Any dummy can figure out how to navigate Isla Vista’s ridiculous party scene, but if you’re looking to make the most of your four (or five) years in this crazy little beachside community without completely losing your mind, you might need to get a little bit more creative in planning your extracurricular activities. And Artsweek is always here to help: Every Thursday, we provide you with a full eight pages of arts- and entertainment-related event listings, reviews and feature stories. Don’t forget to pick us up (or check us out online).
Just the Ticket
Since Santa Barbara’s only film exhibition chain, Metropolitan Theaters, isn’t exactly dedicated to satiating the film fan’s demand for independent fare, UCSB’s own Magic Lantern is an essential supplement for the cinematically addicted. Magic Lantern puts out a diverse line-up of film titles, from the most obscure arthouse-type films to well-received crowd pleasers, often complete with Q&A sessions after the showings with the filmmakers themselves. With tickets selling for only $4, and located conveniently in I.V., Magic Lantern is one of the area’s biggest bargains. UCSB’s Arts & Lectures also sponsors film screenings, and it is especially strong on the foreign-film and documentary-film fronts.
Film enthusiasts should also look out for more information on the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, which rolls out for a full week every winter. Featuring appearances by movie stars and panels by well-regarded screenwriters and directors, in addition to a full slate of short- and feature-length films from around the globe, SBIFF brings a good deal of excitement to State Street.
On campus, the Reel Loud Film Festival is organized by the students of the Film & Media Studies Dept. every May, and it screens silent, short films alongside live musical acts.
We’ve Got the Beat
As far as live music goes, the selection of bands rolling through Santa Barbara has only gotten larger and more diverse in recent years, and you don’t necessarily even have to leave the confines of Isla Vista to indulge in your favorite genres. A number of the community’s apartments, businesses, garages and public parks regularly serve as venues for acts both local and touring. It’s a very communal experience, packing into the Pink Mailbox’s backyard, Biko Co-op’s garage or the living room at the Artshole to watch acts like anti-folk heroine Kimya Dawson perform.
Oftentimes, you can find worthwhile musical events happening right here on UCSB’s campus, thanks to various groups like A&L or A.S. Program Board, which are dedicated to offering up affordable entertainment to all Gauchos.
A little further out, you can catch shows at Goleta’s Mercury Lounge, Garden Street’s Muddy Waters Café, State Street’s Velvet Jones or SOhO. Thankfully for you, these venues have become decidedly more freshmen-friendly in the last couple of years, and almost all shows are open to music lovers of all ages.
And, before you leave UCSB, you’ll have to make sure to catch a concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl. In addition to the venue’s absolutely gorgeous location (it’s nestled up in the hills of SB, and has a view of the entire city), it also draws some killer touring acts: Radiohead, the Cure, Depeche Mode, No Doubt, Nine Inch Nails and Bob Dylan have all played sets at the outdoor arena in recent years.