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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