This Fall, there’s a lot more than the pumpkin scones at Starbucks to look forward to. Arts & Lectures, UCSB’s premier event company, has much in store for students, with tickets running a third of the normal adult price for shows like Matt Groening and John Cleese. Then there’s the Santa Barbara Bowl, the 4,562-seat amphitheater which is playing Lorde, Ray LaMontagne, Hall and Oates and Foster the People this fall season. We at Artsweek love the local stuff and these two companies never fail to disappoint. So take your pick with our easy-to-follow event guide. NOTE: All prices regarding Arts & Lectures events are for student tickets only. Your parents and great-uncle Jim will have to pay a bit more.



Matt Groening and Lynda Barry
WHAT: A conversation between legendary creator of “The Simpsons” Matt Groening and “Ernie Pook’s Comeek” cartoonist Lynda Barry.
WHEN/WHERE: Friday, Oct. 10, 8 p.m. Arlington Theater
COST: $21
WHY YOU SHOULD DITCH DP THAT FRIDAY AND GO: This is your chance to see the man behind all of Bart’s detention-inducing antics, Homer’s d’ohs! and the Itchy and Scratchy Show. Not to mention that he’ll be interacting with one of his longtime best friends, Barry, who he’s known since their college days at Evergreen State College in Washington. Usually there’s a Q&A which closes out these events, so be sure to ask Groening why yellow triangles are acceptable for Lisa’s hair.



Mark Bittman
WHAT: A talk and book-signing by the New York Times food writer and author of How to Cook Everything, which has sold nearly two million copies and is christened the bible of the modern kitchen.
WHEN/WHERE: Saturday, Oct. 18, 3 p.m. Campbell Hall
WHY YOU SHOULD BE PRODUCTIVE ON A SATURDAY AFTERNOON AND GO: Do you know how to cook? Do you know how to cook well? Yeah, didn’t think so. We’re in college — who has time to learn the correct way to stock up a fridge or the secret to the creaminess in lobster bisque? Lucky for you, Bittman has it all down with his super-fast, straightforward approach to cooking. Did we mention this event is free?



Jake Shimabukuro
WHAT: An evening of music by a ukulele virtuoso who gets compared to Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis.
WHEN/WHERE: Thursday, Oct. 23, 8 p.m. Campbell Hall
COST: $18
WHY YOU SHOULD FORGET THIRSTY THURSDAY AND GO: Shimabukuro is the man when it comes to the ukulele. The Hawaiian native mixes jazz, blues, funk, rock, bluegrass, folk and even flamenco into his speedy finger-plucking tunes. He is responsible for creating ukulele-friendly versions of “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Thriller” and “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” which is pretty impressive considering the instrument has four strings and is barely two feet long. Plus, it’s not every day that Hendrix comparisons show up in Campbell Hall.



Magic Johnson
WHAT: A live chat with one of the most decorated players in the history of the NBA.
WHEN/WHERE: Friday, Oct. 24, 8 p.m. Arlington Theater
COST: $21
WHY YOU SHOULD DITCH DP THAT FRIDAY AND GO: Not only has Magic Johnson won five championships, been selected as NBA’s MVP and become an advocate on HIV education, he has also started Magic Johnson Enterprises, aimed at supporting low-income urban communities. Our favorite member of the “Dream Team” will be sure to inspire in this one-of-a-kind event.



John Cleese
WHAT: A talk by a comic legend with pre-signed books of his new autobiography, So, Anyway, for purchase.
WHEN/WHERE: Wednesday, Nov. 19, 7 p.m. Granada Theater
COST: $16
WHY YOU SHOULD KISS WINE WEDNESDAY GOODBYE AND GO: Before there was “Saturday Night Live,” there was “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” headed by British troupe Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin and John Cleese. The sketch comedy show had a strong cult following in the early 70s and was known as “the Beatles of Comedy”. The actual Beatles were also fans — the Python film “Life of Brian” was largely financed by George Harrison, who also appeared in parodies on the show. Basically, if you miss out on John Cleese you’re making a Beatle roll over in his grave. (Actually, Harrison was cremated and his ashes are spread over the Ganges River in India, but you get the idea.)



Mike Birbiglia
WHAT: Stand-up done by an award-winning comedian, actor and filmmaker who specializes in painfully awkward stories.
WHEN/WHERE: Thursday, Dec. 4, 8 p.m. Campbell Hall
COST: $15
WHY YOU SHOULD FORGET THIRSTY THURSDAY AND GO: Birbiglia looks like Matt Damon’s less attractive younger brother, but is just as adorably awkward and way funnier. (Sorry, Matt Damon.) A self-described “not real Italian, more like Olive Garden Italian,” he hails from Massachusetts and has released three albums with Comedy Central. His new show “Thank God For Jokes” is all about getting arrested in New Jersey, heckled by Statler and Waldorf and attacked by zombie rodents.



Audra McDonald
WHAT: Evening of music by a singer-actress who has won six Tony Awards and two Grammys.
WHEN/WHERE: Sunday, Dec. 7, 7 p.m. Granada Theater
COST: $16
WHY YOU SHOULD GET YOUR HOMEWORK DONE EARLY THAT SUNDAY AND GO: At 44 years old, McDonald is prolific in the entertainment business. She’s starred in musicals, dramas and ABC’s “Private Practice,” and is the only person (in every gender!) to win all four acting categories in the Tony Awards. One of her recent projects was Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, a one-woman act about the life of Billie Holiday. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know the next time I’ll get to pay $16 to see a Grammy winner. McDonald will be singing tunes from her latest solo album, Go Back Home.


This story appeared on page 12 of Thursday, October 2, 2014’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.