The Chill Is On – ‘Cabaret’ comes to Ojai ACT

A nameless emcee (Cecil Sutton, left) facilitates the entertainment inside the Kit Kat Klub, which includes the sultry Sally Bowles (Holly Ferguson) in 1930s Berlin, but a growing Nazi party might have something to say about such a place. Photo by Dean Zatkowsky
A nameless emcee (Cecil Sutton, left) facilitates the entertainment inside the Kit Kat Klub, which includes the sultry Sally Bowles (Holly Ferguson) in 1930s Berlin, but a growing Nazi party might have something to say about such a place.
Photo by Dean Zatkowsky

“I saw the film version and … I wasn’t that impressed with it,” says Tracey Williams-Sutton, director of Ojai ACT’s production of “Cabaret.” Because it’s celluloid-centered, then video, Bob Fosse’s version of “Cabaret” with Joel Grey and Liza Minnelli has been most people’s introductory to the world that Christopher Isherwood created all those decades previous. But it also doesn’t take much to find the original source materials — Isherwood’s short stories, Josh Van Druten’s play based on the stories, and the musical with a book by Joe Masteroff (music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb) — have many more delights available. And that Williams-Sutton’s opinion is not rare.

The setting, for those who have be wilkommen’d to the Cabaret, old chum, is the Kit Kat Klub in 1931 Berlin. The Nazis are rising to power. Sally Bowles is young, British and a performer at the club. Cliff Bradshaw is young, American, a writer in search of inspiration, and soon to fall in love with Sally. And then there is the Emcee, who introduces us both to the club and to the society around them, which is becoming increasingly deadly.

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Behind the Iron Curtain – An obscure but celebrated Santa Barbara synth band makes a cult comeback

 Iron Curtain's Steve Fields, right, and Doug Norton, left, circa 1983. Rebecca Traver Photo

Iron Curtain’s Steve Fields, right, and Doug Norton, left, circa 1983.
Rebecca Traver Photo

In the early 1980s, a small genre of electronic music began to emerge: minimal, homemade, rough and icy. Influenced by The Cure, Joy Division, Kraftwerk and Krautrock, the sounds were made on early-model, cheap, portable synthesizers. The lyrics took on alienation, paranoia, fear and the general landscape of post-war anxiety. Retrospectively called either “minimal wave” or “cold wave,” the groups came from economically depressed cities like Sheffield, Berlin, Brussels, Manchester… and Santa Barbara?

When record label and Web site Minimal Wave put together its compilation of rare and obscure bands, “The Found Tapes: A Compilation of Minimal Wave From North America ’81-’87,” it included the little-known Iron Curtain, Steve Fields’ short-lived band that seems as out of place now as it did then, in a town used to feel-good beach rock and reggae.

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Be Kind, Don’t Rewind – ‘Fast Forward’ at CAF offers primer in contemporary video art

'HAPPY ENDINGS,' JEN DENKE
‘HAPPY ENDINGS,’ JEN DENKE

As curator Annie Wharton likes to point out, video as an art form is just a little over 40 years old, a child compared to any other medium, save computer graphics. It’s a language she says that has grown dramatically considering that the first “portable” cameras weighed nearly 70 lbs. (the Sony CV-2000). As a young curator and maker of video art, she has been bringing her fascination with the art to galleries with video compilations, hoping to catch the rest of us up with the state of the art.

This Thursday, Wharton comes to Contemporary Arts Forum with “FAST-FORWARD: A Screening of Contemporary American Video Art,” a 50-minute show. Up and coming artists in the program include Susan Lee Chun, Jen DeNike, Spencer Douglass, Gustavo Hererra, Adriana Farmiga, Dan Finsel, Jesse Reding Fleming, Christy Gast, Alexa Gerrity, Aaron GM, Micol Hebron, Marc Horowitz, Jiae Hwang and more. In this brief interview conducted over e-mail, Wharton — who graduated from the University of Miami with a BFA in sculpture — lets us know what’s in store.

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Carlito’s Pomegranate Margarita

Nik Blaskovich/News-Press
Nik Blaskovich/News-Press

Stunning to think that Carlito’s has been in Santa Barbara 32 years, serving up Mexican food across from the Arlington. That patio always stays packed when the sun is out, and that’s most of the time in our ‘burb. The chips and salsa keep coming, and oh my, that salsa! Or rather, those salsas, the chunky tomato version is so thick that the chips have a hard time standing under the weight. The black bean and corn salsa is oh so crunchy. What really could go with this lovely salt’n’corn combo?

Why, cocktails of course. Silly to ask, really. This is the Drink of the Week column, and Carlito’s was off our radar for a while only because it doesn’t have a physical bar to sidle up to. Instead, we sidled up to the menu, and found that there’s about 20 choices for the cocktail fan. So let the party begin, and come find us on the patio.

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California Dreamin’ – Rooney’s bright sunshine pop rock comes to Velvet

There’s been a lot of chanting about Rooney, and not just the band that is coming to Velvet Jones tonight with a popular brand of catchy retropop rock hooks. It just so happens that Rooney shares its name with English soccer player Wayne Rooney, which would not make that much difference if the World Cup wasn’t going on right now. But hey, those mistaken Internet search engine results can’t hurt, can they?

“It’s been going on longer than the World Cup,” says Ned Brower, drummer with the band. When the band toured the UK recently, they heard audiences chanting “Roo-ney! Rooooo-nee-ee!!”

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Music is the Healer – Ian Franklin’s musical journey comes to Lompoc Flower Festival

Ian Wilkerson Photo
Ian Wilkerson Photo

There’s another annual event to look out for at this Wednesday’s Flower Festival in Lompoc, and that’s the return of Ian Franklin. This Bay Area musician with the Central Coast connections appeared last year at the Festival and returns for the second time for a rock and folk infusion of his songwriting skills.

“Lompoc is my second home,” says Franklin, who spent many a summer there with his father, a local chiropractor. The Flower Festival was always a main attraction during those visits, and it took some encouraging from dear ol’ dad to finally submit his CD to the festival organizers. “He kept egging me on to perform there,” he says.

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Fiddle-Dee-Dee – Fourth Annual FiddleFest pours wines and bluegrass tunes for a good cause

Bob Dickey Photo
Bob Dickey Photo

Fiddlehead Cellars never took its name from the actual instrument or from its owners’ interest in music. Instead, the winery takes its name from the curly tip of a fern, which some cultures even pickle as a food. And Fiddlestix, the name of the vineyard, is a gosh darn ol’ swear word. But none of that matters in the fourth year of the FiddleFest, one of the Lompoc area’s favorite fundraisers, as wine tasting and bluegrass music will go hand in hand.

“Just as I started getting everybody that this was about the plant, then I went and added the twist of the fiddle music,” says Kathy Joseph, who owns Fiddlehead along with her husband

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Ca’Dario’s Ruby Red Martini

Nik Blaskovich/News-Press
Nik Blaskovich/News-Press

Ca’Dario, in our humble opinion, has never really lost the buzz that it earned all those years ago, when it first started offering Italian food on the corner of Victoria and Anacapa. And that’s not just our opinion, that’s the general vibe at an early-week lunch, which is just overflowing with people. Ca’Dario, although going on 13 years, never opened the bar section (four seats) until late 2008.

Manager Danny Chisholm is the man making our cocktails today, and he says most people sit at the bar when waiting for a table. But here’s where they discover what we did: the bar affords a great view of the magical Ca’Dario kitchen and the plate-assembling area. We got pretty hungry watching pastas, salads and meat dishes pass by with their finishing touches. Nothing to do but have some cocktails.

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Welcome to the Machine – SBCC’s Theater Group ventures into Expressionist drama with ‘Machinal’

David Bazemore Photo
David Bazemore Photo

In 1927, housewife Ruth Snyder conspired with her lover Henry Judd Gray to murder her husband and collect the insurance money. The following trial became a media sensation, as the public was baying for blood.

Among others, filmmaker D.W. Griffith and author Damon Runyon covered the trial. On the day of Snyder’s execution, a photographer snuck in and grabbed a disturbing, iconic image as she died in the electric chair at Sing Sing.

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Sublime’s new singer Rome carried on Nowell’s tradition at KJEE’s Summer Round Up

MICHAEL MORIATIS/NEWS-PRESS
MICHAEL MORIATIS/NEWS-PRESS

When Rome Ramirez was about 6 years old, Bradley Nowell, lead singer of Sublime, died from a drug overdose. That was 1996. Now it’s 2010 and the 22-year-old finds himself stepping into Nowell’s shoes as the frontman of a resuscitated Sublime (with the appendage “with Rome” added after Nowell’s family complained).

A Sublime fan since he was a kid, Mr. Ramirez is now playing in front of crowds like the one that gathered at the Santa Barbara Bowl on Saturday, most of whom probably never saw Sublime play when Nowell was alive. As a capper to the day-long KJEE Summer Round Up, it was a fine enough way to see the sun set.

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