Barney’s Weekend Picks

Let’s see, what’s happening this weekend? There must be something. A holiday or two, maybe? (Can’t be New Year’s yet.)

But there’s definitely a feeling in the air, like peace on earth, good will toward men — and women. I say go with it. Gather your family and friends, break bread together, and warm your hearts in fellowship.

those_70s_ties.jpgEat. Pass gifts around — and don’t be too disappointed if you get a crazy tie or something that’s too small, too big or 1970s style.

Instead of packing your restaurant leftovers to take home and forget about until it rots in the back of the fridge, hand the box over to the first cold, hungry homeless person you see. Half the homeless, I’m told, have mental problems and probably wouldn’t be living in the streets or in a car if they were as OK as you are. Better yet, take a homeless person to a restaurant and pay for a meal. Take a serviceman or woman to dinner, even if you’re against the war, and listen to his or her story. Call that relative you haven’t spoken to in years over some stupid event you can hardly recall.

Did I mention eating? Speaking of peace, one place to find it is at the East Beach Grill. Sue and I dropped in the other morning and gazed out over the tranquil water at the ghostly shape of Santa Cruz Island while sipping coffee and downing pancakes. The Grill is open Mondays through Fridays, 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekends 7:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m. Christmas Day, it’s open 7 a.m. to noon.

On a chilly night, we headed for spicy food at The Palace Grill, 8 E. Cota St. We worked our way through Cajun crawfish popcorn and crab cakes, then dug into a bowl of jambalaya pasta. Then shared some Florida Key Lime pie, chocolate soufflé and Louisiana bread pudding soufflé, all equally tasty and prepared us for an upcoming visit to western Louisiana and New Orleans in early 2007.

Flicks: Moviemakers count on the holidaze for lots of ka-ching action. cruz_volver.jpgSo there’s a bunch of interesting films in town, none of which I’ve seen because of the press of writing for the Indy and partying. Other than the ones I’ve already written about, there’s Pedro Almodovar’s Volver, Kate Winslet in Little Children and The Good Shepherd, touted by Larry King (lot he knows) as “The best spy movie ever.” Can’t forget Charlotte’s Web, though, definitely a family feel-good movie.

Metropolitan Theaters opened its rebuilt Fairview Theater in Goleta Friday, a tri-plex with stadium seating. Now with nine screens in Goleta and nine in Santa Barbara, first-run films can be shown in both communities, meaning no one will have to drive unnecessarily, Metro president Bruce Corwin told me. The Fairview is opening by mixing five films, he said: The Good Shepherd, The Pursuit of Happyness, Black Christmas (“We don’t make ‘em, we just show ‘em,” Bruce said), The Nativity Story, and the latest James Bond movie.

Books: (Remember them?) Got a lot of time during the holidays to chew some red meat? Well, I’ve bitten into Bob Woodward’s State of Denial, a blow-by-blow account of who said what and who did what, during President Bush’s road to war in Iraq. This is eye-opening stuff. Denial also includes the story behind the story of how J.J. Quinn, who commanded the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln when it visited Santa Barbara, became Donald Rumsfeld’s military aide. Then J.J. found himself outgunned by Pentagon brass with more stars and more clout and who couldn’t stand Rummy and gave Quinn a rank time, Woodward writes. J.J. moved on.

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