ON Culture | The Super Bowl of SBIFF Panels
ON the (Big) Screen
It’s so exciting to finally have the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in full swing. We’ve been on the beat getting stories ready for what feels like ages, and it’s really fun to see all of that finally start to come to fruition. I love the whole shebang but am particularly excited about the Writers Panel — an impressive group that includes the Daniels (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Todd Field (Tár), Kazuo Ishiguro (Living), Rian Johnson (Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery), Tony Kushner (The Fabelmans), Martin McDonagh (The Banshees of Inisherin), Ruben Östlund (Triangle of Sadness), Lesley Paterson (All Quiet on the Western Front), and Sarah Polley (Women Talking) — on Saturday, February 11 at 11 a.m. at the Arlington.
I mean, seriously … in addition to all of their amazing 2022 films, Kazuo Ishiguro is a Nobel Prize–winning novelist. He wrote The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go, among other notable works. And Tony Kushner is THE Tony Kushner, the fricking Pulitzer Prize–winning Angels in America guy! If you care at all about the written word in its many artful forms, you won’t want to miss this fabulous panel.
ON the Stage
“How sweet it is” to be a “Brown-Eyed Girl” in Santa Barbara right now! My heart goes pitter-patter every time I see another announcement from the Bowl. Just this week we found out that James Taylor is coming on May 31 and Van Morrison is coming on September 16. Also on the calendar are Young the Giant with Milky Chance and Rosa Linn (Aug. 18), as well as the previously announced Tyler Childers (Apr. 26), The Black Keys (May 4), Billy Currington (May 6), Brett Young (May 19), Trevor Noah (Jun. 2-3), and Little Big Town (Jul. 15). With more to come. I can’t wait!
Speaking of waiting, our town’s favorite adopted son Jack Johnson will be playing a very special show in the intimate Lobero Theatre on February 21. Diana Hill wrote a hilarious and touching story about her adventures waiting in line for the quickly sold-out show. Another huge name coming to the venerable venue is Charles Lloyd, who will celebrate his 85th birthday and the Lobero 150th anniversary with a concert on March 10.
Also on the musical nostalgia radar is Air Supply, bringing “The Lost in Love Experience” tour and a long list of love songs to the Chumash Casino Resort on February 17.
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ON the (Small) Screen Super Bowl Special
Not that I don’t love football, but the ads and the halftime show are certainly a huge part of my attraction to the Super Bowl. The teaser for this year’s Dave Grohl Crown Royal ad is quite amusing and combines two of my favorite things. Fun fact: The most expensive Super Bowl commercial in NFL history was in 2022, and it was Amazon’s “Mind Reader” ad for Alexa, which you may recall starred real-life celebrity couple Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost talking about how Alexa could make your home a little too smart. It reportedly cost $26 million to broadcast during the live event, which translates to $6.5 million per 30 seconds. And YES, there is a local connection: Downtown Santa Barbara is home to the Alexa Knowledge team (although still not yet home to the EveryTable restaurant, which has been haunting us with a sign in the window at the corner of State Street and Carrillo Boulevard for what feels like a decade).
Looking for a place to pregame on Super Bowl Sunday? Spencer the Gardener is performing with his sister Liz Barnitz, Brett Larsen, and friends at the Blue Owl from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Check out this highly nutritious video.
ON the Page
I was so bummed to miss Nick Hornby’s appearance at Chaucer’s on January 31 (we had a conflicting work event), but so happy to discover that the venerable book store has a YouTube channel where I later tuned in to watch Hornby’s interview with Jessica Anya Blau (another fantastic fiction writer, who grew up in Santa Barbara).
In addition to Hornby, you can catch author Jana Zimmer at Chaucer’s, talking about her new book Chocolates From Tangier (see David Starkey’s interview with her here). Speaking of Starkey, he has a poignant new book of poetry, Cutting It Loose, now available at local bookstores. Be sure to take note of Starkey’s ode to his fellow 6’6″ giant of a poet (and UCSB professor) in “To John Ridland in Heaven,” which contains perhaps the perfect coda to his fellow man of letters: “You’d clap once — ‘Just so!’ — when a friend nailed a metaphor, and scan our lines with the rigor of a dance master keeping time for his awkward charges.”
ON the Calendar
Black Hollywood is the new programming focus for Carsey-Wolf Center at UCSB, and the series kicks off on February 28 with a free screening of Gina Prince-Bythewood’s historical drama The Woman King (2022) at the Pollock Theater. Following the film, series Guest Curator Dr. Mireille Miller-Young (Department of Feminist Studies, UCSB) will sit down with production designer Akin McKenzie for a discussion of his work on the film. The event is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required. Register here.
For a complete calendar of events this week and beyond, visit independent.com/events.
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