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Santa Barbara New Year’s Events 2006

While you’re making plans for the December holidays, don’t forget that the end of 2006 is right around the corner. To help you decide how best to spend your New Year’s Eve, we’ve listed some events happening around town that are sure to ring in 2007 with a bang.

‘Tis the Season

The weather outside may not be frightful, but the holiday season is upon us nonetheless. The month of December offers a host of holiday happenings for the young and the young at heart, from seasonal holiday boutiques to caroling, parades, ballets, and more for whatever tradition you celebrate this time of year. Whether you’re settling in for a night by the fire or stepping out for a night on the town, have a very happy holiday.

Pretty Women?

Suicide Girls is a cultural phenomenon. It’s Playboy meets, as brought to you by Tim Burton. It’s a Web site. It’s erotica. Some say it’s punk-goth-softcore porn. It’s the cute girl at the punk show posing naked for pictures, and it’s the girl’s boyfriend, the band’s lead singer, and the geeky guy in the corner who never gets any play, all paying four dollars a month to look at those pictures. It’s interviews with Pixies frontman Frank Black and articles about abortion rights. It’s discussions about Macintosh computers, animal rights, and the benefits of getting really, really drunk. It’s an endless diversion. It’s objectification internalized. It’s the bold new face of feminism’s third wave. It’s the same old misogyny with Manic Panic hair color and a septum piercing. It’s a brilliant marketing vessel that taps into the geek, deviant, and misfit in all of us. It’s just a business. It’s a life-changing revolution. It’s a cry for help. It’s a career.

Dear Doonesbury

We heard that Garry Trudeau, who created the politically oriented comic strip Doonesbury in 1970, doesn’t do interviews. So when The Independent was contacted by UCSB Arts & Lectures with the opportunity to interview the only comic strip writer to ever win a Pulitzer Prize, we jumped at the chance. The prescribed format? A short introduction by the writer and a few questions. The result? Read on.

Peony Dreams

Few Santa Barbarans are as cool as the Empress Palace staff, so unflappable they seem balanced on the edge of the void. Even the most seasoned among them though, such as Mark Wong and owner Su Mei Luo, get flustered when Pai Hsien-Yung visits. Early last summer, Pai came into the Hong Kong-style eatery with a group of people who were working on the monumental Chinese production of The Peony Pavilion, a nine-hour, three-day Kunqu opera that will be performed in early October at the Lobero. The usually stolid waiters clustered around Pai as though he were a rock star, asking for autographs and wanting their photos taken with the great man.

Fall Arts Preview

Based on this autumn’s jam-packed arts and music schedule, it’s clear that even when summer goes away, Santa Barbara continues to play. It also means that it’s the time of year to unveil our annual Fall Arts Preview, featuring the best and brightest of the season’s cultural offerings. This time around, however, we compacted the guide into short listings-plus a handful of critic’s picks-in order to make more room for Brett Leigh Dicks’s Fall Arts feature on the upcoming 20th season of Sings Like Hell. But don’t fear, the extended events calendars are featured online at

Spins Art

You may have already seen the paper versions of these clever postcards around town. Iconic beach town images get the graffiti, mustache-on-the-“Mona Lisa” treatment. But it’s the virtual versions of these images currently displayed on the Santa Barbara Conference and Visitors Bureau Web site that really say it all. Through the miracle of modern digital animation, we see these wholesome images go cutting-edge as the animated overlay appears and spreads before our eyes: a 1940s-era sunbather appears and is then covered in tattoos. A clean-cut Gidget-era surfer sprouts a Mohawk and stylized licks of flame. The images were designed to promote Off-Axis, the big new contemporary art festival coming to town this month, and the caption for all of them reads the same: “Edgy. Progressive. Mind-blowing. Not the adjectives you’d necessarily expect from Santa Barbara.” Exactly.

Concentric Circles

After a brief rain in Santa Fe Springs, the black remains of oil previously splattered across asphalt gather to form perfectly concentric circles. Shigemi Uyeda, a Japanese-American photographer, takes notice, but the lighting is not right. He waits, and checks back the next morning, hoping the arrangement has not been destroyed. With a stroke of luck and the help of the sun, the circles are still there, looking up and nearly glowing. The image is so perfect that it seems prearranged. It is abstract enough as a photo that the viewer may even wonder what the subject is. Click.

An American Adam in the Big Eden

It’s Tuesday morning, and Frank Goss has invited a thousand people to the Saturday night opening of his big new contemporary-art exhibition space on East Anapamu Street. That’s just five days away, and the cavernous former home of the Odd Fellows and the Book Den is still literally roaring with the sounds of multiple power tools and teams of men at work. As we enter, stepping over orange extension cords snaking this way and that, scores of electricians, carpenters, and painters swarm around us, and a fragrant polish shimmers on the expansive, raw stone floors. Goss could be concerned about his impending deadline, but you would never know it from his manner.

Stick Figure Masterpiece

Somewhere not far from the heart of Old Town Goleta is a young man working minutely in film, most days mostly alone. He’s a night person and he’s an animator. And for a young man, he is very old school.
He works on a genormous electric machine called an animation stand – one of the last left in the country – built in the 1930s, on which, legend holds, the Peanuts cartoons were made. (It’s also rumored that the feature film FernGully was, too, but the young man is happy to disbelieve that one.) His machine’s about five feet across, with a roller for panning effects; the camera and upright zooming column tops six feet high.


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