“Sara de la Guerra” – the pseudonym of the author of the Weblog BlogaBarbara – has enlisted the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a First Amendment activist group, to respond to a subpoena from Santa Barbara News-Press owner Ampersand Publishing, LLC. The company reportedly subpoenaed Google to reveal the identity of the blog’s author after an anonymous threat directed at the News-Press was posted on the site on September 11, 2006. EFF wrote a letter to Judge William Schmidt, who is presiding over the News-Press hearings with the National Labor Relations Board, defending bloggers’ right to anonymity.

Organizers of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) are celebrating the 2006 Academy Award nominations, which were announced on Tuesday. Helen Mirren, Will Smith, and Forest Whitaker – all of whom will receive SBIFF awards – were nominated for their performances in The Queen, The Pursuit of Happyness, and The Last King of Scotland, respectively. Twenty-one other nominees, including Borat! star Sacha Baron Cohen and Dreamgirls star Jennifer Hudson, will also appear at the festival.

Despite Santa Barbara’s storied beach volleyball history, the AVP professional tour has decided not to include the sands of Santa Barbara in its 2007 schedule. Lamenting the lack of a major local sponsor, the tour is pulling the plug, at least for now, on its annual pre-Memorial Day extravaganza on West Beach. Besides being home to volleyball legends such as Dax Holdren and Todd Rogers, Santa Barbara beaches are second only to Manhattan Beach in hosting the most AVP tournaments ever, with 50 men’s and 30 women’s events held here since 1950.

The theme for the 33rd Annual Summer Solstice Celebration has been announced as “Stars.” Entries in the official poster and T-shirt design competition must be submitted to 924 Anacapa Street by January 26, and must measure no more than 30” by 40”, weigh a maximum of 30 pounds, and be ready to hang for display. Entrants must pay $15 per submission; children pay $10 per entry. No entrant may submit more than three. Entries need not reflect this year’s theme. Executive Director Claudia Bratton suggests that the winning design will be “graphic, colorful, and simple rather than too complex.”

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