With the long, languid days of summer rapidly becoming but a distant memory and the onslaught of a new year of classes coming at you faster than you care to accept, it’s hard to see the positive side of the autumnal season. Sure, sweaters can be just as much fun as sundresses. Sure, the return of classes also means the return of all your wanderlust-wracked friends from their respective far-away vacation destinations. And sure, the beginning of fall also marks the countdown to I.V.’s annual and avidly anticipated Halloween celebration.

But that doesn’t make the transition from summer to school any easier. However, a quick peek at the upcoming offerings from UCSB’s very own Arts & Lectures might. A bit of background for all you fine, young freshmen – Arts & Lectures is a 49 year-old UCSB institution whose purpose is to foster the appreciation and enjoyment of the titular arts at and around UCSB.

According to the Web site, their goal is simply “to promote the arts as an integral and necessary facet of education that elevates the human spirit and provokes the imagination, inspires personal discovery and intellectual inquiry, and sustains an inclusive and diverse community.”

It’s a lofty goal, to say the least, but one that the fine folks at the A&L office are more than adept at accomplishing. The evidence speaks for itself; this year’s fall season promises to be one of the most eclectic and engaging series of programs A&L has set forth to date. There’s something for everyone, and Artsweek would be remiss in even trying to encapsulate it all into one paltry little article. So, instead, we’ve picked out the stuff we’re most excited about. For a broader look at the upcoming A&L programming, as well as specific dates and times, please check out http://artsandlectures.sa.ucsb.edu. And don’t let the cool fall breeze get you down – there is plenty of Halloween fun to come and a plethora of pretty awesome programming from A&L to boot.

First of all, film buffs have a veritable smorgasbord of cinema to look forward to from A&L. With films ranging from Michael Moore’s controversial documentary about the U.S. healthcare “SiCKO” to “Away From Her” – a heartfelt and humorous account of an aging man’s attempts to cope with his wife’s Alzheimer’s that won acclaim at Sundance and Toronto – the big screen in Campbell Hall will surely feature plenty of big-name films during fall. Artsweek is particularly excited about the inspirational Irish film “Once” and the independent, jazz-infused 1970s masterpiece “Killer of Sheep.” And Artsweek cannot wait to see directorial genius David Cronenberg answering questions from Santa Barbara’s very own Roger Durling during the screening of his new thriller “Eastern Promises.”

If dance is more your beat, Arts & Lectures has plenty for you to look forward to in fall, too. The masterful modern dance company Pilobolus is coming to Campbell Hall to share a new work by Israeli choreographer Inbal Pinto. And you can take a trip through time with the world-renowned Whirling Dervishes of Turkey. Founded in the 13th century by the poet Rumi, the Dervishes are known for their mesmerizing movements. For palates craving more classical choreography, the Canadian dance troupe known for its blend of classical technique and contemporary twists, Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie, will make its California debut on the Campbell Hall stage courtesy of Arts & Lectures.

Musicians have plenty to beat their drums about as well, with everyone from jazz great Steve Tyrell to the Grammy Award-winning Emerson String Quartet showing up in Santa Barbara this fall. Artsweek is particularly excited for the aforementioned Tyrell, a modern master of some of our favorite swinging standards, as well as for soulful singer Denyce Graves and, of course, our favorite Matron Mama Morton, Queen Latifah. Latifah will be presenting her own show of standards at the Arlington Theatre, after debuting it in Hollywood just this past summer.

With acclaimed authors Sherman Alexie, Pete Hamill and George Will rounding out the lectures portion of Arts & Lectures’ programming, there really is something for everyone available at Arts & Lectures this fall. So put on your sweater, bundle up with someone you care enough to split the super cheap student ticket cost with and check out an A&L event this fall. Barring hell, high water or, heaven forbid, Nexus deadlines, we’ll see you there.