This edition of ON Culture was originally emailed to subscribers on December 2, 2022. To receive Leslie Dinaberg’s arts newsletter in your inbox on Fridays, sign up at

ON the Stage

Comedian Daniel Howell performs at the Lobero on December 5. | Credit: Dave Brown

Comedy: YouTube sensation Daniel Howell comes to the Lobero on Monday (12/5), and Kat Sophia did a terrific interview with the British comedian, covering everything from what it’s like to be internet famous to his very public coming out, his Taylor Swift encounter (she drew a picture of him), and more. You can read it here.

Stacie Burrows’ Bulletproof Unicorn comes to the Center Stage Theater December 8-10
| Credit: Desmond Burrows

She had me at “Unicorn” — is there a more magical word in the English language? (Please tell my husband to get his mind out of the gutter!) The harrowing, hilarious, and true tale of her drunk brother trying to murder her is the subject of Stacie Burrows’s new dark comedy solo show Bulletproof Unicorn, which comes to Center Stage Theater December 8-10. Burrows, who spent 10 years as half of the musical comedy duo Mommy Tonk, brings this show to town fresh off the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and two sold-out shows in .LA. For more info, visit

Plastic Harpoons plays a free album release party tonight at Figueroa Mountain in the Funk Zone.
| Credit: Courtesy

Music: We’ve had loads of great music in town as of late, including some new tunes from the indie/folk/rock band Plastic Harpoons, who have a free album release party show tonight at Figueroa Mountain in the Funk Zone. See Callie Fausey’s story here. Among the many local performers who will be showcased at the Grace Fisher Foundation’s Fifth Annual Winter Music Showcase on Friday, December 9 (read my story here), is Folk Orchestra of Santa Barbara. The group also performs holiday music from around the world on December 17 at Presidio Chapel and December 18 at Marjorie Luke Theater. See for details.

Country singer Brett Young comes to the S.B. Bowl on May 19.
| Credit: Courtesy

As if there’s any doubt that country is a thing (thang?) here now, country singer Brett Young is coming to the Santa Barbara Bowl on May 19, with Morgan Evans and Ashley Cooke. Tickets go on sale here today. In case you missed them, we’ve got reviews online for the Reggae on the Mountain FestivalAllison RussellDominic Fike, and the Santa Barbara Symphony, among others. Keep your eyes peeled for more at, as Joe Woodard, Maggie Yates, and I all have very full dance cards in the next few weeks.

Theater: I’m looking forward to the opening of A Christmas Carol from Ensemble Theatre Company this weekend (see Maggie Yates’s preview here). I’m guessing it will contrast nicely with the very entertaining Spirited, the Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds musical version of the tale now playing at Metropolitan Theaters and streaming on Apple TV. I’m also really excited to see the revival of Ain’t Misbehavin’ — a 1978 Tony Award–winning musical featuring the music of Fats Waller — at the Rubicon ( in Ventura next weekend.

A Christmas Carol from Ensemble Theatre Company opens this weekend. | Credit: Courtesy

ON the Page

Actor Sophia Ross at ETC Young Playwrights Festival 2021 | Credit: Minh Tran

Aspiring playwright alert! Ensemble Theatre Company is now accepting applications for the 6th Annual Young Playwrights’ Festival. FREE, and open to writers aged 14-19, this is a four-month program to help you learn the craft of the playwriting — including development of a short play that will be produced with professional actors and directors. How cool is that! Applications are being accepted through December 15. For more information, click here.

ON the (Big) Screen

EO recounts the tale of a wandering donkey. | Credit: Skopia Film

There are so many great movies out right now. Check out our reviews for TárPinocchioThe Banshees of InisherinSalvatore: Shoemaker of DreamsEO, and Armageddon Timewith more on the way very soon.

This edition of ON Culture was originally emailed to subscribers on April 26, 2024. To receive Leslie Dinaberg’s arts newsletter in your inbox on Fridays, sign up at

ON the Walls

Larry Vigon with some of his work at Silo118 |  Credit: Courtesy

There’s no better time than the holiday season to show your support for local art and artists. Check out Larry Vigon’s special holiday show Madonna and Bunny and Friends at Silo118. Opening reception is from 5-7 p.m. on Saturday, December 3, and the work, which includes a great assortment of lino-cuts, prints on paper and metal, original paintings and ink drops on water, and limited-edition prints, is just incredible. I got to know the very, very talented Vigon (who, in addition to his very fine art, has designed album covers for the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Chicago, Counting Crows, and many, many more huge names) when I edited his two-volume book, Serious Play, a limited edition, which is also available at Silo118 Gallery.

Sullivan Goss 100 Grand Show | Credit: Courtesy

Local favorites aplenty line the walls at Sullivan Goss right now. It’s the gallery’s annual 100 Grand exhibition, on view through January 23, 2023, and featuring 100 works of art for $1,000 or less, all by an incredible lineup of artists (names in all CAPS are repped by the gallery): WHITNEY BROOKS ABBOTT,  Christina Altfeld,  Scott Anderson, Douglas Andrews, Alyssa Beccue, Alex Blair, Kit Boise-Cossart, KEN BORTOLAZZO, Hilary Brace, Liz Brady, Lisabette Brinkman, Nadya Brown, PHOEBE BRUNNER, Nell Campbell, Chris Chapman, Scott Chatenever, PATRICIA CHIDLAW, Amanda Colacchia, Connie Connally, Collette Cosentino, Tom de Walt, David Diamant, Kris Doe, Kate Eden, JON FRANCIS, Valori Fussell, Harrison Gilman, Kevin Gleason, Yumiko Glover, ROBIN GOWEN, Colin Fraser Gray, Ruthy Green, Inga Guzyte, Bay Hallowell, Holli Harmon, Ann Hefferman, Ruth Ellen Hoag, Jim Hodgson, Angela Holland, Peter Horjus, NATHAN HUFF,  Holly Hungett, John Iwerks, Cynthia James, Guy Kinnear, Mary-Austin Klein, Kathleen Klein Wakefield, Onno Kok, WOSENE WORKE KOSROF, Julika Lackner, Daniel Landman, Dave Lefner, Jennifer Lemay, Dan Levin, Michael Long, Lizabeth Madal, Jordan Marshall Potter, Virginia McCracken, SUSAN McDONNELL, Theil Morgan, Brad Nack, Zoe Nathan, JOHN NAVA, Amber O’Neill, Tom Pazderka, Rafael Perea de la Cabada, ANGELA PERKO, CHRIS PETERS, James Petrucci, Gail Pine, HANK PITCHER, Frances Reighley, Maria Rendón, Chris Rupp, Linda Saccoccio, Blakeney Sanford, Jill Sattler, Sharon Schock, LESLIE LEWIS SIGLER, Kerrie Smith, Ginny Speirs, Catherine Steininger, Meagan Stirling, NICOLE STRASBURG, Marlene Struss, Tracey Sylvester Harris, Andrew Thill, James David Thomas, Susan Tibbles,  Sue Van Horsen, SARAH VEDDER, Wanda Venturelli, Monica Wiesblott, Joyce Wilson, Sara Woodburn, and Sara Yerkes.

“Light Rising” by Kevin A. Short | Credit: Kevin A. Short

Kevin A. Short’s beautiful exhibit (I wrote about his show The Peaceful Sea at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum this summer) is culminating  with a unique event at the museum — a combination of a studio open house, personal exhibit tours, and sale of his paintings — on Saturday, December 3, from 5-7 p.m. This special evening program is a culmination of Short’s exhibit at the museum, which will close on December 31. It is free to the public, but registration is required. RSVP to Linda Fields at or call (805) 456-8743.

Tom Peck, “Oak Vineyard” | Credit: Courtesy

Also worth checking out is the group holiday show at 10 West Gallery (see Ellie Bouwer’s story here) featuring work from all 28 of the gallery’s artists: Karin Aggeler, Penny Arntz, Bryson Bost, Sophie MJ Cooper, Rick Doehring, Eugene Galles, Madeline Garrett, Diane Giles, Pamela Grau, Patrick Hall, Sheldon Kaganoff, Pamela Larsson-Toscher, Daniel Linz, Laurie MacMillan, Patrick McGinnis, Jo Merit, Mary Neville, Carol Paquet, Tom Peck, James Petrucci, Patricia Post, Dahlia Riley, Joan Rosenberg-Dent, Eric Saint Georges, Marlene Struss, Mary Dee Thompson, Iben Vestergaard, and Karen Zazon.

ON the Podium

The cast of Rian Johnson’s Glass Onion | Credit: Courtesy

Nigella Lawson was terrific in conversation with KCRW’s Evan Kleiman last month. And of course, the whole thing made me terribly hungry. In case you’re interested, here is my review. I’ve also been really enjoying the mini film festivals put on by SBIFF this year, with a fantastic lineup of films and filmmakers at the Riviera, followed by Q&As with Executive Director Roger Durling. Among my recent favorites from SBIFF Cinema Society was the Armageddon Time Q&A with James Gray and Jeremy Strong and Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio Q&A with Guillermo del Toro. Among the treats still to come are Glass Onion (a sequel to Knives Out, which I enjoyed at the Arlington last week) and a Q&A with writer-director Rian Johnson on Saturday, December 3, at 5 p.m.; Good Night Oppy and a Q&A with director Ryan White on Sunday, December 4, at 11 a.m.; and A Man Called Otto and a Q&A with Writer David Magee on Wednesday, December 7, at 7 p.m. All screenings and talks are at the Riviera Theatre and are open to the public with tickets ($20) purchased in advance here. For a complete schedule of upcoming events, click here.

Credit: Courtesy

ON the Calendar

The Live Poetry Series at Goleta Valley Library kicks off on Sunday, December 11, at 2 p.m., featuring readers Chryss Yost, George Yatchisin, Jace Turner, and Isabelle Kim-Sherman. This event and the series will be hosted by David Starkey, who served as Santa Barbara’s 2009-2011 Poet Laureate. He is Founding Director of the Creative Writing Program at Santa Barbara City College and the publisher and co-editor of Gunpowder Press, as well as a frequent contributor to the Santa Barbara Independent.

For a complete calendar of events this week and beyond, visit

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