As UC Santa Barbara students and faculty file back to campus for a new academic year, the campus culture scene comes to life with a full array of theater, dance, art exhibitions and films for the fall quarter, celebrating the talents of students, faculty and visiting artists.
From productions of classic plays by the likes of Shakespeare and Gogol to dance performances of brand-new student choreography, the campus offers ample opportunities to delight in the arts.
Theater & Dance
Talent takes the stage this fall in a full complement of performances from UC Santa Barbara’s Department of Theater and Dance.
You never know what to expect at the “24-hour Play Festival,” to be held this year on Oct. 29. Bringing the best of their creative talents and speedy scriptwriting to the challenge, students write, produce and perform brand new short plays in just 24 hours. Later this quarter, catch a showcase of cutting-edge contemporary pieces and tried-and-true classics from the student directing program in “Fall One Acts,” Nov. 10–13.
Speaking of classics, the department will also present a production of “The Government Inspector” by Nikolai Gogol and adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher. Directed by Michael Bernard – who came up at New York City’s The 52nd Street Project in Hell’s Kitchen – Gogol’s mid-19th century work is as timely as ever. Set in the cauldrons of the Imperial Russian government, Gogol imbues comic levity and dreamy interludes with a satirical depiction of greed, corruption and stupidity among government ranks.
Tickets are on sale now. Performances are Nov. 16–20 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 19 at 2 p.m. in Hatlen Theater.
Spotlighting rising stars and treasured faculty of dance, multi-disciplinary artist Christina McCarthy directs the season opener, the “Fall Dance Concert,” featuring original choreography from five senior BFA students and a faculty piece by former Alvin Ailey dancer Christina Sanchez. Add to that a performance by UC Santa Barbara Dance Company, and you have a spectacular entrée to the dance season which continues through the winter and spring quarters.
Performances run Dec. 1–3 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 3 at 2 p.m. in Hatlen Theater. Pre-sale tickets are $13 for students, seniors, military personnel and UCSB faculty and staff, and $17 for general admission, while same-day tickets are $15 and $19, respectively.
Those hoping to catch a performance by UC Santa Barbara’s professional dance company in residence, Santa Barbara Dance Theater, will have to wait until the new year when the company returns to the Hatlen stage under the artistic direction of Brandon Whited, Jan. 18–21 at 7:30 p.m. and Jan. 22 at 2 p.m. Pre-sale tickets are on sale here.
Art, Design & Architecture
Calling all art lovers! UC Santa Barbara’s Art, Design & Architecture Museum (AD&A) opened three new shows this fall, each promising unique and surprising art experiences.
Museum director Gabriel Ritter broke ground by presenting the first solo museum show of Native American artist Ishi Glinsky, “Upon a Jagged Maze.” With roots in the Tohono O’odham Nation, Glinsky brings North American native arts traditions into the vernacular of contemporary art. The star of the show: Glinsky’s colossal soft sculpture of a punk leather bomber jacket and larger-than-life beadwork made with repurposed skateboard wheels.
Looking for a space to enjoy quiet contemplation? Calm your mental chatter with a visit to the AD&A Museum’s “Momentary Stillness.” The fall show offers a sampling of artworks, encouraging visitors to slow down and take a break from daily pressures. A highlight of the exhibition is the triptych Altar by artist Dinh Q. Lê, who graduated from UC Santa Barbara’s art program in 1989. Using traditional Vietnamese weaving methods, Lê creates a tapestry of interwoven photographs of Eastern and Western spiritual figures.
Also on view is “Gods, Glory & Spirituality,” a collaboration with UC Santa Barbara’s history department. Medals and plaquettes from the museum’s Sigmund Morgenroth Collection are displayed with historical fictions written by students. In reimagining the narrative past of each piece, the writing breathes new life into the works, many dating back as far as the Middle Ages.
All three shows continue through Sunday, Jan. 22. Find more information, including museum hours, at the AD&A website.
Film and television
It’s all about the marvel of motion pictures in the Carsey-Wolf Center’s fall film series, “Big Screen.” Harkening back to film’s early days of Cinerama and CinemaScope, the series celebrates the experience of the movie theater as a space for both wonder and anxiety, featuring films that are meant to be seen on the big screen.
Expect to chuckle with the first two in the series, Satyajit Ray’s 1969 musical comedy, “The Adventures of Goopy and Bagha,” and his 1980 follow-up, “The Kingdom of Diamonds,” being screened Tuesday, Oct. 11, and Wednesday, Oct. 12, respectively, at 7 p.m. in the Pollock Theater.
The fantastical films follow the adventures of Goopy Gyne and Bagha Byne, winding through dystopian themes and political commentary. A post-screening discussion following the Wednesday show will be moderated by Bhaskar Sarkar, a professor of film and media studies. Featured speakers are Moinak Biswas and Supriya Chaudhuri of Jadavpur University and graphic illustrator and designer Pinaki De.
More screenings will be coming, including classical Hollywood films starring Bette Davis and early slapstick comedies with Buster Keaton and others. See the full schedule and make reservations at the CWC website.
Ongoing series CWC Docs and CWC Global also come to life during the fall quarter, with screenings of acclaimed documentaries, “La Manplesa: An Uprising Remembered” (2021) and “The Films of Clarence Barlow,” on Oct. 18 and Nov. 1, respectively.
Following the showing of “La Manplesa,” poet and activist Quique Avilés, poet and artist Sami Miranda and filmmaker Ellie Walton will join English professor Ben Olguin for a post-screening discussion on capturing resistance movements on film.
Composer and filmmaker Clarence Barlow will take the stage after his eponymous film’s screening. Barlow will talk with Peter Bloom, a film and media studies professor, about his life in pictures, pioneering electroacoustic, computer and interdisciplinary music for film since the 1970s.
Find the details for screenings and post-screening discussions at the CWC website.
Described as “a comic opera,” Trevor Wishart’s “The Garden of Earthly Delights” kicks off the events season for the music department. The first performance in the quarter’s Corwin Chair Concert Series, “The Garden of Earthly Delights” is set for 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 7 at Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall.
Also in the Corwin series is an exciting performance of andPlay Duo, the New York City-based pairing of Maya Bennardo, violin, and Hannah Levinson, viola. andPlay Duo has garnered critical attention for their “adventurous, forward-thinking music-making.”
Their performance is on the calendar for Oct. 21 at 7:30 p.m. at Lotte Lehmann.
Many of the department’s performance groups will also take the stage this quarter, including the Percussion, Wind and Jazz Ensembles, the Chamber Orchestra and Chamber Players, the Middle East and Music of India Ensembles, and the UCSB Gospel Choir.
See program updates and additional events at the Department of Music website
Arts & Lectures
Arts & Lectures’ seasonal program brings over two dozen of the biggest names in literature, journalism, music, film and art to campus this fall, presenting performances at Campbell Hall and other Santa Barbara venues.
From a free screening of Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton at the Arlington Theater, Thursday, Sept. 29, to a The Linda Lindas concert on Saturday, Oct. 15, at Campbell Hall, Arts & Lectures offers a dynamic program of fall events for even the most discerning cultural consumers.
Additional events this quarter include:
Charley Crockett at the Arlington, Sunday, Oct. 2
DakhaBrakha at the Granada Theater, Thursday, Oct. 6, with Ukraine Fest as part of the 1st Thursday Art Walk beginning at 5 p.m. in front of the theater on State Street
SW!NG OUT at the Granada, Saturday, Oct. 8
David Gergen at the Granada, Tuesday, Oct. 11
Sacre by Circa at Campbell Hall, Wednesday, Oct. 12
Student tickets for these events are never more than $20, and mostly less ($11–15). See the full Arts & Lectures events calendar at their website.