Barney’s Weekend Picks

barney_mug.jpgWell, it’s been rainy and chilly, so
you’re probably looking for something to do inside this
weekend.

Luckily, there’s a lot going on.

Theater: I know people who wouldn’t go to the
play if everyone on stage was nude. Or especially not then. Their
loss.

In the Ensemble Theater
play The Memory of Water, now on boards at Alhecama, the
stresses and strains within a family are laid bare, for laughs and
otherwise. Great theater. The whole cast shines. Runs through March
11. Mud, a production at the UCSB Performing Arts Theater,
continues through Saturday. It’s the work of Cuban-born playwright
Maria Irene Fornes. Love triangle on the farm.
Tel: 893-3535. We don’t see enough of Bertolt
Brecht’s
work, but he’s popped up at Pacific Conservatory
of the Performing Arts in Santa Maria with The Chalk
Circle
, written in 1944 and based on an ancient Chinese story.
Women’s Work continues at Center Stage Theater
through Sunday. Four plays by four local women. mow_01.jpg

Movies: Last chance to see nominated flicks
before Sunday night’s Oscars. The Lives of Others,
nominated for best foreign language film, is at the Riviera. for
instance. Also in town but not up for awards is Amazing
Grace
, the powerful but gracefully down story of one man’s
winning fight to outlaw English slavery, is at Paseo Nuevo and
impressed many at the recent Santa Barbara International Film
Festival. Breach tells the true story of a spy scandal.
Wild Hogs is not about pigs rampaging around Santa Cruz Island but
some guys on motorcycles. Vroom! The Number 23, starring
Jim Carrey, was supposed to be in the Film Fest
but was jerked out at the last minute due to some Byzantine
dispute. It’s at Camino Real and Metro 4.

Saturday is Central Asia Film Day at Victoria Hall Theater,
featuring four movies sponsored by UCSB Arts & Lectures.
The Adopted Son, from Central Asia, starts at 2 p.m.
Travellers & Magicians, directed by Khyentse
Norbu
, follows at 4 p.m. The Cave of the Yellow Dog,
an age-old story from Mongolia, screens at 7 p.m. and The Story
of the Weeping Camel
, about Gobi Desert camel herders, shows
at 9 p.m. Info at 893-3535.

Music: Lucky us. We have grand opera. Opera Santa Barbara is
staging the Verdi Festival. Rigoletto is being staged at
the Lobero Saturday and March 2, 4 and 10 and A Masked
Ball
on March 3, 9 and 11. Info at 898-3890. Tonight, Feb. 23,
Santa Barbara Symphony is having a blast with one of its pops
concerts. In view of the Oscars, the Symphony number233.jpgwill be showing scenes from classic
Oscar winners like The Wizard of Oz and playing scores
from the movies. At the Arlington, 8 p.m. The Russians are coming,
the National Philharmonic of Russia takes the Arlington stage
Tuesday night (OK, it’s a bit beyond the weekend, but this is
something not to be missed.) For one thing, it’s an all-Russian
program, including pianist Olga Kern performing
Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Music to fall in love
by. (It happened to me.) Info at 963-4408.

Chowing Down: Wally Ronchietto
has taken over the old Casa Blanca Mexican restaurant, 509 State
St., renovated it (and boy did the old place need it) and opened
Bricks, a restaurant with music every night. Teka
sings lovely Brazilian melodies Sunday nights, 7-9 p.m. Five dollar
margaritas and New York steaks Wally says would cost about $10 more
at his Buenos Aires restaurant across from the Arlington. “I’m
having so much fun,” Wally tells me and the place is packed. Some
say Bill Connell’s Surfdogs are the best hot dogs
on the South Coast. He sells them from a colorful freeway ramp past
Carpinteria, but Wednesday he promised to serve them, free, to
News-Press protesters at De la Guerra Plaza. Didn’t happen. “They
wouldn’t license me,” Bill lamented. But he got up and made a
speech on behalf of the fired journalists.

Barney Brantingham can be reached at
barney@independent.com or 805-965-5205. He also writes a
Tuesday on line column in the
Independent and a print
column on Thursdays.

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