Singing Savior on Celluloid

By Steven Libowitz   |   August 6, 2020

Guitarist Bruce Goldish was one of Santa Barbara’s most beloved folk heroes even before his unfortunate run-in with an auxiliary police officer. That encounter forced the musician to temporarily halt his habit of bringing his van to Parking Lot. No. 9, pulling out his guitar, and entertaining and often mystifying State Street pedestrians coming out of the movies at the Fiesta Five or shopping at Marshall’s with resonant tones that seem enchanting and ethereal.

The resulting controversy – fortunately for all of us resolved in Goldish’s favor – sparked more interest in the guitarist, whose pop-up performances had become something of a soundtrack for the section of State Street (block isn’t accurate, as the dulcet tones could be heard up and down the street). Among those whose curiosity was piqued was local filmmaker Michael Love, who created the film State Street Serenade about the musician who started the gig on a lark a dozen years ago and kept showing up and turning a fumes-filled parking lot into a cathedral with amazing acoustics simply because he loves to play. 

The short premiered at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in 2019, and will now be the subject of the third installment of SBIFF’s Film Talk, its new online series of screenings and discussions between festival programmers and local filmmakers. Senior Programmer Mickey Duzdevich chats with Love – at 6 pm on Thursday, August 6. No doubt they’ll touch on the fact that Goldish’s day job is serving as an ICU nurse, meaning he’s been pretty busy in recent months. But he has still kept up a regular regimen of public playing, including immediately taking up residence again in the parking lot when State Street reopened for Memorial Day weekend.

Catch the movie at and register for the talk at


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