Barney’s Weekend Picks

What To Do? Look, there’s only one game in town
this weekend: The Santa Barbara International Film Festival. OK, so
you’ve already seen Helen Mirren in The Queen and Will
Smith in The Pursuit of Happyness. img_0018.jpgBut this is a chance to see them in the
flesh and hear what they have to say Mirren is being honored by the
Film Fest Friday at 8 p.m. at the Arlington and Smith on Saturday
night. (Smith’s pal Tom Cruise will be handing him
the Modern Master Award. OK, you don’t cotton to Cruise, but
everyone likes Will Smith.) What I’m getting at is, don’t blow off
the Fest just because you’ve already taken in the marquee flicks.
I’ve just skimmed the list of dozens of movies on the menu between
now and February 4.

I’ve marked more than I’ll ever get to take in because they
intrigue me and I know there’s a fat chance I’ll ever find them at
a State Street theater again.

Sitting Bull: A Stone in My Heart, billed as an
“intimate three-dimensional portrait” of “one of the last great
American Indian chiefs” and “one of U.S. history’s
greatestimg_0027.jpg heroes.” At Victoria Hall Theater
Sunday at 1 p.m. and Center Stage Theater Tuesday.

9th Company, the biggest budget Russian film ever made
at the time of its release, is a true story of a platoon of doomed,
forgotten soldiers left to die during the Russian invasion of
Afghanistan. Friday at 4 p.m. at the Metro, 9:45 p.m. Sunday at the

On the lighter side, Avenue Montaigne deals with young
Jessica encountering clientele at an old-fashioned café in Paris,
where “art and life intersect.” Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at
11 a.m., both at the Metro, and Monday at 4:30 p.m. at the

The Film Fest entry I wrote about Thursday, The Number
, starring Jim Carrey, has been removed
from the festival by producers. Too bad, because it sounded
interesting and because it would have gotten serious attention

I wasn’t sure about wanting to see the hit Borat and
the eccentric star of this surprise comedy hit, Sacha Baron
, but there he’ll be Friday at the Lobero, with the
film showing at 1:30 p.m. and a conversation with him afterwards.
I’ll be there.

This is only a smattering of the cinematic feast being offered
up img_0029.jpgat the fest.

But after lurching out of all these darkened dens of drama
you’ll need some fresh air time outside. I checked out the
outstanding job the city has done to clean up and rehabilitate
Arroyo Burro Creek where it flows into Arroyo Burro County Beach
Park. Take some time to watch the shore birds at the park, then
follow the nicely done trail up to the Douglas Family Preserve,
also known as the Wilcox Property.

Arroyo Hondo Preserve, once owned by the Hollister
, is open all weekend for free—love that
word—hiking, picnicking and docent tours. The preserve is on the
Gaviota Coast and having trekked there I highly recommend it. Call
567-1115 for info.

Santa Barbara County has one of the largest arrays of bird
species in the nation and you can spot some of them on the Audubon
Bird Walk Friday at the Andree Clark Bird Refuge, 8:30 a.m. Call

You’ll hear inside stories about Santa Barbara’s famous and
infamous by tagging along with historian David
at the Santa Barbara Cemetery Sunday, 1-3:30 p.m.
$15 and unforgettable. Petry’s the author of The Last Best Place: A
History of the Santa Barbara Cemetery. Call 689-3423.

The San Ysidro Ranch—now that Ty Warner has plowed $150 million
into it, including restoration of all 40 guest accommodations—plans
to reopen the Plow & Angel restaurant-bar after nearly three
years. It’ll reopen Monday, February 5. The Plow was long an
informal hangout for Montecitans, snacking, drinking, gossiping and
listening to music. Ty’s also added a state-of-the-art kitchen,
ujpgraded the Stonehouse fine dining room and the Plow and added a
private dining room, The Cellar. Barney Brantingham can be
reached at (805) 965-5205 or at He
writes a Tuesday online column, a print column on Thursdays and
Barney’s Weekend Picks on Fridays.

— photos by Sue De Lapa


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