Focus on Film: Stories of Overcoming Bias
By Steven Libowitz   |   January 28, 2021

Back in 2010, rising country music singer-songwriter Brandon Stansell was ostracized from his strict Southern Baptist family after coming out as gay. He spent the past decade healing from that pain, finding a new support system, and building a name for himself in country music by refusing to hide his truth. The 33-year-old’s 2020 EP […]

Focus on Film: Subversives, Survivor, and Script-to-Screen
By Steven Libowitz   |   January 14, 2021

The Carsey-Wolf Center’s Pollock Theater’s pandemic-pivot programming, which barely paused for the holidays, has jumped right back into the virtual fray with the start of the new year. The “Subversives” series gets going over Zoom on Thursday, January 7, with a discussion of Lingua Franca, written and directed by and starring Isabel Sandoval. The 2019 […]

 

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Talkin’ Tunes and Times Through TEDxSB
By Steven Libowitz   |   December 31, 2020

TEDxSantaBarbara founder and executive producer Mark Sylvester realized early on as COVID-19 crept into our consciousness that he’d probably have to cancel his annual convention that each fall brings together as many as 10 speakers with local spins on the TED trio of topics (technology, entertainment, and design). That’s when the disappointment set in.  “It […]

Honing in on ‘Home for the Holidays’
By Steven Libowitz   |   December 17, 2020

A cabaret for Christmas might seem like the mixing of metaphors, but the idea made a lot of sense for PCPA as a way to produce something during the pandemic. That was partly because a show that’s akin to a revue could be done from people’s homes during lockdown without damaging the storyline. But it […]

Focus on Film: Christmastime is Here
By Steven Libowitz   |   December 10, 2020

UCSB Arts & Lectures’ free outdoor fall film festival series of screenings at the West Wind Drive-In comes to a close with two Christmas classics, with a modern parable followed by a Jimmy Stewart tearjerker. In 2003’s Elf, Will Ferrell stars as an elf named Buddy who discovers that he’s actually a human whom Santa […]

Focus on Film: Frank Talk on a Gambit
By Steven Libowitz   |   December 3, 2020

If you haven’t yet checked out The Queen’s Gambit, deservedly one of the top-ranked shows on Netflix and one of the best original series in the streaming service’s catalog, now would be a good time to get started on the seven-episode series about a chess prodigy turned accomplished if tortured young woman. That’s because Scott […]

A Talented Tandem
By Richard Mineards   |   December 3, 2020

UCSB’s popular Arts & Lectures series has obviously been scrambling during the pandemic lockdown to present its normal program of international acts and artists. I took the opportunity at the weekend to watch 21-year-old cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason and his pianist sister, Isata, play a virtual concert from their home in Nottingham, England, and couldn’t fail […]

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Arts in Lockdown Series Part 15: Film Director and Producer Ivan Reitman
By Joanne Calitri   |   November 26, 2020

Epically known as the one director who can harvest the funniest talent for his movies, Ivan Reitman continues his film making legend during lockdown with eight screenplays in the works, a sequel to Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting, and the next installment of the Ghostbuster series, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, to be released in theaters in June […]

Further Focus on Film
By Steven Libowitz   |   November 12, 2020

Free to Laugh, a short documentary about the power of comedy to help inmates to heal after prison, follows a comedy workshop teaching improv and stand-up to women on parole and probation, one of the more underrepresented communities representing and a voice that is seldom heard. The film, which was shot on location at Amity […]

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Entwined Wins Bill Paxton Award
By Steven Libowitz   |   November 12, 2020

When Dale Griffiths Stamos wrote and directed her latest short fiction film, Entwined, she had no idea that events less than a year later would bring extra focus to the 14-minute work. Entwined, which is about a Black man and a white woman in their sixties discussing the prejudicial injustices that drove them apart in […]

Focus on Film: Sacramento Spirit
By Steven Libowitz   |   November 5, 2020

Who knowingly purchases the former residence of a notorious serial killer? Meet Tom and Barbara, proud new owners of the most infamous house in Sacramento. The middle-aged couple purchased the residence where Dorothea Puente ran a boarding house where she murdered elderly and mentally disabled guests before cashing their Social Security checks in the 1980s. […]

Focus on Film: Women in the Water
By Steven Libowitz   |   October 29, 2020

She is the Ocean, the new documentary from Inna Blokhina, the director of the award-winning film On the Wave, is an in-depth exploration of the lives of nine women from around the world who share a love for the sea so profound that they have chosen to make the ocean the center of their physical, […]

Cottage Rehab’s Evening of Empowering Entertainment
By Steven Libowitz   |   October 13, 2020

Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation presents a fundraising screening of the 2017 film Charged: The Eduardo Garcia Story, which describes Eduardo Garcia‘s rehabilitation journey following injuries he suffered from a massive electric shock while hunting. A classically trained chef who found his passion for cooking at an early age, Garcia cut his teeth in the industry […]

Navigating the NatureTrack Film Festival
By Steven Libowitz   |   October 13, 2020

The NatureTrack Film Festival began in 2018 as a way to raise funds and draw attention to the then-seven-year-old nonprofit NatureTrack Foundation, which brings schoolchildren out into nature for docent-led treks along trails in the Santa Ynez Valley. With nature now even more important during the pandemic as outdoor activity is far less conducive to […]

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