Through May 19
Building a Botanical Nirvana
Lotusland’s 25th season kicks off a yearlong celebration with Building a Botanical Nirvana: The Story of Lotusland. View Lotusland’s fascinating history and learn about all those who contributed to making the garden what it is today. Ganna Walska Lotusland, Montecito, reservations required, 805/969-9990, lotusland.org.
Through May 27
Before the invention of photography, painted portraits were the most coveted means of commemorating important members of society. This exhibition, drawn exclusively from the permanent collection, explores American, British and French portraitists from the Colonial period through the Industrial Revolution. Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1130 State St., 805/884-6430, sbma.net.
Through July 9
The River’s Journey
Local artists Connie Connally, Holli Harmon, Libby Smith, Nicole Strasburg, Nina Warner and Pamela Zwehl-Burke have pooled their talents around one very big idea—our communal connection to and responsibility for our water resources—uniting their unique points of view in a new exhibit,
The River’s Journey: One Year, Six Artists, 92 Miles. Wildling Museum of Art & Nature, 1511-B Mission Dr., Solvang, wildlingmuseum.org.
May Calendar of Events
Anthony Doerr in Conversation with Pico Iyer
Author Anthony Doerr is lauded for his lyricism, precise attention to the physical world and gift for metaphor. With the eye of a scientist and the heart of a poet, the celebrated prose stylist reveals his keen naturalist’s perception and empathetic engagement with humanity’s largest questions in a conversation with fellow writer Pico Iyer, presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures. Campbell Hall, UCSB, 805/893-3535, artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.
Flavors of SLO
Sample some of the best food, wine and beer the Central Coast has to offer at the 10th annual Flavors of SLO, with all proceeds benefitting United Way of San Luis Obispo, which seeks to create lasting change in the community by focusing on the building blocks of a good life: education, health and financial stability. Noon–5 p.m. Mission Plaza San Luis Obispo, 751 Palm St., San Luis Obispo, 805/781-7067, flavorofslo.org.
Zorá String Quartet
Chamber On The Mountain concludes the concert season with Zorá String Quartet, featuring Dechopol Kowintaweewat on violin, Seula Lee on violin, Pablo Muñoz Salido on viola and Zizai Ning on cello. These exciting young musicians won the Grand Prize and Gold Medal of the 2015 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, the 2015 Coleman National Chamber Music Competition in California and the 2015 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, where they were also awarded the Sander Buchman Award. Logan House, 8585 Ojai-Santa Paula Rd., Ojai, 805/646-9951, chamberonthemountain.com.
The Capitol Steps
The Capitol Steps has elevated political satire to an art form. Before The Daily Show, Full Frontal and The Colbert Report, this Washington, DC-based comedy troupe gave audience laugh cramps with their bipartisan lampooning. No matter who or what is in the headlines, you can bet The Capitol Steps tackles both sides of the political spectrum and all things equally foolish. 8 p.m. Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido St., 805/963-0761, lobero.org.
Mark Morris Dance Group: Pepperland
Choreographer Mark Morris returns to Santa Barbara with Pepperland, a new work celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Pepperland features Morris’s ingenuity and musicality, accompanied live by a seven-piece chamber ensemble. Granada Theatre, 1214 State St., 805/899-2222, granadasb.org.
Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom
This movie focuses on the remarkable life of South African revolutionary, president and world icon Nelson Mandela. From humble beginnings as a herd boy in a rural village, Mandela became involved in the anti-apartheid movement and co-founded the African National Congress Youth League. Granada Theatre, 1214 State St., 805/899-2222, granadasb.org.
Musicians Deb Talan and Steve Tannen are the husband-wife duo of The Weepies. Through the struggles and joys of their life together, Talan and Tannen created remarkable musicianship. Backed by musicians who played on the original recording, The Weepies celebrate the 10-year anniversary of their popular album Hideaway. Campbell Hall, UCSB, 805/893-3535, artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.
Soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian & St. Lawrence String Quartet
Canadian-American soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian is widely celebrated for her strikingly multi-hued voice and immense interpretive talent. Established in Toronto in 1989, St. Lawrence String Quartet quickly earned acclaim at top international chamber music competitions and was soon playing hundreds of concerts per year worldwide. 8 p.m. Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido St., 805/963-0761, lobero.org.
Luminous soprano Audra McDonald has a voice that will make you believe in angels. She is radiant on Broadway and opera stages, as well as in film and television. Backed by a superb trio of musicians, McDonald presents her trademark mix of show tunes, classic songs from movies and pieces written for her by contemporary composers. Granada Theatre, 1214 State St., 805/899-2222, granadasb.org.
Arturo O’Farrill and Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra
Pianist and composer Arturo O’Farrill is the multi-Grammy Award-winning founder of Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra. Don’t miss this cross-cultural cutting-edge 18-piece powerhouse outfit on tour, delivering their unique fusion of Afro-Caribbean rhythms and jazz improvisation. Presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures. Campbell Hall, UCSB, 805/893-3535, artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.
Paso Robles Wine Fest
Now in its 36th year, Wine Fest is a Paso Robles tradition, where wineries bring the Paso Robles region to one central location for four days of events. Venture into wine country for events at more than 100 wineries all weekend long. Various locations around Paso Robles, 805/239-8463, pasowine.com/events/winefest.
SLO Jazz Festival
Tucked in the heart of downtown San Luis Obispo, SLO Jazz Festival offers a variety of subgenres from mellow jazz harmonies to high-energy rhythms that are sure to get you on your feet. Proceeds from the event benefit SLO Jazz Festival, a nonprofit dedicated to celebrating and continuing the tradition of jazz music throughout the Central Coast. Mission Plaza San Luis Obispo, 751 Palm St., 805/781-7067, slojazzfest.org.
Award-winning violinist Anne Akiko Meyers teams up with Santa Barbara Symphony Concertmaster Jessica Guideri for a program of violin treasures, including Vivaldi’s arresting Double Violin Concerto. Granada Theatre, 1214 State St., 805/899-2222, granadasb.org.
Pearl Chase Historic Homes Tour
For more than 18 years, Pearl Chase Society, a nonprofit conservancy dedicated to preserving Santa Barbara and Montecito’s historic sites, landscapes and heritage, has featured diverse architectural landmarks in their annual Historic Homes Tour. Guests will tour five unique 20th-century residences hidden in the hedgerows of Montecito. These five homes have purposefully been chosen to represent the unique culture, history and style of the upscale oceanside town. 11 a.m.–4 p.m., Various Montecito locations, pearlchasesociety.org.
Celebration of Stories
Enjoy readings of the following inspirational and moving stories: The Haunting by John Connally, Wishing by Deena Goldstone and Refresh by Benjamin Percy, presented by Speaking of Stories. Center Stage Theater, 751 Paseo Nuevo, 805/963-0408, speakingofstories.org.
Memorial Day weekend brings the colorful I Madonnari Festival of Italian street painting to the Old Mission. The pavement blossoms with vibrant pastels for these three days, as artists create dazzling works that delight visitors year after year. Not only is the festival beautiful, but all proceeds benefit Children’s Creative Project, a nonprofit arts education program that serves 50,000 children in more than 100 schools with visual and performing arts workshops and performances throughout Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. | 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Mission Santa Barbara, 2201 Laguna St., imadonnarifestival.com.
With love, romance and his recent 20th wedding anniversary serving as his inspiration, Brian Culbertson crafted 13 new songs that were released as Colors of Love on Valentine’s Day. A nearly three-month-long U.S. concert tour brings Colors of Love to life in a vivid theatrical production. 8 p.m. Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido St., 805/963-0761, lobero.org.