The Dawn (Again) of Nights – Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s big summer party returns

 KCRW's DJ Jeremy Sole, below, will spin for SBMA's first (of two) "Nights" events of the summer. Artists and event attendees will also take part in several interactive activities on the theme of "Pairings," and choreographer Robin Bisio returns with three dancers, two musicians, vocalists and film vignettes for a work called "Centered Green."

KCRW’s DJ Jeremy Sole, below, will spin for SBMA’s first (of two) “Nights” events of the summer. Artists and event attendees will also take part in several interactive activities on the theme of “Pairings,” and choreographer Robin Bisio returns with three dancers, two musicians, vocalists and film vignettes for a work called “Centered Green.”

Yes, the sun keeps hiding behind the clouds, but summer is really here, and for the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, that means the return of Nights. The early-to-late-evening party is one of downtown’s must-see and must-be-seen events, combining DJs, live music, art-making activities, cocktail bars and mucho opportunities to mingle.

In flusher economic times, Nights went off every third Thursday of the summer months. But that was a bit taxing on the museum and the staff, so last year, only three Nights were scheduled. This year, its seventh, Nights is down to two. But those two are going to be big.

KCRW DJ Jeremy Sole, image courtesy of KCRW
KCRW DJ Jeremy Sole, image courtesy of KCRW
This Thursday’s Nights takes on the theme of “Pairings,” whether that be juxtapositions or plain opposites. It’s a broad theme that accounts for the current exhibition of works from the permanent collection.

“It’s the emotional versus the more ordered,” says Kristy Thomas, associate director of community programs and events, and one of Nights’ creators. “The things that we face every day in life, especially artists.”

Artists designing the interactive events have responded with their own takes on “Pairings.” The “Annul/Pardon Altered Book Library” asks patrons to choose between the two words and create sample pages, led by SBMA teaching artist Kendall Pata.

Tina Villadolid, the Museum’s Coordinator of Community Arts Programs, sings lead in the Instant Love Mix, a cover band that mixes pop culture classics with blues, jazz, polkas and disco. Not only that, but Villadolid will be creating art (using an overhead projector) while she sings.

Meanwhile, ladies (and gents, if they so choose) can get special nail work done at the “You Wear It Well Press on Nail Salon.” Emma Garr, an SBMA Teaching Artist, will give out art-based nails for the ladies, and letter-based nails for the men, spelling out certain words, all based on a quick friendly conversation and featured art. The resulting art will be shot in Polaroid for posterity. (And for assemblage at the end of the evening. But don’t worry, participants can get their photo afterwards.)

Choreographer Robin Bisio returns with three dancers, two musicians and vocalists, and film vignettes, for a work called “Centered Green,” while guests will be able to create abstract works in “Manhattan Jump,” overseen by Itoko Maeno.

The Museum also continues its four-year relationship with KCRW, with DJ Jeremy Sole spinning Afrobeat, dub, salsa, funk and hip-hop on the back patio until 9:30 p.m. KCRW DJs spin at similar museum functions down in Los Angeles. “They reached out to us,” says Thomas. “I think museums and KCRW share a similar audience.”

Sole will be paired with projections on the side of the building, and with the creation of spin art, led by Jason Summers, Sondra Weiss and Michelle Elizondo.

After this Thursday, people needing their Nights fix will have to wait until Aug. 19. The event will coincide with the exhibit “Chaotic Harmony: Contemporary Korean Photography.” Thomas and museum administrators are still sorting out the details, but she can confirm the return of musicians String Theory, KCRW’s DJ Dan Wilcox, Korean hip-hop dancers and the projection of Kim Sooja’s “A Needle Woman.”

The event also lists the upcoming art events, with provocative titles like “My Life Photo Studio,” “War of Sisters Fantasyscape Collage” and “Goodbye Paradise Boxes.” There’s no descriptions of the art events yet, Thomas admits. “Titles come first,” she says. “The artists like that challenge. It’s the creative process.” Sounds like Nights to us.

SBMA NIGHTS
When: 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday
Where: Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1130 State St.
Cost: $25 members/$35 non-members
Information: www.sbma.net or (805) 884-6414

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