’rith (CBB) recently gathered at Bacara Resort & Spa in tribute to the founding families who had the vision to create the home for Santa Barbara’s Jewish community in 1927.

This festive, elegant celebration was packed to the gills with 450 guests to mark the 90th anniversary of Congregation B’nai B’rith, Santa Barbara’s largest Jewish synagogue, which now serves as the spiritual home to more than 800 families.

Dubbed the Dreamers Ball, the Marc Chagall-inspired gala was beautifully reflected in decorations and touches throughout the ballroom and live music by We the Folk (whose talented accordion player is David Childs, son of Shari and Cantor Mark Childs).

Also honored at the event was Cantor Childs, who has served the congregation for the past 25 years, touching thousands of lives in the process.

The Dreamers Ball was organized by co-chairwomen Hallie Avolio, board president Judi Koper, Liat Wasserman, Marcy Wimbish, Bethy Fineberg and executive director Elizabeth Gaynes. Ruth Hartzman and Adele Rosen were the honorary co-chairwomen.

An impressive tribute book detailed the congregation’s history and leadership and was filled with glowing personal tributes to Childs and congratulations on the 90th anniversary of Congregation B’nai B’rith. Included in the tribute are excerpts from local historian Erin Graffy’s upcoming book about the history of Jewish Santa Barbara.

“Right now, we are setting the stage for the next 100 years of our CBB communal life,” writes Rabbi Steve Cohen. “We are establishing patterns of congregational life which draw deeply upon the best of Jewish tradition and values, and which are vibrantly alive … full of humor, creativity, moral integrity, intellectual rigor and honesty … and connect us deeply to this place, Santa Barbara, a place of awesome natural beauty and resources, nestled between the ocean and the mountains.”

For more information about Congregation B’nai B’rith, visit http://cbbsb.org/.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on February 16, 2017.