‘Anna’ in Solvang – PCPA Theaterfest presents the Central Coast debut of Nilo Cruz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Anna in the Tropics.” The relationships and passions inside a Florida cigar factory mirror “Anna Karenina,” the book that is being read to them as they work. (See “On Stage” on page 62 for an interview with Nilo Cruz). WHEN: 8 pm Wednesday through Sunday through August 6, WHERE: 420 Second Street, Solvang, COST: $18.75-27.25, discounts available for students, seniors, children and subscribers, INFO: 922-8313.

Brewery bits – Circle Bar B Dinner Theatre returns to its roots with “Suds,” a musical melodrama set in old Milwaukee. Characters include an evil stepmother, a helpless heroine, her half-wit hockey-playing boyfriend and others in this romp written by Neal LaVine. Prices include a full Santa Maria-style tri-tip dinner (chicken or vegetarian on request) with refreshments and dessert. WHEN: Friday & Saturday evenings at 6 pm, Sunday matinees at 2 pm through September 3. WHERE: Refugio Road, COST: $40, seniors $32 on Sundays, INFO: 967-1962 or

Chumash concerts – Old-school R&B singer/soul man Brian McKnight makes his Santa Barbara county debut in the Shamala Showroom at the Santa Ynez casino, sporting such hits as “The Way Love Goes” and “Every Time You Go Away” (August 3; $45-$75). Country/honky tonk scion Hank Williams, Jr., pays the Valley a visit on August 4. Erstwhile Bay Area pop singer Boz Scaggs, who forever made his name with such hits as “Lowdown” in the early 1980s, makes a long overdue return to the area with a Casino date on August 10 ($25-$75). And finally, the legendary Motown superstar Smokey Robison returns to the venue on August 17 ($43-$95). WHEN: All shows at 8pm WHERE: 3400 Hwy. 246 in Santa Ynez INFO: (800) CHUMASH or (800) 585-3737

Fiesta art show – Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation has collected Rincon Canyon artist John Wullbrandt’s Fiesta-themed paintings from last year for a new art exhibit called “Pinturas para Fiesta.” The four large format paintings were inspired by and created for the annual Old Spanish Days celebration and were on display during the 2005 events, and will now hang at the historic Casa de la Guerra museum for the next two and a half months. WHEN: noon to 4 pm Thursday through Sunday through September 4, WHERE: 15 East De la Guerra Street, COST: $3, INFO: 965-0093.

Opera Under the Stars – The popular evening featuring sumptuous three-course dining and romantic tableside music returns for another summer. Pairs of singers entertain every Thursday evening in the Arts & Letters Café’s charming courtyard setting, behind Sullivan Goss gallery. Upcoming shows include a night of music from “Les Misérables” and the best of Broadway with soprano Jessica Shaw and baritone Scott Reed (August 3); “The Fabulous Three Tenors” with Jeffery Grossman, William Cristensen and Edgar Ernesto Ramirez (August 10); and “Bizet’s Exotic, Erotic Carmen” with Christensen and mezzo-soprano Tihana Herceg. WHEN: Seatings at 6 pm and 8:15 pm every Thursday through September 7, WHERE: 7 East Anapamu Street, COST: $50, INFO: 730-1463.

UCSB Film – The Summer Cinema series continues with two documentaries and a fiction film that feels like a doc: The audience takes on the role of incidental voyeur in the 2005 French film “Caché,” a gripping combination of mystery and political/social commentary that won Michael Haneke the best director award at Cannes (August 2). ”Our Brand is Crisis” follows a team of hired U.S. political consultants – including famed strategist James Carville – to Bolivia’s presidential campaign to establish its premise of a link between the spread of democracy overseas with American marketing strategies (August 9). “Sisters In Law,” which won the 2006 SBIFF Social Justice Award, follows a female justice and female state prosecutor in their sharp-tongued but often humorous task of enforcing judicial law in the face of male-dominated traditional society of Cameroon. If you’re looking for heroes, the film offers two. WHEN: 7:30 pm, WHERE: UCSB’s Campbell Hall, COST: $6, INFO: 893-3535.

Concerts in the Park – Just one entry this fortnight, as the free summer concert series takes a break on August 3 for Fiesta. Conjunto Jardin, a Los Angeles-based Son Jarocho band, which plays the polyrhythmic music of Veracruz, Mexico, is no stranger to Santa Barbara. Sisters Libby and Cindy Harding (daughters of folk-world music pioneer Tim Harding) lead this group offering a winning, danceable blend (August 10). WHEN: 6 pm to 8:30 pm, WHERE: Cabrillo Boulevard near Calle Cesar Chavez, COST: free, INFO: 897-1982.

Wednesday, August 2

Fiesta – Hey, this is Montecito, and a lot of Village folks stay the heck out of town when Old Spanish Days takes over downtown and the surrounding areas, so we’re not going to list all the individual events for you. But suffice it to say, you can find nearly every kind of Spanish/Mexican-themed entertainment and beyond, from the Fiesta Pequena (tonight at the Mission) and the Noches de Ronde (nightly tomorrow through Saturday at the Courthouse Sunken Gardens) to the Fiesta Parade (Friday at noon), two Mercados (Del Norte, at MacKenzie Park, is generally more family-friendly than the teen-oriented De La Guerra Plaza market), and such offbeat offerings as Celebracion de la Dignatarios (tomorrow at the Zoo) and a pancake breakfast (Saturday morning at Alameda Park). Log on to or call 962-8101 for complete schedules.

Ventura County Fair – The area’s largest and longest summertime fair offers the usual array of exhibits, animal auctions and exhibitions, carnival food, rides for all ages, home demos and more, plus an enviable lineup of name-brand entertainment. Here’s the highlights: Charlie Daniels Band (August 4), Ventura’s own Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (August 5), Wynonna (August 7), Bobby Vinton (1 pm) and All-American Rejects (August 8), Foreigner (August 9) and Creedence Clearwater Revisited – which is CCR without John Fogerty, who will be at the Bowl on September 3 – who play August 10. The best part? It’s all free with the low-priced general admission to the fair! WHEN: Today through August 13 (concerts at 7:30 pm), WHERE: Seaside Park, Ventura, COST: INFO: 648-3376 or

Theatrical Treats – Montecito resident Elaine Kendall presents the world premiere of her new play, “The Chameleon,” at her own afternoon light lunch-short theater series. The work is based on the fascinating public and private life of Judah P. Benjamin, the Confederate secretary of state who fled to England after the Civil War and established a career as a distinguished barrister. WHEN: lunch 12:15 pm, curtain 1:30 pm, WHERE: 33 West Victoria Street, COST: $25, INFO: (800) 464-8497.

Thursday, August 3

Irish I’s – Geraldine Hughes’s one-woman show chronicling her upbringing in an Irish-Catholic family during “The Troubles” was stunningly moving when she presented it at Victoria Hall two years ago. At times hilarious and heartbreakingly tragic, Hughes uses only her voice and gestures to create more than 20 characters, from her parents and neighbors to the Hollywood producers who gave her an early break. Just back from a critically acclaimed run Off-Broadway, the show plays in repertory with Conor McPherson’s “The Good Thief” (see August 10 listing). WHEN: Opens tonight, plays Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 pm, Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm; ends September 17, WHERE: Laurel Theater, 1106 East Main Street, Ventura, COST: $25-$49, discounts available, INFO: 667-2900.

Friday, August 4

MAW Opera – The Music Academy of the West presents its 2006 opera, Rossini’s “Il Viaggio a Reims,” the comic and heart-warming Bel Canto-style work. Young artists comprise the singers and musicians for the show, which has been prepared over the course of the summer. (See details in “Classical Connection” on page 61) WHEN: 8 pm tonight, 2:30 pm Sunday, WHERE: Lobero Theatre, 33 West Canon Perdido Street, COST: $40 & $60, INFO: 963-0761.

Saturday, August 5

Fiesta concert – Music at Trinity meets Old Spanish Days for the 20th annual concert featuring the music of Old Spain, Mexico and Early California featuring voice, guitar, piano and organ. WHEN: 3 pm, WHERE: Trinity Episcopal Church, 1500 State Street (at Micheltorena), COST: free, INFO: 965-7419 or 687-0189 or

Dance debut – Los Angeles-based chamber contemporary ballet company La Danserie makes its Santa Barbara debut with “Danses Chromatiques.” The program features artistic director Patrick Frantz’s “Appassionato,” with music by Rachmaninov; guest artist Alexandre de la Caffinière of the Berlin Opera House performs his sculptural solo “Ibou”; and Judy Pisarro-Grant premiers “No Way/Any Way,” with music by George Antheil, the self-described “bad boy” of modern music. WHEN: 8 pm tonight, 2 pm tomorrow, WHERE: Marjorie Luke Theatre at Santa Barbara Junior High, 721 East Cota Street, COST: $20, students/seniors/SBDA members $15, INFO: 969-8787.

Sunday, August 6

Fiesta Wine Tasting – Enjoy samples of 25 of the finest local boutique wines at the Sunken Gardens at the County Courthouse in this latest addition to the Old Spanish Days celebration. Flying Goat, Ampelos, Carhartt and Ojai Vineyards are just a few of the wineries represented at the event. WHEN: noon to 6 pm, WHERE: 100 East Anapamu Street, COST: $65, INFO: 963-4408.

Monday, August 7

Wilcox returns – Singer-songwriter David Wilcox, who has become a regular at the nightclub SOhO, plays his latest gig in support of a terrific new album, “Vista.” WHEN: 8 pm, WHERE: 1221 State Street, upstairs in Victoria Court, COST: $20, INFO: 962-7776.

Thursday, August 10

Day of the Conor – Conor Lovett stars in suddenly hot Irish playwright Conor McPherson’s one-hour darkly dramatic portrait of a nameless Dublin thug struggling for salvation who finds redemption in a shattering moment. Presented in repertory with “Belfast Blues” (see August 3 listing). WHEN: Opens tonight, plays Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 pm, Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm; ends September 17, WHERE: Laurel Theater, 1106 East Main Street, Ventura, COST: $25-$49, discounts available, INFO: 667-2900.

Grisman at Lobero – Multi-instrumentalist Joe Craven (now best known locally as the Live Oak Music Festival emcee) may have left the band, but David Grisman carries on. This visit the pre-eminent mandolinist of his time is touting his Bluegrass Experience, a band that features all-star veterans of the genre, including Jim Nunally (guitar), Keith Little (banjo), Chad Manning (fiddle) and Grisman’s son, Sam, on bass. WHEN: 8 pm, WHERE: Lobero Theatre, 33 West Canon Perdido Street, COST: $35 & $45, INFO: 963-0761.

Friday, August 11

Phone home? – Elings Park closes out its “Movie Nights!” series with a special screening of the sci-fi family classic “E.T.” Enjoy a barbecue in the park and then sit back and watch the movie on a giant outdoor screen, then curl up in your tent for a good night’s sleep in the open sky, which is expected to include a spectacular meteor shower. WHEN: 5 pm (movie at dark), WHERE: Las Positas Read near Cliff Drive, COST: $4 or $15 per family; camping fee $35, INFO: 569-5611.

Sondheim in Solvang – PCPA Theaterfest taps into the prince of Broadway for the aptly titled show “A Little Night Music” as the centerpiece of the summer season. PCPA regulars Heidi Ewart, David Studwell, Melinda Parrett and Dana Musgrove comprise the principal cast for the romantic musical featuring a waltz-filled score boasting “Send in the Clowns” and a mature love-triangle theme. WHEN: Opens tonight, plays 8 pm Wednesday through Sunday through July 15 (special added show on July 11), WHERE: 420 Second Street, Solvang, COST: $23-$29.75; discounts available for students, seniors, children and groups, INFO: 922-8313.

Scope scoop – Samy’s Camera hosts two viewing events this weekend, kicking off with Telescope Star Party tonight, affording an up-close view of the planets and the Perseids meteor shower at night, followed by an afternoon solar viewing tomorrow. A raffle and refreshments round out the fun. WHEN: 8 pm to 11 pm tonight, 10 am to 2 pm tomorrow, WHERE: 614 Chapala Street, COST: free, INFO: 933-7269.

Saturday, August 12

Russian revolution – The Music Academy of the West closes out the 2006 summer season with a final performance by the Academy Festival Orchestra with Pavel Klinichev – the Bolshoi Ballet & Symphony Orchestra conductor making his Music Academy debut – leading an all-Russian program featuring works by Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev. WHEN: 8 pm, WHERE: Lobero Theatre, 33 West Canon Perdido Street, COST: $35, INFO: 963-0761.

Sunday, August 13

Summer soirée – Body Electric – which calls itself Santa Barbara’s Network for Active Women and Girls – stages its annual fundraising event, a wine social and auction complete with music by the Torchlighters, and wine tasting and hors d’oeuvres from several local restaurants. The event also boasts a silent auction featuring a wide variety of donated items, including gym and museum memberships, restaurant dinners, luxurious gift baskets, and handmade jewelry. WHEN: 3 pm to 7 pm, WHERE: Cellar 205 Winery & Marketplace, located at 205 Anacapa Street, COST: $40, INFO: 569-7144.

Wednesday, August 16

Summer Tales – Tales from the Tavern branches out from its six-week wintertime series to offer a new monthly series of singer-songwriter events in the Santa Ynez Valley. John Dee Graham – who wowed the crowd in a 2005 show at the Firestone Brewery Taproom – brings a duo to kick off the new quartet of concerts at a new venue for Tales from the Tavern: The Maverick Saloon. WHEN: 7:30 pm, WHERE: 3687 Sagunto Road, Santa Ynez, COST: $80 for four-concert series ($20 if available single tickets), INFO: 688-0383.