‘Crash’ — with iPads – ‘Disconnect’ is much ado about texting

Henry Alex Rubin’s “Disconnect” opened this year’s Santa Barbara International Film Festival, a screening that seems so very far away from the film now returning to theaters. Admittedly, it was one of the better opening movies in the year of the fest, boasting recognizable names and a contemporary setting. And it was definitely a step up from “Darling Companion,” the previous year’s film about a couple searching for a dog. But outside the context of the evening, with the excitement hanging in the air like ozone over a beach, “Disconnect” is all a bit much of a muchness.

A woe-is-us worryfest about the evils of technology, Andrew Stern’s script gives us three stories and interweaves them later in the film. With its po-faced moralizing, it’s reminiscent of Paul Haggis’ drippy “Crash,” but with iPads, which itself was an attempt to reinvent Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Magnolia” (which took its inspiration from Robert Altman’s “Short Cuts”).

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Origins Out of a Bottle – The Birth of Alcoholics Anonymous detailed in new play at Center Stage


Before alcoholism was seen as a disease, one man decided that the best way to get a drunk off the booze was to have him talk to another drunk. The camaraderie and that empathetic, shared experience worked, and the organization Alcoholics Anonymous was born.

The new production of “Bill W. and Dr. Bob,” which opens at Center Stage this Thursday, drops us right into those early days in 1934, where the two men keep each other sober, helped over the course of the play by their respective wives.

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All Aboard the Xprez — Half-animation, half-performance piece brings the weird to CAF Thursday

Above: screenshots from the animated centerpiece to the new CAF show "Cartune XPrez." Photo courtesy of Hooliganship
Above: screenshots from the animated centerpiece to the new CAF show “Cartune XPrez.”
Photo courtesy of Hooliganship
Sometimes, a childhood spent watching Saturday morning cartoons pays off. For Peter Burr, one half of the artistic collective/band Hooliganship, now performs inside one (sort of) in the Cartune Xprez performance coming to the Contemporary Arts Forum next week.

Half animation revue, half performance, all weird, Cartune Xprez (its name a nod to USA Network’s own animation show) grew out of the minds of Burr and his co-conspirator Christopher Doulgeris.

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Deep in Red — CAF’s Valentine’s Auction one of the year’s biggest

All hail the Red, White and … Pink!

It’s time again for “La Vie en Rose,” Contemporary Arts Forum’s annual Valentine’s exhibition, benefit auction and fashion show. The exhibition side — featuring works from a slew of Santa Barbara artists like Stephanie Dotson, Warren Schultheis, Zacarias Paul, Mary Heebner and more — is already up, but Saturday night’s gala event is the time to really show the love.

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