For more than 40 years, Santa Barbara-based photographer Santi Visalli has turned his lens upon the world with purpose and grace. From elegant architectural studies to intimate portraits of the rich and famous, Visalli’s portfolio is as diverse as it is prolific, and includes many of the major cultural and social icons of our era.
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Exactly 100 years ago, a seasoned cowboy boarded a train for New York, hoping to fulfill his dream of becoming a professional artist. When he returned to his native California a dozen years later, Edward Borein was considered by many to be among the finest interpreters of the American West, an artist whose depictions of cowboys, Native Americans, and the rapidly disappearing culture of the Old West were valued as much for their accuracy as for their artistic merit.
Who said there’s no homegrown music scene in Santa Barbara? We here at The Independent have always believed our town’s music-making tradition was alive and well, so we decided to put our opinions to the test and publish this inaugural live music issue. When we asked Santa Barbara musicians to tell us about their bands, we figured 30 submissions would be a success. We were clueless. More than 100 bands and singer/songwriters responded. Now, we are presenting the fruits of our findings to you in our first-ever Locals Only music issue, a comprehensive list of the musicians who submitted the required materials.
Photography is at once art’s most literal and most deceptive medium. The camera began as a recording device, designed to capture scenes as they appear to the naked eye. But in the hands of more than a century of artists, the instrument has become as expressive as the paintbrush, producing images that are as consciously composed and intentionally controlled as those in any painting. Yet no matter how thoroughly they have been manipulated, photographs remain the result of the mechanical exposure of some surface to light reflected from a subject.
Even if you’re not a nonstop reader, chances are you’ll set aside a few quiet hours to dip into a book this summer, and our Summer Reading Issue is designed to get you in the mood. Start off with excerpts from Tom Kendrick’s captivating memoir Bluewater Gold Rush, which chronicles the action-packed rise and fall of the Santa Barbara sea urchin industry. Turn to page 29 for an introduction to Holocaust survivor Nina Morecki and the UCSB grad who wrote a book about her. We’ve also included an interview with area poet and Guggenheim Fellowship recipient Christopher Buckley, a tribute to the city’s outgoing Poet Laureate, Barry Spacks, and a survey of new nonfiction just hitting the shelves. We have also got summer reading lists from some celebrated authors who call Santa Barbara home, including T.C. Boyle, Pico Iyer, and our very own Nick Welsh.
Taking the Solstice Parade theme of “Stars” as its cue, this summer’s art season promises galaxies full of everything the creative astronomer could possibly desire. From the blazing musical glory of John Star Wars Williams at the Santa Barbara Bowl to the delicate verbal magic of Shakespeare in the De la Guerra courtyard, we will be tempted by outdoor entertainments of every magnitude. Wherever you enjoy your art this season-indoors or out-remember to take up summer’s offer and make the night sky your constant companion. The stars are close. Just lean your head back and look up.
Things haven’t been the same since good old Thomas Edison figured out how to light up the night. The rhythms of life have been forever changed by that electrifying discovery, with ever-increasing hordes of party people choosing to get down after sundown. Though I am pretty sure it wasn’t his intention, Edison’s big turn-on was a stroke of genius that has since illuminated countless dance floor dreams and libation-soaked evenings.
As if to outdo the previous 13 seasons of Independent Theater Awards, this year’s event did, in fact, include everything and the kitchen sink. That’s because presenters handed out this year’s iconic black “i” statuettes at Center Stage Theater on the set of the current Santa Barbara Theatre production Miss Julie, all of which unfolds in a kitchen. The location didn’t mean that the Indys had departed from its characteristic aversion to the edge-of-the-seat tension that plagues so many award shows. By eschewing categories and nominees and cutting straight to the good stuff, the Indys have set a 14-year precedent of honoring the best theater in the region with minimal pitting of actors, directors, and technical people against one another.
Traditionally, much of art has been devoted to communicating an understanding of nature. For cycle after cycle in the history of art, new movements and aesthetics have sprung from imaginations fired by direct observation of the natural world. In the 21st century, this imperative for art to “go to nature” to renew itself has been complicated by the increasingly artificial state of nature itself. With mounting scientific evidence that such pervasive features of the natural world as global climate are in significant flux due to the activities of humans, it has become more and more difficult to separate out the natural from the artificial world.
Tamayo: A Modern Icon Reinterpreted, opening at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art on Saturday, February 17, represents a triumph against odds and expectations. Due to his complex and sometimes adversarial role within the culture of Mexican art, Rufino Tamayo was the last of the great 20th-century Mexican artists to achieve his rightful place in the international pantheon. This show, and its accompanying catalogue, both of which were created here in Santa Barbara by SBMA curator Diana C. du Pont, will provide a compelling new account of how it was that this happened. Until very recently, historians of 20th-century Mexican art tended to speak of the “Three Great Ones.” Well, now there are four.