Legacies: The Lasting Impact of Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain addresses UCSB Arts & Lectures supporters at the sold out benefit event at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum. Photo by Kathryn Grace.

Anthony Bourdain addresses UCSB Arts & Lectures supporters at the sold out benefit event at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum. Photo by Kathryn Grace.

The tragic death of Anthony Bourdain hit fans around the world like a shockwave, and particularly those in Santa Barbara, where just one month earlier he made one of his last public appearances at a sold-out benefit for UCSB Arts & Lectures to raise funds for core programs and educational outreach.

Without an inkling of how special the night would become in retrospect, I was honored to enjoy Bourdain’s raw and unfiltered presentation offering entertaining life lessons and anecdotes from the kitchen and on the road. The renowned food personality, award-winning journalist and internationally-acclaimed raconteur delighted all of us with a colorful discussion of his unlikely rise from being “42 years old, completely broke-ass, standing in a kitchen dunking French fries,” to doing what he considers the greatest job in the world, where “life does not suck.” 

 

Anthony Bourdain, photos by Kathryn Grace.

Anthony Bourdain, photos by Kathryn Grace.

The irony of his suicide was not lost on those who attended, but the legacy of his generosity, way with words and openness to new experiences also lives on. He inspired us to travel with passion, eat with gusto, drink with strangers and connect with our fellow human beings. In death, as in life, Anthony Bourdain brought us closer together.

 

Event Planner Tamara Jensen, Anthony Bourdain and A&L Ambassador Sherry Villanueva. Photo by David Bazemore, courtesy UCSB Arts & Lectures.

Event Planner Tamara Jensen, Anthony Bourdain and A&L Ambassador Sherry Villanueva. Photo by David Bazemore, courtesy UCSB Arts & Lectures.

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s OK. The journey changes you; it should change you … You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” —Anthony Bourdain

 

A&L supporters Lynda Weinman & Bruce Heavin and Sara Miller McCune with Anthony Bourdain. Photo by David Bazemore, courtesy UCSB Arts & Lectures.

A&L supporters Lynda Weinman & Bruce Heavin and Sara Miller McCune with Anthony Bourdain. Photo by David Bazemore, courtesy UCSB Arts & Lectures.

“Context and memory play powerful roles in all the truly great meals in one’s life.” —Anthony Bourdain

Participating local chefs with Anthony Bourdain. Photo by David Bazemore, courtesy UCSB Arts & Lectures.

Participating local chefs with Anthony Bourdain. Photo by David Bazemore, courtesy UCSB Arts & Lectures.

“Maybe that’s enlightenment enough: to know that there is no final resting place of the mind; no moment of smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom … is realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.” —Anthony Bourdain

 

Leslie Dinaberg

This story was originally published in the Fall 2018 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott, photo by Sam Lamott.

Anne Lamott, photo by Sam Lamott.

Beloved author Anne Lamott is known for addressing complex subjects like addiction, motherhood, and faith with humor and uncompromising honesty. Her wise perspective has turned her books like Operating Instructions and Bird by Bird into well-worn handbooks for millions of readers who revel in her joyously messy take on life.

As the New York Times described Lamott, she is, “a writer who has perfected the art of saying the unsayable.” She doesn’t try to sugarcoat the sadness, frustration and disappointment, but tells her stories with honesty, compassion and a pureness of voice.

UCSB Arts & Lectures presents an evening with Anne Lamott on Tuesday, April 24, at 7:30 p.m. at The Granada Theatre, 1214 State St., Santa Barbara.

An inductee of the California Hall of Fame, a Guggenheim Fellow and the subject of a documentary by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Freida Mock, Lamott ventures to explore where to find meaning in life. Her latest book Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy, will be available (with others) for purchase and signing.

For tickets and information, call 805/893-3535, www.ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.edu or The Granada Theatre at 805/ 899-2222 or granadasb.org.

 —Leslie Dinaberg

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

Compañía Nacional de Danza

Compañía Nacional de Danza, photo by Jesús Vallinas.

Compañía Nacional de Danza, photo by Jesús Vallinas.

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

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

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

Compañía Nacional de Danza, photo by Jesús Vallinas.

Compañía Nacional de Danza, photo by Jesús Vallinas.

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

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

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

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

Leslie Dinaberg

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

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.

José González with Special Guest Bedouine

Jose Gonzalez, courtesy UCSB Arts & Lectures.

Jose Gonzalez, courtesy UCSB Arts & Lectures.

UCSB Arts & Lectures presents José González with special guest Bedouine on Wed., Jan. 31, at 8 p.m. at UCSB Campbell Hall.

 A soulful songwriter with a deep, quiet power, González quickly gained a loyal following worldwide, wooing his audience with probing lyrics, intricate guitar melodies and a “beautiful yet haunting voice” (Spin.com). Born in Sweden to Argentinian parents, González seamlessly integrates the sounds of his Latin American roots with sublime introspective folk punctuated by rock panache. “A spellbinding talent” (The Telegraph, U.K.), González returns by popular demand with special guest Bedouine, whose ‘60s folk meets ‘70s country-funk with a glimmer of bossa nova cool.

Watch the trailer for José González’s most recent album, Vestiges and Claws

Watch the video for Bedouine’s “Solitary Daughter

For tickets and more information, call UCSB Arts & Lectures at 805/893-3535 or visit www.ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.edu. 

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

An Evening with Condoleezza Rice

Condoleezza Rice, courtesy UCSB Arts & Lectures.

Condoleezza Rice, courtesy UCSB Arts & Lectures.

UCSB Arts & Lectures presents An Evening with Condoleezza Rice on Thursday, January 25 at 7:30 p.m. at the Arlington Theatre, 1317 State St.

As secretary of state and national security advisor, Rice pioneered a policy of transformational diplomacy and heralded the formation of new global governments based on democratic principles. Her most recent book, Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom (2017), offers a sweeping look at the global struggle for democracy. Dr. Rice will share her unparalleled expertise on global affairs, national security and education.

“Rice as Secretary of State in the second Bush term emerged as the single most influential voice shaping foreign policy,” according to the The New York Times. The Washington Post called Rice, “One of the most powerful individuals on the world stage.”

From January 2005-2009, Rice served as the 66th Secretary of State of the United States, the second woman and first African American woman to hold the post. Rice also served as President George W. Bush’s assistant to the President for national security affairs (National Security Advisor) from January 2001-2005, the first woman to hold the position

Rice is currently the Denning Professor in Global Business and the Economy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business; the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson senior fellow on public policy at the Hoover Institution; and a professor of Political Science at Stanford University.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.edu.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 23, 2018.

Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah, photo by Paul Mobley.

Trevor Noah, photo by Paul Mobley.

Trevor Noah, who was launched into the international spotlight in 2015 when he was selected to fill Jon Stewart’s shoes as host of The Daily Show, makes his Santa Barbara debut on January 19 when UCSB Arts & Lectures presents an evening of stand-up with Trevor Noah, at 8 p.m. at the Arlington Theatre  (1317 State St.).

Raised in post-apartheid South Africa by a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison, Noah brings a unique perspective to his stories and hit comedy specials, including Afraid of the Dark, Lost in Translation, African American and his award-winning memoir, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood.

Newsweek called him, “A cultural chameleon who has learned to mine his surroundings as much for survival and human connection as for comedy.”  Noah’s incisive humor slips from jokes to earnest insights for a moving, thought-provoking and hilarious experience. 

Noah continues to tour all over the world and has performed in front of sold-out crowds at the Hammersmith Apollo in London and the Sydney Opera House in Australia as well as many U.S. cities.

 For tickets and more information, call UCSB Arts & Lectures at 805/893-3535 or visit ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.edu.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 13, 2018.

Lila Downs

 

Mexican-American balladeer Lila Downs, kicks off the 2017-18 UCSB Arts & Lectures season with her deeply affecting voice and dramatic performance style on Wed., Sept. 27, at 8 p.m. at The Granada Theatre. Photo by Marcela Taboada.

Mexican-American balladeer Lila Downs, kicks off the 2017-18 UCSB Arts & Lectures season with her deeply affecting voice and dramatic performance style on Wed., Sept. 27, at 8 p.m. at The Granada Theatre. Photo by Marcela Taboada.

The Los Angeles Times describes Lila Downs as, “A renowned Mexican balladeer known for her wild outfits, wide range and powerful voice, a goose-bump-inducing instrument that can go from playful to grave from one note to the next.”

“Few alternative artists have the dynamic power and range of this bilingual warrior-woman,” states NPR.

Grammy Award-winning Mexican-American balladeer Lila Downs will kick off the 2017-18 UCSB Arts & Lectures season with her deeply affecting voice and dramatic performance style on Wed., Sept. 27, at 8 p.m. at The Granada Theatre. Known for her powerful three-octave vocal range, unique synthesis of indigenous Mesoamerican music with cumbia, soul, jazz, hip hop and stunning wardrobe based on the textiles of Mexico’s indigenous cultures, Downs’ new album, Salón, Lágrimas y Deseo, was released in May to wide critical acclaim.

Mexican-American balladeer Lila Downs, kicks off the 2017-18 UCSB Arts & Lectures season with her deeply affecting voice and dramatic performance style on Wed., Sept. 27, at 8 p.m. at The Granada Theatre. Photo by Marcela Taboada.

Mexican-American balladeer Lila Downs, kicks off the 2017-18 UCSB Arts & Lectures season with her deeply affecting voice and dramatic performance style on Wed., Sept. 27, at 8 p.m. at The Granada Theatre. Photo by Marcela Taboada.

In addition to Downs’ performance, there will be an opening night celebration starting an hour before the show, featuring live music and dance from Chinelos of Santa Bárbara and Southern California in front of the Granada Theatre, plus Oaxaca-inspired drink specials next door at The Good Lion

For additional information or to purchase tickets, call 805/893-3535, visit www.ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.edu or contact The Granada Theatre at 805/ 899-2222 or granadasb.org

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on September 24, 2017.

Lil Buck – A Jookin’ Jam Session

Lil Buck, photo by Kyle Cordova.

Lil Buck, photo by Kyle Cordova.

JOOKIN’ (jook·in): A street dance style that emerged from Memphis, Tenn. Identified by its extremely intricate footwork and propensity for improvisation, seen by many as a descendant of hip-hop and jazz, with elements of ballet and modern dance. 

See what jookin’ looks like for yourself, when UCSB Arts & Lectures presents Lil BuckA Jookin’ Jam Session—directed by Damian Woetzel, featuring Sandeep Das, Johnny Gandelsman, Ron “Prime Tyme” Myles, Cristina Pato and Wu Tong—on Tuesday, October 25, at 8 p.m. at The Granada Theatre (1214 State St.).

Named one of Dance Magazine’s 25 to Watch, Lil Buck has performed on Madonna’s Rebel Heart tour, in a highly-praised program at Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis, in a mesmerizing performance with Yo-Yo Ma to Saint-Saëns “The Swan,” with New York City Ballet, in Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson: One and in numerous other high-profile collaborations.

Lil Buck, photo by Kyle Cordova.

Lil Buck, photo by Kyle Cordova.

“I think he’s a genius, ” says Yo-Yo Ma. The New York Times says, “Lil Buck has already carved out a niche that almost no other dancer can fill, bouncing from music videos (that’s him, slo-mo spinning through Janelle Monae’s ‘Tightrope’) to a Super Bowl halftime show (2012, with Madonna) to Lincoln Center.”

A Memphis jookin’ phenomenon who also received early hip-hop training from and studied on scholarship at the New Ballet Ensemble, this genre-defying artist is taking the world by storm.


 

For more information or to purchase tickets call 805/893-3535, visit www.ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.edu or call 805/899-2222 or visit granadasb.org.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 21, 2016.

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

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

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.)

Throw

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.