Was the first Carpinteria Sea Glass Festival a success? You could ask the two lines of eager people that stretched down Linden Avenue and then around each corner of the block, just waiting to get into the marketplace.
Or you could ask the 800 people who rolled through the building in just one hour, looking at all sort of handmade jewelry.
The 42nd annual Santa Barbara Greek Festival opened in Oak Park Saturday and by all accounts it was a success.
The line to the gyro booth stretched long near the entrance, the dance stage was crowded with viewers and participants, the ouzo flowed freely, the food court was packed, the pastry stall tried not to run out of goods, and the sun beamed down, creating a sense that yes, this could all be happening in the Mediterranean.
The economic troubles in the home country didn’t affect this two-day fest that acts as a fundraiser for Santa Barbara’s Greek Orthodox Church.
Johnny Cash died just under 12 years ago, although for fans it doesn’t seem so long ago. It helps that the Man in Black influenced so many musicians in so many genres, from country to rockabilly to outlaw blues to hip hop, that his sound is never that far away. For seven years promoter, producer and “evangelist risk taker” Ross Emery has been putting together “Roadshow Revival: A Tribute to the Music of Johnny Cash” in Ventura, starting at the Ventura Fairgrounds. This year the event expands to two whole days and has moved to Mission Park, downtown Ventura.
The center of the tribute is the lineup of rockabilly, rock ‘n’ roll and country acts who can play what they want, as long as 30 percent of their set is made up of Cash covers. The headliners include Revered Horton Heat and Billy Joe Shaver, along with The Blasters, John Doe, Hard Six, Robert Gordon, Big River and much more, a total of 22 bands. Along with the music and the food and drink, the event offers other attractions.
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.
“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.
The Young Playwrights’ Festival celebrates 20 years this weekend of giving early voice to writers, bringing their seven short works to the stage for a full production. Over the years its participants have gone on to became authors, artists and published professional playwrights.
“It’s amazing, this program,” says Gioia Marchese, who is directing all the plays this coming Saturday.
The black asphalt outside the Santa Barbara Mission will once again bloom with color this coming weekend when it hosts the 29th annual I Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival.
Artists – from touring professionals in the street-painting scene to first-time volunteers and children – will cover the grounds outside the Mission with a patchwork of chalk paintings of their own design.
It’s spring, the season of dance, and the fields of March are blooming with the human form in beautiful motion. We’ve had aerial dance at the Lobero, shows from Santa Barbara Dance Arts, visits from Hart Pulse and the world famous Joffrey Ballet. It’s time to finish the month with the first installment of our own homegrown dance festival, HHII.
Devyn Duex is the woman behind this three-day festival taking over the Center Stage Theater this whole weekend, and the name HHII is a sly nod to Ms. Duex’s Nebula Dance Lab company: HHII is a star-forming region in the galaxy. “And star-forming – we thought that was perfect.”
Two of the best directors of the 20th century, and one of its most enigmatic actresses: that’s not the line-up of another film festival, but the five-day-long, three-play “FELLINIFEST,” the self-proclaimed “Live Theater for Movie Lovers.” With the Film Festival still in our minds, producer Jeff Mills (no relation to the author) is hoping cinephiles will be attracted to these three new plays at Center Stage Theater.
Mr. Mills has been a Fellini fan since seeing “La Strada” when he was a student at UCSB. “It just floored me. It catches you right from the first scene.” He caught as many films by the director as he could and in 2003 made Fellini the theme of his wedding. Films like the quasi-autobiographical “8?” make even more sense to Mr. Mills now — having been a part of Boxtales for years and starting up Proboscis Theatre, he now has loads of directing and producing under his belt.