Stand-up comedian, game-show host, and actor Ben Gleib has just returned from Burning Man and is holed up for an extra night in his Reno hotel room, nursing something that sounds like a cold.
“It was amazing, very, very cool,” he says of his week on the playa. “Very introspective, very survivalist, and I’m so, so tired. Hopefully I can sleep, get this dust off of me, and wake up a new man, because I’ve got a special to record.”
The industry panels are some of the Santa Barbara Film Festival’s most popular events for the cinephile.
While the movie stars attract the most, the two panels Saturday at the Lobero offered much more insight into the day-to-day machinations of the movie business: the search for funding, the challenges of getting films made, and the often convoluted ways of attaining a career.
The panels had some guest overlap, but both provided interest during their hour-long chats.
Many of us grew up with Colin Quinn as a member of Saturday Night Live, but there are those of us whose first dose of Mr. Quinn’s raspy Brooklyn accent was on MTV’s non-gameshow, “Remote Control,” where he’d destroy the hits of the year in his unmusical voice. Since then, this stand-up comedian has acted in films and television, hosted comedy variety shows, and recently popped up on an episode of “Girls.” But during his stint on SNL, Mr. Quinn was already working on long-form stand-up. His first show, “Colin Quinn: An Irish Wake” went to Broadway, and since then, he’s maintained a presence on stage. Now this Saturday, he comes to the Lobero with his latest, “Unconstitutional,” an examination of our nation’s founding document, or 226 years in 70 minutes. This will not be a history lesson, but you just might learn something … and you will be laughing. In this interview, however, Quinn gets into the serious business of parsing this document and reveals that he’s a big James Madison fan.
Writer/director Rod Lathim first premiered his new play as a one-act in 2012 as part of Dramatic Women’s evening of shorts. But, like the title suggests, “Unfinished Business” wasn’t done, not for the author.
“It was the first peek into that world, and I thought the last,” Mr. Lathim says with a laugh. “I thought it would see the light of day briefly and then move on. But this play really caught me off guard and continues to a year later.”
Birds of Chicago delve into that ever-widening genre called Americana, and bring out something both soulful and sweet, smooth and raw. Just like the big city of Chicago turned traveling bluesmen into electric nightclub entertainers in the ’50s, the Birds of Chicago are set to change what can be done in the genre that has tended to the too-folksy side in recent years. They’re a smokin’ hot live band, to be proved Sunday, when they play as part of Sings Like Hell’s current series.
The band came together when Chicago-based JT Nero, of JT and the Clouds, and Montreal-based Allison Russell of Po’Girl joined forces romantically and artistically. After touring on and off with each other, and hiding their relationship from the rest of the touring musicians, they finally combined their songwriting, their arranging and their voices. Their self-titled debut came out in 2012, followed by a live album in 2013, bolstered by constant touring.
This is the perpetual question, recently raised in several articles quoting the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University’s findings that only 18 percent of directors, writers and camera people of the top-grossing movies are women.
It’s also been a familiar question at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s Women’s Panel for the last few years, and it was asked again Saturday afternoon at the Lobero Theatre.
In its five-year existence, Santa Barbara Revels have traveled as far away as Bavaria (on stage at least), to explore the multi-faceted and multi-cultural worlds of winter solstice celebrations. This year, they plan to bring it on home with a trip to America’s Deep South and the Appalachia. Santa Barbara Revels puts a secular spin on the holiday season, celebrating the turning of the year, December 21, the day with the shortest amount of daylight.
No matter what the culture or religion, the day has been celebrated for good reason: the sun begins to come back into our lives, and warmth is around the corner. The event, featuring 70 dancers, musicians, and singers, comes to the Lobero this weekend for three shows.
Santa Barbara’s theater scene marked anniversaries, said goodbye to some well-loved people and maintained high-quality shows in difficult times in 2010.
For companies, it was a year of stasis. The city college’s theater group is still waiting for Garvin Theatre renovations to finish, but that has led to some interesting work in Interim Theatre, converted temporarily from a classroom. Alan Ayckbourn’s “Time of My Life” featured some of Santa Barbara’s best actors Ed Lee, Katie Thatcher, Brian Harwell, et al. for a twisted dagger of a comedy, while “Machinal” and the “The Suicide” featured nothing but SBCC’s drama students onstage, and both productions (revivals of 1920s plays) were brave and daring. The Ayckbourn play also marked the farewell production of Rick Mokler, who had been directing for 20 years. Katie Laris has big shoes to fill, and one can already see she’s ready to take the department in a new, vibrant direction.
For many of us, the only chance we get to see Santa Barbara from the air is when we fly out of the airport, and even then, we usually head away from it or just barely buzz the coastline. Sam Tyler had the same limited view until Mother’s Day weekend, when a hasty set of circumstances found him above Santa Barbara for two days in a helicopter, exploring our city and beyond from a bird’s eye view. Now that footage will be screened as part of a special DVD release party at the Lobero.
“Above Santa Barbara” offers 40 minutes of smooth, relaxing landscape gazing, as one seems to float over the ground. Mansions give up their floor plans and luxurious gardens, wineries show off their extensive vineyards and the true length of our winding roads can be seen.