Springtime in Santa Barbara. The weather is beautiful, most of the time. The sun is shining, some of the time. And, classes come second to your social life all of the time. There’s just something about that fresh spring air, the emergence of all those sandals and sundresses and the way the ocean seems to glisten in the distance during your ride to class.
But, there’s only so much sunshine in a day, and that means that eventually you’re going to have to leave the beach. So, here are Artsweek’s picks for the best places to spend those warm spring evenings – at least when it comes to the cultural events coming to campus courtesy of Arts & Lectures.
For film buffs, April kicks off with the historical drama “Conspiracy,” starring Kenneth Branagh, Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci. The film, directed by former Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences President Frank Pierson, dramatizes the drawing-up of the Wannsee Protocol – the document detailing Hitler’s final solution. The movie screens at 7:30 p.m. on April 10 in Campbell Hall, and will be preceded by an introduction by Pierson.
Then, on April 28, catch Julian Schnabel’s critically acclaimed film “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” at 7:30 p.m. in Campbell Hall. The film chronicles the experiences of a charismatic magazine editor who is forced to reevaluate his life after suffering an unexpected stroke. In May, check out some of the most moving films to hit the international scene this year – including many official selections from some of the world’s biggest and best film festivals – as the Santa Barbara Human Rights Festival comes to Campbell Hall from the April 27 to 29. The festival’s films run the gamut from a movie about a pair of college roommates trying to secure an illegal abortion in communist Romania to the animated, Oscar-nominated masterpiece “Persepolis.” Many of them garnered nominations at Cannes, and all of them are well worth watching on the big screen.
Music mavens also have plenty to sing about, starting with 26-year-old former member of the New York Philharmonic, Jonathan Biss. The prolific pianist will be performing at the Marjorie Luke Theatre at 8 p.m. on April 4. Provocative performance artist and singer-songwriter Laurie Anderson is performing on April 9 at 8 p.m. in Campbell Hall. Classical music connoisseurs can look forward to famous soloists Midori on violin and Robert McDonald on piano, performing in Campbell Hall at 8 p.m. on April 11. On April 16, famed folk singer-songwriter Arlo Guthrie will take the stage in Campbell Hall at 8 p.m.
In May, Oscar-nominated singer Lila Downs will be bringing her unique brand of Latin-infused jazz and blues to Campbell Hall for an 8 p.m. show on May 7. Tenacious tenor Salvatore Licitra will return to Santa Barbara with an 8 p.m. show at the Granada Theatre on May 8. Legendary soprano Barbara Cook inspired Leonard Bernstein to write the Cunegonde role in “Candide,” and now she’s teaming up with world-renowned mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne for a 4 p.m. matinee at the Granada on May 17.
Prima ballerinas are in for plenty of pirouettes and pointe shoes this spring, too. India’s oldest classical dance form, Odissi, will be on display as the country’s premiere traditional troupe Nrityagram Dance Ensemble takes the stage in Campbell Hall at 8 p.m. on April 3. La La La Human Steps specializes in speedy, sensual shows that take traditional techniques to a whole new level, and you can see them for yourself at 8 p.m. on April 3 in the Granada. Aurelia Thierree’s surreal circus-style show comes to the Marjorie Luke Theatre on April 14 and 15 at 8 p.m. Internationally renowned Japanese choreographers Eiko and Koma will be bringing their original work “Mourning” to the stage in Campbell Hall at 8 p.m. on May 1. And finally, the Mark Morris Dance Group – which the Washington Post called the “Mozart of modern dance” – will be performing at the Granada at 8 p.m. on May 20.
And, if lectures by authors, economists, artists and photographers are your favorite way to spend a spring day, then there are plenty of people coming to Santa Barbara just for you. On April 2, techie titan Steve Wozniak will speak about – what else – technology, in an 8 p.m. lecture at the Arlington Theatre. On April 17, authors Steve Coll and Robin Wright will speak at 7 p.m. in Campbell Hall about their work. Kenyan visual artist Wangechi Mutu will also be speaking about her work in Campbell Hall at 7 p.m. on April 23. In May, authors Salman Rushdie, Pico Iyer, James Q. Wilson, Lisa See and Charles Simic will all be speaking in Santa Barbara, thanks to Arts & Lectures. And, surfer Gerry Lopez, photographer Joel Meyerowitz, activists and authors Jeffrey Sachs and Greg Mortenson and San Francisco’s former mayor Willie Brown will be completing the campus’s May lineup.
So, whether you’re a film buff, an avid art aficionado, a die-hard dancer or just someone who likes to listen to interesting lectures, Arts & Lectures has plenty of programs to put a spring in your step this quarter – if you can get your butt off the beach, that is.