ELECTRIC LEMONADE: After a hard stint manning The Santa Barbara Independent’s Earth Day booth Sunday, I was as thirsty as a wandering Sahara camel.

So I made a beeline past the beekeeper booth and spotted a banner reading “Electric Lemonade.” There, Natalie Bovee, who can normally be seen at the Four Seasons Biltmore, whipped up a large cup of — well, I’m not sure. The Food Court program listed it as vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free/non-GMO (genetically modified food). Kind of gingery, too. Ice cubes swimming in it. It was absolutely delicious, and you’ll never find it in the Sahara.

Barney Brantingham

I didn’t get around to trying the “Paleo” dishes, which I understand relate to food our ancestors ate way back at the beginning of time, like dinosaur meat, etc. But hunger was overcoming me. I had a sudden yen for Mom’s good old American meat and potatoes, well-salted.

What I found was Autostrada wood-fired sourdough pizza, available in vegan/vegetarian/organic/non-GMO (of course). I’m not sure what I ordered, but it was smoking hot, right out of the oven, loaded with veggies.

<b>VEGAN VIRTUE:</b>  Sierra Swanson served up delicious Santa Barbara Popcorn at Earth Day.
Barney Brantingham

I’d already eaten two cheese-and-veggie sandwiches back at the booth, so all I needed was something to top it all off. Passing up the Here’s the Scoop farm-to-scoop sorbet (vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free/organic/non-GMO/fair trade), I opted for “sweet and savory” S.B. Popcorn — and, you guessed it, pretty much all as above.

Not your family’s TV popcorn but flavored with olive oil and other stuff, and so good that after Sierra Swanson sold me a $4 bag, I took it back to The Indy booth for the gang. They were munching it as I headed home with Sue. She was hungry.

DEATH BY CELL PHONE: You’ll probably never look at your cell phone the same way after seeing the current City College play, Dead Man’s Cell Phone. Jenna Scanlon plays a woman who’s baffled by odd goings-on involving our society’s subservience to a device that heretofore was just plugged in and stayed in one place. Sarah Ruhl’s fantasy/comedy/romance/social commentary gets excellent, surreal treatment by director Katie Laris. It’s being staged through May 2 by The Theatre Group at Santa Barbara City College.

AS TIME GOES BY: In the classic movie Casablanca, a Carpinterian named Oliver Prickett played a waiter at the Blue Parrot café. But before that, he was the founder and manager of Carpinteria’s Plaza Playhouse Theater, which celebrates its 87th birthday on May 2. There’ll be a 5:30 p.m. reception, with appetizers and drinks and, of course, a 7 p.m. screening of my favorite movie of all time: Casablanca. And I’ll be in the audience. ($30 a person, $50 couple.)

Longtime Carpinteria resident Prickett, sometimes known as Oliver Blake, played in the Ma and Pa Kettle films, according to the Plaza folks.

First named The Alcazar, the theater opened on April 27, 1928, with a live band and a comedy, The Fifty-Fifty Girl. Admission: $1.10. Henry J. Muller invested a cool half-million to build the place. Plaza Board President Melinda Bie claims that it’s the oldest continually operating theater between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

And the old movie queen has lots of life left in her. Today, April 23, The Quebe Sisters —  Grace, Sophia, and Hulda — will serve up hot Texas swing, blue grass, fiddling, and vintage country.

TRIPLE PLAY: It took two years to lure Mutter-Bronfman-Harrell to Santa Barbara, but it was well worth it. Thanks to the persistence of UCSB’s Arts & Lectures, a Granada Theatre audience witnessed a world-class concert by the internationally famous trio of violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, pianist Yefim Bronfman, and cellist Lynn Harrell on April 17, featuring Beethoven and Tchaikovsky.

LISZT LIVES (SORT OF): Franz Liszt died a long time ago (1886), but as a very much alive Warren Jones played Liszt’s Liebestod arrangement from Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, you could almost imagine Liszt soloing with Camerata Pacifica April 17 at Hahn Hall. And if I closed my eyes as Martin Owen played horn during Brahms’s Trio for Horn, Violin and Piano (with Jones and violinist Priya Mitchell), I thought I heard hunting horns echoing in Hahn Hall. Funny how music plays time tricks, eh?

Camerata’s big deal comes up May 15-16 with performances of Bach’s complete Brandenburg Concerti.


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