With summer coming to a close, it’s time for the arts to move back inside — and crank up the heat. This fall, UCSB’s Arts & Lectures return to the fold with a wealth of glorious performances and film screenings, including New York City Ballet MOVES, Pink Martini, and the Santa Barbara premiere of the environmental doc, If a Tree Falls. Also in the mix, Lit Moon Theatre debuts their ambitious take on Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt, the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Gustavo Dudamel returns to the Granada, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art welcomes works from Picasso and Braque. If you’re looking to catch the final breaths of summer, there are still plenty of chances to head outdoors, including the Santa Barbara Bowl’s end-of-season stunners, like Deadmau5, Death Cab for Cutie, and Paul Simon. In the following pages, you’ll find our staffers’ picks for this fall’s can’t-miss performances. For a full listing of upcoming arts events, visit independent.com/events.
New York City Ballet MOVES at the Granada Theatre
The New York City Ballet is one of the world’s most illustrious dance companies and the largest in America, with approximately 90 dancers. But unless you live in New York, it’s not easy to catch a performance — until now. In January of this year, the company launched New York City Ballet MOVES, a touring arm of dancers that includes principals and soloists, as well as members of the corps de ballet. For their S.B. debut, they’ll perform two distinct programs with classic choreography by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins alongside newer work by Christopher Wheeldon and N.Y.C. Ballet Master in Chief Peter Martins. Tuesday, October 18, and Wednesday, October 19, 8 p.m. Call 893-3535 or visit artsandlectures.sa.ucsb.edu.
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago at the Granada Theatre
While some dance companies focus on the work of a single choreographer, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago has always been a repertory touring company, commissioning work by some of the top dance makers around the world. What that means for audiences is that these technically accomplished dancers are also highly versatile, and the works they perform give a picture of the wide range of styles that fall within the bounds of contemporary dance. For their Santa Barbara program, the 16-member company will be showing works by Czech choreographer Jirí Kylián, Sweden’s Johan Inger, and Twyla Tharp. Tuesday, October 25, 8 p.m. Call 893-3535 or visit artsandlectures.sa.ucsb.edu.
Stephen Petronio Dance Company at UCSB’s Campbell Hall
For a different angle on contemporary dance, check out Underland, Stephen Petronio’s evening-length work created in collaboration with songwriter Nick Cave. Petronio is far from a dance purist; he likes to blend visual art, music, and fashion to create powerful, immersive visions. Underland was first created in 2003 for the Sydney Dance Company, but Petronio restaged it for his own company earlier this year. Expect dark motifs, themes of redemption, and provocative movers who take big risks. Underland also features the work of visual designer Ken Tabachnick and video artist Mike Daly, as well as costumes by fashion designer Tara Subkoff. Monday, November 14, 8 p.m. Call 893-3535 or visit artsandlectures.sa.ucsb.edu.
Yes Is a Long Time, presented by Santa Barbara Dance Theater. At UCSB’s Hatlen Theatre. Friday, September 30 - Sunday, October 2.
The Lives of Giants, presented by Cambodia’s Khmer Arts Ensemble. At UCSB’s Campbell Hall. Thursday, October 6.
Starry Night, presented by State Street Ballet. At the Granada Theatre. Thursday, October 6, and Sunday, October 9.
O(h), presented by Casebolt and Smith. At the Contemporary Arts Forum. Thursday, December 1.
UCSB’s Fall Dance Concert. At Hatlen Theatre. Friday, December 2, and Saturday, December 3.
Westmont College’s Fall Dance Concert. At Porter Theatre. Friday, December 9, and Saturday, December 10.
The Nutcracker, presented by State Street Ballet. At the Granada Theatre. Saturday, December 17, and Sunday, December 18.
Home, presented by NECTAR. At Yoga Soup. Saturday, January 7, 2012.
Pop, Rock & Jazz
Paul Simon at the Santa Barbara Bowl
Sure, Paul Simon’s career peaked decades ago, but his latest album, So Beautiful or So What (think Graceland for the 21st century), and recent solo rendition of “The Sound of Silence” at Ground Zero reminded us why he’s still so relevant. With a back catalog that includes seminal pop classics like “Mrs. Robinson,” “Loves Me Like a Rock,” and “Wonderful World,” Simon is a real-deal icon, and the list of modern-day songwriters he’s helped to inspire is (quite literally) too long to compile. In short, even sans Garfunkel, he’s certain to deliver a warm and fuzzy trip down memory lane — not to mention a collection of hits that is well worth the price of admission. Sunday, October 23, 7 p.m. Call 962-7411 or visit sbbowl.com.
Phantogram at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club
The return of New York’s moodiest down-tempo duo is reason enough to celebrate. But Phantogram’s November stop at SOhO is also doubling as the kick-off event for this year’s New Noise Santa Barbara. For the third year in a row, the fest is taking over downtown, with star-studded bills in venues up, down, and around State Street. As for Phantogram’s set, expect a whole lot of elastic beats, slinky guitar lines, and sexed-up breathy vocals (courtesy frontwoman Sarah Barthel), à la The xx, but with more backbone. The band will also be fresh off the release of their new “mini-album,” which means more dance-party fodder for those of you looking to get down. Thursday, November 3, 8 p.m. Call 962-7776 or visit clubmercy.com or newnoisesb.com.
The Civil Wars at the Lobero Theatre
On the other end of the indie spectrum lie Nashville’s The Civil Wars. Composed of vocalists/multi-instrumentalists Joy Williams and John Paul White, the folk-pop duo immediately calls to mind the melancholy moods of The Frames. Gentle piano balladry mixes and mingles with barely there guitar taps, orchestral string flourishes, and big, swelling guy-girl harmonies. It’s the kind of music that begs to be played alongside a big-screen romance, but it’s also guaranteed to resonate in a room as picturesque — and acoustically sound — as the Lobero. Friday, November 18, 8 p.m. Call 963-0761 or visit clubmercy.com.
More Pop, Rock & Jazz
>Blind Pilot. At SOhO Restaurant & Music Club. Friday, September 30.
Blitzen Trapper and Dawes. At SOhO Restaurant & Music Club. Saturday, October 8.
Jenny Lewis. At the Presidio Chapel. Tuesday, October 18.
Dave Alvin & the Guilty Ones. At the Lobero Theatre. Saturday, October 22.
The Game. At Velvet Jones. Wednesday, October 26.
ALO. At SOhO Restaurant & Music Club. Monday, October 31.
Creole Choir of Cuba. At UCSB’s Campbell Hall. Wednesday, November 2.
Toad the Wet Sprocket and Zach Gill. At the Lobero Theatre. Saturday, November 5.
Pink Martini. At the Arlington Theatre. Thursday, November 10.
Future Islands. At Muddy Waters Café. Wednesday, November 16.
Rachael Yamagata. At SOhO Restaurant & Music Club. Saturday, November 26.
Keb’ Mo’. At the Lobero Theatre. Tuesday, December 6.
Picasso and Braque: The Cubist Experiment, 1910-12 at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art
Trailblazing brothers in experimental art, Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque were operating at peak intensity during the two-year period examined by this thoughtful and innovative exhibit. Produced in collaboration with Fort Worth’s Kimbell Art Museum and curated by Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s Eik Kahng, this is an outstanding opportunity to dive deep into the creative ferment of analytic cubism and learn to appreciate more completely one of modern art’s most influential chapters. Through Sunday, January 8, 2012. Call 963-4364 or visit sbmuseart.org.
View from Here: Santa Barbara Artists in the Permanent Collection at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art
Since the 1970s, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art has been acquiring works by a broad range of living artists who work here in the city. In this important group show, the fruits of those curatorial efforts will be put on display. Artists include Hilary Brace, Irma Cavat, Anne Diener, Michael Dvortcsak, Dane Goodman, Mary Heebner, Hank Pitcher, Keith Puccinelli, Harry Reese, William Rohrbach, Marie Schoeff, Ilene Segalove, Joan Tanner, and more. Saturday, October 1 - Sunday, January 1, 2012. Call 963-4364 or visit sbmuseart.org.
Wireless at the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum
In honor of the 50th anniversary of KCSB, the free-form, noncommercial radio station run by UCSB’s Associated Students at 91.9FM, the Contemporary Arts Forum (CAF) presents an exhibition featuring international artists with an interest in radio. The show, which is curated by current New Yorker and CAF alum Elizabeth Lovero, will include broadcast elements, a sound-sculpture speaker installation by artist Jim Toth, and guest deejays on opening night. Sunday, November 6 - Sunday, January 8, 2012. Call 966-5373 or visit sbcaf.org.
Dog Town/Funk Zone. At the Tennis Club of Santa Barbara. Shows through Saturday, October 8.
Urban Grid. At Artamo Gallery. Wednesday, October 5 - Sunday, October 30.
Whitney Brooks Abbott and Whitney Brooks Hansen. At Easton Gallery. Shows through Sunday, November 6.
Angela Perko. At Sullivan Goss, An American Gallery. Shows through Sunday, November 27.
Form and Function: Ceramic Artists in California. At Westmont College’s Reynolds Gallery. Friday, November 18 - Sunday, December 18.
The Scary Wives of Windsor by Gerry Hansen at Anisq’Oyo’ Park, Isla Vista
This commedia dell’arte adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor was created by UCSB lecturer Gerry Hansen and will be performed by a talented cast drawn largely from the school’s fine BFA program in theater. Expect to see the redoubtably lascivious Sir John Falstaff receive his comeuppance several times over in the course of this delightful evening. Be advised that the setting is a natural amphitheater, so low beach chairs or blankets are recommended accessories. Saturday, October 1, and Sunday, October 2, 7 p.m.
Underneath the Lintel by Glen Berger at Alhecama Theatre
Ensemble Theatre Company (ETC) gets its season underway with this intriguing “comic-mystery” by actor/playwright Glen Berger. It’s the story of a librarian who is drawn into a web of intrigue by the return of a travel book that is 113 years overdue. His quest to discover the identity of the borrower and decode the clues left by this mysterious figure lead him to travel back in time. Underneath the Lintel premiered in Los Angeles in 2001 and has gone on to success in productions around the world. The one-man, multimedia show is directed by ETC’s artistic director, Jonathan Fox. Thursday, October 13 - Sunday, October 30.
Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen at Porter Theatre and Center Stage Theater
Directed by John Blondell and featuring Mitchell Thomas as Peer Gynt, this Lit Moon/Westmont coproduction is one of the most ambitious undertakings for a Santa Barbara theater company in recent memory. Henrik Ibsen’s sprawling epic fantasy overflows with poetry, trolls, and fierce satire of the complacencies of modern society. Peer Gynt’s five acts and 40 scenes defy conventional concepts of what’s possible in the theater, swinging wildly from dreamlike surrealism to cold, hard naturalism. For this production, Blondell is taking over two theaters, the better to encompass the play’s almost unimaginable scope. Part 1 will be at the Porter Theatre on the Westmont campus, while Part 2 will take place downtown at Center Stage Theater. Peer Gynt stands alongside Faust and King Lear as one of the truly essential monuments of Western culture, and few people get the chance to see it performed at all, never mind with a top-flight cast and in such relatively intimate venues. Part 1: Saturday, October 15, 3 p.m.; Thursday, October 20, 8 p.m.; and Saturday, October 22, 3 p.m. Part 2: Sunday, October 16, 7 p.m.; Friday, October 21, 8 p.m.; and Sunday, October 23, 7 p.m.
A Number by Caryl Churchill, produced by Genesis West. Shows in October, with dates and locations of this mobile series to be announced.
England, written and performed by Tim Crouch, presented by Westmont College/SBMA/Lit Moon, and produced by Mitchell Thomas. At the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. November 15, 17, and 18.
Trojan Barbie by Christine Evans, presented by SBCC Theatre Arts Department. At the Interim Theatre. Wednesday, October 12 - Saturday, October 29.
Cloud Nine by Caryl Churchill, directed by Anne E. Torsiglieri. At UCSB’s Performing Arts Theatre. Friday, November 4 - Saturday, November 12.
The Lion in Winter by James Goldman, presented by Ensemble Theatre Company, directed by Jenny Sullivan, and starring Stephanie Zimbalist. At Alhecama Theatre. Thursday, December 1 - Sunday, December 18.
Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, at the Granada Theatre
Following gloriously close on the calendar to his last visit, CAMA presents Gustavo Dudamel, the maestro de nos jours at the helm of the mighty L.A. Phil, for what promises to be a titanic event. Yefim Bronfman joins for the Piano Concerto No. 3 of Béla Bartók, sure to be a crackling delight. The main attraction, however, will be Dudamel’s assault on Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, a hugely dramatic work that will undoubtedly bring out his wild side. Single tickets for this late-afternoon concert, which is sure to sell out, are available starting this Friday, September 23, at 10 a.m. Sunday, October 16, 4 p.m. Call 899-2222 or visit granadasb.org.
Fantastique Opening at the Granada Theatre
Santa Barbara Symphony Maestro Nir Kabaretti’s sophisticated programming sense continues to soar with this upcoming season, the opening weekend of which features one of his strongest lineups to date. After a fanfare from John Adams, the Tromba lontana, cellist Lynn Harrell will play Elgar, and, after the intermission, it’s Hector Berlioz’s exquisitely exuberant tour de force, the Symphonie fantastique, a piece which is certain to heighten the effects of the Granada’s major-league acoustics. Saturday, October 22, 8 p.m., and Sunday, October 23, 3 p.m. Call 899-2222. For season ticket information — a great deal, by the way — call the S.B. Symphony directly at 898-3890.
Puccini’s La bohème at the Granada Theatre
Puccini’s pop-culture classic never fails to shine, and this production by Opera Santa Barbara (OSB) looks to be particularly promising, with returning OSB favorites Rebecca Davis as Mimi and Malcolm MacKenzie as Marcello, and tenor Christopher Bengochea making his Santa Barbara debut as Rodolfo. Stage Director Brad Dalton has acquired an international reputation for highly dramatic productions of contemporary operas like Dead Man Walking and A Streetcar Named Desire, so expect that he will push this great-singing, strong-acting cast to its limits. Friday, November 11, 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, November 13, 2:30 p.m. Call 899-2222 or visit granadasb.org.
Camerata Pacifica. At the Music Academy of the West’s Hahn Hall. Friday, October 14, and Friday, November 18.
So Percussion, presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures. At UCSB’s Campbell Hall. Tuesday, November 1.
Gil Shaham, violin, presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures. At UCSB’s Campbell Hall. Saturday, November 5.
Hélène Grimaud, piano, presented by CAMA Masterseries. At the Lobero Theatre. Wednesday, November 30.
Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra. At the Lobero Theatre. Tuesday, October 18, and Tuesday, December 13.
Boston Symphony Orchestra, presented by CAMA. At the Granada Theatre. Thursday, December 8.
20th Annual OUTrageous Film Festival at Various Locations
Since its start in 1992, the annual Santa Barbara Lesbian & Gay Film Festival has been providing eye-opening and enlivening films about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. In both short and long form, and screening in venues throughout Santa Barbara County, these films work to “entertain, challenge, and educate,” people in and outside of the LGBTQ community. This year, the fest celebrates its 20th anniversary with a kick-off event at UCSB’s beloved MultiCultural Center Theater on Thursday, October 20, at 8 p.m. The fest runs Thursday, October 20 - Sunday, October 23. Call 963-3636 or visit outrageousfilmfestival.org.
Rejoice & Shout at UCSB’s Campbell Hall
Don McGlynn’s latest documentary delves deep into the more than 200-year-old history of gospel music in the United States, with a keen eye on the role it’s played in and outside the church. While ground-shaking performances from voices like Mahalia Jackson, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, The Dixie Hummingbirds, and Mavis Staples abound here, McGlynn also incorporates an extensive and fascinating array of interviews with gospel authorities, as well as newsreel footage from Pentecostal ministers and interviews from churchgoers that date back to the dawn of moving pictures. Monday, October 24, 7:30 p.m. Call 893-3535 or visit artsandlectures.sa.ucsb.edu.
Bellflower at Isla Vista Theater
Ventura-born filmmaker Evan Glondell writes, directs, and stars in this low-budget, visually stunning apocalyptic thriller. Best described as “highly stylized,” Bellflower follows the lives of two friends who are building and stockpiling weapons in anticipation of the end of the world. While they wait, though, one of them meets and falls madly in love with a young woman, throwing the pair’s plans for world domination into question. Most recently, the film was named an official selection in this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Bellflower will make its Santa Barbara premiere this fall via Magic Lantern, with Glondell in attendance to field questions after the screening. Friday, November 4, 10 p.m. and midnight.
Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam. At the MultiCultural Center Theater. Wednesday, October 5.
Beginners. At Ojai Theatre. Sunday, October 16.
The First Grader. At Ojai Theatre. Sunday, November 6.
Hollywood Chinese. At the MultiCultural Center Theater. Wednesday, November 9.
Attack the Block. At Isla Vista Theater. Monday, November 14.
Midnight in Paris. At Ojai Theatre. Sunday, November 20.
Journey from Zanskar. At UCSB’s Campbell Hall. Tuesday, November 22.
If a Tree Falls. At UCSB’s Campbell Hall. Tuesday, November 29.