They may call Rebelution’s genre “sunshine reggae” and it may appear that the band is as laid back as a beach barbecue, but there’s very little rest time for these guys. The band averages 120 shows a year, not including travel dates, according to Marley D. Williams, their bass player, with tonight’s Santa Barbara Bowl concert just one of those dates.
“We’re really hustling right now, trying to take advantage of every opportunity we’ve got,” he says. “We have to have a personal life too. The thing that we got from UCSB, apart from our degree, you learn to consolidate things. Two birds with one stone. That’s how our recording process came down to Miami and Burbank.”
Benchmark Eatery opened oh-so-softly last month at State and Anapamu streets, filling in the space left by Maggie’s and by extension State & A. The remodel is so, so airy but keeps the double-sided bar. The patio once again offers excellent views of State Street.
But the cocktail menu is what we’re here for, and it does not disappoint. Bartender Randy Brown and GM John Giammanco designed the menu around favorites, but with their own spin. Their Negroni, called the The Standard, features Campari, but chooses RE:FIND gin for their liquor and Byrrh Quinquina as its vermouth. The result: smoooothness . Likewise, The Hound is like a Greyhound but opts of out grapefruit juice and uses a liqueur instead: Pamplemousse, which is grapefruit in French, along with Cutler’s gin, lime juice and a fleur de sel (French sea salt) rim.
But our favorite is the Benchmark, their version of a Manhattan, featuring Benchmark bourbon (a coincidence!), Amaro Nonino as the vermouth and Benedictine as the bitters. There’s also added complexity from both Bitter Truth Creole Bitters, which smells like cinnamon, and Fee Bros. Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters. This is our Drink of the Week from a very new, very popular spot. See you there!
It was an idea that was strangely overdue, this production of “Carmen” in the middle of Fiesta. It only took the Music Academy of the West and Old Spanish Days to agree to work together and suddenly it seemed an obvious thing. Set one of the world’s most popular operas in Santa Barbara during the year the opera was premiered (well, give or take a year), and end the performance with a re-creation of an authentic fiesta: you can’t really miss, not when some in the audience are dressed similarly to people onstage.
Friday night’s performance was one of only two (the other being Sunday), making this “Carmen” a must-see in the arts community.
“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.
A game of chance, or a divination tool? The Mexican card game known as Lotería has a long colorful history, as a version of bingo that just needs a deck of cards, a board, and some chip pieces. For those who play, it’s a fun evening. But as folk art, it is even more fascinating. The deck of cards portrays characters like a magician, a beautiful lady, or a soldier. But like the tarot deck, it also has icons that are both quotidian and strange, filled with hidden meanings, for example, a melon, a ladder, a boot, or a flowerpot. And then there’s a devil, a mermaid, and a drunk guy “El Borracho” (many people’s favorite.) The history and the art of Lotería decks make up the small but very fun exhibit “Lotería! Mexico’s Game of Chance and Poetry” at Casa Dolores, through Sept. 27.
Last year, when Flaming Lips brought their outre show to the Santa Barbara Bowl, it was a strange combo that didn’t work: confetti cannons, amazing light show, gigantic balloons shooting out over the audience on one hand; morose and dark music underneath, the opposite of the fun the party favors promised.
However, that promise was fulfilled last Monday night, when another band of live concert renown, Montreal’s Arcade Fire, made their first Bowl appearance. They too brought confetti cannon and streamers, both a light show of mirrors, disco ball suits, and video projection. But most of all they brought their exciting catalog, from the stirring anthems of 2004’s “Funeral” to their 2013 delve-into-dance-music “Reflektor.” When lead signer Win Butler told us at the beginning to all stand up — “you can sit down at the end of the show” — he was not kidding. The audience followed suit, and the band made sure there was no reason to rest.
Are you ready to party like it’s 1989? Roy Gandy of Roy is ready. In honor of celebrating 25 years in the restaurant biz, he is devoting August to his anniversary. He’s dropping prices on everything down to $15. That’s not exactly 1989 prices, but it is cheaper than the last several years. The other major feature is that Mr. Gandy is opening the restaurant for lunch! The last time that happened was … actually, we don’t know when that was. But Restaurant Roy used to be the Expressway Cafe, located at Chapala where it used to cross the freeway, traffic lights and everything. (Lily’s Tacos is there now, and a chain-link fence where there was a road). Mr. Gandy used to offer coffee and snacks to those waiting the eight or so minutes for the light to change on the 101 freeway. That was a long time ago!
For our Drink of the Week, he went back to 1989 and grabbed a popular cocktail, the Kamikaze, and made it for us. It’s equal parts vodka, lime juice and triple sec, essentially a vodka margarita. However, it looks and tastes lovely and sweet, and made the perfect toast for Restaurant Roy, one of the few places in town open till midnight. We’ll drink to that!
The streets were soggy with mulched-up confetti on Sunday, the aftermath of four days of Fiesta madness. Barring the rodeo and the Courthouse Sunken Garden final symphony concert, Old Spanish Days was pretty much over. But there was one more – unofficial – event: the increasingly popular Fiesta Cruiser Run, now in its 35th year.
Thousands of cyclists, young and old, gathered at the dolphin fountain at the base of Stearns Wharf, waiting for a chance to ride en masse up State Street with their final destination being Goleta Beach.
For 48 years, Christopher Story has conducted Santa Barbara’s West Coast Symphony on the last day of Fiesta, treating those at the Courthouse Sunken Garden to a free concert of classical music.
Sunday’s program featured works from de Falla and Bizet, along with other Spanish-flavored music. On a sunny and humid day, it was one of the last events of Old Spanish Days, and one of the final times people could also see the Spirit and Junior Spirit of Fiesta perform.
The Historical Parade on Friday may have the horses, the carriages and all the regalia, but today’s Children’s Parade has all the cuteness.
The 84th annual El Desfile de los Niños starts above Victoria Street at 10 a.m. and continues down State Street, where the participants’ final destination at Ortega Street awaits: free ice cream, graciously supplied by sponsors Marborg and Wood-Claeyssens Foundation.