A buffet of arts: Arts & Lectures new season welcomes new artists, many favorites

FROM TOP: "Schoolhouse Rock Live!" comes to UCSB's Campbell Hall on Oct. 12 - Tim Trumble photo David Sedaris, may 4 - UCSB Arts & Lectures W. Kamau Bell, Feb.5 - UCSB Arts & Lectures Cirque Ziva, Jan. 24 - Amitava Sarkar photo

“Schoolhouse Rock Live!” comes to UCSB’s Campbell Hall on Oct. 12 – Tim Trumble photo

David Sedaris, may 4 – UCSB Arts & Lectures

W. Kamau Bell, Feb.5 – UCSB Arts & Lectures

Cirque Ziva, Jan. 24 – Amitava Sarkar photo

The new season of Arts & Lectures is a few months away. Plenty of familiar faces return for this season — David Sedaris rounds it out in May as usual — but there are also a lot of new acts rolling through to get excited about. As UCSB’s arts series expands its venues to downtown, there’s a sort of delicate balance between campus and downtown.

“Much of our audience is community oriented, so it often makes sense to have it downtown,” says Roman Baratiak, Director Celeste Billeci’s second in command. The organization has its eyes on using The New Vic more too. And dance usually does better downtown.

“There’s always big excitement around the dance series,” says Mr. Baratiak, “I think it’s one of our strongest series.” This marks the Joffrey Ballet’s second time here, but their first performance was a long time ago.

Where A&L has shrunk its programming is in film. Despite the success of the Summer Film series at the Courthouse and its continuing support of BANFF Mountain Film Fest, along with some other nature documentaries, the days of foreign films at Campbell Hall have all but stopped. Mr. Baratiak says that the Carsey-Wolf Center and the Pollock Theater across the way on campus have taken over that part of it. The other reason is that there’s too many live events. “It’s shifting priorities,” says Mr. Baratiak.

And there’s still more to come, so keep your eyes on the website for updates.

“We’re always adding things,” he says. “There are more lectures coming in the fall and if we get an opportunity to add something we will. This is not the end by any means.”

Highlights of the season

Lynda Barry and Matt Groening (Oct. 10) These two masters of indie comics have been friends since working together at their college newspaper. Both have created works about families and childhood, Ms. Barry creating Ernie Pook’s “Comeek” and Mr. Groening a little thing called “The Simpsons.” In conversation together, it will just be magic.

Schoolhouse Rock Live! (Oct. 12) We all grew up on these insanely catchy songs about math, science and American History. And now with this rousing pop culture musical revue, a new generation can see what all the fuss is about.

BalletBoyz (Nov. 1) is an all-male modern dance review presenting works by Russell Maliphant and Royal Ballet Artist in Residence Liam Scarlett. This is a new one for A&L, although Batsheva Dance Company (Nov. 4) is not, returning to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Artistic Director Ohad Naharin has revitalized the company and brings SADEH21, one of his major works on tour. The Moth Mainstage (Nov. 5) returns a year later for another evening of funny and touching storytelling, featuring five performers chosen by the director. The juggling-and-more institution, the Flying Karamazov Brothers (Nov. 16) bring their wacky skills back to Campbell Hall for another visit, as does Pilobolus Dance Theatre (Nov. 17). Everybody was wild for Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre (Nov. 20 and 21) so, they have returned for a production of “King Lear.” Miss this at your peril. The winter closes out with Mike Birbiglia — Thank God for Jokes (Dec. 4), his follow up to his poignant “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend.”

In the new year there’s plenty to pique your interest: Cirque Ziva (Jan. 24) is an offshoot of China’s Golden Dragon Acrobats, in a trippy, colorful style. Nrityagram Dance & Music (Jan. 29) brings Indian classical dance. W. Kamau Bell (Feb. 5) brings his stand-up insights to race in America. Dinosaur Train Live! (Feb. 8) is for all the family, and the film program Ready, Set, Adventure! (Feb. 22) is as well, featuring animation and live action shorts from all over the world. Nederlands Dans Theater 2 (Feb. 24) wows Santa Barbara every time they come and this year will be no different. March 10 brings the Joffrey Ballet and a major work.

Closing out the spring is the adventurous and experimental narrative/live movie with miniatures, Hotel Modern, The Great War (Apr. 25 and 26), a first visit from Dorrance Dance (May 2), and the humor of David Sedaris (May 4) without whom the end of the season just wouldn’t feel right.

For more information about the season, tickets, and special series rates, go to artsandlectures.sa.ucsb.edu or 893-3535

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