‘String’ says ‘So long’ – Santa Barbara Theater Co., closes out its debut season with “String of Pearls,” a comedy-drama featuring four actresses portraying 27 women whose lives are changed by contact with a string of pearls. SBT co-artistic director Stephen Sachs directed this West Coast Premiere production of the Michele Lowe work to a recently concluded critically and commercially successful run in Los Angeles. WHEN: Plays 8 pm Friday and Saturday, and 2 pm and 7 pm Sunday through May 7, WHERE: Center Stage Theatre, upstairs in Paseo Nuevo Mall, Chapala Street and Canon Perdido, COST: $32.50-$39.50, discounts for students/seniors, INFO: 963-7282 or

Last days for ETC play – Ensemble Theatre Co. presents “Dublin Carol,” a bittersweet tale of retrospection and redemption by contemporary Irish playwright Conor McPherson. The time is Christmas Eve, and undertaker John Plunkett is taking stock of his life, revisiting lost opportunities and a disastrous past, with one last chance to make it right via his relationship to Mark, a 20-year-old office boy, and a surprise visit by Mary, a daughter he has not seen in years. Jenny Sullivan, artistic associate at the Rubicon Theatre Company, directs, in her ETC debut. WHEN: 8 pm Tuesday through Saturday and 2 pm and 7 pm Sunday through May 7, WHERE: 914 State Street, COST: $25-$37, discounts for students, seniors and groups of 10, INFO: 962-8606 or

Migrants in art – While politicos countrywide debate the immigration problem, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art traces the 100-year history of migrant workers in California in the new exhibit “Taking Root.” Vintage prints by photographers from the Works Progress program and Life and Look magazine and documents of Cesar Chavez’s legendary march to Sacramento are on view at the museum, while contemporary prints by News-Press photographers of Mixtec strawberry pickers in Santa Maria can be seen at Channing-Peake Gallery. WHEN: 11 am to 5 pm Tuesdays-Sundays, through August 6, WHERE: Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1130 State Street, COST: $9 (discounts for seniors, students and children; free every Sunday), INFO: 963-4364.

‘Lola’ leaving soon – Don’t confuse the title character of SBCC’s “Lola Goes to Roma” with the temptress in “Damn Yankees.” This one is the recently widowed mother of a brainy, Ph.D., post-doc who tags along with her daughter on a celebratory tour of Europe. What results is a series of hi-jinx adventures, non-academic learning experiences, and a revealing of family secrets and deepening of bonds that has been described as a flirty adult comedy with a distinctly Latin flair from the author of “Real Woman Have Curves.” WHEN: 8 pm Wednesday thru Saturday and 2 pm Saturday thru Sunday, plus 8 pm Tuesday May 9; ends May 13, WHERE: Jurkowitz Theatre, SBCC West Campus, 800 block of Cliff Drive, COST: $19-$21, discounts for seniors and students, INFO: 965-5935.

‘Time’ and again – Montecito actor Ben Bottoms stars in “All in the Timing,” David Ives’s sophisticated and hilarious series of wacky vignettes examining the foibles of modern life. Five actors explore such subjects as the do’s and don’ts of dating, missed connections, and the need for a universal language in this joint production of Rubicon and the Ensemble Theatre Companies, which hosted the production last year. WHEN: Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 pm, plus matinee on Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm; ends May 21, WHERE: Laurel Theatre, 1106 East Main Street, Ventura COST: $25-$49, discounts for students/seniors, INFO: 667-2900.

Orphans of song – Fall in love with Oliver and the Artful Dodger and hiss at Fagen all over again when PCPA Theaterfest takes on the classic Dickens’-via-Bart family musical “Oliver!” The memorable score includes the songs “Food, Glorious Food.,” “Where is Love?” “Consider Yourself,” and “I’d Do Anything.” WHEN: Thru May 14, WHERE: Allan Hancock College, 800 South College Drive, Santa Maria, COST: $18.75-$27.25; discounts available for students, seniors and children and subscribers, INFO: 922-8313.

War photography – UCSB’s University Art Museum presents an exhibition of photographs by Dan Eldon, a photojournalist who was stoned to death at age 22 by an angry village mob reacting to a bombing raid. Special event this week: a screening of “Dying to Tell the Story,” a Turner Original documentary about journalists who risk their lives to cover war zones, hosted by filmmaker Amy Eldon, Dan’s sister (6 pm to 8:30 pm at Isla Vista Theatre, 960 Embarcadero del Norte), WHEN: Through May 14, WHERE: UCSB Campus, COST: free, INFO: 893-7564 or

Friday, May 5

On the Town – Otto Layman directs Santa Barbara High School’s 96-student production “On the Town,” which tells the story of three sailors during WWII and their amorous adventures during a 24-hour shore leave in New York City. Come tonight for this all-student production that promises rollicking fun mixed with wartime poignancy. WHEN: plays May 5, 6, 10, 11 and 12 at 7 pm, WHERE: Santa Barbara High School, 700 East Anapamu Street, COST: $10 for adults, $5 for students, INFO: 966-9101, extension 220.

Saturday, May 6

Farewell to Gisele – Santa Barbara says goodbye to its leader for the past dozen years as Gisele Ben-Dor takes the podium to conduct her final pair of concerts with the Santa Barbara Symphony. As befitting such a momentous occasion, the orchestra will perform Beethoven’s mighty Ninth Symphony (with special guest soloists and the 120-member Santa Barbara Choral Society) and Chichester Psalms, by Ben-Dor’s mentor, Leonard Bernstein. Area politicians will salute the outgoing music director and the symphony will bestow upon her the title of “Conductor Laureate” at the final performance. WHEN: 8 pm Saturday, 3 pm Sunday, WHERE: Arlington Theatre, 1319 State Street, COST: $24-$58, discounts for seniors and students, INFO: 963-4408 or

Astronomy Day – Celebrate celestial wonders as the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History observes national Astronomy Day with activities that include hands-on demonstrations of meteorite tables, telescope mirror-grinding and the making of a comet, plus solar and radio telescope viewing, special teacher resource center and an astronomy equipment yard sale. Kids can enjoy making pop-rockets and straw rockets. The fun continues at night with the Star Party by Palmer Observatory (located at the Museum) where you can view Saturn and Jupiter on the night Jupiter is only two days away from its brightest of the year. WHEN: 10 am to 5 pm, WHERE: 2559 Puesta del Sol Road, COST: free with regular museum admission: $8, teens/seniors $7, children $5, INFO: 682-4711 extension 405.

Sunday, May 7

Beauty Expo – This trade show for industry professionals including spa and medical spa owners, estheticians, cosmetic surgeons, dermatologists and more features a business summit hosted by Ken Kassidy, makeup and waxing workshops in a variety of areas and more than 80 exhibitors selling latest products at discount. WHEN: today and tomorrow, WHERE: Earl Warren Showgrounds, 3400 Calle Real (at Las Positas Road), COST: $25, INFO: or 687-8132.

Plant sale – The Santa Barbara Cactus & Succulent Society hosts a plant sale and silent auction and display of the dessert-friendly plants. WHEN: 10 am to 3 pm, WHERE: MacKenzie Park, Las Positas & State Streets, COST: free, INFO: 967-8205.

Drag show benefit – Miss Kitty, Buffy & BellaDonna welcome Ms Marvelous to the Wildcat for the 3rd Annual Children's Miracle Network Benefit. Local drag kings and queens take the stage in a raucous night of fun and fabulousness to raise money for improve medical care for children in our community. WHEN: 8:15 pm, WHERE: Wildcat Lounge, 15 West Ortega Street, COST: $7 INFO: 962-7970.

Kid’s Kitchen Brunch – Community Kitchen’s third annual event features live entertainment, silent auction, activities for the kids and, of course, a scrumptious meal prepared by the folks who have been feeding the hungry in Santa Barbara for 16 years. WHEN: 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm, WHERE: Greek Orthodox Church, 1205 San Antonio Creek Road, COST: $60 single, $125 family (2 adults, 2 children), INFO: 637-9268.

Tuesday, May 9

Masterclass – The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra wowed the crowd last year with a concert at Campbell Hall. Today, they come back not to play but to teach as the orchestra’s Miles Davis Project conducts a workshop with UCSB jazz students. WHEN: 4 pm to 6 pm, WHERE: UCSB’s Geiringer Hall, COST: free, INFO: 893-7001.

Stirring up SOhO – MAGiStiR, whose original members include Darin Fletcher, Robin Howe and Dave Loeppke, has been performing the Santa Barbara circuit for some time now as a trio. The latest addition of another guitarist and a drummer is timely as the all-local group hits SOhO, a gig that could become a weekend staple for the burgeoning artists. WHEN: 8 pm, WHERE: 1221 State Street, COST: $7, INFO: 962-7776.

Wednesday, May 10

Music Club morning music – The free series gets back to basics will a full program featuring Bach's Cantatas, performed by Susan Kuehn, mezzo-soprano, Mary Jo Hartle, flute, and John Sonquist, piano followed by Rachmaninoff's romantic Sonata in G minor, Op. 19, with Gina Chalmers, cello, and Richard Berkman, piano. The program concludes with various piano works including Images, Book 1 by Claude Debussy, Rachmaninoff's Prelude in G major, Op. 32, No.5, and his Prelude in B flat Major, Op. 23, No. 2, with Brigitte Hough performing. WHEN: 11 am, WHERE: Faulkner Gallery, Santa Barbara Public Library, 40 East Anapamu Street, COST: free, INFO: 683-0811 or

‘Monet of Classical Guitar’ – Sharon Isbin’s combination of stunning technique and remarkable lyricism propelled The Atlanta Journal-Constitution to give the guitarist that momentous moniker, and who’s to disagree? The only guitar instructor in Julliard’s history has made more than 25 recordings, played sold-out shows at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, and won just about every award out there. Special bonus: the concert takes place among the galleries at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, part of UCSB’s Chamber Music in Historic Sites. And don’t miss her free master class with UCSB students at noon today on campus. WHEN: 5:30 pm and 7:30 pm, WHERE: Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1130 State Street, COST: $60 (includes a reception with Isbin), INFO: 893-3535.

Thursday, May 11

Israeli Independence Day – The Jewish Federation of Santa Barbara hosts an afternoon celebration of Israel’s independence with songs, crafts, folk dancing, Israeli foods and more. WHEN: 3:30 pm to 5 pm, WHERE: 524 Chapala Street, COST: free, INFO: 957-1115, extension 122.

Westmont downtown – Religious studies professor Bruce Fisk takes on the worldwide bestseller “The Da Vinci Code,” assessing the book’s more provocative claims in regard to religion, church history and Christianity’s credibility as they relate to religion’s changing role in society. WHEN: 5:30 pm, WHERE: University Club, 1332 Santa Barbara Street, COST: free, INFO: 565-6051.

Electoral relief – UCSB political science professor and department chair John T. Woolley is a presidential scholar who has focused on the new movement to bypass the Electoral College by changing election laws in individual states rather than amending the U.S. Constitution. In this UCSB Town Forum, Woolley discusses the question “Should the U.S. Eliminate Our ‘Antidemocratic Relic?’” WHEN: 7:30 pm, WHERE: First Presbyterian Church, 21 East Constance Avenue, COST: $10, INFO: 893-4388.

Friday, May 12

Docent orientation – Ever thought about being a docent at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art? Here’s the chance to get the details and you don’t even need to have any art background or experience at all since the museum provides all training in classes that run from September through May. Coffee will be served. WHEN: 10 am, WHERE: 1130 State Street, COST: free, INFO: 884-6434.

Environmental happy hour – Environmental Defense Center’s TGIF social events are back just in time for the warm weather. Gather with friends and colleagues and exchange ideas in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere alongside community activists, elected officials, artists and others. Admission includes two drink tickets, hors d’oeuvres and live entertainment from Andrew Jackson and Barbara Coventry. Future events are slated for July 14, August 11, and September 8. WHEN: 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm, WHERE: EDC courtyard, 906 Garden Street, COST: $10, INFO: 962-1622, extension 100.

Millennium music – Madrigals meet the Beatles in Richard Thompson’s quirky road show, “1,000 Years of Popular Music,” in which the expatriate Briton (and two mates) covers a whimsical 10 centuries of music in under two hours. Thompson’s version of Prince’s “Kiss” and Britney Spears’ “Oops, I Did It Again” are not to be missed in this special add-on concert in the Sings Like Hell Series. WHEN: 8 pm, WHERE: Lobero Theatre, 33 East Canon Perdido Street, COST: $40, INFO: 963-0761.

Saturday, May 13

Salsa festival – The fourth annual Salsa Festival Santa Barbara and Family Resource Fair is a day-long event emphasizing families and community service. But there’s plenty of fun, including live DJ music, a classic car show, resource booths and plenty of food. And of course a mouth-watering salsa contest to tickle your taste buds. WHEN: 11:30 am to 7:30 pm, WHERE: De la Guerra Plaza, COST: free, INFO: 963-7605.

Solstice Gala – For years, the Summer Solstice organization has longed for a permanent home for the workshop where participants put together the outlandish late June parade that has become one of the hallmarks of life in Santa Barbara. Finally, its nomadic days are over: the community arts workshop has found a permanent place on lower Garden Street. Tonight’s benefit features a light buffet, beverages, dancing and other entertainment and an auction, plus a tribute to Patrick Davis, the recently retired County Arts Commission director who has been a faithful and ardent supporter of Solstice. WHEN: 6:30 pm, WHERE: 631 Garden Street, COST: $75 (includes two drink tickets), INFO: 965-3396.

Mind and matter – Matthieu Ricard, a molecular geneticist who gave up his career to become a Tibetan Buddhist monk, addresses how we can reach our potential based on understanding the true nature of mind via a discussion with part-time Santa Barbara resident author/adventurer Pico Iyer. Ricard, a resident of Nepal, is the Dalai Lama’s French interpreter and the author of “Journey to Enlightenment.” WHEN: 8 pm, WHERE: UCSB Campbell Hall, COST: $10, INFO: 893-3535.

Sunday, May 14

Bach by Candlelight – Christopher Story VI conducts the West Coast Chamber Orchestra in the 25th annual presentation of baroque music in the warm, intimate space of the history Presidio Chapel. Bach’s Oboe & Violin Concerto, Air for G String and Suite No. 2 for Flute & Strings are complemented by Jules Massenet’s Meditations from Thais – best known as the theme from the movie “Titanic” – to round out the program, which features soloists Tamsen Beseke (violin), Sheridon Stokes (flute) and Kathy Pisaro (oboe). WHEN: 5 pm to 7:30 pm, WHERE: 123 East Canon Perdido Street, COST: $20, students/seniors/trust members $15, children and handicapped $10, INFO: 965-0093

Monday, May 15

Museum music – Argentina’s Santa Fe Guitar Quartet is an innovative ensemble whose repertoire runs from baroque and classical works to tango and South American folklore, all played with an ear toward emulating a small string orchestra. Pieces by Paquito D’Rivera, Roland Dyens, Marcelo Coronel and Astor Piazzolla comprise the program. WHEN: 7:30pm WHERE: Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1130 State Street, COST: $19, INFO: 884-6426.

Tuesday, May 16

Four score and still scoring – B. B. King – the initials stand for “Blues Boy” – has toured, recorded and personified the blues for more than half a century, but he’s not slowing down even as he soars past 80. One of the few blues artists to score a major pop hit (“The Thrill is Gone” back in the ‘70s), he won the 14th Grammy of his career this year, for the album “80 – B.B. King and Friends,” and his current tour celebrates that milestone, achieved last September. WHEN: 8 pm, WHERE: Arlington Theatre, 1319 State Street, COST: $75, $60, $45, INFO: 963-4408 or 893-3535.

Season closer – The Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra finishes its current “Mostly Mozart” season by welcoming back an old colleague. Former SBCO concertmaster Sheryl Staples left the SBCO in 1995 to take the assistant position with the very prestigious Cleveland Orchestra, and three years later moved on to the NY Philharmonic. For her return she’ll solo in Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4 in D Major, while the orchestra will also play the 250th birthday boy’s Serenade No. 6 in D Major and his majestic Symphony No. 41 in C Major (“Jupiter”). WHEN: 8 pm, WHERE: Lobero Theatre, 33 East Canon Perdido Street, COST: $42.50 & $37.50, INFO: 963-0761.

Wednesday, May 17

Antioch Awards – Antioch University presents the second annual Horace Mann Award luncheon, given in the name of its founding president, who was an abolitionist, social reformer and educator. This year’s recipients include Patagonia’s chairman Yvon Chouinard and Santa Barbara Heart Association president DeeDee Barrett, an alumna of the school. WHEN: 12:30 pm, WHERE: Hotel Andalucia, 31 West Carrillo Street, COST: $50 or $100.