This summer, take a free bus ride from campus to the courthouse for open-air screenings of space creature-themed flicks

a courthouse at night with many people watching a film from the lawn on a large outdoor screen


Whether you’re a film buff or just looking to escape, a good movie night can be a tonic. On Friday nights, community members can soak up motion pictures at UCSB Arts & Lectures (A&L) free summer film series. This year’s theme, “Out of This World,” guides a selection of seven space creature-inspired films, each screened under the stars at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Garden. 

The series kicks off with “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” Steven Spielberg’s classic sci-fi tale, on Friday July 7 at 8:30 p.m. and follows with a film every Friday night (except during Fiesta) through Aug. 25, when the program concludes with a screening of “Nope,”  Jordan Peele’s neo-Western science fiction film. 

Other films to be screened are “Alien” (July 14); “Mars Attacks!” (July 21); “The Fifth Element” (July 28); “Star Trek” (Aug. 11); and “Guardians of the Galaxy” (Aug. 18). Before each movie starts, A&L will host DJs, give away prizes and other activities.  

“Santa Barbara summers are always special, but this one will be out of this world,” said A&L Miller McCune Executive Director Celesta M. Billeci. “Summer Cinema under the stars returns to the County Courthouse Sunken Garden with an intergalactic lineup that’s got something for everyone. From spine-tingling alien encounters to family-friendly otherworldly antics, this free summer tradition continues to take off.”

UC Santa Barbara students with valid ID can take a free round-trip bus ride from campus to the courthouse in downtown Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara Airbuses will depart from University Plaza loop adjacent to Campbell and Cheadle halls at 7 p.m. and 7:45 p.m., and pick up from the Figueroa Street side of the courthouse at 10:45 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. 

The new season marks the 64th year of UCSB Arts & Lectures, bringing unique, world-class performances, films and lectures to Central Coast and campus audiences. With a mission to “educate, entertain and inspire,” it is the largest performing arts and public lectures presenter between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

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