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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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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.

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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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Ensemble closes season with ‘Venus in Fur’

 Bruce Turk, new to Ensemble Theatre, plays writer-director Thomas and Annie Abrams plays Vanda in the two-character play "Venus in Fur." Bruce Burr photo


Bruce Turk, new to Ensemble Theatre, plays writer-director Thomas and Annie Abrams plays Vanda in the two-character play “Venus in Fur.”
Bruce Burr photo

Ensemble Theatre finishes this season with “Venus in Fur,” the David Ives-penned hothouse of a play that joyously blurs the line between actor and role playing, befitting a story that takes as its inspiration the 1870 novel of the same name (minus the plural letter s) by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. (Yes, that’s where we get the word Masochism.)

After the large cast and inventive sets of “Woyzeck,” Ensemble is seeing out the season with that most modern of set-ups: two people in a room, and a relationship that changes completely over the course of its runtime.

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‘Force’ of comic nature: Eddie Izzard returns to Santa Barbara

 English stand-up comedian, actor and writer Eddie Izzard brings his stream-of-consciousness comedic style to the Granada Theatre. Amanda Searle photo


English stand-up comedian, actor and writer Eddie Izzard brings his stream-of-consciousness comedic style to the Granada Theatre.
Amanda Searle photo

When Eddie Izzard first came to town in 2012, he was working material out for his tour. Three years later, he’s still on that tour, called “Force Majeure,” which has taken him “from Moscow to St. Petersburg to Cape Town, 27 countries, and the show is in a very good space,” as the comedian puts it.

He returns to Santa Barbara tonight at the Granada.

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UCSB students mount ‘The Tempest’ outdoors in Isla Vista

 Performing in "The Tempest" are, from left, Ami Shimada, Scarlett Jia and Kassidy Klinesmith as Ariel and Danielle De La O as Prospera. Gerry Hansen photo


Performing in “The Tempest” are, from left, Ami Shimada, Scarlett Jia and Kassidy Klinesmith as Ariel and Danielle De La O as Prospera.
Gerry Hansen photo

A year ago, the shadow of the Isla Vista shootings hung over that June’s Shakespeare in the Park performance, which laughed in the face of tragedy with

“Twelfth Night.” Now with an all-new cast, the all-student company has nothing so sad hanging over their production, the culmination of their UCSB theater course. This Saturday and Sunday they return to the Anisq’Oyo’ Park amphitheater in Isla Vista with “The Tempest.”

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Desert Nightmares: Rubicon Theatre presents Jon Robin Baitz’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated play

Amanda McBroom as Polly and Deborah Taylor as Silda in "Other Desert Cities" Christopher Brown photo

Amanda McBroom as Polly and Deborah Taylor as Silda in “Other Desert Cities”
Christopher Brown photo

As the Tolstoy quote from “Anna Karenina” runs, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” That must be why playwrights return again and again to the dysfunction of the family unit. It’s particularly acute in “Other Desert Cities,” the Jon Robin Baitz play that opens Saturday (with a preview today) at the Rubicon Theatre.

The play follows the clash of realities, political and otherwise, when liberal daughter Brooke (Michelle Duffy) returns after five years to Palm Springs to the home of her staunchly conservative parents Polly and Lyman (Amanda McBroom and Granville Van Dusen) to spend Christmas. Her aunt Silda (Deborah Taylor), who also used to be her writing partner in Hollywood, is there too, a not-yet-recovering alcoholic.

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Chalk of Fame: Mission steps burst with the color of the I Madonnari festival

Chalk artists are hard at work Saturday in the I Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival at the Santa Barbara Mission. The festival continues through Monday. KENNETH SONG/NEWS-PRESS PHOTO

Chalk artists are hard at work Saturday in the I Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival at the Santa Barbara Mission. The festival continues through Monday.
KENNETH SONG/NEWS-PRESS PHOTO

“I’m impressed with the crowd already,” said Kathy Koury, the organizer of the I Madonnari festival that opened Saturday at the steps of the Old Mission. “I’m happy but tired!”

It takes a lot to put together I Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival, now in its 29th year. By the end of the three-day Memorial Day weekend, the entire blacktop outside the Mission will be covered with beautiful works of art. Some are originals, others are copies of old masters, and some challenge the eye with tricks of forced perspective.

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