Momentous disaster: Ninety years ago today an earthquake transformed Santa Barbara

Devastation left in the wake of a June 29, 1925, earthquake is evident in this view looking up State Street to the Granada Theatre in the center. NEWS-PRESS FILE PHOTOS
Devastation left in the wake of a June 29, 1925, earthquake is evident in this view looking up State Street to the Granada Theatre in the center.
NEWS-PRESS FILE PHOTOS

Today is the 90th anniversary of the largest disaster in Santa Barbara history, the 1925 earthquake that destroyed a significant part of downtown and forever altered the look of the town.

The Spanish Revival architecture for which Santa Barbara is known was a recent import, but once the city started to rebuild, red-tiled roofs and white stucco walls became the style.

Continue reading Momentous disaster: Ninety years ago today an earthquake transformed Santa Barbara

17-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai draws sellout crowd

 The Arlington Theatre was sold out Saturday for a talk by Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teen who was shot by the Taliban for advocating education for girls. NIK BLASKOVICH/NEWS-PRESS

The Arlington Theatre was sold out Saturday for a talk by Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teen who was shot by the Taliban for advocating education for girls.
NIK BLASKOVICH/NEWS-PRESS

“I didn’t want to be known as the girl who got shot by the Taliban. I want to be known as the girl who fought the Taliban and who fought for children’s’ right to education.”

At 17, children’s rights activist Malala Yousafzai speaks with the force and authority of someone twice her age. She stood up to the Taliban in her home country of Pakistan when she insisted girls be given a chance to go to school.

Continue reading 17-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai draws sellout crowd

The Johnny Cash Tribute Festival ‘Roadshow Revival’ returns to Ventura

Festival attendees enjoy the music at last year's "Roadshow Revival: A Tribute to the Music of Johnny Cash."
Festival attendees enjoy the music at last year’s “Roadshow Revival: A Tribute to the Music of Johnny Cash.”

Johnny Cash died just under 12 years ago, although for fans it doesn’t seem so long ago. It helps that the Man in Black influenced so many musicians in so many genres, from country to rockabilly to outlaw blues to hip hop, that his sound is never that far away. For seven years promoter, producer and “evangelist risk taker” Ross Emery has been putting together “Roadshow Revival: A Tribute to the Music of Johnny Cash” in Ventura, starting at the Ventura Fairgrounds. This year the event expands to two whole days and has moved to Mission Park, downtown Ventura.

The center of the tribute is the lineup of rockabilly, rock ‘n’ roll and country acts who can play what they want, as long as 30 percent of their set is made up of Cash covers. The headliners include Revered Horton Heat and Billy Joe Shaver, along with The Blasters, John Doe, Hard Six, Robert Gordon, Big River and much more, a total of 22 bands. Along with the music and the food and drink, the event offers other attractions.

Continue reading The Johnny Cash Tribute Festival ‘Roadshow Revival’ returns to Ventura

41st annual Summer Solstice Parade brings Sci-Fi to State Street

A space ship flies up State Street in the Summer Solstice Parade on Saturday. KENNETH SONG/NEWS-PRESS PHOTOS
A space ship flies up State Street in the Summer Solstice Parade on Saturday.
KENNETH SONG/NEWS-PRESS PHOTOS

A beautiful sunny day, a tight parade schedule and a host of fun floats and dance troupes made this year’s Summer Solstice Parade, the 41st annual, a huge success.

The theme this year was “Sci-Fi,” and there was plenty of outer space to be seen as the parade made its way up State Street from Cota to Micheltorena.

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Film Three-Quarterly: The King of Marvin Gardens (1972)

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I watched King of Marvin Gardens many, many years ago, when it was a VHS rental from a video store (remember those?) I had very little memory of the film, apart from Jack Nicholson’s opening monolog and the one he records later in the bathroom, which I used for a mixtape (remember those too?)

So it was a delight to watch this again and see the film for the “first” time. Bob Rafelson had made several films with Nicholson up to this point, most famously two years before, Five Easy Pieces, which, similarly, many can’t remember save the diner scene.

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Easy Star All-Stars bring their reggae sound to live oak festival

The Easy Star All-Stars perform at the Live Oak Music Festival tonight. Josue Rivas photo
The Easy Star All-Stars perform at the Live Oak Music Festival tonight.
Josue Rivas photo

Michael Goldwasser, the producer behind the Easy Star All-Stars, has helped bring classic, ’70s-style roots reggae back to a level of popularity alongside another band he produced, Rebelution. Part of that was his returning to the source, using old analog instruments and machines and immersing himself for years in the sounds of King Tubby, Augustus Pablo and the other legends of reggae. The main reason was his one big idea: reggae covers of classic rock albums. Starting in 2003, with their cover of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” – retitled “Dub Side of the Moon” – Easy Star All-Stars have taken on Radiohead’s “OK Computer,” The Beatles “Sgt. Pepper” and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” The All-Stars are an offshoot of Easy Star Records house band, and a constant revolving lineup of musicians, one incarnation of which will be playing Live Oak Fest.

Regular visitors to Santa Barbara, this year’s gig is a greatest hits of sorts, playing songs from all four albums. Mr. Goldwasser occasionally joins them on tour, but now with the record label busier than ever before, he’s staying in New York.

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Timmy Curran headlines benefit show and screening for cancer non-profit

Locally based surfer and musician Timmy Curran performs music with a few good friends in a benefit for the Young and Brave Foundation, an organization that helps kids diagnosed with cancer. Courtesy photo
Locally based surfer and musician Timmy Curran performs music with a few good friends in a benefit for the Young and Brave Foundation, an organization that helps kids diagnosed with cancer.
Courtesy photo

On Saturday night, The Young and Brave Foundation, a non-profit that helps children with cancer, will throw a benefit evening at Carpinteria’s Plaza Playhouse Theater, offering both an evening of music and a Santa Barbara/Carpinteria premiere screening of a special surf documentary.

The evening is being put on by Steve and Polly Hoganson, former owners of Zoey’s in Ventura, who have been friends with Timmy Curran for years, having hosted several of his gigs. And so it is Timmy Curran, and his friends, are headlining the concert part of the evening that also hosts a raffle and a photography exhibit, both curated by the retired surfer and musician. Mr. Curran will perform with Jesse Taylor and Jesse Carmichael, his former backing band that went on to become Wildcat! Wildcat! Mr. Curran has two young kids, so he can’t tour like those two can.

Continue reading Timmy Curran headlines benefit show and screening for cancer non-profit

The wages of art: Selah Dance Collective premieres first work

Alannah Pique, a UCSB alumni, is one of the founders of the SELAH Contemporary Dance Collective.
Alannah Pique, a UCSB alumni, is one of the founders of the SELAH Contemporary Dance Collective.

The SELAH Contemporary Dance Collective may sound familiar to those who have attended numerous showcases in Santa Barbara like Nectar, Fusion, Dance Alliance or Nebula’s HH11, but they have not had a full show to themselves until now. On Saturday, they will premiere “Wages,” a 40-minute work that they’ve been performing in excerpts since last year.

The evening will be preceded by two works from Montecito School of Ballet, where Meredith Cabaniss, one of SELAH’s founders, teaches contemporary dance.

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Santa Barbara’s The Reignsmen play an EP release party at SOhO

The Reignsmen feel right at home on the SOhO stage. Courtesy photo
The Reignsmen feel right at home on the SOhO stage.
Courtesy photo

The Reignsmen may be the first rock band to be formed at a shoe store, specifically the Vans store on lower State Street. Seven years later, they’re no longer selling Chukka Boots, but are set to release their first, self-titled EP tonight at SOhO, with Dad’s Clothes and Yancellor Chang opening.

The band consists of Tommy Trujillo on bass guitar and vocals, Daniel Vasquez on lead guitar and vocals, Adam Duffin on rhythm guitar and vocals and Matthew Drake on drums. In their music you’ll hear the punk-country rumble of drunken brawls in the desert, nervous Bo Diddley beats, ’90s emo-rock, and even a bit of the Clash, Kings of Leon, Foo Fighters and the Strokes, among a hundred other shuffle-play hits colliding.

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Film Three-Quarterly: Stranger by the Lake (2013)

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Stranger by the Lake, Alain Guiraudie’s hypnotic, dreamlike thriller set at a cruising spot for gays sometime vaguely in the early ‘90s, made many best-of lists for 2014, including Film Comment. It’s now on Netflix, where I watched it one lunchtime (not the best time to watch a mysterious thriller, I admit).

Anyway, the question for us is: does a French, experimental, gay serial killer film follow the three-quarters rule of structure? Oui bien sûr! Continue reading Film Three-Quarterly: Stranger by the Lake (2013)

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