ON the Stage

Announcements are slowly rolling out for the next season at the Santa Barbara Bowl, and it looks like another doozy. So far we’ve got Social Distortion and Bad Religion (Apr. 10), Willie Nelson & Family (Apr. 25), Jody Jinks (May 18), Brothers Osborne (May 31), and the most recent announcement of the Indigo Girls and Amos Lee (Sep. 21). I was fortunate to be able to interview Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls in advance of her other project (The Amy Ray Band), which will appear alongside Dar Williams at the Marjorie Luke Theatre on Jan. 15.  Ray’s most recent solo album, If It All Goes South, is an equally tender and turbulent triumph. Keep an eye out for the interview in January, get more info about the Luke show here.  

ON the Good List

Senator Monique Limón presents a check to the Lompoc Theatre Project | Photo: Courtesy

The State of California recently granted the Lompoc Theatre Project $2,285,000. The theater also has a $150,000 match grant from the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians which Board President Barbara Satterfield reports means “the next $22,000 in individual donations will be doubled.” For more information about the campaign to renovate the 1927 theater, see lompoctheatre.org.

Another worthy group, The Rubicon Theatre Company in Ventura, received $1.5 million from the state this month at the opening night performance of The World Goes ‘Round, which also marked the beginning of the theater’s 25th anniversary season. That show closes tomorrow (Dec. 23). Up next (Feb. 21-Mar. 10) is a new American play by Richard Hellesen titled Eisenhower: This Piece of Ground. It stars Tony Award–winning actor John Rubinstein (Pippin/Children of a Lesser God), fresh from his acclaimed off-Broadway run of the show. See rubicontheatre.org.

Orgōne is at SOhO on Dec. 30 | Photo: Courtesy

While this is the time of the year that the music calendar slows down a bit, there are a couple shows worth noting at SOhO, the first of which is two nights with Chris Shiflett (hometown boy who’s now a Foo Fighter) Dec. 22-23 (see Josef Woodard’s story for the scoop). Then next week there’s Orgōne, an L.A.-based band that shows off a myriad of groove-oriented styles, including but not limited to deep funk, ’60s Memphis soul/blues, Fela-inspired Afro-beat, hip-hop, Latin jazz, and electronic dance and house hits the stage on Dec. 30; then on Sunday, Dec. 31, it’s New Year’s Eve party time with Area 51 and DJ Darla Bea putting on a funky dance party. For tickets and more info about both of these shows, see sohosb.com.

The Santa Barbara Symphony’s annual New Year’s Eve concert on Sunday, Dec. 31 at The Granada Theater promises to be a rousing evening of pop, rock, and Broadway classics, along with familiar classical selections and a champagne toast. “This is a one-night-only spectacular event, truly not to be missed,” said Nir Kabaretti, Santa Barbara Symphony Music & Artistic Director. “Andrew Lipke, our guest conductor and host, and singer Christina Maxwell will have the audience on their feet with excitement and singing along for the perfect end-of-year celebration.” Click here for tickets.

Santa Barbara Symphony | Photo: Courtesy
Jeffrey Wright stars in American Fiction | Photo: Courtesy of Amazon MGM Studios

ON the Big Screen

Jeffrey Wright, star of American Fiction, will be honored with the Montecito Award at the 39th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Feb. 15. Wright is a Tony, Emmy, AFI, and Golden Globe Award–winning actor who has enjoyed an illustrious career spanning the worlds of theater, film, and television, including a critically acclaimed role in Westworld, as well as this year’s ensemble film by West Anderson, Asteroid City. Other SBIFF Awards announced recently include the complete Virtuosos honorees. Danielle Brooks (The Color Purple), Colman Domingo (Rustin & The Color Purple), America Ferrera (Barbie), Lily Gladstone (The Killers of Flower Moon), Greta Lee (Past Lives), Charles Melton (May December), Da’Vine Joy Randolph (The Holdovers) and Andrew Scott (All of us Strangers) will be honored on Feb. 10 at the Arlington. Passes for the 2024 Festival are on sale now at sbiff.org.

ON the (Small) Screen

Sarah Snook, Kieran Culkin, and Jeremy Strong in Succession | Photo: Warner Bros. Discovery

I’m woefully behind on my films this year (which I hope to rectify a bit over the holiday break), but when it comes to television, I can wholeheartedly recommend all three of the top Emmy nominated shows: Succession, The Bear, and Only Murders in the Building (starring sometime Santa Barbaran Steve Martin). Prior to the final, excellent concluding season, here’s my review of Succession, a show which — unlike so many — only got better with age.

ON the Walls

“Aged Gracefully,” by David Rubenstein | Credit: Courtesy

Silo118 owner Bonnie Rubenstein is changing things up at the Funk Zone gallery. After the current exhibit — titled Silos at Silo and featuring the lush landscapes of photographer David Rubenstein — closes January 13, she says “The gallery space will become available for artists to rent to showcase their own work. This is a concept in progress, so stay tuned.” Meanwhile, you’ve still got a few weeks to see David’s work. He has a particular fondness for old grain silos. Also on view are three-dimensional works by sculptor James McAninch.

ON the Web

While the calendar year is slowing down, our arts & entertainment team at the Independent is busier than ever. Here are some reviews and stories you may have missed:

Chloe Shanfeld profiles Voracious Records, a new indie record label in town
Spencer the Gardener’s new album, Shine On (his first since 2012)
Rebecca Horrigan reviews MJ Lenderman and Karly Hartzman at Ojai Deer Lodge
Joe Woodard reviews Samara Joy’s holiday show
Kat Sophia’s take on Laufey’s Bewitched Tour
My review of musical theater great Audra McDonald at UCSB

Joe Woodard’s take on Fallen LeavesFinland’s entry into the Academy Awards competition
UCSB Lecturer Wendy Eley Jackson writes the historic Hallmark holiday film, Napa Ever After

Charlotte Smith looks at the new book The Lineup, a photographic exploration of decades of Isla Vista surfers
Brian Tanguay reviews By the Sea by Abdulrazak Gurnah
From Acre to Zagjewski, here are David Starkey’s top poetry book picks for 2023
Here’s my take on the local Page Churners at Santa Barbara Public Library

Visual Art
SBMA’s Inside/Outside Show gets an overview by Joe Woodard
Joe Woodard on Little Big Hearted Art at Westmont

Maggie Yates reviews Poor Clare at Westmont
Maggie’s review of Ensemble Theatre’s Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash
My review of “Whose Live Anyway” comedy show

ON the Calendar

Gregory Most | Photo: Courtesy

The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. takes the spotlight at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art on Jan. 4, when Gregory Most, its Chief of the Department of Image Collections, gives a special presentation on the history of the National Gallery of Art and the varied resources of its research collections. With over half a million books, 16 million images of world art and architecture, extensive rare holdings, and an innovative program to make more digital resources on art accessible on the internet, the Library staff at the National Gallery of Art help people learn more about the history of artworks not only in museums they visit but also help people learn about the works they may own. Get tickets (free for students, otherwise $10-$15) at tickets.sbma.net.

For a complete calendar of events this week and beyond, visit independent.com/events/.

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