I Can’t Believe It: Summer weather in
mid-February. Time to set aside at least a few hours to get outside
and commune with Mother Nature. Walk. Hit the trails. Get on the
bike. A less strenuous outing would be to stroll around Alice Keck
Park Memorial Gardens. Ponder the plants, fondle the flowers (eyes
only), plunk down on a bench and read a book in the sunshine.
Reflect on the fact that instead pan%27s_lab.jpgof it becoming CondoLand, as some
wanted, the block was donated by Alice Keck Park, along with money
to landscape it.

Moving Pix: With the Oscars just around the
corner (Feb. 25) many of the nominees are showing around town this
weekend, along with other interesting screenings. New in town is
Bridge to Terabithia (“The beloved novel comes to life.”
Does that mean a book has no “life” until it’s a movie?) Anyway,
Disney calls it “The First Great Family Movie of 2007.” At Paseo
Nuevo and the rebuilt Fairview. Pan’s Labyrinth, with six
(count ‘em) Oscar nominations in the best foreign film category, is
at the Camino Real and Metro 4. Other Oscar nominees in local
theaters are The Queen, Notes on a Scandal,
The Last King of Scotland, Venus, Babel,
Letters from Iwo Jima and Dreamgirls.

Thee-a-Tuh: Live theater, as opposed to movies
bringing books to “life,” is alive and well in Santa Barbara – and
UCSB, natch. The Memory of Water, by British playwright
Shelagh Stephenson, opens tonight at the Ensemble Theater, running
through Mar 11. It won the Laurence Olivier Award for best comedy
and is “full of dark humor and heart.”

Theater UCSB is staging Mud, by Maria Irene Fornes,
today, Feb. 16 through Sunday and Feb. 20-24. Info at 893-3535.
Women’s Work, plays by Santa Barbara women playwrights,
runs today and Saturday and Feb. 22-24 at Center State Theater.

Muse-Ik: The first annual Santa Barbara
International Guitar Festival is in full swing. It hits a high
point this weekend, when the Santa Barbara Symphony hosts the Los
Angeles Guitar Quartet Saturday night at 8 and Sunday afternoon at
the Arlington. Info at www.thesymphony.org. The Russians
are coming, the Russians are coming. The National Philharmonic of
Russia plays the Arlington Feb. 27, with Olga Kern playing
Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Should opera be in this music
category or theater, or both? Anyway, Opera Santa Barbara (they do
good work) is staging the Verdi Festival Clark-Guitar-200.jpgFeb. 24 and March 11. Info at 963-0761
or www.operasb.com. Dunno
anything about Sambada, playing “upbeat Brazian funk rock” at SohO
tonight, but sounds interesting.

Eating: Sue and I celebrated Valentine’s Day at
home with leftovers (her idea) and wine by the fireplace, but I
promised one of her favorite things to do: breakfast the next
morning at Tre Luna on Coast Village Road. It’s a delightful, quiet
place with wonderful service and you’re liable to see VIPs and
entertainment folk there at Gene Montesano’s place. The celeb of
the morning was Nir Kabaretti, new director of the Santa Barbara
Symphony, about to get a sunny tour of the Botanic Garden and other
showplaces. He lives in Florence. His wife, Gaja, with him at Tre
Luna, will be singing with the Santa Barbara Choral Society when it
performs Brahms Requiem with the Symphony April 14-15.

(Barney Brantingham can be reached at 805-965-5205 or
He also writes a column for the Thursday print edition of the

Independent and a Tuesday online column.)


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