That’s right. The holidays are over. And slowly but surely, it’s back to business as usual. While that may mean the end of a much-needed break for some, it also signals the start of one of our favorite times of year: the winter arts season. While the rest of the country bundles up and braves the cold, we here on the West Coast get to reap the benefits of an endless summer — and play host to every musician, dancer, actor, and orator looking to escape the winter chill. In late January, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival returns to town for its 29th year, boasting appearances by Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese, Cate Blanchett, Oprah Winfrey, Ethan Hawke, Emma Thompson, and many (many) more. Come February, S.B.’s theater scene starts to heat up, with Ensemble Theatre Company’s Good People, UCSB theater department’s The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls, and Westmont’s take on Electra all premiering. On the dance front, UCSB’s Arts & Lectures continues a strong year of programming with performances from Wayne McGregor’s Random Dance and the Royal New Zealand Ballet, among others. And if you’re a live-music fan, winter is sure to supply some serious riches, from Charles Lloyd’s return to the Lobero Theatre to of Montreal’s psychedelic circus at UCSB. In the following pages, we outline our picks for the best bets of the season: so grab your lightweight winter wear, and prepare to head out into the sunshine.