Best of the Arts 2012

Santa Barbara’s Artists and Tastemakers Reflect on Their Year-End Highlights

Black Keys at the Santa Barbara Bowl (Oct. 2, 2012)
Paul Wellman

With each passing year, we seem to anticipate the next more eagerly, setting goals, demanding resolutions, and forging on to the bigger and the better. Still, if history has taught us anything, it’s that we can learn — and grow — from understanding what came before. It’s with that thought in mind that we reached out to some of S.B.’s artsiest movers, shakers, and tastemakers and asked them to give us their 2012 year-end highlight reel. They picked the categories, they picked the winners, and now we’re inviting you to look back and enjoy Santa Barbara’s arts in review, list style. ’Til next year, friends.

Ghost Tiger is (from left) Christopher Norlinger, Chris Stansell, Alixandra Macmillan-Fiedel, Emma Huston, and Kevin Evans.
Cara Robbins

Robin Bisio, filmmaker/choreographer

Best Film: Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best Dance Performance: DANCEworks at the Lobero Theatre

Best New Band: Ghost Tiger

Best Book: The Paris Wife

Twin Shadow
Dave Mount

Aly Comingore, Independent Pop Culture Editor

Best Album: Grizzly Bear’s Shields

Best Dance Party: Twin Shadow at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club

Best Punk Rock Out: King Tuff at Muddy Waters Café

Best Film: Moonrise Kingdom

Best New Santa Barbara Band: The Wools Surf Club

Charles Donelan, Independent Fine Arts Editor

Best Photography Exhibition: Portrayal/Betrayal at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Yo-Yo Ma Lecture/Performance at the Granada Theatre
Cynthia Carbone Ward

Best Solo Art Exhibition: Rafael Perea de la Cabada’s Alien Heartland at the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art

Best Group Art Exhibition: The Stumbling Present; Ruins in Contemporary Art at the UCSB Art, Design, and Architecture Museum

Best Orchestral Concert: Joshua Bell and the Academy of St. Martin in the Field at the Granada Theatre

Best Solo Performance: Yo-Yo Ma at the Granada Theatre

Roger Durling, Santa Barbara International Film Festival Director

Charles Lloyd New Quartet at the Lobero
David Bazemore

Best Concert: The Black Keys at the Santa Barbara Bowl

Best Holiday Movie Release: Django Unchained

Best Album: Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange

Best Live Jazz Show: Charles Lloyd’s New Quartet at the Lobero Theatre

Best Laugh: Joan Rivers at the Chumash

Gardens & Villa playing live during the screening of Faust at the Lobero Theatre Feb. 4, 2012
Paul Wellman

Matt Kettmann, Independent Senior Editor

Best Sonic Noise Meets Celluloid History: Gardens & Villa’s live soundtrack to Faust at the Lobero Theatre

Best Subdued Crowd Turned Frenzied Onstage Dance Mob: Seun Kuti at UCSB’s Campbell Hall

Best S.B.-Meets-N.Y.C. Jazz Club Experience: Nate Birkey at 55 Bar in the West Village

Best Legend Dropping Real World Knowledge: Chuck D at The Savoy during New Noise Santa Barbara

Best Public Art in Forever Flux: Mason Street Murals in the Funk Zone

The Wools Surf Club
Courtesy Photo

Kurt and Leigh Legler, Warbler Records & Goods

Best New Album: Las Malas Amistades’s Maleza

Best Music Documentary: Searching for Sugarman

Best Reissue: Cleaners from Venus’s On Any Normal Monday

Best New Local Band: The Wools Surf Club

Best Holiday Tradition: Shelter Social Club’s Deck the Halls

Flying Lotus
Levi Michaels

Levi Michaels, Independent Staff Writer

Best Festival Experience: Sasquatch! Music Festival

Most Outrageous Light Show: Radiohead at the Santa Barbara Bowl

Best “Deejay” Set: Flying Lotus at UCSB’s Storke Plaza

Most Fun Show: FIDLAR and Pangea at the Biko Co-op Garage

Gnarliest Noisemakers: Xela, Dante Elephante, Freakin’ On Speakers, and St. Anne’s Place at Velvet Jones

<em>Silver Linings Playbook</em>

D.J. Palladino, Independent Staff Writer

Best Concert by Guys Who (Sort of) Live in Santa Barbara: The Beach Boys 50th Anniversary Concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl

Best Film by Former Canadians Who Now Do Live in Santa Barbara: Hitchcock

Best and Most Promising Cultural Event for Future Santa Barbarans: MuddFest at Muddy Waters Café

Best Film: Silver Linings Playbook

Best Album: Grizzly Bear’s Shields

Pure Bathing Culture at Muddy Waters Cafe
Cara Robbins

Cara Robbins, Independent Contributing Photographer

Best Album: Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid/mAAd City

Best Album Packaging and Album Art: Father John Misty’s Fear Fun

Best Live Show in S.B: Future Islands at Velvet Jones

Best Show-Stealing Opening Act: Pure Bathing Culture at Muddy Waters Cafe (opening for Poor Moon)

Best Music Video: Dirty Projectors’ “Hi Custodian”

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
Todd Rosenberg

Elizabeth Schwyzer, Independent Dance Editor

Best Arts & Lectures Performance: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago at the Granada Theatre

Best New Musical: Elements Theatre Collective’s Training

Best Feel-Good Dance Class: World Dance Workout

Best Weekly Dance Party: Dance Tribe

Most Exciting Evolution: Santa Barbara Dance Theater

Philip Seymour Hoffman (right) gives a tour de force performance as the leader of a faith-based organization that attracts a volatile new convert in the form of a troubled WWII vet (Joaquin Phoenix) in Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest opus, <em>The Master</em>

Josef Woodard, Independent Senior Arts Writer

Best Predictably Great Concert: Radiohead at the Santa Barbara Bowl

Best Encore Named after a Beatles Song: Elvis Costello’s “I Want You,” at the Granada Theatre

Best Movie/Best On-screen Performance: Joaquin Phoenix in The Master

Best Classical High: Bent Sørensen’s new piano concerto, played by Leif Ove Andsnes at the Ojai Music Festival

Best New Favorite Band: Mostly Other People do the Killing


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