Shoreline Martini

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

Sitting on the beach, feet in the sand, kicking back with a cocktail. You’d think that in a place as desirous as Santa Barbara this would be a common occurrence. But the number of establishments where this is a possibility is actually quite small. The Shoreline Café is thankfully one of them. Located at Leadbetter Beach, right across from City College, what looks like a small and unassuming burger-and-fries shack offers more than a post-surf snackathon. Despite the lack of a bar, we found that it has a healthy cocktail menu.

Owned by Steve Marsh since 1997, the Café contains a list of about 10 cocktails all designed by Marsh himself. Location, location, location: that explains the New York style prices, so be ready. But value for money comes in the form of tasty, strong drinks. Joe’s Café strong.

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Through a glass, sadly : Ensemble Theatre Company stages Tennessee Williams’ classic ‘The Glass Menagerie’

Joe Delafield as Tom; Sara Botsford as his mother, Amanda; and Erin Pineda as Laura, Amanda's daughter and Tom's older sister. DAVID BAZEMORE PHOTOS
Joe Delafield as Tom; Sara Botsford as his mother, Amanda; and Erin Pineda as Laura, Amanda’s daughter and Tom’s older sister.

First thoughts upon entering the Alhecama Theatre for this production of “The Glass Menagerie” — has the stage ever contained this much depth? By its use of sliding doors, three levels, and some beautiful floor lighting, we get taken back to the dark and dank St. Louis tenement where playwright Tennessee Williams exorcised the ghosts of his past and reincarnated them as unforgettable characters.

On walks Tom Wingfield, played by Joe Delafield. He stands outside the tenement he shares with his mother and sister, lights a cigarette and leans against the wall, looking like the anti-hero in a film noir. But he’s no gumshoe, and his staccato Southern accent — young, fast, clipped, like George W. Bush, but with 10 times the vocabulary — lays out the rules of the play: Memory, spirits, exaggerations. And then there are the things that we realize he is not telling us about: shame, guilt, betrayal, and regret.

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Grit and Polish – Ensemble Theatre takes on Tennessee Williams and ‘The Glass Menagerie’

 Erin Pineda plays Laura and Joel J. Gelman is the "Gentleman Caller," on whom the Wingfield family pins their hopes and dreams, in Ensemble Theatre's production of "The Glass Menagerie." David Bazemore

Erin Pineda plays Laura and Joel J. Gelman is the “Gentleman Caller,” on whom the Wingfield family pins their hopes and dreams, in Ensemble Theatre’s production of “The Glass Menagerie.”
David Bazemore

There’s a lot of dust and funk that has covered “The Glass Menagerie” in the 65 years since its premiere. The campy parodies, the popular and “definitive” portrayals of the Wingfield family by stars like Katharine Hepburn, John Malkovich and Karen Allen. The celluloid amber of Anthony Harvey’s 1973 version. But if any company in town can polish and make this classic look brand new, it’s Jonathan Fox and Ensemble Theatre.

“The characters have become iconic and the lines are so well-known, like ‘Hamlet,’ ” says Fox, who directs. “It becomes a challenge to figure out what might be fresh.”

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Union Ale’s Mississippi Swamp Water

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

Union Ale thinks big. And it prints big too. Its menu looks something like a Wild West Wanted poster and can be read across the room. It’s sweet potato fries come in a metal bucket. Its ‘mini’ pizzas could feed a family of 10 (and they make the dough on the premises). So we expected big things from our drinks.

Now, of course, Union Ale is known for its beer. Its Albino Python, for example, contains ginger, fennel and orange peel.

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The Costello Show – Though he’s never stopped working, Elvis Costello returns to S.B. after 16 years

Elvis Costello at 55: his face still framed by black plastic specs, this season he has turned to a late-period-Dylan moustache and a series of wide-brimmed hats. In his albums, concerts and Sundance Channel chat-and-music show “Spectacle,” he continues to indulge, celebrate and expand his encyclopedic knowledge of music. He’s the Englishman who knows more about America’s musical culture than we do. In interview, he seizes the question and tussles with it for minutes, though at the end, he admits to being distracted. Costello had just got off the phone, having heard that John Ciambotti, the bass player from Clover — who backed Costello on his 1977 debut LP — had passed away. The interview went ahead, with Costello covering everything from his show and resurrecting old tunes to his thoughts on the latest “Alvin and the Chipmunks” movie.

There have now been two seasons of “Spectacle.” Did being the interviewee for so many years help in becoming an interviewer?

No, I think it helped to be truthful, to be in the same location as the subjects. I really think that the success or otherwise of the conversations hinged largely on the fact that the people had a degree of trust simply because they knew that I knew what they do, even if our methodologies turned out to be different. The other (thing about the show is) they are not set up to really promote a new product the way a chat show is. Because the host in this case is not a comedian but somebody who … I mean, I can appreciate the humor in certain situations as much as the next person; but it doesn’t matter to me if the conversation becomes serious or reflective or emotional. And we get to also speak for a fairly long period of time and then try and edit the best bits into something like an hour. And all of those things put us, I would say, at some advantage to most of the discourse on television. So I don’t put too much thought into my own technique.

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Cody’s Cafe

If you think the lunch specials at Cody’s Café (and bar) look similar to the Mesa Café, well, you’d be right. The two locations are owned by the same people. And much like the Mesa Café, the bar at Cody’s ? standing all by itself at the Turnpike shopping center ? has drinks that are strong and don’t mess around.

Six seats are at the bar itself, and three tables line the wall opposite; one regular told us he found it a year after going to Cody’s for the food, never knowing it existed. Like our other favorite “lost bars” around town, Cody’s is the place to go when you don’t want to be seen.

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Werner Movie Classics : Werner Herzog’s 60-plus filmography continues to grow

Some would call film director Werner Herzog brave and bold. Others would call him crazy. Nobody would deny he is some kind of genius, whether making feature films about impossible, sometimes doomed missions, like “Aguirre, The Wrath of God,” or “Fitzcarraldo,” or documentaries about doomed people (“Grizzly Man”) or inhospitable worlds (“Encounters at the End of the World,” about Antarctica). On Wednesday night he will sit down with another well-traveled soul, Pico Iyer, and talk about ? well, nobody’s decided just yet.

We talked to the 67-year-old director, who continues to make films at least once a year, and now has started up his own “Rogue Film School” to foster a new generation of rebels.

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Keeping the Holmes Fire Burning : Circle Bar B opens season with ‘Sherlock’s Last Case’

Does director Jim Cook like mystery and murder, or do murder and mystery seek out Jim Cook? Only last season at the Circle Bar B Theatre, Cook investigated “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940.” Kicking off this season, he walks in with the master detective of 221B Baker Street and “Sherlock’s Last Case.”

“Susie (Couch, the owner and producer of Circle Bar B) picks the shows, and I’m like, another murder mystery? OK,” jokes Cook. “And it’s not really what the show’s about. It’s more the creativity and the working with actors onstage and creating a believable world in which this takes place.”

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When the Alarm Clock Sounds : Human rights worldwide explored over four evenings at UCSB

Last year, UCSB’s Human Rights Film Festival promised six films over three days of double features. True to its incremental popularity, this year the fest has added on another day, two more features and two short films.

Like previous years, the festival tells two truths. The first, documentaries are still flourishing to cover the stories that our traditional media fail to tell, and second, that women make up a majority of the filmmakers, an inverse situation to that of Hollywood.

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Showdown in Jutland : Half noir, half Western, all Danish, ‘Terribly Happy’ is a bitter, twisting ode

Limitless horizons, flatlands, cowboy hats and lonesome saloons. The icons tell us we should be in the Midwest, but instead, in “Terribly Happy,” the landscape belongs to Jutland, Denmark’s nowhereland of floodplains, bogs and marshes. But what better place to set a thriller that borrows unabashedly from Westerns and film noir?

“Terribly Happy,” a new film by director Henrik Ruben Genz, based on the droll novel by Erling Jepsen, finds among its bogs the ingredients it needs to make an impressive feature that tips its Stetson to a history of 20th-century American film, but stakes out its own territory.

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