International colloquium in dance and performance studies addresses issues of race and racism in American classical ballet
The beauty and artistry of ballet can belie the sometimes painful truths that exist behind the dance.
Calvin Royal III and Unity Phelan in George Balanchine’s “Agon” (1957), Vail International Dance Festival 2018. Restaged by Heather Watts. Photo by Eric Baiano.
“Those dances by George Balanchine and other 20th-century neoclassical choreographers reveal how the idiom of classical ballet has institutionalized and subverted American racism,” said Ninotchka D. Bennahum, a professor of dance and performance studies at UC Santa Barbara.
These ballets — such as the iconic, Civil Rights-era Balanchine ballet “Agon” from 1957 — reveal the complex relationship ballet and preeminent cultural institutions share with racial consciousness in the United States before and after World War II, she added. “Dance artists asked to undertake these roles have the capacity, the moral responsibility to shift our consciousness or to raise our consciousness. No work of art belongs solely to its time,” Bennahum said.
These topics and others will be considered when distinguished scholars and world-class performers gather Monday, April 29 in UC Santa Barbara’s ballet studio for the colloquium “Race, Ballet, American Dance,” a day of discussion and demonstration. Co-curated by Bennahum and Stephanie Batiste, an associate professor of English and of Black studies, the conference is the inaugural event of the International Colloquium for the Study of Dance and Performance Studies.
“We will pose the question, ‘What is the value of these actual works of ballet as historical archive?”
Combining elements of live performance and music, discussion and filmography, the multidisciplinary colloquium — which is free and open to the public — will explore the critical role of art in capturing and commenting on American history, specifically examining how racism has been institutionalized in American classical ballet.
“The history of the civil rights movement is written by ballet choreographers and modern choreographers,” said Bennahum. “Dancing bodies play a vital role in getting audiences, in raising public awareness to issues of injustice, to issues of joy and love and sexuality, and things that are not so easy to articulate with words.
“But these are not happenstance dances, these are dances that happened in very particular moments of time,” she added. “The relationship between African American vernacular dance, African American choreographed ballet and Russian, British, American ballet, really became a symbol of race relations in the United States.”
Participants will enter the event through a lobby exhibition featuring an archival collection of photographs curated by Bennahum from the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of The New York Public Library, the largest and most comprehensive archive in the world devoted to the documentation of dance.
“I really feel that it’s very important for students that we show them dancing bodies they cannot see in Santa Barbara,” Bennahum said. “The gravitational center of dance in the world is New York and I just felt we had to bring it to them, and we had to bring it in the form of performance and in the form of art exhibit, images on the walls, so they see that this is an intellectual, academic subject they can study. But it cannot happen without performance because without that the archive is missing. You have to have a sense of the geography of the stage. For these kids learning to dance, to know and feel their way through history, kinesthetic awareness is really significant.”
Further to that end, the colloquium’s featured guests include Heather Watts, former principal dancer of New York City Ballet and a distinguished lecturer, who will present and stage two seminal works: George Balanchine’s “Agon,” with music by Igor Stravinsky, and Jerome Robbins’ “Afternoon of a Faun,” with music by Claude Debussy. The pieces will be danced by Calvin Royal III (principal dancer, American Ballet Theatre) and Unity Phelan (soloist, New York City Ballet), accompanied by New York City Ballet Orchestra pianist Cameron Grant.
“In different ways, at their premieres both Balanchine’s “Agon” (1957) and Robbins’ “Afternoon of a Faun” (1953) addressed issues of race,” said Watts. “I’m looking forward to sharing and examining these works at the colloquium, focusing on their impact felt not only in the mid-century civil rights era in which they were created, but also today as they live on through new generations of dancers.”
Also performing is Alicia Graf Mack, chair of dance at The Juilliard School and former principal dancer with Dance Theatre of Harlem, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Alonzo King/LINES. Her piece will be followed by a conversation with Lynn Garafola, professor emerita of dance at Barnard College, Columbia University and “preeminent ballet scholar in the United States who, with her husband (American historian Eric Foner of Columbia University) is a really important race scholar,” noted Bennahum. Garafola also will lecture on the African American Presence in Postwar American Dance.
An artists’ roundtable early in the day will provide insight direct from dancers themselves, while a later artist-scholar discussion will offer a multi-pronged analysis of what has taken place during the conference.
“My research on Black dance often has a lot to do with analysis of form and in terms of movement and repertoire,” Batiste said. “Dancers often think about dance in ways that are really different from how scholars think about dance. Those two approaches to how the body makes meaning together in one space show the value of what scholars bring and what dancers bring to same work of art.”
Batiste gave much of the credit to Bennahum for putting together the colloquium, while Bennahum extended credit to Watts, to donors John and Jody Arnhold and to Majewski. “Dance is very expensive,” said Bennahum. “Classical ballet is very expensive and they have made this possible for the university, and believed that UC Santa Barbara, above every other place in the country, was the place to create a laboratory, a think tank, about race and ballet.
“We’re at a very tense moment in history,” she concluded. “Art plays a significant role in that conversation in these moments in time.”
Six decades strong, Arts & Lectures keeps education at the core of its mission
Arts & Lectures brought Duke Ellington to town in 1972, courtesy photo.
When cello virtuoso Yo-Yo Ma takes the stage at the Granada Theatre Saturday, April 27, to explore the role that culture can play in helping us to imagine and build a better future, he’ll also serve as an ambassador for UC Santa Barbara’s Arts & Lectures (A&L).
Ma’s visit to Santa Barbara — which includes a free, open-to-the-public, master class with UC Santa Barbara students, and the above-mentioned lecture, “Culture, Understanding and Survival” — marks a high point for the program.
“Our relationship with Yo-Yo is very special,” said Celesta M. Billeci, A&L’s Miller McCune Executive Director. “I think it’s unique to any program in the country, and I can say with confidence he has a very special relationship with us.” That relationship, she added, extends to Chancellor Henry T. Yang and his wife, Dilling.
This season, A&L has also co-commissioned a project with the Grammy Award-winning Silkroad Ensemble, founded by Ma in 1998. The genre-defying global musicians will perform the world premiere of “Take Their Stands” Friday, April 26, at the Granada.
“This is really research in action in the arts,” Billeci said. “We gave the money to this ensemble to create new work. They’ve created five new pieces they will premiere and will tour all over the world. And we did this here at UCSB. So that’s a real testament to the quality of this program and to being a leader in the arts.”
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Yannick Lebrun and Sarah Daley. Photo Credit: ANDREW ECCLES.
During the week prior to their performance, the musicians will be on campus working with students in the music, dance and religious studies departments and in the Givertz School of Education.
For example, Silkroad members Haruka Fuji and Sandeep Das will conduct a lecture/demonstration and Kayhan Kalhor will conduct a Dastgah practicum in world music; Kojiro Umezaki and Cristina Pato will hold a workshop with Gevirtz School of Education student teachers; Ahmad Sadri and Wu Tong will lead a meet-the-artist conversation on Asian religious traditions; and Aparna Ramaswamy will share Bharatnatyam dance traditions with students in the theater and dance department.
Education, Billeci stressed, is at the heart of A&L’s programming. “Its purpose is to really be intertwined with the academic program and be a supplement for the academic experience of students on this campus,” she said. “It’s not peripheral; it’s definitely to the core of the academic mission.”
To that end, Billeci, Associate Director Roman Baratiak and their team, particularly program manager Heather Silva, work closely with academic departments and individual faculty members to set priorities for the types of lectures and performances they bring to campus. “The speakers and artists we bring are not just coming here and doing their public presentation,” explained Caitlin O’Hara, A&L writer and publicist. “They’re going to campus for class events or master classes. They’re very heavily enmeshed in the campus as part of their stay.”
Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s recent visit is a prime example. Prior to her public lecture she met with honors students from the College of Letters and Science. “Frankly, I think some of our speakers are shocked at how much we expect them to do,” Baratiak quipped.
“We also present a lot of free events for students,” added Billeci, noting the recent concert with ukulele wizard Jake Shimabukuro in Storke Plaza. “This is the second time we’ve had him do that. He did it before and the students went nuts for him. They just love him. And he just loves them. He’s a great ambassador for our program and for music overall.”
Plans to bring performers to A&L are often in the works years ahead of time. With the dance series, for instance, Billeci meets with faculty members several times throughout the year to understand who they are interested in having come to campus. Professors and lecturers often build class visits into their curricula, and when these companies perform, hundreds of students are in the audience.
“On our lecture side, our education coordinator will reach out to academic departments and individual faculty members and say, ‘Here’s an opportunity,’” explained Baratiak. They can elect to send their students to an event or, if time can be spared in the performer’s or presenter’s schedule, he or she might meet with students. “We have collaborations with the College of Creative Studies, the writing program, pretty much most departments,” he added.
“I think we’ve got one of the most exciting and interesting public lecture programs in the country,” said Baratiak, whose 40-year tenure with the program began when he was a student at UC Santa Barbara. “So it’s obviously something that I think all of us are proud of here at A&L.”
Baratiak is particularly enthusiastic, he added, about the annual free summer film series presented at the Santa Barbara Courthouse in collaboration with the Santa Barbara County Office of Arts and Culture.
The truth is, over the last 60 years, A&L has enabled Santa Barbara audiences to spend time with some incredible individuals and performers: Upton Sinclair, Robert Oppenheimer, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Allen Ginsberg and The Dalai Lama (on three separate occasions), to name a few.
In addition to Yo-Yo Ma, A&L has more recently brought to the local stage Joan Baez, Trevor Noah, Laurie Anderson, Gloria Steinem, Bill T. Jones, the NYC Ballet, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Sonny Rollins and Twyla Tharp.
A&L also presented talks by Pakistani activist and Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai (“We were the only university in the country that got that date,” Billeci pointed out) and comedian Jon Stewart (“We presented him to 5,000 students in the Thunderdome”), and a concert by alumnus Jack Johnson, who performed at Harder Stadium.
The talk by former vice president Joe Biden at the Arlington Theater also stands out. “We were doing a free simulcast for students on the campus, and as soon as it ended he jumped in the car and came to campus to meet with the students who’d watched the simulcast,” recalled O’Hara. “He sat and talked with them. I’ve had so many students talk to me and say how impactful that was.”
Similarly, a recent — and free — lecture by Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo Movement, also was a high point for students, according to O’Hara. So many students wanted to hear her talk that simulcasts to overflow rooms were required to accommodate them.
“If you go back 60 years,” Billeci remarked, “this program is really really amazing.”
On the community outreach side, the A&L initiative dearest to Billeci’s heart is ¡Viva el Arte de Santa Bárbara! The program offers free performances and educational activities to students, at-risk youth and families in Santa Barbara County. “We have made the long-term commitment to bring high quality arts — not average or mediocre — the very best in music and dance to these communities and to the folks who live there,” Billeci said.
Putting on more than 100 events every year is a team effort, and Billeci is quick to credit the contributions of A&L staff, which includes roughly 75 work-study students. “Often Roman and I get a lot of credit, but this does not work without the amazing group of people that make this machine move,” she said. “For the size of this program — a nationally respected, top-five program in the country — this group of people is so dedicated and so hard working and it’s my privilege and my pleasure to work with them every day.”
The New Yorker calls them, “Singers of superb musicianship and vocal allure.” National Public Radio praises New York Polyphony for a “rich, natural sound that’s larger and more complex than the sum of its parts.”
Hear them for yourself when UCSB Arts & Lectures presents the two-time Grammy Award-nominated vocal chamber ensemble New York Polyphony in its Santa Barbara debut on Wednesday, February 20 at 7 p.m. at Music Academy of the West’s Hahn Hall (1070 Fairway Rd., Santa Barbara).
The provocative program Faith and Reason includes Thomas Tallis’ Mass for Four Voices and Gregory Brown’s Missa Charles Darwin—the inspiration behind his brother Dan Brown’s latest Da Vinci Code novel—which honors the conventions of its musical antecedents but replaces sacred texts with excerpts from Darwin’s writings. Of special note, this performance marks the return of Music Academy of the West alumnus Christopher Dylan Herbert, the group’s baritone, to his alma mater.
For tickets or more information, call UCSB Arts & Lectures at 805/893-3535 or purchase online at ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.edu.
Students attend Mike’s Field Trip To The Movies during the 34th Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on January 31, 2019 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF).
As a way to thank everyone who supported and made the Film Festival possible, Santa Barbara International Film Festival will once again be showing select award winning films from the 2019 SBIFF during the 3RD WEEKEND!
“As a thank you to our community, films we will be shown for FREE! No tickets necessary, seating will be on a first come first served basis at SBIFF’s Riviera Theatre,” according to the organizers.
“This is the second year the Vintners Foundation has sponsored SBIFF and we are proud to continue our support for this showcase for filmmaking and the community education programs that SBIFF organizes throughout the year for local students,” says Katy Rogers, president of Santa Barbara Vintners Foundation, the charitable umbrella under which Santa Barbara Vintners conducts its philanthropic work.
Tickets for all festival events and film screenings, are available at sbiff.org. Hope to see you there. Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.
When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”
Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) opens with world premiere of Diving Deep:The Life and Times of Mike deGruy, directed by Mimi deGruy. Closing night film is Spoons: A Santa Barbara Story, directed by Wyatt Daily. Just announced: Rami Malek to receive Outstanding Performer of the Year on Friday, Feb. 1. Plus tributes to Viggo Mortensen, Glenn Close, Melissa McCarthy, Michael B. Jordan and more, including 64 world premiere and 59 U.S. premiere films.
“SBIFF is an event that brings together a plethora of visitors—international, national and local filmmakers, Oscar contenders, vital educational programs,” said Executive Director Roger Durling at a kick-off press conference earlier this month. “We have entered this year with a renewed sense of purpose and continuity with the festival and understand more than ever the important role we play in the community. As such, we have chosen to bookend our festival with two films about iconic people and places in Santa Barbara to highlight the resilience, vitality and the talent within the Santa Barbara community.”
Here’s an overview of the entire festival, which runs from Wednesday, January 30 through Saturday, February 9.
SBIFF 2019 will start with the Opening Night Film, presented by UGG®, on Wednesday, January 30, at the historic Arlington Theatre with the world premiere of Diving Deep:The Life and Times of Mike deGruy, directed by Mimi deGruy. A feature film documentary about Mike deGruy, an irrepressible biologist turned award-winning filmmaker who swam, dived and filmed in oceans around the world and in the process became the first to film many rarely seen creatures in their own oceans. He was also a passionate advocate of the ocean’s creatures and became increasingly outspoken as an environmental activist. In 2012, deGruy died tragically in a helicopter crash in Australia while filming for director James Cameron. Told through the eyes of his wife and filmmaking partner, Diving Deep celebrates deGruy’s remarkable life, career and what he passionately believed: we are destroying the ocean before we even know what’s there.
Following the film, the Opening Night Gala, sponsored by Amazon Studios, will take place in Paseo Nuevo Shops and Restaurants in downtown Santa Barbara. Always a fun event, the party features entertainment, food, libations, and a chance to celebrate the start of SBIFF.
The Festival will close Saturday, February 9 at the Arlington Theatre with the world premiere of Spoons: A Santa Barbara Story directed by Wyatt Daily. The Closing Night Film is sponsored by Winchester Mystery House.
Spoons: A Santa Barbara Story is an exploration of how one of the most significant corners of the world produced, and continues to produce, some of the most talented surfers and innovators. Deeper than all is a story of craftsmanship, work ethic, renegades and tradition. This is a film that goes beyond the time spent in the ocean to define how one spends a lifetime. Following the film, SBIFF will end with a final celebration at the Closing Night Party sponsored by Amazon Studios.
SBIFF has become an important showcase for Academy Award frontrunners, many of whom have arrived as nominees and gone on to win the Oscar. The 34th SBIFF proudly celebrates some of the year’s finest work in film.
Michael B. Jordan (Creed II, Black Panther) will receive the Cinema Vanguard Award presented by Belvedere Vodka on Thursday, February 7 at 8 p.m.
All tributes take place at the historic Arlington Theatre with the exception of the Variety Artisans Award which will be at the Lobero Theatre, presented by Toyota Mirai.
MIchael B. Jordan, courtesy SBIFF.
SBIFF has become renowned for creating smart, insightful panels that feature a who’s who in the world of filmmaking, including many Oscar contenders.
Producers Panel will be on Saturday, February 2 at 10 a.m., moderated by Glenn Whipp.
Writers Panel will be on Saturday,February 2 at 1 p.m., moderated by Anne Thompson.
Women’s Panel will be on Sunday, February 3 at 11 a.m., moderated by Madelyn Hammond.
All panels take place at the Lobero Theatre, presented by Toyota Mirai. Panelists to be announced.
EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS AND FREE SCREENINGS
Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies – Named for renowned nature cinematographer Mike deGruy, Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies uses filmmaking to stimulate creative, confident, and culturally aware thinkers. The program is offered to 4,000 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students from throughout Santa Barbara County, and SBIFF provides free transportation to students from Title I schools. This year SBIFF presents Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse with directors Peter Ramsey, Robert Persichetti Jr., Rodney Rothman and Ralph Breaks the Internet with directors Rich Moore and Phil Johnston. The directors will participate in a Q&A following the screenings with the students to discuss the craft of animated filmmaking. Sponsored by Montecito Bank & Trust, Patagonia, Union Bank, Bentson Foundation and Volentine Family Foundation.
Student Film Studies Program – Returning for its fifth year thanks to the generosity of Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin, the national student film studies program will bring 30 undergraduate film students from across the country for a three-day symposium with a focus on film appreciation, criticism, and analysis. Sixty college students in Santa Barbara have the opportunity to take an 11-Day Film Festival course through Santa Barbara City College.
AppleBox Family Films – SBIFF will again screen animated feature frontrunners free to families on the weekends of the Festival with complimentary popcorn and refreshments. This year’s screenings will include Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (10 a.m. on February 2), Ralph Breaks the Internet (10 a.m. on February 3), and Incredibles 2 (10 a.m. on February 9). Sponsored by Metropolitan Theatres.
10–10–10Student Screenwriting and Filmmaking Mentorship and Competition – In October, 20 high school and college screenwriters and filmmakers were accepted after a competitive application process before beginning a series of workshops, a table read, and a casting day. Since then, the ten writer/director teams and their crews have worked with industry mentors to produce short films that will be screened on Saturday, February 9 at 2 p.m. at The Arlington Theatre, with an announcement of the winning scripts and films following the screening. Sponsored by Final Draft Inc. and generously supported by Mary Beth Riordan.
Free Public Screenings – SBIFF will again offer critically acclaimed film screenings free to the public at the Lobero Theatre presented by Toyota Mirai everyday throughout the Festival.
Filmmaker Seminars – SBIFF will again present educational seminars that will be free to the public and will take place in the Festival Pavilion daily at 11 a.m. Filmmaker Seminars are sponsored by Driscoll’s.
Super Silent Sunday –On Sunday, February 3, SBIFF will present the 1927 influential German science-fiction film Metropolis at the Arlington Theatre completely free to the public. Live accompaniment will be provided by Adam Aceto on the theatre’s Wonder Morton pipe organ. Super Silent Sunday is sponsored by Winchester Mystery House.
Youth CineMedia – SBIFF presentsa documentary film series produced entirely by teens involved in the Youth CineMedia program. Striving to help children transition away from gang life, drugs, and alcohol and into college and careers in music, photography, and video production, the organization offers creative tools, training, and support for underprivileged and at–risk teens. Free to the public with Q&A following on Saturday, February 9.
FOCUS ON SANTA BARBARA
Santa Barbara Filmmakers – The Santa Barbara filmmaking community continues to captivate and inspire audiences with this year’s impressive lineup. Santa Barbara filmmakers provide a diverse, thought–provoking series of features and shorts.
The “Stand Up” Award sponsored by ADL – The Santa Barbara Tri–Counties Region of the Anti–Defamation League will be sponsoring and presenting the “ADL Stand Up Award” to a dramatic film in the festival that represents an important addition to the efforts of the ADL “to secure justice and fair treatment for all.”
The Tribute Awards were once again specially designed by Santa Barbara’s own Daniel Gibbings Jewelry. The award is inspired by the iconic steeple of Santa Barbara’s historic Arlington Theatre, is handcrafted in metal, and is 24 karat gold–plated, with a custom marble base.
34th Festival Poster – Barbara Boros has designed the SBIFF poster each year for 16 years, this year highlighting Butterfly Beach.
Official Festival Hub – The official festival hub will again be located at Hotel Santa Barbara, returning for their 16th year as supporters of SBIFF.
Below is the list of feature and short films at the 2019 SBIFF. For the complete list of films, synopses, and other special events, visit www.sbiff.org.
20 WORLD PREMIERE FEATURE FILMS(listed alphabetically)
Babysplitters, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Sam Friedlander
Better Together, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Isaac Hernández
The Bird Catcher, Norway, UK – World Premiere
Directed by Ross Clarke
Cemetery Park, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Brandon Alvis
Diving Deep: The Life and Times of Mike deGruy, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Mimi deGruy
Enormous: The Gorge Story, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Nic Davis
Find Your Groove, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Michael Kirk
Guest Artist, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Timothy Busfield
Ham on Rye, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Tyler Taormina
Here and Now (Aquí y ahora), Costa Rica – World Premiere
Directed by Paz León
Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Jason Baffa
Making Apes: The Artists Who Changed Film, USA – World Premiere
Directed by William Conlin
The Map to Paradise, Australia – World Premiere
Directed by Danielle Ryan and James Sherwood
Ordinary Gods, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Pascui Rivas
Peel, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Rafael Monserrate
Quiet Storm, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Johnny Sweet
Silent Forests, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Mariah Wilson
Spoons: A Santa Barbara Story, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Wyatt Daily
Working Man, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Robert Jury
Zulu Summer, South Africa, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Joseph Litzinger and Eric Michael Schrader
51 U.S. PREMIERE FEATURE FILMS(listed alphabetically)
Alone at My Wedding (Seule à mon mariage), Belgium – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Marta Bergman
Amá, UK – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Lorna Tucker
Angel Face (Gueule d’ange), France – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Vanessa Filho
The Apollo of Gaza (L’Apollon de Gaza), Switzerland, Canada – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Nicolas Wadimoff
Belmonte, Uruguay, Spain, Mexico – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Federico Veiroj
Betrayal (Traición), Mexico – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Ignacio Ortiz Cruz
Break (Recreo), Argentina – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Hernán Guerschuny and Jazmín Stuart
Breaking Habits, USA – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Robert Ryan
Celeste, Australia – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Ben Hackworth
Crystal Swan (Khrustal), Belarus – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Darya Zhuk
The Dead and the Others (Chuva é cantoria na aldeia dos mortos), Brazil, Portugal – U.S. Premiere
Directed by João Salaviza and Renée Nader Messora
Emma Peeters, Canada, Belgium – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Nicole Palo
Ether (Eter), Poland, Hungary, Lithuania, Ukraine, Italy – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Krzysztof Zanussi
Fine Lines, Hong Kong – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Dina Khreino
Fly by Night (Fei chang dao), Malaysia – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Zahir Omar
Freaks, USA – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Adam Stein and Zach Lipovsky
Helmet Heads (Cascos indomables), Chile, Costa Rica – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Neto Villalobos
Here and Now, Israel – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Roman Shumunov
Holy Tour (La grande messe), Belgium, France – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Méryl Fortunat-Rossi and Valéry Rosier
I Act, I Am (Igram, sem), Slovenia – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Miroslav Mandic
Joel, Argentina – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Carlos Sorín
José, Guatemala, USA – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Li Cheng
Journey to a Mother’s Room (Viaje al cuarto de una madre), Spain – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Celia Rico Clavellino
King Bibi: The Life and Performances of Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel, USA – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Dan Shadur
Land of Hope (Oma maa), Finland – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Markku Pölönen
Land of My Children (Im land meiner kinder), Germany, Switzerland – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Darío Aguirre
The Laps: Tasmania, Australia – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Dustin Hollick and Angie Davis
Les Dames (Ladies), Switzerland – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond
Metal Heart, Ireland – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Hugh O’Conor
Murderous Trance aka The Guardian Angel, Finland – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Arto Halonen
My Own Good (Il bene mio), Italy – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Pippo Mezzapesa
Nose to Tail, Canada – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Jesse Zigelstein
Not Quite Adults (Tampoco tan grandes), Argentina – U.S. Premiere
Looking for something fun to do to chase those winter blues away. Why not check out the first-ever foodie, wine, mixology & indie music weekend at Hotel Californian (36 State St., Santa Barbara) from January 25-27.
“This is the first of a new quarterly weekend series that will bring inspiring culinary, musical and cultural experiences to Santa Barbara’s hip Funk Zone neighborhood,” says Niki Jenson, who represents Hotel Californian.
Featuring chefs, indie musicians, vibey DJ beats and community vintners, this sounds like something that shouldn’t be missed. Highlights include Friday night’s “meet the makers” opening night reception with a vibey beats from Boom Forest, along with Bittercube Cocktails, Potek Wine and light bites.
There will be a Bittercube mixology class—the Seven Pillars of Classic Cocktails—on Saturday in Hotel Californian’s sexy new Djinn lobby bar. Bittercube is a Wisconsin-based line of densely flavored cocktail bitters that are created by hand with real botanicals, taking as long as 25 days to complete the process.
As part of Hotel Californian’s Constellation Pop Up Weekend, Bittercube co-founder Ira Koplowitz will host a mixology class, complete with cocktail tasting and curated snacks. Courtesy photo.
And if that’s not enough excitement, Sunday features a winemaker brunch featuring wines from Dave Potter of Municipal Winemakers.
Tickets are still available, click here to access them (choose among individual event tickets or two VIP Packages). This should be a really fun weekend. I hope to see some of you there.
Cheers! Click here for more Cocktail Corner columns.
When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.
Actresses Allison Janney, Margot Robbie and moderator Scott Feinberg speak onstage at the Outstanding Performers Honoring Margot Robbie and Allison Janney Presented By Belvedere Vodka during The 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on February 8, 2018 in Santa Barbara. Photo by Rebecca Sapp, Getty Images for SBIFF.
A joyous celebration of the art of cinema, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) is one of the leading film festivals in the U.S., offering its 90,000 attendees (comprised of an eclectic mix of locals and visitors from around the world) an 11-day experience jam-packed with 200+ films, tributes and panels.
Among the highlights of the 2019 festival, taking place Jan. 30 – Feb. 9, are the celebrity tributes at the historic Arlington Theatre. First up (at press time) is the American Riviera Award honoring Viggo Mortensen on the afternoon of Feb. 2. Mortensen will be recognized for his many attributes to the art of film over the years, and most recently, his work in Green Book.
Viggo Mortensen, courtesy SBIFF.
“Viggo is one of the steadiest acting forces in cinema and one of its greatest chameleons,” says SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling. “As Tony Lip in Green Book, he delivers the capstone to his remarkable career. He encapsulates the American Riviera Award. We greatly admire and love him.”
“Glenn Close is one of the great actresses of our time. Versatility is her hallmark, and there is clearly nothing she can’t do. She became a star with her first feature film, The World According to Garp, and has gone on to play everyone from Cruella de Vil to aging silent-film star Norma Desmond in the stage musical of Sunset Blvd. I can’t wait to spend an evening with her onstage at the Arlington Theatre,” states Maltin.
“Melissa McCarthy—always a compelling talent—triumphs as Lee Israel in Can You Ever Forgive Me?” says Durling. “She’s funny, dark, caustic and oh so vulnerable. SBIFF is so pleased to be able to award this performance and her career so far.”
SBIFF Virtuosos Award presented by UGG honoring Yalitza Aparicio (Roma), Sam Elliott (A Star is Born), Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade), Claire Foy (First Man), Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Thomasin McKenzie (Leave No Trace), John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman),and Steven Yeun (Burning). Photos courtesy SBIFF.
“From talented teenagers starring in their first feature films to veteran actors shining in career-best performances, this year’s
Virtuosos prove that you can have a breakout moment at any point in your career,” says Turner Classic Movies host Dave Karger, who will preside over the evening for the eighth consecutive year.
“It’s thrilling to honor Michael B. Jordan this year for the emboldened way he’s shown us what it means to be a movie star for the 21st century—mixing sensitivity with swagger, choosing important material that remains full of integrity yet become world phenomenon, and forging a cinematic partnership with visionary director Ryan Coogler,” says Durling.
SBIFF educational offerings include a Film Studies Program for undergraduate students from around the U.S., and the 10-10-10 (Ten Writers – Ten Directors – Ten Films) Screenwriting and Filmmaking Mentorship and Competition. There are also numerous other educational opportunities for local students and community members. For more information and the complete schedule, visit sbiff.org.
Actor Sam Rockwell speaks onstage at The American Riviera Award Honoring Sam Rockwell during The 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on February 7, 2018 in Santa Barbara. Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer, Getty Images for SBIFF.
Jazz musician Jon Batiste, bandleader on The Late Show with Steven Colbert, makes his Santa Barbara debut on Friday, January 11 at 8 p.m. at UCSB Campbell Hall, in a UCSB Arts & Lectures presentation.
Wynton Marsalis describes him as “an elegant and electric performer with an unbelievably rich palette of techniques and styles rooted in New Orleans soul.”
Batiste is seen by millions on television five nights a week on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. “The energy and the excitement, the love of the audience, the humanism that he brings to his music is everything that I want,” says Colbert.
With his soulful brand of high-energy pop mixed with New Orleans funk and American jazz standards, his 2013 album Social Music with his band Stay Human topped the charts as the No. 1 jazz album in the world. His new album was recorded in a church in native city of New Orleans and produced by T Bone Burnett. Batiste’s major label debut, Hollywood Africans, is a stunning showcase of the brilliant pianist and vocalist. Primarily just Batiste and his piano, it includes standards, unexpected covers and original songs. This release displays Batiste’s dynamic talents and highlights his musicality and virtuosity on his instrument.
The Forbes 30 under 30 honoree balances a demanding performance schedule—which often includes his signature, impromptu ‘love riot’ street parades—with his role as bandleader on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Artistic Director At Large of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, public speaking engagements, master classes and occasional acting gigs. He played himself on the HBO series Treme and most recently appeared in director Spike Lee‘s Red Hook Summer.
Batiste is also a coveted artist brand ambassador– currently featured in ad campaigns for Chase Bank, the Apple Watch, Lincoln Continental and numerous fashion brands including Polo Ralph Lauren Black Label, Frye, Kate Spade, Jack Spade Barneys, Nordstrom and H&M.
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.
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.