Impressions in Ink – Etchings from the Collection of Santa Barbara Historical Museum

"Mission Santa Barbara," by Henry Chapman Ford (1828-1894)

“Mission Santa Barbara,” by Henry Chapman Ford (1828-1894)

A new exhibit featuring prints by local Santa Barbara artists Henry Chapman Ford (1828 – 1894), Marian Hebert (1899 – 1960), Carl Oscar Borg (1879 – 1947), and Reginald Vaughan (1870 – 1958) at Santa Barbara Historical Museum (136 E. De la Guerra St.) opens March 20 and runs through October.

From the California Missions to local and desert landscapes, the exhibit will present a narrative focus on a history of the artists and their subjects, along with etching as a medium in printmaking.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on March 10, 2014.

Entangled Grid: Ann Diener at Atkinson Gallery


From "Entangled Grid: Ann Diener" (courtesy photo)

From “Entangled Grid: Ann Diener” (courtesy photo)

Santa Barbara City College‘s (SBCC’s) Atkinson Gallery is back in the newly renovated Humanities Building with a new exhibition, Entangled Grid: Drawings by Ann Diener. She created these recent drawings by overlaying images of the city of Los Angeles as it now exists onto the historical blueprint, thus recording spaces from different time periods and a cacophony of architecture as diverse as its population.

In addition to her large works on paper, the show will feature a massive wall drawing that Diener will complete onsite with a team of SBCC student volunteers.

Diener received her BA from UCLA and her MFA from UCSB. Her one-person exhibitions include Bank Gallery, Los Angeles, the Art, Design and Architecture Museum at UCSB, Electric Works Gallery San Francisco and the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum (now the Museum of Contemporary Art). She was a resident artist at the American Academy in Rome, Italy and at Kaus Australis in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

The opening reception for the exhibit is January 31 from 5–7 p.m. There will also be a free artist lecture on February 5 at 4:30 p.m. The work will be on view through February 28, but please note the gallery is closed February 14-17 for President’s Day weekend.

ATKINSON GALLERY  is located in the Art Department at SBCC,  Humanities Building Room 202, East Campus, 721 Cliff Dr.

Originally published on January 27, 2014 in Santa Barbara SEASONS Magazine.

AB Design Studio Selected as New Architect for Children’s Museum of Santa Barbara

Aerial view of Santa Barbara Children's Museum, courtesy AB Design Studio

Aerial view of Santa Barbara Children’s Museum, courtesy AB Design Studio

The long-wished-for Children’s Museum of Santa Barbara takes another step forward with the selection of architects from AB Design Studio Inc. to complete the building, which was initially designed by the late Barry Berkus.

Affectionately dubbed “the sand castle,” the whimsical design features approximately 15,000 square feet of interactive exhibits including a rooftop sky garden with exhibits and viewing areas. The museum will also house a state-of-the-art theater for video art and a small classroom, as well as a museum store.

Expected to be Santa Barbara’s first LEED-certified museum, the innovative building will highlight its own features such as the use of repurposed blue jeans for insulation and several “kid-powered” exhibits.


Rooftop view of Santa Barbara Children's Museum, courtesy AB Design Studio

Rooftop view of Santa Barbara Children’s Museum, courtesy AB Design Studio

The building will be located at 125 State St. between Hotel Indigo and the Train Depot. According to a recent statement, the project is currently in the permitting stage and will start construction in the summer of 2014 with a plan to be open in 2016.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on February 3, 2014.

Cocktail Corner: Le Café Stella

The bar at Le Cafe Stella (courtesy photo)

The bar at Le Cafe Stella (courtesy photo)

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg  |

Tucked uptown near the corner of upper State Street and Las Positas across from the scenic Santa Ynez mountains and Municipal Golf Course, Le Café Stella is a charming neighborhood favorite, pairing the ambience of a European café with an American twist.

Le Cafe Stella Margarita (courtesy photo)

Le Cafe Stella Margarita (courtesy photo)

Located at 3302 McCaw Ave., it’s a great place to meet friends, especially during Happy Hour, which happens daily from 3–6 p.m. and 9–10 p.m. (I love this late night Happy Hour trend we’re seeing more and more around town these days!) Sit in the cozy Parisian style bar or outside on the dog-friendly patio and enjoy the sunset.

Cocktail specials include a Margarita (made with tequila, agave nectar and house sweet & sour), a Madras (with vodka, cranberry juice and fresh O.J.) and Pernod (Pernod on ice with a splash of water)—all at just $4 a pop. Also on special is a selections of wines by the glass ($3.50) and bottled beers that include Beck’s Sapphire, Firestone and Long Hammer IPA for $3 each, along with Corona and Sol for just $2.50.

Along with breakfast, lunch and dinner, Le Café Stella has a great menu of nibbles, including Happy Hour specials on a variety of flatbreads, as well as Cajun pork sausage brioche sliders with harissa aioli & tomato cornichon relish. Try the sautéed shrimp with an order of parmesan truffle fries—they won’t leave you hungry for dinner.


Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on January 31, 2014.

Leslie Dinaberg

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 considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

World Premiere of “Mission Blue” Opens SBIFF Tonight

Mission_Blue.1The 2014 Santa Barbara International Film Festival kicks off tonight with the world premiere of Mission Blue, a story of the ever-changing ocean, at Arlington Theatre on Thursday, January 30 at 8 p.m.

The documentary film highlights oceanographer, explorer, author and lecturer Sylvia Earle’s life’s work and follows the increasingly urgent international effort, coordinated by the National Geographic Society, to build awareness about the state of our oceans. Called “Her Deepness” by The New Yorker and The New York Times, and a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress, Earle has led more than 60 expeditions and logged more than 6,000 hours underwater.

The film features James Cameron and the late Mike deGruy. Both Earle and Stevens will be in attendance on opening night. Following the film, guests over 21 can attend a film-themed gala at Paseo Nuevo, including food, drinks, dancing, and entertainment.

To purchase tickets for these events click here.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on January 30, 2014.


Santa Barbara’s Teen Stars Shine at The Granada on Feb. 8

2014 Teen Star Santa Barbara Finalists

2014 Teen Star Santa Barbara Finalists

Congratulations to the Teen Star Santa Barbara 2014 finalists:

Jason Paras — Dos Pueblos High School
Karlie Mack — San Marcos High School
Zoë Lynn Burritt — Cabrillo High School
Nathaniel Neumann — Dos Pueblos High School
Grant Bower — Santa Barbara High School
Mary-Grace Langhorne — Goleta Valley Junior High School
Brandi Rose Lentini — Santa Barbara High School
Luana Psaros — Dos Pueblos High School
Sulema Mejia — Pioneer Valley High School
Dylan Ortega — Santa Ynez High School

And the 2014 alternates:
Olivia Huffman — Solvang School
Sydney Shalhoob — La Colina Junior High School

They will perform in the final competition on Saturday, February 8 at The Granada at 7 p.m. (1214 State St.).

The way the finals work is that each of the final contestants performs a song of their choice in the first round. Voting by text message, the audience selects their top choices and the celebrity judges (Catherine Remak of KLITE 101.7, casting director Wendy Kurtzman and record producer Randy Spendlove) choose theirs; then votes are combined for a second round.

After the second round, text voting occurs again by the audience and the winner is determined!

Along with the prestigious title, contestants have the chance to follow in the footsteps of previous winners like 2013 champ Allie Nixon, who is currently working with her celebrity mentor JR Richards on an album to be released this spring. Here’s one of her songs, which has been featured on the CW network:

The winner’s prize package also includes a $1,000 scholarship, opportunity to record  in a world-class studio, radio and TV appearances, plus being the opening act performer at a number of local events.

Here’s a great video that gives an overview of the program.

For more information regarding Teen Star Santa Barbara, click here.

The Teen Star Santa Barbara program was established in 2010 to give our youth an outlet to showcase their talent in a healthy environment and provide long lasting benefits for our community and our students as well as enhance opportunities for their futures. Proceeds from this event are donated to performing arts programs in Santa Barbara County Schools.

To purchase tickets click here.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on January 28, 2014.

“Selma Rubin and Community of Life” at Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Selma Rubin and Beezhan Tulu at El Capitan (courtesy photo)

Selma Rubin and Beezhan Tulu at El Capitan (courtesy photo)

The legacy of beloved local activist Selma Rubin lives on in filmmaker Beezhan Tulu‘s new documentary, Selma Rubin and Community of Life, which is an official selection of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. 

When asked what inspired him to do the film, Tulu said, “I believe we don’t own this planet and we share it with billions of other species that our health and livelihood completely depends on theirs. Therefore I always look for stories that promote a healthier planet for all species. Selma Rubin and her community has done that. Therefore a story like Selma’s and how she has encouraged every one around her to build strong organizations such as EDC (Environmental Defense Center) and CEC (Community Environmental Council) has been very inspiring to me.”

The documentary focuses on the period of time when Rubin (who passed away in 2012) finds out that a developer is planning to build 1,500 homes on the Gaviota Coast and decides to stop him. It’s definitely a must see for locals. Along with footage of Rubin, it also features Dave Davis (CEO/Executive Director of the Community Environmental Council), Chris Mobley (Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary Superintendent), David Landecker (former Executive Director of the Environmental Defense Center), Jean-Michelle Cousteau (explorer, environmentalist and Chairman of the Board and President of Ocean Futures Society), Linda Krop (Chief Counsel of the Environmental Defense Center), Marc McGinnes (UCSB Environmental Studies Program), Paul Relis (founding Executive Director of the Community Environmental Council) and Mike Lunsford (charter member and president of the Gaviota Coast Conservancy Board of Directors).

In addition to a touching local story, what Tulu hopes people will take away from the film is an encouraging message. “I  believe in people and know that we need to be working to gather for a better world. I believe that focusing on a healthier planet for all species goes beyond our differences in culture, religion, nationality, race, sex, skin color and all other shallow thoughts that have separated us and made us suffer. And although we live in hard times and 98% of scientists agree that global climate change is real and we need to do something very serious, really fast, and really soon. But I believe this is also a great opportunity to unite us again as humanity.”

Selma Rubin and Community of Life will screen at Santa Barbara Museum of Art on February 4 at 7 p.m. and at Metro 4 Theatre on February  5 at 10 a.m.


—Leslie Dinaberg
Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on January 28, 2014.

Widespread Panic comes to the Arlington April 3

Widespread Panic, courtesy photo

Widespread Panic, courtesy photo

Tickets are now on sale for alternative rock band Widespread Panic. The oft-touring American band will play at the Arlington Theatre  (1317 State St.) on April 3 at 8 p.m.

Since their inception in Athens, Georgia, in 1986, Widespread Panic has risen to elite status among American jam bands. The current lineup includes guitarist/singer John Bell, bassist Dave Schools, drummer Todd Nance, percussionist Domingo “Sunny” Ortiz, keyboardist John “JoJo” Hermann, and guitarist Jimmy HerringMichael Houser and George McConnell have also played lead guitar for the band.

For more information or to purchase tickets click here.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on January 24, 2014.

Forge into Santa Barbara Art Foundry

Sculpture by Tim Cotterill, courtesy SB Art Foundry

Sculpture by Tim Cotterill, courtesy SB Art Foundry

Smile-inducing surprises are tucked into almost every nook and cranny of the Funk Zone. Our latest cool find is the new Santa Barbara Art Foundry (120 Santa Barbara St., 805/324-4230,, a real working foundry where visitors can watch skilled craftspeople transform molten bronze into unique and beautiful sculptures.

It’s fascinating to see each step in the casting process. These bronze sculptures are created using the “lost wax” method, which can be traced back 4,000 years to ancient civilizations of Greece, Rome, South America and Asia. Watching these intricate procedures firsthand is sure to give visitors an even greater appreciation for all of the work that goes into these sculptures, conveniently on view in an onsite gallery.

Santa Barbara Art Foundry features the work of “anchor artist” Tim Cotterill, also known as “The Frogman,” whose frog sculptures are in collections all over the world and sold in more than 130 fine art galleries worldwide. Also on view are art deco sculptures by Erté, a well-known European artist and costume designer for films, and revered Chinese artist Ting Shao Kuang, whose work is seen in museums around the world.

As if the behind-the-scenes tour and the art itself weren’t enough to lure visitors into this distinctive new attraction, the venue also features a new tasting room, Fox Wine Company, headed by award-winning winemaker Blair Fox and his wife Sarah. Blair Fox Cellars is an ultra-boutique winery in Los Olivos owned and operated by the couple. This is their first tasting room in Santa Barbara and spotlights a new label created with the desire to produce elegant Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, as well as showcase their bold Syrah and unique blends. “We are thrilled to introduce this new label and are so happy to be part of the new gallery,” say the Foxes. “This is the one and only location where you can find these unique wines.”

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in the Winter 2013/14 issue of Santa Barbara SEASONS Magazine.


Sings Like Hell is Back at the Lobero With Series #34

Sings Like HellThe Devil Is Back at the Historic Lobero Theatre and better than ever with a terrific line-up of Sings Like Hell shows coming this season.

First up is JIMMER (Yes, from the Rave-Ups!)+ JUDE JOHNSTONE on Saturday, January 25 at 8 p.m. “F. Scott Fitzgerald once said that there are no second acts in American lives. He would have changed his mind if he knew the story of Jimmer Podrasky,” says Sings Like Hell’s Peggie Jones. “Jimmer, a former punk and closeted John Prine fan, emerged from Carnegie Mellon and promptly formed The Rave-Ups with his old college pals. A natural lyricist armed with a literary sense of irony, The Rave-Ups made quick work of Pittsburg and blasted their way onto the national scene…where the music industry (Epic) promptly released two of the best albums of that decade. Then Jimmer vanished. Well, sort of. He raised his beautiful son Chance as a single father. His first album in 23 years, The Would-Be Plans is Podrasky’s strongest work to date. Flanked by a powerhouse band and showcasing his sardonic, dangerously sharp wit, this is a staggering return to form.”

As for Jude Johnstone, “she had her career launched by Clarence Clemons, furthered by T-Bone Burnett and Leonard Cohen, and has had her songs recorded by Johnny Cash, Bette Midler, Stevie Nicks, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, Trisha Yearwood and Jennifer Warnes (list not complete!). But there is nothing like hearing her slink around her own lyrics herself, with a soulful, melodic grace and artful simplicity that is uniquely her very own.”

Next up is An Entire Evening of JACK SHIT + Special Guests on Sunday, February 16. As Jones says, “Jack Shit is the ultimate in-crowd event. This band is so full of shit, it spills out into the audience. Seriously, go the website and follow the links…it stinks so good! Davey Faragher, Val McCallum and Pete Thomas form the backbone…but you can expect a bunch of their shitty friends (there’s free beer for the band).”

Third in the series is THE WATKINS FAMILY HOUR featuring Sara & Sean Watkins + Special Guests on Friday, March 21. “Sings Like Hell favorites Sean & Sara Watkins have been at the Lobero many times,” says Jones. “T-Bone Burnett brought them for Down From The Mountain, they are part of Works Progress Administration, and of course we loved them with Nickel Creek. The Watkins Family Hour is a regular feature at Largo and McCabes in Los Angeles and now they are coming back in all their low-key, artistically superb glory to charm the Hell out of, well, Hell.”

ARIANA GILLIS + Special Guest are next up, on Saturday, April 19. Rock ‘n roll writer Dave Marsh, admits to being Ariana Gillis’s biggest fan. He played the track “John and the Monster” on his Sirius XM radio show and the first caller was Bernie Taupin, Elton John’s lyricist and songwriting partner. Later on his own show, Taupin had this to say, “I’m staggered by how good she is. There is not much that impresses me these days…but I can honestly say she’s the single most exciting thing I’ve heard in a long time.” Not bad for a 21 year old from Niagara, Ontario!

SATURDAY, May 3 is a MYSTERY DATE. We’ll keep you posted.

Then on Saturday, June 28 they’ll have CHUCK PROPHET & THE MISSION EXPRESS WITH STRINGS. “Chuck Prophet is singularly creative, deafeningly original and helms one of the very best bands in American rock’n’roll today. We would be stupid not to present him as often as possible,” says Jones. “This is an entire evening of Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express, recreating the Great American Music Hall drop-dead sold-out concerts, with a string section. Brace yourself.”

All shows start at 8 p.m. at the Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido St. (805/963-0761), with a reception with the artists following each show.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on January 19, 2014.