Squirrel Nut Zippers

Squirrel Nut Zippers, photo by Paul Familetti.

Squirrel Nut Zippers, photo by Paul Familetti.

Alternative band The Squirrel Nut Zippers comes to UCSB Campbell Hall on Thursday, March 1 at 8 p.m. in a UCSB Arts & Lectures presentation.

Described as ‘combining high-energy showmanship with elements of gypsy jazz, honky-tonk blues and witty swing overtones,” The Squirrel Nut Zippers’ most celebrated and commer­cially successful album, Hot, top-charting fast-and-loose ode to hot jazz, sold more than 1.3 million copies.

In honor of the album’s 20th anniversary of Hot, SNZ’s creator Jimbo Mathus and founding drummer Chris Phillips have enlisted leading musicians from New Orleans to serve up the band’s unique musical flavor, which owes its roots to that city. A newly-remastered version of Hot–along with a bonus track: “The Puffer”–returned to stores in 2016 on Hollywood Records. Long out of print on vinyl, the album has now made its glorious return to wax on 180-gram vinyl

The band is on tour after an almost seven-year hiatus and Beasts of Burgundy, their first studio album in 18 years, is due out March 23.

For tickets and information, call 805/893-3535, or visit www.ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.edu.

Leslie Dinaberg  

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

UCSB Art Design & Architecture Museum Winter Exhibits Feature Keith Puccinelli, Jane Gottlieb & Chiura Obata

Image: Chiura Obata, Grand Canyon, May 15, 1940, Watercolor on silk, Amber and Richard Sakai Collection, courtesy UCSB ADA&A Museum.

Image: Chiura Obata, Grand Canyon, May 15, 1940, Watercolor on silk, Amber and Richard Sakai Collection, courtesy UCSB ADA&A Museum.

UCSB Art Design & Architecture Museum has three terrific winter exhibits opening this month. Chiura Obata: An American Modern is on view Jan. 13-April 29 and features the work of Chiura Obata, one of the most significant Japanese American artists of the last century. Also on view during that same time period is Jane Gottlieb Photographs France, featuring the vibrantly colored, energetic cibachrome vision of Jane Gottlieb, a local artist whose work has been exhibited widely and featured in Santa Barbara Seasons.

Also opening on Jan. 13 and on view through April 1 is art by the late Keith Puccinelli, whose renowned work has been featured in Santa Barbara Seasons and who recently passed away.

The opening reception for all shows takes place on Jan. 12, from 5:30–7:30 p.m. at UCSB Art Design & Architecture Museum, 552 University Rd., UCSB.

About Chiura Obata

Born in Okayama, Japan, and working primarily in California, Obata emigrated to the U.S. in 1903 and embarked on a seven-decade career that saw not only the growth of an international American art but also xenophobic laws and the mass incarceration of Americans of Japanese descent during World War II. Obata emerged as a leading figure in Northern California’s art scene, serving as an influential art professor at the University of California Berkeley for 22 years, and as a founding director of art schools at the Tanforan Assembly Center in California and the Topaz Relocation Center in Utah during the Japanese American Internment (1942–45).

Chiura Obata: An American Modern surveys Obata’s rich and varied oeuvre, featuring more than 150 superb works of art, many of which have never been on public display. Drawing from private and public collections, the retrospective showcases representative works from every decade of Obata’s career and presents them under thematic groupings in a loosely chronological order.

The many smaller, never-shown works in this retrospective illustrate Obata’s tireless pursuit of better techniques and devoted appreciation of the detail of everyday life.

“With a prodigious and expansive oeuvre, Obata’s seemingly effortless mastery of, and productive engagement with, diverse techniques, styles, and traditions defy the seemingly incompatible categorizations of what we have come to define as ‘American/European’ and ‘Japanese/Asian’ art,” says Professor ShiPu Wang, curator of the exhibition. “Obata’s faith in the power of art, his devotion to preserving the myriad grandeur of what he called ‘Great Nature,’ and his compelling personal story as an immigrant and an American all make Obata and his art as relevant to our contemporary moment as ever.”

Jane Gottlieb, Brancusi Head, 2017, photo-based art, archival dye sublimation print on aluminum, 40 x 60 in.

Jane Gottlieb, Brancusi Head, 2017, photo-based art, archival dye
sublimation print on aluminum, 40 x 60 in.

About Jane Gottlieb

Jane Gottlieb is a photographer living in Southern California, where she was born and raised. In her early 20s she made her first trip by herself as a young professional to Paris. The images she took then, and in many subsequent trips, have been a touchstone of her life’s work. She has returned to them again and again in the last decades, changing them progressively to meet her vision of France as the technology available to her has advanced.

Gottlieb’s vision of France is not like anyone else’s. It is riotous in color, hyper-vibrant in energy, and deeply Californian, shot through with a purely Mexican palette. When she discovered the possibility of hand painting cibachrome prints she had the tools to change the world to match her vision. Printing from her library of color slides, she could brighten them up and give them a new exciting life. The possibility of saturated, unrealistic color was released from Pandora’s box, not to cause trouble but to irritate the eye like a grain of sand in an oyster, producing pearls of perception.

The exhibition includes 20 works by Gottlieb, which survey both the development of her techniques and the specific motifs she has concentrated on in France. The photographs range in date from the late 1970s to the mid 1990s, and the prints from the early 1980s to the present. In addition, the exhibition includes, by way of contrast, late 19th-century photographs and postcards, which express the typical way photographers and visitors have viewed France, and highlight the originality of Gottlieb’s images.

With the cibachromes and then her digital prints, the power of Gottlieb’s vision has been widely recognized. Her work has been exhibited internationally and locally, from Basel, Lisbon, London, Paris, Rome, and Milan, to New York City and Denver, and in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. Gottlieb’s work resonates across a broad range of viewers and interests.

Keith Puccinelli, Chesire Cat, 1998, ink on paper, 6 x 4 in.

Keith Puccinelli, Chesire Cat, 1998, ink on paper, 6 x 4 in.

About Keith Puccinelli

To announce the extraordinary gift of works and an archive by Keith Puccinelli as well as the recent establishment of The Frances Garvin and Keith Julius Puccinelli Endowed Fund, the AD&A Museum is mounting a celebratory exhibition. Featuring Keith Puccinelli’s work and selections from the couple’s personal collection, this exhibition is a modest installation in anticipation of a larger, forthcoming presentation of this incredible donation. Including a selection of Keith Puccinelli’s drawings, sculptures, sketchbooks, graphic designs and art by local and international folk artists, this installation underscores how this couple, recently deceased, lived an inspired, creative life.

Admission to UCSB Art, Design & Architecture is always free. The Museum is closed Mondays and Tuesdays and open to the public from noon-5 p.m. daily, except Thursdays, when it is open from noon to 8 p.m.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 7, 2018.

UCSB Arts & Lectures Presents Telluride Mountainfilm on Tour

Mountainfilm Tour Poster, the Accord.

Mountainfilm Tour Poster, the Accord.

Film and nature collide when UCSB Arts & Lectures presents Telluride Mountainfilm on Tour on Thursday, October 20, at 7:30 p.m. at UCSB Campbell Hall.

Telluride Mountainfilm was launched more than 30 years ago by a group of climbers and friends dedicated to educating and inspiring audiences about issues that matter, cultures worth exploring, environments worth preserving and conversations worth sustaining. Still true to the core idea that friends, adventure, passion and powerful ideas are as tantalizing as ever, this 134-minute program offers a six-senses experience of art, adventure, culture and the environment in an eclectic and exciting program of nine short films. 

The show is emceed by a Mountainfilm presenter who guides the audience through the program, often sharing personal stories from his or her interactions with the filmmaker or the film’s subjects.

An image from Lindsay Branham and Jon Kasbe's film "Nascent," courtesy UCSB Arts & Lectures.

An image from Lindsay Branham and Jon Kasbe’s film “Nascent,” courtesy UCSB Arts & Lectures.

Films in the UCSB program will explore the struggle to reach the highest peaks on the planet; marathon life lessons; a BASE jumper’s dream; the triumphs and tribulations of surfing in Iceland; the near-impossibility of skateboarding on the wild, cold Norwegian coast; the power of hope to overcome the greatest differences; discovering a lifeline in the unlikeliest of pursuits; the mental and physical strain of pushing a sport to new heights (literally); and a skier who takes delinquency to new limits.

Here is what to expect:


Wasfia Nazreen doesn’t just climb for the thrill; she climbs for a cause. The first Bangladeshi to scale the Seven Summits, Wasfia has made it her purpose to brave these climbs for the sake of something larger – for the women of Bangladesh. Lyrical and poetic, this short documentary is a reflective character portrait that takes us from the depths of Wasfia’s struggles to the highest peaks on the planet, as we explore what it means to pursue the unknown (Sean Kusanagi, 2016, 11 min.)

Mile 19

Since the inception of the Los Angeles marathon in 1986, 178 runners have completed every race. They’re called “Legacy Runners.” Johnnie Jameson is a member of this special group, but he’s not an elite runner: He’s a working man, a postal employee. But what he lacks in speed, he makes up in creativity. He ran his first marathon backward, finishing in last place. He dribbled a basketball the next year. Each race, wearing his signature Payless shoes, he stops and talks and takes his sweet time. And over the years, the marathon has become a form of therapy for Jameson, who was scarred deeply from serving as an infantryman in Vietnam. The annual challenge of running 26.2 miles has helped him cope, grow and recover from those traumatic experiences. “It’s not about how long you out there, it’s about completing the race,” he says. “You gotta grind it out, because life ain’t nothing but a grind.” This poignant film from Vincent DeLuca conveys a lifetime of lessons in 10 short minutes, spinning a powerful story of resilience, humor and healing. (Vincent DeLuca, 2016, 10 min.)

A still image from Vincent DeLuca's film "Mile 19," courtesy UCSB Arts & Lectures.

A still image from Vincent DeLuca’s film “Mile 19,” courtesy UCSB Arts & Lectures.

The Mysteries

The vision came to Krystle Wright in a dream: a bird’s-eye view of BASE jumpers in flight over a stark desert landscape. When she awoke, the adventure photographer resolved to make that vision into reality. And with that, the dream turned into an obsession – one that led her on a four-and-a-half-year journey of failed attempts, uncooperative weather, disappointments and inward examination. The Mysteries follows a tenacious, and perhaps crazy, quest to chase down an elusive image and provides a glimpse into the kind of singular passion that drives people to reach their goals, regardless of what stands in the way. (Skip Armstrong, 2015, 8 min.)

The Accord

Iceland is an island in the very north Atlantic where the wind is unpredictable at best, where perfect waves are almost as rare as albino elephants and where frigid temps require a full wetsuit arsenal. In other words, being a surfer in Iceland requires a particular mix of hardiness, patience, passion and insanity. And more than anything, it requires befriending that mercurial, capricious, wildly drunken and occasionally benevolent wind. (RC Cone, 2016, 18 min.)

Mot Nord

Ice, driftwood, foamy waves and … skateboards? In this poetic short film by Jørn Nyseth Ranum, four skaters head north to the cold Norwegian coast, applying their urban skills to a wild canvas of beach flotsam, frozen sand and pastel skies. The result is a beautiful mashup – biting winds and short days, ollies and one ephemeral quarterpipe. (Jørn Nyseth Ranum, 2016, 10 min.)


Nascent is proof of how short films can impart big messages. It’s a simple premise: two children, a Christian boy and a Muslim girl, give their perspectives on growing up in the divided and desperately poor Central African Republic. Despite differences in their upbringings and religious backgrounds, the pair share a hopeful vision of peace that would allow them to be friends. This could have been an awkward film or, worse, a treacly one. But in the hands of director Lindsay Branham (who attended school in Telluride in 5th and 6th grade), the result is a thoughtful and powerful documentary that asks the simple question: Why can’t we all just get along? (Lindsay Branham and Jon Kasbe, 2015, 7 min.)


Growing up in East Baltimore surrounded by poverty and violence is hard enough, and Coffin Nachtmahr had the added challenge of being different. He stutters. He never quite fit in, and he was picked on. Then he discovered a lifeline in the unlikeliest of pursuits: yo-yoing. In the subculture of “throwers,” he found purpose, acceptance and community. Today, Coffin is the city’s best, transforming the simple activity of yo-yoing into a transfixing dance of creativity, innovation and connection. (Darren Durlach and Dave Larson, 2016, 10 min.)

High and Mighty

The no-fall zone: It’s what makes highball bouldering the new cutting edge of climbing, where miniscule holds and overhanging routes can stretch more than 30 feet above the ground with no protection beyond a pile of crash pads below. But the thing about pushing bouldering to new heights – literally – is that the consequences also rise. Broken bones, concussions and trips to the hospital are among the more unfortunate results. And sometimes, the mental toughness required is even more strenuous than the actual climbing. This documentary from Sender Films follows the wild personalities who are pushing bouldering into high and mighty places it’s never been before. (Nick Rosen, Peter Mortimer and Josh Lowell, 2015, 20 min.)

One of Those Days 3

A manhunt is underway in the Alps to arrest French skier Candide Thovex. His crime? Where do we start? Dude skis over a helicopter, into camera vans, hits trees, interrupts races and busts through barns. In One of those Days 3, he takes his POV delinquency to new limits. (Candide Thovex, 2016, 5 min.)

Telluride Mountainfilm on Tour is presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures.

2016 Intro by Stash Wislocki from Tour Screeners on Vimeo.

Tickets are $15 for the general public and $10 for UCSB students and youths 18 & under (Current ID required). For tickets or more information, call UCSB Arts & Lectures at 805/893-3535 or purchase online at ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.edu.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 15, 2016.

Dug Uyesaka: Long Story Short

A collection of work by Dug Uyesaka will be on view at Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art beginning Oct. 20. Courtesy photo.

A collection of work by Dug Uyesaka will be on view at Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art beginning Oct. 20. Courtesy photo.

The Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum opens its fall season with a diverse collection of art objects and images by Dug Uyesaka, on view from October 20 through January 14 in the museum (955 La Paz Rd.).  A free, opening reception for “Dug Uyesaka: Long Story Short” takes place on Thursday, October 20, from 4-6 p.m. in the museum.

Uyesaka, a third generation Japanese-American, enrolled at UCSB in 1975 and was mentored by art faculty William Dole, Howard Fenton, Bob Thomas and Richard Ross.

"Guided by Voices II" by Dug Uyesaka, courtesy photo.

“Guided by Voices II” by Dug Uyesaka, courtesy photo.

“He is such an integral part of Santa Barbara’s art scene,” says Judy Larsen, R. Anthony Askew professor of art history and museum director. “He is a UCSB art graduate; a frequent exhibitor at art exhibitions around town; and an art teacher at Laguna Blanca School. Our mid-career retrospective of Dug’s work will showcase his amazing oeuvre—from prints to paintings and drawings, from collage to assemblage.” 

"Smoke" by Dug Uyesaka, courtesy photo.

“Smoke” by Dug Uyesaka, courtesy photo.

The Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art is free and open to the public Monday–Friday, from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 13, 2016.

Editor’s Pick: Melissa Etheridge

Melissa Etheridge, courtesy of UCSB Arts & Lectures.

Melissa Etheridge, courtesy of UCSB Arts & Lectures.

Award-winning musician Melissa Etheridge brings her singular song stylings and stage presence to UCSB’s Campbell Hall (Nov. 15) to celebrate the release of her new album and the inspiration behind some of her most beloved songs. artsandlectures.sa.ucsb.edu.

Originally published in the Fall 2015 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Bach, Broadway & Beyond Features Wicked’s Tiffany Haas

Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 12.06.22 PM

The Music and Arts Conservatory of Santa Barbara presents Bach, Broadway & Beyond, featuring soprano Tiffany Haas, star of Broadway’s Wicked, and MAC’s Virtuoso Strings conducted by Ernest Richardson, on Sunday, June 14 at 7 p.m. at Marjorie Luke Theatre, 721 E. Cota St.

“When Tiffany sang for us I just put a star by her name, put down my pen and listened,” Richardson recalls about his first encounter with Haas’ incredible voice. “From that point on, she has been such an important artist in my life. I write music for Tiffany and her ability to bring life to the notes I write is incredible. She is classically trained and can go from Bach to Broadway effortlessly which she will demonstrate beautifully while she literally enchants Santa Barbara.”

Haas’ program will include Bach’s Cantata No. 51 Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen; L’Amero saro costante from Mozart’s Il Re Pastore; Glitter and Be Gay from Bernstein’s Candide; and Jeanine Tesori’s The Girl in 14G. Also on the program, which may be subject to change, Vivaldi’s Concerto for Four Violins in B minor and Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings in C Major, Op. 48.

Tickets may be purchased online at www.brownpapertickets.com or www.sbmac.org.

In addition,  Haas will offer a musical theater master class and concert preview on Saturday, June 13 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the UCSB Music Department‘s Geiringer Hall. Tickets are $15, $5 for students, at the door. For more information, visit www.sbmac.org.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on June 9, 2015.