First Thursdays: a special monthly event beginning it's third season on February 5th. Held on the first Thursday of each month these events are sponsored by the Santa Barbara Downtown Organization, santabarbaradowntown.com, to provide evenings of Visual and Performing Arts at various locations downtown. Participating downtown merchants open their businesses to the arts often with special refreshments offered to visitors free of charge.
Visitors are often surprised to find that they can see some of their favorite performers, national notables and stars up close and personal in our culturally diverse and rich community. Our venues are rather small in size compared to the big cities like LA, San Francisco or even New York. Yet, we often attract the same celebrities to beautiful Santa Barbara.
Jerry Seinfeld will bring his sardonic humor to the Arlington Theater on Friday, March 6th. Could be that his interest to Santa Barbara is his former co-star, "Elaine", a Santa Barbara local. Robin Williams will entertain us on February 11th. A magnificent, historical landmark, the Arlington Theater, is reminiscent of a Spanish Paseo including a ceiling depicting the sky with twinkling stars. 805-963-4408
The newly rebuilt Granada Theater is one of the venues for the Santa Barbara Symphony with many internationally renowed guest musicians entertaining on a monthly basis during Symphony Season. Opera Santa Barbara will be presenting my favorite Opera: Carmen, March 7-15th. The Community Arts Association (CAMA) will be presenting the San Francisco Symphony at the Granada on Saturday, January 24th. http://www.granadasb.org/
Completely remodeled a few years ago, the Lobero Theater was the first Opera House between LA and San Francisco and so it remains a beautiful landmark with a very diverse influx of entertainment and stars. Joan Baez will be returning to the Lobero on February 17th to regale us with her folk ballads. http://www.lobero.com/
The beautiful Santa Barbara Museum of Art houses numerous collections from all over the world. Many are donations from local prominent citizens along with traveling exhibits. A favorite of mine was the exhibit of the Chinese Clay Warriors several years ago. My mother who had viewed the actual archeological site in China said that the display in our SBMA was more visitor friendly as we could get a better close up look at these wonderful artifacts of so long ago. January 4 - February 15: Picasso on Paper: Drawings and Prints from the Permanent Collection (1899-1967). The Museum also houses a wonderful small cafe for visitors to enjoy lunch. http://www.sbma.net/
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival is being held at various theathers around town during January 22 - February 1. Kate Winslet has been chosen for the coveted Montecito Award. For more information see: http://www.sbfilmfestival.org/.
Santa Barbara is blessed with the presence of numerous venues for higher education: UCSB, Westmont College, Santa Barbara Community College, Antioch and numerous graduate facilities.
The UCSB Arts & Lectures Program "brings our community an exceptional array of performances, lectures and films as well as stimulating educational outreach programs for the community and campus." Three outstanding examples for 2009 are the following scheduled events: Tony Blair former Prime Minister of Great Brittain, Monday April 20; His Holiness the Dali Lama, April 24; and Thomas L. Friedman, author and columnist presenting a review of his new book: Hot, Flat and Crowded. http://www.artsandlectures.ucsb.edu/
Welcome to beautiful Santa Barbara! Come for a visit or a lifetime... come 'home' to a lifestyle filled with adventure every day. Whether it is nature that calls you, the climate, the culture or the many captivating residents who love the blend of history, distinctive architecture and Mediterranean climate. After forty some years as a resident, I still hold my breath every time I return from a trip abroad or just back from LA. I am so fortunate to call this beautiful community my 'home.'