Hello fellow Gauchos! We hope this issue finds you well and enjoying the last moments of summer to their fullest. But the school year drawing closer is no reason to get dreary. Soon you will be diving into our campus and community and discovering awesome in every corner. Except the lagoon. There is no awesomeness in the lagoon.
Well… we guess if you Instagram it, the lagoon is okay but you’ll want some really nice filters. Demi suggests AfterLight.
Anyway, let this list be your map to all of the creative treasure Santa Barbara has to offer. It took the other contributors and us years to figure all this stuff out, and now we hand it off to you. Please read, experience and add some entries of your own. UCSB is waiting for you.
Don’t go in the lagoon.
Demi Anter and Audrey Bachelder
Artsweek Editor and Assistant Artsweek Editor
Arts and Lectures
Arts and Lectures is your go-to guide for dozens of comedians, photographers, singer-songwriters, musicians, dancers and just generally entertaining specimen, right on campus. A&L brings top-notch performers and speakers to Campbell Hall, as well as local theaters like the Arlington downtown, to charm audiences with their talent and charisma for very, very affordable student prices. This year, get ready to see The Onion Live! (for all you lovers of satire, Andrew Bird (a pair of tickets just might be the perfect date with that cute girl/boy in the back of class) and Alan Alda (invite your parents to this one — they might recall him as the fetching Hawkeye Pierce on M*A*S*H).
Battle of the Bands
For those of you who had a garage band in high school that split up for college, we’ve got news for you: Isla Vista is a sanctuary for musical genius and collaboration (see: L). One of the ways UCSB supports this cause is through Battle of the Bands, which takes place every winter quarter in The Hub. Five local bands compete for the coveted opening spot of UCSB’s Extravaganza (see: X,), the spring quarter music festival. The best part about Battle of the Bands is that all kinds of music get showcased — last year’s bands consisted of rock and punk, reggae and funk. It’s seriously cool to check out I.V.’s latest and greatest talent for a free, tune-filled night. Mosh pits are usually welcome.
Back for the first time in 6 years, the Catalyst literary magazine is a place where student fiction, poetry, art, photography, lyrics, expository profiles and creative writing meet in print. Collaborative work is always encouraged between students who send in submissions and designers who create the page. Each issue will be unique and flavorful, making the Catalyst itself an art object. The best part? Anyone can submit or get involved. To submit work, volunteer your skills or join the community, go to thecatalystucsb.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Drag queens are the best. The best. We at Artsweek are huge fans of drag and have touted it before as possibly the highest form of art. At UCSB, you can experience drag at least twice a year during Pride Week. The campus’s queer advocacy organizations host a “Student Drag Night” as well as a night for professional performers. The events are free, fun and inspiring. Other drag events can sometimes be found at Wildcat downtown and at other clubs. We highly recommend going to all of them.
Drive-In Movie Theater
One of the littler known fun things to do in Goleta, the WestWind Santa Barbara Drive-In is probably the coziest date or cutest family hang out you could have. Movies start around 7 p.m., and you get to watch two features for seven bucks per person. Tuesday movie deals are $5. Just remember to bring some comfy blankets, a car with good speakers (sound comes through the radio) and maybe a pillow or two. Buttery popcorn and other goodies are sold in the lobby, and if you’re nice to the popcorn guy you could score a free blockbuster poster. He will also offer to jump your car just in case it dies in the middle of the movie, leaving you unable to witness anything but a mute screen. This has happened. Twice, actually.
Earth Day Festival
To commemorate Isla Vista’s commitment to a green community, Earth Day Festival takes place at one of I.V.’s 25 parks every April. Present are booths on energy conservation and calculating your carbon footprint, plus a sweet hunk of wood that transforms throughout the day as everyone paints on it. One of the coolest stations is the arts and crafts table, which is covered in hordes of neat recycled materials like buttons, bottle caps, corks and vintage postcards. Local bands perform all day for the hula-hoopers, slack-liners and girls wearing flower crowns. It’s a perfect way to spend a lazy afternoon.
FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out. You will experience this a lot in the next four years as most nights, there are more than a couple great options for how to spend your evening. There will be nights you will have to decide between going to your best friend’s art show, seeing Thom Yorke dance around a stage and sleeping. You will always have to decide between ____ and doing homework. Here’s my advice: If you can’t find someone to go with, see: G: Going to events by yourself. If you feel like you “should” go, you probably should. But if you haven’t slept in days and Cynthia will be so mad if I don’t show up to this thing and then she’s gonna make me take shots and then I’m gonna have to — JUST GO TO BED. Cynthia will understand. Actually, Cynthia won’t even remember.
The Funk Zone
The Funk Zone is an area that many students don’t find out about until late into their UCSB careers, if ever. But it’s a haven for local artists and art lovers. The Funk Zone is located from about the end of State St. (where it goes under the freeway, nearing the water) to Garden St., between Montecito St. and Cabrillo Blvd. It’s an industrial area that has drawn artists to open studios and gallery spaces with the promise of cheap rent and local, like-minded people. It has gotten more gentrified in the last few years with the opening of some higher-end bars, eateries and wine tasting rooms (Seven, Red’s, Municipal Winemakers, Union Ale and Metropulos being just a few you should check out). But the heart of the Funk Zone remains utterly funky.
Gaucho Nights Calendar
2013 marks the new startup launch of the After Dark Gaucho Nights Calendar. After Dark is an organization that funds programs alternative to an I.V. party. As part of a commitment to safe and sober fun, the Gaucho Nights Calendar lists events ranging from recreational, entertainment, social and cultural, designed to cure every student’s after 5 o’clock boredom. Events are posted up every day on both the calendar and the GN Facebook page. Be sure to check out localendar.com/public/gaucho.
Going to events by yourself
Okay, everybody hates to do it. I hate to do it, to the point that I (Demi Anter, Artsweek Editor) missed entire meals freshman year because I wouldn’t go if I didn’t have someone to eat with. Listen, at some point you’re going to be like, Fuck it. WHO CARES? No one’s going to see you head-nodding to Yo Yo Ma by yourself and say, “Oh, that’s so sad … Look at that poor lonely person.” And if they do, that’s not someone you need to impress. Your self-confidence is impressive. Here — this is the key to going to stuff by yourself: Before or after the event, go outside in the common area, turn off your phone, and stand there. Wait. You will run into someone you know, or meet a new friend. Be open. Trust me. There’s too much cool stuff happening here to miss out every time you can’t convince a buddy to take the twenty-minute bike ride to Pollock Theater with you.
The Hub is a funny thing —during the day, it’s a spot to eat your Panda Express orange chicken bowl. By 6 o’clock on a Friday night, all the tables have been removed and it’s turned into a swanky, foggy night club. Flosstradamus has destroyed beats on The Hub stage (he came last year), and so has cool dudes The Dirty Heads (crowd surfed during this show two years ago) and SoCal groovy duo Best Coast (lead lady Bethany’s pseudo bitchy remarks about performing in front of The Panda Express were oddly refreshing, according to Natalie O’Brien).
Improvability is the funniest place on Earth. It is the longest running comedy show in Santa Barbara, and is the premiere improv group in the city. Come for the free cocoa and stay for the laughs every Friday night at 8 at Embarcadero Hall.
A little past the 68 block (those outback boonies of I.V.), you can walk the stairs, go down the beach towards Sands and the Goat Farm and you’ll see a cement structure called the Jailhouse. Covered in graffiti and sand, the Jailhouse bursts with the griminess that comes with being a college student. Guy friends come here to hang out, open up a bottle and a spray can and make art. Beer cans, glass and spray paint line the corners, but this garbage is almost beautiful. If you feel like exploring the ghosts of I.V.’s past, check out The Jailhouse and see the colorful remains of many a good time shared amongst friends. It’s a haven for bonding and inspiration, an elephant graveyard of many intoxicatingly happy nights on the beach.
KCSB-91.1 FM, is UCSB’s radio station. Operated by student DJs and professionals, KCSB brings the Santa Barbara community quality programming all year long. It’s super easy to get involved: Watch out for news and fliers about orientation meetings and find out how to get your own show. Because it’s non-commercial, the range of music and other material the DJs explore through KCSB is always eclectic and unique.
Although electronic dance music (EDM) is the more popular music genre in Isla Vista, it’s not too hard to find other styles and even live music. Just this past year, I.V.’s relatively small music scene featured a jazzy-funk and hip-hop band, a few reggae bands and a few punk bands. The best part? The shows are usually free and everyone is welcome.
The MultiCultural Center (MCC) is a hub of exciting free events on campus. Almost every night, the MCC Theater is home to an interesting screening, dance performance, reading, Q&A, open mic … and the list goes on! It is also an invaluable presence on campus for students of color and other underrepresented groups, and for anyone hoping to expand his or her worldview.
The Music Library just might be the most underrated place at UCSB. It has musical scores, books, videos, CDs and vinyls. Students aren’t allowed to take the CDs and vinyl out of the building, but can listen to them in personal listening rooms. These listening rooms are also a great place to study, especially during finals when the Davidson Library is packed. The Music Library is located on the second floor of the Arts Library (across from the UCen).
National Geographic Live! Series
You know how there’s that one person in your family who is always out in the Caribbean or swimming with elephants or something? That’s how Artsweek likes to think of the photographers and explorers in the National Geographic Live! Series brought to us by A&L (see: A) — they’re the cool aunts and uncles who always have a good story to tell. This year, three photographers and one underwater explorer come to Campbell Hall to chit chat about surviving flesh-eating parasites and irritated grizzly bears, discovering the secret lives of birds of paradise in the New Guinea forest, hanging out with geishas in Japan and swimming in the ruins of the Titanic.
Open Mic Nights
Open mics are a great way to meet people and witness local talent in the Isla Vista and Santa Barbara community, and are an even greater way to broadcast your own! You can see comedians, singers, rappers, poets and all manner of musical instruments at these popular free events. Open mic dates and times often change quarter to quarter but keep an eye out for events put on by the MultiCultural Center (see: M), ASPB (see: A), and other groups and venues. College crowds are often receptive and full of energy, making performing fun. It’s also fun to just go and watch performances. Open mic nights at Gio’s (Giovanni’s) on Pardall get packed though, so be sure to come early!
Program Board, Associated Students
This A.S.-funded crew puts together shows, movies and miscellaneous events constantly. Free movies are screened at I.V. Theater on Tuesdays, and every Wednesday some raw local band performs at Storke Plaza at noon. ASPB uses The Hub (see: H) as its club-like venue. Spring quarter you’ll probably find a giant bounce house looking thing inhabiting the lagoon lawn with a long line of people waiting to get in. This is the Luminarium sponsored by ASPB, and it’s worth the long line. And the smell of the lagoon.
Reggae band Rebelution is a true demonstration of the kind of art that comes out of Isla Vista. Formed in 2004, the group won Battle of the Bands in 2006 and got to perform alongside Pepper and E-40. Nowadays they’re a touring crew, charting billboard top hits with their carefree tunes.
Santa Barbara International Film Festival
SBIFF is probably the coolest wintertime event you can be a part of in Santa Barbara. The festival plays host to actors, actresses and filmmakers contending for the Academy Awards, and is known to foreshadow the winners of Best Picture and Best Actor/Actress. Think of it as your passport to seeing celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence, Quentin Tarantino and Amy Adams (just a few of 2013’s guests), plus a neat ticket to a wide array of films shown at the oldest and most historic theaters on State Street. The best part? It’s pretty easy to get involved in the festival as an usher, merch seller or even a reporter on the red carpet if you think writing for Artsweek might be in your future ….
Spoken word is a big deal on this campus. There is a strong community of performers ranging from comedians to poets who hit up open mics (see: O) and ASPB’s yearly poetry showcase. These performers are some of the best of any college campus. The biggest reason for this is Prof. Kip Fulbeck’s Art Studio class, “Art 137: Spoken Word.” The class’s quarterly shows at the MCC Theater are legendary, and always packed, but to truly understand why you’ll have to check them out for yourself. Prof. Fulbeck, ASPB, and the MCC also bring out a range of spectacular artists every year. Beau Sia, Anis Mojgani, Saul Williams and Mayda del Valle are just a few who have graced our campus in the last three years.
There are many types of theater/theatres on campus and throughout Santa Barbara. There’s the Theater & Dance Department, which puts on innovative plays and moving dance performances throughout the year with the help of our BFA acting and dance students. There’s the Pollock Theater, a beautiful building that plays host to ritzy film screenings, often followed by equally ritzy free wine and cheese. Off campus, there’s I.V. Theater (free or near-free film screenings) and the Arlington Theatre (host to A&L and SBIFF events). There’s also the Lobero Theatre, one of the oldest, most haunted buildings in Santa Barbara (also currently under construction but it will open with its usual season of music and more in December). The Granada Theater is another beautiful old building on State St. in the heart of downtown, and is home to operas, orchestras and more. Finally, for lovers of “the Theater”, local writers and actors put on fantastic stage shows regularly at Center Stage Theater, as well as the Garvin Theatre and Jurkowitz Theatre, both which were reopened in 2012.
1st Thursday, Downtown
On the first Thursday of every month, galleries and shops downtown from the Funk Zone (see: F) TO State St. open their doors and celebrate new art exhibitions and fantastic performances with free wine and cheese. Check out our calendar for listings or just wander downtown on the 1st Thursday of each month to see what you can find!
University Art Museum
The Art, Design & ArchitectureMuseum at UCSB is a great place to visit for art and art history lovers. Adjacent to the UniversityCenter, the museum is located in the heart of campus and is a free resource where students can stop by any time to view current exhibitions. Exhibits range from private donor collections to work done by artists from the Master of Fine Arts program on campus and are alternated every few months. Exhibits are curated by museum staff and student interns who are interested in pursuing a career in curation and museum management. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 12 p.m.-5 p.m. and admission is free.
Every February, female students in the Theater and Dance Department put on the Vagina Monologues. The episodic play written by Eve Ensler brings empowerment to women in an open dialogue on topics such a sex, rape and menstruation. The play is both insightful and comical and is a fun way to support female clubs on campus!
To all you kids who ruled high school yearbook and don’t want to lose your InDesign/PhotoShop skills like the Spanish you tried mastering (Four years of Spanish and all I can say is gracias. And quesadilla.), WORD Magazine is for you. Or for all you kids who enjoy music, art, rating coffee houses or cooking up fancy versions of top ramen in your spare time (more Sriracha, now a little bit of chicken, avocado sounds good), it’s for you too. Here’s the gist: Class meets on Fridays from 3-5 p.m. You work with 20-something other equally inspired students for 10 weeks to create a magazine that erupts with Isla Vista arts, culture, recipes and A-grade design and photography. It’s probably the coolest production class on campus and if you see yourself doing anything magazine related in the future, WORD is for you.
You are soon to experience the sweet joy of having a music festival right at school, for free. Every spring quarter A.S. Program Board works their tails off to make this event a smashing hello to summer. Last year Kendrick Lamar, Dada Life, J-Boog, The Growlers, and Battle of the Bands winners Alpha Phunk rocked the stage, while students took in interactive art installations, food vendors and an acrobat perched on a twenty foot high swing.
Yeah, we know what you’re thinking — “yoga is recreational, not an art.” And I guess it’s not an art, strictly speaking. But here’s what you don’t know about yoga: It’s one of the best ways to unleash creative energy and make it pulsate out of your veins. Plus it makes you look good. And a bunch of artists who you wouldn’t guess did yoga utilize it for its magic creative energy/healthy powers. Among the list is Eminem (yep, Slim Shady does downward dog), Chris Martin (lead singer of Coldplay likes it too) and — wait for it — Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter (yoga workouts are the reason for her body, apparently). If Beyoncé uses yoga for creative inspiration and her rockin’ booty, we suggest you jump on that bandwagon real quick.
Not exactly an art thing either, but this Lebanese restaurant off State Street is a sweet hang-out spot when you get sick of DLG tacos. The restaurant itself very clearly used to be someone’s house, and the back patio has been transformed into this amazing secret garden-esque hideaway. Twinkly lights dangle from trees, fire pits with glowing blue coals are centered in tables and a nice man plays guitar on Sunday nights. Belly dancers show up on Saturdays, and a Spanish band named Vientos del Sur plays contemporary music on Wednesdays. Food is scrumptious (beef shawarma is highly recommended) and hookah is encouraged for dessert. Yelp it if you’re interested in fine dining, great ambience or late night waterpipe sessions with good friends.
Natalie O’Brien — banjo enthusiast, Cajé patron, assistant art director of Nexus, editor of The Catalyst