Barbara Kingsolver | Credit: Evan Kafka

Fall not only heralds the return of students to UCSB, but it also signals the start of Arts & Lectures programming, which brings first-class musicians, speakers, authors, dancers, and thinkers, among others, to Santa Barbara. Although COVID has forced changes in the way we experience the aforementioned, culture and entertainment march on virtually.

As such, Arts & Lectures has created a series of interactive digital events called House Calls, which allow audiences the opportunity to still see, hear, and engage with a stellar lineup of guests. First up for the one-hour format is Billy Strings (Sept. 24), the Nashville-based musician who layers a bluegrass base with bits of punk, psychedelic, and alt rock, creating a genre all its own. October opens strongly with musician Jason Isbell (Oct. 1) playing a solo show followed by a Q&A. Isbell played the Bowl in 2019, leaving an indelible aural mark. His set included songs that ranged from socially conscious to heart-rending to rocking. When he sang “Cover Me Up,” arguably one of the most affecting songs in his repertoire, it was delivered with such pathos it was impossible not to be emotionally stirred. Don’t miss your chance to see and hear this seasoned performer.

The rest of the October boasts an array of folks including Financial Times Editor-at-Large Gillian Tett (Oct. 8). Known for her uncanny economic predictions, she’s been called a “first-rate journalist and a good storyteller” by the New York Times. Novelist, essayist, and poet Barbara Kingsolver chats with Pico Iyer about her new book of poems (Oct. 16), and award-winning musician Nathaniel Rateliff performs solo (Oct. 14). Rhiannon Giddens (Nov. 15); Danish String Quartet (Nov. 12); the 19th U.S. Surgeon General, Vivek H. Murthy (Oct. 23); and Pink Martini (Dec. 10) take us through December.

411: You must register for each event individually. To see showtimes, purchase tickets, and get the full lineup of upcoming House Calls, which will run September 2020-January 2021, see

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