This edition of ON Culture was originally emailed to subscribers on April 21, 2023. To receive Leslie Dinaberg’s arts newsletter in your inbox on Fridays, sign up at

ON the Web

Kevin Tran | Credit: Ingrid Bostrom

We launched a new video storytelling series with filmmaker Kevin Tran last week that I’m very excited about. The first episode features Lighthouse Skate Shop and its owners Naren Porter-Kasbati and Spencer Navarro, as well as music from Dante Elephante. This series — titled Transmissions (get it?) — will come out online every month to showcase people, places, and ideas of interest in the 805, and we are thrilled to be collaborating with Kevin. Not only is he a fellow San Marcos High School alumni, but a search on our website revealed that he’s also a graduate of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s 10-10-10 program, as well as NYU Film School.

ON the Stage (Theater and Dance)

Veronica Stern (Anya) and The Company of the North American Tour of ANASTASIA | Credit: Evan Zimmerman for Murphy Made

The legends of the Romanov family have been fodder for lots of great entertainment, including The Romanoffs series from Matthew Weiner of Mad Men fame, and next week’s Broadway in Santa Barbara musical series at the Granada offering Anastasia (April 25-26) looks like a particularly fun one, full of romance, adventure, and comedy for the whole family. Along those same lines, I’m also excited for State Street Ballet’s production of The Jungle Book at the Lobero (April 29). There are also a few more performances of Out of the Box Theatre Company’s excellent production of Once this weekend at Center Stage Theater. My review is here. And on the non-musical front, our reviewer Maggie Yates had good things to say about Ensemble Theatre Company’s production of The Children (through April 23 at the New Vic) and SBCC Theater Group’s George and Emily Get Married (through April 29 at SBCC), both of which are still running a bit longer.

ON the Stage (Music)

Parmalee is at the Chumash Casino Resort on April 28 | Credit: Courtesy

Of course we’re all excited about the Santa Barbara Bowl kicking back into action this week. I had a great time chatting with Moss Jacobs about how he puts the season’s exceptional lineup together year after year. (Read the story hereJames Taylor (May 31), The Black Keys (May 4), Diana Ross (July 13), and Kelsea Ballerini (July 16) are a few artists that I’m very excited to see. I’m also excited to head to the Chumash Casino Resort to see Parmalee on April 28. I guess I need to stop denying that I like country music, because this band’s song “Carolina” has been happily stuck in my head for years now, with their newish song “Better With You” also earworming its way in, not to mention that Maren Morris was one of my favorite shows at the Bowl last year. Also headed to North County is the “Everything Is Awesome” excellent indie twin sister act Teagan & Sara, coming to Solvang Festival Theater on May 3. Some other fun shows on tap soon are the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain on April 22 at Campbell Hall and Pete Muller & the Kindred Souls playing a special benefit show for Wilderness Youth Project on May 2 at SOhO.

ON the Page

Celebrate the Santa Barbara Public Library during Library Week April 24-28 | Credit: S.B. Library Foundation

It’s National Library Week next week, and the Santa Barbara Public Library, Library Foundation, and Friends of the Library are hosting some fabulous community events to celebrate all the library does for all of us. I’ll be at the two happy hours on Monday (Library Plaza) and Tuesday (Shalhoob’s in the Funk Zone) so please come say hello if you can stop by. Here’s my story with the scoop on the whole week’s worth of fun activities.

We had an incredible response (156 entries — take that, ChatGPT)  to our poetry contest collaboration with UCSB Arts & Lectures on the theme of “Instructions on Not Giving Up,” inspired by National Poetry Month and U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón’s visit to UCSB’s Campbell Hall on April 25. We’ll announce the winning poems later today on, and you can read the poems in the April 27 print edition of the Santa Barbara Independent as well. I want to express a special thanks to our judges Robert Krut (UCSB Writing Program, College of Creative Studies), Chryss Yost (Santa Barbara Poet Laureate 2013-2015), and Melinda Palacio (author of the novel Ocotillo Dreams and three books of poetry) — who got much more than they bargained for, I’m sure, when they generously read and assessed more than 150 submissions — as well as Ms. Limón, who chose the winning poems from the judge’s final selections and also had a great interview with our writer David Starkey (Santa Barbara Poet Laureate 2009-2011) in advance of her appearance in town.

Santa Barbara’s new poet laureate and the Indy’s new poetry columnist Melinda Palacio | Credit: Ingrid Bostrom

I’m delighted to share that Melinda Palacio was named the new Santa Barbara Poet Laureate this week, and one of her first outreach efforts is going to be a column, The Poetry Connection, for the Independent, which you can read all about here.

ON the Podium

Isabella Rossellini stars as Connie, Marcel’s grandmother in Marcel the Shell with Shoes On. | Credit: Courtesy A24

In what’s sure to be an interesting pairing, the always wonderful interviewer Pico Iyer is in conversation with Isabella Rossellini on April 27 at the New Vic. She not only starred in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet — one of my long-ago favorite films (not to mention the amazing soundtrack by Angelo Badalamenti) — but she’s also in the fabulous Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, which was one of my most beloved films in recent memory. If you haven’t had the chance to see it, do it now. It’s streaming almost everywhere and it’s a movie that truly defies description! In addition to her film and fashion careers, Rossellini has more recently turned her attention to animal rights activism, the study of animal behavior, and organic farming, guaranteeing what’s sure to be a broad-reaching and interesting conversation.

ON the Calendar

Santa Barbara Earth Day is back April 29-30 | Credit: @sb_earthday

Finally back at Alameda Park, the Community Environmental Council’s Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival will be held April 29-30. After a three year hiatus, the 2023 festival — which is free to attend — anticipates all of the fun of past years. Education, music, food, friends, eco-friendly exhibitors, beer and wine, a kids’ zone — it will all be back, and I can’t wait!

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


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