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.

13th Annual Kirk Douglas Award Honoring Hugh Jackman

Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) honors Academy Award nominee Hugh Jackman with the 13th annual Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film. The award will be presented at a black-tie Gala dinner at The Ritz Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara (8301 Hollister Ave.) on Monday, November 19.

Jackman is best known for Oscar-nominated films The Greatest Showman and Les Miserables, and for starring as Wolverine in The X-Men franchise. Jackman will next be seen in Jason Reitman’s The Front Runner, in theaters this month.

“I am delighted that Hugh Jackman will receive the 13th annual Kirk Douglas Award. He’s an exceptional talent of stage and screen, and one of the nicest people in the business. It’s my honor to have my name linked with his on this year’s award,” states Douglas.

Since 2006, the annual Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film has been awarded to a lifelong contributor to cinema through their work in front of the camera, behind, or both. Past honorees include Dame Judi Dench, Warren Beatty, Jane Fonda, Jessica Lange, Forest Whitaker, Robert DeNiro, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Quentin Tarantino, Ed Harris and John Travolta.

The black tie event is a fundraiser for SBIFF’s educational programs. For tickets and additional information, visit http://sbiff.org/events/kirk_douglas_award/.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 12, 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.

Wild Up at SBMA: GRADIENT

The modern music collective wild Upan adventurous chamber orchestra committed to creating visceral, thought-provoking happenings—comes to Santa Barbara Museum of Art on September 27 with a program inspired by Nam June Paik’s TV Clock. Featuring  Violinist Andrew McIntosh, the performance is  about space, light, and the passing of time.

Nam June Paik, TV Clock, 1963/1989. Twenty-four fixed-image color television monitors mounted on 24 pedestals. SBMA, Museum purchase with funds provided by the Grace Jones Richardson Trust, Lillian and Jon B. Lovelace, Leatrice and Eli Luria and the Luria Foundation, Zora and Les Charles and the Cheeryble Foundation, Wendy and Elliot Friedman, and Lord and Lady Ridley-Tree.

Nam June Paik, TV Clock, 1963/1989. Twenty-four fixed-image color television monitors mounted on 24 pedestals. SBMA, Museum purchase with funds provided by the Grace Jones Richardson Trust, Lillian and Jon B. Lovelace, Leatrice and Eli Luria and the Luria Foundation, Zora and Les Charles and the Cheeryble Foundation, Wendy and Elliot Friedman, and Lord and Lady Ridley-Tree.

Situated in front of Paik’s work, four wild Up violinists perform elegant and visceral works by Anahita Abbasi, John Cage, Tashi Wada, and Steve Reich. The event is free, but reservations are required as seating is limited.

wild Up has been called “Best in Classical Music 2015” and “…a raucous, grungy, irresistibly exuberant…fun-loving, exceptionally virtuosic family” by Zachary Woolfe of The New York Times, “Searing. Penetrating. And thrilling” by Fred Child of Performance Today and “Magnificent” by Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times. Over the last eight years, wild Up has collaborated with orchestras, rock bands and cultural institutions around the world.

The performance takes place on Thursday, September 27, from 6 – 7 p.m. at Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1130 State St., Santa Barbara. It is free but please reserve tickets at the Museum Visitor Services desk, or online at tickets.sbma.net.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on September 25, 2018.

“Storm Reading” Celebration

Storm Reading, courtesy photo.

Storm Reading, courtesy photo.

When Access Theatre’s pioneering play Storm Reading debuted at the Lobero in 1988, it was a ground-breaking piece of theater, which went on to inspire audiences in show after show worldwide for nearly a decade. Part of what made this play so extraordinary is the central character, Neil Marcus, who played himself during the play’s six-year run. Marcus lives with a very visible disability and works hard to represent life in a realistic way that is not focused on the fear of being different.

“The world says ‘You are a spastic quadriplegic.’ I say I’m a dancer. There’s a new movement happening in the world. People are beginning to realize they are more than what they’ve been told they are. The flame is fanned. The fire spreads. Every moment is a new moment to do what’s never been done before,” says Marcus in Storm Reading.

Storm Reading, courtesy photo.

Storm Reading, courtesy photo.

Now a new generation has the opportunity to familiarize itself with the show, when Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation hosts “Celebrating Storm Reading,” an evening with the acclaimed Access Theatre cast (Neil Marcus, Matthew Ingersoll and Kathryn Voice) and Director/Producer Rod Lathim. Along with special guest Anthony Edwards, the cast and creators will return to the Lobero Theatre to take a look back at the impact the play had on audiences and at the sustaining message that art holds the transformative power to heal body and mind. Selected scenes from the show will be staged and scenes from the television version will be screened.

“This year is the 30th anniversary of the debut of Storm Reading,” says Lathim, founder and artistic director of the award-winning theatre company, Access Theatre, from 1979-1996. “Storm Reading was unique because it was created here in Santa Barbara and went on to tour internationally.”

Storm Reading, courtesy photo.

Storm Reading, courtesy photo.

Storm Reading went on to tour through 20 states in the USA, as well as Canada and England over six years, and it garnered recognition from several luminaries in the entertainment world. Maria Shriver interviewed Marcus on The Today Show, and Linda Wertheimer featured him on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.” Storm Reading was performed as part of the NBC TV Special “From the Heart” at the Kennedy Center with Access Theatre Honorary Board Member Michael Douglas.

Don’t miss “Celebrating Storm Reading” at the Lobero Theatre (33 E. Canon Perdido St., Santa Barbara) on Friday, September 21 at 7 p.m. A VIP reception begins at 5:30 pm. For tickets and more information, visit cottagehealth.org/crhevent.

Leslie Dinaberg

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

Cocktail Corner: Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Get ready for another fun festival when the Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival returns to the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club on Saturday, September 8.

The festival combines polo, local wine, and music for a unique one-day experience that includes musical performances by ZZ Ward, Booker T. Jones, California Honeydrops, Quinn DeVeaux and DJ Sets by Soul Dust Productions.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Andrew Thill.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Andrew Thill.

The Festival features a careful curation of local food and wineries, including Jardesca, Lavender Oak Vineyard, Old Creek Ranch, Sanford Winery, Standing Sun Wines, Summerland Winery and more. In addition to a wine tasting hour from 1 -2 p.m. where attendees will having a chance to sample all of the featured wines, there’s also a VIP champagne and cheese hour from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

In addition, sommelier guided wine tasting tours will be available on a first come first serve basis and attendees will be guided across all of the wineries of the festival and given an overview, history, and tasting notes at each winery as well.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Andrew Thill.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Andrew Thill.

There are several different levels of experiences and perks available at the Festival, so visit sbpoloandwine.com for all of the specifics.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by David Lominska.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by David Lominska.

In addition, this year, the Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival is the kick-off event to the 8-goal polo series at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club. This will be an official polo game of the series, and is sure to be an incredible match. While not mandatory, the game’s elegant atmosphere will encourage guests to get in touch with their inner Julia Roberts (think the polo match scene in Pretty Woman). The bigger and more elaborate the hat the better, although September 8 is my birthday, so I might just wear my tiara! 

Hope to see you there. Cheers!

Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club is located at 3300 Via Real, Carpinteria.

Nick Waterhouse at Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Andrew Thill.

Nick Waterhouse at Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Andrew Thill.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

Click here for more Cocktail Corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

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.

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

Cocktail Corner: Biltmore Summer Tasting Series

Photo courtesy Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara.

Photo courtesy Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

It’s always a treat to visit Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, and this summer’s tasting series offers some particularly fun ways to celebrate the season. Next up, on July 13, is RED, WHITE & BREW, which features a Tequila Bar, as well as ice cold beer from some of Santa Barbara’s award-winning local microbreweries including Topa Topa, Telegraph Brewing, Brass Bear Brewing, Rincon Brewery, Island Brewing Company and Boochcraft.

In addition, guests can make a meal of it and pair their drinks with ceviche, barbecue suckling pig, Ensenada mussels and chorizo, lime coconut black beans and corn avocado salad from the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore’s creative culinary team. RED, WHITE & BREW takes place from 6-9 p.m. and is $55 per person.

Also on the Biltmore’s summer calendar is SUNSET SPRITZ, on August 24, featuring an Apertivo Bar offering Aperol Spritzes, Negroni’s and Italian red and white wines. The offerings also include housemade bites like fried cheese, olives, dalla forma pasta (prepared in Pecorino cheese wheel) and Cichetti Veneziani, aka traditional Venetian fare. SUNSET SPRITZ takes place from 6-9 p.m. and is $65 per person.

The Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore is located at 1260 Chanel Dr., Montecito. To purchase tickets for either event, please call 805/565-8232.

Cheers!  Click here for more Cocktail Corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

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.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on June 29, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: Sundown Sundays at Santa Barbara Wine Collective

The Santa Barbara Wine Collective Patio, photo by Rob Stark.

The Santa Barbara Wine Collective Patio, photo by Rob Stark.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Looking for something different and fun to do on a Sunday afternoon. Starting this week (June 17), Santa Barbara Wine Collective launches Sundown Sundays for summer. Relax with a glass of one of the member wineries’ vintages on the Santa Barbara Wine Collective patio, located on the Urban Wine Trail of Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone at 131 Anacapa St., Suite C.

Cheyenne Skye, courtesy photo.

Cheyenne Skye, courtesy photo.

Listen to the live music sounds of Cheyenne Skye on Sunday, June 17, from 3-6 p.m. “Cheyenne Skye sings from the heart and writes timeless songs with an equal touch of emotion and humor along with her love for nature. She projects a combination of folk and soul, almost as if Patsy Cline, Nina Simone, Janis Joplin, Jim Croce all had a baby together. An original member of the group Rainbow Girls, Skye has toured the Western United States and the UK/Europe, and has shared stages with California Honeydrops, Nicki Bluhm and the Gamblers, ALO, Brothers Comatose, Marty O’Reilly and the Old Soul Orchestra, John Craigie, Handmade Moments, Groove Session, Whiskerman and many more.”

DJ BargainBin, courtesy photo.

DJ BargainBin, courtesy photo.

DJ BarginBin (Jack Carmean) performs on Sunday, June 24 and Sunday, July 1. “DJ BargainBin is a classic, all-vinyl DJ from California’s central coast. Spinning multiple flavors of pop, rock, soul & schlock, since the mid-2000s, guesting at Sailing (at the Attic) and Horizons (at the Makeout Room) and hosting a monthly feature, Kodachrome at St. Mary’s Pub. Since relocating to the Central Coast, he’s been spinning the funk at Soul Service (@ the Mercury Lounge) and lounge grooves at Hi! Jinx! (@ the Imperial). In between the regular gigs, sometimes it’s powerpop, sometimes it’s smooth rock, sometimes New Wave, but it’s always classic vinyl and it’s always gonna get you on your feet!”

Persian Housecat performs July 8 & July 22 and Valdas Karalis (July 29). Helena Avenue Bakery Cheese Plates and Baguettes are available for purchase to enjoy with wines by the glass or bottle from Santa Barbara County member wineries Babcock Winery, Ca’ Del Grevino, Fess Parker Winery, Notary Public Wine, and The Paring & The Hilt.

Admission is free to the public and reservations are not required. The Santa Barbara Wine Collective patio is pet-friendly. Musical talent performs from 3-6 p.m. 

I hope to see you there.

Cheers!  Click here for more Cocktail Corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

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.

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.

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.