Jonah Hill and Julia Louis-Dreyfus star in 'YOU PEOPLE' | Credit: Netflix

This edition of ON Culture was originally emailed to subscribers on January 13, 2023. To receive Leslie Dinaberg’s arts newsletter in your inbox on Fridays, sign up at

ON the (Small) Screen

Ah, the challenges of the movie-streaming era … I wasn’t really sure whether to classify this as “Big Screen” or “Small Screen.” In any case, local luminary Julia Louis-Dreyfus stars in YOU PEOPLE, a promising-sounding new Netflix film from writer/director Kenya Barris, whose network series Black-ish and Grown-ish are often funny, and whose less-watched, one-season Netflix show #blackAF is laugh-out-loud hilarious. Out on January 27, the YOU PEOPLE premise has lovebirds Jonah Hill and Lauren London finding their relationship tested by their families: Jonah’s progressive and semi-woke pair (Julia Louis-Dreyfus and David Duchovny) and Lauren’s unyielding yet concerned duo (Eddie Murphy and Nia Long) who inject themselves into their lives mercilessly. The trailer looks pretty funny, including a snippet of Julia going toe-to-toe with Eddie Murphy that is a comedic masterpiece that’s absolutely priceless!

ON the Walls

This 2019 Lara Favaretto installation, made of moving car-wash brushes, was one of my favorite MCASB exhibits in recent memory. | Credit: Blaine Campbell

As I was thrilled to share in this week’s paper, our beloved Museum of Contemporary Art is springing back to life with an open house on January 22. It just goes to show, you can’t keep a good museum down. Click here for all the details on what’s going on, and stay tuned for more to come!

ON the Page

Santa Barbara Writers Conference is back! | Credit: Courtesy

I’m so excited to share that the Santa Barbara Writers Conference will be back June 18-23, for the first time since 2019, and just in time to celebrate its 50th anniversary. The conference is shaping up to be an excellent lineup of workshops, panels, speakers, and more, including one of my favorite authors — Elinor Lipman — who should be much more of a household name. It’s always such an inspiring and informative and FUN week — I can’t wait! Stay tuned to as details unfold.

Tracy Flick Can’t Win by Tom Perotta was one of David Starkey’s top picks for the year. | Credit: Courtesy

We’re bulking up on our book reviews, thanks to a new partnership with the California Review of Books ( Looking for some recommendations, check out their reviewers’ 10 Best Books of 2022. And check out this blog post to see some of my personal favorites from the year.

Prince Harry’s highly anticipated memoir, Spare, is finally available. | Credit: Courtesy

Also of, ahem, local literary note, Prince Harry of Montecito’s new memoir with the fabulous title — Spare — is finally on sale. Here’s the New York Times’s take, as well as the scoop from People Magazine, which contains the — gasp — revelation of Harry and Meghan’s In-N-Out order.

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 (Big) Screen

Colin Farrell & Brendan Gleeson will receive the Cinema Vanguard Award from SBIFF | Credit: SBIFF

Just when I thought Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) couldn’t get any starrier, they announced another big night with movie royalty, the Cinema Vanguard Award, honoring The Banshees of Inisherin co-stars Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson on February 16. It’s sure to be an entertaining night: Their performances in the film are earning raves, and clearly they’re friends in real life. Check out their appearance on Saturday Night Live this fall!

Neil Myers in Climb | Credit: Courtesy

The heartwarming documentary Climb, which debuted at SBIFF in 2021, is now available to rent here. It’s the story of cyclist and triathlete Neil Myers, a triathlete who was nearly killed during a training ride — colliding head-on with a truck, breaking 16 bones in 26 places, collapsing both lungs, and suffering a brain bleed — and his battle to get back on his bike and began his journey back to competition in the Santa Barbara Triathlon.

Filming The Accessible Outdoors at Arroyo Hondo Preserve | Credit: Mo McFadden

If that’s not enough to warm the cockles of your heart, check out the NatureTrack Film Festival’s award-winning documentary The Accessible Outdoors, a 15-minute film highlighting the importance of access to nature for ALL of us, including people with disabilities. Filmed at local parks, beaches, and nature preserves, this film (available for free here)  is a gift to the community from the NatureTrack nonprofit, which provides outdoor docent-led field trips for school children and wheelchair users of any age utilizing local trails and beaches throughout S.B. County.

ON the Stage

The Black Keys | Credit: Courtesy

I know it hasn’t felt like it this week, but sunny days will soon be here again and so will the Bowl concert season. Tickets for what’s sure to be another great show by The Black Keys go on sale today (January 13). They’ll bring their Dropout Boogie (coincidentally the name of their new album) Tour to town on May 4.

ON the Calendar

Fitness Fest and E-Bike Awareness event on January 19 | Credit: Downtown Santa Barbara

The 700 and 800 blocks of State Street will transform into a fitness-themed block party on Thursday, January 19, from 5-8 p.m. This free, fun event from Downtown Santa Barbara features group workout classes, dance demonstrations, an e-bike expo, and more.

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

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