Campus Connection: Art, Theater, Jazz… and ‘Schmigadoon!’ 

By Steven Libowitz   |   May 21, 2024

Incandescent is the intriguing title of this year’s MFA Thesis Exhibition at UCSB’s Art, Design & Architecture Museum (AD&A), on view May 17 to June 9. The seven grad students with heritage from Mexico, Nigeria, Iran, the Philippines, and elsewhere, drew on Michel Serres’ notion of incandescence to create art that emphasizes the interconnectedness of humans and nature, underscoring an unfolding shared history and luminous resistance against dominant oppressive narratives. Media range from sculpture to painting and a performance of the movement art piece movement:::Water / movement:::Support by interdisciplinary artist Hope Okere on June 1 at the Red Barn (Old Gym). Visit

UCSB undergraduate student Angel Diaz and graduate student Mayra Gomez-Labrada celebrate the shared history of Mexico and California through food, historical discovery, film, and theater in a festival of Chicano culture that winds up this weekend with a full theatrical production of Luis Valdez’s landmark 1978 play Zoot Suit. While the sartorial suits were the choice of swing revivalists in the 1990s, the zoot suit was originally a fashion statement for Chicano men in the 1930s and 1940s, which became an integral part of the “Sleepy Lagoon” murder trial in 1942. Zoot Suit performs for free May 18 and 19 at UCSB’s Hatlen Theater. Visit for details.

Most people either love Schmigadoon! or can’t stand to watch a moment of it. I land squarely on the plus about the remarkably clever AppleTV+ series that both lampoons and serves as a loving homage to great Broadway musicals of two distinct eras. (I’ve watched it twice all the way through so far.) Apparently I’m not the only one, as “Corn Puddin’,” the suggestive song that shows up early in the first episode, won a 2022 Emmy for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics. The bad news is that the streamer nixed a third season earlier this year. The better news is that with the new songs and book already written by series creator Cinco Paul, Schmigadoon! is going full circle as a stage musical premiering at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater next January. In the meantime, the Pollock Theatre is screening the first episode of each of the two seasons in 4K digital projection followed by a conversation with underscore composer Christopher Willis on Tuesday, May 21. Reserve free tickets at

Jon Nathan directs the UCSB Jazz Ensemble in its season-closing concert “Strike Up the Band” featuring famous works by jazz great Thad Jones/Mel Lewis, Maria Schneider, Pat Metheny, Count Basie, Buddy Rich, and Duke Ellington among others. The Wednesday, May 22, concert at Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall also features students from the school’s Jazz Ensemble and Combos programs. Visit


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