Arts in Lockdown Series Part 18: Producer and Director Steve Binder
By Joanne Calitri   |   January 28, 2021

As you are reading this, it’s the anniversary of Elvis Presley’s birthday (January 8) and I’ve been talking to Steve Binder, an American producer and director born in Los Angeles. Steve, who just celebrated his 88th birthday last month, is currently working as a creative consultant on Baz Luhrmann’s film Elvis, where Dacre Montgomery is […]

Here’s to Howard
By Richard Mineards   |   January 14, 2021

Santa Barbara stockbroker and former TV executive Howard Jay Smith is facing the music again! Howard, a member of the board of the Santa Barbara Symphony, wrote his third book, Beethoven in Love; Opus 139: Concerto Quasi Una Fantasia, five years ago, and has now penned a suitable follow-up, Meeting Mozart: From the Secret Diaries […]

 

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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 […]

Arts in Lockdown Series Part 17 – David Barr and The Moon Kids
By Joanne Calitri   |   December 25, 2020

The Moon Kids rock band is taking on new steam with a local film contract and music videos. But these working class heroes from Scotland wouldn’t have been known in the U.S. without the magic of the legendary Rodney Bingenheimer, who is renowned for discovering numerous bands. He came across The Moon Kids when he was […]

Felder in Florence Salutes Tchaikovsky
By Steven Libowitz   |   December 24, 2020

Following the imposition of stricter protocols to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the area’s only planned live performance of The Nutcracker, a Concerts in Your Car production from Ventura Ballet, was canceled. Musician and theater impresario Hershey Felder, though, performs a pandemic pivot to point his next streaming production, Hershey Felder, TCHAIKOVSKY, toward the composer’s score […]

Gillies Goes from ‘American Idol’ to Star of His Own Heart
By Mackenzie Boss   |   December 24, 2020

No one could fault Santa Barbara singer-songwriter-guitarist Jackson Gillies for letting early success go to his head. After all, while still battling both Type 1 diabetes and a painful skin condition called hidradenitis suppurativa, Gillies was a surprise winner of the 2016 local Teen Star competition at a sold-out Arlington Theatre at age 15, sang […]

Fisher Finds a Way
By Steven Libowitz   |   December 24, 2020

If a sudden affliction of acute flaccid myelitis resulting in becoming a quadriplegic wasn’t enough to stop Santa Barbaran Grace Fisher from pursuing her musical dreams, the coronavirus pandemic couldn’t contain her from continuing her community Christmas celebration. This year’s Winter Music Showcase from her Grace Fisher Foundation – which was pre-recorded using proper protocols […]

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Revels’ Pandemic Promise: Join Us (Virtually) and Be Joyous
By Steven Libowitz   |   December 24, 2020

Every year, the December performances of Santa Barbara Revels are meant to mark the winter solstice, which represents the shortest day of the year, the deepest dive into darkness before emerging back into the light. So perhaps it was fitting that my conversation with Susan Keller, founder of and still the main force in the […]

PCPA’s Holiday Cabaret
By Steven Libowitz   |   December 10, 2020

PCPA’s 2020 Christmas-season treat is called Home for the Holidays, with the subtitle of “… because where else are you going to be?” Fair enough. With the coronavirus raging all over again, the Central Coast conservatory keeps its virtual programs flowing with a holiday cabaret featuring its resident artists. The free streaming event will be […]

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Christmas Fest Launches with ‘Healing in His Wings’
By Scott Craig   |   December 10, 2020

The 16th annual Westmont Christmas Festival, “Ris’n with Healing in His Wings,” presents a special online event this year due to the pandemic. The Westmont Music Department, led by Michael Shasberger, Adams professor of music and worship, has creatively recorded the 100 members of the Westmont Orchestra and College Choir, Chamber Singers, and Choral Union […]

Carmen for COVID: See a Classic Opera From Your Car
By Steven Libowitz   |   December 3, 2020

In normal times, opera can be an emotional experience, perhaps even a cathartic one, for members of the audience when the music meets the drama with just the right note. But the upcoming Concerts In Your Car version of Carmen has proven to be quite a tear-jerker just for the creative team even before the […]

Lookin’ Back at Loggins
By Steven Libowitz   |   December 3, 2020

Back in the first week of summer, as the pandemic shutdown rounded its third month, pop star and longtime Montecito resident Kenny Loggins kicked off a series of low-priced live, pay-per-view concerts streamed on the Lobero Theatre’s website, with proceeds supporting both the venue and the National Independent Venue Association, which has similar one-off theaters […]

Arts in Lockdown Series Part 16 George Pendergast, Drummer and Co-Founder of Dishwalla
By Joanne Calitri   |   December 3, 2020

Prodigious drummer George Pendergast picked up his first drum kit at the age of five after watching The Merv Griffin Show, and at 21 went on to live the dream as a professional musician recording in Los Angeles. He was born and raised in Santa Barbara, which remains his home base to this day no […]

Music in the Garden Goes Online
By Steven Libowitz   |   December 3, 2020

Among the casualties of the coronavirus closures was the complete cancellation of all in-person events last summer at the Music Academy of the West, normally one of the highlights of the year on the classical calendar. Instead, the 120-plus fellows and faculty members collaborated on the Music Academy Remote Learning Institute (aka MARLI), which bridged […]

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