Best of the Arts 2011

S.B. Independent Editors, Contributors Dish on Their Favorite Moments

Fleet Foxes
Paul Wellman

Forget the Academy Awards, or the Grammys, or, heck, even the Tonys. Below, you’ll find The Santa Barbara Independent’s all-inclusive guide to the events, artists, and creations that swept us off our feet in 2011. As in years past, we’ve collected highlights from editors, staff writers, and contributors, and the results are as vast and varied as ever. Here, you’ll find everything from dazzling visual exhibits and adorable kids’ books to off-the-charts live concerts and shouldn’t-be-missed movies, all of which graced our streets, eyes, or ears in the past dozen months. We hope you’ll take it as a great excuse to look back, reminisce, and compile a list of your own, just in time for the New Year.

Aly Comingore, Pop Culture Editor

Best New Area Band: Ghost Tiger

Best New Album: Future Islands’ Smoke Ring for My Halo

Best Opening Act/Headliner Combo: Fleet Foxes and The Walkmen at the Santa Barbara Bowl

Best Big-Deal Show at a Tiny Venue: Future Islands at Muddy Waters Café

Most Unlikely Appearance by an Oscar Winner: Jeff Bridges and his band at the Summer Solstice Kick-Off Party in Alameda Park

Charles Donelan, Fine Arts Editor

Best Music Video: Parry Gripp’s “Megaphone”

Best Book: Larry Feinberg’s The Young Leonardo: Art and Life in Fifteenth-Century Florence

Best Dance Party: Tiësto at the Santa Barbara Bowl

Best Art Exhibit: Penelope Gottlieb’s Gone: A Visual Eulogy for Lost Plant Life at Lotusland

Best Jazz Show: Kurt Elling at the Lobero Theatre

Mumford & Sons at the Santa Barbara Bowl, Monday, April 18.
Paul Wellman

Roger Durling, Contributing Writer/Santa Barbara Film Fest Executive Director

Best Concert: Mumford & Sons at the Santa Barbara Bowl

Best Lobero Theatre Event That Took Place at the Granada: Twyla Tharp’s Come Fly Away

Best Holiday Movie Release: David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Most Unexpected Theater Highlight: Ensemble Theatre Company’s The Fantasticks at Alhecama Theatre

Best Santa Barbara Band: Little Owl

Deadmau5 at the Santa Barbara Bowl Oct. 27, 2011
Paul Wellman

Matt Kettmann, Senior Editor

Best Surprise-You-Like-Flashing-Lights-and-Druggy-Insanity Moment: Deadmau5 at the Santa Barbara Bowl

Best Supergroup of S.B. High Schoolers: Blue Suns

Best Fish-Can-Be-Cool Book: Milton Love’s Certainly More Than You Want to Know About the Fishes of the Pacific Coast: A Postmodern Experience

Best Children’s Book with Sibling-on-the-Way Subtext: Max Kornell’s Bear with Me

Best Arena-Ready Rock Show in a Tiny Venue: Foo Fighters at Velvet Jones

Levi Michaels, Contributing Writer

Most Refreshing S.B. Concert Series: RedEye Presents…

Best New Area Band: Souvenirs

Most Face-Melting Performance: Entrance Band and Allah-Las at Velvet Jones

Best Electronic Album: Justice’s Audio, Video, Disco

Best Rock Album: Portugal. The Man’s In the Mountain in the Cloud

Katy Perry at the Santa Barbara Bowl
Paul Wellman

D.J. Palladino, Contributing Writer

Best Rock ‘n’ Roll Arrival: Gardens & Villa’s Gardens & Villa

Best Rock Concert: Katy Perry at the Santa Barbara Bowl

Best Film Debut: Venturan Evan Glodell’s Bellflower

Best Movie About a Santa Barbaran: Beginners

Best Santa Ynez Film Debut: William Eubank’s Love

Ghost Tiger
Cara Robbins

Cara Robbins, Contributing Photographer

Best Show at the Santa Barbara Bowl: Fleet Foxes

Best Dance Party: YACHT at Velvet Jones

Best Show-Stealing Opening Act: Givers (opening for Ra Ra Riot) at SOhO

Best New Area Band: Ghost Tiger

Best Light Show: Phantogram at SOhO

Elizabeth Schwyzer, Contributing Writer

Coolest New Dance Studio: Sino West Performing Arts

Most Innovative Dance Theater Production: Yes is a long time

Best Solo Performance: Ann Randolph in Loveland

Most Ambitious New Festival: SB-ADaPT Festival

Company to Watch in 2012: Santa Barbara Dance Theatre

Buffalo Springfield
Paul Wellman

Josef Woodard, Contributing Writer

Best Local-Gone-Global Moment: Katy Perry at the Santa Barbara Bowl

Most Powerful Moment at the S.B. International Film Fest: Florin Serban’s If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle

Best Classical Music Moment: Peter Serkin at the Lobero Theatre

Most Pinch-Me-I’m-Dreaming Concert: Buffalo Springfield at the Santa Barbara Bowl

Best Jazz Show: John Scofield’s and Bill Frisell’s trios at the Lobero Theatre

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