As always, UCSB Arts & Lectures will present numerous entertaining and enriching performers from a variety of disciplines to our campus this spring.

The quarter has already started with a lively performance by “The Daily Show” correspondent and faux-fact writer John Hodgman, who performed at Campbell Hall on April 1 (see here for full article). Last night, the season continued with a talk at the Granada by celebrated “A Prairie Home Companion” host Garrison Keillor (see here for the full article).

The lineup takes a musical turn tonight with the appearance of Sufi musician Asif Ali Khan, protégé of the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, who will celebrate his Santa Barbara debut at 8 p.m. at Campbell Hall. UCSB Arts & Lectures continues their tradition of bringing renowned, eclectic and enthralling international musicians to our campus: Brazilian guitarists, the Assad Family, will grace Campbell’s stage next Wednesday, April 9.

Though A&L regularly offers low ticket prices for students, we have the privilege of attending some shows for free. One such event this month is Spike and Mike’s Animation Fest, a two-part screening tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. The “irreverent” festival is hailed by many prominent comic performers and directors as it helps highlight great animated shorts from around the world.

Another quirky event will take place Tuesday, April 8, when Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, an all male ballet troupe that began in New York City in 1974, will perform their rendition of a classical ballet. The troupe mixes humor and play with the time-honored art form of dance in what will surely be a unique and memorable performance.

Students and community members alike can expect visits from some great minds in the next few weeks. Between writer Gary Shteyngart, the first Diana and Simon Raab Writer-in-Residence at UCSB, on April 10, Malcolm Gladwell (author of The Tipping Point, Outliers and David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants) on April 11 and former U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins in collaboration with singer-songwriter Aimee Mann on April 17, lovers of literature, satire and cultural criticism have much to look forward to.

In addition, the last half of the quarter will include talks by writers Ann Patchett (Bel Canto, State of Wonder) and Sandra Tsing Loh (Mother on Fire), NPR’s “Science Friday” host, the delightful Ira Flatow, and even more to keep you intellectually and emotionally satiated.

Now, I know you thought that I forgot you, but I didn’t: Americana music fans, this one’s for you. A&L has been wonderful enough to bring some of the most stellar bluegrass, folk and old-timey string band music from across the U.S. here, to us. This quarter is no different, and will, in fact, boast the day-long Americana Music Jam at SOhO in downtown Santa Barbara, as well as a performance from world-class banjo player Bèla Fleck and impressive vocalist Abigail Washburn a few days later, on May 7.

The Americana Music Jam will take place Saturday May 3, starting at 5 p.m. with the fresh-faced bluegrass-y quintet Run Boy Run. At 7 p.m., the Haden Triplets bring their take on country to the stage. Musical genre melder Jackie Greene will round out the night, starting at 9 p.m.

With a little something for everyone, Arts & Lectures will once more provide some much needed diversion, along with eye-opening self reflection, to UCSB’s students and the Santa Barbara community at large. Check out the full list of events online at and see what they have in store for you.


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Photos Courtesy of UCSB Arts & Lectures, Sheryl Nields and Bill Wadman.

A version of this story appeared on page 11 of Thursday, April 4, 2014’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.