ON Culture | Rhiannon Giddens, Cate Blanchett, and Trevor Noah Bring Their Talents to Town

In the Heights at the Rubicon in Ventura. | Credit: Loren Haar Photography

This edition of ON Culture was originally emailed to subscribers on November 18, 2022. To receive Leslie Dinaberg’s arts newsletter in your inbox on Fridays, sign up at independent.com/newsletters.

ON the Stage

Theater: One of my favorite recent live entertainment experiences was definitely seeing the musical In the Heights at the Rubicon in Ventura. A delightfully energetic show (see my review here) from start to finish. Next up for the company is Ain’t Misbehavin’, a Fats Waller Musical Revue set in 1930s Harlem. Previews begin November 30 and the show runs through December 18. See rubicontheatre.org for tickets.

Trevor Noah brings his Off the Record Tour to the Santa Barbara Bowl on June 2, 2023. | Credit: Courtesy

Also coming up soon are A Magical Cirque Christmas at the Granada on November 28 (look for my interview with Carisa Hendrix — aka the fabulous, fire-eating Lucy Darling — in next week’s Independent), and Ensemble Theatre Company’s A Christmas Carol, December 1-18), with the traditional holiday shows like The Nutcracker, The Christmas Revels, and An Irish Christmas coming later next month.

Comedy: Trevor Noah’s “Off the Record Tour” is coming to the Bowl on June 2 with presales beginning this week. Also announced for the upcoming Bowl season is Tyler Childers with special guest Charley Crockett, who wowed at this fall’s A&L season opener at the Arlington. They’ll take the stage on April 26.

Music: The awesomely talented Rhiannon Giddens,  the music director for the 2023 Ojai Music Festival — who has appeared several times in town both as a solo artist and with her band the Carolina Chocolate Drops — has announced a few of the highlights for the festival taking place June 8-11. The stacked lineup includes the world premiere of Omar’s Journey, an Ojai commissioned suite for voices and chamber ensemble drawn from the opera Omar by Giddens and Michael Ab, and Carlos Simon’s Between Worlds, four string works placed directly in the visual context of the work of the self-taught artist Bill Traylor whose lived experience (1853-1949) spanned the Civil War, Emancipation, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and the Great Migration. There’s a whole lot more on the program, with much more to come. Find details at OjaiFestival.org.

Rhiannon Giddens, music director for the 2023 Ojai Music Festival. | Credit: Courtesy

ON the (Big) Screen

Cate Blanchett. | Credit: Courtesy

Cate Blanchett, who is so good in pretty much everything she touches, will be feted as the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award recipient at the 38th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival on February 10. Her portrayal of Lydia Tár in Todd Feld’s TÁR is earning all kinds of critical kudos, she also very amusingly voices a monkey character with its own language in Guillermo Del Toro’s latest film, Pinocchio, a beautifully rendered stop motion animation version of the classic story. Del Toro made a stop at the Riviera Theatre for a post-screening Q&A last weekend which was fascinating. Movie buffs, keep an eye out for the Cinema Society offerings here. Some of the upcoming films — with filmmakers on hand for interviews afterward — include Armageddon Time, The Good Nurse, and Good Night Oppy.

Rosaline. | Credit: Hulu

ON the (Small) Screen

I’ve been on a bit of a Romeo and Juliet kick recently, perhaps as a darker lead-in to my annual holiday romance movie binge (they used to all be Hallmark movies but now they’re pretty much everywhere). Here’s my review of Rosaline, a comedic spin on Shakespeare’s tragedy. I’m also midway through streaming Still Star-Crosseda one-season only period drama from Shonda Rhimes, which bears only slightly more resemblance to Romeo and Juliet than it does to Bridgerton or Grey’s Anatomy.

ON the Page

David Starkey talked to Monte Schulz about his ambitious new novel Metropolis this week, which Monte says is, at its heart, a love story occurring in the crucible of a century-long eugenics war.” The complicated work, representing more than a decade’s worth of labor for Schulz, who also owns the hopefully-returning-soon Santa Barbara Writers Conference, has a sequel on the way as well. Readers who want an online deep-dive into the book can visit metropolisthebook.com

Metropolis by Monte Schulz. | Credit: Courtesy

ON the Piano

Pianist and songwriter Jim Brickman. | Credit: Courtesy

Get into the spirit of the season and support the Santa Barbara Symphony at a sing-along FUNdraiser on Monday, November 28 at the Red Piano. Featuring Grammy-nominated songwriter, chart-topping performer, and world-class pianist Jim Brickman on the keys from 5-7 p.m.

ON the Walls

Local artists Rod Lathim and Chris Gocong’s “Let There Be Light” show in New York’s Kate Oh Gallery on Madison Avenue and 72nd Street sounds like a blast. Rod said many Santa Barbara people and former Santa Barbarans have attended, including actor Anthony Edwards, fashion icon and entertainer Joey Arias, model/entrepreneur Garrett Swan, writer Joan Tapper, designer Jeannie Sprecher, and Isaac Gonzales of CommenUnity. If you happen to be in the Big Apple, the show is open through November 25.

This edition of ON Culture was originally emailed to subscribers on September 22, 2023. To receive Leslie Dinaberg’s arts newsletter in your inbox on Fridays, sign up at independent.com/newsletters.

ON the Air

Alice Osian. | Credit: Courtesy

Singer and multi instrumentalist Alice Osian has just released the title track off of her upcoming EP,  “Painkiller,” a dark, rocking tune that’s sticking in my head right now and giving me some serious David Lynch vibes. Here’s the link to check it out for yourself on all your favorite streaming channels. 

ON the Podium

Nobel Peace Prize recipient Maria Ressa. | Credit: Courtesy

It’s lecture season at UCSB’s A&L and getting to go to these presentations is one of my personal favorite work perks. I particularly enjoyed hearing political risk expert Ian Bremmer (recap here) and Pico Iyer’s interview with Jennifer Egan (recap here) recently. Coming up on January 19 is Nobel Peace Prize recipient Maria Ressa (How to Stand Up to a Dictator) and on February 2 is novelist Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow).

ON the Web

Credit: Courtesy

“We Appreciate Your Ears,” the music podcast from Zach Madden (Good Land Sound) and Brad Nack (the same beloved fine artist whose paintings currently grace the cover of the Lobero’s program this season and who will be herding his famous reindeer once again this holiday season with a December 15 reception at Roy), has a very interesting interview with Glen Phillips focusing on songwriting here. Glen’s been busy lately touring with a new album, There is so Much Here, which has a beautiful cover in addition to some very fine tunes. The Indy’s own Joe Woodard discusses Glen and his work here.

Glen Phillips’ latest album, There is so Much Here. | Credit: Courtesy

ON the Calendar

Santa Barbara’s Brazilian Day Festival takes place on Saturday, November 19. | Credit: Courtesy

The Brazilian Cultural Arts Center of Santa Barbara presents the Brazilian Day Festival on Saturday November 19 — an opportunity for the entire Santa Barbara community to enjoy the vibrant culture of Brazil from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Casa de la Guerra and De La Guerra Plaza. It’s also Brazilian American Heritage Month in Santa Barbara, which Master of the Afro-Brazilian martial art of Capoeira and community leader Mariano Silva stated, “is a huge accomplishment for the Santa Barbara community and a great opportunity for all to celebrate the rich culture of Brazil. It is my honor to host the Brazilian Day festivities and bring awareness to cultural arts education and entertainment at this free event.” For more information on the festivities, visit brazildaysb.com.

For a complete calendar of events this week and beyond, visit independent.com/events/.

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