‘BLEEP’ YOU VERY MUCH

Santa Barbara City College’s Adult Education “Mind/Supermind” lecture series has had a lot of fans over its more than 25 years of bringing philosophers, scientists, New Age gurus, psychologists, creative thinkers, and more to the Lobero, absolutely free on many a Monday night when school is in session. Now a relative newbie is giving something back.

Dr. Joe Migliore, a licensed chiropractor who has developed a process he calls Body Magic, is sponsoring a long weekend of benefit preview screenings of “Down the Rabbit Hole,” the sequel to “What the Bleep Do We Know?” – the metaphysical, quantum physics film that was an independent cinematic sensation two years ago.

“I’m two years young to Santa Barbara,” Migliore explains, “and I just love Mind/Supermind.”

The connection between “Bleep” and “Mind/Supermind” was a strong one for Migliore, who was so deeply affected by the first film that he bought an extra copy for his patients to view after their first visit to his office, where the work he does is based on similar quantum theories. When Candace Pert, one of the scientists featured in the first “Bleep,” spoke at “Mind/Supermind” last year, Migliore reconnected with the speaker, whom he had met 10 years ago at a seminar/workshop. He offered her a free treatment, she accepted and was “blown away” by the results, he says. Enough so, that she has written to suggest that his work is a great way for Santa Barbara residents to put to use the material she discussed in her lecture.

“So Mind/Supermind literally help change my life, and I wanted to thank them for it,” says Migliore.

After viewing an early copy of the sequel, Migliore arranged to have the filmmakers waive their normal fee so he could screen the film at the Lobero and donate the proceeds to the lecture series, which hasn’t had a budget increase in eight years.

“You have to see this movie,” he says. “They’re now explaining in much greater detail everything they talked about in the first one, showing scientific proof and replaying some physics experiments. You can really see how healing in this quantum model works.

“My clients are the people who saw the first movie, the people who go to Mind/Supermind,” he goes on, “so it was natural for me to do this. I hope we make a lot of money for them.”

The film screens every night at 7:30 pm from May 24-27. Admission is $10. For more information call the Lobero at 963-0761 or Migliore at 698-0378.

< h2>Thursday NIGHTS Fever

Anyone who has dropped by NIGHTS, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s phenomenally popular third Thursday cultural happy-hour summertime soirees, knows just how hectic the events are. Packed with more than 1,000 well-dressed and mostly young professionals who sample themed hors d’oeuvres and cocktails and drink in the special activities tied in to the current exhibition, the museum throbs with an urban intensity that turns its normally staid image on edge.

Spend five minutes on the phone with the program’s co-creator and coordinator, Kristi Thomas, and you know where the pace and intensity originates.

“You want to know how I come up with the ideas? You want to walk through my scary brain? You might not want to go there,” she says, laughing. “I fire thoughts in constellations and they connect to unusual things in strange patterns. I just have a weird mind. Basically, I free-associate: How can I connect [the exhibit] to modern times?”

Hence, the museum’s current “Renaissance to Rococo” exhibit spawned royal fantasies that form the core of the 2006 NIGHTS kickoff slated for May 18. Activities include pop-up pleasure palaces, Baroque body bling, vanitas still life collages, and DJs dressed as beheaded Marie Antoinette and Louis the XVI spinning “Great Duets Karaoke.”

Each themed night also has the requisite themed cocktail. The current one is Martini de Sade, which Thomas explains came about because, well, she’s read a lot of de Sade. “He was a philosopher of the period,” she offers. Anyway, Thomas makes sure to sample all the concoctions before they receive prior approval. De Sade’s ingredients call for a blend of Absolute peach vodka, peach puree and citrus liqueur. Thomas’s take? “Yummy!”

While it all sounds like frivolous good fun, the program came about because the museum noticed a disconnect in its appeal – children and older set attended in large numbers, but twenty- and thirty-somethings stayed away in droves.

“I’d encounter a lot of people who when they met me would say, ‘Oh, you work at the Art Museum? I haven’t been there since I was a kid,’” Thomas recalls. “And these were educated, interesting people.”

Thomas figured if she could develop a way to compete with the bar scene, she’d be able to lure them back to “get reacquainted with the museum.” “I’m in my thirties, too, and I’ve experienced different opportunities,” she explains. “I think we want something that’s really a sensory overload. Engage us on all sorts of different levels. Get the mind involved, and the eye, and be social at the same time.”

Thomas and her cohorts at the museum are thrilled with the results. The events were packed by the second installment two years ago, and sold out by the fourth, necessitating advance ticket sales of season passes to reduce the crushing lines (and avoid falling to that classic Yogi Berra-ism: “Nobody goes there anymore – it’s too crowded.”) More than 200 new memberships were sold through the NIGHTS program last year, mostly to those who were not previously regular visitors, although Thomas freely admits that maybe half of the attendees are there just to be part of the hot new scene.

“A lot of people do come purely for the social aspect,” she says. “But that’s fine. I work really hard to make every event different so that people will come back.”

Which leads us to the rest of the schedule, which includes programs arranged around the exhibits “Picture Stories: The Art of Europe and the Americas” (June 15), “Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China” (July 20), 19th century French art from the museum’s permanent collection (August 17) and Greek and Roman Antiquities from the collection (September 21).

Tickets are $25 for non-members, or you can buy the Luxe Pass, which earns preferred admission to all five, costs $150, and includes an annual membership. A $50 martini card pre-pays you for 10 cocktails (a discount of $1 per) and lets you skip to the front in a special martini card line at each bar. Call 884-6414.

Curtain Call

UCSB Theater winds up the season with two productions encompassing eight plays. How is that possible? The first is a New Plays Festival, featuring workshop productions of seven new plays written by UCSB Theater majors and grad students under the guidance of playwright and faculty member Naomi Iizuka. In a press release, the professor describes the work as “cutting-edge, innovative and refreshingly contemporary.” A first glance provides a few interesting pieces, including “18,” which follows a dog catcher and the woman he loves from their first date in high school through adulthood, and Chelsea Sutton’s “The Reason Why I Lie,” where two best friends waiting for a train that never comes explore the nature of their friendship. The plays are presented in groups in repertory May 19-27.

The season finally comes a final close with the West Coast premiere of “The Dinosaur Within,” John Walch’s complex drama exploring the excitement and pain in uncovering the past and discovering one’s own nature. Hear from the playwright himself on May 26, the afternoon of opening night, as part of a panel discussion called “On the Verge: How New Plays and Playwrights Emerge in the American Theatre,” also featuring Pier Carlo Talenti, the literary manager at the Center Theatre Group (Mark Taper Forum, Ahmanson Theatre) and Russ Brainin, UCSB professor and the play’s director. “Dinosaur” runs May 26-June 3. Call 893-3535 for info and tickets.