The Short List: The Beat Goes On (UC Santa Barbara Magazine)

DJ Darla Bea, photo by Paul Wellman.

“Like any of your senses — the act of listening to a song can conjure up feelings and, in this case, a love of your college days,” says Darla Bea ‘03 . As Stevie Wonder once said, “Music, at its essence, is what gives us memories. And the longer a song has existed in our lives, the more memories we have of it.” 

Sporting slews of rave reviews from national wedding websites and voted Santa Barbara’s favorite DJ for six years in a row, Bea has made a career out of homing in on the visceral, emotional connection that tunes play in our lives. “Rock it Properly,” her weekly radio show that’s been running on KCSB since 2007, is a meticulously researched round-up of fun facts and musical magic. 

When last year’s All Gaucho Reunion had to go virtual, Bea helped to make it memorable by creating seven different GauchoBeats playlists, curated by decade, from 1939 to the present. From Bill Haley & His Comets’ “(We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock” and The Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations,” to Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping” and Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance,” these Spotify playlists of feel-good tunes (alumni.ucsb.edu/events/all-gaucho-reunion#gauchobeats) brought some much-needed positivity during some rather grim days. 

Of her time at UC Santa Barbara, Bea says, “The magic and music were always a thing that drew me out to hear bands play in Isla Vista and at UCSB, and of course I knew I was going to get an excellent education. I just wanted to be part of that.” 

A Santa Barbara native who lived at home during college, she says, “I did not have a car, had a bus pass. I spent a lot of time on campus in the library and the bookstore. I loved looking at all the media out there; it was a really good bookstore. And every once in a while I’d have to call my dad to get me because I missed the last bus.” 

Known for her colorful wigs, kicky costumes and eclectic mixes, Bea still comes to campus every Sunday to host her radio show, and says one of her goals is to, “expand your narrow way of thinking about music. The world is a lot smaller when you can grasp a culture, or an era, through their music.” 

UC Santa Barbara Magazine, Winter 2021

UC Santa Barbara Magazine, Winter 2021

Originally published in the Fall/Winter 2021 issue of UC Santa Barbara Magazine. Cover illustration by Yumiko Glover. To see the story as it originally appeared click  here.

Wheels of Fun (UC Santa Barbara Magazine)

Between the bicycle-friendly weather, the relatively flat terrain, and the environmentally-conscious ethos on campus, it’s no wonder that UC Santa Barbara has long been known for its bicycle culture. More than 10,000 people bicycle-commute between their homes and the university on a daily basis. With seven miles of Class 1 bike paths and more than 20,000 bike parking spots on campus — not to mention designated skateboard lanes — expect to see those wheels keep on turning for years and years to come. 

Photo: University Archives, Photographs Collection

Where were you in ‘62? 

This photo of a student dressed for success and riding a bike near the library was taken on October 7, 1962, just four years after the campus moved from the Santa Barbara Riviera to its current location. 

Photo by Matt Perko

Casual Rides. 

Today’s students make their way around the League of American Bicyclists’ certified Platinum-level Bike Friendly University, where backpacks are now ubiquitous and comfortable athleisure wear is de rigueur both on campus and in many professions. 

UC Santa Barbara Magazine, Winter 2021

UC Santa Barbara Magazine, Winter 2021

Originally published in the Fall/Winter 2021 issue of UC Santa Barbara Magazine. Cover illustration by Yumiko Glover. To see the story as it originally appeared click  here.

The Books of 2021

The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante was one of my favorite books I read in 2021.

So many books, so little time—part 15.

My son started keeping a reading list in third grade, so I did too. This is the 15th year we’ve done this.

2021 was another weird year (with f-ing COVID still raging) but I finally got my reading mojo back. Between long walks with audio books and nights that were once spent socializing with friends and colleagues now spent curling up with books, I definitely read even more than in previous years.

My favorite books of 2021 were The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante (the second book in her excellent My Brilliant Friend series), The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley and Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty (a return to top form after what I thought was a rare miss with Nine Perfect Strangers — though I still binged the whole series on Hulu).

I also really liked White Ivy by Susie Yang, The Turnout by Megan Abbott, Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau (I don’t know her personally but she grew up in Santa Barbara and is an excellent writer), Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney, Those Who Stay and Those Who Leave by Elena Ferrante (third in the series), The Huntress by Kate Quinn, Good Company by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave, Good Riddance by Elinor Lipman, The Midnight Library by Matt Haigh, Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid and The Dutch House by Ann Patchett.

I’d love to hear what else people loved.

Here’s the 2021 list.

Rules for Being a Girl Candace Bushnell & Katie Cotugno
The First Mistake Sandie Jones
The Midnight Library Matt Haigh
Blackbird Fly (The Bennett Sisters Mysteries #1) Lise McClendon
Beach Read Emily Henry
The Dutch House Ann Patchett
Evidence of the Affair Taylor Jenkins Reid
Everyone’s a Critic Jennifer Weiner
The List Jade Chang
Face: A Memoir Marcia Meier
You Should See Me In A Crown Leah Johnson
Love and Death With the in Crowd Jessica Anya Blau
Self-Help Lorrie Moore
Members Only Sameer Pandya
Weightless Sarah Bannan
The Story of Arthur Truluv Elizabeth Berg
The People We Hate at the Wedding Grant Ginder
All We Can Save Ayana Elizabeth Johnson & Katharine K. Wilkinson
Just Like You Nick Hornby
The Other Woman Sandie Jones
The Half Sister Sandie Jones
Chances Are Richard Russo
Pretty Things Janelle Brown
Ready Player Two Ernest Cline
In a Holidaze Christina Lauren
The Hating Game Sally Thorne
Take a Hint, Dani Brown Talia Hibbert
White Fragility Robin DiAngelo
One True Loves Taylor Jenkins Reid
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo Taylor Jenkins Reid
All We Ever Wanted Was Everything Janelle Brown
Jane in Love Rachel Givney
I Want to Be Where the Normal People Are Rachel Bloom
The Five-Year Hitch Melissa De la Cruz
Separation Anxiety Laura Zigman
The Divines Ellie Eaton
Dick Pic Mary H.K. Choi
The Authenticity Project Clare Pooley
Uncanny Valley: A Memoir Anna Wiener
The End of Everything Megan Abbott
The Guest Book Sarah Blake
The Boy, the mole, the fox and the horse Charlie Mackesy
Group: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life Christie Tate
While Justice Sleeps Stacey Abrams
Milkman Anna Burns
The Soulmate Equation Christina Lauren
The Chicken Sisters KJ Dell’Antonia
Malibu Rising Taylor Jenkins Reid
Get a Life, Chloe Brown Talia Hibbert
The Singles Game Lauren Weisberger
The Wedding Gift Carolyn Brown
Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating Christina Lauren
Neighbors Elizabeth La Ban and Melissa DePino
Adulting Liz Talley
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore Matthew J. Sullivan
Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures Emma Straub
Good Riddance Elinor Lipman
One to Watch Kate Stayman-London
Inclusive Conversations Mary-Frances Winters
Royal Holiday Jasmine Guillory
Everybody Loves Kamau W. Kamau Bell
Boyfriends of Dorothy Wednesday Martin
Everyone’s Happy Rufi Thorpe
The Edge of Falling Rebecca Serle
Act Your Age Eve Brown Talia Hibbert
Where the Grass is Green and the Girls are Pretty Lauren Weisberger
Astrid Sees All Natalie Standiford
A Promised Land Barack Obama
That Summer Jennifer Weiner
The Hunting Party Lucy Foley
The Story of a New Name Elena Ferrante
Unsheltered Barbara Kingsolver
The Last Thing He Told Me Laura Dave
Good Company Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
Helen of Pasadena Lian Dolan
When Stars Collide Susan Elizabeth Phillips
White Ivy Susie Yang
Untamed Glennon Doyle
Apples Never Fall Liane Moriarty
It Had To Be You Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Nobody’s Baby But Mine Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Seven Days in June Tia Williams
Heaven, Texas Susan Elizabeth Phillips
The Book of Lost and Found Lucy Foley
Match me if You Can Susan Elizabeth Phillips
The Rose Code Kate Quinn
Girl, Woman, Other Bernardine Evaristo
The President’s Daughter Bill Clinton & James Patterson
The Heart Principle Helen Hoang
The Paper Palace Miranda Cowley Heller
The Huntress Kate Quinn
Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay Ferrante Elena
This Heart of Mine Susan Elizabeth Phillips
The Kiss Quotient Helen Hoang
Dream a Little Dream Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Beautiful World, Where are You Sally Rooney
No Judgements Meg Cabot
A Bookworm’s Guide to Faking It Emma Hart
This is Not the End Chandler Baker
No Offense Meg Cabot
Mary Jane Jessica Anya Blau
Bliss Shay Mitchell & Michaela Blaney
Shipped Angie Hockman
The Turnout Megan Abbott
Fake Accounts Lauren Oyler
If the Shoe Fits Julie Murphy
The Husbands Chandler Baker

Previous Book Lists

The Books of 2020

The Books of 2019

The Books of 2018

The Books of 2017

The Books of 2016

The Books of 2015

The Books of 2014

The Books of 2013

The Books of 2012

The Books of 2011

The Books of 2010

The Books of 2009

The Books of 2008

The Books of 2007